sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

November 17, 2014

Former US Intelligence Officer Stares at The Map of Ukraine

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:50 am

Sees nothing.  Who needs maps? (H/t Instapundit):

Far to the east, the newly elected speaker of the Ukrainian rebel regions’ parliament also sounded optimistic about the upcoming legislative session.  “I am certain that we must close the circle,” said Oleg Tsarov. “The civil war that started in Odessa must end in Odessa, as well.” That’s Odessa, Crimea, or Odessa, Russia, depending on how permanent you believe Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be.  But it’s certainly not Odessa, Ukraine, which is what it was in February.

According to his bio blurb, Andrew L. Peek, the author of the article quoted above is

A combat veteran and former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Andrew L. Peek is a doctoral candidate at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he teaches political theory and strategic studies. He served as strategic advisor to the top U.S. and NATO commander.

Despite all this impressive credentials, Peek is not aware that Odessa is a strategically important port city not on the Crimean peninsula, but in southern Ukraine.  Presumably his editors at Fiscal Times don’t know it either.

Russian-speaking since its founding by Catherine the Great, in the 2oth century Odessa became a vibrant society, birth place of Akhmatova, Chukovsky, Jabotinsky, known for its comedic talent and celebrated in Soviet popular song.  Historically, Odessa was majority Russian, with a huge Jewish minority and, some of the most horrific pogroms notwithstanding, a cosmopolitan bend.  It is now said to be majority ethnic Ukrainian (probably mixed Russian and Ukrainian), but still russophone and Russian-leaning.  A few months ago I reposted a report by British journalist Graham Phillips about a looming street fight between Ukrainian Pravy Sektor and pro-Russian locals on the streets of Odessa.

Odessa region is contiguous to Prednestrovie area of Moldova on which Russia also has designs.  It’s a warm water port and the entry point of Odessa-Brody pipeline to Poland.  It was the most important city in the region historically referred to as Novorussia (yes, it did exist, albeit the name was not in use over the last 100 years, and it was in what is now south Ukraine, not Donbass, the scene of the current civil war).  So Novorussia project is not complete without Odessa.

Ukraine map

The trouble with Peek is not just that he doesn’t know geography, but that he has no clue about the events to which Tsarev is referring.  It should be obvious to anyone who follows Ukrainian politics because the event in question was a turning point in the first stage of Ukrainian insurgency which was both fueled by Russia and genuine.

After the overthrow of Yanukovich and takeover of Crimea, there were attempts to implement “Crimean scenario” across the south-east.  In Donbass, it turned into a full-blown civil war, but elsewhere it was stomped out in a bud.  Organizers were arrested, but, most importantly, the residents of south-east, whatever their political leanings, decided that they don’t want another Odessa.

What exactly happened in Odessa on the second of May this year is hard to decipher.  Reportedly, a 2000-strong pro-Ukrainian rally made up mostly of soccer fans and Pravy Sektor clashed with 300 reported pro-Russian activists (Ukrainians say they were attacked).  After that, the pro-Ukrainian demonstrators turned to the Trade Union building which separatists were occupying.  Teenage girls cheerfully prepared Molotov cocktails that were thrown into the building, setting it on fire and burning dozens.  Several days after the incidents it was discovered that most occupiers, including a 50-year-old cleaning lady, were killed before the fire reached them.  So this look like a conspiracy.  FSB?  SBU? The oligarchs?

And yet, the day after the massacre, and before any kind of investigation took place, Vladimir Nemirovsky, then freshly appointed by the provisional government Odessa governor, took to Facebook.  Nemirovsky wrote that he considers “lawful” the action of “Odessa residents” who “stopped armed terrorists”.  And while the Western pundits are trying to figure out how this all was a false flag operation (because Ukrainian side doesn’t know how to play hardball, apparently), Ukrainian nationalists are still doing their kumbaya and thanking those who “defended Odessa”.

The Burning Trade Union building in Odessa

Peek doesn’t know it yet, but the revolutionary combat euphoria may not last very long.  Check up this update from Ukraine’s upcoming gas-less winter printed by the little Putinist mouthpiece called Reuters:

Conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s industrial east has disrupted coal supplies to thermal power plants (TPP), which provide around 40 percent of the country’s electricity, and has left reserves critically low ahead of the cold winter months.

“We have no other option but to turn to the Russian producers and try to buy coal there, but we put the country’s energy security under severe threat,” Prodan said at a government meeting.

Earlier this year the government signed a deal to import 1 million tonnes of coal from South Africa and has already received three deliveries. But the supplier this week discontinued shipments amid allegations within Ukrainian media of irregularities within the deal.

Prodan on Wednesday denied the allegations and said the price struck within the deal was at market levels.

But he said other foreign traders were likely to refuse to work with Ukraine, fearing problems with the implementation of future contracts.

In other words, Ukraine is facing a cold winter and low morale which no arms supply is likely to cure.

November 13, 2014

An Abortion Barbie Is Still A Barbie

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:33 am

Being a uterati Democrat, Wendy Davis was destined to lose her bid for TX governorship.  I’ve read quite a bit about her losing TX women, doing dismally with the married ones, which some interpreted as women voting with their brains, not loins.  I have a bit of a problem with this conclusion.

We women are good at a lot of things.  We are nurturing and not exceedingly stupid (not exceedingly smart either, just average).  But we do come with one unfortunate defect, namely jealousy.

Sarah Palin wasn’t too popular with women either, often to the point of obsession, mainly because she’s a former beauty queen with good-looking, if imperfect, family and, back in 2008, a stellar career.  There is a certain class of women who will be made to feel better about themselves by Hillary Clinton because she’s a miserable wrench, and will vote for her for that reason, but cannot stand the sight of Palin.

And sure, Davis didn’t get the kind of vitriolic press that Palin had to deal with, and I’m sure she’ll be more or less left alone after the election because a) conservative women are busy moms, b) conservative women are more likely to be religious and those are warned in some shape or form that jealousy is a deadly sin and c) liberal women are technically on the same team as Davis.

BUT I is it a surprise that women didn’t vote for a noted gold-digger with a Barbie mug?

Do you see a team player? I see a queen bee

And sure, there are many beautiful women who got elected this time around — Elise Stephanic, Mia Love, Joni Ernst — but they are very different kind of beautiful.  One can almost feel the callouses on their hands by looking at their smiles.  Plus, they were elected by conservatives (see above).

November 4, 2014

Did You Have a Guilt-Free Halloween?

Filed under: Bay Area politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:15 pm

Today I had a party of NO.  I went into the voting booth and voted straight Republican ticket (plus Marshall Tuck) and NO on every proposition on the ballot.

But Friday was Halloween, which went fabulously, except that some schools in our area were encouraging kids to trick-or-treat for UNISEF.  Michelle Obama would be proud: instead of asking for candy, they walked around with orange boxes asking for money.  So nutritious!

Halloween is the Bay Area Christmas, and parties here are a lot of fun.  Some homeowners keep their decorations up for weeks after the holiday.  Unfortunately, instead of instead of congratulating themselves on being so paganized, local liberals can’t help but to be killjoys.  Is it necessary to remind kids that they are brats on a day like Halloween? Can they just have fun without thinking of the Third World?  Just once?

October 29, 2014

How Did Ukraine Do at The Polls Last Sunday?

Ukraine held emergency Parliamentary elections last Sunday.  How did Ukrainians do?

1. Nazis parties defeated, annihilated each other or outlived their usefulness?

I recently posted about Ukrainian Nazizoid Iryna Farion quoting Hitler and calling for war with Russia.  Neither Farion nor her party, Svoboda, did well at the polls.  They were a fixture of Ukrainian politics for over a decade, with Svoboda as a dominant party in the historic Galicia region two years ago, but this time  they didn’t make the 5% mark to be represented in Rada, or the Ukrainian parliament.

The case of Farion is particularly instructive – in her electoral district she lost to both Lvov mayor’s Self-Help Party and the Radical Party.  Self-Help advocates, among other things, NATO membership, and so do the Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the president Poroshenko.  So, for those interested in being in opposition to Russia, there are politicians who can stand for it, and do so without the baggage of all these disparaging things said about American actresses.  Besides, Ukrainians can hardly handle the war in Donbass, so the talk about them turning Russia into dust can be a bit overwhelming.  Let the US figure it out.

World War 2 revisionism, the staples of Svoboda ideology, are perfectly mainstream politics in this country of 45 million. Take for instance, the proclamation issued by president Poroshenko a few days ago on the occasion of liberation of Ukraine from Nazis:

The destiny of the world was decided here, on our soil.  Nearly half of strategic defensive and offensive operations were conducted at the hight of global confrontation were conducted on Ukrainian territory.  Over 60% of Wehrmacht land forces were defeated here.  More than 9 million Ukrainian-born soldiers stood up to fight the enemy in the ranks of the Red Army.  Millions more fought the Nazis and their allies in the ranks of UPA, the ranks of Soviet partisan formations, Polish Army, American, Australian, British, Canadian armies and as French, Yugoslavian and Slovenian resistance. (Emphasis mine, — EoTS)

One problem: UPA and its parent Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, OUN, *were* Nazi allies.  OUN stages pogroms in Lviv and surrounding areas on the eve of the Nazi advent.  True, OUN and Hitler had a little falling out when their leader Stepan Bandera declared himself Ukraine’s dictator, but Germany wanted to rule the country without his help.  The Germans had Bandera arrested and confined in a VIP concentration camp, releasing the Ukrainian fascist only at the end of the war, to fight the advancing Red Army.

In the meantime the members of Bandera’s organization joined the ranks of the SS, served in the Nazis’ deadly police forces, served as concentration camp guards, murdered at Babiy Yar, etc.  After German defeat in Stalingrad they went underground and declared themselves to be against Hitler.  This was a part of their reasonably successful effort to sell themselves to the Allies as a national-liberation movement.  During their UPA underground period, Ukrainian Nazis continued haunting down surviving Jews and used Jewish slaver labor in their own concentration camps.  UPA also slaughtered hundreds of thousands ethnic Poles in Volynya and Galicia. A few dozen Germans were killed by friendly fire.

Post-USSR, Ukrainians try to find something both positive and non-Soviet around which to imagine their country.  Some think of Hitler as a liberator, but that’s a hard sell outside the extreme west.  So the fairytale about Ukrainians fighting both Hitler and Stalin had to be invented.  Trouble is, in WW2 Ukrainians fought for either the Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, and any attempt to imagine their nation based on transparent lies will backfire — I hope.

The new session of Rada will likely be opened by Yuri Shukhevich, the son of UPA commander Roman Shukhevich.  This is not going to go well in Poland, for instance.  Shuhkevich, who was elected on the ticket of Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party, already opined that Ukraine has to stretch into the Caucuses.  Lyashko commanded over 8% of the vote in this spring’s Presidential election, and Radical Party commanded 7.4% a half a year later.  At the same time Svoboda gathered 4.7% of the vote, and Pravy Sektor, which is not much of a political party — 1.8%.  All three parties add up to more than 10%.

2. The dormant South-East.

This map of the turn out in the last week’s election corresponds perfectly with the ethno-linguistic maps of Ukraine and the maps of the previous elections results. And that’s after #euromaidan, Crimea annexation, the Lenin downs and considering that Ukraine is a country of joiners — but that’s a different topic

The overall turnout in the election was 52%, meeting the 50% benchmark necessary for the election to be valid.  However, across the South-East it was more than 1o points lower than average and sometimes half of the vote in the western regions.  Even then, Opposition Party, the renamed and embattled Party of Regions, earned nearly 10% of popular vote, remaining the dominant party in the east.  In Kharkov, where Opposition won every party ticket, an elderly lady was seen kissing the hand of the city’s Party of Regions mayor.  One can see how by slightly depressing the overall turn out or encouraging the South-East to turn out en mass, very different election results (or non-results) can be achieved.

Tzar, the little farther, who, for some inexplicable reason is Jewish

3. On the nepotism front, Poroshenko’s 29-year-old son was elected to Rada.

In other words, Ukraine is still Ukraine… minus Crimea… minus gas… and plus the coming default.

October 21, 2014

When Hitler and Stalin Meet in Kiev

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:05 pm

Last week I posted about a Nazi march that took place in my native city of Kharkov, Ukraine. What I didn’t discuss is that similar marches were staged across Ukraine with the goal of forcing a legislature that would recognize the genocidal World War Two-era Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as national heroes.  That day’s main rally was held in the capital of Kiev, where protesters armed with bats and chains clashed with police and 36 were detained — just like the good old days of Euromaidan.

One of the speakers was Svoboda’s Deputee and once Communist Iryna Farion. Here is part of a recording of her speech:

Greatness of nation and the strength of the state are built with arts and war.  This was was absolutely unavoidable and totally logical.  Excuse me, I don’t really want to quote Hitler here

Said the reluctant student of German dictator

[B]ut he was right when he said ‘Wars are won before they begin’. [...]  There was no Ukrainian language, Ukrainian music, Ukrainian Idea in [Crimea, Lugansk and Donetsk]. That is why Putin is there now [whistle].  That’s why everything in our life begins with how we think, which goal we set for ourselves and how much Ukrainian we have in our soul.  Be vigilant before those who now put on vyshivankis [Ukrainian peasant shirts], because it’s possible that behind those vyshivankis they are hiding the absence of their Ukrainian souls.

This could well be a quote from Stalin, the man who starved 10% or so of Ukrainian population successfully Sovietizing them.

We have not just the external front, the absolutely unavoidable front of Putin.  We have one road — to destroy Moscow.  This is why we live, that’s why we live in this world, to destroy Moscow [applause].  Not just to destroy Moscals [derogatory for Russians] on our soil, but to destroy Moscow, that black hole of European security.

Ukrainians of Svoboda/Pravy Sektor/Radical Party bent have been trying to sell themselves, not unsuccessfully, as new Americans.  They are defending Europe from Putin, you see.  It’s worth noting that Putin’s strategy appears to be the destabilization of Ukraine, a goal which he shares with Svoboda, who are on record being in favor of civil war which they would seize as an opportunity to Ukrainianize the population to their liking.

This graphic is done in the colors of Ukrainian flag and, unfortunately, featuring the NATO symbol along with the Eastern Slavic colovrat in the sun disk (the symbol frequently adopted by Eastern European Nazis). It reads “We are born to turn Russia into dust”, a play on a line from a famous Soviet song. The graphic came to my attention via an American libertarian blogger who found it hilarious.

While Communists were forever on the lookout for the insufficiently committed to the to the struggle of world proletariat, Ukrainian Nazis are interested in weeding out the true Ukrainians.  And so, a man in Nikolaev is facing 4 years of prison and two years probation for putting a flag of Novorossia on social media.  And in Kharkov an elderly man from Donbass is sentenced to 5 years in prison for distributing separatist leaflets.

Earlier this year Turchinov vetoed a language law that banned Russian as an official language, but to fight a Russian book infestation, a struggle which is, by no means a new phenomenon, Ukraine now has a regulation banning periodicals with the word “Russian” in their title.  “Russian Culture of Ukraine” and “Russian Rock” are no longer licensed for publication in Ukraine.

But wait, you say, aren’t there Nazis in Russia.  Precisely.  This blog, however, doesn’t buy into the argument that because there are Nazis in Russia, we should give a free reign to Ukrainian ones.  This blog is of the belief that Ukraine is spinning out of control, and that Ukrainian Nazis, albeit not Ukrianian Nazis alone, have everything to do with it.

Ukrainians — and other Europeans — will be fortunate if it all ends there.

October 14, 2014

Another Nazi March in Kharkov, Ukraine

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:35 pm

Kharkov, my birthplace and formerly the most tolerant city of Russian Empire, had witnessed another Nazi march.  After successfully dismantling a giant Lenin statue a few weeks ago, Nazis are now staging a torch march in honor of Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a spawn of Nazi-aligned Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist.  Together with OUN, the UPA is responsible for staging pogroms, serving in SS, slaughtering up to 100,000 Poles, burning Belorussian villages and their inhabitants and participated in the Holocaust.  In the post-Soviet period revisionist history of OUN-UPA became increasingly popular, particularly in the eastern Galicia region in the extreme west of the country from which the Nazi variety of Ukrainian nationalism originated.

Co-founder of Ukraine’s pro-Euromaidan Hromadske TV has the pictures from Kharkov:

The march appears to be staged at the Freedom Square, the former cite of the Lenin monument.

Eristavi reports that a similar march was staged in Kiev.  Ukraine’s capital saw many previous Nazi events, but this is a new development in Kharkov, a quiet Russian-speaking eastern city with little interest in anything Ukrainian, let alone Ukrainian Nazism.  This is not to say that the city is entirely pro-Russian since, not unlike Moscowites, many residents would very much like to be in Europe.

Judging by the pictures, the participants of the parade were mostly young men, but the very helpful “All Kharkov” news channel assured its readers that families with children attended as well.  I don’t doubt that some did: Nazis have a habit of bringing children to their happenings.

For instance, this is Ukrainian children marching next to portrait of Ukrainian Nazi Stepan Bandera. The procession took place in Kiev earlier this year

All Kharkov reports that the participants were asked to leave home partisan banners, so only the flags of Ukraine, the UPA and Azov Battalion were flown this time.  Azov Battalion is the notorious Ukrainian National Guard unit that fights under a Nazi banner and attracts Nazi volunteers from around Europe. Still, most Azov volunteers were drawn from the Euromaidan “self-defense” units.

All Kharkov explained that “The people came out to support the fighters serving in the zone of anti-terrorist operation” or the war-torn area of Donbass and that more than 2,000 participated.  I say the great majority of them are from out of town.

Ukraine will be lucky if it all ends there.

October 10, 2014

Euromaidan’s Legacy and Walesa’s

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:59 pm

Lech Walesa, who really is the Nobel Prise-winning leader of Polish Solidarity movement, back in 199o assured his country that he’s a “100% Pole”.  He recently awarded his eponymous medal to Euromaidan social movement for “the consistency and determination of the thousands living in Ukraine, who, despite the risks, expressed their pro-European and pro-democratic dreams.” Individuals selected to receive the award were:

Olga Bogomolets, Ukrainian singer and doctor, organizer of Euromaidan medical services; currently President Poroshenko’s advisor; Dmytro Bulatov, one of the leaders of the AutoMaidan; currently Minister of Youth and Sports in the Yatsenyuk Government; Tetiana Chornovol, an investigative reporter; currently advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs;member of the voluntary Azov battalion; Dmytro Gnap, a correspondent reporting to Ukrainians and the world about the events at the Euromaidan; one of the founders of Hromadske TV; Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a politician, currently Ukraine’ s Prime Minister; Vitali Klitschko, a boxer, politician, currently Mayor of Kiev; Ruslana Lyzhychko, a Ukrainian singer and star, politician, Euromaidan participant since the outbreak of protests; Yevhen Nyshchuk, master of ceremonies during the 2004 Maidan Orange Revolution and Euromaidan, currently Minister of Culture in the Yatsenyuk Government; Andriy Parubiy, coordinator of the Euromaidan self-defense, former Secretary of National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine; Oleh Tyahnybok, a politician, leader of the Svoboda Party.

Although both Chornovol and Bulatov are rumored to have Nazi connections with UNA-UNSO, I’m not about to put my honest moniker behind this gossip.  But, I’ll tell you what, Chornovol really is an investigative reporter with an illustrious history of fighting corruption.  Unfortunately, she is also a widow of a volunteer for Azov battalion, the notorious National Guard unit where Ukraine quarantines Nazis.

And here is Dmytro Bulatov, who really was kidnapped and savagely beaten during the winter’s protests.  He is wearing black and red, the colors favored by UNA-UNSO

Parubiy really was a “coordinator of the Euromaidan self-defense”; he is also an alumni of Social-National Party of Ukraine, later renamed Svoboda.  And to think that this men was a Secretary of Defense!

Under the Nazi banners: A younger Parubiy (third from the left) listens as the younger Tyahnybok

Klitschko really was one of the leaders of Euromaidan.  He is also the not too bright mayor of Kiev; ask anyone who speaks Russian or Ukrainian to estimate his intelligence.  Ukrainian politics are a sad scene… Anywho, Klitschko, in his new capacity of mayor of Kiev, cleaned up the camp outs on Independence Square this summer.

Walesa hands over the award to Klitschko. Svoboda’s Tyahnybok, appropriately or not, is on extreme right

Tyahnybok , the co-founder of the above-mentioned Social-National Party of Ukraine, is easily the most repulsive of all characters.  As late as mid-2013 it was perfectly acceptable to accuse Svoboda of fueling anti-Semitism in Ukraine.  Or to point to anti-Semitism in Lviv, Svoboda’s hotbed.  Now this kind of rhetoric will get one accused of being on Putin’s payroll.  Yet nothing  changed about Svoboda, who were always anti-Russian in addition to anti-Semitic — if anything murderous Russophobia was always on the forefront of their agenda.  Of course: Jews (and Poles) are all but gone now.

Speaking of Poles.  Svoboda, Pravy Sektor and their likes celebrate the Hitler-allied Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist and its spawn Ukrainian Insurgent Army.  The latter is responsible for Massacres of Volynya and Galicia in which up to 100K ethnic Poles were murdered.

Polish flag (left) flying in the vicinity of the red and black UPA flag at a January protest near Ukrainian Embassy in London. Now I’ve seen everything

I’m not sure what’s going on in Polish politics right now; I can see why they are a bit insecure about resurgent Russia.  And yet, at this stage of his life Walesa should be more concerned about his legacy than politics, and should know better than to give legitimacy to assorted Nazis.

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