The Russia Analyst hasn't written much about Ukraine since the end of 2015, in part because of events in Syria and elsewhere. But also because so little seemed to change after Prime Minister Arseniy "Yats" Yatsenyuk was hoisted by his balls like a mannequin in parliament last December. UPDATE 8:20 EDT April 10, 2016 Yatsenyuk has resigned, according to an announcement on his Facebook page.
Thanks to increasing restrictions on trade with Russia, its largest single country trade partner, the Ukrainian economy continues to implode, with wages in dollar terms approaching the level of some sub-Saharan African nations. The Ukrainian government boasts of being able to buy all the natural gas it needs without dealing directly with Gazprom, while receiving hundreds of millions in annual subsidies from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to re-import some of the Russian gas that passes through the country to Slovakia and Poland. The collapse of industrial demand for gas from Ukraine's dying aerospace and steel industries also 'helped' Kiev meet peak wintertime demand for the fuel. Government spending, particularly on the military, remains propped up by International Monetary Fund loans that the IMF lends in spite of its own regulations -- loans reaching into the billions of dollars that Kiev can never hope to pay back.
TransCarpathia, a western region in Ukraine, is seeking autonomy from Kiev as the central authorities provide the regions next to nothing while demanding more tax revenue from a shriveling economy. Zakarpattiya is also concerned about Right Sector and Svoboda party ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazi threats against the large ethnic Hungarian and Rusyn minority that lives in the region. In the East, the war in Donbass, which the Minsk2 accords signed by Kiev and the Russian-backed resistance in February 2015 was supposed to end, grinds on with trench warfare and firefights increasing during the spring thaw.
The Kiev Clown Show:
Brought to You By the IMF Thanks to American and European Union Taxpayers
The hoisting incident occurred as Yatsenyuk, who was revealed as Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland's handpicked favorite for the Prime Minister's job in the infamous 'f--- the EU' phone call leaked during the Maidan 'revolution', was explaining to the Verkhovna Rada the supposed progress Ukraine had made in implementing reforms in 2015. Naturally the lifting of Yats by his groin and his removal from the speaker's podium triggered a huge brawl between "Yats" People's Front deputies and members of other parties:
The theater of the absurd that is Ukrainian politics, financed in the bankrupt country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at American and European taxpayer expense, continued that month with the fugitive ex-Georgian President appointed Governor of Odessa, Mikhail Saakashvili, getting into a shouting match and water throwing contest against Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The video below shows Avakov starting the fight while Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin nods off in his chair nearby:
During the shouting match, Saakashvili, a man wanted by the authorities in his native Georgia and given a Ukrainian passport just a few weeks before being appointed Governor of Odessa, accused Avakov of being corrupt. The Armenian-origin Ukrainian politician responded by yelling that Saakashvili the carpetbagger governor isn't even Ukrainian, but Georgian. In this case, the Russia Analyst would have to agree with the insults that both men hurled at each other, as both men are corrupt to the bone and CIA/State Department assets as well. Avakov also reveals himself to be a compulsive liar as seen by his denial of dropping multiple f-bombs a few seconds earlier once President Petro Poroshenko meekly asks him not to curse, before adjourning the cabinet meeting in exasperation.
Post Maidan Ukraine is a Failing State, But the Empire of Chaos Really Doesn't Care
That both ex-Soviet leaders had to carry on their insults in Russian, because neither speaks very good Ukrainian, in front of a face-in-hands President Petro Poroshenko, sort of summed up the failure of the 'revolution of dignity' that was 'Euromaidan' to reduce corruption or bring much dignity to governance in Ukraine. Instead, besides the fortunes of certain exceptionals like Poroshenko, Avakov or Saakashvili, everything has gotten worse for the vast majority of Ukrainians since the 'revolution' cost Kiev the Crimea and triggered a civil war in Donbass. And now somebody's got to pay the price in the eyes of the Ukrainian people for this failure -- and it certainly won't be the U.S. proconsuls issuing orders in Kiev, Ambassador Geoff Pyatt and Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland.
The Moscow based journalist Alexei Pankin sums up the problem for 'the West' in Ukraine: the primary objectives Washington had in Ukraine have been achieved, a failing state ruled by anti-Russian authorities and a permanent source of anti-Russian manpower has been created on Russia's borders. Regardless of Ukrainian membership in NATO much less the EU, the integration of Ukraine into the Eurasian Economic Union, or the prospect of the country fulfilling its geographic and historic destiny to act as a bridge between the EU and EEU, has been smashed. Given the failing finances and falling standards of the Empire since the end of the first Cold War in 1989, that's 'good enough' for those calling the shots in Washington:
U.S. Strategy is Not Only Targeting Russia But Also Putting Pressure on the EU(SSR)
As the globalist consigliere Zbigniew Brzezinski stressed as far back as the mid-1990s and Hillary Rodham Clinton parroted, "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire". More critical than excluding Ukraine from a future Russian-led and Chinese aligned Eurasian trade zone, has been the immediate payoff of smashing down Russian-German trade and Russia's economy, using the Ukraine-related economic sanctions and Moscow's counter-sanctions on European agriculture to accomplish this mission. In video recorded remarks to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations many months ago, Stratfor CEO George Friedman emphasized that keeping Moscow and Berlin apart is a prime directive of U.S. offshore balancing strategy for Eurasia -- and one inherited from the late British Empire.
Since the 'Empire of Chaos' is no longer interested in or capable of creating prosperous, showcase allied states like it did back in the Fifties through Eighties with West Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, making Ukraine a zone of permanent instability to weaken Russia, regardless of the cost to the Ukrainian people, is sufficient. Whether the next Administration, particularly one led by Hillary Rodham Clinton, will decide to up the ante and commit to re-arming Ukraine's military as a fully NATO-integrated force, may determine to what extent Russia decides to overtly intervene rather than continue its present strategy of waiting out the economically crippled Kiev regime.
This Southfront video from March 2, prior to the Dutch vote against the Eurocrats and Kiev, summarizes the European Union's present course towards inevitable overstretch and socio-economic fragmentation. According to the video below, if Ukrainians actually were permitted visa-free travel and work permits tomorrow, within months several million would seize the opportunity to emigrate, further straining the social services and imploding job markets of leading European Union economies like France, Germany, Italy and Ukraine's ambivalent neighbor, Poland. A mass influx of Ukrainians would also increase the pressure for #Brexit, even in the event the UK's EU membership narrowly survives the upcoming British vote this June:
The failure of U.S. and EU policy to stop the immivasion of Europe, as well as the corruption and oligarchic infighting of Kiev has been noticed by millions of people around the world...and not just because of 'Russia's propaganda machine'. The Dutch vote is just the beginning of a growing backlash across Europe to not only the corruption, incompetence and anti-democratic globalist open borders dogma of the EU's leadership, but also Washington's dominance of the Continent's stunted politics of vassalage to the Atlanticist Empire:
Even many Ukrainians interviewed on the streets of Kiev by U.S. government funded news organization RFE/RL conceded that to Dutch voters, their country looks like a mess, and would probably be seen as a source of additional refugees the EU doesn't need. All of which suggests Ukrainians are becoming far more realistic about the bright shining 'European choice' that Washington and Brussels have endorsed and promised to support since the Maidan coup d'etat in February 2014:
Clearly, whether the anti-Russian apparatchiks at RFE/RL's 'Prague Palace' want to discuss it or not, Ukrainians understand deep down a country with constant brawls in parliament, a country where mysterious (false flag) snipers kill and all conveniently slip away despite the proximity of armed 'Maidan self-defense' fighters, a nation where anti-Maidan activists are burned alive in Odessa and nobody is put on trial for it...and where the President busies himself setting up offshore accounts while the army is suffering a humiliating defeat is not respecting 'European values'. In fact, Ukraine today isn't even a parody of European values, unless you want to argue, as my White Russian Floridian friend The Saker does, that Europe is turning into Ukraine -- a bankrupt, failing state presided over by American imperial proconsuls -- rather than Ukraine becoming Europe.
Responding to Failure by Diversion and Personnel Shifts:
Washington's 'New' Approach to Ukraine
There is only so much smoke U.S. and EU funded propaganda efforts like RFE/RL and @EUvsDisinfo can blow up people's butts before they decide enough's enough, in Ukraine and in Europe. Recognition of this reality is what's driving two linked trends after the Dutch rejection of the Association Agreement: the increased pressure on not only Yatsenyuk but also Poroshenko to resign, and the resumption of fighting in the Donbass to distract Ukrainians from their furious anger at the incompetents and thieves in Kiev.
If Washington can no longer blame all of Ukraine's problems on Russia, then the next best thing is to pin the blame on their chosen puppets Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, all while showing by the amount of anti-Poroshenko reports how 'free' the new Ukraine supposedly is (even though journalists opposed to the war in Donbass like Ruslan Kotsaba are rotting in jail). Hence the sudden surge in "Automaidan" protests outside the presidential administration. Hence the prominence of Poroshenko in the Soros and USAID funded #PanamaPapers leaks, revealing that at the height of the battle for Ilovaisk in August 2014, Poroshenko was setting up an offshore shell corporation to hold the assets of his Roshen candy empire.
Washington is Throwing Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk Under the Bus -- Unfortunately Neither U.S. Puppet is Likely to Face Justice for their War Crimes and Pillaging of Ukraine
This damning video segment from U.S. and Dutch-taxpayer funded Hromadske TV reminds Ukrainians that while Ukraine's Donbass battalion was being routed in the East, Poroshenko presided over a Ukrainian independence day parade featuring thousands of troops and much equipment through the streets of Kiev. All of whom could have been sent to an attempt to relieve the encircled Donbass battalion, but instead were used for pomp and ceremony instead.
As far back as late 2014 and early in 2015, the Russia Analyst has told the Guerrilla and his radio audience that Washington was looking for a pretext to dump Poroshenko and scapegoat him as the architect of the failed war in Donbass, rather than an expendable order taker for neocon overlords in D.C. who actually exploited Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia. Now it appears those who screamed zrada (treason) or who whispered that Poroshenko himself and his administrators were all secret agents of the Kremlin working for Ukraine's military defeat will have more ammunition for their 'arguments', courtesy of the American-taxpayer funded Organized Crime and Corruption Research Project (OCCRP) and Hromadske TV. And if Poroshenko decides to move against the 'independent' news channel, he will be reminded of just who exactly is the boss in Kiev, at 4 Sikorskoho Street.
What we are seeing with the exposure of Poroshenko's lies about selling his Roshen business into a blind trust, managed by Rothschild (of all wealth management firms), is a 'limited hangout'. Instead of Poroshenko being impeached over his covering up thousands of Ukrainian combat deaths, or his disgusting and criminal declaration that Kiev will win the Donbass war by making the separatists children hide in basements, the U.S. is going to flush its man in Kiev using the more pedestrian scandals surrounding his offshore accounts -- which probably aren't illegal, save for the evasion of Ukrainian taxes that permitted Poroshenko's fortune to increase since 2014 (even as Kiev's other oligarchs got poorer).
It's akin to the feds finally nailing ruthless gangster Al Capone not on a murder rap, but sendng him to Alcatraz for federal tax evasion back in the 1930s, except that Porky as a former U.S. vassal is unlikely to face similar punishment. Like former Brooklyn resident Saakashvili, Porky will probably receive a comfortable exile in the United States using the American passports he and his relatives have already covertly received.
Poroshenko and Yats replacements are, at any rate, already lined up and being prominently promoted by the State Department. Former U.S. Ambassadors to Kiev have been tweeting for weeks about Chicago-born Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko receiving the Prime Minister job after the Scientology cultist Yats is finally forced out. Volodymyr Borysovych Groisman, a young (age 38) Jewish politician from Poroshenko's bloc and a former Vice Prime Minister, is also reportedly being considered for the job by those who will ultimately make the decision, the American proconsuls who run Ukraine.
All of this, from Russia's perspective, means one of two things: either Washington is installing a new leadership less tainted than Poroshenko to cool off the conflict in Donbass and pursue more of a long term, slick PR driven 'hearts and minds' strategy for Ukraine, or more likely, the Empire is preparing to heat the Donbass front up again and increase the pressure all around Russia's borders.
Given the formation of a new Russian National Guard and the revival of the 1st Guards Tank Army, the evidence indicates Moscow is grimly digging in for renewed warfare both hybrid and conventional. Thus while the fighting this spring and summer in Donbass is likely to remain positional in nature, we will probably see both sides testing out (newly enlisted 'Ukrainian' aka #NATOForeignLegion) personnel and tactics for 2017-18.