Donbass and the “Big Game”: Reformatting Ukraine is on the Agenda. “Russia will not Remain on the Sidelines”

By Oriental Review
Global Research, June 04, 2015

Oriental Review (Expert Journal, translated from Russian)
Region:
In-depth Report: T

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Latest horrible ceasefire violations in Donbass by the Kiev’s regime are likely intended to demonstrate the “inefficiency” of the OSCE mission to its Western patrons and are evidence of Ukraine’s attempts to circumvent the jurisdiction of the Minsk truce co-brokered by Russia, Germany, and France.

Indeed, Minsk-2 is very inconvenient for Poroshenko, because it documents for the first time the need for direct dialog between Kiev and the Donbass. And they need to discuss more than just war and peace, because in fact there are a whole range of issues that must be resolved politically, such as the format for local elections, as well as constitutional reform and economic recovery in Ukraine. Minsk-2 undermines the power structure in Ukraine, which after Maidan has been built around nationalist and military mobilization and the persecution of political opponents.

There’s a good reason why President Poroshenko immediately tried to disavow the agreement as soon as he returned from Minsk. In March 2015 the Verkhovna Rada passed an amendment to the law on the special status of the districts controlled by Donetsk and Luhansk (in violation of the spirit of the Minsk agreement), rather than adopting a new law as Angela Merkel had asked Poroshenko to do. These actions, as well as others that undercut the foundations of the truce, are causing extreme irritation in Berlin and Paris.

It is already clear that Poroshenko’s regime in incapable of negotiating. The two Minsk agreements – dating from Sept. 5 and Feb. 12 – would never have been reached had Kiev not suffered military defeats. As soon as Petro Poroshenko won the election on May 25, 2014, Russia and the EU leaders offered to open a dialog with the Donbass militia. At that time there had been no mass casualties or widespread public acrimony. It seemed that Poroshenko, who had been elected to office (albeit without the voters of the Donbass), was capable of listening to the urgings of the leaders in Europe and Russia and begin a peace process. At least his campaign platform offered some hope of that. However, pressure from US officials forced Poroshenko to embrace a military solution. On May 26, 2014, for the first time since WWII, Donetsk was subjected to an air raid, the Donetsk airport was bombed, civilians were killed, and a real war began.

By late August, Ukraine had suffered a crushing defeat on all fronts and in all directions, and Poroshenko, finding himself trapped in a hopeless situation in which the militia threatened to advance further west, had to hastily sign the Minsk Protocol on Sept. 5, in which the parties agreed to pull back from the zone of engagement. That offered the hope that a political process of reconciliation could begin. But instead Kiev took an extremely harsh stance: a de facto economic blockade of the Donbass began; banks closed; public institutions, schools, and hospitals shut down; the payment of pensions and salaries to state employees was suspended; and later – entry to the Donbass was limited to holders of residential passes, in essence creating an internal border. Unable to win on the battlefield, Kiev declared war on the people of the Donbass in order to deprive the militia of popular support. That culminated in yet another fiasco: Ukraine lost Debaltsevo and other territories.

Autonomy or Independence? That Depends on Kiev.

Dr. Elizaveta Glinka organized a number of medical transfers of Donbass children to Moscow The most important step in the establishment of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics was the election in November 2014. That election was not recognized by Kiev or the EU, but played a huge role in establishing a legitimate government in those republics.

In spite of Kiev’s economic blockade and the constant threat of renewed hostilities, it resulted in an undeniable improvement in the humanitarian situation. Even as hostilities raged, behind the front lines peaceful civilian life continued, infrastructure was restored, doctors were able to save lives, children attended school, and many businesses reopened.

Regular payment of pensions and public subsidies has begun again, but in order to accomplish this, a new system of social support had to be built from scratch. Due to the lack of cash in hryvnia (the Ukrainian currency) a multicurrency system was introduced, and pensions are already being paid in rubles. Direct economic ties between companies in Donetsk and Russia have been revived. Taxes have also been collected from those businesses, and the republics now have actual budgets, and although they have not been formally approved due to the uncertainty of the revenue base, those budgets serve as guidelines for estimating bare-bones expenditures.

A clear and transparent system has been put together for distributing humanitarian aid. Humanitarian convoys are arriving from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Management, and community organizations are also doing their bit, including Donbass Fraternity Fund, Dr. Elizaveta Glinka’s Fair Aid Foundation, and many others. Throughout the war some local charities in, such as Compassion (Dobrota), have continued their work in Donetsk. In every town, no matter how tiny, volunteers have been laboring selflessly.

The more Kiev drags its feet on any political resolution or recognition of special rights for the areas under the control of the governments in the republics, the worse its chances to maintain its current borders. Ukraine will never be stable until she agrees to change. If Ukraine continues to insist on the status quo and persists in pursuing a military solution to the conflict, she will continue to lose ground.

A range of emotions are being experienced in the republics. It is clear that neither the militia nor the majority of the population can envision any sort of future life with Kiev: too much blood has been spilled and Kiev has brought too much suffering to the people of the Donbass – in addition to bombings, humiliation, and the economic blockade.

Nevertheless, Ukraine still has the potential to devise a more nuanced policy than just their extremely nationalistic current plan. This was clearly evident during the elections for the Verkhovna Rada on Oct. 26, 2014. Opposition Bloc even won in Dnepropetrovsk (where nationalist patrols are stationed on every street corner and government leverage coupled with street gangs worked to thwart any opposition movement), not to mention the cities of Zaporozhye and Kharkov. Certainly not all the credit for that success was due to Opposition Bloc itself – which barely waged any sort of political campaign at all – but could rather be chalked up to the public, who voted against the government and against the war. The turnout in Odessa (39.5%), the lowest seen since the end of the Soviet Union, was virtually an act of popular sabotage against “the outsiders’ elections.”

Ongoing protests in Kiev against Yatsenyuk government and Ukraine's National Bank are not covered much by the intl media

The potential for protest is huge, because Ukraine has no desire to be the country that the nationalists have envisioned. Every day of peace means new and difficult questions for the Ukrainian government: the population sees the results of the “reforms,” the economy is languishing, social payments are shrinking, prices are rising, political repression is everywhere, political opponents are being murdered, and the bodies of soldiers who died in the Donbass are being shipped home to every district in the country.

The law prohibiting Soviet symbols and the ban on the memory of the Great Patriotic War, the glorification of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army – therein lies the path to the further destruction of their own country. And that’s not coming from Russia, but from the Ukrainian people. Most Ukrainians will not tolerate such a policy or such a government.

The problem lies in the immaturity of the Ukrainian political elite. For over 23 years of the country’s independence, that elite has been fixated on dividing and redividing the country’s resources, in the end always shifting the political blame onto outside factions: sometimes pointing the finger at Moscow, and currently – at the West. They have not yet learned how to be responsible for their own state. Now they follow the lead of the US, crippling their own country.

The Big Game

A lasting peace in the Donbass is achievable only if Europe and Russia can reach an agreement. It is impossible to imagine Poroshenko – or even less Prime Minister Yatsenyuk – behaving in a constructive manner, if Europe and Russia do not coerce them into working for peace.

With all the problems of the past year, it is clear that France and Germany trust Russia far more than their Ukrainian protégés. They can recognize the issues on which “the Russians cannot be trusted” – and the matters on which they can. But those are fixed, clearly defined questions – because Russia does not change her position minute by minute. But all bets are off when it comes to the politicians in Kiev. They might promise to lay down their arms or adopt a law on special status, and then completely flip-flop after a telephone call with Washington.

Of course Europe has phobias and fears of “Russian expansion,” but those are more common among the talking heads and the press, while the leaders and diplomats understand that “expansion” is the very essence of international politics. The European Union itself pursues an active policy of “partnership,” and in recent decades has also been expanding, while Russia is doing no more than attempting to safeguard her room to maneuver economically. Europeans understand that Russia would not have taken steps to reunify with Crimea and support the Donbass if the West had not provoked the conflict. After many incidents of the most cynical violence aimed at seizing and retaining power over the last year, it is reasonable to assume that the shootings on Maidan were the responsibility of those forces that took power in Ukraine in February 2014. All this is an example of very dirty politics. No matter how indignant the Europeans might be in public, they understand that Russia could not remain on the sidelines.

And that would not be because of any imaginary “imperial ambitions” or in order to merely seize territory. Russia’s most important and closest neighbor had entered into a period of disintegration and civil war after a coup d’etat. Forces had assumed power that did not shy away from overt violence – ideological, cultural, repressive, and military – against their own people. The problem was not Ukraine’s “European” path, but the bluff – the West was never planning to spend its resources on the economic development of a foreign country, much less help her integrate into European organizations. The result of Maidan could mean nothing but chaos in Ukraine.

And until this chaos is overcome, Russia will not remain on the sidelines.

Publication is based on a frontpage article recently released by the Russian Expert journal. Text adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.

 

Washington Politicizes Football. America Intends to Prevent Russia from Hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, June 04, 2015

Region: Russia and FSU, USA

Culture, Society & History

soccer-ball-400x266Washington’s attack on world soccer is following the script of Washington’s attack on the Russian-hosted Sochi Olympics. The difference is that Washington couldn’t stop the Olympics from being held in Sochi, and was limited to scaring off Westerners with lies and propaganda.

In the current scandal orchestrated by Washington, Washington intends to use its takeover of FIFA to renege on FIFA’s decision that Russia host the next World Cup.

This is part of Washington’s agenda of isolating Russia from the World.

FIFA-President

FIFA-President

This Washington-orchestrated scandal stinks to high heaven. It seems obvious that the FIFA officials have been arrested for political reasons and that the recently overwhelmingly-reelected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was forced to resign by Washington’s threats to indict him as well. This can happen because Washington no longer is subject to the rule of law. In Washington’s hands, law is a weapon that is used against everyone, every organization, and every country that takes a position independent of Washington.

This clears the deck for Washington and its British lapdog to take over FIFA, which henceforth will be used to reward countries that comply with Washington’s foreign policy and to punish those who pursue an independent foreign policy.

The only hope for South America, Asia, and Russia is to form their own World Cup and turn their backs on the corrupt West.

It is astonishing that Russia, Asia, and South America so much desire to be part of the corrupt and immoral Western world. Why do countries wish to be associated with evil? Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and perhaps Argentina and Brazil have learned that being in the Western orbit means putting their country under Washington’s control.

Putin, Lavrov, and China’s leaders say that being associated with the West is like being associated with the plague. Yet they still want to be associated with the West. Why do Russia and China think that their self-esteem depends on Washington’s approval?

FIFA is a Swiss-based organization. Yet the arrests of FIFA officials is based on a Washington-initiated “investigation” by the FBI. By asserting the universality of US law, Washington is asserting the authority of its police and prosecutors over sovereign countries.

Why did Switzerland, and why do other countries lay down in obedience to Washington’s assertion of the universality of its laws? Are the political leaders paid off or are they threatened with assassination or false indictments? What explains that of all countries on earth only Washington’s law is universal, acknowledged and bowed down before in other countries? Is if fear of retribution?

Possibly, but one answer is that the entire point of being a leader of a foreign country is to be made rich by kowtowing to Washington. One year out of office and Tony Blair was reported to be worth $50 million. Where did the money come from? No one wanted to listen to Blair’s speeches when he was Prime Minister. Why did Americans pay him six-figure sums to give speeches?

Putin can become rich, too. All he needs to do is to turn Russia over to Washington.

Here we are in an orchestrated soccer scandal hyped to the hilt by the presstitute media while all the real scandals go unremarked.

For example, a number of the mega-banks in the West have pleaded guilty to felony charges and only suffered fines. As Finian Cunningham has pointed out, the money laundering and price-rigging by the “banks too big to jail” dwarfs the alleged criminality at FIFA. The Securities and Exchange Commission actually issues waivers to the banks for their criminal activity. One dissenting SEC commissioner accuses her colleagues of encouraging “recidivism” by the constant issue of waivers.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-22/sec-commissioner-furious-sec-has-made-mockery-recidivist-criminal-behavior-banks

Washington itself cannot be believed as not a single significant statement out of Washington’s mouth since the Clinton regime has been true; yet, Washington still parades around as the arbiter of truth.

Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. Assad did not use chemical weapons. Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program. Russia did not invade Ukraine. But Washington convinced the world that its lies were true.

It is almost a certainty that politicians up in arms over unsubstantiated charges that FIFA took bribes have themselves taken bribes. Just look at the bribes given to Congress by corporations to vote fast track for TTIP.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/27/corporations-paid-us-senators-fast-track-tpp

Can anyone name even one leader of one EU country (other perhaps than Greece at the moment) who doesn’t take bribes from Washington?

According to Udo Ulfkotte, no one can name even one British or EU newspaper that doesn’t take bribes from the CIA.

How many UN votes are determined by Washington’s threats and bribes?

Whether or not FIFA decisions are tainted by bribery, the purpose of the “investigation” is to cast doubt on the decision to hold the World Cup in Russia. The World Cup is a global spectacle and conveys prestige on the host country. Washington intends to deny this prestige to Russia. That is what the “investigation” is about.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill

Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle

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Demonstrators protest against the legislation to give Obama fast-track authority to advance trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed.

“We’re very much in the endgame,” US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters over the weekend at a meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the resort island of Boracay. His comments came days after TPP passed another crucial vote in the Senate.

That vote, to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress, comes as the president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech online.

Those critics are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the sudden flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.

Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. The US Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – the fast-tracking bill by a 65-33 margin on 14 May. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 62-38 to bring the debate on TPA to a close.

Those impressive majorities follow months of behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing by the world’s most well-heeled multinational corporations with just a handful of holdouts.

Using data from the Federal Election Commission, this chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate:

  • Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes.
  • The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters.
  • The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors.

The amounts given rise dramatically when looking at how much each senator running for re-election received.

Two days before the fast-track vote, Obama was a few votes shy of having the filibuster-proof majority he needed. Ron Wyden and seven other Senate Democrats announced they were on the fence on 12 May, distinguishing themselves from the Senate’s 54 Republicans and handful of Democrats as the votes to sway.

  • In just 24 hours, Wyden and five of those Democratic holdouts – Michael Bennet of Colorado, Dianne Feinstein of California, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, and Bill Nelson of Florida caved and voted for fast-track.
  • Bennet, Murray, and Wyden – all running for re-election in 2016 – received $105,900 between the three of them. Bennet, who comes from the more purple state of Colorado, got $53,700 in corporate campaign donations between January and March 2015, according to Channing’s research.
  • Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track – the only two non-votes on TPA were a Republican from Louisiana and a Republican from Alaska.
  • Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who is the former US trade representative, has been one of the loudest proponents of the TPP. (In a comment to the Guardian Portman’s office said: “Senator Portman is not a vocal proponent of TPP – he has said it’s still being negotiated and if and when an agreement is reached he will review it carefully.”) He received $119,700 from 14 different corporations between January and March, most of which comes from donations from Goldman Sachs ($70,600), Pfizer ($15,700), and Procter & Gamble ($12,900). Portman is expected to run against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland in 2016 in one of the most politically competitive states in the country.
  • Seven Republicans who voted “yea” to fast-track and are also running for re-election next year cleaned up between January and March. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500 in corporate contributions. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, best known for proposing a Monsanto-written bill in 2013 that became known as the Monsanto Protection Act, received $77,900 – $13,500 of which came from Monsanto.
  • Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain received $51,700 in the first quarter of 2015. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000 in corporate donations. Eighty-one-year-old senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for his seventh Senate term, received $35,000. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who will be running for his first full six-year term in 2016, received $67,500 from pro-TPP corporations.

“It’s a rare thing for members of Congress to go against the money these days,” said Mansur Gidfar, spokesman for the anti-corruption group Represent.Us. “They know exactly which special interests they need to keep happy if they want to fund their reelection campaigns or secure a future job as a lobbyist.

“How can we expect politicians who routinely receive campaign money, lucrative job offers, and lavish gifts from special interests to make impartial decisions that directly affect those same special interests?” Gidfar said. “As long as this kind of transparently corrupt behavior remains legal, we won’t have a government that truly represents the people.”

  • This article was amended on 28/5/15 to include a comment from senator Rob Portman.