Friday, January 8, 2016

Ukraine begins 2016 with little change

Russia's war against Ukraine continues unabated.  The Russian proxies in Donbas attack Ukrainian positions many times every night, resulting usually in the deaths of one or more Ukrainian soldiers and the injuries of others.  Not sure what they hope to achieve other than just a slow grinding down of Ukraine's willingness to fight.  Ukrainian army defends itself but is not allowed any freedom that might be interpreted as breaking the precious "Minsk Agreement".

Russian "humanitarian" convoys continue to bring supplies to the Russian proxies and they are reported as amassing heavy equipment and soldiers in a n umber of locations along the border with free Ukraine.  How people in DNR and LNR are surviving the winter is beyond me but is Russia's problem.  Almost all aid groups have been turfed out, possibly because the honest aid groups refuse to allow the war lords to profit from the distribution of relief supplies.

Frankly, I think it is time for Ukraine to issue an ultimatum to Russia: remove your equipment, your soldiers, your mercenaries and any rebels who wish to leave OR Ukraine will recognize the independence of DNR and LNR and redraw the borer without them.  They want independence; they get it. Then see what they will do with it.  As the Minsk agreement now stands, they want to be part of Ukraine under rules in which they are independent and Ukraine pays for everything.  Not likely to happen.

Ukraine is fighting back on other fronts.  The Tatar blockade of land routes to Crimea still holds and is now officially recognized.  Consumer goods other than humanitarian are not allowed into Crimea from Ukraine.  Back in November "somebody" blew a couple of transmission towers and halted electricity from Ukraine to Crimea.  It was never fully restored before the contract to supply ran out.  Ukraine insists that any contract specify that Crimea belongs to Ukraine.  Putin commissioned a telephone survey of Crimean residents and behold "143%" voted in favour of freezing in the dark rather than sign such a contract. Some electricity is provided by local generators and some by newly laid cable from Russia across the Kerch strait but the peninsula is still suffering from rolling outages. This article pretty much sums up Crimea today

Ukraine's biggest problem isn't even Russia.  It is corruption.  Some improvements have been made but most are cosmetic. Anything that even comes close to dealing with the real people involved is fought tooth and nail. For example - NO ONE has been punished for deaths on Maidan, even though there is ample evidence to do so.  No one still residing in Ukraine has been punished for the theft of billions during the Yanukovich era. New police have been trained to serve and protect but the top bosses are still the same.  Investigative reporters looking into corruption in the SBU (Ukrainian Security Forces) are roughed up and their cameras taken.  No charges laid.  The most corrupt people in the system are the Prosecutors.  A great deal of effort has gone into trying to clean up that mess.  No improvement because Proroshenko refuses to fire the Prosecutor General of Ukraine who is stonewalling everything to protect not only himself and other Prosecutors but all those who benefit from their illegal activities. The head of a political party and a strong supporter of Proroshenko's bitter rival, oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, has been arrested and held.  No one else has been arrested.

People are getting fed up, including countries and organizations who have been bailing out Ukraine. One of two things will happen.  The country will revert to form and fall back under Putin's thumb OR there will be a revolution headed by the nationalist parties and it won't be pretty.  All they lack today is a leader.  I would not blame them as after a while people stop waiting to see things change and they take it into their own hands to change it NOW.  The problem with revolutions is that they never end well.  They may start with the best of intentions on the part of all involved.  If they are violent, the violence only increases (France, Russia). Even if they are non-violent (Iran, Maidan), those looking to increase their own wealth and power always rise to the surface.

We live in interesting times.



11 comments:

  1. very interesting...I learn so much here.

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  2. We hear absolutely nothing of the Ukraine dilemma here in the US.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. You have a presidential election coming up. Along with Y'all Qaeda and Obama the tyrant taking away people's guns, you have lots of local news.

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  3. Change seems to come terrifyingly fast or painfully slow. We know things will change, but we rarely know how. Good luck.

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    1. Couple of the banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland are forecasting a global meltdown in 2016 and recommending sell everything except gold plated bonds. If China folds as they anticipate, change will come sudden!

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  4. Ah, the ancient Chinese curse. 'We live in interesting times' indeed, but I'm glad things aren't as 'interesting' here as they are over there.

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    1. I hope Canada stays as "uninteresting" as it is now, $.65 dollar and all. It is still the best place to live. Y'all going to the big Kudatah in Edmuntun in February?

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    2. Goin' ta Edmuntun simply isn't done. My sister has lived there for five years and I still haven't made it up there to visit her. ;-)

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