By Eduard Birov
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
The phrase “cynical banderites” was a signal from Poroshenko. It was,
moreover, a smoke signal announcing the beginning of a new campaign in Ukraine.
What is its objective? Ideological de-banderization of the country?
Of course not—without Russophobia everything else loses its
meaning. Battle against radical extremists committing crimes under the cover of
volunteer battalions? Partially. But only as a part of a larger process. What
is the process, then?
We can understand the process by synthesizing Poroshenko’s
seemingly contradictory behavior and Ukraine’s internal political trends. The
meaning is perfectly simple: maximum centralization of authority in one pair of
hands, mopping up of the political battlefield to eliminate various clans and
any forces not directly controlled by the president, including militarized
The process had started in summer and fall of 2014 when
Poroshenko succeeded in subordinating the Rada, most of the government, and
neutralized first Timoshenko and then Yatsenyuk and Turchinov (which entailed a
In December Poroshenko announced the government would be
cleansed of oligarchs. At the time the promise seemed like just another example
of pandering to the masses, with no chance of even an attempt to implement.
However, in March 2015 the de-oligarchization became the top priority for
After Kolomoysky was deprived of control over Ukrnafta and the
Dnepropetrovsk Region with US support, it became clear those were not empty
words. Next in line are Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Firtash, and all other oligarchs.
The principle is most likely this: the oligarch is offered
the return of major infrastructure assets crucial to Kiev under nominal state
control, and is then allowed to take care of his remaining business without
trying to interfere with Poroshenko’s actions.
I think that Kolomoysky agreed to something along those
lines, and retained the control of Privat Bank. He was also allowed to create
an “loyal opposition.” In other words, Ukraine’s oligarchs and feudals are to
become ordinary businessmen, otherwise the US will refuse to support them.
It’s also obvious that any nominally nationalized property
will de-facto come under Poroshenko’s control. Ukraine will transition from the
state of several fiefdoms into a unified US colony under the control of a grand
chieftain. The battle of oligarchs for the sake of the interests of the main
oligarchs is the essence of Ukraine’s de-oligarchization campaign.
That could have been done only with US support and absence
of Russia’s opposition. Many wanted Moscow to promote internecine feuds among
the oligarchs and to support Kolomoysky against Poroshenko. But the Kremlin had
already decided that, prior to a direct clash with the West over the entire
Ukraine, the best option is to freeze the conflict in place, while the break-up
of Ukraine into individual fiefdoms would not be in Russia’s interest.
Kiev’s decision to disband the volunteer battalions is part
of the same strategy. It’s obvious that the private oligarch-financed armies
represent a permanent threat by the power sector to overthrow the government or
to separate another region. Banning the oligarchs’ “pocket armies” and
launching a major campaign against “bandits in the ATO zone”, Poroshenko is in
practice eliminating those who brought him to power on the Maidan, and then
helped the junta to keep power by terrorizing the population.
It’s doubtful he’ll treat them like Hitler did with Roehm’s
SA stormtroopers, some of whom were physically liquidated. But the point is
that the volunteer punitive troops have become inconvenient and unnecessary to
Kiev, so they were outlawed. They suddenly became bandits and threats to
At the same time, it’s virtually guaranteed that many Dnepr
or Aidar volunteers will enter the UAF or the MVD which will carry out the same
punitive functions, but in a systematic manner, officially, and under the
control of a single power center.
So it’s the same approach, but more legalistic and without
freelancing. They will keep destroying “separatists” and dissidents
methodically and even with pleasure, just as the Nazis did. Poroshenko is not
doing it as part of some secret agreement with Putin, but in accordance with
the logic of national socialist regimes. Hitler did not become less of a Nazi
after he wiped out the SA.
In that sense, the battle against “cynical banderites” is
not a change of ideology but simply giving respectability to a Russophobic
ideology. The Russophobes in the Kiev elite are not going anywhere, there will
be no rapprochement with Russia, children will continue to be raised to hate
the Russian language and the Russians, and there will be no contrition before
Simply the tactics have changed. Washington does not need
Ukraine crawling with sociopathic militant detachments—they have failed to mop
up the Donbass and therefore they will be written off. Washington needs an authoritarian,
russophobic, fascist Ukraine which will prepare to launch suicidal aggression
They don’t need a Bandera in charge of Ukraine (that’s the
level of dug-outs in forests), but a Fuehrer—a leader of a big country
preparing for a Drang nach Osten or, in the new interpretation, a march against
Mordor in the name of the Free World.
It would seem that Poroshenko is being transformed into a
controllable little Fuehrer who will enjoy absolute power on his own territory.
Not a sociopathic banderite leader, but an outwardly respectable, wealthy, and
self-assured leader, with a trained army and an SS.
Hence Poroshenko’s military get-up, his posing with weapons,
behind the wheel of armored vehicles, and the constant contacts with Biden and
the representatives of Western elites, the trips to international for a and
Hence the campaign to establish order within the country,
the sensational arrests of officials, lustration, struggle against oligarchs,
against uncontrollable paramilitaries, SBU activities against the separatists.
All of that is creating the image of a strong leader capable of making the
hardest of decisions.
At least, that’s the intent. However, it is extremely
doubtful it can be implemented. Ukrainians are not Germans, the Kiev regime
does not have the level of effectiveness of Hitler’s Germany, and Ukraine’s
economy cannot be transformed to run like German machinery no matter now much
money IMF plows into it.
The absence of any discipline and the soft Little Russian
mentality will not allow anything remotely similar to Hitler’s army from being
created. You could send thousands of NATO instructors and place a German next
to every Ukrainian, and you’d still fail. On the other hand, that’s what the
Americans would like: something hastily slapped together and laughable, but
aggressively predisposed toward Moscow. They believe that Russia is so weak that
its destabilization could be achieved by a strike by even as flimsy a battering
ram as today’s Ukraine.
It seems that a war with Ukraine is becoming more likely—a
pointless, rapid war with a pre-ordained outcome, but a war nonetheless. It is
exceptionally important not to allow it.
J.Hawk’s Comment: There is a tendency to exaggerate the role
of the US, both here and, well, pretty much everywhere else in the Russian
media and the blogosphere. Yet only a few months ago everyone predicted that
the Americans were going to overthrow Poroshenko and replace him with Turchinov, Parubiy,
Yatsenyuk, whoever. What happened to those alleged plans? Why did the US change
its mind, supposedly?
The US had no such plans, it barely has a strategy for
dealing with Ukraine or Russia, the support for the Maidan was opportunistic
and rather badly thought through, and the best evidence for that is the absence
of billions of dollars of aid flowing to Kiev that would be a surefire sign
that Ukraine is of some importance to Washington. But it isn’t.
Which, of course, doesn’t sit well with Poroshenko so he is
trying to make it become of importance. My take is that Poroshenko is suffering
from “Israel envy”—how about we make Ukraine into the US outpost in the Eastern
Europe to hold back the Russian hordes. Once we prove ourselves effective in
that role, as Israel did when it came to Soviet-supported Arab governments,
billions of dollars of annual aid will drop in our lap. That’s the role
Poroshenko is auditioning for, that’s the point of the military fatigues and
the Glock on the hip.
This, incidentally, is why Israel will never have peace with
any of its neighbors—once there is peace, what’s the point of showering Israel
with money? The problem, of course, is that Israel does not border with a
country even remotely comparable to Russia, and that, unlike in the case of the
Middle East, Brussels and Berlin don’t want to see a militarized and fascistic
US outpost in Eastern Europe, whether it be Poland, Estonia, or Ukraine.