To understand the current crises in Ukraine and Crimea with the interference of EU, NATO and the US and Russia’s response one have to go back in history, at least to the Crimean war in 1853-6. This was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia. While neutral, Austria played a minor role in stopping the Russians. The immediate issue involved the rights of Christians in the Holy Land, which was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Orthodox. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. The Christians were granted a degree of official equality and the Orthodox gained control of the Christian churches in dispute. Russia survived, gained a new appreciation for its religious diversity, and launched a reform program with far-reaching consequences. Most of the fighting took place for control of the Black Sea, with land battles on the Crimean peninsula in southern Russia. The war transformed the region. Because of battles, population exchanges, and nationalist movements incited by the war, the present-day states of Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and regions such as Crimea and the Caucasus all changed in small or large ways due to this conflict. The Crimean War, famed for the «Charge of the Light Brigade» (miscommunication and errors led to a British light cavalry was sent against a different artillery battery, the assault ended with high British casualties and no decisive gains), would fundamentally alter the balance of power in Europe and set the stage for World War One.
Until 2nd world war imperialism meant the same as colony rule, i.e. the imperialist powers controlled directly the colony states and their economy. From 1875 to 1945 the world was characterized three features: An economic and military system with multipolar power, colonial expansion and militaristic state capitalism. England was the biggest imperialist power before 1914, but France and Russia was not far behind. Japan and USA was also on the move after US victory over Spain and Japans victory over Russia in 1905. If Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary should follow they had to industrialize more. This was possible through monopolizing and the creation of finance. Arms race was itself a driving force in the industrialization and the development of imperialism. The development of finance in turn made it possible with a massive arms race. The military rivalry went stronger. After the 2nd world war USA and Soviet were the leading powers with their blocks. Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 the “cold war” was maintained on both sides. This is a short cut of history which is necessary for understanding the current upheaval in Ukraine and Crimea.
After months of protests the fall of president Yanukovych was probably unavoidable. But when the bulk of the protesters were ordinary Ukrainians the violent groups were far right extremist and some fascists waving red-black nazi-banners while attempting to storm government buildings. The neo-nazi in Pravyj Sektor are much more extreme than the far right group Svoboda. The left is still weak in Ukrainian society in general, but there are several leftist groups (also anarchists). Illusions in the European Union (EU) about who they are supporting in conflicts is not new, still the EU should be more aware of that the far right has played a significant role in the “Euromaidan” occupation in Kiev. However, the main reason why Yanukovych fell was because the section of the oligarchy which had previously backed him withdrew their support, and parts of the security forces and army. The struggle within Ukraine has been going on for more than a decade among the corrupt and thuggish bunch of oligarchs who have dominated the country since independence in 1991. These oligarchs were friends with their Russian counterparts and they were a creation of former president alcoholic-Jeltsin and his friends in the 1990ies. This “partnership” between president and elite continued also in Ukraine under Yanukovych.
Let us now look at some of the motifs behind the Russian action in Crimea. As the arguments from the Tzar before the Crimean war started was protection of orthodox Christians, the argument of tzar Putin is the protection of Russian speaking people. A majority lives in Crimea and widespread in southern and eastern Ukraine. This is at first glance. But if one look closer Putin is engaging in an inter-imperialist power play. Together with the west that is. This is geo-political rivalry and Putin and his advisors are betting on the weakness of their rivals. They are right here and crises like this underline the EU’s dependence on US military capabilities. But the US will not engage militarily, they have burned their imperialistic fingers before and will not do it for Ukraine’s sake. Ukraine matters much more to Russia than it does to the United States or the EU. Instead Europe is incredible more dependent on Russian gas.
If Ukraine was fully integrated into the EU and NATO it would be a step towards Moscow’s worst nightmare of being encircled by the West. President Vladimir Putin went to war with Georgia in 2008 to prevent this nightmare being realized. Historians have said that Russia’s fear and struggle through history is not to become an inland giant with no access to the sea. Therefore it has been a fight between the major western sea-powers and the mainly inland one. Seizing Crimea is a counter-move to Ukraine’s tilt westwards as a result of the overthrow of Yanukovych. The peninsula is of crucial strategic importance to Moscow. It has served as the base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet since the 18th century.
Leftist organizations and parties in Europe must strengthen their contact and support with the Ukrainian left. “The Left-opposition” has in their manifest several suggestions which deserve support from outside. Among issues are workers control and that millionaires and oligarchs should lose their voting rights and privileges. The option of different agreements between Russia and EU are equally bad for Ukraine, according to the leftists. The main problem is within the country, with the oligarchs grip on politics which led to zero taxation for the super-rich.
The Ukrainian people can hopefully make their own alternatives against both Russian and western liberalistic interference – and for the mass movements it is real democracy and equality which counts against corruption, privileges and despotism. While the tension still immanent in Crimea the powerful imperialistic interests are seeking to secure their positions and influence. The west tries to win over the Ukrainian elite and middle class through EU’s and IMF’s bribes of billions of euro with demands on ”economic reforms”. This f. ex. means closure of Eastern Ukraine’s heavy industry. The billions of dollar-promise from the US also have demands behind. The Putin-regime tries to counter this by invalidate the deposing of Yanukovych and to incorporate Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Russian sphere.
One of the most interesting things about supporting or not supporting Ukraine and by what means is the issues of money transactions by foreign investors or speculators. It is several examples on this and here are some: Pierre Omidyar (a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, who is the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site) co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show. Just hours after the ouster of president Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth. Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”: “There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. How many levels deep interference from both sides are there?” Mark Ames at http://pando.com decided to investigate these claims. And what he found was this:
Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This could also mean a US-backed “coup”? Any way evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.
Press TV has interviewed former American intelligence linguist Scott Rickard to get his perspective on the current events unfolding in Ukraine and Russia’s position regarding the situation. Scott Rickard: «You know the West has invested over five billion dollars in – the US government alone – alongside of what Victoria Nuland (Ass. Sec. of St. for Eur. and Eurasian Aff.) was talking about and got caught talking online with the ambassador from the Ukraine. The US has been orchestrating this overthrow in the Ukraine for quite some time. And you have an individual, you know, the founder of eBay; you’ve got Pierre Omidyar who has invested money alongside George Soros. So, this is a scenario that has been played out here for several years in creating what they call an uprising that has been fabricated by the West.»
When the «revolution» came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Department, DC neocons, EU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.
Last December, the Financial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”
Comments on Boilingfrogspost article: What Marcy Wheeler in her column today playing defense for her new boss leaves out is that USAID is widely known to be a CIA-front. And we all know the CIA is all about spreading “transparency”, and “democracy”, don’t we? – See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/03/01/pando-expose-glenn-greenwalds-boss-billionaire-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government/#sthash.7JCD3f7M.dpuf
George Soros (investor, speculator and philanthropist) has also been a key player in co-founding pro-western NGO’s and groups in the Ukrainian uprising. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Soros» funding has continued to play an important role in the former Soviet sphere. His funding of pro-democratic programs in Georgia was considered by Russian and Western observers to be crucial to the success of the Rose Revolution, although Soros has said that his role has been «greatly exaggerated». https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros
Socialists must show solidarity with the people who fought against the corrupt regime of oligarchs, fascists, EU- and US-oligarchs. Socialists also have to know and to fight the world-plan of US economic market dominance, with “their democracy”, called pax americana (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pax_Americana).