We ”know” how evil the Russians and Putin are, yet most Americans know little about this area of the world: a recent poll found only 1 in 6 Americans could locate the Ukraine on a map. Beyond geography, the US, a historical “newcomer”, has often underappreciated the importance of history and related cultural differences.
Russians and Ukrainians, comprising the “Eastern Slavs”, are ethnically related. Were it not for some tragic history, they would have had closer ties today than those afforded by the US/UK “special relationship”. Their history stretches back at least 700 years before the first settlers landed in America when Kiev was the center of power of a nascent Russian state. In the early 15th century, as the center of power shifted north-eastward, Moscow assumed the mantle of power.
After Mongol domination ended in the early 15th century, Russia has had to fend of numerous threats – then powerful Poland/Lithuania union in the 15th and 16th centuries and Sweden in the 17th century, Napoleon and Turkey and the West in the 19th century, and Germany in the 20th century. At its pre-revolutionary peak, the Russian Empire included Finland, the Baltics and the Ukraine.
For centuries, the Ukraine (meaning “borderland” – initially of Poland) was a Russian Empire region known as “Little Russia”, and tensions today have a lot to do with perceived Russian condescension towards their “little brothers” (more like country-bumpkin cousins), and Russian serving as the “lingua franca” in the Ukraine. Ironically, pilots bombing the East speak Russian, as do many of the soldiers fighting there. Actually not that surprising – around 50% of “Ukrainians” speak fluent Russian and still use it in everyday life.
Over time, various “gifts” from Russia and the USSR more than quadrupled the Ukraine’s territory:
Today, roughly 25% of current Ukrainian population is of Russian heritage – equal to or greater than Hispanics in the US or Francophiles in Canada. The blue area – present-day rebellious “East and South” where most of the Russian population is concentrated – has been inhabited by such Russians since the 18th century when it was known as “Novorossiya” (“New Russia”). Ukrainian patriots have recently shown their gratitude to Lenin by tearing down his statues.
In 1954, without any agreement from the hugely predominant Russian population, Premier Khrushchev gave the Crimea away to the Ukrainian Republic. Today, Russians still comprise 60% of Crimea’s population, Ukrainians only 15%. The idea that it took armed Russian intervention to ensure a favorable secession vote disingenuous to say the least. During my recent July 2014 visit, I found the people there, totally abandoned by the dissolution of the USSR, genuinely joyous about rejoining their homeland.
Two major events further explain present-day animosity. The first – the “golodomor”. During Stalin’s early 1930’s agricultural collectivization, millions of Ukrainians died of starvation or were “liquidated”. Proof, say Ukrainian nationalists, of barbaric Russian genocide, albeit this exact same campaign was carried out throughout the USSR, with agricultural areas along the Volga also hit hard. Moreover, this was Communist, not “Russian”, driven – led by Stalin, a Georgian, and dedicated Communist followers, including a large number of Ukrainians.
The second event was the June, 1941 German invasion the USSR. Many “native” Ukrainians, especially in the West, saw Hitler – then well-known for proclaiming Slavs good only for slave labor – as their savior from Stalin. Many happily joined the German army and the SS, enthusiastically murdering “Ukrainian Russians”, Poles, Belorussians, Jews and fellow Ukrainians.
Today, a “Tea Party” sized, very influential Ukrainian minority idolizes Nazi collaborationists – mainly Stepan Bandera – and, many wearing masks, routinely participates in frightening “torch marches”, displaying not only Bandera’s picture, but overtly Nazi symbols on clothing and flags. They may not dominate the Ukrainian political landscape, but they, unlike the Tea Party, they are an extremely active and violent armed force committed to ridding their pure Ukraine of Russians and other undesirables like Jews. At best, we see so-called “innocent” street mobs chanting “suitcase, train station, Moscow” (shut up or leave), at worst, the current genocidal war and ethnic cleansing in the East.
Today, the relatively young Ukraine appears increasingly bent on forging its identity at the expense of Russian elements. Witness the seemingly benign “campaign” shaming innocent Russian-heritage kids in this video (bellow) as well as this laminated card – the left hand column says “incorrect (Russian) name”, the right the “correct”, Ukrainian name (right).
Imagine US teachers telling Jose and Juan their correct names are Joseph and John, the US formally rejecting Hispanic as a de facto second language, refusing permits for Cinquo de Mayo parades, and tossing elected minorities out of office, and into garbage cans or prison? Or, Canada saying enough is enough to Francophiles.
Continued rejection of federalization and acceptance of Russian as one of two major national languages makes peaceful resolution impossible. Indeed, the “civilized” Western solution would be either federalization, or, as with Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, dissolution into separate ethnic states.
Admittedly, while some Russians retain a highly sentimental, truly genuine affinity for their fellow Slavic “brothers”, many pure Ukrainians do not share these feelings. Even if such bonds are overestimated or weakening, consider other important factors:
Russia has been the Ukraine’s main trading partner by a ratio of 4 to 1 over the next largest one.
The Ukraine has, since the break-up of the USSR, been receiving very favorable trade terms, rates, and outright aid from Russia.
Millions of Ukrainians legally work in Russia – coming and going freely, and sending money home to support their families. Prime Minister Mevedev’s recent statement that this will likely end was not the threat widely portrayed by Western media, but a sober fact., leading to the loss of large cash inflows and millions of workers returning home to face unemployment.
About 1 in 5 Russians and Ukrainians have very close familial or blood ties. The current animosity, largely supported by the West, is literally depriving millions from seeing their close relatives again.
The headlong rush into the EU does not bode well for the average Ukrainian, already facing massive unemployment and inflation amid dramatically reduced social payments. The West cannot continue to provide handouts, and is not going to buy inferior Ukrainian goods. Finally, the related push to join NATO proves Russia’s point about continued, threatening eastward expansion right up to Russia’s borders (not the opposite) – a very real threat if you are a Russian.
If one polled as to whether the Ukraine should continue moving “Westward” (away from Russia), 1/3 would likely be in favor, 1/3 opposed, and 1/3 wanting to have their cake and eat it too – i.e, not have to sever relations with Russia. The question boils down to whether the West, in blaming Putin for all the ills of the Ukraine, is going to continue to stand idly by while the “new, free” Ukraine continues to basically settle scores, and foster not a democratic society, but one heavily influenced by significant and growing ultra-ring wing nationalist forces.
By Stephen Ebert
Stephen Ebert is the Russian Translator, Consultant, and Political Commentator. The article was originally written on January 24, 2015 but ignored by the US media then. Exclusive publication on ORIENTAL REVIEW courtesy of the author.
How many times have we seen this before?
The President of the United States is on TV telling us horror stories. Some innocent people in some corner of the world are being crushed, he tells us. They face some monstrously evil oppressor, he says. While the United States doesn’t like war, what choice is there? Sacrifices must be made, cruise missiles must be unleashed, to protect the poor and innocent. The world is the set of an action movie, and the US is the tragic hero, forced to rescue the innocent.
This is the script we heard in former Yugoslavia. Bill Clinton claimed to be stoping “mass rapes” and “concentration camps.” After the smoke had cleared, and thousands had been killed, the truth came out. The United Nations admitted that no “genocide” had taken place. The talk of mass rapes and concentration camps had been hype.
While the alleged crimes used to justify ...
Part 1: The Intermarium and the Russian Revolution
by Clara Weiss 31 May 2016
May 12 to 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the coup by Józef Piłsudski in Poland with which the Polish bourgeoisie tried to save its rule from the threat of socialist revolution. Today, he is being idealized by large sections of the Polish bourgeoisie and the US imperialist elite.
In large measure, this is bound up with the increasing popularity of his conception of the Intermarium, a pro-imperialist alliance of right-wing nationalist regimes throughout Eastern Europe that was primarily directed against the Soviet Union. The resurgent interest in the Intermarium has been bound up with the increasing drive toward a new world war, which, as the ICFI stated in its resolution “Socialism and the Fight Against War,” has been accompanied by a revival of geopolitics among the ideologists of imperialism.
This series reviews the history of the Intermarium, the main ...
Exclusive: Few Americans understand the ugly history behind the Nazi-affiliated movements that have gained substantial power in today’s U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime. Western propaganda has made these right-wing extremists the “good guys” versus the Russian “bad guys,” as Jonathan Marshall explains.
By Jonathan Marshall
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi political organizations that continue to pollute the country’s politics.
Sen. John ...
The end goal of the US and NATO is to divide (balkanize) and pacify (finlandize) the world’s biggest country, the Russian Federation, and to even establish a blanket of perpetual disorder (somalization) over its vast territory or, at a minimum, over a portion of Russia and the post-Soviet space, similarly to what is being done to the Middle East and North Africa. The future Russia or the many future Russias, a plurality of weakened and divided states, that Washington and its NATO allies see is/are demographically in decline, de-industrialized, poor, without any defensive capabilities, and hinterlands that will exploited for their resources.
The Plans of the Empire of Chaos for Russia
Breaking the Soviet Union has not been enough for Washington and NATO. The ultimate goal of the US is to prevent any alternatives from emerging in Europe and Eurasia to Euro-Atlantic integration. This is why the destruction of Russia is one ...
Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet.
During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more.
Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of all times: the systematic dismantling of Western colonialism. All over the world oppressed masses stood up against European and North American imperialist barbarity, and it was the Soviet Union that was ready to give them a beacon of hope, as well as substantial financial, ideological and military support.
As one oppressed ...
Liberal Democratic Party calls on to all Russian citizens to boycott Ukrainian confectionery company “Roshen”, owned by the country’s President Peter Poroshenko.
Ukrainian authorities continue punitive operation against its own citizens! Now abandoning their country in thousands for refugees fleeing to Russia, mostly old men, women and children. People are forced to leave all their belongings for years! Horror, fear, hunger and humiliation – that is what has prepared Kiev junta civilians southeast. From the illusory hopes that the election of President Ukraine peace returns, no trace – she melted like candy chocolate baron Poroshenko. Having full power, he actually gave the nod to the destruction of innocent people by declaring them bandits, separatists and extremists.
Killed Russian-speaking civilians in Donbass region by Kiev Nazi junta
Russian Liberal Democratic Party urges citizens to support the civilians of southeast. Each of us can now express their civic position by taking part in fundraising for ...
MP3 & SHOW NOTES: http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/… Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy) returns to the programme for an extended interview on the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
Drawing upon his extensive experience in government, academia and journalism, Dr. Roberts explains how Washington’s current hostility towards Russia, with its demonization of Vladimir Putin, is a bitter fruit of the neoconservative ideology of world hegemony that came to dominate US centres of power from the early 1990s onwards. Assessing the geopolitical landscape with an eye to historical, economic and political realities, Dr. Roberts judges there to be only two hopes for the world to avert nuclear Armageddon: a Europe decisively resistant to Washington diktat, or economic collapse of the US empire itself.
We also discuss the murder of Boris Nemtsov, prospects for Washington-agitated colour revolutions in Central Asia/Caucasus, MH17 and the growth of the police state ...
US-installed Ukrainian fascists commemorated Poroshenko’s established victory in Europe Day of Remembrance by vowing to “destroy Moscow,” free its people, and let them “shape their own future.”
Ukrainian ultranationalists attending a May 8 commemoration included 14th SS Waffen Grenadier division veterans, Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) members, and Nazi-infested volunteer battalions involved in what they call “the Russian-Ukrainian war.”
Svoboda party overt Nazis participated. Their slogan is “Ukraine for the Ukrainians” – meaning ethnically pure, free of Jews, Russians and others not wanted, by extermination or other means.
Party member Yuri Sirotyuk called war on Russia Ukraine’s historic mission. “I believe that if we truly want it, we will do it,” he blustered.
Obama’s Ukrainian allies are over-the-top lunatics like Sirotyuk and likeminded fascists wanting war, not peace.
Prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk referring to World War II accused Soviet Russia of invading Germany.
Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera is honored as a national hero. His Organization of Ukrainian ...
Boris Nemtsov, a Russian dissident politician highly critical of President Vladimir Putin often sounded like an agent of Washington. He was shot and killed today on a street near Red Square.
If Nemtsov wasn’t assassinated by the CIA in order to blame Putin, most likely Nemtsov was killed by Russian nationalists who saw him as Washington’s agent.
Remembering the Magnitsky affair that resulted in sanctions imposed on Russians as a result of the US Congress over-reacting to a jail death in Russia, Nemtsov’s death will likely be blamed on Putin. The Western media will repeat endlessly, with no evidence, that Putin had his critic killed.
I can tell you one thing, and that is that Putin is much too smart to play into Washington’s hands in this way. Moreover, Nemtsov, although a loud mouth, had no impact on Putin’s 85% approval rating. Nemtsov’s support resided in the Washington-funded NGOs in Russia. If the ...
The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.
The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the ...
The term "security" is a very multifaceted one. But today's geopolitical situation forces us to think about its military aspect above all.
Our attention is completely absorbed by news about wars, conflicts, military exercises and increasing defence capabilities. An average European reader has no chances to skip this kind of news while looking through news feeds of popular media.
Even planned further militarization of the European region and Russia pose the real threat today. A whole generation of European children is growing in the firm belief that the war is approaching. We destroy ourselves by our fears. We notice everything concerning military issues and neglect economic and social sides of our life. We live in a changed world and we are to blame for it.
Let's take Lithuania as an example. This small country with reach history and with immensely kind and open people last few weeks falls into the center of world ...
The United States has what is called a “special relationship” with Israel. Just one problem with this: The U.S. is supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
How can the U.S. be “pro-Israel” if it is assisting and training anti-Semites? And how is it that the U.S. supports neo-Nazi extremists today even after 6 million Jews were targeted and methodically murdered by Nazis during WWII?
Pentagon officials announced that U.S. troops from the 173rd Airborne will deploy to Ukraine in March to help build the Ukrainian National Guard. The Pentagon neglected to mention that prominent members of the Ukrainian National Guard include the Azov battalion, a leading neo-Nazi group formed in 2014.
In addition to sending U.S. troops, Washington has already sent heavy military equipment and has earmarked $19 million for Ukrainian forces.
Azov is “run by the extremist Patriot of Ukraine organization, which considers Jews and other minorities sub-human,” and was founded by Andriy Biletsky, who ...
On May 18th, Britain’s Guardian headlined “West and Russia on course for war, says ex-Nato deputy commander” and reported that the former deputy commander of NATO, the former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff (who was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2011-2014), expressed outrage that Britain isn’t urgently preparing for war against Russia, and also reported that “He describes Russia as now the west’s most dangerous adversary and says Putin’s course can only be stopped if the west wakes up to the real possibility of war and takes urgent action. … In a chilling scenario, he predicts that Russia, in order to escape what it believes to be encirclement by Nato, will seize territory in eastern Ukraine.” (That’s the Donbass region, where there has been a civil war.)
This encirclement by NATO is, apparently, about to be expanded: Shirreff will now be satisfied by NATO, even if not by its member the UK, of which Shirreff happens to be a citizen. ...