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I have become somewhat hesitant about writing diaries dealing with Ukraine because of the inevitable pie fights that the subject provokes. However, I think that the votes being conducted by separatists today are a significant event that is likely to lead to other significant events.

It is not unusual for people to dispute the outcomes of elections. However, here we have a situation where there is extensive disagreement about holding these elections in the first place. They are being strongly condemned by the interim government in Kiev and by western governments. Even Putin has at least publicly withdrawn his support for them. The Guardian's live blog is a good place to track the many confusing reports that are coming by tweet.

Long queues have formed outside polling stations in a hastily organised plebiscite on independence in eastern Ukraine. Most people appear to have voted in favour of self-rule event though what this means exactly is unclear. "No" voters mostly stayed away.

The ballots seek approval for declaring 'people's republics' in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where rebels have seized government buildings and clashed with police and Ukrainian troops over the past month.

The referendums went ahead despite Vladimir Putin's call for a postponement.

Germany and France have threatened Russia with further sanctions if the 25 May Ukrainian presidential election in does not go ahead as planned.

In Crimea It seems likely that Russia organized the vote to secede from Ukraine and they certainly enforced the announced results by incorporating the territory into the Russian Federation. Whether today's votes have any practical meaning will depend on whether Russia decides to use them as a basis for taking any action. Western governments are in strong agreement that they will not recognize them as valid. If Russia takes no formal action in recognizing them, then they will have been largely a publicity exercise. What is for all practical purposes a Ukrainian civil war will continue.

The next critical date will be May 25th when the entire country is scheduled to conduct a extraordinary presidential election. If that is somehow disrupted then it will likely be a more significant event than today's doings. What seems most likely at this point is that it will proceed in the western and central regions of the country and there will be controversy about it in the east and south.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  What I would like to find out (5+ / 0-)

    is what the actual question is on the ballot. There is a lot of discussions going on, but I have not yet found a story that published the question.

    And yes I have avoided showing up too. Sad!

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:13:27 AM PDT

  •  The interim president said a few days ago: (6+ / 0-)
    On Saturday, Mr Turchynov (the interim president) admitted many in eastern Ukraine supported the pro-Russian militants, but warned Sunday's referendums were "a step towards the abyss".

    I'm writing about the shooting in Mariupol again and will have a post up later.

    Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

    by InAntalya on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:23:08 AM PDT

  •  All you need to know about this "vote" is in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Lefty, wu ming

    pictures we've seen so far:

    • transparent ballot boxes
    • ballots not folded to hide voters choice
    • no evidence of private booth to mark choice

    I wish this was a meaningless farce - instead its a deadly serious farce - but the absurd conduct of the poll needs to be called out loudly and repeatedly. The Donetsk "freedom fighters" have already declared that following the vote all Ukrainian civil and military institutions will be declared "illegal" in the area claimed by the pro-Russian forces. The next step doesn't need to be said - but it's a call to Moscow to help them remove the "occupiers".

    •  Better they should continue to adopt Maidan (4+ / 0-)

      tactics, which of course the Maidanistas now label as terrorism. Up is down, down is up.

      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

      by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no - the better approach is to participate in a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Texas Lefty, wu ming, Mindful Nature

        properly run May 25th election, and use the actual polling results from that election to push for greater autonomy. That assumes the votes from this region actually show overwhelming support for an anti-Kiev presidential candidate - which is not a given if you.

        The Maidan may have precipitated Yanukovich's depature, but the pro-Russian side keep overlooking is that the current interim government in Kiev is comprised of members of an elected Parliament. To my understanding all of the principals in this government were elected, and the government itself was selected by this parliament. This is a key reason why Western governments regard it as legitimate.

        By contrast, in Crimea a party that had only 3% of the seats in the Crimean legislature simply took over and declared itself the government. In Donetsk - the pro-Russian forces haven't even bothered with the 3% fig leaf - the "mayor" of Slovyansk is some local businessman. Regardless of the actual feelings among the residents of Donbass - the guys manning barricades, issuing orders and detaining or killing local opposition have as much legitimacy as the Cliven Bundy militias - and way less than the Kiev government.

        Final point - from a Guardian live blog

        “My neighbour argued with me this morning and told me that I should not vote, that we don’t need any of this. To be honest I was pretty surprised that she had fascist views, she seemed nice.”
        So if you don't want to hand over parts of Ukraine to Russia you're automatically a "fascist"? These are the results of Fox News style propaganda - and they should serve as a warning to us here as well.
        •  And why did not the Maidanistas simply wait (9+ / 0-)

          to win the next election if they are so truly representative?

          The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

          by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:15:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            they were trying to undo a specific decision by the President, who responded by making protest and political organizing illegal.  THen of course this troops opened fire on the protestors, which proved too much for even his own party, which voted to remove him from office.

            •  Sidesteps the question but it is doubtful that (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              InAntalya, ChadmanFL, chuckvw, akze29

              the current regime and their proclivities are much of an improvement over what Ukraine had before. The distribution of wealth, income and opportunity in Ukraine is what needs to be addressed and is hardly being discussed.

              An internationally non-aligned Ukraine with a cooperative approach by both East and West would be well situated to provide a greater degree of prosperity and stability than this great power pissing match.

              The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

              by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:21:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

                But given that the country is in the process of being invaded and carved up by its neighbor that is naturally going to take priority for any government.  Whether the future is better we shall see, but frankly undoing the anti-protest laws is already a significant move forward.  I doubt any government is going to be able to tackle any of that until the threat from Russia is resolved.

                •  And the threat of NATO expansion into (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ChadmanFL, chuckvw, fran1, akze29


                  The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

                  by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:36:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I doubt Ukrainians see it as a threat (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dr Swig Mcjigger

                    I don't think that Ukraine views NATO as a threat since I expect that Ukrainians wished they'd joined NATO earlier instead of relying on Russia's treaty commitment to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.   God knows Ukraine wouldn't be in such dire shape if it were in NATO now. But isn't NATO that's invaded the country and sliced of pieces of it

                    •  Depends on which Ukranian you ask. eom (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ChadmanFL, fran1, akze29

                      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

                      by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:44:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  True enough (0+ / 0-)

                        One has to wonder whether actually being invaded has changed attitudes towards NATO going forward. It will be interesting to see what happens in a few years time. Certainly large majorities have been opposed previously, but them again that resulted in NATO not taking Ukraine in previously, but after Russia has proven itself to pose an existential threat to the country, that may change.

                        Again, calling something that would be a voluntary action on Ukraine's part "a threat" is truly bizarre.

                •  Oh FFS, you have to be kidding me (5+ / 0-)

                  The Kiev "government" has ZERO interest in the matters of "the little people."  To them it's all about hitching their wagon 100% to the EU austerity bullshit that's already destroyed many European economies (Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.) and usurped power of countries to determine their own economic future.  If you think the Kiev government will ever get around to caring about matters like social services and income inequality you're deluding yourself.  

            •  The protesters who were throwing molotovs (6+ / 0-)

              and shooting at the cops? How many were shot by the cops as opposed to the mystery snipers?

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:41:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No (0+ / 0-)

                Apparently I am about the only one who followed the protests while they were happening. After three months of protest (Nov 21 to feb 18) and being brutally attacked, certainly some violence broke out but given the brutal nature of the attacks and the increasingly anti-democratic laws and actions of Yanukovitch it is astonishing that as many of the 800,000 protestors in Kyiv were as peaceful as they were.  Probably their record was better than OWS which did tremendous damage in Oakland, for example. Doesn't justify government crackdowns though

                I am astonished how much support the Yanukovitch regime gets here, given the draconians laws against dissent, protest and the overwhelming violence by the authorities that took place

                •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

                  I'v been fallowing them since the beginning on a site called revolution news that uses user summited photos. The protesters were anything but peaceful . It was unlike anything I have ever seen. Were talking using backhoes to bust up police lines. I have seen protest, thanks to that site from around the world. Kiev was the only place where I saw protesters wearing body armor and carrying chains and knives, and using said chains and knives to beat the shit out of the cops.

        •  Pensioners and workers are now better (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dfarrah, ChadmanFL, Azazello, chuckvw

          off in Russia than in Ukraine. This is a largely ignored sub-textual motivation for many, particularly the Russo-Ukranians. Naturally, the U.S. press prefers a Game of Thrones approach to reporting the conflict.  

          The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

          by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:27:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even if there were no perceived financial benefit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            to leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, I'm sure a some portion of the Donbass would want to do that - the problem for everyone here is what portion? This "referendum" - conducted the way it is and under these conditions - is no way to find out. In addition - those who want for various reasons to join Russia have to accept they may not represent the majority - are they prepare to do that.

            The depressing scenario that's emerging across Russia's near west is that significant numbers of Russians who now find themselves minorities in another country appear to be quite willing to either dismember their host countries, or turn the rest of the population into a minority within greater Russia. The third option - just moving back to Russia - appears to not on the table.

            •  The problem with countries (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mookins, Wolf10, enhydra lutris

              that are divided by ethnic connections is that there is never and easy and harmless way to settle the matter. No matter how or when a referendum might be conducted there will be people on the minority side and their lives will be impacted by the governmental changes that might take place.

              Europe has seen this countless times. Millions of people have been killed over such issues. Millions of others have been forced to relocate in various settlements.

        •  The people from this region have already had (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wolf10, ChadmanFL, chuckvw, protectspice

          one candidate who they heavily favored actually elected and deposed by a coup d'etat. I don't see where any results in the later election would lead to anything along the lines of greater autonomy.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:39:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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

            A president deposed by their members of parliament whom they also elected.  

            •  No, deposed by the maidanistas and their (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ChadmanFL, chuckvw, protectspice, fran1

              fascist allies. This was subsequently, retroactively almost ratified by the parliament.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Sun May 11, 2014 at 02:12:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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

                ok.  I should know better than to argue reality with the mouthpieces of the Kremlin.

                I'm glad I can always rely on you to provide support for the shooting of protestors, the banning of protest and government by armed gangs.

              •  you should review (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                who actually voted to remove Yanukovitch after he fled rather than sign the peace accord.  A solid majority of the Party of Regions signed it.  Sorry, but that's the reality that you are essentially standing up for an authoritarian that even his own goddamned party wouldn't stand up for.

                •  With parliament surrounded by maidanistas (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  No intimidation or threats going on there.  Are you F'n kidding me with this BS?

                  •  Funny (4+ / 0-)

                    They had been surrounded for four months and passed all manner of anti Draconian laws against any kind of protest You want to see fascist you should look at what Yanukovitch and the Party of Regions did.  Ooh.  The new government considered not publishing official documents in Russian and they're fascists, but if Yanukovitch makes protest essentially illegal there is not a pee out of you lot.   That tells me everything I need to know about your opposition to democracy.

                    You want to see intimidation?  How about having armed men in polling stations with transparent ballot boxes like in Donbass?  How about having activists kidnapped and tortured leading up to the Crimea poll?  Or having election materials seized and threats of execution issues against people with such materials?  How about decrying the presence of neonazis in the rebel groups in Slaviansk?

                    Again the folks here at dailykos don't raise a single peep about any of these things, which tells me that your opposition to fascism is entirely fake

      •  you mean months of peaceful protests? (0+ / 0-)

        yes indeed, that would have been much better, but no, the guns came out first.

    •  The ballot boxes have always been transparent (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya, native, Wolf10, koNko, mookins, chuckvw, fran1

      Here's how the presidential voting was accomplished back in 2004 so you can see that the current situation is not unusual.

      A personal report from the presidential election in Ukraine
      Marcin Skubiszewski

      On December 26, 2004, citizens of Ukraine voted to elect their president. Several thousand international observers were accredited for the event. This web page documents what I saw as an observer.

    •  and the vote counted (0+ / 0-)

      by the guys who want to join Russia.  'nuf said

  •  This is another Ukrainian story (8+ / 0-)

    that is creating buzz in Germany. Sorry haven't found a Western source for the story in English  only this one from Russia - 400 US commandos help Kiev in its military offensive in east Ukraine

    It was published first by "Bild am Sonntag" and has now been picked up by most major German Newspapers.

    If I recollect correctly it was the same newspaper that reportet the CIA Brennan visit to Kiev.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:39:47 AM PDT

    •  The story is not comming from Russia (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, protectspice, koNko, mookins, ChadmanFL

      just to avoid misunderstanding - Bild claims it has received this information from a secret service.

      Reading the comments barely anyone doubts the thruth of this information.

      Read the European view at the European Tribune

      by fran1 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:41:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If somebody came up with (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, native, koNko, mookins

      convincing proof of that it would certainly be significant. The problems of evidence would be similar to the claim that the armed men in Eastern Ukraine are Russian military.

      Frankly I am dubious that the would send US military personnel.  Another possibility would be mercenaries funded by western financial sources with no clear trail back to a government.

      •  You are right (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, koNko, mookins, ChadmanFL

        but it is hard to counter the perception with facts. Actually there were also some pictures a few days ago, showing Nato members, supposedly in the Ukraine.

        The mood is turning more and more against the EU and the US. People here are frustrated maybe even angry that these Governments are risking to involve us in a war, which the Europeans would have to suffer, not the US.

        And the comments about Merkel are becoming downright nasty about Merkel - that she is willing to risk so much, especially as no one seems to know why she is doing it.

        Read the European view at the European Tribune

        by fran1 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:58:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I try to keep an eye on German politics (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fran1, native, koNko, mookins

          but it is very difficult to do without German language competency. I have been particularly trying to read Merkel's political pulse on this issue. She does seem to me to have swung more in the direction of supporting the US position and she seems to be taking Hollande with her. She has always struck me as a shrewd and competent politician so I would assume that it has to be a lot more complex than a personal emotional response.

  •  who elected Ukraine's gov? nobody (8+ / 0-)

    Kiev's interim government never won any elections, was never elected by the people.

    •  This is true, and whatever legitimacy they have (7+ / 0-)

      is provisional at best. You'd think they would be more circumspect about a military response to eastern resistance.

    •  that is utterly, utterly false (5+ / 0-)

      the parliament was elected in the last election by the Ukrainian people.  That parliament elected a new government (prime minister and other ministers) as is completely within its power.  The same elected parliament votes 328-0 to remove a President that murdered 100+ protestors.  That much is absolutely undisputable.

      The only argument the folks pushing the "illegal coup" propaganda have is that the vote needed 75% of the parliament, not 73%.  While Prime Minister Yatensyuk is unequivocally the legal leader of Ukraine, there are procedural issues with the interim president, who has another two weeks in office.

      The number of people here who support the murder of protestors, authoritarianism and imperialism is pretty fucking disgusting.  

  •  CNN reporting voter fraud (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    Some Ukraine voters seen voting twice in pro-Russian separatist poll

    A CNN crew saw several people vote twice at one polling station, where the ballot boxes were decorated with new Donetsk independence flags.

    There also seemed to be no system in place to prevent one person from voting at multiple polling stations.

    “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

    by se portland on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:55:24 AM PDT

    •  CNN reported the same thing in Crimea (6+ / 0-)

      The poor quality grainy picture shows an elderly woman inserting two ballots. This could be legal if she was helping her husband or another voter who was disabled. Some tweets have said it was a recycled photo.

      Ukrainian law allows disabled persons to vote with help from another person. This procedure can be used both at home and at the voting station. In the latter case, the person who helps a voter can enter the voting booth with him.
      •  Also, since it's a lengthy process that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, ChadmanFL, Claudius Bombarnac

        involves registering in one place and then waiting in another to vote, the process of double voting has been made practically unfeasable.

        But of course this is the only card they have left to play, so they're playing I'm sure there will e 'multiple' accusations. Richard Engel's on the job and we have yet heard his valuable insight yet... /snark.

      •  As did (0+ / 0-)

        Just about everyone else.  I guess you feel that kidnapping opposition activists and torturing them is just fair democratic procedures right?

        •  The 3 activists who came from Maidan have been (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChadmanFL, native, protectspice

          released. They were not tortured. There was only one death of a Tatar reported and it is under investigation.

          fair democratic procedures right
          The people of Crimea seem to think so. Here's the results of the latest Pew poll. The polls suggest the US should get the fuck out and leave the people alone to decide for themselves.

          Crimean residents are almost universally positive toward Russia. At least nine-in-ten have confidence in Putin (93%) and say Russia is playing a positive role in Crimea (92%). Confidence in Obama is almost negligible at 4%, and just 2% think the U.S. is having a good influence on the way things are going on the Crimean peninsula.
          For their part, Crimeans seem content with their annexation by Russia. Overwhelming majorities say the March 16th referendum was free and fair (91%) and that the government in Kyiv ought to recognize the results of the vote (88%).
          •  HRW disagrees (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of course you'll denounce them as Neocon shillls or whatever


            Armed groups in Crimea abducted two political activists, held them for 11 days in secret detention along with several other detainees, ill-treated both, and badly tortured one of them. The activists gave Human Rights Watch detailed accounts of what happened to them in captivity.
            Of course, that's two of many cases

            And of course you'll be silent about the neonazis in Luhansk and Donetsk because you're almost as impartial as Putin himself.

            I imagine you must be glad to see Assad and his Shabiha look like they're close to crushing the last vestiges of the Arab Spring.  I mean,  we can't have any excess democracy if there's a bloodthirsy dictator to support.

            •  The Arab Spring has produced bitter fruit in Syria (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac, fran1

              Or haven't you noticed?

              •  Not least (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                native, sviscusi

                Because the American left pushed hard for the US to sit on its hands. I have certainly noticed and have noticed how much of it derived from approaches that were supported here Apparently we prefer dictators

                •  So we should have joined in with (0+ / 0-)

                  the neocons and their Saudi friends, and "taken out" Assad?

                  •  We should could have tried to help (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Texas Lefty

                    Assad is a thoroughly nasty a vicious dictator. There was a lot that could have been done, but this community saw no need to act and now only Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Assad are left standing   The fact that the left will lift not a single finger to help Syrians try to remove him tells me that the left has no core values beside partisan political point scoring and does not have any appetite for helping to improve the lives of other people.  Instead, we whistle while atrocities occur simply because conservatives see a reason to act.   Doing nothing in the face of such things makes you complicit.  Absolutely.  Coming out to provide every conceivable apology for A regime like Assad's the way this community has is absolutely shameful. Few here has any standing to complain about fascism given how of term lefties like to snuggle up with them provided they say a few mean things about the US or republicans say bad things about them

                    •  People in this blog cannot do anything other than (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      InAntalya, native, fran1


                      Doing nothing in the face of such things makes you complicit.  Absolutely.  Coming out to provide every conceivable apology for A regime like Assad's the way this community has is absolutely shameful.
                      Maybe you should hold Obama responsible. I'm sure that whatever we here in DKos have to say about the matter has ZERO impact on his decision.

                      BTW, at least half the Syrian people want Assad. It is not up to us to make their decision for them.

                      Syria: Residents return to devastated Homs to salvage what remains

                      The brisk traffic of former residents and their meager belongings clogged the battered streets.

                      “It’s not much, just a few small things,” Rafi Sepechian said as he and his wife lugged several chairs, a floral print and a suitcase full of odds and ends from their former flat in the Old City. “It’s badly damaged, but we plan to rebuild. We love our home.”

                      Thousands have been making the trek in recent days since the rebels exited the sprawling area and it was declared safe. On Sunday, an almost festive air was evident, despite the sense of disbelief and gloom at the utter scale of the destruction. Homs' war-weary residents seemed keen to show their resolve and will to get on with life. Many voiced the hope that the more than three-year conflict could be winding down, though the war grinds on in many parts of Syria, including Homs.

                      “I know there is damage, but this is the happiest moment in my life, to be back in the church where I was baptized and my son was baptized,” said Sawsan Hanoon, 40, standing in the debris-filled patio of the church. “We will rebuild it with our own hands.”

                      A few blocks away, mourners came to pay respects to the grave of Father Frans van der Lugt, a 76-year-old Dutch Jesuit assassinated by an unknown masked gunman last month on the grounds of the Jesuit residence. He had refused to leave the district where he had lived for decades after the rebels took control.

            •  Ah, the 'shabiha' (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac, fran1

              How quaint. How completely fucking irrelevant. And how wrong.

            •  Two of how many cases? Care to elaborate? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I'm sure if there were more, HRW will have documented them.

              The three people detained were from Kiev. They were not Crimean.

              I imagine you must be glad to see Assad and his Shabiha look like they're close to crushing the last vestiges of the Arab Spring.
              Do you really think there is any "Arab Spring"? Look to Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
    •  CNN on Ukraine? I wouldn't pay it any attention (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fran1, ChadmanFL

      unless its backed up by another source.

  •  What troubles me about Ukraine, and this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, ChadmanFL, chuckvw

    may be a product of news coverage, is apparent lack of class antagonism on the part of any of the major players. I can't believe that it is not a factor but it is rarely mentioned and given the state of the Ukraine economy and the concentration of wealth, it should be.

    Here is an exception:

    The anti-Maidans in the east are no more irrational than Maidan protesters who were hoping for the European dream but gained (quite expectedly) a neoliberal government, IMF-required austerity measures and increasing prices. In the eastern Ukrainian protests, "Russia" – with its higher wages and pensions – plays the same role of utopian aspiration as "Europe" played for the Maidan protesters. The economic situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate and the national currency has lost more than 50% of its value in two months, so the protesters in the Donetsk region are talking more about the socio-economic problems the Ukrainian state was not able to solve for 23 years: collapsed enterprises, unemployment and low wages. They demand nationalisation and decent rewards for their labour.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:03:19 AM PDT

    •  It is a basic political phenomenon (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, koNko, native, enhydra lutris

      that ethnic/nationalist/racial conflicts run counter to class conflicts. Economic elites are more often than not successful at dividing the masses along those lines to divert them from economic protest. Ukrainian politics since independence from the USSR seem to have a recurring feature of wealthy oligarchs adopting a populist persona, e.g. Yulia Temoshencho.  

    •  Couldn't agree more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wolf10, fran1

      This is the most maddening part I've noticed with the Ukraine conflict.  Both The Kiev "interim government" and Putin government in Russia are right-wing.  There effectively is no left-wing alternative.  Just a Russian oligarchy facing off against pro-EU austerity, capitalist pigs.  Doesn't matter which side wins out to the largely poor masses caught in between, the result will be similar.  People are dying for the 1%, same as is the case in almost all conflicts.

  •  When have the rebels (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, InAntalya, native, fran1, ChadmanFL, chuckvw

    'clashed with the police'? As far as I can tell the majority of police are on the sides of the protestors, and even the ones that aren't haven't 'clashed' w the protesters, unless they're counting the police collusion with Pravy Sector which facilitated the trade union massacre in Kiev... I'm serious, I'd really like to know. These phrases are thrown around too casually.

    Or perhaps they're talking about yesterday in Mariupol, where police wouldn't obey their chief so the Ukrainian army laid siege to their headquarters, burning it down and killing both civilians and police...?

    •  It's a trick used when writing, (6+ / 0-)

      to obscure.

      For example: the Ukrainian military attacks a building which has been occupied and then reporters or editors write something like this:

      'Separatists clashed with Ukrainian soldiers when the soldiers tried to retake ...'

      See? Who did it? The separatists did.

      In the past few days I have begun to see European media change the order.

      'Ukrainian soldiers clashed with separatists when the soldiers tried to retake ...'

      I think it's because of what happened in Odessa and Mariupol.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:38:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You mean (3+ / 0-)

      Like when they took over police buildings at gunpoint?   I think that qualifies.

        •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Texas Lefty

          It's perplexing when people deny the obvious.

        •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Texas Lefty

          Have you been living under a rock?

          I think we have discerned your credibility on these issues

          •  Oh FFS (0+ / 0-)

            you two jokers are talking about what happened last month when militias took back - with ZERO casualties - their local police stations from the new putschist police chiefs? All AFTER, might I add, the previous chiefs and local officials were fired, intimidated, kidnapped or 'your' guys?

            Goalposting, anyone? And fwiw if you want to get really anal, the video was from another city...but whatever.

            There were no 'clashes with police', no one has 'clashed with police'. The police are on the side of the people, save a few corrupt fuck-o's who've only been on the job for a few weeks.

            •  These thugs (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Aren't on the side of the people. According to Pew 77% of the people in Donbass oppose them. I course since the majority is Ukrainian you seem to think they're subhuman and don't count of something.  And yes, the police they pushed out at gunpoint were the legal authority as representing the elected parliament and the elected prime minster.  

              But you pro Russian imperialist types can't stand the idea of Ukraine being sovereign it seems and will distort reality however you want to because the last thing you'd want is for continued elections.  (you do realize that Yanukovitch had essentially outlawed opposition electioneering and the neo nazi gangs in Luhansk and Slaviansk have been engaging in kidnapping and intimidation of the local populace

              And of course they didn't wait for the actual election results to come out to announce their independence because of course they knew the result before any votes were cast

              •  I will taunt you a little bit (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                According to Pew 77% of the people in Donbass oppose them.
                Even if true, why would you trust the judgement of people who a few years back voted overwhelimingly for a "homicidal, Putin-loving, murderous dictator....etc..etc" instead of somebody else?
            •  Wrong again (0+ / 0-)
              you two jokers are talking about what happened last month when militias took back - with ZERO casualties - their local police stations from the new putschist police chiefs?
              I don't call bodies washing up in the river the next day 'zero casualties'. And what's your evidence that the police chiefs were new?
              There were no 'clashes with police', no one has 'clashed with police'.
              Are you paying attention at all?

              I think the new government is a ship of fools but man is it annoying how hard some around here fall for the RT line. Eagerly nodding at everything Putin's media machine craps out is the definition of idiocy.

  •  I'm amazed that more (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, ChadmanFL, Azazello, protectspice

    diaries aren't written on the matter.

    Instead, we get recycled garbage about how, miracle of all miracles, insured people are showing up for medical care!!!

    For a taste of what could be going on over there:

    Burning Ukraine's Protesters Alive

    Odessa Atrocity Erupts in Peaceful City, And No One Wonders Why?

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:42:37 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this update (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, native

    I have been so busy the past week I'm really out of date on the situation there. Maybe I can spend some time tonight reading the news.

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:44:49 AM PDT

  •  Western governments can't recognize them as (4+ / 0-)

    valid because they have no idea what a valid election actually is.  

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:04:29 AM PDT

  •  Interesting thoughts from Alastair Crooke, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, fran1, ChadmanFL

    a former MI-6 honcho and diplomat, who just returned from Moscow, concerning the bigger historic issues which express themselves in the current events in Ukraine.

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