In Background, Ukraine

By Pedro Marin, New Cold War.org, Feb. 24, 2015

The following is the English translation of a commentary published in the Brazil online publication Opera Revista. Pedro Marin is the editor-in-chief. The original in Portugese is here. Opera Revista has a correspondent presently in eastern Ukraine who is writing reports for the publication. New Cold War.org will translate and publish as many of those as possible. Offers of translation assistance are welcomed. Write to [email protected].

Euromaidan, photo by Gleb Garanich, Reuters

Euromaidan, photo by Gleb Garanich, Reuters

One year ago, opponents of the government of President Viktor Yanukovich overthrew him, using the legitimacy of a violent protest movement in the streets of Kiev. The ‘Maidan’ opposition movement then staged an unconstitutional impeachment process while he was out of the country which won the support of the majority of the deputies in the Verkhovna Rada (‘Supreme Council’, Ukraine’s parliament).

Since then, more than 5,000 people have died in a civil war in the country. The hyrvnia, Ukraine’s currency, has lost 75 per cent of its exchange value with the U.S. dollar. Ukraine’s GDP fell by ten per cent last year and inflation has reached an annual rate of 19%.

The new Ukrainian government turned to the International Monetary Fund for help. Last summer, a loan of U$ 17 billion to finance the government was approved. Without international aid, the economy would decrease by a further ten per cent this year. With IMF help, according to Ukraine’s prime minister, the decrease will “only” be three per cent.

The coup d’etat of February 2014 was motivated, in part, by rejection by Ukraine’s economic elite of maintaining the close economic ties between Ukraine and the neighbouring power, Russia. Today, instead, the country kneels before Europe, the USA and the IMF, asking for money and guns.

Worse is yet to come. Political and military tensions with Russia rise day by day. The Ukrainian army that is fighting in the east of the country has been resoundingly defeated several times, the latest being the disastrous loss of its armed force of seven to eight soldiers in the town and surrounding area of Debaltseve. An offensive there by eastern Ukraine’s rebel combatants put Ukraine’s army on the run.

The shadow of the IMF now looms over Kiev as it has loomed earlier over the capitals of many European and Latin American countries. It will now hunt down the people of Ukraine to make them pay dearly for the financial “help” that their government has accepted.

The new government

The military and economic catastrophe suffered by Ukraine is being transformed into a complete political disaster. The new government that came to power last February is supposed to end corruption and improve the economy. But it is composed of the likes of :

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He served as minister of economy from 2005 to 2006, foreign minister in 2007 and chairman of the Rada from 2007 to 2008. Yatsenyuk is the founder of ‘Open Ukraine’, a foundation that has as partners the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy since 2009 and the International Renaissance Foundation (owned by George Soros) and NATO since at least 2011, among others. One year ago, Yatsenyuk was famously mentioned as a favorite to lead a new Ukraine government in a leaked phone call between Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador for Ukraine.

Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs. He is an Armenian businessmen and was governor of Karkhiv oblast from 2004 to 2010. In January 2012, he was accused of illegally transfering 55 hectares of land and was put in INTERPOL’s wanted list. He is also accused of ties to neo-nazi paramilitary groups.

Natalia Ann Jaresko, Minister of Finance. She is a U.S. citizen and worked from 1992 to 1995 in the U.S Department of State. She was a member of Open Ukraine’s council and CEO of Horizon Capital, which is also a partner of Yatsenyuk’s foundation. Her shadowy business dealings during her long time as an investment fund manager are now under intense scrutiny.

Pavlo Rozenko, Minister of Social Policy. He worked in 2010-11 as an expert at Razumkov Center, an Ukranian think-tank whose average anual budget was the equivalent of US$600,000. In 2010, the think-tank signed a document titled, “The alliance we would like to cooperate with and join” . It was hosted on NATO’s website. The document explains, “[…] we see future [NATO] membership as essential for our national security.”

Aivaras Abromavičius; Minister of Economy and Trade. He is Lithuanian by birth and another investment fund manager. He a partner in the multinational investment company East Capital. Two of the East Capital funds managed by Abromavičius lost 30 per cent and 46 per cent during the past five years. In an interview on BloombergView in January this year, he said he wants deep cuts to public spending, including pensions, and sharp rises in the price of natural gas used for domestic purposes.

Yuriy Stets, Minister of Information Policy. This is a newly created ministry that will control anything appearing in print and broadcast media. Stets worked as a chief producer at Channel 5, a television channel owned by Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine. The creation of a ‘Ministry of Truth’, as some critics call Stets’ new ministry, has been widely criticized as an attack on freedom of media, including by Ukrainian journalists, two of whom have recently been arrested, and by international human rights monitors.

Serhiy Kvit; Minister of Education and Science. He is a member of the paramilitar organization Tryzub. Its leader was Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the fascist Right Sector party.

Ihor Zhdanov, Minister of Youth and Sports. He also worked at the Razumkov Center, from 1995 to 1997 and then from 1999 to 2005. In 2004, he worked as an analyst for the electoral campaign of Viktor Yushckenko, leader of the ‘Orange Revolution’ that year and the winner of the 2004 presidential election against Viktor Yanukovich.

Conclusion

A year has passed in Ukraine and everything has changed for the worse. The people in the east are living worse lives, and so are the people in Western Ukraine. The dream of a “new Ukraine” upheld by protesters during the Euromaidan protests was nothing but a series of shadows cast over Ukranians by a looming threat of EU and USA dominance in collaboration with their servants in Kiev. To achieve this, there are no limits. They have resurrected the ghost of Stephan Bandera, the World War Two fascist and ultranationalist. They have burned people alive, destroyed the headquarters of opposing parties and beat and arrested communists. They bomb civilians in the towns and cities of eastern Ukraine and have censored and attacked journalists.

There is no alternative for Ukraine; either Kiev’s junta goes down and the progressive ideas of Commandant Mozgovoi take root, or the country will continue to face a very shadowy future.

Notes:
[1] One year ago, the Ukrainian hryvnia traded at eight to one U.S. dollar. Following its most recent steep drop, it now trades at 31 to the dollar.

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