This statement from December, a response by Ukrainian independent left groups to some western leftists’ (perceived) support for Russian aggression against Ukraine, deserves to be reprinted, as the attitudes it targets continue in some places.
The New York Times offers a history in maps of the Ukraine crisis, here.
Rory McFinn offers a handy set of guidelines for distinguishing Ukraine crisis commentators who don’t know much about Ukraine from those who do, here.
In “Is Ukraine fascist?” Rutgers University political scientist Alexander Motyl examines the case for finding fascism in Ukraine as opposed to Russia.
He’s pretty fair, despite his overstated conclusion. (I don’t think Russia has conclusively become fascist, even if many of the elements of that process are well in play.)
Following the collapse of the Minsk ceasefire talks, the leaders of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” held a joint press conference which ended in a bizarre anti-Semitic jibe against current Ukrainian leaders.
The entire press conference is worth watching, but the part in question begins at around 13’20”. It’s clear to me that they are aiming it at President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatseniuk, Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Groysman (those are the three most powerful politicians in Ukraine today), and probably Dnipropetrovsk governor (and pro-Kyiv oligarch) Ihor Kolomoisky, all of whom are known or thought to have Jewish roots and who, collectively, show how irrelevant ethnicity has become in Ukraine.
That these two guys see themselves as fighting for their “cossack” fiefdom (supported by a resurgent Great Russia) does not bode well for the future of the region.
Rutgers political scientist Alexander Motyl has a perceptive decoding of Vladimir Putin’s “state of the union” address to Russia’s Federal Assembly from a few days ago. You can read it here.
The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, which organizes solidarity in support of Ukrainian socialists and trade unionists, has issued an alert about the repression of social protests by paramilitaries in separatist-controlled areas of the Donbass region. The alert can be read here.
Also, a few weeks ago, the Donetsk National University issued an appeal to the international academic community to help protect them against the illegal seizure of the university by separatists.
in “Peering Through the Fog of War,” Observer Ukraine’s Marco Bojcun provides another solid analysis of the current situation of unannounced war between Russia and Ukraine.
“If on the one side we heard the apologists of the Kremlin insisting all this is just a Ukrainian civil war without Russian state intervention, from the other side we have had yet another kind of illusory and hopeful thinking: that the Ukrainian government can win the war in the east militarily, that with just a little more firepower the separatists can be defeated. And Russia would have to accept that fact and back off. The illusion in this line of thinking is twofold: first, that for Russia the goals of the war are limited to the subordination of Ukraine; and second, that the outcome of this war will be decided by the balance of brute force on the front.”
An Olympics-scale performance staged on August 9 in the Crimean military port of Sevastopol depicted the official Russian version of Ukraine’s Maidan revolution — complete with huge dancing human swastikas, lynchings, burnings, firings of Kalashnikovs, and symbols depicting the US (dollar signs, eagles, the Eye of Providence), the Right Sector, and the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics.”
Ostensibly organized by Russian biker club “Night Wolves” (Ночные волки) but clearly with a massive budget, the performance was broadcast nationally on the Rossiya-2 (Russia 2) state television network. Rather like Cirque du Soleil staging some Al-Qaedaesque millenarian nightmare, and bringing to mind Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, it is a disturbing example of what happens when cultural institutions are harnessed in the name of wartime propaganda.
Mat Babiak, editor of the Euromaidan Press web site, provides a detailed analysis (with numerous still photos) here. The original show in its entirety can be viewed on Rossiya-2. The web site for the “Triumphant Bike Show,” which began in Moscow and ended in Sevastopol, is here. For some images of the bikers themselves, see Google’s image database.
While the comments on the Euromaidan site reflect the shock, dismay, and befuddlement of Ukrainian viewers, those on the Russian Twitter feed express the delight of many Russian “patriotic” viewers.