Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Update on Ukraine

Today I am sad.  Sad for Ukraine; sad for the civilians, especially the old and the young, caught in the war zone.  Sad for the soldiers, the Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their homeland and freedom and the Russian soldiers, sent often against their will to die for the glory of a lost Empire.  Sad for Russia, rejecting everything good that "the West" stands for, and believing that a return to Stalinism with Orthodoxy as the state religion rather than Communism, can return their lost Empire and their lost Great Power status, though it leaves them in poverty and in slavery.

Four Buddhist monks were arrested in Moscow for praying in front of the Ukrainian Embassy for the civilians killed in a terrorist rocket attack.  Two men have had criminal charges laid against them after holding "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" picket signs and one 75 year old pensioner could face five years in jail.

This article has more details of Russian clamp down on free speech.

Russian press has come out strongly in favour of strict censorship and blames the magazine for the deaths in Paris.  Lierov marched in the parade, though relegated to the fourth row.  There were other countries represented where freedom of speech is even more controlled than Russia.  At least Obama had the good grace not to attend but that is a blog rant for another day.

Some Russians are wearing "Je suis Valera" buttons in support of a mentally deranged Russian soldier who killed a family of seven Armenians in their own home.  According to the agreement between Russia and Armenia, he should be tried in an Armenian court.  Russia is refusing and Armenians are rioting.  The killer is being treated as a martyr in Russia (see above link for more details).

The war has heated up almost full scale again.  Russian troops and equipment continue to be sent across the border into Ukraine and Russia continues to deny it.  One of the best comments I read on an article was "If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck but denies it is a duck, then it is a Russian duck".

The Donetsk airport has come under extremely heavy attack in the last few days.  It has held out longer than Stalingrad and has assumed the same mythical proportions in Russia's war against Ukraine.  As I write, I do not know if it has fallen or not.  Both sides are fighting fiercely.

Map of combat zone in eastern Ukraine
There is also heavy fighting north of Luhansk where Russian troops are attacking Ukrainian positions.  The eventual prize is the power station at Shchastia which supplies electricity to Luhansk. (Click to enlarge map).

Russian troops have been corralling and in some cases disarming the LNR and DNR terrorist bands, which include locals, mercenaries, volunteers Cossacks and Chechens to bring order and create a unified military command.

A full scale assault could come within the next couple of weeks according to one article I read.  It could well be.  If you predict something often enough one of the guesses is bound to be right.  The reasons are listed here:

Russia sent to eastern Ukraine five mobile crematoria. The remains of Russian soldiers killed in action in Ukraine will be incinerated on the spot. Too many Cargo 200. Now the families will not only have no information of how or where their loved ones died, they will not even have the body to bury. Cremation is highly unusual in Orthodox faith.

Proroshenko gave a speech in Switzerland the day before the Davos meetings started (yesterday?).  There were Russian hecklers in the audience which he slapped down quite nicely.  The audience booed the hecklers but Russian TV redid the video to make it appear as though they were booing Proroshenko.  They never miss a trick.

The Jamestown Foundation had an interesting article based on the writings of Alexander Sytnik, former senior fellow at the Russian Institute for Strategic Research, a government-funded think tank. 

According to Sytnik, Leonid Reshetnikov, the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Research, and Tamara Guzenkova, the head of the Institute’s department responsible for Ukraine, were vehemently opposed not only to Ukraine, but to the very notion of a distinct Ukrainian identity as such. The two, along with their subordinates, writes Sytnik, “could not say anything, but ‘there is no Ukraine, only Little Russia [Malorossiya]’; ‘Ukrainian statehood is a bluff and it is a failed state’; ‘it is a result of the criminal destruction of the Russian Empire by the Bolsheviks’; ‘the Ukrainian language was artificially created by the Austrians and the Poles to break up Russian unity’; ‘the consolidation of the post-Soviet space on the foundation of territorial and spiritual rebirth…’ ” 

 According to (Stytnik), who specialized in the Baltic States during his time in the Russian Institute for Strategic Research, he was fired after his analytical report on Belarus was delivered in September 2014. Sytnik’s main premise was that Belarus would participate in the Moscow-crafted Eurasian Union only as long as Belarus’ sovereignty remained intact. In his words, he was subsequently told that his point of view contradicted that of the Russian presidential administration and, therefore, the view of the Institute, and he had to go. (Note: He appears to have been right)

The Russian analyst’s scathing remarks about the country’s leadership and about the community of government experts confirm that the concept of Russian supremacy has a strong hold on the Russian leadership. These supremacist views are not limited to the post-Soviet space, where “only ethnic Russians are capable of creating statehood.” The West is also seen as decadent and somewhat spiritually inferior to the Russians. The spread of such views in Russia, especially among the country’s leaders, precludes easy and quick solutions to the Ukrainian crisis, but rather suggests a relatively lengthy period of tensions between Russia and the West, even if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin were, for some reason, to step down.


  1. This is saddening, and terrifying. And I've seen no coverage of it lately in the local news. If not for you, I'd never know what was happening over there.

    Stay safe.

    1. Thanks, Diane. I know Ukraine has dropped off the radar. Boko Haram's mass murder of 2000 people in Nigeria never even made the radar, just the people killed in Paris.
      Ukraine should be on the front pages. It is not about Ukraine, it is about the future of all Europe

    2. President Obama mentioned Russia's encroachment into Ukraine in his state of the union speech but only in passing. Where is Europe? Where is NATO? How many wars and genocides and terror attacks: rapes - kidnapping - beheading - tortures... does it take until we finally admit that the human race is a plague on the planet. People individually are amiable enough; but let them organize into a party, a army, a nation, a religion or an ethnic group and they become a plague.
      We are seeing the insanity of the human race all across the world - it has been here before and will be here again - it is sad to say but this is the normal situation of our species. War is the norm and peace the respite between wars.
      the Ol'Buzzard

    3. As long as resources are scarce, (and when are they not?), there will be we vs them. The difference today is nuclear weapons and the ability to generate hatred faster with modern media.

  2. Sure does appear to be some ugly areas there, will the monkeys on this planet ever stop fighting each other?

    What do you have that they want anyway?

    1. A desire for freedom from colonization by Russia; a desire for dignity, for a liberal democratic society founded on transparent rule of law. In other words, Western values. Russia must stamp that out.


Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself. Trolls will be deleted