Taking Ukraine’s carrot

Ukraine, we are often told, has made a choice – to become a ‘European’ country, and in this way to decisively cut its historical ties to ‘non-European’ Russia. But what if Europe (in the form of the European Union (EU)) turns Ukraine away?

This has always been more likely than supporters of Ukraine’s post-Maidan government have been willing to admit. Ukraine’s situation is somewhat analogous to that of Turkey – even if the country were to fulfill all the demands that the EU makes of it, there is a very good chance that the Union would deny it membership anyway. The same applies to membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). ‘Europe’ is like a carrot dangling always out of the reach of a Ukrainian donkey.

donkey-and-carrot
Ukraine & Europe

For the European dream to survive, Ukrainians have to fail to understand this. Given that the official integration process into the EU and NATO is a lengthy one, as long as those institutions keep up the pretence, it could take a considerable amount of time until Ukrainians realize that they are being duped. But what if the pretence is dropped and somebody takes away the carrot?

On 6 April this year, the people of the Netherlands will vote in a referendum on whether to ratify the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine. All EU members have to ratify any such treaty for it to come into effect, so if the Dutch were to turn down the association agreement, Ukraine’s carrot would suddenly disappear. Ukrainians would have carried out a revolution and fought a war in order to join an institution which would have said in reply, ‘No thanks, we don’t want you.’

This is a very real possibility. The results of a poll issued on Saturday show that 53% of eligible Dutch citizens said that they are certain to vote in the referendum (which requires a 30% turnout to be considered valid) and another 17% said that they are likely to vote. Also, just over 50% indicated that they would definitely vote to reject the agreement with Ukraine and another 25% said that they would probably do so.

These figures should not come as a huge surprise. On the rare occasions when they are allowed a direct vote, EU voters have a habit of rejecting agreements, as shown by the Danish rejection of the Maastricht Treaty, the Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty, and the French rejection of the European Constitution. So what would happen if, as is quite possible, the Dutch choose to slam the door on Ukraine?

There are three possibilities:

  1. The Dutch parliament ignores the result of the referendum. Under Dutch law, referenda are not legally binding on the government; the latter merely has to take the results into consideration. The largest party in the governing coalition, the VVD, has already said that it won’t change its support for the agreement no matter how the people vote. In the event of a ‘no’ vote, we can expect parties in the Dutch parliament to come under heavy pressure from other EU states to ignore the result. This pressure may prove effective.
  2. The Dutch parliament heeds the will of the people, and rejects the association agreement once and for all. This is not impossible. The centre-right Christian Union party, for instance, has said that ‘if we’re overruled [by the people], we need to know our place.’ This scenario would shatter Ukraine’s European dream in a very public way. The promise of a ‘European’ future lies at the heart of the post-Maidan regime. Without it, all the reforms proposed by the Ukrainian government would lose their legitimacy. Having pinned all their hopes on Europe, it is hard to see where pro-Maidan Ukrainians could go if Europe told them ‘no’. The prospects for those now governing Ukraine would be bleak indeed.
  3. The Dutch parliament heeds the will of the people, and rejects the association agreement, but only in its current form. The government expresses its willingness to seek better terms; a long period of negotiation then follows, during which EU leaders try to make the minimum number of changes to the agreement required to get the Dutch people to change their minds. A revised agreement is then put forward for another vote, accompanied by all sorts of threats of the catastrophic consequences which will follow if the Dutch again then vote ‘no’. This is the train of events which followed previous unwelcome referendum votes, and must be considered quite likely. It would keep the carrot dangling in front of the Ukrainian donkey, but it would be a smaller carrot hanging rather further away. The Maidan regime might just about survive this, but the European narrative which sustains it would come under considerable strain.

Not being an expert in Dutch politics, I will not attempt to predict who will win. But if the polls are correct and the ‘no’ side triumphs, we have some interesting times ahead.

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45 thoughts on “Taking Ukraine’s carrot”

  1. Ukraine didn’t decide to switch from Russia to European Union, but wanted to be independent, as it is supposed to be, from Russia. It wants to deal with the world and Russia in itself does not yet constitute ‘the world’, no, it goes way out there, the limits how far a country, too, can go.

    It is very likely Ukraine will join European Union and that the European Union will be happy to welcome it. But of course there are complicated rule books about joining, the decisions take a long time making, and nothing in the world is ever sure. The main question is whether there will be anything left of Ukraine, and whether Russia wants there to be anything left of Ukraine for it to do anything.

    Is it a business loss or just humiliating for Russia to lose the complete attention of Ukraine, which is after all only a country? Another, independent country at that.

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      1. “Independence/independent”, you keep using these words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean. What you want is separation of Ukraine from Russia.

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    1. “I mean independence to make decisions, independent of Russia and its likings.

      So, according to you, “Independnet Ukraine = Ukraine completely dependent on Brussels and Washington”?

      Also – white is black, 2+2=5.

      Have a nice day, citizen.

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      1. Incidentally, in the absolutely worst hypothetical scenario of Ukraine dependence of Russia, I can’t imagine Russia dictating Ukraine items of its budget, or demanding from the Ukrainian government to cut pensions, social safety net, or the number of teachers and nurses. All typical IMF demands, and not only for Ukraine, but for all its customers.

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      2. “No, independent = happy to make its own decisions.”

        I don’t get it. Are you saying that:

        1) Ukraine was NOT HAPPY while making its own decision in 1991-2014? And only not it’s actually HAPPY, while gutting social spendings and creating “a fucking circus with whores and horses” ™ out of what still remains of the country?

        2) That decisions of the Ukrainian government fictated from Brussels and Washington are actually… Ukrainian? Wow! Suck it, Illiminati – Ukraine rules the World, not you!

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  2. A big difference to Turkey is that Ukraine has signed away its internal and external sovereignity, by agreeing to implement the EU acquis internally, and the EU CDSP externally.
    This effectively means that Ukrainian policy is done in Brussel, without any binding input by Ukrainians.

    Having to adhere to the CDSP of the EU has some pretty serious effects. One “no brainer” move of any post Maidan Ukrainian government would be to conduct attemtps at reducing the degree of Sino-Russian cooperation. They could do this by offering China military technology (due to the dense Russian Ukrainian defense ties, Ukraine would, if run in a sane machiavellian fashion, have been in a great position to appropriate a number of Russian technological innovations) in a way that would undercut Russian arms sales to China, create an impression of being a subject, not an object, in international relations and generate some desperatly needed hard cash.

    Why was this not done? Well, that EU treaty means adherance to the CDSP, and CDSP says no military technology transfer to China.

    The acquis, and some of the trade conditions (Ukraine has to abandon all other trade standards other then the yet to be implemented European one) actually saved Russias bacon in another front as well. It is well known that China signed some pretty extensive trade deals with Ukraine between 2011 and 2013, and Putin doing his move could have easily resulted in considerably Chinese ire for derailing Sino-Ukrainian trade ties.
    Of course, EU agreement to the rescue! That EU agreement would have axed those trade ties anyway, meaning that China sees Russias actions as “someone else doing the punishment for breaking contracts that we would have to do otherwise”.

    And no, Ukraine will not join the EU, barring unforseen circumstances.
    Had the EU possessed any real interest in getting Ukraine to join (as opposed to denying Ukraine to Russia), they would have offered a deal that would be signable by Ukrainian politicians who are not puppets.

    And Ramund, please reread Ukraines founding documents.
    Ukraine is, and should be, independent of Russia, but also of anyone else. This is literally in their founding declaration of state sovereignity with its explicit neutrality clause. Maidan abrogated that by force of arms and in breach of the Ukrainian constitution. A severe reaction from the South East was to be expected. If Maidan gets to break neutrality, then they can proceed to simply destroy any other law they dislike as well. If Maidan gets to do this, Donbass and the SouthEast become subjugated colonies in perpetuity.

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  3. There are opinion polls:
    http://www.uceps.org/eng/poll.php?poll_id=666
    http://www.uceps.org/eng/poll.php?poll_id=305
    taken before the 2014 putsch.

    These polls confirm that the population of the state of Ukraine (when it existed) was split about 50/50 between pro-west and pro-Russia orientation.

    Ukraine, back when it existed, could only exist as a neutral country, equally friendly, equally integrated with the West and Russia.

    The putsch destroyed Ukraine, and now the territory of former Ukraine is in a state of civil war. It’s already split, and it’ll split more (despite the terror practiced on the Kiev-controlled territory); the only question is where the new borders will be drawn. Hopefully it’ll eventually get divided the most natural way; the western regions – Galicia–Volhynia and Zakarpattia – will split off and join the EU, and the rest will regain unity and national solidarity, and stay with the EEU.

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    1. >the rest will regain unity and national solidarity, and stay with the EEU

      Most of the rest should be an appendage of the EU, an useful buffer zone with plenty of fertile soil and wage slaves.

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  4. Dear Paul,

    The situation in Ukraine is not exactly analogous to that of Turkey. Turkey is already a member of NATO whereas NATO membership for Ukraine is still far off because, among other things, Ukrainian territory and borders are not secure. It is one of the conditions of NATO membership that a country must have secure borders. Another condition is not to have a crisis like a civil war that has the potential to drag other NATO members into it, especially if that crisis might involve eventual Russian intervention and pit NATO against Russia directly.

    Turkey applied for EU membership on a number of occasions and undertook political and economic reforms to a certain extent as required by Brussels. But there were EU members that were unhappy at accepting a Muslim country into the union, especially one that did not share those nations’ Catholic values and moreover had been their historical foe. There were also concerns that if Turkey did join, huge numbers of Turks would take advantage of the Schengen visa-free regime and start streaming into Europe, taking jobs away from workers and undercutting their wages.

    Also on those occasions that Turkey applied for EU membership, the EU was economically strong or at least stronger than it is now. In those days, the EU did not have the extra members it has now, and the southern Mediterranean members were yet to show symptoms of their respective debt crises, though there must have been people in the Brussels bureaucracy who foresaw problems.

    The other issue with Ukraine is its outstanding debt, in particular the $3 billion Eurobond loan that the country must pay back to Russia. The EU is loath to accept as a member a country who would be a drain on EU member economies (while at the same time Russia goes laughing to the bank) and for which the IMF broke all its rules to lend to. When there are already EU members being forced to suffer austerity programs, accepting Ukraine with all its problems would be a classic case of the EU being governed by double standards.

    If the EU appears to be losing interest in Ukraine, that is probably because Brussels now realises the Poroshenko / Yatsenyuk regime is not only highly incompetent and stupid in having alienated and destroyed Donbass (formerly the most developed part of the country) but is also beyond corrupt and acts like a welfare queen in expecting Eu and IMF largesse to prop up whatever fragments of an economy it has left. In addition Russia is cutting its ties to Ukraine and developing or reviving its own industries hit by EU sanctions. Ukraine’s usefulness to Europe, as a recipient of EU goods to repackage and sell to Russia to undercut Russian industry, is fast disappearing.

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  5. Dear Paul,

    Do you seriously think that Ukrainians are so ignorant as to believe that they’ll be accepted into the EU within the next couple of years, in which case a Dutch “no” vote would actually matter? Do you really believe that the main point of the Euromaidan protests were because Ukrainians wanted to join the EU? I live in Kiev and participated in both the Orange and the Euromaidan Revolutions. I don’t know a single person in Kiev who didn’t come out to protest, though I am sure there were a few. All of my friends and acquaintances certainly participated in various ways in support of the Euromaidan. And not once did I meet anyone that believed that Ukraine would be joining the EU anytime soon. Furthermore, I don’t recall anyone protesting in order for Ukraine “to join the EU”. Ukrainians are not the stupid “donkeys” that you are portraying them to be in your blog. Instead of relying on Russian propaganda, if you want to learn anything about Ukraine, start talking to Ukrainians and reading Ukrainian sources of information. It makes me laugh how “Russia experts” think that they actually know something about Ukraine by not speaking Ukrainian and relying on the Russian press. It’s like being an expert on England and thinking that that gives you knowledge about France. Very naive. So, since you seem not to have a clue about what Ukrainians were dying for on Kiev’s main square, let me tell you: European values. People demonstrated, fought and died for the right to a respectable life, to a democratic choice, for the right to live free of oppression, free of corruption, ruled by a government which cares for its citizens and not for the interests of a few thieves. There is a reason why this last revolution is referred to as the Revolution of Dignity. Ukrainians know exactly how Russians live, unlike some naive Westerners who are fooled by Russian propaganda. Ukrainians refuse to live in a criminal dictatorship, like the Russians do, and have proven it twice in the last 10 years and many times over the centuries. Russians want an empire. Ukrainians do not. Russians want to be feared. Ukrainians do not. However, this does not mean that the Euromaidan Revolution was against Russia. It was not. Ukrainians just don’t want to live like them. Whether Ukraine ever joins the EU is not important. What is important is that Ukraine becomes a country which cares for its citizens and does everything in its powers to ensure that its citizens live respectable lives and enjoy a good standard of living. These are the goals and Ukraine is slowly, but surely, moving in this direction. Joining the EU is not the main goal. But once Ukrainians create a country which reaches these goals, joining the EU will be within reach. However, there are those, including myself, who don’t feel that Ukraine should necessarily join the EU. We’ll see in a few years.
    As for joining NATO, thanks to Putin, the majority of Ukrainians are now in favour of it. However, Ukrainians have also proven that they can defend themselves without being NATO members. Ukrainians have stood up to one of the most powerful armies in the world and won. And for those of you who doubt this, ask yourselves where Putin’s “Novorossia” is now? Putin’s goal was to occupy all of Ukraine, not half of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Yes, the “Novorossia” project is dead and its only a matter of time before the Russian-occupied parts of Donbas return to Ukrainian control. Crimea will take longer but it is certain to follow.

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    1. ”Do you seriously think that Ukrainians are so ignorant as to believe that they’ll be accepted into the EU within the next couple of years, in which case a Dutch “no” vote would actually matter? Do you really believe that the main point of the Euromaidan protests were because Ukrainians wanted to join the EU?”

      Uhm, yeah! All those EU flags on Maidan were just for lulz, totally. Should I refresh your memory, Dave? ? Or maybe I should provide some opinions of ordinary Kievans a year after Maidan and during the “Revolution of dignity” itself ?

      To be absolutely honest – indeed, people were not talking about EU membership for Ukraine per se. They were talking about visa-free travel to the EU, and the EU bankrolling basically everything in their country (as if it should!), about the creation of new working places (thanks to the EU), about the incredible increase of the living standards (ditto), etc, etc – all thanks to Great and Terrible Wizard of EU!

      What, Dave? Здобули?

      ” I live in Kiev and participated in both the Orange and the Euromaidan Revolutions. I don’t know a single person in Kiev who didn’t come out to protest, though I am sure there were a few.”

      Such claims are simply not true. You, Dave, can not possibly know every single person in Kiev and guarantee their attendance of any of these so-called revolutions. Even at its “best” the number of maidanners was smaller than the entire population of Kiev, let alone – the entire Ukraine. So – cut it with sweeping generalizations.

      ” Instead of relying on Russian propaganda, if you want to learn anything about Ukraine, start talking to Ukrainians and reading Ukrainian sources of information.”

      So, Paul should rely on Ukrainian propaganda instead, got it!

      ” It makes me laugh how “Russia experts” think that they actually know something about Ukraine by not speaking Ukrainian and relying on the Russian press. It’s like being an expert on England and thinking that that gives you knowledge about France. Very naive.”

      Yeah, because, totally, everything said or written in Ukraine is in Ukrainian nowadays! Or that people who know Russian are incapable of understanding Ukrainian or vice versa.

      Dave, if you failed to notice, an awful lot of the Ukrainian media are using the “language of the aggressors”. More so, москальска псячья гавкота was the language of choice in the great and epic battle of words between ethnically Armenian Minister of the Interior and ethnically Georgian governor of Odessa’s oblast, where they tried to prove everyone that only they are True Ukrainians. And let’s not forget the moment PM Yatshenyuk got grabbed by the balls (literally), he immediately switched to Russian!

      Oh, and the Ukrainian Commander in Chief and protector of the constitutional order, Petro Poroshenko? Surely, he is well versed in the Ukrainian, innit?

      Oh, and yeah – your comparison of the English to the French language is spot on! Are you a professional linguist, per chance? You must be one to claim that modern English vis-à-vis modern French are so similar and easy to understand as the Russian vis-à-vis Ukrainian. Tres vrais!

      So, since you seem not to have a clue about what Ukrainians were dying for on Kiev’s main square, let me tell you: European values.

      Soooo… another immaterial carrot? I.e. – for nothing?

      ”There is a reason why this last revolution is referred to as the Revolution of Dignity. Ukrainians know exactly how Russians live, unlike some naive Westerners who are fooled by Russian propaganda. Ukrainians refuse to live in a criminal dictatorship, like the Russians do, and have proven it twice in the last 10 years and many times over the centuries.”

      Bwa-ha-hah-hah! Oh, comedy gold! Please, Dave – continue! You just made my day!

      ”Ukrainians just don’t want to live like them.”

      Well, congrats! Now you live like Gabon !

      ”However, Ukrainians have also proven that they can defend themselves without being NATO members.”

      Indeed, the world remembers how the mighty Ukrainian army bravely defended Crimea and then repulsed the invaders! Oh, wait…

      ”Putin’s goal was to occupy all of Ukraine, not half of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.”

      And I’m absolutely sure such smart person as you, Dave, can provide some proof for such a cheeky claim.

      P.S. It’s always a celebratory occasion, when some svidomites passes by Paul’s blog. Good cheer and happy thoughts are guaranteed to everyone.

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      1. “Indeed, the world remembers how the mighty Ukrainian army bravely defended Crimea and then repulsed the invaders! Oh, wait…”

        …reminds me of this joke:
        – why are you attacking Donetsk?
        – because the Russian army is there!
        – hmm, but then why aren’t you attacking Crimea?
        – eh, no. The Russian army is there…

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      2. Dear Lyttenburgh,

        Wow! That was quite the case of verbal diarrhea you just had! I hope you feel better soon.

        But seriously, I can see that you have a big problem (to put it mildly) with conducting research on Ukraine. The links you sent are complete garbage. If you think that using a humoristic TV report from Kolomoisky’s 1+1 TV channel proves something, you have serious intellectual issues. Or that believing a propagandistic and warped Russian news report proves anything. What’s funny is that NONE of your links prove me wrong. Even in your links NO ONE said that Ukraine was joining the EU. But again, this doesn’t mean that the protesters were against Ukraine joining the EU. It’s just that hardly anyone believed that this was a possible short term goal.

        You write: “To be absolutely honest – indeed, people were not talking about EU membership for Ukraine per se.” Really? But that’s the whole point of what I wrote in challenging Paul’s thesis! Ukrainians WILL NOT be disappointed in NOT joining the EU anytime soon since this is NOT what the Euromaidan protests were about.

        “They were talking about visa-free travel to the EU, and the EU bankrolling basically everything in their country (as if it should!), about the creation of new working places (thanks to the EU), about the incredible increase of the living standards (ditto), etc, etc – all thanks to Great and Terrible Wizard of EU!”

        So, everything that you believe about what the protesters wanted and believed is based on Russian propaganda reports? Again, you have a serious problem in conducting research if this is the kind of information you rely on.
        Moldovans already enjoy visa-free travel with the EU and Ukraine will be getting visa-free status within the first 6 months of this year. And if you want evidence of this, read the Ukrainian press NOT the propagandistic Russian press. Look at government statements from the EU side and the Ukrainian side, NOT the Russian side.

        “What, Dave? Здобули?”

        Sorry, didn’t get that. If you want to throw around Ukrainian words, first learn Ukrainian. Google Translate just doesn’t cut it. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to say.

        “Such claims are simply not true. You, Dave, can not possibly know every single person in Kiev and guarantee their attendance of any of these so-called revolutions. Even at its “best” the number of maidanners was smaller than the entire population of Kiev, let alone – the entire Ukraine. So – cut it with sweeping generalizations.”

        Did I say that everyone in Kiev was on the Maidan? I think I made it quite clear when I wrote: “I don’t know a single person in Kiev who didn’t come out to protest, though I am sure there were a few.”. And I will repeat that claim. Read what I wrote, again. What couch “experts” like you don’t understand about the Euromaidan Revolution is that although there were hundreds of thousands of people on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) at any given time, there were always people coming and going from the square. The Yanukovych regime closed the metro stations on or near the square and so people had to walk there. So, what you would see is dozens of people walking towards the Maidan with flags, banners, signs etc., on all the streets leading to the Maidan while at the same time, dozens of others were leaving. People in Kiev would go to work in the day time and then spend time on the Maidan in the evening. People would come to Kiev from around Ukraine and spend time on the Maidan for a few days or weeks and then go home. Others would then replace them. So, in actual fact, millions of Ukrainians were on the Maidan at one point or another. This is something that was easily evident to those of us living in Kiev, but you won’t get that kind of info from your Russian propaganda videos.

        “So, Paul should rely on Ukrainian propaganda instead, got it!”

        The difference between Ukrainian sources and Russian sources is that Ukraine has a free press and Russia does not. The Ukrainian press is owned by various individuals and groups which are NOT controlled by the government. Of course, there is also the government press and that owned by members of the government, like Channel 5 which is owned by Poroshenko. Do I really need to tell you about the Russian press? Maybe you’ve heard of the government takeovers and control of the press in Russia? The death of numerous journalists and opposition politicians? Because of this, the press that isn’t owned or directly controlled by the Kremlin or Putin’s friends, are scared into self-censorship. This is not the case in Ukraine. When you read Ukrainian news sources, you will see different points of view which are pro-government, anti-government and everything inbetween. What you won’t find is anyone doubting that the Russian army is fighting in Ukraine or that a Russian BUK shot down MH 17. No outlet believes the massive amount of anti-Ukrainian propaganda. No outlet believes such Russian garbage as there being Nazis in power in Ukraine or that there was a “coup d’etat” and that Ukraine is lead by a “junta”. These are all extremely laughable to anyone in Ukraine and news outlet publishing such garbage would discredit itself immediately. So, if you want to learn about Ukraine, read the Ukrainian press. That’s not so hard to understand, is it? Though I see that you are having problems with it.

        Which brings me to the Ukrainian and Russian language. Now let me get this right, you believe that NOT knowing Ukrainian and NOT reading the Ukrainian press allows one to better understand Ukraine? Wow that’s amazing! I usually deal with intelligent people, not with people like you, so, dealing with you has been a real treat.

        Now let me explain this, for those of you who don’t quite get it. If you have native Russian language proficiency (which most Westerners who learn Russian do not), you can understand basic Ukrainian. But any intelligent source of information in Ukraine is not written in basic Ukrainian. Furthermore, all the laws are written in Ukrainian as are all of the government statements. A Russian speaker will find it hard to understand all of this. Therefore, I repeat: if you are not fluent in Ukrainian, you won’t know much about Ukraine especially if you are sitting on your couch outside of Ukraine pretending to actually know something. Google Translate won’t help you.

        Did I doubt that Russian is used, and important, in Ukraine? You seem to have some serious problems reading what people write, especially when it is different from the lies that you believe. Poroshenko, Yatseniuk, and Avakov are all Russophones but all of them speak Ukrainian fluently. Avakov almost always speaks Russian as does Saakashvili. So, why should anyone be surprised that they were arguing in Russian. This shows how brainwashed you are by Russian propaganda. There is NO PROBLEM to speak Russian in Ukraine. But, of course, that’s not what Russian propaganda wants you to believe. Russian is very widely used in Ukraine and is an important language. However, because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his war not only against Ukraine but also the Ukrainian language and culture (the arrest of the head librarian in Moscow is only one example, closing the main Ukrainian cultural organization in Russia a few years ago and not allowing a new one to form is another but there are a great deal of examples) together with his policy of “protecting Russian speakers”, many Ukrainians have been turned off by Russian. Yes, Russian is the “language of the aggressor”. It sure as hell isn’t French, English or Mandarin. But Russian also happens to be the language of the majority of Ukrainians citizens fighting against the Russian invasion. This makes sense since they are the ones from the Russophone areas of Donbas and eastern Ukraine whose towns and villages are either occupied by the Russians or in danger of being occupied. Congratulations Putin!

        The rest of what you have written is a bunch of garbage like everything else you have written. Comparing Ukraine to Gabon is funny. Have you ever been to Ukraine or Gabon? If you knew anything about Ukraine instead of waking up to the existence of Ukraine when the Euromaidan started, you would know that most of the Western banks started leaving Ukraine more than 6 months BEFORE the Euromaidan even began. Anyone with half a brain knows why. And anyone with half a brain understands how Yanukovych’s pillaging and bankrupting of Ukraine was just one more reason why so many people supported the Euromaidan. But, of course, you wouldn’t know anything about that now would you? And you don’t think that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea and war against Ukraine would have any detrimental effects do you? No, of course, not! Blame it all on the Euromaidan!! No, you are not too bright, are you?

        Yes, Putin wanted to take over all of Ukraine. Or do you think that he is satisfied with Crimea and half of Donetsk Oblast and half of Lugansk oblast? Was that his goal?

        Anyway, I could go on and on disproving every word you have written but why bother, it obviously won’t sink in. Nothing that you have written has disproved any of my arguments. Your ridicule about why people joined the Euromaidan Revolution is very funny: you have absolutely NOTHING intelligent to say, do you? You might want to educate yourself before writing such drivel. If you want to have a serious debate give me facts instead of such garbage. Prove me wrong with facts. Oh, right, you don’t know anything about Ukraine, so, you can’t.

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    2. I believe what we have witnessed here is a relatively rare phenomenon known as ‘svidomost” (‘національна свідомість’).

      It certainly does exist around these internets (probably owing to the so-called “Ukraine Information Army”), but, despite personally knowing dozens of Ukrainians, I’ve never met a single svidomit in real life so far. Oh well.

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    3. I think the replies to your comment are way out of line, and revealing. I have friends in Ukraine who supported Maidan, and what they said at the time agrees with your remarks. Not everybody who supported Maidan was a Right Sector goon, or a tool of Victoria Nuland.

      I think that Maidan over-reached. I’ve always thought that the best thing would have been to take Yanukovych up on the early elections offer, and then organize like hell to toss his crew out. Ukraine had and has more than enough problems without adding political instability to the mix. But it’s all water under the bridge, now.

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      1. I don’t know exactly what my reply revealed to you, samuel, but I actually agree with your second paragraph. However, it remains unclear to me whether Dave’s polemic was genuine or just plain trolling…

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      2. “and then organize like hell to toss his crew out”

        The problem is, the other crew is even worse. This is, in fact, exactly what happened in 2004, and the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko crew, that came to power due to ‘organizing like hell’, had sunk as low as poor Yanuk would never even dreamed of. Among other mind-boggling travesties, nationalizing previously privatized shit in order to privatize it again – this time to themselves and their minions. Oh well.

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      3. Dear Samuel,

        Nice to see that there is at least one person here who isn’t completely brainwashed by Russian propaganda! I hope that we can have an intelligent discussion.

        In response to your thoughts about the “early elections offer”. Yanukovych discredited himself so badly that no one believed that democratic and fair elections were possible under his rule. During the Euromaidan Revolution there was a by election to the Verhovna Rada for about 5 seats, if I remember correctly. Yanukovych’s party won three of the seats though according to the polls, they should not have won any seats. Elections under the Yanukovych regime were NOT democratic, were extremely dirty and included vote rigging, “carousels” and a multitude of other illegal election tactics. I was quite surprised that Yanukovych kept all of this up during the Euromaidan Revolution. The smart thing to do would be to allow the elections to proceed democratically and fairly. This might have convinced some people that Yanukovych might play fairly and that a fair presidential election was possible. Instead, Yanukovych proved to everyone that even when there are massive demonstrations going on against his presidency, he was still going to lie and cheat. This was extremely foolish on his part especially since losing those 3 seats would have made absolutely no difference to his rule.

        Another important thing is that people were convinced that Yanukovych would arrest or kidnap and kill many of the Euromaidan supporters and leaders before any election would ever happen. During the entire revolution (although this practice started well in advance of the revolution), Yanukovych hired members of the mafia as goon squads or “titushky” to attack peaceful demonstrators. Many people were kidnapped and tortured, killed, beaten and until this day there are dozens and dozens of people still missing. Other than “titushky” there were many cases of people being followed, kidnapped and tortured, with some being killed. Most of these people were among the most outspoken Maidan protesters including some politicians like Ilienko and Lutsenko who were badly beaten though survived.

        Furthermore, given that Yanukovych’s goon squads had shot more than 100 protesters, Yanukovych simply could not morally remain in power. In the end, most of the members of his Party of Regions abandoned him. In the end, this is why he fled to Russia. No one attacked his residence or attacked and occupied the Presidential Administration. He literally packed his bags (including many millions or possibly even billions of USD) and fled to Russia. There are security camera videos which show him standing around in his residence while helicopters and trucks evacuated his stolen wealth. You can probably find this video on youtube. So, no one attacked him and forced him to leave. He fled on his own. Again, this is because practically all of his party members stopped supporting him, especially after the shooting of over 100 protesters. This is also one more reason why the Kremlin’s propaganda about a “coup d’etat” is so absurd or that a “junta” came to power. Yanukovych abandoned the country and his job, therefore forcing the Verhovna Rada to appoint a new government.

        By the way, while I am writing this, I am watching “112 Ukraine” which is a 24 news channel which is definitely not a pro-government channel and is allegedly owned by someone from the pro-Yanukovych camp. Well they just reminded me that yesterday (it’s now after midnight here), January 16, was the anniversary of Yanukovych’s “Dictatorship Laws” which were passed by a show of hands (illegal in the Ukrainian parliament). These laws made Ukraine into a dictatorship and seriously limited the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens. This was one more reason why there was absolutely NO TRUST that Yanukovych would hold democratic elections, and, in fact, because of the Dictatorship Laws, it would have been impossible to even contest anything that Yanukovych and the Party of Regions would have done in a future electoral campaign.

        You know, during the entire Euromaidan protests, Yanukovych made mistake upon mistake simply because he was a criminal thug, which is not an exaggeration. The original protests were because people wanted Yanukovych to sign the Association Agreement (AA), but after he went to Vilnius and failed to sign the AA, people lost heart and the protests started to die down. These protests were totally peaceful. The were only a few hundred young students left on the Maidan and within a few days to a week, they probably would have given up and went home. But what did Yanukovych do? He sent in the Berkut to beat the living snot out of them all!! I go to bed very late and I remember watching this live on TV. It was brutal!! And a completely idiotic and massive mistake on Yanukovych’s part. This brutal act so enraged everyone that all of a sudden there were massive protests again and actually, they were much larger than the original protests. At this point, the protests were no longer about signing the AA but against the Yanukovych regime and its brutality against Ukrainians, theft of Ukrainians businesses, pillaging of the country etc,. etc. Yes, people wanted to live in a country with European values and not in the bankrupt dictatorship that Yanukovych was creating. But Yanukovych could have ended the protests rather easily but making a few easy compromises. He could have blamed the attack on the students on his Minister of Internal Affairs – Zakharchenko – and the protests probably would have ended. But he didn’t. Yanukovych NEVER compromised during the protests. This was extremely foolish! And there were so many other times during the months of protests when he seemed like the protests were dying down and there was no hope and then all of sudden, Yanukovych would do something stupid and enrage people again, thus giving a new life to the protests. Yanukovych was a complete ignoramus and, really, he only has himself to blame for everything. But again, he fled on his own. He could have stayed and nothing would have happened to him. But he chose to be a coward. By the way, please note that if he were so popular in the Donbas or the Crimea, then why is it that he didn’t go there and become a leader of “Novorossia”? Why is it that there were no “protests” in the Donbas in favour of Yanukovych remaining as president and ruling over them? If you guessed that it’s because, after 4 years in power, people no longer supported him there, you are right. Also, don’t you find it strange that instead of there being “pro-Yanukovych” protests in southern and eastern Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea, there were “pro Russian protests”?? That doesn’t make any logical sense but if you understand that most of those “protesters” were bused in from Russia and Transdnistria, and that this was organised by the Putin regime, then things start to make sense. And there was a GREAT deal of evidence about the fact that these “protesters” were not even from Ukraine.

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      4. Maidan imho was legitimate (but not legal) when it was fighting against Yanukovich exploiting the west and the centre. After it seized power, it attempted (mostly successfully) to subjugate the South and East, and started to exploit them (or attempt to do so) them more then Yanukovich did earlier. It very quickly lost its legitimacy once it became a subjugating force.

        What I seriously dislike is that “holier than thou” attitude from Maidan. Maidan is a Oligarch funded, Oligarch run, and the “civil society activists” who believed to be “the heart of Maidan” are more adequately seen as “Maidans make up”.
        That Maidan is run by Oligarchs, with a muscle partly consisting of incredibly noxious ultranationalists does not make it unusual, let alone unusually evil, but they are not the “good guys” or “the last best hope for Ukraine” or any such stuff.

        From what I got, much of the Maidan rank and file was there because they believed that A) the new government would probably be a bit les bad then Yanukovich (both Kravchuk and Kuchma were better then him, with Yuschenko/Timoschenko being a bit less corrupt in exchange for being a lot more disfunctional) and B) hoped that overthrowing one Oligarch would serve as a message to other Oligarchs. These are understandable goals, and neither A nor B are particularly dumb things to believe (we now have the benefit of hindsight).

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      5. “Furthermore, given that Yanukovych’s goon squads had shot more than 100 protesters”

        I guess there was an officail investigation that proved that without any doubt, right? Right?

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      1. Wow! You’re a bright one! So, why don’t you educate us all and give links to quotes of people who thought Ukraine would be joining the EU real soon during the Euromaidan Revolution. I’m waiting.

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    1. “…the Western media ecstatically declared that Ukraine had “finally” placed itself in the Western camp and “liberated” itself from perfidious Russian influence.”

      Huh. I have sense of deja vu here. Thankfully, the general Western Enlightened Population ™ has the attention span of a gold fish with Alzheimer, so nothing really prevents the punditocracy from recycling and then reusing all of its tropes from the time of the 2004-5 “Revolution”

      Like

  6. ”Dear Lyttenburgh,
    Wow! That was quite the case of verbal diarrhea you just had! I hope you feel better soon.”

    Mr. Dave, my response to your (then single) post consisted partially of quoting your own words. But judging by the word-count of your new responses here it’s actually YOU who are suffering from the continuous and acute case of the logorrhea. And, no, I can’t see how such a person like you can feel “better” in any foreseeable future.

    ”Or that believing a propagandistic and warped Russian news report proves anything.”

    “You keep using that word”(c). Everything that disagrees with your views is “propaganda”. In his previous post, Paul used Gallup polls results. And in this post Paul uses as his reference the Dutch press. Say, Dave – when did Putin managed to buy Gallup and the Netherlands wholesale? Because you, personally, accused him of using “Russian propaganda” as his sources about Ukraine in your original response here – 2 times in fact.

    And back to your handwaving. You were presented with ordinary Kievans answers. Are you going to suggest that they were faked? Can you prove that? Can you, for a change, attack the argument and not the person(s) making the argument?

    ” What’s funny is that NONE of your links prove me wrong. Even in your links NO ONE said that Ukraine was joining the EU.”

    No, it proves that a lot of people were delusional enough to believe that the EU was some sort of magical source of all that is good and nice, and that Ukraine will get it for free just for signing the Association treaty. Which is, in fact, even more sadder than believing that the EU membership is a panacea for all your problems.

    ” So, everything that you believe about what the protesters wanted and believed is based on Russian propaganda reports? Again, you have a serious problem in conducting research if this is the kind of information you rely on.”

    This is very weak rebuttal, Mr. Dave. I base my opinion on what’s been said on Maidan. AFAIK, no one hold a gun at their heads when all these people said what they think the Association Treaty will bring for them. Once again – can you prove these people to be fakes?

    ” Moldovans already enjoy visa-free travel with the EU and Ukraine will be getting visa-free status within the first 6 months of this year.”

    Enjoying visa-free travel with the EU Moldovans held large anti-government protests just a few months ago. So happy (and prosperous) they were.

    Whether Ukraine will finally get the visa-free regime with migrants/refugees besieged EU – this is not guaranteed. By this is a nice carrot dangling before entire nation – why take it away by actually giving it? And I also have this ugly question for you, Dave – just how many of the Ukrainians have the money needed to travel and stay in the EU in case of visa-free regime? Take your time, study prices.

    ” Look at government statements from the EU side and the Ukrainian side, NOT the Russian side.”

    Funny thing here – Paul just used a source from the EU country. You now – these Dutch folks. Still not good enough for you?

    ”Sorry, didn’t get that. If you want to throw around Ukrainian words, first learn Ukrainian. Google Translate just doesn’t cut it. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to say.”

    Oh, Dave! Thanks to this one particular “Maidan” I’ve enriched my vocabulary by a lot of Ukrainian words and expressions – don’t need Google Translate for them anymore :). Words like ”перемога”=>”зрада”=>”генотьба”, ”ми здобули”, “покращення”, and, of course, the world famous “москаляку на гiлляку”

    Dave, are you sure you are Ukrainian? How one can live in Kiev and participate in 2 Maidans without learning at least that much?

    ”What couch “experts” like you don’t understand about the Euromaidan Revolution is that although there were hundreds of thousands of people on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) at any given time, there were always people coming and going from the square… So, what you would see is dozens of people walking towards the Maidan with flags, banners, signs etc… People would come to Kiev from around Ukraine and spend time on the Maidan for a few days or weeks and then go home.”

    While we are on the subject – Dave, who financed this particular Maidan? Who paid for all those flags, banners, signs, free Wi-Fi, tents, food, tea, medical supplies, tents, construction materials and (most importantly!) for shipping of all these supplies (in) and the human refuse (out)? Who paid people from Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk to go all the way to Kiev and spend “a few day or weeks and then go home” (c) as if no one have to work here? Who, Dave? You yourself say that “there were hundreds of thousands of people on Maidan… at any given time”. Do you have even a slightest idea about logistical efforts needed to supply such amount of people holed in one place?

    ”The difference between Ukrainian sources and Russian sources is that Ukraine has a free press and Russia does not. The Ukrainian press is owned by various individuals and groups which are NOT controlled by the government.”

    >Free press.
    > In Ukraine

    Choose one, Dave!

    As for the Ukrainian press “owned by various individuals and groups” (c) – c’mon, Dave, speak up! Controlled by various oligarchs, that’s what you wanted to say? The same oligarchs who control either the government or parts of the country?

    Of course, there is also the government press and that owned by members of the government, like Channel 5 which is owned by Poroshenko.

    Dave, when will come the happy day, when the President will sell it? As he (I’m sure, you know that) promised before his elections?

    ”Maybe you’ve heard of the government takeovers and control of the press in Russia? The death of numerous journalists and opposition politicians?”

    And have YOU heard, Dave, about Ukraine’s control of the press and the deaths of numerous journalists and opposition politicians? Like, in the past 1.5 years?

    ”When you read Ukrainian news sources, you will see different points of view which are pro-government, anti-government and everything inbetween.”

    You. You are funny, Dave!

    ”No outlet believes such Russian garbage as there being Nazis in power in Ukraine or that there was a “coup d’etat” and that Ukraine is lead by a “junta””

    That’s actually is rather sad. Especially denying the “coup d’etat” part – because from the constitutional standpoint that’s what actually happened. And the fact, that Poroshenko only passed a law officially stipping Yanukovitch of his presidential power only 18 June, 2015, is rather telling. Or you haven’t read your own country’s constitution, Dave?

    Although, I have a feeling that you don’t know what the word “Revolution” actually means. What had happened in Ukraine twice so far was anything but Revolution

    ”These are all extremely laughable to anyone in Ukraine and news outlet publishing such garbage would discredit itself immediately.”

    Instead Ukrainian press publishes nearly daily various rag-papers (or the Daily Mail and the Onion) level “news”, which, still, can do nothing to tarnish their already nonexistent reputation. Recently it was about a giant snow penis which killed a couple in Altai, Russia.

    Top kek!

    ”Which brings me to the Ukrainian and Russian language. Now let me get this right, you believe that NOT knowing Ukrainian and NOT reading the Ukrainian press allows one to better understand Ukraine?”

    Never said that. What I actually said was that all relevant information about Ukraine is puplished also in Russian by Ukrainian citizens themselves, and that knowledge of Russian (and a bit of Google Translate) can get you understand a few of Ukrainian language papers that matter.

    ”Wow that’s amazing! I usually deal with intelligent people”

    I’d never guessed that reading your posts.

    ”But any intelligent source of information in Ukraine is not written in basic Ukrainian.”

    Examples, please.

    ”you won’t know much about Ukraine especially if you are sitting on your couch outside of Ukraine pretending to actually know something. Google Translate won’t help you.”

    I sit in the chair. Armchair, in fact. Old and rather expensive – more than 100 y.o. thing. And Google Translate helps me.

    Is it because of the chair?

    ”areas of Donbas and eastern Ukraine whose towns and villages are either occupied by the Russians or in danger of being occupied. Congratulations Putin!”

    Actually they are “occupied” by native ethnic Russians (and even some Ukrainians) who also happen to be Ukrainian citizens. Uhm, congrats Czars/Lenin?

    ”The rest of what you have written is a bunch of garbage like everything else you have written. Comparing Ukraine to Gabon is funny. Have you ever been to Ukraine or Gabon?”

    I see. And what if I say that I’m quoting governor of Odessa oblast – Mikheil Saakashvili? Is it still “garbage” and “funny” for you? Is Saakashvkili and/or Shuster-Live also mouthpieces of Kremlenite propaganda?

    ”Ukraine’s GDP fell from $ 184 billion to 115 billion, that is, per capita, we fell very quickly to the level of Gabon. Ukraine, with all due respect to Africa – is Gabon” (c) Mikheil Saakashvili.

    Not sure if the former president of Georgian ever went to Gabon. He is I Ukraine now and can easily access all relevant economic data though.

    ”And you don’t think that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea and war against Ukraine would have any detrimental effects do you?”

    Russians make bureaucrats to steal? Putin personally keep roads in shitty state? It’s all thanks to Kremlin that oligarchs still have their ill-gotten fortunes?

    Dave, denial can bring you only this far. Soon it will be 2 years of this “Revolution of Dignity”. And you have virtually nothing to present as “positive changes”.

    ”Yes, Putin wanted to take over all of Ukraine. Or do you think that he is satisfied with Crimea and half of Donetsk Oblast and half of Lugansk oblast? Was that his goal?”

    I asked for sources, Dave. Where are they? Prove that, if this is so “obvious”.

    ”Anyway, I could go on and on disproving every word you have written…”

    Huh. Really? To quote Calvin Coolidge – “You failed” (c).

    ”If you want to have a serious debate give me facts instead of such garbage. Prove me wrong with facts.”

    Says a person who failed to provide any proof…

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  7. ATO – Guernica
    Ukraine can’t enter the EU for decades – not till long after the fascist government that killed its own people has been overturned. The people of Spain, Portugal and Greece know this well.

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    1. “Ukraine can’t enter the EU for decades – not till long after the fascist government that killed its own people has been overturned.”

      The underlying (common) assumption here is that the EU is somehow ‘good’, humanitarian, anti-fascist. Big mistake. For example, the EU was (and probably still is) happily hosting CIA torture camps, that could not even exist (as far as we know) on the US territory.

      The EU is – first and foremost – neoliberal. Anything that facilitates free and safe flow of capital and access to resources and markets – will do. The rest is secondary; fascism, why not, who cares. Milton Friedman talked a lot about freedom and was a big fan of Pinochet. Par for the course.

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  8. Dear Michael,
    Please name all of the “fascists” in the “fascist government” in Ukraine. And please tell me which of their policies are “fascist”? I can’t wait for you answer. By the way, is the Russian government “fascist”? Is Putin a “fascist”?

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    1. How about something recent, Dave from Kiev? how about the most recent “revelation” from Volodymyr Omelyan?

      When a deputy Minister of Infrastructure calls entire ethnicity “losers and slaves”, “barbarians” and “horde” this (at least in European cultured countries, which Ukraine is allegedly tries to imitate) requaries at least an apology. More often than not it requores the immediate dismissal of the the state official, member of the government who exposes such racist, neo-Nazi views.

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  9. Now, now – get your zradometres ready people. Cause here we have a video of a poll conducted in the capital of the European country (Kiev, Ukraine).

    People in this video were asked 2 questions:

    1) “Given the fact that Ukraine has a vise-free regime with the EU since 1 Jan, 2016 – what EU country do you plan to visit?”

    2) “Canada is currently in the process of exiting the EU. In that light, should Ukraine aspire to become a member-state of the EU?”

    13 persons were asked these questions. Virtually no one of them tried to engage higher brain function and answer with “What the hell you are telling me?!”. No. Instead, nearly all of these people gave their answers as to what country they plan to visit now as they can enjoy the the visa-free regime (Poland was menationed most often with France in solid second place, also people namaed as their possible destinations Germany, Hungary, Norvay (sic), Vienna (sic!), New Zealand (sic!!) and Yugoslavia (sic!!!)) while only 2 (two) of them, an elderly man and a young woman said, respectively, that he is too old for that kind of travel and that she has a small child to take care of.

    And all of them (sans one other, different elder dude, who knows a little bit about geography) said that Ukraine still must aspire to become the EU member despite Canada’s exit from the EU because… reasons. Plus one middle-aged guy – he was sure, upon hearing about Canada’s “EUxit”, that the days of this organisation are numbered and that every country should be better on its own.

    […]

    I… I have no comment here. We are still talking about ephemeral carrots dangling before peoples faces, right? Just… see to yourself. [drops the mic]

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    1. By the way, Lyttenburgh, what’s interesting about your comments are the level of hate, bigotry and racism that you portray against Ukrainians. You keep trying to convince me that Ukrainians are all stupid and bad people. You keep trying to say that Ukrainians are Nazis and yet, what you don’t seem to get is that your hateful, bigoted words make you a real Nazi. Yes, the Russian anti-Ukrainian propaganda is very hateful. You are a perfect example of this. So, stop pretending to be against Nazis when it’s YOU that are the real Nazi. This is also very evident with the entire Ukrainophobe/anti-Ukrainian crowd which I see on this blog, and others, where they try to convince everyone how stupid Ukrainians are. Unbelievable! Even this very post is quite hateful in alluding that Ukrainians are donkeys. But you people don’t get it, do you? You know, the hate and lies coming out of Russia aimed towards Ukrainians are exactly why Ukrainians will NEVER return to a “brotherly” relationship with Russia again. This is unfortunate and Putin and his criminal and corrupt cronies only have themselves to blame.

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  10. Dear Lyttenburgh,

    Wow! You keep amazing me by how unbelievably stupid you really are!!! This is the garbage that you base your views about Ukraine on? Wow!! Honestly, I have met some people with low IQ levels but you take the cake!! I’m not even going to explain to you what problems your propaganda video has in asking its questions since you obviously won’t get it. Keep up the good work!! You and your unbelievably ridiculous anti-Ukrainian propaganda is doing wonders for the pro-Ukrainian cause!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Like

    1. “Iuppiter iratus ergo nefas” (c) Lucian.

      So far I saw no (zero, nada) proof to what you claim, or so desperately trying to refute. All that I see is just an endless torrent of cries of indignation, baseless accusations and not substance at all. Your tone is outright hysterical. You are even now lying outright by accusing me of “hate, bigotry and racism that you portray against Ukrainians” (c), without naming examples.

      Attack the argument, not the person who makes it. When refuting something – do it with arguments, not shrill cries of indignation of a 5-year old, calling his mom to punish “meanies”.

      ” You keep trying to convince me that Ukrainians are all stupid and bad people. You keep trying to say that Ukrainians are Nazis and yet, what you don’t seem to get is that your hateful, bigoted words make you a real Nazi.”

      Pathetic strawmanning. I’ve never said or claimed that any other group X on its whole is Y. You are lying, Dave from Kiev.

      “Yes, the Russian anti-Ukrainian propaganda is very hateful. You are a perfect example of this. “

      So its not hateful at all. Got it!

      “Ukrainians will NEVER return to a “brotherly” relationship with Russia again. “

      Boo-hoo. What a tragedy.

      P.S. Dave from Kiev, I also decided to use a little bit of Internet Dark Magick ™ and conduct some simple statistics. E.g., how often the phrase “Russian/Kremlin propaganda” is encountered in this particular comment thread? 14 (fourteen) times – all courtesy of you! Next i decided to search for the phrase “Putin/Yanukovych regime” (and we know that regime is something very-very baaaaaaaaaaad, do we?). 4 (four times) – again, used by you solely. I guess you have rather limited vocabulary, Dave from Kiev. And you also can’t argue with normal people in a civilized and intelligent manner – you even can’t answer some simple question.

      Sorry, Dave – this is not your typical svidomite net-den of sin and inequity. Here gather people of words 😉

      Like

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