Contributed by Joe Montero
The United States, United Kingdom and Germany are itching for a war over Ukraine. There has been a deluge of war preparation propaganda. It goes this way. Russia’s bad President Vladimir Putin wants to invade and the freedom loving nations want to stop him.
Real life does not take the form of a James Bond plot. Events in Ukraine are no exception, and if we want to understand what is going on there, we must go back to the events that unfolded after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the escalating efforts of the west to intervene since then.
Ukraine shares large boundaries with both Russia and Western Europe, which makes it a very strategically important piece of real estate. The west wants to move up to the Russian border. Russia wants the opposite.
In 2004 Viktor Yanukovych became the president and steered a course of greater independence from both the west and Russia, although there remained a level of limited military cooperation with Russia. Displeased with this direction, which effectively locked out NATO forces and highly industrialised economy, the west, led by the United States, increased its interference in the Ukraine’s domestic politics, by openly bankrolling and advising opposition groups, and taking advantages of rifts in Yanukovych’s government.
Money came in through various agencies, including the U.S. State Department and USAID along with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, the NGO Freedom House, George Soros‘s Open Society Institute, and the National Endowment for Democracy, according to a report in The Guardian, This was backed by teams sent in to run a political campaign against the government and organise for an election to bring in a new government.
Money came in. Teams of professionals were sent in to run a political campaign and an election, and opposition figures Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko were helped to win the questionable election in 2004. But it didn’t quite work out as expected. The most ardently pro west faction supported Yushchenko, while tat which tended towards Russia backed Tymoshenko. It proved to be the undoing of their short-lived partnership, already coming apart because of allegations of fraud in the Yushenko camp.
Within two years Victor Yanukovych, heading the Alliance of National Unity, won a new election. Yushchenko managed to get only 13.96 percent of the vote. This is when United States led western support of armed groups begun. By 2013, these armed groups spearheaded what they called the Maiden Revolution. Yanukovych and his government were overthrown in a coup. The most important of these armed groups was the Azov Special Operations Detachment, which continued to receive the support of the United States Congress, until the openly white supremacist rhetoric made it politically impossible to continue.
Photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters: Azov members carrying its stylised Swastika insignia
By then it had played its sole. Pogroms had been waged against ethnic Russians and anyone else opposed to the rise of the new regime. A climate of fear to help consolidate the power of the new regime had been sown and prepared the ground for the rise of a new regime dependent on backing from the west, and representatives of Azov other similar group became a part of it. Azov was converted into the official National Guard of Ukraine.
Photo by Michael Colborne: Members of the Azov National Militia waiting for a march to begin in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 2018
This is the time when the Crimea broke away and asked for Russian support. The standoff between the West and Russia has been simmering since, and there is currently a new push to have Ukraine join NATO and allow NATO military forces right on Russia’s border. Russia will not stand for it, and the threat of war looms larger than before.
Headed by confectionary and automotive tycoon President Petro Poroshenko, the regime lasted till 2019, when the was ousted by actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his political party, party Servant of the People, which campaigned against the corruption of the regime. Subsequently, the party has morphed into the ideologically right, neoliberal economic policies. Having won only 25 percent of the parliamentary votes, the party depends on making alliances to cling to government. The ideological shift and turn to making deals with the old guard has split the party, and its prospects for the coming election in two years time don’t look good.
The imposed regime has now become unstable. And it looks like there could soon be a new election, providing an opening for relative newcomer Yevhen Murayev and the pro Russian Opposition Bloc. The West is already accusing Murayev of being a Russian puppet and are signalling that they won’t let him or his party win an election. Murayev rejects the accusation pointing out his and his party’s policy for independence.
The history of what has led to the present situation is being hidden for the purpose of preparing the public to support going to war. War will not help those living in Ukraine, and conflict between the two major nuclear powers threatens the world. If it does break out, this war will bring the real prospect of a world war. The way to avoid this, is for the world to insist that Ukraine remains independent. Foreign interference must end. The internal political situation must be resolved peacefully and done so by the people of Ukraine.
In these conditions there may be a tilting towards Russia, simply because there is a shared history, culture, and language. It is their choice.