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    February 21, 2015

    What is behind Poroshenko's hardening rhetoric?


    By Varjag-2007

    Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

    It’s not necessary to read the article [the blog post links to an article outlining the Ukrainian gov’t latest measures, including the hardening of rhetoric against Russia, the closure of borders, and stepped-up censorship], but the question is absolutely appropriate, and we know what the answers are. Poroshenko wanted a bit of calm, he wanted order that he needs to hold on to power, but instead everything is spinning out of control. So much so that the MFA is making statements about being ready for a full-scale war with Russia.

    It’s all very simple.

    It doesn’t matter what Poroshenko wants anymore. The economy is collapsing, its strategic enterprises are dying, and there is no money and there will be none. Ukraine’s sponsors in which it had placed its hopes are now practically insulting it—the Europeans are helpfully suggesting that “Ukraine ought to show its attractiveness to investors, while the US equally helpfully points out that “Ukrainians are very ineffectively using their resources,” so not a chance of actual help. Moreover, coal mines are about to close and a hungry coal miner is a dangerous beast.

    As if on cue, Mr. Azarov is suggesting the creation of a “Ukrainian government in exile”, and Azarov is not Yanukovych, he is totally dependable, so much so that many of Ukraine’s oligarchs might be tempted to play the role of “prodigal son” to seek his forgiveness, which would mean curtains for Poroshenko. On the other hand there are rumors on the Maidanek [Maidanek was a German death camp in Poland, whereas the Maidan, well, you get the picture] that maybe it’s time to change the president, but not for Yatsenyuk or the Pastor [Turchinov] (both seem repelled by the prospect of this honor), but rather the [Azov commander] Biletsky who is already being groomed for the post of mayor of Kiev [here the article links to a rather lengthy article, one of several that appeared in Ukrainian press in recent days, on the campaign to get Biletsky elected as a mayor of Kiev].

    No Germany and no France, for whose sake Poroshenko went to Minsk, will help. Neither with money—that’s self-evident (Greece is more important), nor with political cover. They did the most they could and now can only not interfere. And explain that they were bitterly disappointed in Poroshenko [here the blog links to an article detailing the UAF’s morale collapse post-Debaltsevo]. But the US, which keep the Maidanek on a tight leash, and viewed their slave’s submissiveness before the Frau and Monsieur as an attempt to reduce the US stranglehold, have already let the leash slip a little by organizing the “unified HQ” [reference to the volunteer movement coordinating HQ pushed by Semenchenko and apparently also Yarosh]. Once they scared Poroshenko a little bit they backtracked, but Poroshenko got the message and “hardened his position.”

    Honestly, I have no idea what this pack of rats is capable of now that it is cornered. There are no limits here, but I still think that when it comes to a “war with a nuclear power” [a reference to the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs stating such readiness in an interview with CBC] is a bluff. Probably. But the “accusations that the militia is preparing to take Mariupol” is an evident and open provocation, which clearly suggests that very soon Poroshenko will throw away all agreements and throw the remnants of his forces into slaughter. Knowing perfectly well how it will end. In the hopes that the US will intervene one way or another. But that’s still to come. In the meantine…

    In the meantime, judging by everything, Ukraine is moving toward terror. Not for nothing are the junta media outlets discussing the matter of where the multi-thousand army of “titushki” [thugs employed by the Yanukovych government to break-up demonstrations, which was a legitimate grievance held by many well-meaning participants of the Maidan]. And we learn that it did not go anywhere. It scattered, and now it awaits better times. Given that anyone could be accused of being a “titushka”, you don’t have to guess where this is going. Likewise not for nothing is the Ukrainian government de-facto banning the freedom of movement and closing borders. One can no longer count on the protection of the law: Turchinov ordered restrictions on judges’ ability to leave the country [here the blog links to an article describing the plans to carry out a purge of the judges, starting with an investigation of those who refused to support the banning of the Communist Party of Ukraine]. I dare say the judges got the message.

    And that’s everything. I have to admit the situation is developing faster than I expected.

    J.Hawk’s Comment: 

    Me too! I don’t agree with the interpretation of the US role. Semenchenko and Yarosh are genuinely rogue actors, not under anyone’s control. Their efforts to create a separate “coordinating HQ” were met by MVD “cease and desist” order, which was supported by the majority of volunteer battalion commanders. Tellingly, Biletsky did not join the initiative. But it is through the Turchinov/Avakov/Nalivaychenko/Yatsenyuk clique (and the associated volunteer battalions which recognize their authority—Semenchenko is an exception here) that the US influences Ukrainian politics. The hardening of rhetoric and policies has little to do with Semenchenko and Yarosh--those two can be easily crushed by the combined forces of the MVD and loyal volunteer battalions.

     But what about Varjag’s prediction that Poroshenko will throw the remnants of his army at Novorossia once again, in order to provoke a US intervention? In my view, it doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future. The junta is painfully aware of the magnitude of its defeat. It knows that the military’s strength would have to be first reconstituted—that’s why its representatives travel the world begging for “precision weaponry.” However, the US does not like to give weapons to losers, and that’s what the UAF looked like even in the US media after Debaltsevo. Not to mention that by now the credibility of Poroshenko and his General Staff Chief Muzhenko is non-existent. Would the UAF follow orders if ordered to attack one more time? And what would happen after it suffered YET ANOTHER defeat?  That strikes me as an excessively risky proposition. Internal repression and state terror seem like the safer bet.

    No, the terror angle is the dominant one—the junta is wounded, it is increasingly unpopular, and now its violence will turn on those who are still under its control since the original plan of establishing its dominance through the destruction of Novorossia had failed.  But terror has to be justified, and the justification is simply that Russia is still the enemy, and anyone criticizing the junta must be a pro-Russian traitor.

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