Q&A: What exactly is happening in Ukraine?

posted at 7:31 pm on January 31, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

I chatted with Hannah Thoburn, a Eurasia analyst affiliated with the Foreign Policy Initiative, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The National Interest. I asked her to give me a down-to-basics explanation of what’s going on in Ukraine, where she also lived for two years. Her talk with me is very closely paraphrased, but not precisely quoted, below.

What sparked protests?

There were actually two sparking events.

1) Protest movement started back in November when the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, decided not to sign an association agreement with the EU, which had been planned for for many, many years. The Ukrainian people, at least half of them, got understandably extremely angry because they had seen all the things that their Polish friends have next door. They see, they came from the same place 25 years ago and they have the EU and Ukraine doesn’t, and they see how much better off they are. They took to the streets in November and it was generally a very peaceful sort of thing.

2) The second spark, the one that started the violence, was Jan. 16. In a show-of-hands-only, illegal, unrecorded vote in Parliament, which is called the Verkhovna Rada, the ruling party, which is called the party of Regions (its base of power is in the East, the more Russian-leaning part of Ukraine), pushed through a series of laws that were basically targeted at ending the protests. For instance, you’re not allowed to wear helmets; you’re not allowed to wear masks; If you drive in a line of five cars or more you can have your license taken away and your car impounded for up to two years. Ridiculously large jail terms were on offer for anything and everything. They passed a foreign agents law very similar to the one Russia passed last year, forcing everyone to register. There were additional restrictions on media. That blatant restriction of their freedoms is the thing that really sparked the violence that started a little over a week ago.

What was the reason for Yanukovych’s rejection of the EU deal? Is this just another story of a former Russian satellite cozying up to Putin?

There are a lot of factors, but at the end of the day, they have in fact chosen to go with the Russian offer to buy $15 billion of Ukrainian credits. The Ukrainian economy is in a really, really, terrible state and they need that money to stay afloat. They could have an equal amount of money from the IMF, but [Russian money is] easier and it doesn’t come with any of the restrictions that Western money does. The West wants you to do these reforms and end corruption. The administration now, corruption is what makes them tick. They’re in it to get rich and going with Putin means they don’t have to give it all up. I personally think it’s very short sighted. but they’re doing whatever works for them.

Is the opposition growing due to the heavy-handedness of Yanukovych?

We actually don’t know. Ukrainian polling is not necessarily at a level where they do a very good job of going out in the streets during an event like this. We have polls from a couple of weeks ago. As far as we can tell, it looks like that President Yanuchovych does have at least half the people on his side, as of about two weeks ago. It’s very hard to tell whether the violence has turned it one way or the other. It’s not shown very much on television, which is now almost entirely controlled by the government or friends and allies of the president. On national TV you’ll see things presented as nice Ukrainian citizens bringing cake and cookies to the riot police.

Opposition media is really based online. There are two relatively widely watched online TV stations. Facebook, and the Russian-language version thereof, are really important organizing tools for them. Twitter, not as much as other countries where we’ve seen.

What, if anything, is the U.S.’s stake there. How should it be responding?

The US has made a lot of statements about it. The State Department is very, very aware of what’s going on. It something we really can’t turn a blind eye to. The U.S. has spent 20+ years really working to help build Ukraine and help educate Ukrainians on democracy, etc. I don’t think [the U.S.] feels like we can turn our backs on it. On the other hand, there is the thought that, the U.S. had a Civil War, and if that’s the way this is going to go in Ukraine, that’s their issue. They elected this guy and they need to figure it out. We can’t solve their problems for them. The U.S. and the EU really want Ukrainians to take control, take responsibility for their own country.

Beyond statements, there are holds on visas of some Ukrainian officials who are involved in the violence. There’s a really strong desire amongst Ukrainians I’ve talked to to have more action. They’re really getting fed up with what they see as hypocrisy; they see the West as talking, and talking and talking and not really doing anything. I think more sanctions on leadership in Ukraine would be a good thing if only just to say, “Ukrainians, we understand your problem. We’re gonna stand with you on this. We’ll do something, you do the rest.” I think that would go a long way.

I hear there is a Klitschko brother involved in this story?

The opposition situation is complicated, but there are three leaders of three opposition parties. One of them is Vitali Klitschko, not Wladimir. Wladimir is the one who’s engaged to Hayden Panetierre. Vitali now runs a party that goes by the acronym, UDAR, which in Ukrainian and Russian means “punch.” He’s really done well over the last couple of years playing off of this boxer persona and he’s proven to be reasonably popular. What a lot of people are seeing now is that none of the three leaders of the opposition parties are actually leading and there’s really great frustration among Ukrainians that there’s such a deficit of leadership., The other day they were all three speaking on the main stage in Independence Square in Kiev, and Ukrainians were chanting, “Give us a leader!”

All three of them would be perfectly happy just to lead. But for those who want to go in a democratic direction, it’s very difficult for one of them to shove the other two aside. What it has ended up meaning is there really is not leadership of the opposition. That’s another reason they’re looking to the U.S. and EU.

Where does the country stand now? The president has literally called in sick. What is the status of the protest laws that started the violence?

The offending protest laws have been repealed, but tensions remain high. Many cars belonging to activists have been burned. A prominent activist disappeared, then was dropped outside of Kiev to freeze to death, but survived to tell a story of a week of torture, even crucifixion. There was also an amnesty of sorts offered to opposition, but it came with conditions, so the opposition rejected it. It’s sort of a calm before the storm in the streets.

Hannah also wrote on Ukrainian upheaval, here.

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They could have an equal amount of money from the IMF, but [Russian money is] easier and it doesn’t come with any of the restrictions that Western money does

This is completely false… they already owe the IMF a lot of money and what they were offered was nowhere near the Russian offer.

the U.S. had a Civil War, and if that’s the way this is going to go in Ukraine, that’s their issue.

Please, the US state department is the new COMINTERN prodding these people into civil war.

ninjapirate on January 31, 2014 at 7:45 PM

I just hope and pray Putin doesn’t take it back…

OmahaConservative on January 31, 2014 at 7:46 PM

And it doesn’t seem the EU really wants them. Putin trying to rope them in makes perfect sense, especially in light of the decades-old theory that the “break up” of the Soviet Union was nothing more than a political move. The Soviets simply restructured/regrouped and sought to destabilize surrounding countries, and keep them all on leashes. How tight they pulled on those leashes I guess had to do with what they considered to be Muscovite property (like Chechnya) and what was buffer territory to be exploited as necessary.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 31, 2014 at 7:46 PM

The State Department is very, very aware of what’s going on.

This is new.

forest on January 31, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Ukraine is a basket case.
2. Ukraine wanted to go with the West
3. The EU offered Ukraine a sh-tty offer.
4. The Ukraine turned to Putin.
5. NATO starts instigating protests to get back at Putin.

ninjapirate on January 31, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Instead of a dreary photo of whatever, how bout you post that one of you in the Green Bay hat, Mary Katharine? That’s my favorite. You look like the girl next door in that one.

Lanceman on January 31, 2014 at 7:49 PM

So I heard some tubby New Joizan closed a bridge recently? Thanks American media!

Jeddite on January 31, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Lanceman on January 31, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Georgia, not Green Bay.

Christien on January 31, 2014 at 7:54 PM

If the US sits back and waits to see what happens, if the those who side with the West will ultimately take control, Putin will own Ukrain. The Ukrain has several very valuable resources.

Natural resources of Ukraine

Ukraine is rich in natural resources: coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel and uranium, and others. The reserves of sulfur are the largest in the world, the reserves of mercury ore are the second largest. Also more than 5% of world reserves of iron ore are concentrated in Ukraine.

There are oil and gas deposits but their reserves are not significant (the reserves of these fossil fuels were partly depleted during the Soviet period).

Coal is the main fossil fuel of Ukraine. It is mined in the Donetsk and Lviv-Volyn basins. Donetsk Basin (Donbass) is the largest in Ukraine. It is located on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts.

The area of the basin is about 60,000 sq. km. (50,000 sq. km. within Ukrainian border). The eastern part of the Donetsk Basin is located in Rostov oblast of Russia. Industrial coal mining began in 1795.

This region, in east-central Ukraine, is industrial heartland of the country and one of the major heavy-industrial and mining-metallurgical complexes of Europe. The region is the most urbanized, and russified area of Ukraine. The key cities are Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, and Donetsk.

Besides its basic mining industries, Donetsk Basin has highly developed ferrous-metals industries that produce iron and steel in large quantities. Durable goods manufactured in Donetsk Basin include mining and metallurgical equipment, diesel locomotives, and tractors.

Along with coal Ukraine has rich deposits of iron ore (about 46% of all of the former USSR). Uranium ore that is used in nuclear power plants, is mined in Dnepropetrovsk and Kirovograd oblasts.

thatsafactjack on January 31, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Sasha Volokh has a nice picture diary about this whole situation. Very interesting, if one is inclined to go find it.

Lanceman on January 31, 2014 at 7:57 PM

It’s sort of a calm before the storm in the streets.

So just like Denver and Seattle. Come late Sunday night cars are going to be on fire in both places.

Seriously, thanks MKH for a clear and concise recap of a situation underplayed in the media because of the Olympics and the administration’s fecklessness.

Happy Nomad on January 31, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Sochi Games Closing Ceremony is February 23rd. My guess is Putin waits at least a week or two after that if he’s going to make any overt moves.

Christien on January 31, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Thanks MKH

rbj on January 31, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Q&A: What exactly is happening in Ukraine?

Without reading beyond the title, I would assume Putin has a lot to do with it.

farsighted on January 31, 2014 at 8:18 PM

The State Department is very, very aware of what’s going on.

This is new.

forest on January 31, 2014 at 7:46 PM

…s u r e !
…like they are aware of anything…outside of D C/

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2014 at 8:20 PM

If the US sits back and waits to see what happens, if the those who side with the West will ultimately take control, Putin will own Ukrain. The Ukrain has several very valuable resources.

thatsafactjack on January 31, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Well, I was born there, in the Western part, and all I can tell you is that even though info you posted sounds so enticing and great, the actual, real picture couldn’t differ more.

What you guys are shown is the “OWS of Ukraine”. 80% of locals, and especially those local to Kiev have been begging the government to put this crap out of its misery. Those you see on “barricades” are descendents of those who happily greeted advancing Nazis in WWII, they also volunteered for the police force during WWII to work along with Nazis (brutal suppression of locals and partisans) and also volunteered as guards in death caps. This is what Western Ukraine is, the area around Lvov, where I was born.

ALL THE RESOURCES you have described are located in the (80%) EASTERN part of Ukraine and this part is rabidly against joining EU after seeing live examples of “joining” in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and pretty much every else save for Germany and a few other countries. EU is a jobs destroyer.

Cops were told to stand down since Day 1, despite number of reports in the West, only self defense was allowed. Given orders, what you see as “resistance” would be gone and done with in less than 2 hours. Probably less. More than 100 cops have suffered injuries, burns and wounds by now and they are more than ready and willing to do their job.

Read local blogs, not the crap posted here or elsewhere. Locals want this “OWS” gone, as in gone for good. Back to their region of Lvov where they arrived from.

Ukraine has been paying much lower rates for Russian gas and oil than EU does. Why is it that no one in the West is reporting just how much it will cost Ukraine to pay real market prices for gas and oil. And since most of Ukrainian exports are mostly sold to Russia (very little interest from EU), will EU even buy those products from Ukraine once Ukraine has to compete on same currency as the rest of EU? No, whatever they can generate from exports to Russia these days will pretty much amount to nothing once Russia stops buying. So, a HUGE DOUBLE HIT for Ukraine, financially: not only will it have to pay way more for oil and gas, but it will generate much less from greatly diminished exports to Russia. Russian does not need to buy anything from Ukraine and what it does buy these days should be considered a huge favor. As is, already all the “exports” to Russia are greatly delayed on the border, and Russia has also suspended that $15 Billion package it has negotiated with Ukraine after handing them $3 Billion so far. So, Russian money has stopped, will be interesting to see how Ukraine is able to live on EU dole. And just how Ukraine will be able to re-pay the $3 Billion.

As I already said, I lived there, I follow all the events there through local blogs and news, and I am telling you that the picture the West is painting is nowhere near what is really taking place there. We did not tolerate OWS here, why are we forcing another country to accept their version of OWS? Remind me just how the Muslim Spring has played out in the past 2 years as orchestrated by Hussein and the EU.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 8:46 PM

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 8:46 PM

do you have your own blog where you can post info like this?
I have website if you want place to post them.
info like this, IMO, is important.

dmacleo on January 31, 2014 at 8:59 PM

You’re up on AoSHQ, MKH

John the Libertarian on January 31, 2014 at 9:04 PM

do you have your own blog where you can post info like this?
I have website if you want place to post them.
info like this, IMO, is important.

dmacleo on January 31, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Don’t have a blog. Would be interested to post all things Eastern Europe, let me chew on that.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Don’t have a blog. Would be interested to post all things Eastern Europe, let me chew on that.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:18 PM

lol you do now you joined over there :)
let me know what I can do to help.
can create more categories and front page categories too if needed for longer articles.

dmacleo on January 31, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Putin will never give up the submarine basis in Sevastopol. Crimea is his access to the Black Sea. Look at a map.

There are 30-40,000 Russian troops in Sochi for the Olympics. Sochi is not far from Crimea. What’s Obama going to do? Kerry? Clinton?

Kaffa on January 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Those you see on “barricades” are descendents of those who happily greeted advancing Nazis in WWII, they also volunteered for the police force during WWII to work along with Nazis

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 8:46 PM

To be fair, if I was living under Stalin I might welcome the Nazis as well. Just to stir the pot I suppose.

bernverdnardo1 on January 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

The Shocking Truth in Ukraine Mainstream Will Not Report – There is a Chance to be Free At Last

The riot police are most likely NOT even Ukrainian – they are NOT the local police. No one actually knows where these thugs came from, but they appear to be mercenaries perhaps from Russia. The local police are now starting to side with the people outside of Kiev and realize they are not the thugs involved suppressing the people of Ukraine.

US NGO Uncovered in Ukraine Protests

Now Ukrainians have found evidence of direct involvement of the Belgrade US-financed training group, CANVAS behind the carefully-orchestrated Kiev protests.
A copy of the pamphlet that was given out to opposition protestors in Kiev has been obtained. It is a word-for-word and picture-for-picture translation of the pamphlet used by US-financed Canvas organizers in the 2011 Cairo Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood.[1] The photo below is a side-by-side comparison:

Murphy9 on January 31, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Putin will never give up the submarine basis in Sevastopol. Crimea is his access to the Black Sea. Look at a map.

There are 30-40,000 Russian troops in Sochi for the Olympics. Sochi is not far from Crimea. What’s Obama going to do? Kerry? Clinton?

Kaffa on January 31, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Tell you what. Let’s talk history here, does name Mazepa mean anything to you?

Do you understand that Ukraine, in order to protect itself against Poland, SOLD ITSELF to Russia way back when? As did Georgia and Finland, at later dates, seeking similar protection? So, what worth do you put on tens of thousands of Russian lives defending those countries, AS THEIR OWN?

Also, Crimea was ALWAYS Russian, until Khruschiov “gifted” it to Ukraine. Which Ukraine now wants claims as its own all the while “forgetting” that ENTIRE Ukraine is Russian based on official sale to Russia by Mazepa. So, tell me, who really owns Sevastopol? And access to Black Sea by way of Crimea.

Putin is not asking for anything he is not supposed to. Russians lost way too many lives fighting Europe to protect THEIR OWN LAND in CRIMEA. I am actually surprised they have not put their foot way more forcefully so far for lands that are nothing but traditionally Russian to begin with.

You want to discuss Falklands? Or why Russian architecture is so ingrained in Finland? Its an interesting world out there once you start peeling the layers.

Its a long conversation, too bad so few are up to speed on it.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM

To be fair, if I was living under Stalin I might welcome the Nazis as well. Just to stir the pot I suppose.

bernverdnardo1 on January 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Interesting observation (lots of sarcasm here). You mean the rest of USSR, Belorussia included should have welcomed Nazis as well? Only because they lived under Stalin?

For the record, the rest of Ukraine, the EASTERN portion, has put up one hell of a fight. As did Belorussia, which caused SERIOUS harm to advancing Nazi armies.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Business insider had an article- 10 things the west should know about the situation in Kiev.

journeyintothewhirlwind on January 31, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Lurch has patrolling the Mekong along the Ukrainian border seared into his memory.

viking01 on January 31, 2014 at 10:15 PM

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I have people in Sevastopol. I am told that the people are forming themselves into groups to protect the government buildings from the protestors like they did in Odessa.

Have you heard any more about the situation in Crimea – Feodosia?

Kaffa on January 31, 2014 at 11:57 PM

there’s really great frustration among Ukrainians Americans that there’s such a deficit of leadership., The other day they were all three speaking on the main stage in Independence Square in Kiev, and Ukrainians were chanting, “Give us a leader!”

*************************

As far as leadership is concerned, Putin if nothing else is a leader. (That is not an endorsement.)

reddick, I appreciate your commentary.

davidk on February 1, 2014 at 6:26 AM

Interesting observation (lots of sarcasm here). You mean the rest of USSR, Belorussia included should have welcomed Nazis as well? Only because they lived under Stalin?

For the record, the rest of Ukraine, the EASTERN portion, has put up one hell of a fight. As did Belorussia, which caused SERIOUS harm to advancing Nazi armies.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 9:48 PM

The German Army was seen as liberators by most of the Ukrainians, until the SS came through and started killing people.

Count to 10 on February 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM

Ukraine has another problem in that one of the Red Mafia groups, the one which was under Mogilevich but is now under Firtash, is in Ukraine and has a diversified set of holdings ranging from the legal (TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, hockey team) to the semi-legal (somehow able to store lots of natural gas in the Ukrainian system while extorting Iran via contacts in Turkmenistan) to the illegal (traffic from the Golden Triangle, murder for hire, transnational prostitution and kidnapping). A lot of the money that runs that criminal empire is held in… Cypress. You know the place with the economy imploding that asked Putin for help? That place.

If Ukraine wanted Polish results, it should have done a Nozick distribution of State organizations on an egalitarian basis and allow the magic of the marketplace to get real capitalist owners for them. Mind you the illicit funds from organized crime would still have an influence, but the length of time to cut out the Heavy Metals criminal groups (those running aluminum, titanium, iron and other concerns across the old USSR) would at least give the means to get those concerns under open books scrutiny. That would not have gotten rid of the organized crime element, but at least would cause it to diversify and put its legitimate holdings under risk for its illicit activities. Those organizations that do this have learned how to operate within the system…and it isn’t one that is pro-Putin or pro-Ukraine, either.

This isn’t a driving force, to be sure, but it sure does help to muddy things up.

ajacksonian on February 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

As I already said, I lived there, I follow all the events there through local blogs and news, and I am telling you that the picture the West is painting is nowhere near what is really taking place there.

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Very informative post! Unfortunately it seems distorted reporting of current events in non-Western countries seems to be the rule rather than the exception for the Western press.

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2014 at 9:58 AM

riddick on January 31, 2014 at 8:46 PM

It’s amazing to me that no one has asked about Riddick’s ethnic background before offering to post his stuff, or to look at the blogs he suggests.

Those in the Ukraine with people of Russian ethnicity will of course voice an opinion that is the opposite of ethnic Russians.

Ethnic Ukrainians suffered deeply under Stalin, let us remember the forced famines alone.

My family, both Lithuanian and Ukrainian, has an entirely different set of information, and different statistics. They’re on the ground there and are not OWS types.

I suggest that bloggers on HotAir visit both sides’ blogs and articles that depict both sides before forming an opinion.

There are many.

integrity now on February 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Regarding the laws that have been “repealed”. The repeal cannot go into effect without Yanukovich’s signature, and he is “out sick”.

integrity now on February 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

*Those in the Ukraine with people of Russian ethnicity will of course voice an opinion that is the opposite of ethnic Ukranians.

integrity now on February 1, 2014 at 11:08 AM

It’s amazing to me that no one has asked about Riddick’s ethnic background before offering to post his stuff, or to look at the blogs he suggests.

Those in the Ukraine with people of Russian ethnicity will of course voice an opinion that is the opposite of ethnic Russians.

I suggest that bloggers on HotAir visit both sides’ blogs and articles that depict both sides before forming an opinion.

There are many.

integrity now on February 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Good points.

DarkCurrent on February 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM

It’s amazing to me that no one has asked about Riddick’s ethnic background before offering to post his stuff, or to look at the blogs he suggests.

integrity now on February 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM

I am a JEW.

What’s your point?

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM

And what’s really amazing, to be blunt, just how ignorant people CHOOSE TO BE even when HISTORICAL FACTS are posted.

Ukraine has SOLD its rights to “freedom” and “independence” way back when, in the 17th Century to be exact. And yes, ethnic Russians do compose a rather large portion of Ukraine’s population these days.

And historically, Crimea was nothing but Russian. Look up just who built wine industry there, AND WHEN, which is a money maker these days.

For those still clueless there was a large gathering today in Khar’kov, to organize against “OWS Maidan”, even locals are getting tired of all this crap, never mind cops who are still forbidden to do their job. They opnely call “OWS” occupants now, should be a clear indication how things stand there.

And, BTW, one of the “leaders” of “OWS” was “found” today in Kiev’s hospital. Although he claims that he was kidnapped and tortured for the past week, he somehow refuses to say just where he was for the past 7 days. Refuses to tell cops and investigators village name he claims to have been tortured in and just how he got free. Wouldn’t it be easier for cops, as he claims, who “kidnapped” him to make sure he is dead and can’t talk?

Really strange just how same people who never fail to point out how corrupt and ill informed local news media are all of a sudden stand by this media in this story. OK, then…

Sunday papers tell no lies…

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 5:40 PM

I have people in Sevastopol. I am told that the people are forming themselves into groups to protect the government buildings from the protestors like they did in Odessa.

Have you heard any more about the situation in Crimea – Feodosia?

Kaffa on January 31, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Read my posts above. Not just Odessa and Crimea anymore. In Kharkov TODAY, AND NOT REPORTED BY LOCAL MEDIA, people are forming an ARMY (armed resistance), with political organization as cover, with Afghan war veterans leading the way and calling for unity against “OCCUPANTS on Maidan”. If Maidan thought cops may be an issue, these guys are the last people they want to deal with. And once anything starts, cops WILL NOT BE on Maidan’s side to protect them, you can bet on that.

Bet local media has not reported that, doesn’t jive with their communist party line story here. Also, Kerry today signed some “agreement” with occupants in Germany, like anyone in Ukraine cares about what Kerry is offering or says. But it begs a question, Was he afraid to show up in Kiev to meet with opposition and sign “agreements”? Looks like he was not assured of his safety despite western media’s claims that Kiev is all for opposition. As wouldn’t be “opposition leaders” having to travel to EU for such meeting.

BTW, Odessa was never part of Ukraine until Soviet times, these days they are FORCED to use Ukrainian language, as is most of Ukraine that never spoke it to begin with. Only Western Ukraine did and even in Lvov (NEVER LVIV as it is renamed now) I spoke nothing but Russian. Although, like anyone else there I was forced to learn Ukrainian in school. Odessa, along with Crimea, was built by Tsarist Russia, over 2 centuries ago, they hate “Ukraine” since they never were a part of it. Lvov was never Ukrainian as well, until the “great divide” in ’39. Plenty of street signs still hanging in Polish. Was Lemberg, until recent times, and dates back to 13th century. Tell an old timer from Poland you are from “Lvov” and there will be faint recognition, then tell them “Lemberg” and they say, Oh, YES, I now.

And another BTW, all those Jewish enclaves, on present day “Ukraine territory”, what people have read about and seen in such movies as “Fiddler on the Roof”, take a wild guess which language, besides Yiddish, Jews spoke? Pat yourself on the back if you said “RUSSIAN”.

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 6:20 PM

And even more news that you will not see locally:
http://www.from-ua.com/politics/6b69c1c3cd916.html

Turns out USA, OUR TAX DOLLARS REALLY, have been paying to organize and sustain “Maidan protests” to the tune of $20 MILLION PER WEEK. Same way Hussein and Co. here in USA (Soros surrogates) have been paying to organize and sustain OWS protests.

One of the leaders, Bulatov, was “found” after a week long absence, claiming he was kidnapped and tortured for a week. No signs of rope, handcuffs of any sort on his body, no signs of beatings, nothing save for a few small CLEAN cuts anyone could do with a small knife. His claim that his hands were pierced with large nails, Jesus like, do not correlate to his hands not showing any such wounds. AT ALL. Such MIRACULOUS recovery, just a day after escaping. He re-appeared clean shaven, with trimmed and clean nails. Refuses to name forest/village where he was supposedly tortured and where he supposedly escaped from his kidnappers. More than dubious claims and criminal in their intent, actually. Tawana Brawly anyone?

Another leader of Maidan, Portnikov, also “missing” for a week now. Rumors abound from his close friends that he vanished right after opposition leaders voted him to be MARTYRED to “re-charge” the crowd to “avenge his death”. I guess “martyrdom” was not to his liking, he’s for the cause but not THAT MUCH for the cause.

THUGS. DESPERATE THUGS. LIARS and CHEATS.

Sunday papers tell no lies…

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 7:18 PM

More about “opposition” and “maidan patriots”:
http://www.from-ua.com/politics/1bad36328c3e1.html

Similar to Nazi rise in Germany, same ideas and same actions. This is what we are now paying for, similar to how we paid to organize and support Muslim Spring, or rather MUSLIM BROTHERHOOOD/Al QAEDA rise in the past 2 years in Middle East, we now pay and support radical NAZI party in Ukraine.

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 7:33 PM

More about “opposition” and “maidan patriots”:
http://www.from-ua.com/politics/1bad36328c3e1.html

Similar to Nazi rise in Germany, same ideas and same actions. This is what we are now paying for, similar to how we paid to organize and support Muslim Spring, or rather MUSLIM BROTHERHOOOD/Al QAEDA rise in the past 2 years in Middle East, we now pay and support radical NAZI party in Ukraine.

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 7:33 PM

IS that the CANVAS group from my comment at 9:43?

US NGO Uncovered in Ukraine Protests

Now Ukrainians have found evidence of direct involvement of the Belgrade US-financed training group, CANVAS behind the carefully-orchestrated Kiev protests.
A copy of the pamphlet that was given out to opposition protestors in Kiev has been obtained. It is a word-for-word and picture-for-picture translation of the pamphlet used by US-financed Canvas organizers in the 2011 Cairo Tahrir Square protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak and opened the door to the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood.[1] The photo below is a side-by-side comparison:

Murphy9 on January 31, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Murphy9 on February 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Murphy9 on February 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Looks like CANVAS is just a middle man used to funnel USA money to “Right Sector”, the actual group in charge of organizing protests. “Right Sector” has copied Nazi type “organizing” as well as some of the muslim world ones, such as “martyrdom”. Same as with muslims, the top level organizers are not the ones to volunteer for “martyrdom”, they select others.

Just the name, RIGHT SECTOR, should be enough to see what they stand for.

riddick on February 1, 2014 at 9:56 PM

And threads like these, folks, are why I like HotAir… mainstream enough to keep most of the tin-foil types out, deep enough to get to the real story. Well done all, especially riddick.

(P. S., Mr. Riddick, I’m not sure what your connection to the Ukrainian Jewish community is these days, but I’m told that I’m the spitting image of this guy, so I feel some affinity for the city and area.)

ChicagoJewishGuy on February 1, 2014 at 10:58 PM

CANVAS is a relative of OtPOR

Otpor was a Serbian political youth group formed ahead of the 2000 elections — they received funding and training from various US agencies[citation needed]. The group has a wesbite (www.otpor.com), but it is a single page with the group’s symbol and nothing else. The same people who trained Otpor went on to train similar “colored flag” opposition movements elsewhere in Eastern Europe

Otpor type of activities entail organizing a militant section of society to instill cynicism in the government, drown out the government’s message, and convey the impression that there is broad based support for the opposition. Its activities amount to disrupting the government’s message and tarnish its image. NB: the same formula has been re-used in Ukraine, Georgia, Albania and Belarus. Otpor’s principal activities were:
graffiti encouraging cynism against those in power. Or as Michael Dobbs put it: “U.S. taxpayers paid for 5,000 cans of spray paint used by student activists to scrawl anti-Milosevic graffiti on walls across Serbia, and 2.5 million stickers with the slogan ‘He’s Finished,’ which became the revolution’s catchphrase.”[Dobbs op. cit.]
leafleting
massed concentrations with flags for the benefit of foreign (CNN) camera crews
Organizing student groups
Shouting down government speakers at public events
Hostile questioning of government officials and demanding resignation; booing… and in general disruptive and intimidating actions

CANVAS Center for Applied Non-Violent Actions and Strategies

Murphy9 on February 1, 2014 at 11:02 PM

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/01/30/ukraine-and-the-rebirth-of-fascism-in-europe/

The political formation is known as “Pravy Sektor” (Right Sector), which is essentially an umbrella organization for a number of ultra-nationalist (read fascist) right wing groups including supporters of the “Svoboda” (Freedom) Party, “Patriots of Ukraine”, “Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self Defense” (UNA-UNSO), and “Trizub”. All of these organizations share a common ideology that is vehemently anti-Russian, anti-immigrant, and anti-Jewish among other things. In addition they share a common reverence for the so called “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” led by Stepan Bandera, the infamous Nazi collaborators who actively fought against the Soviet Union and engaged in some of the worst atrocities committed by any side in World War II.

In early December, members of the US ruling establishment such as John McCain and Victoria Nuland were seen at Maidan lending their support to the protesters.

My my my, John McCain…

Murphy9 on February 1, 2014 at 11:17 PM

ChicagoJewishGuy on February 1, 2014 at 10:58 PM

I was born in Lvov, probably the most antisemitic city in Europe, all due to same people we now see on Maidan. Grew up seeing and hearing nothing but hate from this group. They burned the synagogue back in 1960, “accidental fire” as they called it. Lvov, or rather Lemberg, has been historically the most open city in Europe as religions/faith go, we had Armenian Orthodox Church, Polish Catholic and Jewish Synagogue sitting side by side for centuries there, right in the center of the town. All of the communities were living and working together since middle ages.
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Murphy9, McCain was there, of course, spoke at Maidan to these haters. Shame that his visit has not been covered better at the time. I recall telling my wife at the time and pointing out just idiotic McCain is for supporting these Nazis. I am sure he may have passed out money as well at the time.

But let’s not worry, Kerry is on the case now.

riddick on February 2, 2014 at 12:27 AM