Friday, February 28, 2014

Statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the events in Ukraine

The agreement on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, which was signed on the 21 February and certified by the German, Polish and French Foreign Ministers, is still not being fulfilled. Militants have still not laid down arms, they have not freed administrative buildings, or announced their intention to “make order” in all the Ukrainian regions. There are threats of physical reprisals, as the President Viktor Yanukovych emphasised in his statement today.

The agreement to jointly investigate acts of violence and the obligation to create a national unity government, have been forgotten
. Instead, as Maidan puts it, a “government of champions”, which includes representatives of national extremists, is being created.

The agreements about constitutional reform, which should precede presidential elections according to the Agreement of the 21 February, have been forgotten. We are convinced that only a constitutional framework, ensuring the interests of all responsible political forces and all regions of Ukraine, corresponds to the interests of national peace and stability in the long term.

We appeal to those western partners, who initially supported the opposition and who supported the Agreement of the 21 February, to become fully aware of their responsibility for its implementation. The statements that this document has already played its role are not serious. All the taskslisted and agreed on the 21 February, have not lost their meaning, in fact they have become even more topical to prevent further polarisation of the community as a result of radical actions.

We must stop interference in church affairs, the besmearing of Orthodox temples, memorials in honour of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, who freed Ukraine from fascism, and other monuments.

We are seriously concerned about the cancellation of the Law on the Foundations of the State Language Policy in violation of Ukraine’s international obligations, which leads to further deprivation of the rights of minorities, restriction of the freedom of mass media, bans on the activities of individual political parties.

We currently note frequent appeals to Russia,by western countries, for cooperation about issues related to the situation in Ukraine. We proposed this long ago, long before this crisis ever entered its hot phase, however, at the time our colleagues were not disposed towards this.

Nevertheless, we are ready to interact, understanding clearly that it must be done honestly, based on the ability not only to agree, but also to fulfil the agreements, which should take into account the interests of all the Ukrainian people, as well as all partners of Ukraine. The implementation of obligations under the Agreement of the 21 February would become an important step along this path.
The attempts to replay agreed actions unilaterally every time, the lack of any wish to perceive the real situation as it is, never leads to anygood. When NATO starts reviewing the situation in Ukraine, it sends the wrong signal. It even seemed appropriate for the NATO Secretary General to mention that “Ukraine’s membership of NATO is not an urgent priority of the Ukrainian leadership”. Does this mean that membership should be a priority, but not an urgent one? They are attempting to decide for the Ukrainian people again.

We insistently recommend that everybody should refuse provocative statements and respect the out-of-bloc status of Ukraine, which is formalised in its Law on the Foundations of Domestic and Foreign Policy.

27 February 2014

What really happened overnight in Crimea?

This night sure was interesting.  It appears that a group of unidentified armed men took control of the Belbek and Simferopol airports and, according to some reports, of an air-traffic control facility, then left.  They kept a low profile, were extremely polite and said that they had come to prevent a "Ukrainian paratrooper force" from landing, but that this had been a false alarm.  They then apologized and left.  The pro-nationalist media first accused the Black Sea Fleet, which immediately issued a denial, then they blamed the Russian Spetsnaz GRU for the operation.  Interestingly, a group of Mi-24 attack helicopters was seen flying in the direction of the Belbek airport the same day, and filmed by a civilian driver on the highway.  Check it out:

Pro-nationalist sites have published the following photos which they claim show the armed men in question:

Also, a detachment of Ukrainian Border Guards in Balaklava have been surrounded by what the nationalists claim is Russian Naval Infantry unit which, according to the same sources, declared that they mission was to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of insurgents.

Finally, it was reported that a Turkish airliner which was scheduled to land in Crimea decided to turn around and fly back upon hearing the news of the seizure of the airports.

What does all that mean?

I will be honest with you and immediately admit that I don't know for sure.  My sense is that something triggered an alert on the Russian side, possibly the arrival of the Turkish aircraft.  After all, why did it turn back instead of either landing like other aircraft did, or land somewhere nearby?  Could it be that there was something aboard this plane which the Turks did not want the Russians to seize?

Concerning the helicopters seen: these are Mi-24 which the Black Sea Fleet does not use.  As far as I know, the only Mi-24 unit of the Russian Navy is the 125th Independent Helicopter Squadron of the Baltic Fleet and it is based in Chkalovsk, near Kaliningrad, very far from the Ukraine.

Again, I might be mistaken (maybe the footage is ancient, or filmed elsewhere), but I have the feeling that the nationalists are saying the truth when they claim that Russian combat helicopters have crossed the border and executed some mission in the Crimea.  I counted a dozen Mi-24 in this video, which is *a lot* of firepower.  Also, each Mi-24 can fit up to 8 soldiers, so in this case we could assume that each could carry at least 4 heavily armed soldiers and their gear, for a total of 48 combatants.  But since there is no shortage of local manpower, my guess is that these were flying as fire support for another unit, probably those who seized the airports.

But if Russia thought that some threat justified sending in 12 Mi-24s is broad daylight, could it also have sent in some Spetsnaz units?  I would say that yes, this is possible.  So, again, I think that the nationalist who claim that what they saw was a Spetsnaz GRU operation might well be right.  Lastly, and very subjectively, that very polite and low profile attitude towards bystanders is very typical of Russian Spetsnaz forces, I saw that with my own eyes in Moscow in 1993 when the arrogant and big-mouth forces which has crushed the Parliament were replaced by real Spetsnaz units: these guys were all very polite, very distant and, frankly, very scary in highly focused attitude.

So my sense is that there was some threat which was perceived serious enough by the Russian military to send in troops from across the border, probably not because of any shortage of manpower locally, but because specialized troops were better suited to the mission.  The Russian Spetsnaz secured the airports, the Naval Infantry unit blocked the Ukrainian Border Guard while the local volunteer militias were used to shut down the roads and assure general protection.  The threat than receded, and Russians left their positions and withdrew.

Or maybe there never was any threat and the purpose of all that was a show of force.  Could be.  The maneuvers ordered by Putin in western Russia will make it very hard for the US to keep track of who is doing what and under the cover of training missions a lot can be done.  So maybe this was just a way to send a message to Kiev, Brussels and Washington?

Whatever may be the case, and maybe I am totally wrong here, but my sense is that Russian forces did cross into Crimea last night.

The Saker

PS: in the meantime, the Russian Duma has been busy working on two proposed laws: on granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians on a expedited and accelerated basis and on, I kid you not, making it easier for a foreign state to join the Russian Federation.  The writing is on the wall.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Meet the "Ukrainian Interahamwe"

This is how our friend Olexander Muzychko (aka criminal leader Sasha Biliy) spoke to a state prosecutor today: (no translation needed, obviously):

And this is an example of "Sunday sermon" by a "Greek Catholic" "priest" sent to me by a friend (thanks "FMD"):

This sermon was supposedly delivered Rev. Mikhaylo Arsenych delivered in 2010. This is the translation provided with the video:

Today we are really ready for a revolution.Would the fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army tolerate Tabachnik and Yanukovych today?
The only effective methods of combat are assassination and terror!
The right way to communicate with the enemies is to fire at them!
Our message to them is the message of death by hanging. We'll send all communists to the gallows-tree in our forest!
The message is our cry for vengeance -- take your weapon and chase all fear!
It is not a good time to be afraid!
We have been waiting for 20 years!
The situation will get better only if each of us makes a contribution to the construction of our national state.
We must first knock down the old house, and then build the new one.
We must rebuild our political regime and create a new sovereign state.
Only then will we live in our own country - in a country that takes care of our needs.
We want to be masters in our own house and decide for ourselves.
We want to be sure that our children will go to Ukrainian school.
We want to be sure that no Chinese, Negro, Jew or Muscovite will try to come and grab our land tomorrow!
Our success depends on each of us. We shouldn't waver, we must keep covered todays political regime. The ground will be burning under their feet, like our torches are burning today!
Our hand must be firm! Glory to the Ukraine!
Kuntzevich and Bandera would be proud.

Personally, this reminded me of the kind of hateful propaganda the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines was spewing to its Interahamwe listeners in 1994 in Rwanda.  And we all know how that ended.

The Saker

The Kremlin's response to the events in the Ukraine gradually becomes more apparent

Русские долго запрягают, но быстро едут
("Russians take a lot of time to saddle up, but then they ride fast")
 Russian adage

Over the past few days the events in the Ukraine have seen a fantastic acceleration and many important events have simultaneously taken place.  I will try to look at them one by one.
  • In Kiev, the leaders of the insurgency have taken full control of the Parliament and immediately passed laws revoking the official status of the Russian language.
  • The political leaders of the insurgency have gone to the Maidan to obtain the approval of the proposed members of the new government.
  • Just as Ms Nuland had ordered, Iatseniuk has taken the post of Prime Minister
  • On the Maidan itself, deep differences are now opposing different parts of the crowd.
  • The neo-Nazi leader of the "Maidan security forces" and one of the founders of the Freedom Party, Andrei Parubii, becomes chief of the Security Council.
  • The leader of the neo-Nazi Right Sector. Dmitri Iarosh, has become Deputy chief of the Security Council.
  • The rest of the new government are mostly supporters of ex-President Yushchenko in other words: loyal US agents.
  • The new regime has disbanded the riot police thereby liquidating the last force capable of maintaining law and order in the regions controlled by the insurgents.  Now is mob rule, pure and simple.
  • The local currency is in free fall, Iatseniuk claims that $35'000'000'000 are immediately needed to avoid a default.  The full debt is $170'000'000'000.
  • In the regime controlled areas, "expropriations" (assault & robbery) are taking place everywhere and criminals rule the street.
  • Yanukovich has been exfiltrated from the Ukraine by Russian security forces (more about that later)
  • The Parliament of Tatarstan and the World Congress of Tatars has appealed to the Crimea Tatars to basically stop the crap (it was said in more police terms).  Kudos for the wisdom of these two organizations!
  • Unidentified armed men have taken over the building of the Crimean Parliament at 4AM only to make sure that this time the elected members of this parliament could enter the building and convene a meeting.  A Russian flag was raised over the Parliament building
  • Kharkov governor Mikhail Dobkin has resigned his post to run for President of the Ukraine on May 25th.
  • The Crimean Parliament has taken over all the functions of the central government and has announced a referendum on the future of Crimean to be held on May 25th.
  • The newly elected mayor of Sevastopol has met with the Commander in Chief of the Black Sea Fleet.  Both men has declared that no violence of any kind will be tolerated.
  • New popular defense militias have been formed in Crimea and their numbers are estimated at somewhere between 5'000-15'000 men organized in platoons.  They have taken control of all the key roads and are now filtering traffic for any "visitors" from the insurgency-controlled areas.
  • Senior members of the Russian Parliament have visited the Crimea to express their support for the local people and hold consultations with their Crimean colleagues.
  • In Russia the opinions are split as to what to do:  Vladimir Zhirinovksy and his LDPR Party say that Russia should stay out of it but not pay a single Ruble to the Ukrainians.  The Communists want Russia to bring the issue to the UNSC.  The "Just Russia" Party (most "moderate") are expressing full support for the people of the Crimea and say that Russia has to intervene and assist them.  All-in-all, the takeover by over neo-Nazis in Kiev seems to be triggering a mix of disgust and rage which will put a lot of pressure on the Kremlin to do something.
So what about the Kremlin?   Actually, I think that I am beginning to discern what I believe is a multi-tiered response strategy which the Kremlin will conduct simultaneously:

1) Legal level:

By getting out Yaunk and allowing to seek refuge in Russia the Kremlin has made sure that the last legitimately elected President of the Ukraine would be physically available to challenge any and all decisions of the new regime, the insurgent-controlled Parliament and the nationalist government.  Yanuk is clearly politically dead, but in legal terms he actually is an extremely powerful and important actor which should be kept alive.

2) Ukrainian level:

The (now ex-) governor of Kharkov, Mikhail Dobkin, took a "discrete" trip to Russia and came back with the decision to resign as governor and to run for President.  First, the idea to run in an election controlled by the insurgents might appear stupid, but think again.  First, in the totally unlikely event of a halfway decent election he would most likely get elected (most Ukrainians do not support the insurgents).  Second, is the election is carefully "managed" Dobkin will be able to challenge it.  Third, by the simple fact of running he can force the insurgent-controlled media (especially the TV) to give him air time to debunk the nationalist propaganda.  So all in all, this is a very slick move.

3) In Crimea - political level:

For the Crimea I would say that it is a done deal: it will become an independent state in May.  That state will then have options open to itself.  If, by some totally unexpected and basically impossible miracle, Dobkin becomes elected, the Crimea can agree to a status quo ante but with the clear understanding that this will be a federative arrangement the Crimea can leave at any time.  If some crazy nationalist is "elected" then the Crimea will break all ties with the Ukraine and join the Economic Union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia as an independent state.

4) In Crimea - security level:

Russia will use force to defend the Crimea if needed. The preferred solution is to assist the local authorities to defend themselves by providing funds, weapons (if needed), expertise (if needed), intelligence (if needed), etc.  But in most cases, that will not be needed simply because the locally based Black Sea Fleet can provide it all.  At most, the Ukies can send the kind of mobs they used in Kiev.  In contrast, the Black Sea Fleet can engage the 810th Independent Naval Infantry Brigade the 382nd Independent Naval Infantry Battalion and even the 102nd Independent Detachment of Navy Spetsnaz (see their emblem on picture), that is something like 1300-1400 elite soldiers all commanded by battle-hardened and experienced officers, backed by artillery, airpower, armor, etc.  In fact, I expect that local authorities, police forces (including the local Berkut and the popular self-defense militias will be able to handle any "visitors" from the insurgency by themselves, without any help from the Black Sea Fleet.  Bottom line: the insurgents will never control Crimea.

5) Eastern Ukraine:

That's were things become far more murky.  My sense is that the Kremlin is adopting a "wait and see" attitude towards the eastern Ukraine waiting to see what happens on a local level.  The core principle behind the Kremlin's policy is "we only help those who help themselves and deserve our help".  Crimea is a perfect example of this approach.  The fact is that the nationalists do have a strong presence in Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk or Poltava so the outcome there is far more delicate to predict.

6) Rest of the Ukraine:

Here I think that the correct policy is self-evident: first, let the crazies fight each other to their heart's content. Let them run the already ruined economy into the ground, let them see how long their can survive by singing the national anthem an screaming "Бий жидів та москалів - Україна для українців" (beat the Jews and the Russians - the Ukraine for the Ukrainians).  Let the EU and the US come up with $35'000'000'000 to pay for this color-coded revolution and avoid a default, and then let them manage this new "popular and pro-western" regime.  And once they all run out of money, wait for them to call the Kremlin and ask for help.  And then, basically buy them off, one by one, factory by factory, politician by politician, oligarch by oligarch, region by region.  Russia owes these Russia-hating Nazis *nothing* and it will give them nothing for free.  The Ukies will try to retaliate by messing around with the Russian pipelines going through the Ukraine, but that is not a viable strategy: it hurts Europe first and foremost, and Russia has built two pipelines bypassing the Ukraine anyway.  Eventually, the Ukraine will break up with the west going to the EU and NATO and the Crimea to Russia.

As for China, it is already suing the new regime for breach of commercial contracts (I think, just heard/saw that somewhere on the news).  China will follow the Russian lead on this one.

7) The upcoming violence in the eastern Ukraine:

Barring a miracle, there will be a lot of violence in the eastern provinces of the Ukraine.  At this point in time I do not see a Russian military intervention to protect the Russian-speaking population which will have to defend itself.  Russia will provide a) political support b) financial support and, possibly, a limited amount of c) covert support.

That's about it, at least for the time being.  I might have to correct/refine this analysis.

As for the US/NATO, I don't believe that they will intervene militarily.  There will be A LOT of Russia-bashing, a lot of pro-Ukie propaganda, millions of US dollars will continue to flow into the pockets of the insurgency leaders, but eventually the US and its EU puppets will have to come to term with the fact that they failed to boot out the Black Sea Fleet from the Crimea and that the Crimea is going to Russia instead as a direct blowback to the color revolution the US and EU unleashed in Kiev.

What the US/EU will not do is to recognize any type of pro-Russian authority anywhere in the Ukraine.  So the country might be split like Georgia or the two Koreas are today.  That's ok, Russia and Crimea couldn't care less - let them have their own version of Kosovo for a change :-)

What do you think?  Does the above make sense?

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Follow up to my post about the roots and nature of Ukrainian nationalism

Dear friends,

As, I promised, I am now going to reply to some of your comments concerning my recent post about the roots and nature of Ukrainian nationalism.  First, I thought of replying to your comments one by one, and then I changed my mind.  I think that there are some general and recurrent topics which I need to address because they are mentioned several times.  That would save space and time and probably make the answers more coherent.  Here are the topics which I have identified:
1) The Holodomor
2) Jews/Khazars and their role in the Ukraine
3) The proper way to refer to the Roman-Catholic Church, Papacy, Latins
4) My "general lumping and implication of all Catholics in whatever happened in Russia"

There are probably more and I am more than willing to address them, but these four are the "biggies" which I would like to address today.  Ok?  Here we go then.  First, I will address the first two topics together.

The Holodomor, Ukrainians, Russians and Jews

I am aware that this is a controversial topics and I welcome the controversy about it.  I welcome this controversy just as I welcome any historical revisionism because the very point of the study of history is to examine the clash of ideas, theories, different historiographies and interpretations.  I my opinion, no topic should ever be off-limits or "dogmatized".  Everything should be questioned, analyzed over and over again, if only because we know that history is written almost exclusively by victors and because we also know that it is mostly written by some very specific social classes (Michael Parenti writes about that).  Besides, even authors whose views can appear "heretical" can offer fantastic insights and analyses, such as the Russian Stalinist Nikolai Starikov whose Stalinism I totally reject, but whose books I find absolutely fascinating (well, except for the one on Stalin, of course).  Anyway, I wanted you to know my philosophy of history before giving you my understanding of the Holodomor.

On that topics, opinions vary from "it was a genocide of Ukrainians by Russians", to "it was a genocide of Ukrainians by Jews", to "it was a famine resulting from western sanctions against the USSR" (Starikov), to "it was an attempt by the Bolshevik regime to eradicate Orthodoxy and national awareness" to "it's all a myth and it never happened".

Let me admit immediately that I am not at all sure that I know the truth about this.  I have read a lot about it and I think that I have a decent understanding of the basic facts which very much narrow down the possible interpretations.  Still, caveat emptor, I am not an expert on this topic.  Having said that, I will offer this:

First, I am 99.9999% sure that it did happen.  I know personally met people - totally non-political, simple people - who lived through that.  There is no doubt in my mind at all that a massive famine happened in the Ukraine before the war.

Second, I am also certain that it was in no way a "Russian genocide of the Ukrainian" people for the following reasons:

1) The famine was not limited to the Ukraine, it also affected Russia
2) Bolsheviks never had any Russian national identity
3) Bolsheviks were almost all rather rabid Russophobes
4) Most key Bolsheviks were not even Russian by ethnicity
5) A type of Holodomor was first tried in Russia in 1918-1921: war communism

So it did happen, but who done it then and why?

I think that this was a combination of factors:

a) western sanctions (boycott on gold) did force the export of grains and foodstuffs
b) Stalin did want to "industrialize the agriculture"
c) The Bolshevik regime deeply distrusted all peasants (Ukrainian or Russian) for their religiosity, patriotism and what the Bolsheviks would call "reactionary class consciousness".

So the regime did order the de-Kulakization and collectivization of the Soviet rural regions.  Now, look at who was tasked with implementing this policies: mostly Soviet Commissars.  Those were mostly Jews (more about that later) and they spoke Russian amongst themselves.

Now consider the history of Ukrainian Jewish relations:

Most Jews appeared in the Ukraine during the Polish occupation when they were mostly used by the Polish invaders as overseers of the local peasantry on behalf of the Polish nobility.  One of their function was to "oversee" the Orthodox churches.  Needless to say, that resulted in a deep sense of hatred towards them from the local peasants.  Later, after the Ukraine was freed from the Polish rule, many Jews (and even Poles) stayed.  Their comparatively privileged social status and wealth earned them even more hate from the locals.  Finally, keep in mind that all of Judaism at this time was rabidly anti-Christian and that the hate which Ukrainians felt towards Jews was nothing compared to the hatred all Jews felt for all Christians, including the local.

Eventually, the pendulum of history swung the other way and Jews began to suffer from more and more mistreatment at the hands of the locals which eventually resulted in mass emigration of Jews to the West.  While Alexander Solzhenitsyn did conclusively prove in his book "200 years together" (still not translated into English due to Jewish opposition to this publication) that the Russian state did try hard to stop the so-called "pogroms" (mainly because this resulted in a terrible anti-Russian campaign in the western press), these pogroms did happen.  They were organized by locals and some did claim many innocent lives.  What is little known is that some of the worst pogroms did not happen under the "bloodthirsty and anti-Semitic Czarist regime" but during the civil war and after and that a lot of them were the fact not of White forces, but of the nationalists, anarchists, various Marxists, etc. who saw Jews class enemies, petit bourgeois and foreign agents.  Now, when the Bolshevik faction eventually seized control over the Ukraine the pendulum swung the other way again.

Most Bolsheviks were Jews (which, btw, does not mean that most Jews were Bolsheviks!), especially the local commissars.  They absolutely *hated* the Ukrainian peasantry and when the de-Kulakization and collectivization began, the found a perfect opportunity to take revenge on their former oppressors.  Hence the mind-boggling cruelty with which the Bolshevik commissars implemented the Kremlin's orders.  Mind you, the pendulum swung back again during Hitler's invasion of the Ukraine: not only did the Nazis shoot most Jews and all commissars on sight, the local Ukrainians - whether nationalist or not - gladly used this opportunity to massacre, torture, and kill as many Jews as they could.

After the war, the pendulum of history swung - albeit with much less momentum - the other way again and Ukrainian "collaborators" were hunted down and shot, but when the Ukraine became independent in 1991, the pendulum swung back again - again with even less momentum - and now we see the role of a small but very vocal Jew-hating and neo-Nazi segment in the current events.

The only (relatively) good news is that this pendulum of hate has less and less momentum for a number of reasons: many Jews have emigrated, the Soviet education system was firmly anti-racist, modern neo-Nazis are becoming more pro-Jewish and pro-Israeli (see Brevik) and Jews now have the means (finance, media, etc.) to counteract anti-Jewish propaganda.  But that hate is still there and it cannot be ignored.

Now on a superficial level, here is what the poorly educated Ukrainians understood: the order to de-Kulakize came from Moscow, the executioners spoke Russian and hated the locals, millions died.  It was easy for the nationalists to spin this as "a genocide of Russians against the Ukrainians", especially since Jews had such a huge stake in concealing their role in these events.  In politics its nevermind the truth as long as its serves a political purpose, and all the russophobes (neo-Nazis, Ukie nationalists, Jews, Anglos, etc.) turned that famine into a "Holodomor" with a capital "H" - almost as politically useful as the other "H" genocide:the one of Jews by the Nazis.

So that's my take on this one.  Next, come the issues of, well, what shall I call it?

What shall I call it?

When I began this blog I used to refer to the so-called "Roman Catholics" as Papists.  The reason for that was extremely simple and straightforward: the so-called "Roman Catholics" are neither Roman nor Catholic.  I have covered the first part (not Romans) many times here, so  will just post two links to a through explanation of this topic:

The reason why the so-called "Catholics" are not Catholic is that the word Catholic has a precise meaning in Greek: it means both "universal" and "conciliar".  The "Roman Catholic Church" wants to present itself as "universal" for purely propagandistic grounds.  When it calls itself "the Church this" or "the Church that" it lays the claim to be The One Original Christian Church. That is, of course, false for 2 reasons:

a) The so-called "Catholic Church" did break-off from the One United Christian Church (formally in 1054) and formed its own ecclesiastical entity
b) The so-called "Catholic Church" introduced a host of dogmas which are in contradiction with the faith "which the Lord gave, which was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers" (Saint Athanasios) and "which has been believed everywhere, always and by all" (Saint Vincent).  For example, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Papal Infallibility were only adopted in the 19th century!).

From the point of view of the Church, the Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholics have been in heresy for almost one thousand years already precisely because they have departed from the Tradition of the ancient Church and the Church Fathers and they began to introduce innovations which were in direct contradiction with the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.  

Also, conciliar means that the highest authority in the Church is vested upon the Church councils, especially the Ecumenical Councils.  The Papists have de-facto and de-jure transferred the authority which the Church only granted to the councils to one man: the Pope.  So its either "Papist" or "Catholic" - not both.

So, as an Orthodox Christian, I cannot honestly call the so-called "Roman Catholics" Roman Catholics.  I could call them "the Frankish heretics" but that nobody would understand.  So I used the word "Papists".  Why?

Because the root cause of all Papist heresies is in their re-definition of what the notion of Pope and their maniacal insistence that all of Christianity submit to him.  Mind you, this is hardly a 19th century invention.  Check out the kind of crazy notions of the Papacy the Franks introduced in the so-called "Dictatus Papae".  And keep in mind that this is a 11th century document adopted only 20 years after the Franks left the Christian Church.  And ever since, the Papists have been willing to compromise on anything and everything except this one "idée fixe": everybody has to submit to the Pope.  So, I figured, why not call them by their own main value: the Papacy.  Nope!  I got many emails telling me that I was offending and alienating the Papists by calling them Papists.  So I tried to find a better word.

First, I asked the folks who were offended by the expression "Papist" what they would suggest.  Not a single one offered anything. I even considered "Western Christians" but I discarded that option because that would lump all the Protestant and Reformed Churches with the Papacy.  Then I thought "Latins". After all, that is an expression used in history, so why not?  I even contacted my thesis advisor (I am working on a "Master's Degree in Patristic Studies" - its not called that but its close enough) who replied that both Latin and Papist were reasonable.  But I *still* got objections that this was "offensive".  So what was I to do?

The Arabs had it simple: they called the Papist "Franks" and the Orthodox "Romans".  They still do.  Sounds great to me, but who will understand anything if I begin by writing about the Frankish role in the education of Bandera?!  Exactly - nobody.

So I am stuck between using a term which is historically false, logically false and basically misleading and using accurate terms which offend precisely due to their accuracy.

So you tell me - do you have a better suggestion?

OK, let's try that.  For the rest of today's post, and only for today post, I shall use the Arab terminology and speak of "Franks" when referring to the so-called Roman-Catholics.

BTW, if you think - like some do, they told me so - that I have an anti-Frankish obsession I will reply the following: did you ever noticed that I never speak of modern "Judaism" without calling it "rabbinical Judaism"?  Why?  Same thing!

Modern Judaism is not at all the religion of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - it is the religion of Maimonides, Karo and Luria and its key characteristic is the role of rabbis.  In fact, the correct name for modern Judaism should be "Phariseism" (as all modern versions of rabbinical Judaism are the direct descendants of the Sect of the Pharisees described in the Gospels).

Me, personally, I would be quite happy to speak of Romans, Franks and Pharisees.  But nobody would understand what I mean.  Nobody.  So I use "Orthodox Christians, Papists and Rabbinical Judaics" instead.  There I get people deeply offended.

So, again, what shall I do?

May I maybe suggest that what causes the offense is not the words I use but the factual historical reality they accurately convey?


Blaming all the Franks for the actions of some

I think that in my post about the roots of Ukrainian nationalism I have been clear when I wrote:
Though hatred of the Orthodox Christians and Russian still exists in some Latin circles, it has mostly been replaced by a desire to "incorporate" or swallow the Orthodox Church into the Papacy by means of the so-called "Ecumenical dialog". As for the rank and file Roman Catholic faithful - they simply have no idea at all about this history which, of course, is never taught to them.
And yet,  I still get accused of lumping good and decent Franks with the genocidal maniacs I describe in my historical description.

But is that really a fair accusation?

After all, one is not born a Frank (Ouch! there we go.  This sentence makes no sense at face value since being a Frank refers to an ethnicity, so one is indeed born a Frank.  So? Shall I write "one is not born a Latin" or "one is not born a Papist"?).  Being a Frank is a choice, a choice which implies some kind of acceptance, if not endorsement, for history.  The Franks tried to have it both ways, on one hand they did apologize for the sack on Constantinople, on the other hand they have not only made saints out of some of the worst enemies of the Orthodox Church, they have even pursued the very same policies!  Just look at the role of the Franks in the movements of Ante Pavelic or Stepan Bandera or in the Ukraine right now!  They are still at it, though the rhetoric has changed.  From being the "Photian schismatics", they now call us their "Orthodox brothers".  Thanks for that, of course, but when will you pretty please stop trying to convert us or side with all our enemies?!  And when will you stop making web pages like this one about some of the genocidal manics who have persecuted us?

Still, I know that most Franks are totally ignorant of the history of their own Church and that they are quite shocked when they hear about it.  But even these Franks cannot help but wonder "if we forgot about all that, why does this guy constantly bring it up?!  This is long gone, past history, what is he trying to prove?  What is his problem?!". To this, I would reply the following:

My dear Franks, what for you is past history is integral to our ethos and consciousness.  We are not Orthodox because we like golden cupolas, beautiful icons and Byzantine church singing - we are Orthodox because we try to remember it all, not only dogmas and traditions, but also our history.  This is why we read the Lives of the Saints on a daily basis - to remember our martyrs and be inspired to follow their example.  Just like the Shia have the Ashura at the core of their spiritual life, we have to Golgotha and every single martyr which died for Christ and His Church at the core of our spiritual life.  Our Menaion is full of the names and lives of our brothers which you have massacred ad majorem Dei gloriam, for us these events are not "long gone history" - they are both today and timeless and when you tell us to please stop bringing it all up, we feel that you are trying, yet again, to change who we are and silence the voices and witness of those who have massacred.  The ancient Church has always had her martyrs at the core of Her liturgical life: a martyr's relic is embedded in every single one of our church altars, every one of our antimensons also contains a small relic.  This also used to be the practice in the West - just read the western Church Fathers - which for a full millennium also used to be part of the Universal Church (formally: 33AD-1054AD).  Nowadays, of course, there is many more of you then there is of us, but tiny as we are, we still will continue to preserve the full memory of the Church as best we can and we will witness of the past even if you don't like it.  As the Chinese say: "me so sorry!".  Not.

In conclusion I will repeat what I wrote above: could it be that what causes the offense is not the events I describe but the factual historical reality they accurately convey?

Still - my offer stands: suggest to me a word to describe the Franks which would not automatically reinforce the Frankish propaganda and I will gladly use it.

Ok, that's it for today.  I have done my best to fully address some of the points which were raised in the comments section.  I apologize if I have missed some.  Please feel free to re-post them again here and I will make sure to address them.

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker 

PS: yes, I know and I agree that Ashkenazim Jews are predominantly Khazars.  But then, I cannot check for each "Jew" I mention whether he/she is Ashkenazim or Sfardim.  Besides, can you imagine if from now on I add "Khazar" and "Sfardi" to "Frank", "Roman" and "Pharisee"?!  LOL :-)  Right now I honestly have no energy for that...

Putin puts troops in western Russia on alert in drill

Reuters reports:

President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, flexing Moscow's military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.

Putin has ordered several such surprise drills in different Russian regions since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes, but the crisis in neighboring Ukraine gave them added geopolitical resonance.

"In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (0500 ET) today," the Interfax news agency quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

The western district encompasses most of western Russia and borders Ukraine, which lies between NATO nations and Russia.

Forces must "be ready to bomb unfamiliar testing grounds" as part of the drill, Shoigu told a Defence Ministry meeting.

Putin has made no public comment on Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovich was driven from power over the weekend after months of political turmoil sparked by his decision to spurn deals with the European Union and improve ties with Russia.

The United States and European nations have warned Russia against military intervention in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic that Putin has called a "brother nation" and wants to be part of a Eurasian Union he is building in the region.

Russian officials have said Moscow will not interfere in Ukraine, while accusing the West of doing so, and Interfax cited the speaker of the upper parliament house, Valentina Matviyenko, as saying on Wednesday it would not use force.

But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia's interests and its citizens in Ukraine were under threat, language reminiscent of statements justifying Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008, when he was president.

Shoigu said the drill would be conducted in two stages, ending on March 3, and also involved the command centers of Russia's Air and Space Defence forces, paratroops and long-range aviation as well as some troops in central Russia.

In the two-day first stage, military units would be brought to "the highest degree of combat readiness" and would be deployed to testing areas on land and sea, Interfax quoted Shoigu as saying.

The second stage would include tactical exercises and involve warships from the Northern and Baltic Fleets, he said, and some warplanes would move to combat airfields.

No mention was made of the Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Sevastopol in Crimea, where tension over Ukraine's turmoil is high because of its presence and a large Russian-speaking population.

Shoigu said the drill would also test the counterterrorism measures in place at military units. Russian officials have referred to some of the Ukrainian opposition forces whose protests pushed Yanukovich from power as "terrorists".

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Now that is weird coincidence!

Check out what I just found in my mailbox:

Uh?  Am I suffering from Déjà vu?!

I though that this was Madeleine Albright's story...  Quick check - yes it was!  Second check - wow, its true for Kerry tooAgain?!  WTF?!

Don't these top officials undergo a very extensive FBI clearance process before being nomination for that kind of top positions?  How could they not know something as basic has their family origins?

Or did they know?  If they did - why did they hide it?

Or are they making up a Jewish heritage to brown-nose the Israel Lobby just a little deeper?

You tell me:

Madeleine Albright:
It was only recently that Albright, who turns 75 next month, said she had the time and courage to explore her own complicated past. An Episcopalian who was raised Catholic, she discovered at age 59 -- via reporting by a Washington Post journalist and during the vetting process to serve in President Bill Clinton's administration -- that she was born to Jewish parents. She also found out that more than a dozen of her family members died in the Holocaust, including three grandparents in concentration camps. Her father, a former Czech diplomat, and her mother never told her the family secret.
 John Kerry:
Kerry first found out about his Jewish ancestry in 2004, when he was running for president against George W. Bush. Both his father’s parents were born Jews and converted to Christianity because of anti-Semitism, and they changed their name from Cohen to Kerry when they immigrated to the United States.
 Oy vey!  Looks like these guys are true martyrs!!

Too much, LOL!  I wonder how many Americans believe this bullshit :-)


The Saker

Meet the (real) new authorities in the Ukraine, example #2

In this video, we see the real authorities of the Ukraine - the Eurofascists - forcing the official authorities (cops) to show their ID cards or be shot.  Once the cops comply, they are ordered to leave their station and return to their barracks.  See for yourself:

Meet the (real) new authorities in the Ukraine, example #1 (UPDATED!)

Forget Klitchko, Iatseniuk, Tiagnibok or Tymoshenko. Though they all have some degree of popular support, what they don't have is power. The real authorities in the Ukraine is the so-called "Right Sector", their leader, Dmytro Yarosh, and his brownshirts. This video shows the reaction of one of these gentlemen, a certain Alexander Muzychka aka "Sashko Bilyi", a veteran of the war against Russia in Chechnia, addressing a meeting the administration of the Roven region in the northeast of the Ukraine.  Mr Muzychka, upon being informed that the new (official) authorities in Kiev have decided to collect unregistered weapons, addressed the meeting with the following words:

Who of you wants to take my assault-rifle away?
Who of you wants to take my pistol?
Who wants to take away my pistol, my assault-rifle or my knives?
If somebody wants to take them, let him come near and try!

Needless to say, none of the politicians in the room said a single word.

This is the new regime in the Ukraine.  And this is not going to change any time soon.  The Ukrainian military is a joke and exists only on paper.  The Ukrainian police has almost totally vanished and the only force which now has a monopoly on violence are the neo-Nazis.

The US and EU can really be proud of themselves.  This is indeed a stunning success for "democracy".

The Saker

UPDATE: Here is an interesting bio of that "gentleman": (thanks to "ELS"!!!)

One of the notorious guerilla fighters of the Ukrainian origin in Chechnya, Olexander Muzychko (aka criminal leader Sasha Biliy) today is heading a brigade of “Pravyi Sector”, the radical militant driving force of the ongoing coup d’Etat in Kiev. According to his “official” biography (link in Russian), in 1994 he was awarded by the then top commander of terrorist Ichkeria enclave Dzhohar Dudayev with the order “Hero of Nation” for “outstanding military successes against Russian troops”. His “military skills” were quite specific: he used to lure the Russian units operating in remote Chechen locations to guerilla ambushes. Then he personally participated in tortures and beheadings of the captured Russian soldiers.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Ukrainian nationalism - its roots and nature

First, a short introductory sitrep:

The least one could say is that over the past 2 days the events in the Ukraine moved fast, very, very fast. While I had intended to take 2 days off, I still kept an eye on the most recent development and jotted them down on my computer's note pad. Here is what I wrote down (sorry for the shorthand):
  • Lukin did not sign
  • S&P downgrades Ukraine from CCC+ to CCC
  • Pogroms in Kiev
  • Attacks on Russian nationals
  • Burned buses (incl. Belarussian)
  • Yanuk did not attend Kharkov congress
  • Yanuk only cares about his security
  • Yanuk's mansion was looted
  • Kharkov congress 3000 delegates
  • Phone threats to all political opponents
  • Black Sea Fleet on high alert
  • In the East local authorities take full control
  • Two Yanuk minister arrested while trying to flee
  • RADA discusses limiting Russian TV channels
  • Region turncoats bought over and threatened
  • Not referendum but force of arms will decide
  • Hunger is a real risk
  • 7'000'000 Russians in the Ukraine officially
  • 50% of Ukrainians speak Russian
  • 15'000 volunteers mobilized in Crimea
  • Also on Sunday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Russia it would be a "grave mistake" to intervene militarily
  • Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov 2005 - Head of Ukraine Security Service (SBU)
  • New regime says Ukraine needs 35 billion dollars
  • Hunger now a real risk
  • Russia recalls ambassador
  • Russian language basically banned
  • Appointed Mayor of Sevastopol replaced by Alexei Chalyi, a Russian citizen, directly elected by the local people.
  • EU policians claim they can offer 20 billion dollar to the Ukraine. How they will explain that to Greece is unclear.
Wow!  Clearly, things have gone far beyond the terms of the capitulation of Yanukovich to the insurgency so "brilliantly" mediated by the EU bureaucrats.  Truly, a qualitative change in the terms of the conflict has happened and the country is now in a de-facto situation of civil war.  But first, in order to make sense of what is taking place, we need to take a look far back into the distant past, as far back as the 13th century.

Ukrainian nationalism - its roots and nature

PART ONE: a preliminary excursion in ancient history

Innocent III
1204 - The Eastern Crusade of Pope Innocent III:

Most people mistakenly believe that the Crusades only happened in the Middle-East and that they were only directed at Islam.  This is false.  In fact, while the official excuse for western imperialism at that time was to free the city of Jerusalem from the "Muslim infidels" the crusades also were aimed at either exterminating or converting the "Greek schismatics" i.e. the Orthodox Christians.  The most notorious episode of this anti-Orthodox crusade is the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, during the 4th Crusade, in which the city was subjected to three days of absolutely grotesque pillaging, looting and massacres by the western "Christians" who even looted and burned down Orthodox churches, monasteries and convents, raped nuns on church altars and even placed a prostitute on the Patriarchal throne.  This outpouring of genocidal hatred was hardly a fluke, but it was one of the earliest manifestation of something which would become a central feature of the mindset and ideology of the Latin Church.

There is, however, another no less important episode in the history of the Latin hatred for the Orthodox Church which is far less known.

Gregory IX
1242 - The Northern Crusades of Pope Gregory IX:

Unlike his predecessor who directed his soldiers towards the Holy Land, Pope Gregory IX had a very different idea: he wanted to convert the "pagans" of the North and East of Europe to the "true faith".  In his mind, Orthodox Russia was part of these "pagan lands" and Orthodox Christians were pagans too.  His order to the Teutonic Knights (the spiritual successors of the Franks who had pillaged and destroyed Rome) was to either convert or kill all the pagans they would meet (this genocidal order was very similar to the one given by Ante Pavelic to his own forces against the Serbs during WWII: convert, kill or expel).  In most history books Pope Gregory IX has earned himself a name by instituting the Papal Inquisition (which has never been abolished, by the way), so it is of no surprise that this gentleman was in no mood to show any mercy to the "Greek schismatics".  This time, however, the Pope's hordes were met by a formidable defender: Prince Alexander Nevsky.

Saint Alexander Nevsky's "civilizational choice"

Saint Alexander Nevsky
Even before dealing with the Pope's Crusaders Alexander Nevsky had already had to repel an earlier invasion of Russia by the West - the attempt to invade norther Russia by the Swedish Kingdom - which he defeated 1240 at the famous battle of the Neva.  No less important, however, is the fact that Alexander Nevsky was unable to defeat Mongol invasion from the East and so he was placed between what can only be called a civilizational choice: he understood that Russia could not fight the Papacy and the Mongols at the same time, so the choice was simple: to submit to one and to resist the other. But which one should he chose to submit Russia to?

Prince Alexander (who would later be glorified as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church) was truly a deeply pious man who had a deep understanding of the Holy Scripture and who remembered the words of Christ when asked whether Jews should pay taxes to the Romans: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matt 22:21) and "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt 10:28).  Alexander, who was very well informed of the policies of his enemies knew that the sole goal of the Mongols was to extract taxes from the Russians, but that they had no desire to convert anybody or to persecute the Church.  Quite to the contrary, the putatively "savage" Mongols respected the Church and its clergy and they never persecuted it.  In contrast, the Crusaders were given the specific order to convert or murder all the Orthodox Christians they would encounter as the Latins had done many times before, and as they would do many times later.  Thus Prince Alexander Nevsky chose to submit to the Mongol Khan and to fight the Crusaders whom he defeated at the famous Battle of the Ice in 1242.

Western Russia occupied, fall of the 2nd Rome, rise of Moscow

Occupied Ukraine in the 14th c.
Having been defeated by Russia twice, western leaders temporarily renounced their invasion plans, but the Russian victory clearly did not endear the Russian people or culture to the western elites.  Predictably the next wave of invasions from the West began in the early 14th century and lasted until 1385 when the Union of Krewo sealed the union of Poland and Lithuania.  At that moment in time all of what would be called later "the Ukraine" was fully conquered by the Latins.

In 1453, the Fall of Rome in the East, in Constantinople, marked the end of the "2nd Rome" and the end of the Roman civilization which had survived the Fall of Rome in by a full one thousand years (the western Roman Empire fell in 476 AD; the eastern Roman Empire fell in 1453).

The Latins did attempt to submit the Orthodox world by a careful mix of threats and promises to assist Constantinople against the Ottomans at the so-called False Union of Florance, but they had failed, and Constantinople eventually fell to armies of Mehmet the Conqueror.  Thus, Moscow became the "Third Rome", the last free Orthodox Christian Kingdom, the civilizational heir to the Roman civilization.  Moscow would now become the focal point of the Papist hatred for Orthodox Christianity.  The next western strike would come in 1595 and it would be a truly devastating one.

Clement VIII
1595 - Pope Clement VIII conceives the Ukraine

By the end of the 16th century, most of western Russia had been occupied by the Latins for two hundred years (14th-16th), as long as the Mongol Yoke on eastern Russia (13th-15th century).  Predictably the situation of the Orthodox Christian peasants under the Latin occupation was nothing short of terrible.  For all practical purposes, it was enslaved, as Israel Shahak explains in his seminal book Jewish History, Jewish Religion:

Due to many causes, medieval Poland lagged in its development behind countries like England and France; a strong feudal-type monarchy - yet without any parliamentary institutions - was formed there only in the 14th century, especially under Casimir the Great (1333-70). Immediately after his death, changes of dynasty and other factors led to a very rapid development of the power of the noble magnates, then also of the petty nobility, so that by 1572 the process of reduction of the king to a figure head and exclusion of all other non-noble estates from political power was virtually complete. (...) This process was accompanied by a debasement in the position of the Polish peasants (who had been free in the early Middle Ages) to the point of utter serfdom, hardly distinguishable from outright slavery and certainly the worst in Europe. The desire of noblemen in neighboring countries to enjoy the power of the Polish pan over his peasants (including the power of life and death without any right of appeal) was instrumental in the territorial expansion of Poland. The situation in the 'eastern' lands of Poland (Byelorussia and the Ukraine) - colonized and settled by newly enserfed peasants - was worst of all.

Indeed, the local elites had been more then happy to apostatize and sell out to the Polish occupier to enjoy the privileges of slave-owning (before that Russia had never known serfdom!) while the enslaved peasants stubbornly held on to their faith (interestingly, this is also the period of history when Ukrainian Judeophobia was born - read Shahak for details).  Something needed to be done to find a "solution" to this "problem" and, sure enough, a Pope (Clement VIII) found it: the forcible conversion of the local Orthodox Christians to the Latin church: the so-called Union of Brest.  Thus began a long period of vicious persecution of the Orthodox peasantry by the combined efforts of the Polish nobility, their Jewish overseers and, especially, the Jesuits who justified any atrocity under the slogan "ad majorem Dei gloriam" (to the greater Glory of God).  One man, in particular, excelled in the persecution of Orthodox Christians: Josphat Kuntsevich (whose biography you can read about in this text: The Vatican and Russia).  Kuntsevich - who was eventually lynched by a mob of peasants - was buried in the Saint Peter basilica in Rome near, I kid you not, the relics of Saint Gregory the Theologian and Saint John Chrysostom (!).  The Latins still refer to this mass murderer as "martyr for Christ" (see here for a typical Papist hagiography of Kuntsevich) and he is still greatly respected and admired amongst modern Ukrainian nationalists.  And I can see why - it is during these years of occupation and persecution that modern "Ukraine" was created, maybe not yet as a territory, but definitely as a cultural entity.

The ethnogenesis of the "Ukrainian nation"

Nations, like individuals, are born, live and die.  In fact, as Shlomo Sands so brilliantly demonstrated in his book The Invention of the Jewish People, nations are really invented, created.  In fact, the 20th century has shown us many nations invented ex-nihilo, out of nothing (in order to avoid offending somebody or getting sidetracked, I shall not give examples, but God knows there are many).  A "nation" does not need to have deep historical and cultural roots, it does not need to have a legitimate historiography, in fact, all it takes to "create a nation" is a certain amount of people identifying themselves as a community - all the rest can be created/invented later.  Thus the argument of some Russians that there is no such thing as a Ukrainian nation is fundamentally mistaken: if there are enough people identifying themselves as "Ukrainian" then a distinct "Ukrainian nation" exists.  It does not matter at all that there is no trace of that nation in history or that its founding myths are ridiculous as long as a distinct common is shared by its members.  And from that point of view, the existence of a Ukrainian nation fundamentally different from the Russian one is an undeniable reality.  And that is the immense achievement of the Latin Church - it undeniably succeeded in its desire to cut-off the western Russians from their historical roots and to create a new nation: the Ukrainians.

As an aside, but an important one I think, I would note that the Mongols played a similarly crucial role in the creation of the modern Russian nation.  After all, what are the "founding blocks" of the Russian culture.  The culture of the Slavs before the Christianization of Russia in the 10th century?  Yes, but minimally.  The continuation of the Roman civilization after the Fall of the 2nd Rome?  Yes, to some degree, but not crucially.  The adoption of the Christian faith after the 10 century? Yes, definitely.  But the Russian *state* which grew out of the rather small Grand Duchy of Moscow was definitely shaped by the Mongol culture and statecraft, not Byzantium or ancient Rus.  It would not be incorrect to say that ancient Kievan Rus eventually gave birth to two distinct nations: a Ukrainian one fathered by the Papist occupation and a Russian one, fathered by the Mongol occupation. In that sense the russophobic statement of the Marquis de Custine "Grattez le Russe, et vous verrez un Tartare" (scratch the Russian and you will find a Mongol beneath) is correct.  Equally, however, I would argue that one could say that "scratch the Ukrainian, and you will find the Papist beneath".

At this point I do not want to continue outlining the history of the Ukraine because I think I have made my point clear: the Ukrainian nation is the product of the thousand year old hatred of Orthodox Christianity by the Papacy.  Just as modern rabbinical Judaism is really nothing more than an anti-Christianity, the modern Ukrainian national identity is basically centered on a rabid, absolutely irrational and paranoid hated and fear of Russia.  That is not to say that all the people which live in the Ukraine partake in that hysterical russophobia, not at all, but the nationalist hard-core definitely does.  And this point is so crucial that I felt that I had to make this long digression into ancient history to explain it.

I have to add one more thing: the Latin Church has undergone tremendous changes in the 20th century and even its Jesuits have long departed from the traditions and ideas of their predecessors of the Counter-Reformation.  Though hatred of the Orthodox Christians and Russian still exists in some Latin circles, it has mostly been replaced by a desire to "incorporate" or swallow the Orthodox Church into the Papacy by means of the so-called "Ecumenical dialog".  As for the rank and file Roman Catholic faithful - they simply have no idea at all about this history which, of course, is never taught to them

The Papacy's goal end is still the same - submission to the Pope.  But the methods and emotions have changed: it used to be hatred and terror, now its a "dialog of love".  Amongst the Ukrainian nationalists and Uniats, however, the mindset practically has not changed.  From the likes of Stepan Bandera to his modern successor, Dmytro Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector, the Ukrainian nationalists have kept the murderous hatred of Josphat Kuntsevich, hence some of the crazy statements these folks have made.

We now need to make a 3 centuries long jump in time and look at the roots of Fascism and National-Socialism in the early 20th century.  We have to do this jump not because these centuries were not important for the Ukraine - they very much were - but for the sake of space and time.  The key feature of the time period we will skip is basically the rise on power of Russia, which became an Empire under Peter I and the corresponding weakening of the Polish and Lithuanian states which ended up completely occupied by Russia on several occasion.

PART TWO: Fascism, National Socialism and their different roots

We are typically taught that WWII war saw the victory of the "Allied Powers" against the "Axis powers".   While not incorrect, these categories are often confusing.  For example, according to Wikipedia, France and Yugoslavia were part of the Allied Powers.  That, of course, depends on which regime one considers as legitimate, the one of Petain or de Gaulle or the one of Pavelic, Tito or Mikhailovich?  Also - does it really make sense to lump the Soviet Union with the British Empire and the USA?  What about Petain, Hitler and Hirohito?  Well, they were allies, no doubt here, but they were very different entities and their alliance was mostly one against common enemies rather than the result of real kinship.  This is particularly true of Hitler's allies in Europe: Mussolini, of course, but also Franco, Petain or Pavlic.  Indeed, while both Hitler and Mussolini were atheist (and even rabid anti-clericalist), Franco, Petain and Pavelic were all devout Roman-Catholics.  And if the Papacy never felt comfortable with the secularist, nationalist and socialist ideas of Hitler or Mussolini, it gave its full support to Franco, Pavelic and Petain.  Hitler and Mussolini were primarily the expression of the views and interests of the petit bourgeois and worker classes, while Franco, Pavelic and Petain were very much an expression of the interests of the financial elites and noblity.  In France, in particular, the Petainist movement always had a very strong anti-1789 almost monarchist ethos.  Deeply, of course, there was not much love lost between the atheist-populist and Papist-monarchist groups.  But what did united is a common hatred for Jews, Bolsheviks, Russians and Orthodox Christians in general combined with a profoundly reactionary ideology.

The two different Drang nach Osten

Both the atheist-populist and the Papist-monarchists factions had in common a very strong "Drang nach Osten" and both saw themselves as Kulturträger, literally "carriers of civilization" to the savage barbarians of the East.  Hitler's beef with the Soviet Union was, of course, the very high numbers of Jews in the Bolshevik Party (hence his talk of Judeo-Bolshevism) while the Papacy hated Jews, atheists and Orthodox Christians pretty much equally (Franco liked to speak of the "conspiración judeo masonica pagada con el oro de Moscú" or "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy paid for by Moscow's gold").  And while Hitler looked towards the East to provide land and slaves for his Master Race, the Papacy saw a fantastic opportunity to finally submit the "Photian schismatics" to Rome: already on the eve of WWI, Pope Pius X (who was canonized in 1954) pronounced "Russia is the greatest enemy Of the [Roman] Church" and "If Russia is victorious, then the schism is victorious" (and keep in mind that according to Latin doctrine - these folks are infallible when speaking ex-cathedra, in the name of the Church and on issues of faith).  Thus these two originally very different movement joined forces and united against the arch-enemy: Russia (whether atheist, Jewish and Bolshevik or Russian and Orthodox - it did not matter to them).  Needless to say, this toxic brew of hatred found an absolutely perfect Petri dish for its views amongst the Ukrainian nationalists, especially, in the Western Ukraine.

Again, for a lack of time and space I will no go into a history of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Stepan Bandera or the "Ukrainian" SS Division Galizien, you can read about on the Internet.  I will just say that these forces were amongst the most cruel and murderous of any in WWII.  In fact, the most rabid atrocities of WWII were not committed by Hitler's forces, not even the SS, but by the forces fully inspired and supported by the Vatican: the Croatian Ustashe of Ante Pavelic and the Ukrainian nationalists.  Eventually, the Ustashe and the Banderovsty were defeated, but a lot of its members not only survived the war, but prospered in exile, mostly in the USA and Canada, were the Angloshpere kept them away from actual politics, but active enough to be "defrosted" should the need arise.  And, sure enough, following the end of the Cold War, the AngloZionist Empire saw an opportunity to subvert and weaken its enemies: the descendants of the Ustashe were tasked with breaking up Yugoslavia while the descendants of Bandera were tasked with breaking the Ukraine as far away form Russia as possible.  In the same time, both in Yugoslavia and Russia, the AngloZionists directed another of its terrorist franchises - the Wahabi international aka "al-Qaeda" to join the Neo-Nazis and Papists in a common struggle against the Orthodox/Socialist Yugoslavia and Russia.  We all know what happened to Yugoslavia after that.

PART THREE - the Ukraine - back to the future

2014 -  The belly is still fertile from which the foul beast sprang

At this point in time I want to say a few things about the (now ex-) Ukrainian "opposition".  During the past months, we were mostly told that it was represented by three men: Vitalii Klichko and his UDAR movement, Arsenii Iatseniuyk and his Batkivshchyna Party, and Oleh Tiagnibok, notorious leader of the Freedom Party.  Of course, the real leader of the Batkivshchyna Party always was Yulia Tymoshenko, but since she had been jailed by Yanukovich, she could not directly participate in the most recent events.  Most western observers have neglected to ask the question whether any of these political figures really could control the demonstrators on the Maidan square.  Furthermore, they also neglected to look into how a crowed armed mostly with stones, baseball bats, iron bars and Molotov cocktails had "suddenly" been replaced by a well-organized and well-armed force of what can only be called insurgents.  The force which really packed the most strength and firepower, was not composed of members of the UDAR, Batkivshchyna or even Freedom Party - the real owner of the Maidan and now of the rest of Kiev is the so-called Right Sector, a terrorist organization headed by Dmytro Yarosh:
Dmytro Yarosh and his troops

If the photo above looks like it might have been taken in Chechnia during the war, that is because it could have been: many Ukrainian nationalists fought on the side of the Wahabis in Chechnia, often under the banner of the UNA-UNSO terrorist organization.  They also fought in Georgia against Russia, hence the visit Saakashvili made twice to the Maidan Square.

It would be logical to ask what percentage of the people of the Ukraine support Mr Yarosh and his Right Sector.  It is hard to tell, but probably a seizable but small minority.  By most estimates, the most popular leaders of the new regime are Tymoshenko and Klichko, followed by Tiagnibok - at least that was true before the revolution of last Sunday.  But that is hardly relevant: most Chechens were not Wahabis, most Croats were not Ustashe and most Kosovo Albanians were not KLA - that did not prevent these small but well armed groups from having a decisive control over the events.

This places the new regime in a very difficult situation: either it complies with the agenda of the likes of Yarosh and his Right Sector, or it risks to be swiped away by an armed insurrection.  Keep in mind that the Ukrainian military basically exists only on paper and that the police forces are in no condition to impose their authority on the extremists.

What is worse, the Presidency of Yushchenko has shown that the so-called "moderate" nationalists constantly kowtow to the extremists.  Thus Yushchenko even made Bandera "hero of Ukraine" (the decision was later rescinded) and printed nice little stamps with his face.  The problem with that is kind of seemingly innocuous action is in reality a rehabilitation of genocidal ideology and that it sends a truly terrifying and revolting message to the East Ukrainians and Russians in the Ukraine: we are back and we mean business.

It has mostly been overlooked, but a similar situation took place in Croatia at the moment of the breakup of Yugoslavia: the Croats, even the so-called "moderates" found nothing more intelligent to do than to immediately reintroduce the checkered flag of the Ustashe of Pavelic as a "Croatian national symbol".  To what degree this encouraged the Serbs in the Krajinas to take up arms is open to debate, but it certainly did not help.

The same thing is now also taking place in the Ukraine.  Besides the yellow and blue flags of the western Ukraine, one can also see lots of black and red flags, the flag of the Banderovsty, along with all sorts of neo-Nazi symbols.  And, again, it does not really matter how many Ukrainians are suffering from genocidal tendencies, what matters is how these flags are seen in the eastern Ukraine or by the 7 million Russians who live in the Ukraine.

The reaction to the coup in Kiev was immediate.  Check out this screenshot of a video showing a mass rally in the city of Sevastopol:

Mass rally in Sevastopol
Notice the flags?  Before the coup, the rallies in the east featured almost exclusively Ukrainian yellow and blue flags, now the flags are mostly Russian with a few interspersed Russian Navy flags: the people are either angry or frightened.  Probably both.  And the potential for violence therefore rapidly escalates.

Check out this video of an attempt by pro-regime activist to hold a demonstration in the city of Kerch and see for yourself how rapidly the situation gets of out control.  The angry crowd begins with screams of "go away!" and "Fascists!" but soon the cops lose control of the situation and a mob begins to assault the nationalist activists.  See for yourself:

Just as in Croatia and Bosnia, EU and US politicians have ignored (whether by stupidity or deliberately) that fear begets violence which, in turn, begets more fear, in an endless positive feedback loop which is almost impossible to stop.

So where do we go from here?

Frankly, I had some hopes that Yulia Tumoshenko might still save the Ukraine.   No, not because I like her, but because I recognize the strength of her personality, especially when compared to the either terminally stupid (Tiagnibok, Klichko) or spineless (Iatseniuk, Yanukovich) men in Ukrainian politics.  As one Russian journalist put it yesterday: its good to finally see a "real man" entering the Ukrainian political scene.  And indeed, for all her other faults, Yulia has three things going for her: she is very intelligent, she is strong willed and she is very popular.  Or, at least, that was what she had going for her before Yanukovich threw her in jail.  When I saw the footage of her appearance on the Maidan, on a wheel-chair, her face puffed up, sounding hysterical and completely unaware of the fact that she was surrounded by neo-Nazis I began having my doubts.  Clearly, she had a very bad time in Yanukovich's dungeon.  And to those who will say that she has every bit as corrupt as all the other oligarchs I would say this: while all the other oligarchs see power as a way to make money, Tymoshenko sees money as a way to seize power.  There is a huge difference here.

Then, unlike Tiagnibok or Yarosh, Tymoshenko does not look genocidal, not has she ever tried to play the role of a "modern Bandera".  Then, unlike the typical Ukrainian neo-Nazis, Yulia is nominally Orthodox, not "Greek Catholic" (i.e. Latin).  Not that I believe that any of them are particularly religions, no, but at least Tymoshenko was not raised with the kind of maniacal hatred for everything Russian in which "Greek Catholic" kids are typically raised.

Finally, Tymoshenko is definitely smart enough to understand that there is no way to keep the Ukraine as a unitary state if the neo-Nazis are de-facto in power, whether directly of through a number of "moderate" puppets.

So maybe I was naive, but I had some hope that Yulia could keep the Ukraine together.  No, not because I am such a true supporter of the "Independent Ukraine", but because I would find any solution preferable to a partition of the Ukraine which would inevitably become violent.

Why is violence inevitable?

Paradoxically,  the main cause here are not the followers of Bandera.  Some of them have, in fact, spoken in favor of a separation of the western Ukraine from the rest of the country.  As far as I know, they are in the minority, but it is still interesting that at least some of then are aware that the notion of turning all of the Ukraine into Galicia is simply ludicrous.  Most nationalists are, however, dead set against any partition for two reasons.  Prestige: they know that "their" Ukraine is, in reality, much smaller than the Ukraine inherited form the Soviet era.  Money: they know that all the real wealth of the Ukraine is in the East.  Last, but not least, the real puppet-masters of the Ukrainian nationalists (the US) want to deprive Russia of the wealth of the eastern Ukraine and of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast.  So anybody expecting the nationalists to gracefully agree to a civil divorce between West and Southeast is day dreaming: it ain't happening, at least not by referendum or any other form of consultations.

History also teaches us that it is impossible to force two groups to coexist when the hate and fear each other, at least not without *a lot* of violence.

The situation in the East is as simple as it is stark: Yanukovich is politically dead.  The party of regions has basically exploded and new politicians are pupping up in Kharkov, in Sevastopol and in other cities.  Large self-defense forces are being organized locally and the population is basically ready to fight.  Considering the circumstances, these are all positive developments.  On the negative side there is the fact that the eastern oligarchs are still here, still ready to betray their own people for profit (just as the Ukrainian elites did during the Union of Brest) and that the local political forces are, by most accounts, being rather amateurishly organized.  Finally, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what Russia really wants.

What about Russia in all this?

I think that Russia truly does want to avoid a civil war in the Ukraine and that it prefers a separate Ukraine to a partition.  Why?  Think of it:

For Russia a separate and independent Ukraine is first and foremost a way of avoiding being drawn into a civil war. If, say, Tymoshenko managed to supress the neo-Nazis and negotiate some kind of modus vivendi between, on one hand, the western Ukraine and Kiev and, on the other, the eastern and southern Ukraine there is little doubt that she and Putin could find some peaceful and pragmatic way to coexist.  Oh, I am not speaking about a love-fest, that is simply not going to happen, but at least some mutually beneficial, civil and pragmatic relations are imaginable.  That would most definitely be the Kremlin's preferred option (which just goes to show how stupid and paranoid the Ukie nationalist - and Susan Rice - are when they hallucinate about a Russian invasion of the Ukraine).

The other option is to have the nationalists take full-control over all of the Ukraine.  That seems extremely unlikely to me, but who knows?  I have been disappointed with Ukie politicians enough to put the worst possible outcome past them.  That would mean that the Russian-Ukrainian border would turn into something between the Wall which separated the two parts of Germany during the Cold War or the DMZ between the two part of Korea.  From a military point of view, not a problem at all.  As I wrote in the past, even if NATO deploys troops in the Ukraine, which they would, that close to the Russian territory military assets basically turn into lucrative targets: Russia would deploy enough Iskanders to cover its target list and that's all.  As for the Black Sea Fleet, it could either simply refuse to leave and see if NATO has the stomach to try for force it, or engage in the costly but possible fallback option of relocating to Novorossiysk (admittedly, not a good option, but better than nothing).  But, again, this is an exceedingly unlikely scenario.

Which leaves option three: the nationalist attempt to subdue the south and east and fail. The violence escalates and eventually Russia is drawn in.  Now in purely military terms, Russia could very easily defeat any Ukie army which would attempt to fight it.  As for NATO and the US - they don't have the means to deploy some "combined joint task force" to repel the Russian military in the Ukraine.  So short of starting a mutually destructive nuclear war, they would have to accept the facts on the ground.  But just imagine the nightmare resulting from a Russian military operation in eastern Ukraine!  It would be back to a new Cold War, but this time on steroids: western politicians would scramble over each other to denounce, declare, threaten, condemn, proclaim, sanction, and pledge God knows what kind of nonsense.  Hysterical russophobia will become the order of the day and the AngloZionist Empire would finally find the kind of eternal enemy it has desperately been seeking for since the end of the First Cold War.  If they got really ugly, and they probably would, China would most likely get involved too and we would have exactly the kind of planet the 1% plutocracy has been dreaming about for so many years: Oceania locked into a total war against Eurasia and Eastasia, just like Orwell had predicted it:

This is most definitely not what Russia - or China - need.  And yet, this is a real risk if a civil war breaks out in the Ukraine.  One "least bad" option to avoid such a scenario would be to make sure that the east and southern Ukrainians are strong enough to repel a nationalist invasion by themselves so that the Russian military can stay out of the conflict.

So there is the difficult judgment call the Kremlin needs to make: the Kremlin has to decide whether:

a) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are disorganized, demoralized, made passive by the rule of corrupt oligarchs and basically unable to defend themselves.


b) the eastern and southern Ukrainian people are united, organized and determined enough to really make a stand and fight the neo-Nazis down to the last bullet.

In the first case, the Kremlin would have to basically protect the Russian borders and prepare to manage the large numbers of refugees which will inevitably cross the border.

In the second case, the Kremlin would have a strong incentive to assist the eastern and southern Ukrainians by all possible means short of an over and direct military intervention.

Both of these options are dangerous and none of them is preferable to a united Ukraine lead by a more or less rational leader.  This is why, at least at the initial stage, I expect Russia to *really* support any halfway sane regime in Kiev in the hope to avoid a breakup of the Ukraine.

What about the US and the EU in all this?

Well, as I recently wrote, the US and the EU have very different objective in the Ukraine: the EU wants a market for its goods and services, the US want to hurt Russia as much as possible.  We have all seen the total lack of effectiveness of the EU bureaucrats and their naive attempts at finding a negotiated solution.  The US foreign policy goal has the advantage of being simple yet clear: fuck Russia and fuck the EU!  From the US point of view, the worse the situation becomes, the better it is for Uncle Sam.  At the very least, this hurts Russia, at the very best, it gives the US a wonderful pretext to "protect" Europe from the "resurgent Russian bear" while standing up for civilization, democracy and progress.  A Neocons wet dream...

And then, there is the "S factor": stupidity, plain and simple.  What often seems to be the result of some machiavellian plan cooked up in a deep basement of the White House, the CIA or the Pentagon is often a mind-blowing example of the truly phenomenal stupidity, ignorance and arrogance of our leaders.  They believe themselves to be so powerful as to be free from the need to understand a culture, a history or even a single foreign language.  After all, if a US policy was to failed somewhere, the response could always be the same: fuck them!  Fuck the Yugoslavs! Fuck the Serbs!  Fuck the Iraqis!  Fuck the Afghans!  Fuck the Pakistanis!  Fuck the Libyans, and the Egyptians, and the Palestinians, and fuck the Somalis, the Koreans, the Colombians and the Venezuelans and, of course, fuck the Canadians, the Mexicans, and the Africans, and, of course, fuck the Russians, fuck the Chinese, and fuck everybody else with it!   No matter how stupid or how destructive a US policy towards another party it - it either works, or fuck them!  Ms Nuland's words could really become the State Departments or the CIA's official motto.

My conclusion?  Pessimistic, of course :-)

Those reading my blog for a while already will not be surprised to see that, yet again, I have reached a very pessimistic conclusion: the future of the Ukraine looks absolutely terrible: the country is ruined, it has no economy, it is socially, culturally and politically nonviable, it will most likely be lead either by imbeciles or by racist manics and the biggest power on the planet will spare no efforts to add more fuel on the fire.  Keep in mind that no a single Ukrainian politician has anything even remotely resembling a plan to resurrect the currently dead Ukrainian economy.  The only and last chance for the Ukraine was to survive on the "Russian financial respirator" - but that has now been turned off, at least for the foreseeable future: the Ukies can have their Banderovite Revolution, but the Russians don't have to pay for it.

Last November I wrote a piece entitled The gates of Hell are opening for the Ukraine in which I pretty much predicted what has happened since.  I wrote:
I am assuming that the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will eventually prevail, and that Yanukovich will either fully complete his apparent "zag" and reverse his decision, or lose power. One way or another the the Eurobureaucrats and the Ukrainian nationalists will, I think, prevail. There will be more joyful demonstrations, fireworks and celebrations in Kiev, along with lots of self-righteous back-slapping and high-fiving in Brussels, and then the gates of Hell will truly open for the Ukraine.
We are now at this point: the Ukraine has now crossed the gates of Hell and has fully entered in a long cycle of tragedy and violence.  This is truly immensely sad.  And the blame for what will happen next lies first and foremost with those forces who recklessly opened the Pandora's box of medieval and 20th century hatreds and who encouraged the nationalist demon to strike yet again and with those who stood by and did nothing: the US and EU politicians amongst whom not one single one could be found to speak the truth.  May they all rot in hell for what they have done!

The Saker

PS: guys, I wrote the above in one long session today and I have neither the energy nor the time to correct, nevermind edit, this text.  I am publishing it "as is" - with its gazillion typos and non-academic language - because I want to share it with you as soon as possible.  Over the next few days, God willing, I will have time to re-read myself (always a tedious task) and clean it up the best I can.  If you want to hunt down and spot the innumerable mistakes this post contains, please feel free to post your finding in the comments section or email me.  Also, I know that for many of you, a lot of what I wrote above will sound very over-the-top - that is fine by me.  It is my role to share with you what I think and believe and yours to take what you want and leave the rest.  If God forbid a doubleplusgoodthinking Ukie nationalist comes across this post, I have no doubts at all about what kind of comments he/she will leave.  So let me say immediately that I simply have not time to answer every single comment or email, and I have no desire at all to be drawn into a flame war over historical issues.  I will answer those comments which will inspire me to write a reply and I will ignore those who simply bore me.  I promise to try my best to reply to as many well-intentioned comments as possible (please don't email me with a comment you could post here!!), but nasty comments will simply be posted and ignored.  Anybody who has a problem with that can have his/her money back ;-)

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker