Russia vs The Ukraine

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Pandemonium
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Russia vs The Ukraine

#1 Post by Pandemonium » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:56 pm

I see Ukraine splitting in half, with the Eastern half becoming a Republic of Russia. I also think Putin knows there's very little Obama and the UN can do about the Russian occupation/expansion without risking a costly, unpopular proxy war.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#2 Post by clickie » Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:57 pm

Uncertain times ahead. It's the Red Scare all over again..
Thank God we have Obama in office instead of someone who will follow up on his threats.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#3 Post by Hype » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:37 am

Pandemonium wrote:I see Ukraine splitting in half, with the Eastern half becoming a Republic of Russia. I also think Putin knows there's very little Obama and the UN can do about the Russian occupation/expansion without risking a costly, unpopular proxy war.
A few points: use of the definite article to refer to Ukraine is considered offensive (it implies sub-nation status). Wrt the regional divisions, the easy split is oversimplified. Cities like Kharkiv used to be dominant Ukrainian-speaking bastions, until the Soviet program of Russification displaced the natives. Crimea has a fairly substantial Tatar minority who all support the Western-leaning nationalists. In fact, 75 percent of the country now supports the new government. So if Russia does try to carve off the eastern half, they will face opposition internally. At most they'll probably be able to keep Crimea, but it's unclear.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#4 Post by MorningGlory123 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:24 pm

Kind of ironic (and some might say deserved) that all the ultra-nationalist Ukranians and their governing coalition of neoliberals and fascists succeed in doing is breaking up their country, having successfully pushed the ethnic Russians into the arms of an invading Russia.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#5 Post by Hype » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:41 pm

MorningGlory123 wrote:Kind of ironic (and some might say deserved) that all the ultra-nationalist Ukranians and their governing coalition of neoliberals and fascists succeed in doing is breaking up their country, having successfully pushed the ethnic Russians into the arms of an invading Russia.
It's true that Svoboda is part of the opposition, and they're quite fucked up. But the appointed prime minister, Yatseniuk, is an educated mostly-lefty (and part of Timoshenko's party) who is probably a good thing for the country. The only negative I could find about him is that he has expressed opposition to gay marriage in the past, but then so had Obama. I wouldn't consider him neoliberal or fascist. Klitschko, I'm not sure about, but he seems to be fairly open-minded.
On April 5, 2009, Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his candidacy for President of Ukraine in the next presidential election. During the election campaign fellow candidate Serhiy Ratushniak repeatedly insulted Yatsenyuk because of his alleged Jewish roots, among others Ratushniak called Yatsenyuk an "impudent little Jew" who was "successfully serving the thieves who are in power in Ukraine and is using criminal money to plough ahead towards Ukraine's presidency".
... So, yeah, antisemitism is a problem, but it doesn't appear to be unique to the opposition.

The ethnic Russians are a problem, but they're not as unified as you'd think. Many Russians are pro-Europe and anti-oligarch. And while it's true that in the contested elections that led to the Orange Revolution, Yanukovych *apparently* had 96% or so of the vote in some regions, it's unclear how much of that support is real, and how much was orchestrated by vote-buying and mafia influence.

As for Crimea, don't discount the Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians who won't want to lose out on vacations to the black sea. :nod:

Information is going to be really unclear for a while. E.g. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/03/02 ... asion.html
State-owned channel Russia One showed what it alleged were cars lining up to flee the border into Russia — but the sign marking the border was actually for Shegini, a town on Ukraine's western border with Poland.
:confused:
Last edited by Hype on Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#6 Post by clickie » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:47 pm

So who's got the upper hand right now?

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#7 Post by Hype » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:49 pm

Not sure what that would amount to.

The opposition that kicked out Yanukovych are at work, and talking to Western leaders. The only place where Russian troops have actually done anything is in Crimea (and apparently they've gone to Donetsk, but haven't actually fought anyone), but that's not totally crazy, since there's already a Russian naval base at Sevastopol in the first place. What was scary was how many more troops showed up there.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#8 Post by MorningGlory123 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:32 pm

Adurentibus Spina wrote:
MorningGlory123 wrote:Kind of ironic (and some might say deserved) that all the ultra-nationalist Ukranians and their governing coalition of neoliberals and fascists succeed in doing is breaking up their country, having successfully pushed the ethnic Russians into the arms of an invading Russia.
It's true that Svoboda is part of the opposition, and they're quite fucked up. But the appointed prime minister, Yatseniuk, is an educated mostly-lefty (and part of Timoshenko's party) who is probably a good thing for the country. The only negative I could find about him is that he has expressed opposition to gay marriage in the past, but then so had Obama. I wouldn't consider him neoliberal or fascist. Klitschko, I'm not sure about, but he seems to be fairly open-minded.
On April 5, 2009, Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his candidacy for President of Ukraine in the next presidential election. During the election campaign fellow candidate Serhiy Ratushniak repeatedly insulted Yatsenyuk because of his alleged Jewish roots, among others Ratushniak called Yatsenyuk an "impudent little Jew" who was "successfully serving the thieves who are in power in Ukraine and is using criminal money to plough ahead towards Ukraine's presidency".
... So, yeah, antisemitism is a problem, but it doesn't appear to be unique to the opposition.

The ethnic Russians are a problem, but they're not as unified as you'd think. Many Russians are pro-Europe and anti-oligarch. And while it's true that in the contested elections that led to the Orange Revolution, Yanukovych *apparently* had 96% or so of the vote in some regions, it's unclear how much of that support is real, and how much was orchestrated by vote-buying and mafia influence.

As for Crimea, don't discount the Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians who won't want to lose out on vacations to the black sea. :nod:

Information is going to be really unclear for a while. E.g. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/03/02 ... asion.html
State-owned channel Russia One showed what it alleged were cars lining up to flee the border into Russia — but the sign marking the border was actually for Shegini, a town on Ukraine's western border with Poland.
:confused:
I'm not all that knowledgeable about Yatseniuk, admittedly, but his history doesn't seem filled with left-wing credentials (mostly standard liberal fare) and I struggle to believe any leftist would share a government with national socialists with the raison d'etre seeming to simply be to secure an EU-IMF 'rescue' (that will probably have Greeks wincing for them). Note, no election, but the FTA signed.

Timoshenko's coalition is no enemy of oligarchs either - as far as I can see all that's happened - despite many protestor's original aim's - is a swapping of Eastern-favouring oligarchs with their Western-favouring counterparts, with the West/EU (to their shame, but why should I be surprised) and Russia all too willing to embrace their respective sides - whatever the cost.

Let's be clear, beyond the good-intentioned (well, a share of...) people demonstrating on the street, there's very little good in this conflict, and whether it's Russian forces invading on the East, or the West clamouring to defend and do business with an unelected regime - or, indeed, the unsavoury elements within their own movement, they've little reason for hope of anything else now.

As you say, the West and East are far from the monolithic entities in popular portrayal (I imagine there's a fair amount of Westerners who wouldn't support IMF terms, for instance), but it seems fairly clear - and evidenced in subsequent legitimate election results post Orange Revolution - that the current regime couldn't count on a clear mandate whenever they do decide to consult the electorate, and beyond electoral divides, some of the bills they've reportedly allowed to pass (restricting minority Russian rights, banning Communist Party activity etc) has only polarised the country further, and helped fuel discontent in the East - to the point where many (and I don't buy this is all orchestrated by Russia) are welcoming the invasion under the pretext of protection.

No surprise about the Russian propaganda - but I've been fairly disgusted by the Western 'coverage' (I'm thinking the BBC here, but can't imagine the North American networks are much better) too.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#9 Post by Hype » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:52 pm

You raise a number of worries that I agree with. However, I want to point out that "unelected regime" is too pejorative. The ouster of Yanukovych was done through legal parliamentary means, as was, as far as I know, the appointment of Yatseniuk as PM. The people running the country are still more or less the same people that were elected in the previous election, aside from those supporters of Yanukovych who have either left or were legally removed from office.

It simply isn't true that a government's removal of elected members from office implies anti-democratic behaviour. This was the sort of objection Rob Ford tried to level when legal means were used to try to remove him from being mayor of Toronto. He kept repeating "I was elected by the people. You're ruining democracy!" But of course, the value of democracy isn't in its allowing choice of leaders, but in its allowing the people to remove leaders from office, not always by election, but also through the courts, or through parliamentary procedure (something I imagine Americans may have a bit of difficulty grasping).

At any rate, it's not like the neo-Nazis are suddenly in power. I'm pretty sure Svoboda doesn't have much say, and that Russia is using their having sided with the protestors as a form of delegitimizing propaganda. So I'd just say be wary of both sides here.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#10 Post by clickie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:26 am

Lets hope this doesn't turn out to be more than a small footnote in history.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#11 Post by LJF » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:51 am


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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#12 Post by MorningGlory123 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:15 pm

lol why?
Adurentibus Spina wrote:You raise a number of worries that I agree with. However, I want to point out that "unelected regime" is too pejorative. The ouster of Yanukovych was done through legal parliamentary means, as was, as far as I know, the appointment of Yatseniuk as PM. The people running the country are still more or less the same people that were elected in the previous election, aside from those supporters of Yanukovych who have either left or were legally removed from office.

It simply isn't true that a government's removal of elected members from office implies anti-democratic behaviour. This was the sort of objection Rob Ford tried to level when legal means were used to try to remove him from being mayor of Toronto. He kept repeating "I was elected by the people. You're ruining democracy!" But of course, the value of democracy isn't in its allowing choice of leaders, but in its allowing the people to remove leaders from office, not always by election, but also through the courts, or through parliamentary procedure (something I imagine Americans may have a bit of difficulty grasping).

At any rate, it's not like the neo-Nazis are suddenly in power. I'm pretty sure Svoboda doesn't have much say, and that Russia is using their having sided with the protestors as a form of delegitimizing propaganda. So I'd just say be wary of both sides here.
I admit - I find appeals to legality a bit of a joke in situations like these - the people running the country are the direct opponents to Party of Regions and their Communist allies, with bills to ban the latter, the former effectively forced out of power (perhaps not undeservedly) and the government replacing it not in the least bit representative of electoral makeup of the country despite being termed a National Unity government. I think usually in these cases, an election should've been the priority, if simply to remove the stench of illegitimacy. The fact it wasn't speaks volumes, and personally, I've been suspicious of their motives since. Rob Ford could've simply went to the electorate if he was worried about democracy being overridden.

Svoboda has substantial representation in the new government, Dmitro Yarosh has a government post and their actions/the bills they've reportedly passed have reflected that. I struggle to believe the EU would happily endorse such a government in any other circumstances (I remember SMER's victory in 2004, and subsequent criticism and the cold shoulder it recieved then) and yet there's been next to no criticism: just a warm embrace as a geopolitical ally/unquestionable voice of the people(!).

The current EU approach/criticism of Russia in many ways is analogous to Labour's criticism of the current (horrendous) Tory government here - so hypocritical it demolishes their mostly legitimate arguments against Russia. It's immensely frustrating to watch - but I suppose that's par for the course in 21st century politics. :wavesad:

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#13 Post by Hype » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:56 am

So, I agree that the connection between Ukrainian nationalism and neo-Nazism/far-right politics more generally is troubling... but still I'm not sure just how closely connected they really are. It makes a lot of sense that former communists (i.e., Russians and political elites from the Soviet era) would demonize regional movements that want self-governance, and the best way to do this is to depict these movements as a threat to everyone else. Hell, that's the entire sub-plot of the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim video game... probably the most common trope in the history of the world. Imperialists are seen as oppressors of the indigenous population by the indigenous; the indigenous, when they respond to threats against their autonomy are seen as anarcho-terrorists by the imperialists and their supporters. The war of support is won by stoking fear. And I agree this is a huge problem since it's how pogroms and holocausts get started. However, it's not straightforward.

I tried to find corroborating evidence of the way the Greek source you provided depicts the bills that were recently passed, but I can't find any, which suggests that it's possible that that Greek source is misinformed, or propaganda, or something else... I'm not sure what to make of it. It's possible that there are bills banning or making Greek life more difficult, but that seems unlikely. The Ukrainian language laws that were put in place back in 2003/4 were, as I understand them, very similar to those put in place in Quebec -- ideally not preventing anyone from speaking any language, but intended to promote a genuine national identity through linguistic solidarity in the public sphere (i.e., make sure public schools are teaching in the same language and with the same curriculum). It's understandable why a young country would want to do this, especially given the 75 years of Russification that is now being used as a justification for annexing Crimea.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#14 Post by Hype » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:52 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/world ... raine.html
In Kiev, the rally on Sunday was also addressed by an emotional Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil oligarch who spent years in prison after he challenged Mr. Putin. Mr. Khodorkovsky was released in December.

“I want you to know that there is another Russia,” he said. “There are people who despite the arrests, despite the long years they have spent in prison, go to antiwar demonstrations in Moscow” and support “friendship between the Russian and Ukrainian people.” He said he saw no more “fascists or neo-Nazis” in Kiev than “on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

Mr. Khodorkovsky added, “I believe that Russia and Ukraine have a united, common European future.”

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#15 Post by creep » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:00 pm

thank you 60 minutes...i now know a little bit of what is going on here. it's a pretty crazy story. klitschko is now a politician....the house of the former president. the nutty russians...

this can't end well.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#16 Post by Hype » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:10 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... inions_pop
When the new Ukrainian prime minister visits the White House this week, President Obama should offer continued support — but also ask pointedly why several far-right ultra-nationalists have such prominent roles in Ukraine’s new government.

I don’t know of any reason to doubt Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsen­yuk’s commitment to democracy and pluralism. The same cannot be said for other members of the provisional regime that is trying to reverse Russia’s grab of the Crimean Peninsula.

Oleksandr Sych, one of three vice prime ministers, is a member of the controversial All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” party, whose leader charged that Ukraine was being controlled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” before last month’s revolution. Members of Svoboda also run the agriculture and environment ministries. Last year, the World Jewish Congress called on the European Union to consider banning what it considered neo-Nazi parties, including Svoboda.

The head of the National Security and Defense Council, in charge of the armed forces, is Andriy Parubiy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine, an openly neo-fascist precursor to Svoboda. Parubiy’s deputy is Dmitro Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary group that clashed violently with the security forces of deposed leader Viktor Yanu­kovych.

All of this is to say that the situation in Ukraine is not as simple as it might seem.

It’s not fair to say that the new government is dominated by the far right. But the front-and-center presence of these unsavory characters should be enough to warn policymakers in Washington that Ukraine’s new leaders will have to be pressed to respect the rights of all citizens, including supporters of the ousted regime.

I tend to agree with the assessment by former defense secretary Robert Gates, who told “Fox News Sunday,” “I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia’s hand.” Russian troops essentially control the peninsula and, from all reports, have substantial popular support. Unless a planned referendum on retrocession to Russia produces a surprise result — and Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t like surprises — it is hard to see how the Ukrainian government can wrest Crimea back.

The other Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine are a different story — potentially. Putin would face much more determined international opposition if he were to send troops to capture more of the country — unless the new government gives him an excuse.

The far-right parties have long championed Ukrainian-only laws that ban the use of the Russian language in official business. They have ideas about rewriting history books and celebrating Ukrainian — as opposed to Russian or Jewish — ethnic heritage. Svoboda’s platform, for example, calls for Ukrainian passports to specify the bearer’s ethnicity.

Sorting all of this out will require the government to reassure Russian speakers in the east that they do not need protection from Moscow, as Putin claims. But Russian media are playing up an incident Saturday in which armed, masked assailants broke up a pro-Russia rally in the eastern city of Kharkiv .

Was the incident perhaps a provocation, staged by Putin? Could be. But Ukraine’s Russian speakers would be less likely to give credence to the notion that they are under threat of persecution if the new government did not include far-right leaders whose rhetoric has been ethnocentric and, at times, violent.

What does this mean for the Obama administration? Proceed with caution.

The president should pay no attention to the loudmouths who claim he somehow “lost” Crimea, presumably just as George W. Bush “lost” parts of Georgia when Russia invaded that country. No amount of rhetorical bluster — or, for that matter, U.S. defense spending — would have dissuaded Russia from occupying a strategic plot of land where it has had a major military presence for more than two centuries.

Yanu­kovych was a thief and a lout; Ukraine is better off with him gone. But Obama should insist that the provisional government organize new elections that are free and fair and that prove to Russian speakers that they, too, have a voice in the new Ukraine. This means making clear that anti-Semitism and ethnic chauvinism are unacceptable.

Obama should anticipate that if far-right figures shape the policies of the new government, tensions between the eastern and western parts of the country will get worse, not better. Public opinion in cities such as Kharkiv and Donetsk, where people are nervous but don’t want to become Russians again, may begin to shift Putin’s way.

The upheaval in Ukraine, I’m afraid, is anything but simple — and anything but over.
This is a good opinion piece. We should be worried about neo-fascism and far-right movements gaining power. But this is a problem more generally. There are ostensibly far-right/anti-semitic/xenophobic politicians in power in most major democracies, but in the US, Canada, and Great Britain, the FPTP voting system, and long-term economic and defence stability have meant that there's little pluralism in party-politics in these countries. Greece, Italy, etc., and countries with proportional voting systems have far more trouble weeding out the extremists.

Unfortunately, in a place like Ukraine, anti-semitism/scapegoating and xenophobia are, because of historically contingent forces, built into the nation-building character of the ethnic majority. They fear the watering down of their identity, either intentionally (by Russia) or unintentionally (by immigration). This is a problem that even an established liberal country like France has struggled with. France can afford it, since they have already undergone a bloody revolution. Democracy won't disappear, and their culture probably won't either. But in Ukraine it's unclear what will happen to either of those things if people don't fight for them. Fascism is obviously not a solution, but it's unclear that simply forcing them to vote within a narrow ideological spectrum will work out, long-term. Economic prosperity and political stability independently of Russia should, ideally, quell extremist tendencies... but it's hard to know what to do in the meantime.

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#17 Post by chaos » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:08 pm

For those interested, here is the full text of the speech Putin gave on March 18th on Crimea:

http://praguepost.com/eu-news/37854-ful ... -on-crimea

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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#18 Post by chaos » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:20 pm

It's getting more intense.
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2 ... raine.html

Ukraine security forces take back one government building, but pro-Russia demonstrators hold regional headquarters
April 8, 2014 12:30AM ET
by Mike Eckel @Mike_Eckel

Image

DONETSK, Ukraine – Masked men armed with wooden and metal bats reinforced snaking barricades with sandbags, concertina wire and tires outside the regional administration building in Donetsk on Tuesday, while pro-Russian activists held a chaotic emergency meeting inside the ravaged building to declare a “people’s republic” for the eastern Ukrainian region bordering Russia.

Two days after activists seized the Donetsk government headquarters, thousands of people gathered outside the building listening to speakers who denounced the central government in Kyiv and whipped up the crowd with chants of “Russia! Russia!” and “Glory to the Donbass!” – referring to the cultural region of eastern Ukraine of which Donetsk is the center.

Overnight, Ukrainian security forces took back another Donetsk building belonging to the local branch of the federal security service, the SBU, while a man who is one of Ukraine’s richest, Rinat Akhmetov, tried to broker a compromise to end the standoff.

The standoff at the administration building has turned into a critical moment for the beleaguered government in Kyiv, which came to power in the aftermath of the violent “Maidan” protests that deposed former President Viktor Yanukovych later in February. The ouster of Yanukovych, a lukewarm Russian ally and former Donetsk governor, prompted the Kremlin to send armed troops into Crimea and ultimately annex the Black Sea peninsula, a move that humiliated the new Ukrainian government and led to the greatest East-West divide since the end of the Cold War.

With thousands of Russian troops deployed along the border with Ukraine, many fear the Kremlin is seeking to repeat the events of Crimea, whipping up pro-Russian sentiment in provinces like Donetsk and Kharkov, goading authorities into a violent response and then using that as a pretext to invade – ostensibly to protect ethnic Russians, who are in the majority in some parts of eastern Ukraine.

“We want to live separately, from the rest of Ukraine, like Scotland, but they’re not letting us,” said Valery Kerikov, a Donetsk miner dressed in camouflage who was overseeing a group of pro-Russian activists on the administration building balcony overlooking a crowd of at least 3,000. “Let us live apart from them. We’ll trade with them, we’ll get investment from them, we’ll work with them. But we’ll live on our own.”

“The government in Kyiv, they’ve told us for years: ‘You can’t have an opinion or express it. You just sit there quietly and do nothing and we’ll tell you what to do when,’” said Vadim Sinkov, another activist wearing a construction worker’s hat and carrying a rubber truncheon. “We have a different culture here, a different language. Why should we be hiding this fact? ... It’s a different mentality altogether here.”

Outside the administration building, cargo vans containing more sandbags, tires and construction materials to reinforce the growing barricades were unloaded, as helmeted men wearing balaclavas and bandanas stopped journalists and others trying to enter the building, demanding identification. The smell of gasoline and occasionally marijuana wafted over the debris. Cobblestones — to be used as projectiles in the event of an attack by security forces — were stacked haphazardly in piles. On the balcony overlooking the square in front of the building, Molotov cocktails were stacked inside empty rubber tires. One banner draped over the tires read “America, Europe: Hands off Ukraine!”

“We will be here until the end! We will be victorious in the Donbass,” one man yelled through a bullhorn to the applause of the crowd. “This isn’t just real estate here. This is our land! This is our Motherland!”

Inside, the building was largely ransacked, with broken glass littering the staircase and hallways, as activists set up first-aid stations and a makeshift cantina where women served cookies, bread, candy and canned meats to people roaming the halls. Fire hoses were pulled out on the balcony and lay throughout the hallways, to help defend the building. Many of the offices appeared pillaged, and graffiti scrawled on the wall read: “Question? What kind of idiotic Ukraine do we really need?”

With elevators out of service in the hulking 11-story building, people huffed up and down the stairwells, with random men in helmets or masks – some visibly drunk – accosting foreigners and journalists. On one stairwell landing, a woman wearing a nurse’s jacket used packing tape to tie reams of computer paper to a man’s forearms and shins, as a form of protection against attack, she said.

Moscow calling?

Amid the chaos and confusion, activists sought to formalize their demands for autonomy from the central government and create a provisional governing council that they hoped would give some legitimacy to their efforts and lay the groundwork for a referendum, independence and eventual unification with Russia.

On the 11th floor main conference room, dozens of people, primarily men, argued, shouted and tried to discuss measures ranging from seeking help for their cause from the United Nations to how the barricades outside the building would be reinforced. Men representing what appeared to be different trade unions and other organizations yelled and periodically banged on the long wooden table, arguing among other thing whether the wealthy Akhmetov could be trusted. At one point, one woman read a list of grievances from a Declaration-of-Independence-type resolution, declaring a “Donetsk Republic” only to be interrupted by people yelling “Donetsk People’s Republic.”

One man, who later identified himself as Denis Pushilin, implored those in the room to stay civil, warning that the chaotic proceedings were in fact a “provocation to demoralize us.”

“We need to work together on a legal basis, otherwise we won’t get support from the U.S. or the EU, never mind Russia,” he said. “We don’t have any way to turn back now. We have to stay here until victory.”

The group ultimately voted unanimously to create a governing council, along with subcommittees to prepare for a referendum on Donetsk’s status, which they tentatively scheduled for May.

The seizure of the buildings in Donetsk happened at roughly the same time that buildings in other eastern cities such as Kharkiv and Lugansk were occupied, suggesting they were part of a coordinated action. In videos circulated on YouTube and elsewhere, activists can be heard asking for Russia to send in troops to support their cause.

Despite the presence of many ethnic Russians in eastern and southeastern Ukraine, and historic backing for Russian-allied politicians like Yanukovych, it is unclear how deep the support for independence or unification with Russia actually is. Though the administration building was the epicenter of conflict and protest on Tuesday, much of the rest of the city of 1 million appeared to be going about its own business.

Akhmetov, a tycoon whose fortune Forbes magazine has estimated at more than $15 billion, met with some of the separatist leaders in Donetsk before dawn Tuesday, trying to persuade them to find compromise with the central authorities. But he insisted in an expletive-laden address shown on YouTube and elsewhere: “Donbass is Ukraine.”

Akhmetov is one of Ukraine's richest man, amassing his wealth in the wild years after the Soviet collapse, when insider businessmen were able to snap up lucrative state assets in Ukraine (and Russia) at rock-bottom prices. A native of Donetsk and former member of parliament, Akhmetov's industries employs thousands in eastern Ukraine (not to mention his ownership of the region's popular football club, Shakhtar Donetsk), which gives him more sway and pull in the region.

Russia has repeatedly warned about the dangers of civil war in eastern Ukraine, and asserted its right to intervene to protect ethnic Russians. Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed along parts of the border with Ukraine, in what many Western observers say is a threat aimed at pressuring the new government in Kiev. On Monday, interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Moscow of seeking to carve off parts of Ukraine:

“There is a script being written in the Russian Federation, for which there is only one purpose: the dismemberment and destruction of Ukraine and the transformation of Ukraine into the territory of slavery under the dictates of Russia,” he said.

The tensions in eastern Ukraine have mounted since well before Russia’s incursion into Crimea and the March 16 referendum that laid the groundwork for Moscow to annex the peninsula. Pro-Ukrainian activists allied with the “EuroMaidan” movement that orchestrated the Kyiv protests to oust Yanukovych said Russian security service agents had been openly working in Donetsk and other eastern regions for weeks, leading many activists to either leave the region or go into hiding.

During the chaotic governing council meeting in the administration building, one woman who gave her name as Lena interrupted an explanation of the resolutions being adopted, telling a reporter: “Oops. Hold on. That’s Moscow’s calling. Sorry.”

Pro-Ukrainian activists say those who own businesses and are known for their political sympathies are facing increased bureaucratic pressure, like fire code inspections, tax audits and other administrative pressure. Many are starting to drive with guns in their cars; others are switching apartments for sleep on a regular basis. Activists are refraining from meeting in person, instead holding online voice discussions using virtual private networks to try to evade Russian surveillance.

“Only idiots aren’t afraid these days,” said one activist who asked not to be named, fearing Russian security agents.

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Hype
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#19 Post by Hype » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:55 am

It's as if Putin doesn't know, or doesn't care, how identical this is to Hitler's pre-war moves, and apparently everyone else doesn't either. Ukraine as it currently looks is probably screwed, long-term. In some ways it might be better for the Western cities, even if they end up having to effectively "annex" themselves into Poland, Romania, etc. Because at least they'll be in the EU. But it really shows how deep ethnicity and national identity are in people's brains.

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krakle
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#20 Post by krakle » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:29 pm

Adurentibus Spina wrote:It's as if Putin doesn't know, or doesn't care, how identical this is to Hitler's pre-war moves, and apparently everyone else doesn't either.
I think it's part of the reason they're extremely careful not to undertake too many actions.

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Artemis
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#21 Post by Artemis » Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:37 pm

Hi, I don't understand what the current situation with Russia & Ukraine is about. Can anyone briefly explain to me what is going on or point me to a good source of information?
I'll read this thread over, maybe some insight here as well.

What does Putin want now? Is it about oil? Go back in time to KGB era?

With all the military amassed on land and sea, seems like an attack is imminent.

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Juana
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#22 Post by Juana » Thu Feb 17, 2022 6:25 pm

There's a lot of natural resources in Ukraine also I do not think Ukraine is in NATO yet (I could be wrong) and I do not think Russia wants them to join if that is a thing

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Mescal
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#23 Post by Mescal » Fri Feb 18, 2022 12:06 pm

Artemis wrote:
Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:37 pm
Hi, I don't understand what the current situation with Russia & Ukraine is about. Can anyone briefly explain to me what is going on or point me to a good source of information?
I'll read this thread over, maybe some insight here as well.

What does Putin want now? Is it about oil? Go back in time to KGB era?

With all the military amassed on land and sea, seems like an attack is imminent.
It's about gas

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Mescal
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#24 Post by Mescal » Fri Feb 18, 2022 12:07 pm

Juana wrote:
Thu Feb 17, 2022 6:25 pm
There's a lot of natural resources in Ukraine also I do not think Ukraine is in NATO yet (I could be wrong) and I do not think Russia wants them to join if that is a thing
Ukraine is not part of the NATO, and Poetin doesn't want them to be

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guysmiley
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Re: Russia vs The Ukraine

#25 Post by guysmiley » Mon Feb 21, 2022 7:22 am

I have a crazy friend who flew out there to get laid.... dude's dick is going to get him killed someday. :agree:

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