By Stephen Lendman
[Ukraine protesters: still bathed in the glow of victory and naiveté.]
What kind of government establishes itself by force? What kind does it extrajudicially? What kind of legitimacy do ultranationalist, xenophobic, neo-Nazi, anti-Semites have? What kind substitutes unrestrained coercion for rule of law principles? What kind rules by intimidation?
What kind eliminates all political opposition? What kind bans all opposition information and opinions? The same kind substituting fascist dictatorship for democracy. On Saturday, Ukrainian freedom died. Fascist extremism replaced it. Coup plotters seized power. They did so extrajudicially. They began consolidating rule straightaway. A previous article discussed it. Hardline extremists control parliament. An illegitimate temporary president was installed. New ministry heads were appointed.
Terror, fear and uncertainty grip Ukraine. Most people don’t realize they were had. Anti-government supporters were deceived. Power-grabbing Western-supported fascists now run things. Democratic governance is gone. Police state lawlessness replaced it. Ukrainian was declared the sole official language. Russian was recognized earlier.
Nearly 30% of Ukrainians consider Russian their mother tongue. Expect recognition of other regional languages to be ended. On Sunday, the 2012 On State Language Policy law was rescinded. It lets regions declare their own official languages along with Ukrainian. Many Ukrainians are multilingual. Tatar is widely spoken in Crimea. Oleh Tyahnybok heads Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Svoboda party. He wants use of Russian language criminalized. He wants ethnic Russians stripped of their citizenship. He wants them denied all rights. He wants them treated like Israel treats Palestinians.
Russian TV channels were banned. Expect greater control over all media content. Expect total information control. Police states operate this way. Opposition isn’t tolerated. Fascist parliamentarians drafted legislation banning the Communist party and former ruling Party of Regions. On Monday, Rada member Oleg Lyashko said:
“I’ve already registered the relevant resolution with the parliament. (T)he Party of Regions together with their partners, the Communists, is to blame in the current developments in the country.”
Whether this legislation passes remains to be seen. Introducing it suggests other police laws to follow. Arrest warrants were issued for President Viktor Yanukovych, Party of Regions ministers, and law enforcement officials. Around 50 individuals are targeted. Some went into hiding for protection. Yanukovych went to Kharkov. It’s in Eastern Ukraine. It’s close to Russia’s border. He has lots of supporters there. He’s a marked man. His life is in danger. So is anyone opposing fascist rule.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern. It issued a statement saying:
“The position of some of our Western partners doesn’t show genuine concern, but a desire to act out of geopolitical self-interest. There is no condemnation of criminal actions by extremists, including manifestations of neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism. In fact, these are being encouraged.”
“(O)utside sponsors (support) regime change.” They reject “national consensus. We urge those embroiled in the crisis in Ukraine to show responsibility, and to prevent further deterioration of the situation, to return to the rule of law, and to stop extremists in their bid for power.”
Paramilitary thugs in improvised body armor patrol Kiev streets. They do so with baseball bats and shields. They intimidate anyone challenging them. They still occupy government buildings. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said “they continue to carry out acts of violence.”
They’re enacting laws extrajudicially. They’re doing so with a quorum of fascist deputies and Party of Regions defectors. They mock historical monuments. The “Soviet Soldier” commemorating collective sacrifice against Nazi invaders was toppled in western Ukraine’s Stryi, Lviv Oblast (province). Two dozen Lenin statues were taken down. Dnepropetrovsk’s Lenin Square was renamed Heroes of Maidan Square.
Kharkov’s UBR TV aired Yanukovych’s prerecorded message. “Everything that is happening today is, to a greater degree, about vandalism, bandits and a coup d’etat,” he said. He called what’s ongoing Ukraine’s greatest crisis since Hitler usurped power. “We now see the same things that were (happening) in the 1930s,” he said. Nazis established dictatorial rule. Opposition political parties were outlawed. “It’s the same now,” said Yanukovych. They banned the former ruling party. They “stalk, beat people, (and) burn down offices.”
Elements in charge are ultranationalist neo-Nazis. They’re allied with likeminded extremists. Hooliganism continues. Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused them of using “revolutionary justification to “forbid (using) Russian language entirely, encourage a lustration, liquidate (opposition) parties,” silence media they disapprove of, “and remove the limitations on neo-Nazi propaganda.”
Moscow recalled its ambassador. On Monday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: “We do not understand what is going on there. (A) real threat to our interests (exists) and to the lives and health of our citizens.”
Coup plotters have no legitimacy, he added. He expressed concern over Western leaders supporting what’s ongoing. “Strictly speaking, today there is no one there to communicate with.” he said. “The legitimacy of a number of power bodies is in huge doubt. If you consider people in black masks strolling through Kiev with Kalashnikov rifles (representing) a government, then it will be difficult for us to work with such a government,” he stressed.
“Some [of] our foreign, western partners hold the opposite opinion. They think these people (are) legitimate power bodies.” [In this the speaker shows some naiveté! For the West knows damn well who these people are.—Eds]
“I do not know what constitution and what laws they have been reading, but I hold that it is some sort of conscience aberration when you call something legitimate while in reality it is a result of a mutiny.”
Ukraine’s future is very much up for grabs. Perhaps balkanization looms. One or more regional authorities may split from Kiev. Eastern Ukraine, especially Crimea, are likely candidates. They’re pro-Russian. Vladimir Putin once called Soviet Russia’s dissolution modern history’s greatest tragedy.
He expressed most concern about Ukraine. It was part of Russia’s heartland, its breadbasket and gateway to the West. Crimea is home to its Black Sea Fleet. It’s too strategically important to lose. If eastern Ukrainian regions reject coup d’etat rule, Russia may likely support them. Quiet diplomacy may help them split away. Two, three or more Ukraines may result. What happens going forward bears close watching.
Professor Mark Almond believes Ukraine’s crisis may have wider impact than most people expect. It’s “a mistake to think we are watching from a safe distance,” he said. “(N)ot since the 1850s (Crimean War) has” Ukraine and Western countries “come so close to colliding with Russia.”
Eastern Ukraine opposes coup plotters deposing Yanukovych. Possible civil war worries Almond. “But what makes the crisis so dangerous is the international dimension,” he stresses. Ukraine is hugely important for Moscow. Washington wants it part of NATO. It shares a 1,400 kilometer border with Russia.
Imagine US bases close by. Imagine first-strike, nuclear-armed, long-range missiles on alert. What follows remains to be seen. According to Almond:
“If political and economic chaos leads to civil war…Yugoslavia’s break-up would seem like a vicarage tea party” by comparison. Doing so could ignite an East-West confrontation. Eastern Ukraine, especially Crimea, may be Moscow’s red line. Crossing it could be a point of no return. The fullness of time will tell if Washington tries. Imagine risking WW III if Obama dares. He bit off more than he can chew. He’s got a tiger by the tail.
Fascist extremists usurped power. On Friday, Right Sector ultranationalist Aleksandr Muzychko said “I’ll be fighting Jews and Russians till I die.” It’s leader, Dmitry Yarosh, is unapologetically fascist. He and likeminded extremists formed militias. They control Kiev. They have much to say about policies going forward.
Francis Boyle calls events in Ukraine “a brownshirt revolution…Rabid Russia haters like Zbignew Brzezinski and (Islamophobe) Richard Pipes” planned it,” he said. Brzezinski wants Russia balkanized, he believes. He wants it split in about “68 parts.” Brzezinski was Obama’s mentor at Columbia University.
He staffed his administration with acolytes and proteges like departing US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. He’s a neocon connected to Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. Boyle calls him a “color revolution specialist.” He quoted former US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz saying “(w)e are going to get into the business of destroying states.” He had all independent ones in mind. Syria is in the eye of the storm. So are Ukraine and Venezuela. Iran’s turn awaits.
Hegemons stop at nothing for unchallenged power. How much Ukraine’s crisis escalates further remains to be seen. A possible major East-West confrontation could follow. Imagine risking what no responsible leader would dare. Global wars start this way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.