Alexander BOYTSOV - Independent analyst and researcher
At the time I’m writing these lines a real war is raging on the streets of Kiev and the Western regions of Ukraine. To say it had been predicted means to say nothing: this development of events was inevitable.
Gun on the wall
Let’s paraphrase the classic, «If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off». If Pravy Sector plays its role in the first act of Maidan’s play, it will open fire in the third chapter. The coup d’état in 2004 gave a carte blanche to paramilitary groups – ideological successors of Ukrainian WWII fascists – to start ideological and combat training of the youth. The officials have taken a hand in it – they have glorified the leader of OUN-UPA (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists - the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) of Stepan Bandera and his Ukrainian Insurgent Army which fought shoulder to shoulder with the Hitler’s forces.
The nationalist group Prosvita has been funded until now from the Ukraine’s state budget to produce ideological product to educate militants. It’s an egregious example of the fact that the Party of Regions ignores the growing threat of fascism in the country. As a result, right-wing radicals have grown stronger; they have accumulated weapons and trained thousands of militants.
The consequences of this connivance have not kept waiting. Neo-Nazi militants attacked policemen near the building of government (the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine). Soldier-conscripts were brutally beaten for many hours near the President's offices at Bankovaya Street. That’s how they tried to transform the mass protests into a coup d’état. Those days the parliamentary opposition managed to keep the protest relatively peaceful following the established pattern of color revolutions.
Another cycle of violence in Kiev took place on February 19. That day the Pravy Sector militants attacked the government quarter. The February 19-10 events on Grushevskogo Street are seen by media as further getting taste of fire.
The right-wing Pravy Sector comprises a string of militarized neo-fascist groups. Its relations with the parliamentary opposition were conflict-like since the first day of mass protests in Kiev. Nevertheless, parliamentarians and right-wing radicals are like Siam brothers, they cannot do without each other. The first ones enjoy international standing, they are represented in power structures, they have material base, the support of some media outlets and substantial public support, these are the things that the militants lack. In their turn the radicals have the assault potential that the parliamentary opposition needs but is destitute of. It’s a marriage of convenience that shaped the tragic final act of Euromaidan.
Pravy Sector has never made a secret of the fact that it did not join the protests because of the President’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine. It pursued quite a different goal – a nationalist revolution.
No matter that, the three - headed opposition does not set aside the attempts to head the protests aimed at toppling the President.
Peaceful protests produced no results but the marginalization of Maidan. As a consequence the reputation of Vitaly Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleh Tyahnybok suffered greatly in the eyes of radicals and the discontented masses of protesters. So they decided to start a game of their own. The parliamentary opposition saw it as some get ahead so it rushed to take reins of the movement in an attempt to reap political dividends at the talks with the government. Getting some political support and the promises of amnesty for the committed crimes, radicals rushed to get arms ready. The Maidan had to fire because at this stage it could not have done otherwise.
No need for hawks with the doves like that
The Ukrainian government has also created all the conditions to make the mass protests, that had no substance after the failure of the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership, turn into full-scale anti-government armed rebellion. A constitution of any state envisions the guarantee of law, order and security for citizens. This is a provision any government is obliged to carry out using all the legal means available. The Ukrainian government has ignored its responsibility and has created the conditions for staging a coup.
The Euromaidan has constantly called for use of force to topple the constitutional government and foreign intervention. In response the SBU (the security service of Ukraine) opened a criminal case related to an attempt to stage a coup d’état. Literally the very next day it stormed into the office of Ukraine's Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party. It was established that every week the opposition and radical groups received $20 million from the US embassy to fund militants and the Maidan movement. Western pro-Ukrainian organizations, created by NATO special services during the Cold War, provided funds too. From the very start a clandestine control center functioned to coordinate the activities of Maidan protesters, it was staffed by Western experts with experience of staging orange revolutions throughout the world…
At that, the criminal case was closed in February, 2014 after he clashes took place on Grushevskogo Street because the perpetrators were not identified. This wording was used at the time the entire Internet space was flooded with Maidan video clips, social networks were filled with radicals’ open calls for taking up arms.
Instead of punishing for taking part in mass unrest, the government gave its consent for an amnesty in exchange for withdrawal from administrative buildings and unblocking roads. The laws protecting law enforcement agencies officers and judges, restricting the activities of foreign agents and banning the organizations, which propagated fascist ideology, were rescinded.
The putschists refused any compromise, they used the two-weeks respite to concentrate forces, prepare arms and work out plans of armed uprising.
Against all the odds
Each side has done its best to spark an armed stand-off. The events in Ukraine unfold under the direct and overt interference of the United States and the European Union. Their envoys and diplomats have constantly threatened the President of Ukraine and key members of Cabinet with sanctions.
The Western hypocrisy does not give rise to anything but aversion: any acts of violence committed by protesters, including kidnappings and tortures, are painted by the West as «peaceful actions», any attempt undertaken by the government to protect the soldiers from Molotov cocktails gives rise to threats of sanctions.
The abrupt escalation on February 18, which entailed great death toll, the seizures of military hardware stocks and street fighting never stopped Western hawks. Scared at first, they bounced back and veered from their own statements made on February 18 about imposing sanctions on the both parties to the conflict. They went back to the threats against the government in case it decides to use force.
On February 18 US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said that the United States believed the Ukrainian crisis could be settled with the help of dialogue, and sanctions could be imposed on those who encouraged the use of force on the both sides. The next day, the Ambassador said the right of people for peaceful protest should be guaranteed and notified that some Ukrainian officials were refused visas. He never remembered the responsibility of opposition for violence.
Shots were heard in Kiev, in Western Ukraine «peaceful protesters» assaulted military sites and police stations while Vice President Joe Biden was talking with President Yanukovych on the phone demanding to take the special operations forces from the streets of Ukrainian capital. Probably he wanted them away so that they would not create obstacles on the way of breaking into private homes, robbing pharmacies and killing political opponents in their own offices…
The European Union’s «heavy artillery» joined the efforts to exert pressure the President of Ukraine. José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, warned Yanukovych that the EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet on February 20 to take action against Ukrainian officials involved in taking the decisions that led to the loss of life. Foreign ministers of Sweden, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Germany proposed to discuss the possibility of deploying a peacekeeping force on the territory of Ukraine.
Dietmar Stüdemann, former German Foreign Minister, made know the peacekeeping mission is rather to be an «operation of coercion to make join the association». He said the goal of the European Union was to bring to a good end the talks on the Association Agreement and free trade zone.
Let nobody win
The ongoing stand-off is different from the 2004 coup because it has its ups and downs, it goes on the wane and then agitation is up due to some provoking event. The reason is that the peace coercion operation is not over yet.
The West would be satisfied with any outcome, let it be a «compromise with the opposition» leading to a colonial type of agreement or the resignation of Yanukovych which would mean transferring power into the hands of pro-Western opposition. The torpid unfolding of events for three months had not produced the desired result to the party concerned, so the implementation of plan B became inevitable – it envisions the sparking of civil war and the elimination of the state of Ukraine in its present form.
American geostrategists want Ukraine to be destabilized. Their real intention is not to drag the country into the association with the European Union, but rather to prevent of any kind of its integration with the Eurasian Union. Americans are sure that in case they succeed all Moscow’s efforts aimed at integration in the post-Soviet space will automatically become doomed. There is no doubt that playing the geopolitical games of such scope Washington’s hawks will not be stopped by any death toll that may result from sparking a civil war in Ukraine.