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“Glory to the free Ichkeria!” (or, What we need is a brand new war)/updated

Posted by Charles II on February 6, 2015

Update: Crossposted with massive additions and obligatory pie fight at DK.

Robert Parry has an eye-opening piece focusing on the financial interests and malfeasance in our policy toward Ukraine:

Robert Parry, The Consortium
(Our new agent in Ukraine: Jaanika Merilo, advisor on foreign investments to the Economics Minister)

The Russians also have noted the arrival of financially self-interested Americans, including Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, reminding the Russians of the American financial experts who descended on Moscow with their “shock therapy” in the 1990s, “reforms” that enriched a few well-connected oligarchs but impoverished millions of average Russians.

Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who took Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014 to become Finance Minister, had been in charge of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed $150 million Ukrainian investment fund which involved substantial insider dealings, including paying a management fund that Jaresko created more than $1 million a year in fees, even as the $150 million apparently dwindled to less than $100 million.

Jaresko also has been involved in a two-year-long legal battle with her ex-husband to gag him from releasing information about apparent irregularities in the handling of the U.S. money.

More Interested Parties

The Russians also looked askance at the appointment of Estonian Jaanika Merilo as the latest foreigner to be brought inside the Ukrainian government as a “reformer.” Merilo, a Jaresko associate, is being put in charge of attracting foreign investments

The Russians are aware, too, of prominent Americans circling around the potential plunder of Ukraine. For instance, Hunter Biden was named to the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, which is a shadowy Cyprus-based company linked to Privat Bank.

Privat Bank is controlled by the thuggish billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed by the Kiev regime to be governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a south-central province of Ukraine. Kolomoysky has helped finance the paramilitary forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

And, Burisma has been lining up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures. As Time magazine reported, “Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.” [See’s “The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis.”]

James Carden has a piece in The Nation on the recent report I linked that argues for starting a war with Russia over Ukraine:

And if the establishment’s media campaign to pressure the White House can be said to have a pièce de résistance, it is this report, titled Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do.

Published under the auspices of the the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution (of which Strobe Talbott is President), and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (of which Ivo Daalder is president), the report calls for the United States to become Kiev’s principal arms supplier.

More worrying still is the fact that the authors of the report are members-in-good-standing of the Democratic foreign policy establishment. Should Hillary Clinton gain the Oval Office in 2016, Talbott would likely be the front-runner for secretary of state, while another of the report’s co-authors, Michele Flournoy, would be a leading candidate for secretary of defense. Since there is really no tangible difference between the recommendations of these (largely) Democratic party stalwarts and those being bandied about by hardline Republican in the Senate, Russia policy has truly become “bipartisan” in the very worst sense.

Mikhail Klikushkin has some follow-up in The New York Observer, in an article titled The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs:

One new face in the Rada—leader of the Right Sector ultra-nationalist party and former warlord Dmytro Yarosh—admitted in a January interview with Ukrainian TV that he caresses a real hand grenade in his pocket while inside the Rada. Because he is MP, the security personnel has no right to check his pockets. They just ask if he has anything dangerous on his person and he says no. The reason to have a hand grenade on his body is that there are too many enemies of Ukraine within the MP crowding him during the voting process. He is not afraid, of course. But when the time comes, he will use this grenade and with a bit of luck he will take a lot of them with him if he dies.

Ukrainian MPs Yuri Beryoza and Andrei Levus, also former warlords and members of radical parties, became notorious last December after publicly applauding the terrorist attack in the Russian city of Grozny….

Another former warlord, former member of social-national party and today’s Ukrainian MP Igor Mosiychuk said to the journalists that Ukraine, “being in the state of war, must stimulate the opening of the second front in the Caucuses, in Middle Asia” against Russia. In the scandalous video, which has been viewed 2.5 million times, he unloaded an assault rifle into the portrait of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ranting, “Ramzan, you have sent your dogs, traitors into our land. We have been killing them here and we will come after you. We will come after you to Grozny. We will help our brothers to free Ichkeria from such dogs like you. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the free Ichkeria!”

Michael Kofman of the Wilson Institute has a piece in the [paleocon] National Interest that goes into weapons issues in some detail:

Experts familiar with the reasons for Ukraine’s military defeat understand that it is not due to technical deficits, although those exist across the board in its armed forces, but because its army as a whole is not a capable force. It lacks logistics, training, commanders with experience at maneuvering brigade- or battalion-sized elements, any coordination between volunteer battalions and regular forces, along with independent military analysis of the problems. There is no intelligence, no mobile reserves, no unified command and a political leadership that often seems disconnected from the facts on the ground. Dumping weapons into this operating environment is unlikely to prove a solution to the problems, all of which are fundamental and structural.

In truth, the reason for the current winter offensive that was launched on January 13th is often misunderstood. It is widely recognized in Moscow that signing the Minsk ceasefire was a wholly unforced strategic mistake, as it achieved none of its stated political objectives, while making Russia a party to the conflict with obligations that could subsequently be pointed to by the West. Minsk remains a dead ceasefire because of a fundamental disagreement over the sequencing of how the deal should be implemented, not because Moscow could think of nothing better than to launch a ground offensive in January, the worst month for such operations. Russian leaders will not withdraw their forces, or restore control of the border, until they first see that Kyiv is willing to give political status and recognition to the separatists.

Ukrainian leaders naturally have no desire to grant true political recognition or autonomy to the separatists, and Russia has no interest in abandoning them to be completely crushed by political, economic and military pressure from Ukraine. Hence, Moscow and Kyiv did not fulfill their respective obligations under this agreement, or withdraw troops according to the secret protocol signed on September 19

The reason for the resumption of the current war is that Russia’s leadership has wagered a colossal amount of political capital on its invasion of Ukraine. It is perhaps a matter of life and death for the current political system, and a core interest of Russia that it is unlikely to give up on, no matter the amount of Western political pressure or weapons sent.

I wrote my elected representatives today.

Did you?


13 Responses to ““Glory to the free Ichkeria!” (or, What we need is a brand new war)/updated”

  1. jo6pacjo6pac said

    Here’s more on this subject. I found them over at Ives Smiths site.
    The vultures lining to pick the bones of the Ukraine leaving only poverty for the citizens

    No reason to write my congresscritter tea party member

  2. jo6pacjo6pac said

    Followed the link to the orange ? and wow but not surprised at the Russia bad & Amerika good attitude. There were couple of people with open minds. I read somewhere that kos was thinking about running against Barbara Lee for congress I think it was at Ives place.

    • Charles II said

      Thanks for the links, Jo. I had come across Dancing With Bears through Parry.

      I don’t think that Markos has any chance against Barbara Lee. Too many people remember that she was the only congressperson who spoke her conscience on all three big votes (Afghanistan, Patriot Act, and Iraq).

      • It also never hurts to remember that Moulitsas is much more conservative than Daily Kos. His money comes from a sports site, and before Reagan, he was a Republican. He’s a very nice guy and I wish him well, but I’d rather have Lee in Congress.

      • Charles II said

        Daily Kos is getting pretty conservative, Mark. I’m not sure whether DLCers are trying to influence the site or whether the liberals have just gotten frustrated with the Red-baiting and general hostility. But, yeah, Markos is not a flaming liberal by any means.

      • Haven’t been over there in years. Did not know that the site had shifted to the right. Frankly, that makes no sense to me given the nature of the community. I suspect you’re right in speculating about DLC trolls.

      • I don’t think it’s shifted to the right so much as a few hasbara practitioners have figured out how to game the system.

      • Charles II said

        Hard to tell, I’d agree, PW. More righties or just cleverer righties?

        I compare my experience blogging about the Honduras coup vs. against blogging about Ukraine. In Honduras, I don’t think anyone called me a communist (I checked several diaries). Blogging about Ukraine, I have been called a “Kremlin stooge” and even a “Russian spy.” One of the ‘wingers equated me (on a non-Ukraine diary to George Wallace. This is virulent. Maybe they’re cleverer. Maybe this is an issue more important to our foreign policy establishment. But I think they’re more hateful, too.

      • Ukraine sacrosanct, Honduras OK to report on? Sounds like more than just the DLC. Then again, the overlap between Zionists and the DLC must be close to 100%.

      • Charles II said

        If you would replace the word “Zionists” with the term “right-wing Israeli a-holes,” I might agree on some connection with the DLC, Mark. Most American Jews–including those who are Zionist–are disgusted with the current government in Israel and concerned about what’s happening with Palestinians. “Zionist” has become a sort of catchall insult.

        The concept of “Zionism =racism” is a confused one, and one that leads to a lot of unnecessary bickering. Anti-Semitism is a real problem. Zionism is a response to anti-Semitism. I think it’s the wrong response, but for the wame reason that I think that Russian nationalism and American nationalism are the wrong response.

        As for being free to post about Honduras on Daily Kos, I don’t think Markos would tolerate the same sort of stuff that is tolerated about Russia. People raised under the Cold War don’t really understand that the USSR and communism is no more. Putin’s Russia is what laissez faire crony capitalism looks like, and that is none too pretty. It’s also our own future, if not our present.

      • Didn’t realize there were Zionists who support Gaza now. Never understood anti-Semitism since Arabs are Semites. And what I know I don’t understand is where all the Russian and Ukrainian Jews in Israel fit into any of this. Since the fascists are driving unrest on the Ukrainian side, I have to suspect that the Ukrainians and Russians in Israel get along. But how do they vote? Or don’t they vote as a bloc?

      • Charles II said

        Mark, it’s perfectly possible to be Pro-Palestinian and Zionist. Both are forms of nationalism. The two-state solution is a vision by which both nationalisms are supported. Granted, people tend to let one nationalism overwhelm the other. But, for example, this article.

        I don’t know the Ukraine issue is playing out in Israel. It’s true that in World War II, the non-Russian Ukrainians joined up with the Nazis in attacking the Jews, at least until they realized that the Germans plans to expunge them as well. But the Russians never treated the Jews all that well. Prior to the USSR, the Russians ran the pogroms.

        But of course people don’t think historically. In the present, Russia is an ally of Iran and Syria. In side Ukraine, the guys sporting the Nazi regalia are all on the Kiev side of the conflict, but there’s anti-Semitism on the rebel side as well. Crazy conspiracy theories abound on rebel boards.

        What I hear is that Jews from the Russian areas of the old USSR are politically unsophisticated and tend to be conservative. They don’t have a problem with what’s being done to the Palestinians. See for example:

        Most of Israel’s Russian-speaking community, including Esterman, is on the right these days. Since they now make up about 15 percent of Israel’s 8 million people, they wield considerable political clout and have played a significant role in the general rightward shift of the Israeli electorate.

        Russian-speaking immigrants form the base of the influential right-wing nationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu. The party has teamed up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud to form a bloc that is leading the polls ahead of this month’s elections.

        Galili argues that immigrants from the former Soviet Union have made a considerable impact on the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — not least because of their resistance to the idea of giving up territory.

        She attributes this partly to the fact that they came from a vast empire. “They look at the size of this country, and they say, ‘What? You want to hand back territory? You must be crazy!’ “

      • Appreciate the links and information. War and religion, my two least favorite things.

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