A brief visit to Maidan, Jan 30

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A brief visit to the Hrushevskoho barricades of the protests in Ukraine.

@ 1:42, I slipped on the ice and dipped my arm into the hole on that barrel’s lid. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but whatever chemical was started smelling so bad that I got kicked out of the coffee shop I went to to warm up. It smelled like turpentine, but it wasn’t flammable — at least not explosively so. I checked.

The protests are very organized and disciplined. There are guards both at the entrances and roving who enforce a no-alcohol, no-drunkenness policy. Shops, even within the perimeter, continue to function. There have been no smashed windows or looting.

The logistics are impressive too — kitchens, first aid stations, garbage remove, firewood.

3 Comments

  1. Ed K

    Understand that the following may be Hot Air, but it does offer a window into
    Russia thinking on Ukraine:

    http://news.kievukraine.info/2014/02/kremlin-analysts-push-for-ukraine.html

    Now, Russian politicians and analysts have started using loaded
    language when talking about what to do with Ukraine and its
    intractable protesters.

    Recently, a former advisor to Russian president Vladimir Putin,
    political scientist Andrey Illarionov, opined that Russia is extremely
    eager to seize Ukrainian territory.

    According to Illarionov, Moscow’s propaganda machine is running
    at top speed in order to prepare for such an outcome.

    He quoted Kremlin sources as saying, “we should wait ‘til the
    Sochi 2014 Olympics start and then set about finding the solution
    to the Ukrainian Question.”

    Such wording is not accidental — Illarionov is definitely hinting
    at the notorious Nazi “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”
    (Endlösung der Judenfrage) in his speech.

    World War II-era allusions are widespread among Ukrainian political
    experts, as well — when local analysts talk about the Russian line of
    action against Ukraine, they use the word “Anschluss.”

    The historical meaning behind the latter German term is being
    actively promoted as a viable option for dealing with Ukraine by
    Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

    “We will send all the Ukrainian refugees to Siberia, that frosty
    minus-60 degree resort …If [the protesters] hinder you in the East
    and South of Ukraine, let a local administration appeal to us officially
    and we will ask the Russian government to rise in defense of Russians
    in these Ukrainian regions.”

    A colleague of Zhirinovksy, Roman Khudyakov, also advised that Ukraine should hold a referendum to join the Russian empire and then “we can help.”

    Of course, Zhirinovsky has a reputation as something of a windbag, but as Illarionov noted, “nobody hides the fact of preparations for Russian intervention in Ukrainian affairs, which it is carrying on right now.”

    Political analysts say that the Kremlin is ready to swap out the
    current president, Yanukovych, for a more convenient and loyal
    person (such as Andrey Klyuyev or Victor Medvedtchuk) — and
    Moscow strategists don’t want to wait for the 2015 elections as a
    tool for such a change.

    They’d like their plans to come to fruition in the next couple
    of weeks.

    Illarionov says that there are four likely scenarios for Russia’s
    plans for Ukraine going forward:

    1.The establishment of full control of Ukraine with the help
    of a loyal president. But after the Euromaidan and the large
    support of its ideas amongst people in the Western and Central
    regions of the country, this first scenario doesn’t seem probably.

    2.The federalization or confederalization of Ukraine and establishment
    of control over the Eastern and Southern regions, where people are
    loyal to the current government and the percentage of ethnic Russians
    is relatively high (up to 30 percent).

    3. If federalization is impossible, the Russian government will likely
    try to control individual cities in the Eastern and Southern regions
    such as Odessa, Donetsk, Lugansk and of course the Crimea peninsula.

    4. If control of the Eastern Ukraine is impossible, Moscow will consider
    just control of the Crimea and especially Sevastopol city, where the
    proportion of ethnic Russians is more than 50 percent.

    Illarionov quotes the ideas that are being actively discussed during
    prime-time on the Russian state TV channels:

    “Ukraine is a failed state, and the historic chance for reunification
    of all the Russian lands can be lost in the next couple of weeks, so
    we mustn’t put off the solution to the Ukrainian Question.”

    The strategists from Kremlin are apparently sure that the same s
    cenario was very successful in Georgia, when Abkhazia and South
    Ossetia were separated and put under Russian protection as
    “breakaway republics.”

    The Georgia conflict took place during the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
    which was very convenient timing, as the authors of the new
    Moscow strategy say.

    The information about the aggressiveness of Russia’s designs is
    not so surprising to Ukrainians, who are already used to politically
    incorrect statements coming out of Moscow.

    In 2008, at the Bucharest NATO Summit, Putin said that “Ukraine
    is a historical misunderstanding which was created on the Russian
    territory.”

    So, in his mind, Russia needs to restore its territory at the expense
    of Ukraine.

    “They even don’t say “Ukraine” as a term, using instead the
    ‘Reunification of Russia’,” Illarionov says.

    The described strategy is very similar to a populist Russian movement
    called the “Essence of Time,” which was founded in 2011 by Russian
    politician and scientist Sergey Kurginyan.

    The goal of the movement is the revival of the USSR on new principles
    and without the old mistakes.

    Kurginyan calls it “USSR 2.0” and it seems that Ukraine may be the next
    step on the way to that Brave New World.

    Meanwhile some rumors about a looming Russian invasion are spreading
    in Ukraine.

    We’ve heard about mythical squads of armed Don Cossacks that traversed
    the Ukrainian border to defend the Eastern Ukraine from anti-government protesters.

    And some say that recently they were joined by “Night Wolves,” a biker
    gang from Volgograd.

    Many local administrations in the East are preparing for occupation
    by protesters from the Western Ukraine.

    They ring their buildings with barbed wire and apply solid oil to their
    fences.

    Every week, posts about Russian military aircrafts landing in Kiev
    appear in Facebook.

    The Ministry of Internal Affairs purchased Russian flame-throwers
    for policemen.

    Everything looks like a Hollywood blockbuster, but Ukrainians are t
    he actors who cannot escape the movie.

    Can we really wait for the revival of the new Evil Empire (as Ronald
    Reagan called the USSR in 1983)?

    As we know, the USSR was possible because of the Cold War, which
    by turn was a consequence of total state propaganda.

    Today the situation is unlikely as the Internet is widespread in the
    post-Soviet space.

    When rumors are really just propaganda, then the Cold War turns into
    a squabble and USSR 2.0 is nothing but a hallucination of the Kremlin’s analysts.

    Reply
    1. Andrii Drozda

      Yes, Ed. I had watched that interview by Illarionov on our popular internet news channel.
      Roman decides that those scenarios are unlikely. I believe that Putin will play his game in Crimea or Sevastopol. But we will see soon.

      Reply
      1. Ed K

        Andrii,

        Be ready for many false starts designed to distract from real objective. Russia has resources and manpower to do many things at once. I doubt that Lviv is even on list except for proximity to friends in break away oblast of Moldova.

        So, I would look at multiple places starting east of Diepro river to north, entire shared border to east and your comments in south.

        Then think of all military and support they currently have in Sochi. Look to quick movements toward any shared borders. That would include Crimea, and southeastern cities in Ukraine.

        Remember to have exit plan. Even if only bicycle. You serve no one dead under bus.

        Remember when dealing with evil, that is Putin, do not rule out scenarios. Recall campaign in Georgia.

        Reply

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