I recently listened to a Ukrainian «nationalist» explain how and why the so-called Maidan revolution in Kiev came about.
Let’s call him Mykola Duratskii, a fictional character. His explanations were so distant from the realities which I know that I kept quiet and simply listened to the end. «Pointless to argue», I thought to myself (laughing), «but I need to make a record of his delusional, preposterous narrative».
«Well, you know», he said, «Ukraine finally got its independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed… that rotten, oppressive Russian entity, which kept us down for so long». Hmm, I thought to myself, «wasn’t there a referendum in the USSR on 17 March 1991?» And the results of the referendum were negative, right?
Well, no, as it turned out, 113 512 812 voters (or 78%) voted in favour of preservation of the Soviet Union. The voter participation rate represented 80% of the electorate excepting a few republics, the Baltics, for example, where local authorities attempted to obstruct the vote. Not in the Ukraine, however, the vote there was 70.2% in favour of preservation of the Union.
If there was such strong popular support for the USSR, why did it collapse so suddenly? Only nine months after the referendum, Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich signed the Belavezha Accords putting an end to the USSR. Everything fell apart almost overnight. If Mikhail Gorbachev had not so weakened the authority of the Soviet state, he would have ordered the arrest of Yeltsin and his colleagues, but of course he had reduced himself to a helpless, smiling dummy who called the US President George H W Bush to say good-bye. As for the Ukraine, it became independent, really for the first time, apart from a few months in 1918-1919. Moreover, because of various administrative changes during the Soviet period large Russian territories including the Crimea, went to the Ukraine instead of remaining with the new Russian Federation.
Seeds of trouble were thus planted for later propagation. And you know the United States. Its leaders gloated over the disappearance of the USSR. «We won», they declared, «now, we’ll do as we like». Of course they did, fishing in troubled waters everywhere, wanting to make sure there would be no revival of a strong, independent Russian state. This US plan seemed to work brilliantly with Yeltsin, who played the role of court jester in Washington. President Bill Clinton, treated him like an amusing drunk, and helped him to put down political opposition with tanks in 1993 and with large sacks of dollars in 1996 to buy his «re-election». Clinton could not save Yeltsin however who resigned in late 1999.
Meanwhile in the Ukraine the same kind of rotten government prevailed along with corruption on a scale quite possibly even greater than in Russia under Yeltsin. Our Ukrainian narrator, Mykola Duratskii, takes up the story with the first «colour revolution» in Kiev, and the election of Viktor Yushchenko as president. Everyone knows, though Duratskii never mentioned it, that the United States engineered the «revolution» in Kiev as well as another in Tbilisi the previous year. These actions were richly funded and organised by the US government through consultants, pollsters, diplomats, spooks and non-governmental organisations. Yushchenko proved to be a flop for Washington, however, and he lost the following elections to Viktor Yanukovich.
«Pro-Russian», Duratskii spat out, about Yanukovich. In fact, the poor fellow was trying to manoeuvre between Moscow and the European Union (EU) to obtain better access to European economic and financial markets, while maintaining a free trade agreement with the Russian Federation, the Ukraine’s most important market.
Russia has various duties and controls governing trade with the EU and Moscow could not allow these regulations to be undermined by an EU back door through the Ukraine. And yes, you may have guessed it, Duratskii never mentioned any of these problems in his long indictment of Russia. His line was that it was just a nasty bully trying to prevent the woe begotten Ukraine from leaving the Russian orbit. He failed to mention that the first Russian state was established in Kiev in the 9th century and that ties of kinship, culture, religion, history and economics have bound together these two geographic areas for more than a millennium.
Duratskii of course was not in the least bothered by the omissions in his story of the good Ukraine and the bad Russia. It turned out that Yanukovich was not much better or more popular than Yushchenko. He got into trouble when he realised that the economic agreement which he had negotiated with the EU was one-sided and would lead in effect to the de-industrialisation and the transformation of the Ukraine into an EU colony. Ukrainians would become sellers of sunflower seeds to western Europe. No independence there.
Large security issues were also involved; NATO wanted to expand into the Ukraine, thus buckling its encirclement of Russia. Putin intervened in December 2013, offering a $15 billion loan to the Ukraine – a bribe said Duratskii – to help Yanukovich get out of the fix he had made for himself by playing both ends against the middle in Moscow and Brussels. One can’t blame Yanukovich for trying to obtain advantages from both the EU and the Russian Federation, but the former wasn’t going to let him do it.
According to Duratskii, the so-called Maidan revolution was the result of Yanukovich trying to back out of the EU deal. And once again our fictional Ukrainian interlocutor leaves out essential details, the most important being US involvement in a new colour revolution to bring down the Yanukovich government. President Obama’s infamous deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, passed out sandwiches and cookies to hooligans wreaking havoc in Kiev.
But more than that, and she boasted of it, the US government distributed $5 billion to subsidise «democratic skills and institutions» in the Ukraine. This is Orwellian language which really meant $5 billion to overthrow the elected Kiev government. «Democracy» always serves the United States as a convenient cover for aggression.
(to be continued)