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The pot continues to boil in Ukraine. There have been continuing pro-Russian demonstrations in the predominantly Russian speaking southeastern section of the country. Now the situation has moved to a formal declaration of separation from the government in Kiev.

Protesters occupying government building in eastern city vow to follow Crimea in holding referendum on joining Russia

Pro-Russian activists occupying a government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have proclaimed the creation of a sovereign "people's republic" independent of the capital, Kiev.

The announcement, which was posted on YouTube, was delivered by a protest spokesperson outside a building currently occupied by several thousand Russia supporters, some of them armed.

"Seeking to create a popular, legitimate, sovereign state, I proclaim the creation for the sovereign state of the People's Republic of Donetsk," the spokesperson said to cheers from the gathered crowd.

The Interfax news agency reported that the self-proclaimed leaders of Donetsk had vowed to hold a referendum on regional sovereignty no later than 11 May. Ukrainian presidential elections have been set for 25 May.

The regional news website Ostrov said the activists wanted to join the Russian Federation in a similar way to the Crimean peninsula.

There continue to be large numbers of Russian troops massed near the Ukrainian border. Putin's claim that some of them were being moved back appears to have been at best a token gesture. What is happening in Donetsk appears to be following a similar pattern to the events in Crimea. People who present themselves as local activists are pushing for incorporation into the Russian Federation. It seems decidedly plausible that they are getting support from the Russian government.

There is little doubt that there are significant numbers of people in that region who have stronger cultural and economic connections to Russia than they do to the west, while the situation in western Ukraine is the reverse. This cultural divide has created chronic political instability since the dissolution of the USSR. It is a pattern that occurs in many places where people who do not have a close identity with each other find themselves lumped together in an arbitrary geographic boundary that has been recognized as a nation state.

The problem that arises is the lack of functional international organization with the capacity for resolving such conflicts in an orderly and non-violent manner.  It seems probable that this new separatist movement will raise the tensions in the continuing security confrontation between the west and Russia.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  What's needed is an international conference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to resolve the situation.  Otherwise, Ukraine may end up being partitioned, with everything east of the Dnieper River becoming affiliated with Russia.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 07:52:10 AM PDT

    •  If that were workable it could be resolved (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marsanges, AoT, Involuntary Exile

      in the UN Security Council. The idea of Ukraine being partitioned seems to me to be a plausible option. That is what was necessary to deal with the situation in the collapse of Yugoslavia. The horror of that situation was the extreme violence that accompanied the process.

    •  which would leave (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      large areas of RUssia with significant (60-70%+) Ukrainian majorities.  Crimea is the only part of the country with a Russian majority. Everywhere region of the state has a Ukrainian  majority

      •  Well then, there should be no worry... (3+ / 0-)

        about secession, should there, since all regions are majority Ukrainian. Except that's not true, is it? Many of those self-identifying Ukrainians are really of Russian extraction. They speak no Ukrainian. They're intermarried with Russians. Their families migrated to Ukraine from Russia, some centuries ago, some recently. Generations of their families were born in Ukraine, but they are linguistically and culturally Russian despite self-identifying as Ukrainian on census forms. I know several such Ukrainians. Ask them what nationality they are and they start off as Ukrainian, but you probe a little and it doesn't take long before they tell you they are Russians from Ukraine.

        The true test of how many Ukrainians versus how Russians live in Eastern Ukraine will come soon enough when IMF "reforms" are fully implemented. I predict there will be open revolt against Kiev and many who self-identified as Ukrainian will suddenly decide to become Russians.

        •  But see the reports on "carousel voting" (0+ / 0-)

          In Crimea--buses of pro-Russian voters (possibly Crimean, possibly from Russia itself) going from polling place to polling place, and voting at each one.

          That sort of thing can overcome a slight majority, especially when mixed with intimidation.

          •  Oh, please. There would have had to have been... (3+ / 0-)

            thousands of such "carousel buses". Where is the video, where are the Instagram pics? The US may not have had a meaningful journalistic presence in Crimea during the voting, but the rest of Europe did. Where are the news reports? They don't exist, only anecdotes like this spread to taint the Western public's view of the election results. If there were substantive proof that the secession and annexation where opposed by a majority of Crimeans, I'd join the protests in front of the Russian Embassy, but they weren't. They were supported by the majority who voted their economic interests.

            Notice, the US and EU governments have never contended the election results were fraudulent. Instead, they have maintained that they were "illegal" under international law. Huge difference there.

            •  There are many news reports (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming, amyzex

              Of pro Ukrainians activists being kidnapped, intimidated and organization broken up.  It was essentially a one party election and the results are so mathematically nonsensical as to be pretty obviously fake.  

              There is clear evidence that a substantial minority are opposed so whether a majority is opposed or in favor is really unknowable at this point.

              •  BS. Those pro-Ukrainian activists were fascists (2+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                limpidglass, Claudius Bombarnac
                Hidden by:
                Mindful Nature

                and ultra-nationalist from western Ukraine who came in to organize an opposition which did not exist and which they could not get to materialize. They were quickly scooped up by the local Crimeans or driven off back across the border from whence they came. Actual hard news reporting of those events exists, as opposed to all the anecdotal bullshit that's being spouted.

                Look, hard as it is for all the suffers of PDS (Putin Derangement Syndrome) to admit, Crimeans overwhelmingly voted their economic interests. The same will happen all over Eastern Ukraine once IMF "reforms" are fully implemented. Here's the hard truth: you cannot eat liberal democracy or heat you flat with intellectual and artist freedom. People will vote to feed their families and keep a warm roof over their heads, and where they aren't permitted to do that, they will rise up. End of story.

                •  After our earlier exchange (0+ / 0-)

                  I have decided to follow you.  I would like you to write a diary explaining whom you hold responsible for the fact you and your family had to flee your home country, and how this affects your politics today.

                  The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

                  by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:29:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I hold Lenin, Hitler, Stalin and Tito responsible. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    I have a complex lineage. My father was born and raised in central Serbia but his family came from Dalmatia. His grandfather emigrated in the late 19th century when the crowned heads of Europe were yet again in one of their periods of redrawing maps. His surname is readily recognized as a Montenegrin surname. He was captured by the Nazis at the beginning of WWII when he was not quite 21 and spent 4 years as a prisoner of war in one of the Nazi's most infamous prison camps, Stalag Xb, Sandbostel Prison. Ninety percent of the prisoners held there died. He survived despite having contracted typhoid fever and lived to the age if 91. (It has been suggested that the Nazis were experimenting with typhus and purposely exposed the prisoners to virulent strains they were developing as weapons of war.) He was unable to return to his homeland after liberation from POW camp because of Tito's takeover. He had fought in the army of the King of Serbia, and the communists decided to imprison and execute the returning royalists. His uncle who attempted to return was caught and executed.

                    My mother was born in East Prussia, but her parents' families were Germans from Russia who fled to East Prussia near the end of the Great War. They were not typical Germans from Russia in that they were not yeomen farmers. They were very wealthy - prior to the revolution, that is. Her paternal line (originally from Salzburg) lived in Odessa and owned ships and warehouses on the Black Sea. Her maternal line was Prussian gentry with very extensive holdings in Belarus. My mother and her family were captured by the Russians at the end of WWII and spent 14 months in concentration camp. From there they were expelled to East Germany. My mother escaped to the West with her mother and seven younger siblings just as the Russians were stringing the last lines of barbed wire, closing off transit between East and West. To do this my mother had to cross the border five times to bring everyone safely to the other side. She is 84 years old and an incredibly brave woman.

                    •  Very compelling. (1+ / 1-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Hidden by:
                      Involuntary Exile

                      Then write a diary on why you think Obama should be classed with the likes of Tito, let alone the others on the list above.  Based on your comments throughout this diary that seems to be what you think.

                      The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

                      by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 01:52:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh, puhleeez! (1+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        cville townie
                        Hidden by:

                        Give me a fucking break! Puny little intellects that cannot accept legitimate political arguments and counter with reason and logic have to resort to vile accusations like yours. First, may I point out that you are full if shit.  Nowhere do I compare Obama to the fascists or communists of the twentieth century. Second, do not attempt to put words in my mouth or profess that you can read my mind. Just because I do not agree with YOU and think that US policy in Ukraine is extremely detrimental to Ukrainians does not give you license to infer or imply anything beyond my actual written comments, Ms. Stalker.

                  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    my story is that when Russia invaded Estonia, they murdered my grandfather, a Lutheran pastor, pretty much straight off.  My father was seized by the retreating Nazi army as slave labor, while one of his brothers was sent to the gulags as part of the Russification of Estonia.  It was too dangerous for my family to communicate with anyone in Estonia under the Soviets, so we had no contact with any of them from 1942 until 1990.

                    That's my story, in a short nutshell

                    •  You would think that with such parallel histories (0+ / 0-)

                      we would have more in common. The thing is, I don't blame the Russian people or the German people for what happened to my family. I let go of my grief, my hatred, my disappointment, my fear long ago. I recommend forgiveness to everyone. It allows one to view things rationally instead of clouding ones judgement with bias borne of old wounds.

                •  evidence (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy, amyzex

                  This is totally fake.  A number of them (including a Tatar activist) were Tatars.  A significant number there were also Crimean locals.

                  The amount of people here who simply swallow Kremlin press releases uncritically is astonishing, as are the number of apologists for what is in reality imperialism.

                  However, calling people who have reached different conclusions from you from reading a more even handed balance of news sources "deranged" earns you donut.

                  •  Bwaaahahahaha! You think you can intimidate me? (0+ / 0-)

                    That move was pathetic. You think you're going to shut me up with your strawman army? As if you had even the slightest idea what I read and don't read. I'm not the one who has swallowed the propaganda. I'm not the jingoistic cheerleader ready to throw a whole country to the IMF and world bank wolves just to keep them out of Putin's sphere of influence. My eyes are wide open and not clouded by irrational hatred. I actually know people in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. I care deeply what happens to them. I know for a fact that they do not want to be ruled by Kiev, and when the full force of IMF austerity hits the country, the secession movement will become a tidal wave, and all the anti-Russian animus from people without a dog in the hunt will not mean diddly shit.

                  •  By the way, (0+ / 0-)

                    You are guilty of HR abuse, a claim of mind reading (you claim to know what I read and what I think) and false accusation. (I never called anyone deranged. I used the term in precisely the same way people on this site use a similar term to refer to Republican views of President Obama. It's shorthand for "irrational hatred" and you know it.) I have my big girl panties on, though, so I'm not bothering to report it to admin - this time.

        •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

          Looks at the linguistic distribution in the link.  The notion that this region is majority Russian simply isn't true. Yes, there shouldn't be a problem, but if we have another invasion and fake election then we might have one

          •  I have to laugh. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            That language distribution data is not really meaningful because almost all the Ukrainian speakers in the areas bordering Russia also speak Russian. They have intermarried with Russians. They have extended families on the Russian side of the border. They are primarily Russian Orthodox (Moscow Patriarchate). Most of them depend on Russia for their economic livelihoods. They overwhelmingly voted for Yanukovich in 2010. They voted so heavily for Yanukovich that they constituted an majority of all Ukrainian voters.

            Now tell my, what makes you think that those people who so heavily supported Yanukovich in 2010 will now suddenly support the oligarchs installed in Kiev?

            •  here you are (0+ / 0-)


              Just because people supported Yanukovitch does not mean they are separatists.  BIIIIG difference.

              •  I can hardly wait to revisit this argument... (0+ / 0-)

                in six months when cold weather and the full weight of IMF austerity hits. The currency has already been devalued 30% and will be devalued further, inflation is running double digits, and the "interim government" is about to institute reductions in pension payments, child welfare payments, and take an ax to government jobs. The "interim government" has already acknowledged that there will be a recession, and this in what was already a very, very weak economy. Oh yeah, and the "interim givernment" decided to keep the poverty rate fixed and not tied to inflation, so there will be many, many more desperately poor people but they won't be officially counted as poor. Kiselyov actually said, “I don’t think half the population will live below the poverty line, but the majority of the population will be worse off economically—that’s understood,” but he didn't bother to note that would be because the poverty line was not going to increase with inflation. I fully expect more than half the population will fall below the true poverty line adjusted for inflation.

                So let's just see what happens come October when people can't afford to heat their flats, buy milk for the baby, or medicine for grandma.

                There is a reason Eastern Ukraine will break away from Kiev and it was articulated quite clearly on video - I think it was Rueters - by an old woman. She said Russian pensions are three times Ukrainian pensions, so she wants to be Russian. It's really that simple. People will vote their economic interest, and very soon it will become apparent to most Ukrainians that their economic interests were better served by Russia than the IMF, and they will long for the good old days of 2013.

                •  what? (0+ / 0-)

                  the notion that Ukranians want to live in Ukraine?  After all, it isn't that long that the Russians killed them off by the millions.  You might think they remember that.  

                  There are plenty of other options.

                  FUnny how the half Serbian, half German guy is all gung ho for the ethnic imperialism.  

                  •  So blinded by hatred (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you think everyone nurtures and carries around ancient grievances? I pity you.

                    The Holodomor happened more than eighty years ago. Everyone who instituted the starvation and almost everyone who survived it and the subsequent Nazi occupation is dead now. It was horrific, but it takes a lot of effort to keep hatred of the perpetrators alive and burning bright from one generation to the next, especially when the hatred has to be aimed at people who were not alive back then and have no culpability. You however, seem to assume that Ukrainians have no problem blaming the blameless for acts committed before they were born. What does that say about your view of Ukrainians?

                    No doubt many Nationalists keep the Holodomor wounds fresh in their hearts, as if it happened to them rather than their grandparents. But do you really think average Ukrainians who will find themselves cold and hungry under IMF austerity six months from now are going to care about the Holodomor? They are going to care about how to scrape together enough hryvnia to buy milk for the baby.

                    If you want to see a cautionary tale of what to expect, just look at what happened to the Ukrainian military after the Crimean referendum. According to the Chief of military in Kiev, over 50% of the Ukrainian army stationed in Crimea defected and joined the Russian army. Do you think all of the defectors were ethnic Russians? Because if you do you are wrong. It would appear that ethnic Ukrainians have no difficulty joining "the enemy" if it means a bigger paycheck. My, oh my, whatever will you do when the ethnic Ukrainians in the East join with the ethnic Russians and revolt against Kiev and it's IMF-mandated austerity?

                    By the way, this half-Slav, half-Prussian woman is in favor of self-determination and peace negotiations, so watch those accusations.

  •  It seems like that Ukraine will be partitioned. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, AoT

    Putin may have decided that an outright annexation is too risky at this point, and so we'll see declarations of independent pro-Russian are was that will be client states of Russia until the dust settles and no one cares whether or not Russia annexes them. Obv speculation on my part, but that strategy seems most likely.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:03:54 AM PDT

    •  It seems to be functionally partitioned (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, limpidglass

      already. The government in Kiev is not in control of the eastern area for practical purposes.

      •  there is no functional government in Kiev (8+ / 0-)

        there is a cadre of unelected technocrats installed in order to impose IMF austerity, backed by--but now apparently also at war with!--the fascist militias who ousted the previous elected government and who now have control of the nation's security forces.

        No matter how many state dinners in the WH Obama invites Yatsenyuk to, it won't make him any more legitimate in the eyes of the ones whose good opinion matters: those Ukrainians who lean towards Russia and/or are pissed at the manner of Yanukovych's removal.

        It's not clear that the government in Kiev has control of anything beyond Kiev. Just like the president of Afghanistan is, on a good day, not much more than the mayor of Kabul.

        This is just going to get worse, more fragmentation and more separatism. A decentralized Ukraine, with greater regional autonomy, seems the way to avoid civil war. Yes, it benefits the Russians who can then snap up the pieces they'd want to have.

        On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any way to hold the country together short of a military occupation. Putin is too smart to do that (nor does he have any reason to--why should he try to seize what will come to him of its own accord?) and Obama might like to do it but it would be horribly unpopular in America and publicly embarrass the EU and so he'll be reluctant to do it, especially after his call to hit Syria went over like a lead balloon. Two such embarrassments in a year would be a bit much for him.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:52:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  there is one. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amyzex, whizdom, FG, Meteor Blades
    The problem that arises is the lack of functional international organization with the capacity for resolving such conflicts in an orderly and non-violent manner.  It seems probable that this new separatist movement will raise the tensions in the continuing security confrontation between the west and Russia.
    Its the UN. The problem here is just that some UN countries have vetopower and one of them is party to teh conflict, so that neutralizes the UN.

    Same as if the UN would be neutralized if say, parts of New Mexico wished to return to Old Mexico. Whatever the merits, if the US refused to accept UN authority, the UN could do nothing. Such its here too.

    The OSCE would have been available too, and would have been the perfect organization to conduct referenda and the like in an all-sides acceptable fashion, but here at least one side simply doesnt want an "an orderly and non-violent manner".


    are there credible news yet on how representative these demonstrators are for local population? There shopuld be "traditional" authorities, local mayor, local police force, etc. Who do they respond to? This could be a fluke (and a pretext to invade) or it could be legitimate popular will. In Germany in 1918-20, there were declarations of independent states, republics and people´s republics a dime a dozen. Is it possible to gauge the real support for this yet?

    •  I don't think that it is easy to sort out (5+ / 0-)

      what would qualify as "prevailing" opinion in the eastern region. It is already clear that the population there is divided in its loyalties. It is not as heavily pro-Russian as Crimea. However, there is good reason to believe that this is not entirely a put up job by Putin. Ukraine has always been troubled by these divisions. They are not being created out of thin air.

      The problem is how to resolve the situation. The former Czechoslovakia offers a good example of people find an orderly and peaceful approach. The former Yugoslavia represents the other extreme. I do not know what will happen in Ukraine. Clearly there are great power struggles involved in this that go well beyond Ukraine.  

      •  see the post Versailles (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, AoT, wu ming


        they worked

        They did create a lot of bad blood while they were going, but in the historical long run, those that werent overtaken by events did settle the issue of the borders. (I think) So I would agree.

        denmark Germany was definitive, the upper silesian and lower East prussia referenda also worked, and created borders that were nonexistent before, where borders needed to be drawn.

        But they were predicated on the might of the Versailles allies, otherwise they would never have happened. Such overwhelming great power confluence is not on the horizon here, so a real referendum border line tracing isnt going to happen. (No one would like its outcome, for 1-2 generations).

        •  If the great powers can agree on imposing (4+ / 0-)

          order on smaller powers then international mechanisms can be made to work. It is when the small powers become pawns in struggles between great powers that all hell breaks lose. That appears to be what is happening in Ukraine.

          •  ultimate consequence of Bush (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            unfangus, Lepanto

            its what we see in action here. We had a functioning international system before Bush / Iraq. It was creaking and Russia fitted unwieldy even then, and China was going to be difficult to integrate anyhow, but it was an integrated system that did work - on East Timor, on Sierra Leone, even on Macedonia for instance even after Kosovo.

            The US broke this system deliberately because it wanted unbounded feeedom of action.

            Now, we see what the US has wrought (and not in a way it likes it).

            Now, welcome zero-sum great power competition games. Fifty years of security policy development down the drain thanks to US self indulgence. Rough awakening in store for everyone.

            •  It didn't start with Iraq. (4+ / 0-)

              The US made a mess with Vietnam. We pulled back the imperialism for a few years after that. Then Ronnie came along with it's morning in America again.

            •  we would have gotten here eventually, (5+ / 0-)

              Bush or no Bush. Bush just sped it up by twenty years or so.

              In the fall of the USSR, there was a lot of rejoicing about the "end of history" and the "Peace Dividend" that was going to result from the end of the arms race. No need for guns, so butter for everyone!

              That was 100% unadulterated horseshit. The 1% were not going to spend one lousy dime on boosting the standard of living of the 99%. The whole point of the Cold War was to provide an excuse for an immense wealth transfer to the military-industrial complex. They knew the Soviet economy was falling apart at least ten, maybe more years before the USSR actually fell. They kept up the charade to make money.

              We coasted along on the financialized bubble economy that began under Reagan and continued under Clinton. Inequality continued to grow. There was no new public spending in America. We were told that the budget needed to be balanced, so we got tax cuts and welfare reform.

              Instead of a demobilization, with the US now unopposed, an immense wave of imperial conquest was now possible. The post-Soviet expansion of the EU and NATO moved apace during the 90s. Most of the states of the former Warsaw Pact were assimilated in the space of a quarter century or so.

              The new empire expanded to fill the vacuum left by the old one. The new one expands by means of "soft power" when it can (the NED's "democracy promotion," which means funding fifth columnists and fomenting coups in nations that don't bow to American interests). But NATO provided the muscle when it was needed to reshape the Balkans. (It provided the muscle more recently, and more dramatically, in Libya).

              The IMF, benefiting from the dollar's status as the de facto reserve currency, went around imposing the Washington Consensus on nation after nation. Argentina, Russia, half the African continent--the list goes on.

              Name a country that the IMF actually helped. I don't think you'll find a single one. The ones who did well were the ones who broke with IMF conditionality and started running their economies for themselves rather than as plantations for the 1%.

              These were the glory days over which Bill Clinton presided: days of rejuvenated, even accelerated American imperium, albeit in a subtler form than before.

              We really ought to thank Bush (and his puppetmaster Cheney) for making all this clear to us. He ripped the mask of benevolence right off the empire's face and forced events to come to a head. He went right back to the old "hard power" means so beloved of the old-school imperialists, engendering massive resistance. For a moment, there was danger of a genuine opposition to imperial expansion.

              Obama was elected for one reason, to put that mask back on and let us all bury our heads back in the sand while imperial expansion continued in a slicker, subtler way. He's even more expert at the soft methods than Clinton was.

              But it's getting tougher and tougher, even for someone as clever as he is, to strengthen American hegemony with those methods. It's astonishing how reckless he's been--fomenting discord in Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, and possibly Taiwan all at the same time to destabilize governments who are not receptive to American desires. He's lost in three of the four. And yet he keeps pushing. Something's gotta give.

              At some point, he'll have to use hard power to keep it going. He was damn close in Syria. And it won't be pretty.

              "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

              by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:00:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ^^^Absolutely brilliant analysis^^^ n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac
              •  I think that the present situation (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                is an interesting stress test of the remaining power. The US is trying to play Big Brother in both Europe and Asia at the same time.

                •  Obama is one smooth smoothie, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac

                  but it's a lot of plates he's trying to keep in the air at the moment.

                  The TPP and TTIP are, to a great degree, instruments to counter the rise of BRICS and encircle China economically while cementing the EU's vassalage to the US.

                  They represent a desperate effort to ensure US economic hegemony in the 21st century. They are meeting immense resistance, not so much at home as abroad.

                  Absent any crisis, it will be hard for him to ram such pacts through his "partner" governments. It will be interesting to see what he does if he continues to meet resistance.

                  "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                  by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:23:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think TPP and TTIP (4+ / 0-)

                    are attempts to create supra-national institutions under the control of global corporations. They have the potential to sideline the cranky government based international institutions such as the UN and EU. I think that the intense secrecy surrounding the process masks major surgery to transplant the organs of real power out of the failing body of US national power into a Frankenstein creation.

                    •  that may be the more important motive (3+ / 0-)

                      to create a true corporate world government, complete with corporate legislature, corporate executive, and corporate courts to which all merely national institutions would be subordinate.

                      Then the 1% can rule from the shadows, and all national governance will be rendered mere political theater--as we weren't close enough to that already.

                      But I think the State Department is behind it partly because they believe it will enhance American geopolitical dominance. The TPP includes every nation near China, but not, for some reason, China. And the TTIP would tie the EU irrevocably to the US. If it all goes through, we would have a giant, US-dominated free-trade zone in Asia surrounding China and throughout all Europe, in addition to the one we have with Canada and Mexico.

                      The 1% have no allegiance but profit, so they are not likely to care whether or not the US is in good shape or not. However, they might be willing to grant the US a role as their enforcer.

                      The new corporate government will need military muscle to back it up. And the US military is, after all, the most powerful military force in the world. We have the most nukes, we spend the most money on defense. Why bother creating a new army from scratch, when they can simply coopt the most powerful existing one for their purposes? It's just more cost-effective.

                      That may be where the interests of America's foreign policy elite and global plutocrats intersect. The geopolitical megalomaniacs may not care about the loss of national sovereignty to corporations, as long they get to kick everyone else's ass once in a while. And the 1% get the best fighting force in the world as their personal goon squad. Whenever they need to secure resources, whenever a government isn't sufficiently pliable--they call the US to deal with the troublemakers.

                      It's a match made in hell.

                      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                      by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:50:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  The veto power is the only thing that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, FG

      holds the UN together. People mistake the UN for something it isn't. The goal of the UN is to keep the major powers from going to war, not to stop war. Or at least that's what it's good for.

      I don't see why the OSCE hasn't stepped in and offered to run a referendum. The fact that there isn't an international mechanism to recognize secession is a serious issue.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:28:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The traditional authorities (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Claudius Bombarnac

      In there regions are Governors appointed by Kiev, so every Federal election results in an "out with the old".

      The cornerstone of the Russian proposal for the Ukraine, is a Federalised Union, with local Governments elected in the Regions, responsible for local responsibilities, and a Federal Government responsible for national responsibilities, much like what exists in most of the rest of Europe.

    •  These guys are mostly local but it appears that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      they were organized by people from Russia. How representative? It's hard to say. There were a few thousands of protesters in a region with a population of several million. A majority of the residents don't like the current government but they don't want to join Russia or declare an independent country either.

      Local governments in these regions have a lot of former Yanukovich people who are at least somewhat supportive of the protesters. Local police are to some extent sympathetic to protesters as well. An additional complication is that Ukrainian government doesn't want to use lethal force for obvious reasons. We'll see how things go. But it certainly looks like an attempt to repeat the Crimean scenario.

  •  What is wrong with a Czech/Slovak style divorce? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, fran1

    What is happening in Donetsk was entirely predictable. As a matter of fact, some of us predicted it back in December. It's shocking that our own State Department thought they could engineer a coup in Kiev and have the Russian-speaking part of the country go along and accept what the US, EU, IMF and World Bank was going to do to them. It is inconceivable that our State Department understands nothing about the region and its history, so one can only assume that they just don't give a flying f#*k.

    Borders on a map may be drawn in blood, but they are not carved in stone. The handwriting us on the wall; the kingdom is divided. Sunday in Donetsk is only the beginning. Things will get uglier as IMF belt tightening is imposed on the Ukrainian population. There's going to be a massive revolt in the East and the country will only be held together by force. If we have genuine concern for the Ukrainian people we should stop the foolishness of insisting that people who have no affinity with one another continue living in their loveless marriage and let them divorce as the Czech Republic and Slovakia did.

    •  I didn't follow the Czech/Slovak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      situation closely, but it clearly required mutual agreement. I think that I will go and do some research on it because it does provide useful background.

      •  Yes, It was by mutual agreement, (4+ / 0-)

        even though many in the US and EU though it a terrible idea to allow the breakup of the cobbled together country with the western portion maintaining close ties to Minsk and Moscow. Fortunately, the Czech and Slovak people were smarter than western politicians, diplomats, and bankers. They managed their breakup without hostility and have a peaceful coexistence that allows them to trade and travel freely between the two. By every measure the breakup has been a success.

    •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

      the regions you are suggesting be annexed to Russia are in fact majority Ukrainian.  In fact, in some regions it is 70% Ukrainian.  Does that mean that 3,000 protestors is enough to move a place from one country to another?  That'd be fun, because I bet I could get 3,000 protestors in San Francisco to go for joining the Netherlands.

    •  Well, the terms of the divorce (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      are in question.

      The reality is, on the one hand, that neither Moscow or Kiev can openly contradict or appear to step away from or betray the ethnic pride of their core constituents.  So there will be a long war of words and posturing.

      The other reality is concrete- western/northern Ukraine has definitively rejected rule from Moscow.  That gives Kiev about 50% of present Ukraine's territory and populations to start.  Southern/eastern Ukraine and Crimea have been net profoundly ambivalent- which means in practical terms that a 50/50ish split of it is probably the most equitable outcome.   For a net outcome of Ukraine roughly 75%, Russia roughly 25% of the 2013 Ukraine state territory and populations.  This works for both governments, with both getting the regions most supportive of themselves and removing the bulk of separatist opposition.

      •  I tend to agree with that. (0+ / 0-)

        I see no reason why divorce on such terms would be detrimental to either side, whereas continued forced marriage is almost certain to result in violence. The only point of disagreement I have with your assessment is a small one. It is the question of how many Eastern Ukrainians would prefer to be part of Russia or, at a minimum, fully autonomous from Kiev, and how many want to remain with Western Ukraine. I think you've underestimated the percentage that is pro-Russian. I believe one can count nearly all of Yanukovich's supporters in Eastern and Southern Ukraine from the 2010 election as pro-Russian, or at least anti-Kiev, making it much closer to 65-70% supporting a break with Kiev.

  •  This is likely not spontaneous (3+ / 0-)

    There is at least a reasonable chance that these protests are sponsored or generated by Russia.  Keep in mind also, that these areas, unlike Crimea, are not majority Russian by ethnicity and do not have the same historical attachment to Russia.

    This is Russian aggression against a fairly significant part of Ukraine; it is not remotely analogous to the fission of Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia.

    •  According to Wikipedia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mindful Nature

      the Donetsk oblast is about 74% Russian, only slightly less than Crimea.  Nevertheless what happened in Crimea is not legitimate and neither is what the Russians are trying to do in Donetsk.

      The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

      by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:45:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This depends (0+ / 0-)

        on the geographical scale.  There are some cities that are heavily Russian, but they exist within a province that is overall predominantly Ukrainian.  I am sure there are sections of Chicago that are majority POlish, but the city as a whole is not, and Illinois certainly isn't, for example.

        This points up a key point though, that it depends on what scale one is talking about

      •  What makes what happened in Crimea illegitimate? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac, Lepanto

        It takes a lot of nerve for those who have no legitimate interests in Crimea to declare that Crimean secession was illegitimate. The people of Crimea are entitled to self-determination and they have spoken. You'd have a leg to stand on if there were now massive population migration of pro-Western Ukrainians from Crimea to Ukraine, or even localized post-annexation anti-Russian demonstrations, but that simply is not happening. Since it is not, one can logically assume that the will of the majority was exercised at the ballot box.

        •  All humanity has legitimate interests in Crimea (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger

          The interest in not having national borders changed by force imposed by a bigger on a smaller country.  I will concede that Putin is more solicitous of the welfare of ethnic minorities in Crimea than the Crimean Russians are, as the diary points out, but the annexation of Crimea by Russia will be reversed sometime this century, probably by a movement to re-attach Crimea to a newly democratic and prosperous Ukraine.

          The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

          by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My goodness (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Involuntary Exile

            that's quite a crystal ball you have there.

          •  I bust out laughing when I read that. (6+ / 0-)

            You cannot eat liberal democracy, or heat your flat with intellectual and artistic freedom. People vote their economic interests. This will become obvious when Ukraine crumbles and rends itself to pieces because of IMF austerity which is about to be imposed.

            •  The type of "austerity" to be imposed in Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

              is explained in this diary.  Yatsenyuk is basically a progressive.

              The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

              by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 11:03:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  uh, no. (3+ / 0-)

                Ukraine welcomes IMF austerity regime

                Among some of the details coming to light are a 47% to 66% increase in personal income tax rates; a 50% increase in monthly gas bills; a 40% increase on gas tariffs for heating companies; and an increase in taxes on agribusiness. In addition, while some at the IMF have speculated the currency’s devaluation against the dollar year-to-date (35+%) is enough to satisfy the fund’s penchant for ‘correcting imbalances,’ others are maintaining the currency needs to get even weaker…

                For his part, Yatsenyuk has characterized his approach as a “kamikaze mission”.  He admitted that such policies will likely cause GDP to shrink by 3% and inflation to rise to 12-14% during the next twelve months as subsidies, primarily from Naftogaz, are axed under the austerity regime. Worse yet, Gazprom will no longer honor below market rate gas supply deals cut with Ukraine in December when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade deal with Europe to please Moscow. That Christmas present has been returned to sender.

                Very progressive fellow, clearly! A self-admitted "kamikaze" who proposes to shrink GDP by 3% and raise inflation by 12-14%. And to what end? Is this going to keep people fed and employed? Or will it make it easier for vulture capitalists to pick up Ukraine's infrastructure and assets on the cheap?

                "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

                by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 11:23:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  He appears to be even more 'progressive' than (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Involuntary Exile

                American Democrats.

                Of course it might just be election talk seeing as he's already put multibillionaires in charge as governors.

              •  Unfortunately (2+ / 0-)

                Yats doesn't get to decide how the austerity regime gets implemented, the IMF does, and Yats proposed policies, like a tax on the Rich, are an anthema to the IMF.

                This is IMF policy and what will happen in the Ukraine


                Yats can promise the Ukrainian people all the free unicorns he wants, but the IMF/EU makes getting the money conditional on the enacting of the neo-liberal austerian policies that they want.

          •  But it is OK to enter a country and force changes (4+ / 0-)

            on the government such as in the dozens of countries the US has intervened in?

            the annexation of Crimea by Russia will be reversed sometime this century
            That won't happen unless Russia itself is destroyed. Crimea was given away to the Ukraine in 1954 after being a part of Russia since the 1780's. Sevastopol was never given away but kept as a separate entity not under the jurisdiction of the Crimean administration. Russia has always maintained direct control.

            Crimea as just reverted to it's historical condition.

    •  I have no doubt that they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, limpidglass

      are receiving support and encouragement from Russia, but the cultural divide in Ukraine is real an a persistent problem.

      My impression is that in a good bit of eastern Ukraine the split may be aproximately 50/50.

    •  They were spontaneous. They are relatively small (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      (several thousand at most) and had little response from local police.

      One problem is that Tymoshenko, "It’s about time we grab our guns and kill go kill those damn Russians", has flown to Donetsk and will visit other eastern cities. Her severe anti-Russian stance is certain to inflame the situation. She is pushing the story that the protests are sponsored and generated by Russia.

      Putin does not want a divided Ukraine right on Russia's borders so any calls for annexation will be a pain in the ass for him. Crimea was a different story due to historical reasons.

      •  I'm not so clear on what Putin really wants. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He is an extremely cagey operator and I think that his agenda is complex.  

        •  Why not take him at his word? He said he would (3+ / 0-)

          get the WMD's out of Syria and it happened. He said he'd support Assad and he has. He said he'd open up Russia for western investment and he has. Even gave western corporations up to 49% ownership. Every major US corporation has invested in the country. The US screams blue murder if a foreign corporation buys into a sensitive US company.

          He said no NATO with it's missile "defense" systems on his doorstep. The writing on the wall has been plain for everyone to see. Is the US really this blind or are they attempting to push the envelope?

          He's a hard-nosed prick who knows how to play realpolitik. Look at the complete fucking mess Russia was in when he first became president. The country was being pillaged by the free marketeers and still is to a certain extent. (But these marketeers are also pillaging the US.)

          •  I am more interested in actions than words. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I am waiting for those to unfold. I find the Putin the devil vs Putin the saint argument to be unproductive.

            I do recognize that Putin is a man with political talent.

            •  So far Putin's actions have matched his words (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile, Lepanto
              I find the Putin the devil vs Putin the saint argument to be unproductive.
              Putin is no saint and but he's no devil. You have to give him credit for pulling the country out of the shit hole the US favored Yeltsin left it in.

              Russian economy since fall of Soviet Union

              •  And yet... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                His recent bargains have poised a great threat to that economic development, by alienating a large segment of the world for some pomp and circumstance at home.

                He has also, simultaneously, curtailed journalistic freedoms and personal freedoms quite extensively. The ends sometimes justify the means, more often they do not. But either way it does not mean much of anything. Putin knows strength is strength, and has taken an approach to build that ASAP. He knew the greatest threat to Russia was really it's weakness after the fall of the USSR.

                But, yes, actions count more than words. I'm not sure if you have ever encountered someone who would say and do everything you wanted to hear, make you think they're a swell person, only to one day realize that in that process they've robbed you blind.

                Putin is a pro-spook. He knows how to lie convincingly, back up many of those lies into truths when it is convenient, and turn the tables when he is ready. It's a mark of someone who knows how to control the game. And right now, he feels he controls the game. He has the nukes to hold off much action, and he knows how to chip-away the situation in ways to make the people in Western States grappling with each other over his intention. All the while he creatively acquires some new real estate and restores some perceived lost glory.

                That last part is what makes this so dangerous. The whole situation has nothing to do with a threat, or even resources. It's an ego move, for him and for Russia. It's been nothing but moves to prove greatness and power. And you can't reason with that.

                You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

                by weathertop on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:28:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Economic ties with western multinationals has not (0+ / 0-)

                  been destroyed. They are still continuing to do business with Russia.

                  Here's a partial list of very recent investments.


                  Putin is a pro-spook.
                  Obama is pro-spook. He is now protecting the CIA. Bush I was in charge of the CIA - can't get spookier than that.
                  I'm not sure if you have ever encountered someone who would say and do everything you wanted to hear, make you think they're a swell person, only to one day realize that in that process they've robbed you blind.
                  That's not Putin. He tells it like it is or he doesn't speak. He is certainly NOT a "feel nice" guy.
                  All the while he creatively acquires some new real estate and restores some perceived lost glory.
                  I don't think regaining Crimea gives him a hard on. Anyone who knows the history of the region would realize it was something he was forced to do.
                  It's an ego move, for him and for Russia. It's been nothing but moves to prove greatness and power. And you can't reason with that.
                  Nonsense. Post Soviet Russian leaders have never been as egoistic as American leaders on the world stage. Putin is a hard-nosed asshole because that is what is required in his neck of the woods. Yeltsin got trampled upon as the country was pillaged. The country needed someone with tougher balls.
                  •  You seem to be very adamant about defending Putin (0+ / 0-)

                    Putin's a nice guy under all his tough-guy stance, eh? Westerners have it all wrong... Putin is just doing what's best for the people of Crimea and Ukraine.

                    Swallow VoR and RT propaganda wholesale, or do you distill your own at home?

                    Putin was former KGB Black Operations, illegal operations. He has spent the bulk of his life living off of lies and deception, getting people (like you) to believe what he's giving until he decides you're no longer part of the equation. That is quite a bit different than a political suit just defending the CIA, leading the CIA, or otherwise being attached to the CIA.

                    As far as Putin's attitude, and Russia's attitude, toward regaining Crimea, apparently you didn't get the post annexation speech he made to the Russian legislature. Putin wasn't forced to annex Crimea, and it's history is long and convoluted, and if we want to get to the nuts and bolts, Russians should have left since it's Tartar ethnic lands anyway. But, yes, Crimea and it's re-entry into the Federation gives Putin and Russia in general a massive woody. It is a area of deep importance to them, as close to something as important Mecca as they can get. Important - yes. Required to be part of the Federation? No.

                    Either way, it does not excuse his actions in a sovereign nation. He'll get away with Crimea for the most part, and Crimea will be a Taiwan or Tibet. Eastern Ukraine? Donetsk and other cities? That is where his bets on Red will come up short.

                    Also, notice how Donetsk claims independence as a People's Republic, and Crimean Russian's flew the Russian Federation Flag with hammers and sickles. The USSR is far from being over. It was rebranded and has a new marketing director.

                    You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

                    by weathertop on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 01:47:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The Cold War ended decades ago. (0+ / 0-)
                      Putin's a nice guy under all his tough-guy stance, eh? Westerners have it all wrong... Putin is just doing what's best for the people of Crimea and Ukraine.
                      I never said Putin was a nice guy. He's a hard assed president who understands realpolitik. He does what is best for Russia.
                      Russia's Economic Growth In Comparison With The G7

                      What these graphs show is something that, by this point in time, should be glaringly obvious: that Russia has been growing much more rapidly than the other G7 countries ever since its economy bottomed out in 1998 and has also recovered much more rapidly from the global financial crisis and the “great recession.” This doesn’t mean “Putin is great!” or “Russia is the future!” but it does mean that anyone who suggests that Russia is chronically under-performing in comparison with the West, or that its economy is incapable of growing, ought not to be taken very seriously.

                      Truth be told, Russia’s current economic model is not a particularly compelling one. Any minimally honest analysis will concede that it has a very large number of serious structural deficiencies that must be addressed if it is to continue growing at 4% for the next 5-10 years. But if you focus on actual results, as opposed to what should happen based on various kinds of economic theories, Russia has had a pretty good run over the past 14 years, a period of time during which the G7′s performance has been distinctly underwhelming. This reality is something to keep in mind the next time someone berates Putin for his ham-handed and unsuccessful economic management.

                      You have a very superficial and propagandized knowledge of Putin.
                      Russians should have left since it's Tartar ethnic lands anyway
                      In that case, the Ukrainians should also leave Ukraine to the Tatars, Poles and Lithuanians. And maybe the Americans should leave North America because it's Native American ethnic land.
                      The USSR is far from being over. It was rebranded and has a new marketing director.
                      That's complete nonsense.
    •  Nonsense. (3+ / 0-)

      It is entirely analogous to Czechoslovakia. The region is heavily dependent on Russia economically, much more so than on western Ukraine. Not only is Russian the dominant language, many, perhaps even the majority, of extended families have intermarried with Russians and have deep ties to Russia beyond just economic. Moscow doesn't need to encourage revolt. The population is revolting of it's own free will and will continue to revolt, especially once the full effects of IMF "reform" are felt. And if it is true that Moscow is supporting the revolt, consider it tit-for-tat given that our own State Department engineered the coup in Kiev, too impatient to allow matters to be settled by regular elections which were already scheduled for later in 2014.

  •  Thank God no diary from lbines yet (0+ / 0-)

    Meaning it's possible the Kremlin isn't going to send troops to Donetsk.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 08:41:55 AM PDT

  •  Repercussions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    eg here

    Czech leader says NATO could offer troops to Ukraine if Russia goes beyond Crimea

    PRAGUE Sun Apr 6, 2014 7:18pm EDT

    (Reuters) - The West should take strong action, possibly including sending NATO forces to Ukraine, if Russia tries to annex the eastern part of the country, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Sunday.

    "The moment Russia decides to widen its territorial expansion to the eastern part of Ukraine, that is where the fun ends," Zeman said in a broadcast on Czech public radio.

    "There I would plead not only for the strictest EU sanctions, but even for military readiness of the North Atlantic Alliance, like for example NATO forces entering Ukrainian territory," Zeman said.

    not going to happen - but it goes to show that whatever Russia thinks it can gain in the Ukraine, it has lost all goodwill in the former eastern Europe for good.
    •  I don't think that Russia ever had (4+ / 0-)

      much goodwill from its former vassal states.

      •  they are NATO/EU vassal states now (6+ / 0-)

        they aren't exactly free to speak their minds.

        Czech President Milos Zeman might not be Czech President for long if he talks out of turn, or fails to read from the script provided him by the real leaders of the EU and of NATO.

        Most likely, he wouldn't be Czech President at all if he hadn't agreed beforehand to do all that was required of him.

        The heads of government of the former Eastern Bloc countries have less power than American governors do. Once in power they all sign on to IMF austerity and the NATO consensus. The EU's masters would rather suffer fascists like Golden Dawn to set up shop than yield one inch in their demands.

        It sounds much better for the trial balloons for NATO intervention to come from the ostensible head of a tiny defenseless but spunky former Warsaw Pact nation, than from Obama's mouth. That's all.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 09:15:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How you mean? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          weathertop, FG, wu ming, amyzex
          they aren't exactly free to speak their minds.
          They do that every minute of every day.

          The Czech know oppression, very well. Thats why they take this sharp turn against Russia (as they had not before; hitherto, it was mostly Poland and Lithuania supporting such hardliner stances. That debate appears now over in the East.)

          it seems I should advise you to travel more and get a better awareness about what people think in the countries you speak of.

        •  I'm not sure what the real public sentiment (0+ / 0-)

          about Russia is in those countries is. As you move to the west that is no significant remaining presence of ethnic Russians to complicate matters.  

    •  Brzezinski (0+ / 0-)

      also said on CNN the day Putin took Crimea that he won't dare to make Ukrainians eternal enemies. Yet he did take and seem to get away with it.

      As for Czech president proposal to send NATO into Ukraine read this blog and insightful comments What can stop Russian tanks rolling into Ukraine

  •  Russia wants a federation in Ukraine (3+ / 0-)

    What does the US want? Has anyone heard details from Kerry or Obama?

    [Let's be honest here. What the citizens of the Ukraine want is secondary to the geopolitical interests of the US and Russia.]

    Federal agreement is only way to reach Ukraine settlement – Lavrov

    "We are certain that Ukraine needs profound constitutional reform. In all fairness, we can’t see any other way to ensure the stable development of Ukraine but to sign a federal agreement", Lavrov said.

    "Some may know better and are, perhaps, capable of finding some magic spell to ensure living in a unitary state, with people in the West, on the one hand, and the South-East, on the other, celebrating different holidays, honouring different heroes, developing different types of economy, speaking different languages, thinking differently and gravitating towards different European civilised cultures but I think it’s pretty difficult to live in a unitary state like that", Lavrov said.

    "We suggested that things be put right in all areas at once, the more so since an obligation to that end was signed by Vitaly Klitshcko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnibok, and the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland. We further suggested that a constitutional reform be launched at once, one that would prove comprehensive and involve every single political force and region, with equal voting rights. We suggested that they start negotiating a federation that would grant each region sweeping powers in the fields of economy, finance, culture, language, and education, as well as external economic and cultural ties with neighbouring countries or regions, where all minority rights would be ensured", Foreign Minister Lavrov said.

    "Given the share of the indigenous Russian population, we are certain that there is no other way to reach a settlement, the more so since some presidential candidates in Ukraine have repeatedly suggested that Russian should be made a second official language and that each of the federation’s territorial entities should guarantee the rights of minority languages, in keeping with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages", Lavrov said.

    Russia’s topmost diplomat pointed out that a constitutional reform should be approved by a referendum and should reflect the interests of all regions, the interests that should be mutually agreed on, so that once the constitutional reform is approved by a plebiscite, presidential and parliamentary elections could be held, as well as the elections of regional legislatures, executive authorities and governors, so that these are elected, rather than appointed".

    The West is no longer dismissing Russia's arguments that Ukraine should become a federation through constitutional reform, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
    Read more:

    •  The US wants to assert (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, FarEasterner

      its global hegemonic power. Obama's assertion that Russia is only a regional power that is not a major global player makes that pretty clear. In that framework there is only one true global power.

    •  What does Ukraine propose (0+ / 0-)

      for amendments to the Russian Constitution?  God knows it needs a major overhaul

      •  The US will also have input into writing Ukraine's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Involuntary Exile, FarEasterner

        constitution. There are certain requirements that have to be met before US controlled IMF funding is released to the country. You can be assured that the US and the EU are calling the shots here.

        One of the sticking points is that the Russian proposal is to have the governors of the various regions elected locally (as is done in the US) rather than appointed by Kiev. Kiev is worried that this will give Russian dominated areas too much control.

        Try this sort of thing in the US. The streets would run red.

        Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help

        The interim government, worried about Russian efforts to destabilize or seize regions in eastern Ukraine after effectively taking control of the Crimean peninsula in the south, is recruiting the country’s wealthy businessmen, known as the oligarchs, to serve as governors of the eastern provinces.

        The strategy, which Ukrainian news media are attributing to Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and party leader, is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country’s industrial and business elite, and exercise great influence over thousands of workers in the east, which is largely ethnically Russian.

        The office of President Oleksandr V. Turchynov announced on Sunday the appointments of two billionaires — Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk — and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions.

      •  Constitutional Reform (6+ / 0-)

        Has been a platform for every political Party in the Ukraine since 1995.

        The Party of Regions for example, campaigned on a Federalized system in the last Federal Elections.

        The problem is two fold. Once elected, the Federal Party and President, no matter their reform platform, now have tens of thousands of patronage appointments available to reward their base and sponsors, from Oblast Governors, down to dog catchers.

        The second problem, is the incumbent has to get Constitutional change past the Supreme Court, which is dominated by Judges appointed by the previous Government.

        So, once elected, The Party of Regions and Yanukovich brought in the 2010 Constitution, which broke the Federalized promises of the election, and enshrined more power in the Presidency. In bitter battles the Constitutional changes were ratified by the Rada, only to be rejected in 2013 by the Supreme Court.

        So, it was back to the 2006 Constitution, which was a package of constitutional change that the Previous President had passed, to reward his co-elition partners and get them onside.

        As long as the Ukraine has such a narrow divide between such opposite visions for the country, and a system that embeds so much power in the national Government, the system will remain broken.

        The history of elected governments in the Ukraine can be pretty much summed up as:

        - 180 the countries direction from the previous orientation,

        - fire all the theives in the Oblasts and appoint your own thieves.

  •  I just looked up some details (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile

    on the Czech/Slovak partition. The process got under way almost as soon as they were freed from the control of the USSR. All of eastern Europe was in a state of turmoil and the great powers were pretty much unable to focus on meddling in the affairs of these fairly reasonably minded folks.  

  •  Sideshow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Putin has his eye on Syria and an alliance with Iran/Iraq/Kurdistan to control  oil and gas pipelines  and the countries they transit from Arabian Sea to the med and euro markets, while avoiding the NATO member! Turkey

    This horrifies KSA, Turkey and the Gulf states.  

    also noted are Putin's fingerprints on the emerging Palestinian bid for self determination.   I'Ll bet this fall, Russia will be Palestine's  new BFF at UN.

  •  This is nothing surprising (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarEasterner, FG, amyzex

    for those who have been paying attention the last several months. But, all we get here in America is a band of folks complaining that "Russia isn't doing anything America has done for decades", some other BS about moral high road, and the usual "orchestrated coup" stories. All ignoring the fact that A) No, the United States has not done anything like this in the 21st Century, or even really in the 20th century. Have we screwed up? Yes. Is it close to what Russia is doing? No, actually it isn't. And besides, let's say for sake of argument it was: two wrongs don't make a right; and B) The orchestrated coup conspiracy theory is pretty lame at this point. Much like the "every shooting is a false flag operation" conspiracy theory that crops up all the time. Provide proof, or it didn't happen.

    At this point though, it's pretty clear this is not going to end well. On the low end of the totem, Ukraine get's carved up like a cheap lamb chop. Half way up, Russia rolls across, takes out the separatist region of Moldova too, and the West goes "Aww, shucks, Puty... did ya really have to do that?", and worse case scenario we end up in a direct confrontation with Russia.

    Ideally, the toddlers involved in all of this get a diaper change and a time out, while the rest of us get a chance to clean up the royal clusterfark that has been created there.

    On a side note, out of all the world leaders I've ever seen, Putin is about the only one I'd say actually appears to not have any feelings. Even Kim Jong Un expresses laughter and feelings, still remaining the bastage he is. So did the late Hugo Chavez. Putin, every time I see him, is an empty shell of a human void of emotion or empathy.

    You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

    by weathertop on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:15:31 AM PDT

    •  I suspect you didn't see (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac

      Russian TV lately where his overwhelming larger than life image dominates with plenty of emotion and empathy and so on.

      Western TV castrates his image to fit him into prescribed pattern of delusional dictator.

    •  The United States of Amnesia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Have we screwed up? Yes. Is it close to what Russia is doing? No, actually it isn't.
      How many of these bombings have occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union? How many American bombs continue to fall in various countries as we speak?

      Here is a list of the countries bombed by the United States since the end of the Second World War:

      Afghanistan 1998, 2001-
      Bosnia 1994, 1995
      Cambodia 1969-70
      China 1945-46, 1950-53
      Congo 1964
      Cuba 1959-1961
      El Salvador 1980s
      Korea 1950-53
      Guatemala 1954, 1960, 1967-69
      Indonesia 1958
      Laos 1964-73
      Grenada 1983
      Iraq 1991-2000s
      Iran 1987
      Kuwait 1991
      Lebanon 1983, 1984
      Libya 1986, 2011
      Nicaragua 1980s
      Pakistan 2003, 2006-
      Palestine 2010
      Panama 1989
      Peru 1965
      Somalia 1993, 2007-08, 2010-
      Sudan 1998
      Vietnam 1961-73
      Yemen 2002, 2009-
      Yugoslavia 1999

      On a side note, out of all the world leaders I've ever seen, Putin is about the only one I'd say actually appears to not have any feelings.
      Putin actually has a well developed sense of humour.

      On Snowden: "I'd prefer not to deal with this issue at all—it's like shearing a pig—too much squealing, too little wool."

      "Anyone who doesn't regret the passing of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who wants it restored has no brains."

      •  You seem to confuse things... (0+ / 0-)

        Like annexation versus meddling.

        Your entire list contains countries that the US has, admittedly, made some quite substantial mistakes.

        Unless I'm mistaken, and Bostnia is secretly a 51st state... which of these have resulted in Annexation?

        The answer... none.

        Brain-dead administration, and half-cocked assistance to rebels in hopes of getting a favorable government does not equal annexation.

        In the game of global world politics, providing arms against a rag-tag group of rebels to get a Government that would be favorable to ones interests is acceptable. Hell, it's how the United States was formed to begin with, unless people forgot that the French meddled in Britain's little problem in the Colonies and that eventually bit France in the ass when that newly-formed nation took on their outposts.

        You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

        by weathertop on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 02:02:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So Annexation is the red line in the sand now? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac


          Looks like Putin changed the rules of the game. You can cry about the red line being crossed or realize you're now playing by different rules.

          Plus who would the US annex? Mexico?? Yeah, highly doubt the nice white people of the US would want all those brown voters. Canada? Why bother? For a few tar sands and a bunch of liberals? The rest have to many brown or black people living in them. Or just plain ole too poor. Easy to draw that red line in the sand when it doesn't affect you. Or maybe Puerto Rico will become the 51st state after all..

        •  Interesting argument (0+ / 0-)
          In the game of global world politics, providing arms against a rag-tag group of rebels to get a Government that would be favorable to ones interests is acceptable.
          I think you meant to say "to" a rag-tag group of rebels, not "against."  Would we all be better off if it wasn't considered acceptable?  If the Soviets were still occupying Afghanistan and they had killed Osama twenty years ago?

          The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

          by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 02:35:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Soviets were suckered into invading due to US (0+ / 0-)

            support and arming of the mujaheddin. You need to read about Operation Cyclone.

            The result of that covert operation was to destroy the Afghanistan of the 50's and 60's.

            This is Afganistan of 50s and 60s PHOTOS

            Lots of people would think that they will see pictures of wild, underdeveloped and medieval country with lif e conditions worse than now. Oh well, think again.

            On a recent trip to Afghanistan, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox drew fire for calling it "a broken 13th-century country."
            But that is not the Afghanistan I remember. A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.

        •  Meddling? Substantial mistakes? WTF? (0+ / 0-)

          The death and destruction of the lives of uncounted millions and you call it meddling and a mistake? You seem to have forgotten. Maybe you never learned about it in the first place if you went to a US school.

          You need a history lesson. Here's just a few. In each of these three illegal conflicts people are still dying. Thousands every year - right at this very moment!

    •  I basically agree with your position (0+ / 0-)

      But Claudius' challenge above is a potent one.  You should respond to it.  In what sense is Putin worse than say George W. Bush?

      The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

      by amyzex on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 12:44:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The key is annexation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        GWB's foray into Afghanistan was marginally acceptable, but at least did have the pretense of shutting down a global terror network that was setup there. The end result is Afghanistan is free now to choose it's own course, with of course a warning that if it doesn't grow up and act like a mature country and keep on it's little terror cells that someone, America or another country, may be back.

        Had GWB or Obama annexed Afghanistan, passed an Organic act, brought it in to the fold as a Overseas Territory, and setup a Territorial Governor, then yes, GWB would have committed the exact same crime as Putin.

        For those who have trouble though, let me clarify: Take GWB or any American President, or Congress, to The Hague on charges, and hang them. I'll buy the event on PPV even if it means mortgaging a house or something. But to sit here on this issue and say that the West shouldn't be mad at Putin is an absurd notion.

        Do I wish a few American leaders had to spend some jail time for their mistakes? Sure. But it's not a pass on anyone else.

        You keep using that word... I don't think it means what you think it means.

        by weathertop on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 02:08:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just an aside (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    as far as I can see the endlessly-repeated claim that Russia has assembled a significant "invasion force" on its border with Ukraine is not backed up by anything other than hype is some parts of Western media

    there was talk of 40k troops, including the 20k already in Crimea, which leaves 20k on the border with Ukraine, that is in fact less than the strength of one full-strength US division

    hardly an invasion force to seize and control Ukraine

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 03:11:09 PM PDT

    •  FWIW there are repeated statements (0+ / 0-)

      coming from high level people in the Obama administration making that claim. Correct or not it is a more substancial source than just media hype.

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