Monday, April 28, 2014

Ukraine SITREP-update April 28, 1447 UTC/Zulu

  • The city hall and the city council buildings of the eastern city of Konstantinovka have been taken under control of Russian-speaking insurgents who say that they are here to protect the local authorities (who are opposed to the revolutionary regime in Kiev) from any attack by the junta.
  • Probably lured by the oligarch-galore in the Ukraine, the Jewish oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has showed up in the Dontesk region to show is support for the new regime.  According to him, “Donetsk is far from being as pro-Russian as it could be".
  • The Mayor of Kharkov, Gennadi Kermes, has been shot in the back and critically wounded by an unknown gunman who used a rifle from long range.  The bullet passed through Kermes' body, damaging several internal organs.
  • Six more Right Sector gunmen have been arrested over the week-end when they attempted to penetrate the Donetsk area under cover.
  • According to The Guardian, the Jews of the Ukraine do not fear the neo-Nazi Banderists, but Putin, Russia and Russian propaganda.
  • Obama is about to announce new sanctions against Russia.
  • The EU is about to announce new sanctions against Russia.
  • On Sunday, pro-regime soccer hooligans clashed with pro-federation Russian-speakers.  There were injuries, but not fatalities.
  • A number of fake snuff-videos purportedly made by the Right Sector which show policemen being killed have emerged on the Internet.  They are almost certainly fake, but nobody knows who is behind this action.
A very interesting trend is beginning to emerge: the deepening of the rift between the, shall we say, "official" leaders of the eastern Ukraine and their own electorate.  I am talking about folks like Mikhail Dobkin, Gennadi Kermes (the one shot today) or the various representatives of the Party of Regions in what is left of the Ukrainian Parliament.  The folks leading the anti-regime insurgency are adamant that the Party of Regions and all its members have already betrayed them many times and that the idea of participating in the Presidential elections organized by the junta in Kiev is yet another betrayal.  Yesterday, in one of the most popular talkshows on Russian TV ("Sunday Evening With Vladimir Soloviev") one of the supposedly "pro-Russian" representatives of the Party of regions ended up having an ugly shouting match with about half of the guests on the show, including three representatives of the pro-Russian insurgency in the eastern Ukraine, and several well-known Russian analysts.  At this point the "least disliked" "official" political figure in the eastern Ukraine might be Oleg Tsarev who was expelled from the Party of Regions and who initially announced that he was running for President, but who dropped out of the race when confronted about that by the local people in Donetsk.  He is also the politician who was invited to the Ukie TV show "freedom of speech", who was guaranteed protection and then who ended up several beaten and partially stripped of his clothes by neo-Nazi thugs outside the TV station.

Speaking of TV stations, following the ban on the re-broadcast of Russian TV in the Ukraine, a number of TV stations have been stormed and taken under control of local insurgents who, interestingly, did restore the broadcast of Russian TV stations alongside Kiev controlled TV station.  They did not get the Ukrainian stations off the air.

For the time being the twice announced operation to put down the Russian-speaking East has achieved nothing besides getting a few people killed and radicalizing the local population.  The current strategy of laying siege to the rebellious cities is bound to fail as time is most definitely not on the junta's side.  Again, to me, the eastern Ukraine has reached an escape velocity, a point of no return, and I simply do not see any figure who could make the idea of a federalized Ukraine work.  I am not even sure if Putin could do that.

Finally, there are pretty good signs that somebody is definitely trying to make things worse by, for example, filming the fake snuff-video I mentioned.  Or the shooting of Kermes for that matter.   The irony is that the Right Sector and the Russian-speakers are both opposed to a negotiated settlement and both equally hate the junta in power.  The shot which wounded Kermes today could have been fired by either side.

Note about terminology:

I employ a lot of expressions which I consider value-neutral.  I there speak of the "insurgents" in the East just as I spoke of the "insurgents" on the Maidan.  To me somebody who takes arms against a regime is an insurgent, that does not imply that I condone or condemn what he/she is doing.  Same thing for the expression "revolutionary regime".  To me a revolutionary regime is one which brings about a radical change, a change in order, in regime.  That can be good or that can be bad.  Ditto for "rebels" who are, in my opinion, those who openly disobey the orders of an authority.  Again, I don't believe that these expression imply anything other than a factual situation.

Stay tuned, kind regards,

The Saker