Monday, April 7, 2014

Sharp rise in tensions in eastern Ukraine

It is hard to get a good picture of what is happening in the eastern Ukraine, but looking at various sources it appears to me that large protests have occurred in the cities of Lugansk, Kharkov and Donetsk.  From the video footage some rather large crowds, including a lot of women, have assembled in the city centers.  In Donetsk and Lugansk the demonstrators have seized the governmental buildings including the local HQs of the Ukrainian SBU (security service).  In Donetsk the demonstrators have gathered into something like a popular assembly and have declared the creation of a "People's Republic of Donetsk" and have announced that they plan to hold a referendum on the future of the region on April 11th.  The best sign, however, that things are becoming very serious in that the entire top ruling elite of the revolutionary government in Kiev - including Yulia Timoshenko - has relocated to the eastern Ukraine to try to get the situation under control.

My sense is that the crowds in the east seem very angry and very determined and that it might be very hard to get them out, at least without bloodshed (which could trigger a sudden appearance of "Polite Armed Men in Green").  The big weakness of the Russian-speakers in the eastern Ukraine is that their leaders are either already in SBU dungeons or rather tepid and weak.  Nobody seems to be really in control.

In the meantime, RT is reporting that Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev have stormed the Supreme Court.  Previously, they also attempted to storm the Ukrainian Parliament (but the western press "did not notice" that).

Civil wars are far more likely to occur when there is a vacuum of power than against a strong regime and this is exactly what we see in the Ukraine.  For all the desperate attempts of the western elites and corporate media to try to pretend like there is a government in Kiev, the reality is clearly that there is no authority in power anywhere in the Ukraine.  Not in the West, not in the Center and not in the East.  All we have is complete chaos and many different factions and groups trying to take control.

Again, it is clear to me that unless the USA and Russia strike some kind of deal together the rump-Ukraine is headed straight for a civil war.  I am not saying that I like the notion of the USA and Russia deciding the future of the Ukraine instead of the Ukrainian people, but I am saying that the conditions are simply not here for the Ukrainian people to express their will.  Besides, the Ukraine being a completely artificial state, there is no way that the hopes and desires of the people in the western Ukraine and the eastern Ukraine can be reconciled.  From this flows a simple fact: the more de-centralized a unitary Ukraine would be the more chances of survival it would have.  In other words, when the Banderites and the West are insisting on one centralized unitary Ukraine they are actually contributing to the breakup of the country.  In these conditions - why should Russia intervene.  All it has to do is wait for the final collapse and then pick up whatever piece it will deem worthy of interest.

Stay tuned, the next couple of weeks will be crucial.

The Saker