People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk’s leadership to hold vote on Sunday

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DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) – On a campaign trip, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic lit candles at a Russian Orthodox Church and kissed icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary before dashing off to meet about 100 voters in a local factory.

There, the barrel-chested 38-year-old former mine electrician Alexander Zakharchenko assured voters that he wanted pensions to be “higher than in Poland”. The elderly should have enough money to “travel to Australia at least once a year, he said.

Promises of a better life with support from Russia are being invoked as the self-proclaimed People’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which together call themselves Novorossiya or “New Russia”, hold elections on Sunday to give their leaders new legitimacy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made clear that despite Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine he will not leave the industrial region behind.

Looking straight into the camera at a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow last month, Putin said he lit candles there for “those who suffered and who gave their lives defending the people in Novorossiya”.

A ceasefire broken by the Kiev regime without explanation has made the leadership to decide to hold vote on Sunday, after fighting that killed more than 3,700 people.  Some refugees have returned to Donetsk, a city that had a million people before the war.

The city has campaign billboards of Zakharchenko in the green military fatigues that have become his trademark. Other elections posters show white doves or pictures of children, with the exhortation: “Vote for life!”

DPR's Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko

DPR’s Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko

Although two other less-known candidates are running against Zakharchenko, there is little doubt of victory for Zakharchenko, one of the few rebel militia commanders who is from Donetsk rather than Russia. He took over from a Russian as the top pro-independence leader in August.

With the ceasefire broken by the Kiev regime, the Ukrainian army continued shelling Donetsk, killing three civilians and injuring nine others. At a campaign meeting in the town of Novoazovsk, Zakharchenko promised to build “a normal state, a good one, a just one. Our boys died for this, civilians are still being killed for this until now.”

LEGITIMATION

The new leaders in Donetsk are doing what other Russian-backed regions have done before in breaking away from a former Soviet republic, Novorussia backed by Russia wants to break away from the Kiev regime to establish their independence.  Like parts of Georgia and Moldova now entering their third decades as self-proclaimed statelets in frozen conflicts, Novorossiya leaders don’t want a “frozen conlict”.  Zakharchenko himself acknowledges as much.

“Ninety-nine percent, we will not be recognized right away. We will live as an unrecognized state for a while,” he told the meeting in Novoazovsk.

But part of the playbook is ensuring the rebel authorities assume the full trappings of state power, regardless of their eventual legal status.

Earlier this month the pro-independence leaders announced the creation of their own central bank and tax office, asking residents to register under their Donetsk People’s Republic and pay taxes into its coffers rather than Kiev’s.

Local entrepreneurs out of loyalty to the pro-independence authorities have agreed to register their business in Donetsk.

“I decided to register because it is needed in order to operate without once our legitimacy is established,” Yelena, the owner of a house renovation company that employs 10 people, said as she filled in new tax forms.

Some local businessmen fear Ukrainian troops will drive the pro-independence authorities out and they may be labeled collaborators and killed. A manager of one Donetsk-based chain of stores allegedly said he convinced the pro-independence authorities  that registration would stop supplies from central and western Ukraine and threaten his sales and his staff’s jobs. But Russia can and will help if that happens. They won’t have to depend on western or central Ukraine.

Those running the election describe the vote itself as part of the legitimation process. Both the pro-independence leaders and locals are tired of Kiev declaring a cease-fire to be broken once they start shelling the DPR and killing civilians.

“Our job is to legitimize the Donetsk People’s Republic,” said Roman Lyagin, the election commission chief who is running Sunday’s vote from an office in a glitzy tower in central Donetsk, surrounded by armed guards.

“When we lost our homeland, I mean the Soviet Union, I was 11 years old. Today we are correcting the mistakes of the past.”

The pro-independence leaders took a symbolic step closer to Moscow by cancelling the winter change of clocks on Oct. 26, putting them in Moscow’s time zone rather than on Kiev time.

Other symbols are in the works: the Culture Ministry is holding a song contest to select a new national anthem.

Free concerts are being held, including one this week by enormously popular Soviet-era crooner Joseph Kobzon, a Donetsk region native and now member of Russia’s parliament.

 

Disinformation and Xenophobia in Western Media / The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

 

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Disinformation and Xenophobia in Western Media

The need for highest standards in brave new world exploding with social media

The International Council for Press and Broadcasting is convinced that the honesty or dishonesty of media affects the mental health of the world. Freedom of expression is vital as a means of permitting all views to flourish peacefully. It is a cliché that the price of this freedom must be continual vigilance – in particular vigilance to identify and expose the encouragement of malice, war and the incident of hate speech and image.

William Morris reflects on the current state of media ethics on becoming Chairman of the International Communications Forum (ICF)Few are old enough to remember the heady days before the newspaper revolution when computers replaced hot metal. But having been brought up in and around newspapers as a copy boy, I can remember the smell of the ink and the dirt and the clatter of the little presses and the deafening hum of the big monsters that rolled rivers of newsprint three stories into the air and back down again. For many of us those days are gone. Gone too are the great teams of investigative journalists. The Sunday Times’s ‘Insight’ team was, perhaps, the last of these but even they have long disappeared into the mists.

In those days who were the guardians of ethical journalism? The broadsheet proprietors cared about their reputations. And even the tabloid newspaper owners cared in some measure. Editors in chief took pride in the standards they adhered to. Even subeditors had a conscience, though then as now they could be staggeringly ruthless.

Have things changed? Well yes and no. Men and women of conscience still run some of our newspapers. Men and women of vision and mission still comprise many of our radio and television broadcasters and newspapermen. But the pressures are perhaps greater. For most journalists, spending a week working on a story is a luxury they can only dream of. Was it ever thus? Perhaps they always had to churn out copy but there was, I believe, more space for investigative journalism, if only because proprietors once had deeper pockets and more journalists to share the load.

Many Western papers have less than little time to sub copy anymore because of ever tighter budgets. There are the exceptions such as the Washington Post with its awesomely professional and well-staffed Foreign Desk (I must confess a bias because my daughter works for the Post) but such exceptions are rare.

What then does this mean for ethical journalism? It means that the journalist becomes the guardian of media ethics. It is a world in which we each take our own responsibility for what we do. We no longer have the moral conscience of the sub or the editor to fall back on. The editors themselves – for the most part – are still great women and men of conscience and principle. They still do heroic work shaping the overall vision of their publications. The great names are there. Alan Rusbridger, Editor in Chief of the London Guardian is a classic current example. But can Rusbridger even begin to read more than a small proportion of the vast quantity of copy the Guardian churns out in its online and print editions? Most modern editors are simply too busy to concern themselves on a day-to-day level with being the conscience of their junior reporters.

So, is xenophobia an issue? Sure it is. Media stories about classic pariah groups, the gypsies, the Romanians, the Arabs, the ‘Islamists’ and so forth, can descend into obscenity so easily and we don’t even notice. One Jewish writer I know wrote a whole opinion piece titled ‘LONDINISTAN’ and does not understand, to this day, that the mere headline (and it was of her choosing) was pejorative. She would be horrified to be called racist and, of course, she is not, just more than a little thoughtless perhaps.

In a similar vein, is desensitisation to violence an issue? Of course. Here in the West we think nothing of broadcasting images of brutality and torture if they are screened past the ‘9 o’clock watershed’, with little consideration given to the fact that many pubescent, vulnerable children are unlikely to head for their beds before midnight. And in the rest of the world things can be worse. The images of blood and violence on television sets in countries such as Israel and Iraq are breeding a generation desensitised to gore to such a degree that it is truly flabbergasting.

Is disinformation an issue? Absolutely. The current Syrian civil war has bred such a flood of intelligence agency feeds, as did the Iraq war little more than a decade ago, that it is near unbelievable. And most, I repeat, most, of these stories are published without serious qualm or question. My late father, a newspaper editor himself, had a maxim: ‘A story without a source is a source of trouble.’ This maxim we still use in our Media Ethics Code. He had a far better one too. It ran: ‘When in doubt, cut it out.’

So where do we go from here? Perhaps the key is that a number of prominent journalists make a public commitment to truth in Gandhiesque fashion. An affirmation that Absolute Truth is their standard. Or is that too extreme? Too fanatical? Undoubtedly we need to do something. If the editors can no longer always be our bellwethers we must find new heroes, new women and men we can point to and say: ‘They believe in fair play.’

Ethical journalism requires standards of vigilance that are unprecedented precisely because we are our own moral guardians and cannot lean on our bosses any longer. We should embrace that challenge with excitement. It heralds a better age. We are no longer children. We must stand up for ourselves. Gandhi once wrote (and I paraphrase slightly): ‘By experience I have found that people rarely become virtuous for virtues’ sake. They become virtuous by necessity. Nor is there anything wrong in becoming good under the pressure of circumstances.’ Raghvan Iyer, Gandhi’s main disciple, added: ‘Human life is an aspiration, a continual striving after perfection, and the ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses.’

Exactly! Herein lies a role for organisations like the International Communications Forum. We should extol virtue and excellence where we find it, through every means possible from the razzmatazz of the International Award to the private and personal accolade. And where necessary we should gently and respectfully cajole and criticise, through conferences and seminars if nowhere else. And we should support, nurture and foster media ethics, by doing everything from extolling the merits of media ethics codes to encouraging training in best practice.

Just as physicians and other health care professionals swear a Hippocratic Oath to practise medicine honestly, perhaps the ICF should promote our own oath of journalistic integrity which members of the trade could swear to in an effort to bolster internationally recognised standards of media ethics. After all, the world has changed. In a brave new world exploding with social media, demonstrations are called on Facebook, corruption is exposed in blogs, and reputations are destroyed by Twitter. In an era in which the internet provides an arena in which citizen journalists abound, it is the professional press that must adopt the highest standards of media credibility if they are to have a distinct place of their own, a territory that is truly theirs, in a world peopled with rumour and the viral tweet.

And it is exciting, truly exciting, that that should be the case.

Kremlin Spokesman Peskov’s Response to Putin’s Alleged Cancer: Bite Your Tongue!

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

 

MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti)Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday denied western reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is allegedly suffering from pancreatic cancer.

“Bite your tongue! Everything’s fine,” Peskov said in response to Putin’s supposed illness.

Last week, The New York Post published a story, in which it claimed the Russian president was suffering from cancer and was being treated by an elderly doctor, citing unnamed sources.

The rumors quickly spread and appeared in various western news outlets however none of the stories were able to substantiate the story with direct evidence.

Russian lawmaker asks Nobel Committee to strip Obama of Peace Prize

US President Barack Obama walks to the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2009 to address reporters after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US President Barack Obama walks to the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2009 to address reporters after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

 

A representative of the populist LDPR nationalist party claims in an official letter that the US President should be blamed for thousands of innocent people’s deaths and therefore cannot keep his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

More and more international experts are calling Obama’s presidency dark times. The reason for that is the brutal policy that he is conducting all over the world, like Napoleon or Hitler had done before. But I want to warn Obama so that he pays more attention to history and understands that he can end up like Hitler,” MP Roman Khudyakov said in an interview with Izvestia daily.

The politician added that under Obama the United States participated in the “dirty war” in the Middle East, financed the armed conflict in Ukraine and violated international law by torturing suspected terrorists. All this makes the US President complicit in the violent deaths of several thousand innocent civilians and such a person cannot remain the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, Khudyakov said.

In addition, the lawmaker suggested to pass the Peace Prize taken from Obama to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He stopped the war in Iran, in Syria and he is still saving a lot of people from major bloodshed. He is a vivid example of a politician who preserves peace and love in the world.”

Khudyakov is not the first Russian politician who has suggested stripping the US President of his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. In August this year, the head of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, wrote in a public address that Obama was not worthy of the honor.

Zhirinovsky stated that the fact that the Peace Prize was given to Obama in 2009 caused bewilderment from the very beginning – the award went to the man who had occupied his post for less than a year and had not claimed any real achievements, but instead started wars in the Mideast, Afghanistan and Ukraine. The Russian politician added that he himself had worked in the Peace Committee and previously the whole world had been proud of Nobel laureates. He noted that giving the Peace Prize to Obama “had done huge damage” but the mistake could still be corrected.

In March, senator, Lyudmila Bokova, asked the Nobel Committee to annul Obama’s peace prize claiming that the double standard policy of the US administration helped develop the political crisis in Ukraine.

In November last year, two Russian military-related NGOs, Officers of Russia and Soldiers’ Mothers, addressed the Nobel Committee with a request to evaluate Obama’s inhumane statements about drone warfare – the US President had reportedly told his aides that he was “really good at killing people” while evaluating drone strike results.

So far, all calls from Russian activists and politicians have gone unanswered. It should be noted, however, that the statutes of the Nobel Foundation forbid the revoking of prizes as well as any appeals against Nobel Committee decisions.

 

Obama Has Killed Thousands with Drones, So Can the Nobel Committee Have Their Peace Prize Back?

Tim Stanley, Telegraph (London), October 10, 2013

Dr Tim Stanley is a historian of the United States. His new book about Hollywood politics is out in May. His personal website is www.timothystanley.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter @timothy_stanley.

Tomorrow we hear who has won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, most of the previous recipients have been deserving. Some less so. When Henry Kissinger was awarded it in 1973, Tom Lehrer quipped that the prize, “made political satire obsolete.”

The same could be said about the award that went to Barack Obama in 2009. It summed up his whole political career–celebrated before he’d actually done anything, the jar into which millions of liberals poured their dreams, and, most importantly, an utter disappointment when in office. Barack Obama deserves a peace prize in the way that Pat Robertson deserves the trophy for Mr Gay USA 2013. Consider the evidence:

– Far from ending the adventurism of his predecessor, Barack Obama surged troop numbers in Afghanistan, bombed Libya and was only prevented from going into Syria by public opposition to the sheer insanity of the idea.

– Under his watchful gaze the Middle East is arguably less stable today than when his presidency started. There is civil war in Syria, a kidnapped prime minister in Libya, revolution in Egypt. It’s been a particularly hard few years for the remaining Christians.

– He’s engaged in a drone strike campaign that would make Bush blush.

George W Bush conducted 45 drone strikes as President, killing 477. Barack Obama conducted 316 drone strikes, killing 2,363. These figures are from the New America Foundation – and the total dead is probably an underestimate. The Foundation says that the number killed could be as high as 3,404 including 307 civilian men women and children. One leaked document suggested that drones had killed 94 kids in 3 years. Interestingly, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham – a big supporter of drone strikes – recently said that the total dead could be 4,700. To put that into perspective, 3,527 Americans died fighting in Iraq.

Given that record, it’s time to ask–could the Nobel committee have their Peace Prize back?

Obama may decide to supply arms to Ukraine without senate approval

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US President Barack Obama speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 24, 2014. Obama denounced Russian ‘aggression’ in Europe.

 

The United States President Barack Obama can decide to supply arms to Ukraine for self-defense without the approval of the Senate, said Jim Inhofe, a deputy head of the Senate Committee on Armed Forces.

Two days after Ukraine’s Oct. 26 parliamentary election Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s party People’s Front is nearly tied with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc with the parties receiving  22.17 percent and 21.81 percent respectively with 99 percent of the vote counted.

Both parties campaigned on the accomplishments of the post-Maidan government and the vote is seen as an affirmation of the current political status quo. The parties are expected to enter into coalition together but question remain about which party will take the lead role in the coalition and what other parties will be included.

Yatsenyuk said he expected to stay on as prime minister heading the pro-Western coalition and that his party should lead talks to form a coalition.

Coalition talks are traditionally led by the largest party in parliament but despite receiving the largest percentage of the party list vote People’s Front will not be the largest party in parliament.

The Ukrainian ballot is split between votes for parties and votes for candidates in single member districts. The Petro Poroshenko Bloc is expected to only receive 63 seats from the party list vote but will pick up another 69 seats in single member districts for a total of 132 seats.

Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front will receive 65 seats from the party list but will only pick up another 18 seats from single member districts, making it the second largest party in parliament with 83 seats.

Poroshenko’s party did not commit to Yatsenyuk being prime minister on Oct. 29 with Deputy Prime Minister and number 4 on the list Volodymyr Hroysman telling journalists that it didn’t matter who would be prime minister and the issue had yet to be discussed.

Experts believe Volodymyr Hroysman is Poroshenko’s own top choice for the prime minister’s chair.

“Yatsenyuk clearly wants to remain prime minister, while Poroshenko seems eager to get his own man, Hroysman in the seat as the new prime minster,” said analyst at Standard Bank in London Timothy Ash.

People’s Front and Poroshenko Bloc have also both released their own competing coalition agreements. The People’s Front’s agreement is five pages where Poroshenko Bloc’s is 48. Both focus on European integration and giving more power to local and regional government.

The parties are also committed to creating a wide coalition including other pro-Western parties that Yatsenyuk said should be called the “European Ukraine coalition.” The parties differ on who exactly should be included in the coalition.

Yatsenyuk emphasized that he considered the Petro Poroshenko Bloc to be a “strategic partner,” but that wants at least three other parties in the coalition including Batkivshchyna, Samopomich and the Radical Party.

Hroysman said they are ready for negotiations and said the collation must include Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front Party, Samopomich and Batkivshchyna as “key partners.” He said  Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party joining the coalition would remain “a possibility.”

“Poroshenko Bloc’s people think they will have enough power to form a coalition even without Oleh Liashko Radical Party,” said Vitaliy Bala, a head of the Situations Modeling Agency adding that the Poroshenko Bloc is eager to keep ministerial positions from going to other parties.

Other parties are concerned by these conflicts that seem to have little to do with political ideology and more with influence and risks creating a broad coalition in name only.

Samopomich was the other surprise winner of the election receiving 33 seats and 10.99 percent of the vote after being predicted to barely make it past the 5 percent threshold required to enter parliament. They released a statement on Oct. 29 emphasizing that all coalition members should be involved in drafting the coalition agreement.

What’s happening in Novorussia? – The Saker tells us

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

By the Vineyard of the Saker

Something fantastically interesting has happened in Novorussia: two senior Novorussian commanders, Igor Bezler and Alexei Mozgovoi have attempted to communicate with those Ukrainians who are on the other side. Though I am not sure about the exact dates of the events (all I have is the dates of the posting on YouTube), this apparently began when Igor Bezler agreed to be interviewed by three TV crews at the same time: a Russian one, a Novorussian one, and a Ukrainian one. 
The big news here was, of course, that a Ukrainian journalist was given access to the city of Gorlovka, currently surrounded by Ukrainian forces, and that she got to speak with the local people, including combatants and then that she was given access to Bezler himself.  
Since all the journalists were more or less openly accusing each other of “filtering the truth” all parties agreed that the full recording, unedited, would be made available on YouTube.  Now please keep in mind that in Banderastan, Russian journalists are blacklisted, Russian TV stations banned, and that the people in the junta controlled Ukraine are told that the other side are terrorists and Russian soldiers.  Oh, and the Ukrainian media is the most disgusting, sold out, subservient, propagandistic you can imagine.  And then suddenly, at least one Ukrainian TV crew agrees to show the face of one of the most feared Novorussian commanders and he get’s to speak his mind. But the next event was even more amazing.  Alexei Mozgovoi agreed to a videoconference with not only Ukrainian journalists, but with actual field commanders of the Ukrainian military.  To see Mozgovoi and the Ukrainians speak directly to each other was absolutely amazing.  And here I have to apologize.  I will not ask our translators to translate and subtitle the full thing.  First, there were not one, but two such videoconferences.  Then, we are talking about three long videos, see for yourself:Bezler interview: Published on Oct 21, 2014
http://youtu.be/uVN2wkuL88w (length: 2 hours 17 min)

First videoconference of Mozgovoi: Published on Oct 22, 2014

Second videoconference of Mozgovoi – Published Oct 28, 2014 – (length:1 hour 51 mins)

Third videoconference length:1 hour 51 mins

I do hope that somebody somewhere will translate it all, but this is way too big a load for me to ask any of our volunteers.

Also, these are very complex videos.  There are discussions, some short moments of yelling and interrupting, there is cross-talk and there are even two songs.  This is complex, very emotional stuff, very hard to convey in a translated text.  Besides, who will have the time to sit through it all?

No, what I propose is to share with you the elements which struck me so much.

But first I need to clarify an important point: while the original idea apparently had been to have combatants talking to combatants, the Ukrainian side only had a few commanders and a few activists.  The Novorussian side was composed of actual soldiers.  Apparently, the Ukrainian side did not feel comfortable putting their foot-soldiers on the spot.

First and foremost, it was amazing to see how much both sides fully agreed upon.  Both sides agreed that this war was useless and only benefited the enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides expressed contempt, disgust and even hatred for the politicians in power and the oligarchs who rule over Banderastan today.   Both sides also agree that Yanukovich was a scumbag and that the Maidan protests were absolutely legitimate but that the original protests had been hijacked by enemies of the Ukraine.  Both sides also agreed that this war had to be stopped.  Now, please keep in mind that Ukrainian Nazis were, of course, not invited.  These were mainly regular Ukrainian military speaking to Novorussian military and Ukrainian activists speaking to Mozgovoi.   There were also some real disagreements.

The Ukrainian position was this (paraphrase – not real quote): “the Maidan was legitimate and correct but you – the Novorussians – took up arms and you thereby created a crisis which the illegitimate junta used and which prevented us from defending our political goals.  We don’t want our country to further break up and what you are doing is exactly that.  Also, we know that the Russian “Polite Armed Men in Green” are fighting on your side and many of you are not representing true Ukrainian interests, but Russian interests.  Stop fighting and join the political process to clean our country from the crazies“.

To which Mozgovoi replied (paraphrase – not real quote): “we did not choose to fight, you came to our land and you are killing our people.  If you really want to clean Kiev from the Nazi scum, then don’t stand between us and Kiev and let us pass – we will take care of them no problem.  You are taking orders from Nazis and oligarchs and you are doing nothing to stop them from killing our people.  If we were to lay down our arms, we would all be massacred.

One interesting thing was that when the Ukrainians accused the Novorussians of doing Russia’s bidding, Mozgovoi replied that the Ukrainians were pawns of the CIA and, amazingly, the Ukrainians pretty much agreed that the CIA was running the show.  As for Mozgovoi, he did not deny that Russia was helping.

Both sides were expressing frustration that they could not unite their forces and jointly get rid of the oligarchs and Nazis.

During the Bezler interview, there was one amazing moment was when the Ukrainian crew asked Bezler if he spoke Ukrainian, to which he replied that ‘yes’.  Unconvinced, the Ukrainian crew asked him if he could recite a poem by the famous poet Taras Shevchenko.  Then, to everybody’s surprise, Bezler recited the poem “to the Poles” in which Sevchenko describes how happy the Cossaks were,

Until in the name of Christ
The
ксьондзи (Latin Priests) came and set afire
To our quiet paradise. And spilled 

A huge sea of tears and blood,
And killed and crucified orphans 

In the Name of Christ
The heads of Cossacks then dropped
Like trampled grass,
The Ukraine cried, and moaned!
And the head after head
Fell to the ground. As if enraged,
A priest furious tongue
Screamed: «Te Deum! Hallelujah! .. “
And this is how my Polish friend and brother!
Evil priests and rich men
Separated us from each other
When we could have lived together happy


[nb: this is my own translation, I could not find this poem in English anywhere; as any Russian, I mostly understand Ukrainian, but I can easily misunderstand a word or expression so, caveat emptor, and don’t take this translation to the bank!  The Saker]


It was quite amazing to see how well Bezler spoke Ukrainian and how he used this opportunity to remind his Ukrainian counterparts how already in the past they were used and manipulated by Russia and Orthodoxy -hating westerners, and he did so using verses of their own national hero!

In another rather surreal moment, a Novorussian solider took out a guitar and sang a song about the war.  The Ukrainians were clearly moved, although they were also disturbed by the fact that the song repeatedly said that these were “Russians fighting Russians”.  This issue came up several again later in the conversation.  From the Novorussian point of view, the Ukrainians were also part of the “Russian cultural realm” (as opposed to state or nationality) albeit with a different accent and a different history.  The Ukrainians insisted that they were a different nationality, albeit one with strong ties to the “Russian cultural realm”.

During both the Bezler and Mozgovoi interviews the issue of prisoners was raised.  Both sides reported that their men were mistreated and even tortured while in captivity.  Interestingly, during the Bezler interview there were two Ukrainian officials present, one human right activist and another who was representing the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for the topic of POWs.  They both readily admitted that Bezler treated the Ukrainian prisoners not as prisoners at all, but as guests: they were free to walk around, they ate and slept with Bezler’s men, they were treated with kindness and hospitality. In once instance he even fed them red caviar!  But the very same Bezler openly admitted that “we take no prisoners from the Nazi death squads” confirming  what I have said many times: the Russian kindness and generosity towards Ukrainian POWs only extends to regular army units – captured death squad members are immediately executed.


There are hundred of small moments and exchanges which I wish I could convey to you, but that would take too much space and time.  What I will say is that it was quite amazing to see enemies talking to each other in a very friendly manner.  I was also amazed at how readily the Ukrainians agreed that the Ukraine must rid herself from the Nazis and the oligarchs.  In various occasions people on both sides said “let’s do that together!”.  Others were more dubious.  Frankly, I am extremely impressed by the courage and decency of many of the Ukrainians in these interviews who, while standing their ground on the issue of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine, quite openly said how much they hated the Nazis and the oligarchs.  I sure hope that God will protect these men for their courage.


Both Bezler and Mozgovoi looked very, very good.  The latter especially surprised me by explicitly stating that his goal was regime change in Kiev and not just the separation of Novorussia which he clearly sees as a only temporary solution and as a necessary self-defense measure.  Clearly, both Bezler and Mozgovoi are first and foremost anti-Nazis and both of them see that there is not “Novorussian solution”.  Mozgovoi explicitly stated that he think that both sides could live together if the Ukrainians got rid of their Nazis and oligarchs.


While I have always said that the only possible stable solution of the crisis is a de-nazification of the Ukraine and a conversion of the current Banderastan into a “mentally sane” Ukraine, I am not naive and I also see that this might take a decade or more.  However, seeing how Mozgovoi and his Ukrainian counterparts agreed on the need to de-nazify and de-oligarchise (is that English?) I see that there is hope because the bottom line is this: both sides have much more in common than what separates them!


Again, these were regular Ukrainians, not crazed Nazi death-squad members, I understand that.  And the two sides do disagree on fundamental issues.  I see that too.  But I also see that there is a basis, a minimum in common, to negotiate.  This does not have to be a war of extermination.


The Ukraine as we knew her is dead.  Now we have Crimea and Novorussia which are gone forever, and a rump-Ukraine I call “Banderastan” which is occupied by the US CIA, Ukie Nazis and oligarchs.  My hope is that the just as the Ukrainian civil war turned into a war for the self-determination and liberation of Novorussia, so will the war for self-determination and liberation of Novorussia turn into a war for the liberation of Banderastan from its US/Nazi/oligarchic occupiers.  If that happens and if a new Ukraine eventually emerges, then I have no doubt that the people of the Ukraine will agree that each region should have the right of self-determination ranging from cultural right to full separation.  Only then will we really find out which regions want to stay and which ones want to leave forever.


In the meantime, I am very positively impressed by the Novorussian field commanders.  Bezler and Mozgovoi of course, but also Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko, Kononov  and the others are all strong figures capable of both fighting and talking.  Strelkov, alas, is still more or less in political no man’s land and I am very concerned about his proximity with the blogger el-Murid who is clearly a “gateway” to the “hurray-patriots” and “Putin bashers” which are being used by the Empire to try to discredit Putin. Still, the political infighting amongst Novorussian leaders continues and there is still no clear leader.  Hopefully, the upcoming elections will help to solve this issue.

Kiev Withdraws From Delineation Agreement With East Ukraine: DPR

Deputy Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin

Deputy Prime Minister of Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin

 

Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win

 

DONETSK, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev has withdrawn from the delineation agreement it signed with Donetsk authorities without any explanation, the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said Wednesday.

“A delineation was agreed between the opposing forces, but Kiev recalled the signature of its representative, Gen. Dumanskiy, from the document without giving any reason,” Andrei Purgin told reporters.

The delineation is a key condition laid down in the ceasefire agreement between Kiev and the independence supporters. It should serve as a preparatory stage for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from both sides that will contribute to stabilizing the relations between them.

In September, the ceasefire agreement in southeastern Ukraine was reached during the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine. It was agreed that a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone separating Kiev forces and independence supporters of the  Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) would be created.

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko stated on October 11 that the delineation agreement between the independence supporters and Kiev had been signed. The official said the delineation would reflect the line of contact between the two opposing sides as of September 19.

20 Oct. 2014 – RIANOVOSTI

Monday’s heavy shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk undermines the negotiation process of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Kiev, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko said.

“No more talks about ceasefire, of course we are not going to sit [at the negotiating table] with Kiev,” he said.

There have been regular reports of the shelling of Donetsk ever since the Ukrainian forces and independence supporters of the eastern regions struck a ceasefire deal on September 5 in Minsk. The opposing sides have been trading blame for violating the ceasefire though the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the truce was generally holding.

The military confrontation in the east of Ukraine started in mid-April when the Kiev authorities sent troops to suppress the independence supporters in the eastern regions of the country.

On October 19, DPR Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said the self-proclaimed people’s republic would never become part of a united Ukraine.

Shelling Kills Four Civilians, Injures Nine in Donetsk: City Council

Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldiers load a Grad missile in eastern Ukraine.

Four civilians lost their lives and nine sustained injuries on Saturday as a result of shelling in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, local authorities said Sunday.

“As a result of military action on October 18 in Donetsk, four civilians were killed and nine sustained shrapnel injuries of varying severity,” the Donetsk city council said in a statement.

“Starting 13:40 (10:30 GMT) on October 18 and until 3:00 (00:00 GMT) on October 19 shelling was carried out in the city.”

The areas most affected by the fighting were the Petrovsky, Kirov, Kuibyshev and Kievsky districts, where several houses were destroyed. Fighting continued on Saturday morning, according to the city council.

Meanwhile, deputy commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) militia Eduard Basurin told RIA Novosti that fighting continues near the Donetsk airport, the village of Nikishino and the city of Dokuchaievsk.

“The shelling is very intense. Five militiamen have been killed, 30 sustained injuries,” Basurin said.

In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Some 3,700 people have been killed and over 9,000 have sustained injuries since the beginning of the armed conflict, according to the latest UN estimates.

On September 5, the sides agreed to a ceasefire at a meeting in Minsk of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. On September 19, the Contact Group met again to agree on more details regarding the implementation of the ceasefire. However, both sides have subsequently accused each other of violating the truce.

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

27 October 2014

Poroshenko faces hurdles despite big Ukraine vote win

 

The 49-year-old chocolate billionaire said that the drubbing handed to pro-Russian parties demonstrated “strong and irreversible backing to Ukraine’s path to Europe.”

But the near-euphoria in Poroshenko’s circles seemed to overlook the strong preference by Russian oil- and gas-dependent EU nations not to upset Moscow any further.

Some European capitals have even implied that direct membership talks with Kiev were premature — a view that folds into the Kremlin’s broader vision of Ukraine as part of its historic domain.

Then there is Poroshenko’s near-impotence on the ground. The Ukrainian president has been able to do little but express outrage at plans by the well-armed and confident pro-independence fighters to stage their own leadership polls next Sunday.

“Poroshenko and his government will have a difficult time resolving the task of moving into Europe,” said Yuriy Romanenko of Kiev’s Stratagema political research group.

“The war will also go on for a long time. The standoff there could continue for several years,” the Ukrainian analyst said.

Germany’s Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said Poroshenko’s new government would have to start by “negotiating potentially unpopular compromises with the separatists” that gave them a substantial enough reason to lay down their guns.

Schulz said the poor performance by radical Ukrainian nationalists worked in Poroshenko’s favour.

But he also pointed to Russia’s ambiguous stance and the fear of it fomenting a “frozen conflict” in the vital industrial east that keeps Ukraine impoverished and destabilised for the foreseeable future.

“Moscow has said it will accept (the parliamentary) election results — but also election results in the separatist areas of Donetsk and Lugansk on 2 November,” the German economist cautioned.

The Capital Economic consultancy in London added that the Russian-speaking pro-independence leaders were not going to take kindly to the parliamentary election’s support for the shift toward Europe sought principally by their bitter rivals in the Ukrainian-speaking west.

“The election of pro-Western politicians is unlikely to appease rebels in the east of the country,” Capital Economic said.

Poroshenko may have as difficult a time convincing EU leaders. Many took turns on Monday to promise to work with his new team.

But top officials in Kiev have grumbled in private that they have so far failed to turn their words into action that keeps Kiev out of Moscow’s reach.

Ukraine this year signed an historic pact on closer relations with the EU. It was the abrupt rejection of that pact by the then Russian-backed president last year that led to his ouster and sparked the current crisis.

But western European governments — with economies stuck in or near recession — are already concerned about the political impact of workers from the poorer east moving freely into their shrinking job markets.

Ukraine further has developed a track record of failing to honour commitments to shackle a corruption problem that has made barren state budgets dependent on foreign lending and left governments here unable to plan long-term.

Poroshenko has promised to wean the public off Soviet-era subsidies and encourage competition between private firms that could introduce Ukraine to Western standards and ready it for EU membership.

Capital Economic said with a note of optimism that “with a parliamentary majority in place, Ukraine’s reformers will have the green light to continue tackling issues such as reducing energy subsidies and moving toward inflation-targeting monetary policy.”

But other analysts said Ukrainian governments and parliaments have disappointed foreign investors for too long for them to be trusted.

“Whether or not Ukraine manages to break away from the historically poor track record in delivering in economic policies and wider reforms still remains an open question,”  Moscow’s VTB Capital investment bank said.