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In Ukraine, Not All Uprisings Are Equal

Our president is stumbling out sanction after sanction while neoconservatives are striking empty poses on Ukraine. More interestingly, though, some notable advocates of limited government are defending the pro-Russian separatists, suggesting that their uprising is as valid if not more so than the pro-Western Euromaidan revolution. In The American Conservative last week James Carden put this view succinctly [1]:

There are a few differences between the oft-praised Euro-Maidan and the pro-Russian demonstrations now taking place across the East; the first being that the latter have actually been peaceful (so far). The nature of the regimes against which the respective protests were aimed are different as well; one, [Viktor] Yanukovych’s, was democratically elected in 2010, the government headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk… was imposed by acts of violence and coercion.

He also spotlights the fascist faction of the Maidan coalition that has caused anxiety. Other champions of self-determination such as former representative Ron Paul have added [2] to the prosecessionist argument, pointing specifically to the referendum in Crimea as proof of its validity.

Carden’s conclusion that revolutions are unpredictable and that the United States should stay at arm’s length is spot on. Uprisings can be contradictory and almost necessarily involve sordid characters and acts. But to say that the pro-Russian movement is operating on a higher moral ground than the one in Kiev dangerously overlooks the real circumstances by which people have come to power on either side of the situation, and what the different groups have done with their power.

Yes, there was a vote in Crimea in March. During an armed occupation by foreign troops. And 123 percent [3] of the population of Sevastopol exercised its right to vote. And some enthusiastic people even expressed their democratic impulses on multiple ballots [4]. And there was no option [5] to maintain the status quo relationship with Ukraine. Funny how these factors can sway public opinion in so little time. In February only 41 percent of Crimeans said [6] they wanted closer ties with Russia.

The government that introduced that referendum was led by alleged gangster Sergey “The Goblin” Aksyonov (Really, how else do you get a name like “The Goblin”?), who came to power not with a vote but an armed occupation [7] of Crimea’s parliament. Even if the vote were legitimate, Crimea is quintessentially under a mob-rule democracy, not a rule-of-law republic. The public had only 20 days to weigh its options before the majority decided to join a country that Freedom House ranks as “not free [8].” Everyone else just has to deal with it now.

The Maidan protests had a different trajectory. They began in Kiev and other cities in November because under the democratically elected Yanukovych Ukraine grew ever less democratic in practice. He rewrote parts of the constitution, weakening the parliament and strengthening himself. His cronyist policies left 45 million constituents scraping by with a GDP comparable to Utah’s. When people nonviolently protested this economic mismanagement, Yanukovych restricted their rights and his notorious security force, Berkut, started beating people.

“When 10,000 people came into the streets … the police attacked them,” Maidan participant Nikita Komaroff explained [9]to me early in February. “They had to show that they are not slaves. That’s why 500,000 people came into the streets.” The movement was multipartisan, decentralized, and showed signs of a civic-minded push away from Ukraine’s historical and fatal relationship with strongmen leaders. “People support the opposition leaders,” said Komaroff, but “no one among the leaders can control Maidan, because there are a lot of different views.”


The government headed by interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk came to power only after Yanukovych fled the country in February. National instability and a power were not what Maidan wanted, though. They wanted elections; one will take place next month. And Kiev’s leaders did not reach power in the way “The Goblin” did. Yatsenyuk and interim President Oleksandr Turchynov were already in the Ukrainian Parliament, which approved their temporary leadership positions until elections take place.

And the public isn’t giving these representatives any kind of free pass. “Now we understand that everything depends on us and we are ready to take responsibility” for scrutinizing political leaders, journalist and activist Oksana Romaniuk told [10] me in March. It’s also worth noting that other opposition leaders, like the widely popular Vitali Klitschko, did not use the chaos to seize any political seat once the revolution ended.

And what about the violence?

Maidan conducted nonviolent protests [11] for months, and its representatives demanded a quick, peaceful [12] resolution when there was bloodshed. It is true, protesters killed around 20 law enforcement officials amid the chaos after Yanukovych, under whom Berkut ultimately killed hundreds [13] of people, initiated violence. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, Yanukovych made a peaceful revolution impossible.

Since the regime change, though, the Yatsenyuk administration has shown its committed opposition to the use of undue force by disbanding Berkut. And, the government has even offered [14] the separatists in the east a chance to vote on secession if they would lay down their arms. The threat of systematic attacks by extremist elements of the government on ethnic Russians or other minorities like Jews, on which Russia’s invasion was officially justified [15], has been dismissed by both United Nations [16] and  prominent Jewish leaders [17].

To call the separatist movement peaceful is disingenuous. In Crimea, heavily armed men setting up roadblocks, capturing airports, firing rifles over people’s heads, and kidnapping journalists [18] and seizing their equipment was peaceful only in the sense that the victims did not resist. There have on this newly Russian territory been two (so far) unprovoked killings of ethnic Ukrainians.

To be fair, reports [19] of separatists in the east taking hostages and wiring buildings with bombs in order to get their own referendum had not yet surfaced when Carden wrote his article. But they had already been taking buildings at gunpoint before making demands, not unlike their Crimean counterparts. Just a few hundred men, whom Ukraine’s intelligence agency says [20] are taking orders from Moscow, are forcefully declaring “independence” for regions that overwhelmingly oppose [21] unification with Russia.

All uprisings are not made equal. The ballot box is normally a great way to keep a country moving smoothly, but when rule of law cannot be maintained under despots or during unrest, the government cannot be the only source of democratic action. The violence-first-demands-later approach of the separatists is not the sign of a democratic movement. The revolutionaries and their interim leaders in Kiev, however, demonstrated a genuine interest in limited government from the beginning, and have continued to pursue peace first.

Zenon Evans is a staff writer and editor at Reason.

36 Comments (Open | Close)

36 Comments To "In Ukraine, Not All Uprisings Are Equal"

#1 Comment By James Ward On April 18, 2014 @ 1:39 am

Discard everything sourced only to claims made by the current government in Kiev and then discount everything merely alleged but not proved. Zenon Evans will find his argument much less convincing.

#2 Comment By Panthera Pardus On April 18, 2014 @ 3:06 am

Such utter nonsense cab be easily debunked with youtube material on the “the leaders in kiev” peaceful approach – also peaceful intention and generally peace, love and law abiding vision of the world.

Now, I can understand that in the AC there maybe some part of the audience with knee-jerk reaction against anything Russian; I can also understand the need for them to read a description of the reality fitting their expectations but..

.. a description of the reality, particularly with a strong ideological bias from the beginning, is not the reality.

It’s a pity tough to read this in AC.

#3 Comment By Disgusted On April 18, 2014 @ 5:24 am

It’s interesting that so many “all-a-massive-evil-Russian-conspiracy” types like to quote the 41% figure – validation by statistics sways so many of the gullible. But how many people will check the provenance? At least Zenon provided the link (most don’t), and if you check you will find the stated goals of the “impartial” source:

The Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) is an analytical and enlightening organization which aims at building Ukrainian state, democracy, and market economy AND ENHANCING FULL INTEGRATION OF UKRAINE INTO EUROPEAN AND EURO-ATLANTIC STRUCTURES.

I added the emphasis, just in case anyone missed it: the DIF is not an impartial source for information since it has its own political agenda just as much as its friends Svoboda and Pravy Sektor (look them up). Quoting figures from their website does not enhance your argument!

#4 Comment By spite On April 18, 2014 @ 8:29 am

All this is nonsense because Ukraine was scheduled to have elections in a year before the chaos began, the author does not provide any evidence that this would not have been the case, other than fact free assertions that things were getting less democratic.

In light of the fact the Nuland openly said who she wanted to become leader and the fact that he did, does indicate that this was not a “peoples revolution” but a power play by America, now that Russia decides to do play the same games they are the bad guys.

If Ukrainians who overthrew their government decided to act civilized and waited a year for elections, things would have been better, instead using violent protest (when there ultimately was no need), they simply follow the same path that happens in countries where coups occur, it may be inspiring in the short term but in the long term it is worst possible path to follow.

#5 Comment By Edison On April 18, 2014 @ 9:38 am

With all due respect, I strongly disagree with the author. First of all, Crimea referendum was flawed, but Kosovo could hardly be considered more legitimate (all Serbian population had fled the country before the consultation), and yet it was widely accepted as a triumph of democracy. The fact is Russia only made the referendum to mock the West in its own terms, since they already had control of the entire peninsula. And this control was gained with strong support of the local population. There was no invasion of Crimea: Russian troops were already there. It was civilian people who first took the government buildings and military bases and equipment in Crimea, paving the way for Russian armed forces to then come and disarm the Ukrainians without having to fire a single shot. If most of civilians in Crimea are willing to risk their lives in order to fight against the central government, discuss the legitimacy of the referendum is simply pointless. Eastern Ukrainians are willing to die for their cause – and in fact they are dying this very moment. On the other hand, if Scotland for instance decides to secede and Britain says NO, I don’t think too many scots will be willing to fight against the local military in order to achieve their goal by force. And yet some of us consider Scotland’s referendum legitimate, and Crimea’s not.
Second, Yanukovich didn’t made any radical constitutional change that hasn’t already be made before, but to favor the other side. Few people know, but Crimea for instance had a Constitution, a Parliament and even a President since 1992. But in 1995, without any public consultation, the Ukrainian Parliament revoked these rights, abolishing the Constitution of Crimea and it’s prerogative to elect a Head of State. So the struggle for power and autonomy in the eastern Ukraine is hardly something new – yet, the author wants us to believe that Ukraine was a peaceful country until Russia and its puppet Yanukovich decided to shake things up. By the way, criticizing the former Ukrainian government by the poverty of the country is simply ridiculous. All presidents before Yanukovich were pro-Western and against Russia, and still couldn’t make any better than him to solve the country’s enormous economic problems.
Third, Crimean civilian leadership is as full of mobsters and crazies as Kiev’s. I don’t know anything about this “Goblin” guy, but I do heard about that Nazi crackpot Muzychko who was one of the first to storm the Parliament building in Kiev and a few days later was found dead in a most suspicious circumstance. Until today there was no investigation on his death, despite the democracy and “freedom of the press” that prevail today in Western Ukraine. It seems that, for some strange reason, no one wants to discuss there who killed Muzychko and the policemen in the Independence square. Yes, many policemen were killed as well as the protesters, but that doesn’t seem to bother the author. The current death toll was around 100-20: 20 officers were killed during the “peaceful demonstrations” in Kiev, alongside with 100 civilians. They were fully equipped, trained and heavily armed, and yet were killed by a crowd completely disorganized armed with bets and stones? Unlikely. Pay attention to the numbers: 100-20 or 5-1 is the same ratio of losses one could find in a battle in Iraq for instance, where American forces fight men armed with RPG’s and automatic rifles. There is no possible way the protesters killed these man – and in fact they didn’t. Medics that attended at the local hospitals claimed that both policemen and civilians were killed in the same way: sniper rifles. Isn’t that suspicious? Yet the author simply gives credit to the mainstream media: it’s all Yanukovich’s fault, period. Is it really so simple?
Fourth, we do know US supported the uprising against Yanukovich with billions of taxpayer dollars, and that makes the whole difference. US government do waste a lot of money in stupid projects around the world, but they simply don’t give that money away. They demand results for what they are paying for, even if the outcome isn’t always what they expected. And what we saw in Kiev was exactly that: results. Obama’s administration wouldn’t just pay to see a lot of people peacefully protesting against the government- they wanted blood and therefore they would make sure blood would be spilled. This explains the snipers in Independence square, shooting at protesters and policemen alike. No different from what we saw everywhere in North Africa and Middle East during Arab Spring.
Finally, the author’s criticism on other conservative thinkers and politicians for their neutrality in the Ukrainian conflict is simply unfair. If not only because of all the previously appointed flaws in his analysis, but for what this people is saying is simply this: in order to promote liberty you must think before you act. And apart from the usual mainstream media and government narratives I’m not seeing to many thinking today, even amongst some libertarians and conservatives. In some sense, Ukraine is just another example of how some of us are still naive and willing to surrender to the government and the media all the “hard work” of thinking for ourselves, in order to continue to live in a fantasy world where we can even tell the “good” from the “bad” coups and demonstrations.

#6 Comment By Joel On April 18, 2014 @ 9:52 am

I’m confused. A few weeks ago we were told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were ‘pro-democracy protestors’.

The US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these ‘pro-democracy protestors’ even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.

Now, just a few weeks later, we’re told that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine are not ‘pro-democracy protestors’ but ‘terrorists’ or ‘militants’.

Why was the occupation of government buildings in Ukraine a very good thing in January, but it is a very bad thing in April? Why was the use of force by the authorities against protestors completely unacceptable in January, but acceptable now?

The anti-government protestors in Ukraine during the winter received visits from several prominent Western politicians, including US Senator John McCain, and Victoria Nuland, from the US State Department, who handed out cookies. But there have been very large anti-government protests in many Western European countries in recent weeks, which have received no such support, either from such figures or from elite Western media commentators. Nor have protestors received free cookies from officials at the US State Department.

Surely if they were so keen on anti-government street protests in Europe, and regarded them as the truest form of ‘democracy’, McCain and Nuland would also be showing solidarity with street protestors in Madrid, Rome, Athens and Paris?

We were also told by very serious-looking Western politicians and media ‘experts’ that the Crimea referendum wasn’t valid because it was held under “military occupation.” But I’ve just been watching coverage of elections in Afghanistan, held under military occupation, which have been hailed by leading western figures, such as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a “historic moment for Afghanistan” and a great success for “democracy.”Why is the Crimean vote dismissed, but the Afghanistan vote celebrated?

As might be expected, many more questions were asked than the author could answer (facepalm).

#7 Comment By Justin Raimondo On April 18, 2014 @ 10:22 am

This is article is pure drivel.

#8 Comment By seamus_padraig On April 18, 2014 @ 10:34 am

As one those TAC-readers who has had serious doubts about the wisdom of ‘regime change’ in Kiev from the start, and who has also found most mainstream Western press accounts to be just as skewed and biased as anything coming from RT, I have serious problems with a lot of the points made above. Let me here just concentrate on a few of them.

In this article, Evans states: “In February only 41 percent of Crimeans said they wanted closer ties with Russia.” I have heard this figure bandied about before on other forums, and have always been a little bit sceptical about it. For one thing, I never knew where it came from, so I’m glad Evans has now given me the source.

When I went and checked, the source stated that the “[p]ublic opinion poll was conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in the period between February, 8-18 2014.” I find it to be of material interest here that the poll was taken BEFORE the Feb. 22nd regime-change (or coup, or whatever you want to call it) in Kiev. It seems to me that such an event could have had a massive effect on public opinion in Crimea, a region that went heavily for Yanukovych in 2010. (Look at this electoral map from Wikipedia: [22])

And here’s another (to my way of thinking) dubious assertion from Evans: “Since the regime change, though, the Yatsenyuk administration has shown its committed opposition to the use of undue force by disbanding Berkut.”

How? By sending special forces and APCs at the protesters in eastern Ukraine? That seems a good bit more heavy-duty to me than merely deploying riot police, as Yanukovych did.

“And, the government has even offered the separatists in the east a chance to vote on secession if they would lay down their arms.”

That’s news to me! I don’t ever remember hearing that Kiev was copacetic with the idea of secession. The interim government hasn’t even seemed especially warm to the idea of federalization, so I checked up with peaked interest on the source [BBC] that Evans provided us with.

Nowhere in it did I find any passage indicating that the eastern Ukrainians have been offered a chance at legal secession, and the little press-conference video clip of Yatsenyuk they embedded didn’t state that either. The byline of the article did say that, “Ukraine’s interim prime minister has offered to devolve more powers to eastern regions,” but I didn’t even read anything in the body of the article that supported this much weaker contention either. Instead, I saw this passage towards the end of it: “But Kiev has rejected Russian pressure to turn Ukraine into a loose federation, fearing that more regions could break away and join Russia.” So how exactly does that square with Evans’ idea that Kiev would be alright with full-blown secession?

There’s plenty of other stuff in this piece that I have problems with, but I’m sure other TACkers will point it out later.

#9 Comment By carl lundgren On April 18, 2014 @ 11:25 am

“Maidan conducted nonviolent protests for months, and its representatives demanded a quick, peaceful resolution when there was bloodshed. It is true, protesters killed around 20 law enforcement officials ‘

Peaceful protesters kill 20 police. Makes perfect sense to me.

#10 Comment By arrScott On April 18, 2014 @ 11:45 am

For one “protest” to be more “valid” than another, it must first be the case that the event in question is a “protest.”

Thousands of unarmed people assembling to express political grievances and call for political change? Regardless of the merits of their demands, that is a protest.

Dozens of armed men in masks storming police stations, government buildings, courthouses, and private property to seize it in the name of a foreign power? That’s very much not a “protest” in any honest definition of the word. That’s a rebellion, to be generous, or an insurrection or a coup, if one is willing to accept some negative connotations in calling things by their right names.

So no, what’s going on in eastern Ukraine is not a more or less “valid” protest than what went on in Kiev, since what is going on in eastern Ukraine is not, by definition, a protest at all.

Now, if the author really believes believes that an armed insurrection on behalf of a foreign power is a more valid political action than a peaceable assembly to air grievances, he ought to have the integrity to say so outright. I certainly hope that such a fundamentally Trotskyist view of popular political action would not be regarded as “conservative” here or anywhere else.

#11 Comment By philadelphialawyer On April 18, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

“….Maidan participant Nikita Komaroff explained to me early in February…”

In other words, the author’s favored revolution was good because the people who made it told him so in an interview.

“The public had only 20 days to weigh its options before the majority decided to join a country that Freedom House ranks as ‘not free.’”

In other words, the folks who helped make the revolution the author approves of (“Freedom House” is a US government funded fake “non governmental” organization that finances and organizes US government approved revolutions around the world, including the Maidan revolution) don’t like the counter revolutions in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Big surprise. And highly persuasive. In addition FH doesn’t like Russia because it either doesn’t allow or severely restricts the activities of paid, foreign agents plotting revolution while pretending to be democracy promoters, such as Freedom House. That’s one of the reasons FH did not like the Yanukovych regime: it was beginning to take the same approach to these “NGO’s.”

No one need laud the revolutions being made now in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. On the other hand, biased accounts, based on clearly biased sources, continuing to herald the Maidan coup while condemning the new counterrevolutions are not persuasive either.

#12 Comment By Peter82 On April 18, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

Edison makes a much better case than the tendentious author of this article.

#13 Comment By Mightypeon On April 18, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

One should add that Maidan tried to storm the Rada at 25.11.2013. It started at 22.11.2013.

That makes roughly 2 days of peacefull protests, not the alleged “months”.

#14 Comment By carborius On April 18, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

The initial protests, while peaceful, lasted for weeks and, during this time, they basically paralyzed the center of Kiev. What was the government supposed to do? Of course, it used too much force, but this is hardly justification for a violent overthrow of a democratically elected government by a mob supported by outside powers. The rosy description of the movement that overthrew Yanukovich is absurd…civic minded? Give me a break! If anything, the folks currently protesting in the East seem far more representative of the average population: an equal mix of men and women with most of them being middle aged, and not a crowd of predominantly young males with short haircuts…

The claim that Yanukovich impoverished Ukraine is another absurd statement and easily shown to be completely false. Ukraine’s economy was a basket case when Yanukovich took over and it was a basket case when he was chased out. He was a corrupt thug just like Yulia Tymoshenko was. This is Eastern Europe, the place where the concept of private property that goes beyond your home or a small piece of land emerged just 25 years ago or so. Whoever has it now probably acquired it forcefully and unfairly and it will take decades, maybe even centuries, for private property and great wealth to become a bit more noble in Eastern Europe than it is now. But to single out just those guys our elites keep on telling us are the bad ones, while ignoring equally corrupt, violent and unscrupulous thugs on “our” side, just goes to show how absurd our policy is and how cartoonish our government and our media look to anyone with even the most basic level of intelligence.

#15 Comment By Christopher Herman On April 18, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

When it comes to Ukraine, what source would any of you consider “impartial”?

#16 Comment By RadicalCenter On April 18, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

arrScott: is it “Trotskyist” to refuse to live under a government that neither you nor anyone else elected?

Is it “Trotskyist” to refuse to live under regional governors who are openly corrupt oligarchs as bad as Yanukovich and his crew or worse?

Is it “Trotskyist” to be frightened and alarmed when the un-elected central government puts up legislation denying your province the right to have your family’s language (Russian) as one of the province’s official languages when your family has been there, speaking Russian and identifying with Russian people and culture, for half a century or a century or more?

By lying, exaggerating, and over-simplifying in the way that you and other Russia-bashers do, you make it very easy for Russian propaganda-makers. Because when they say that the US and NATO governments have broken their promises, have a double standard re: secession (Kosovo versus Crimea), and are trying to encircle, humiliate, and weaken Russia, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

How about mind your own damn business and let the people of each province over there decide for themselves? Several populous, industrialized eastern and southeastern provinces will easily vote majority to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, perhaps 60% or more. The great majority of the provinces in the rest of Ukraine will vote to stay in Ukraine. How is that your business or the US government’s business?

Warmongering jingoist assh—. You embarrass America and Americans and allow our rivals to honestly say that we are ignorant, unfair, and cannot be trusted.

#17 Comment By cka2nd On April 18, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

arrScott says: “Now, if the author really believes that an armed insurrection on behalf of a foreign power is a more valid political action than a peaceable assembly to air grievances, he ought to have the integrity to say so outright. I certainly hope that such a fundamentally Trotskyist view of popular political action…”

An “armed insurrection ON BEHALF OF A FOREIGN POWER [emphasis added]” sounds more like the practice of Stalinists (e.g., the Baltic states) or clients of American imperialism (Greece, Iran and throw a dart at Latin America) than a Trotskyist “view of popular political action” to me, and I am a Trotskyist!

Even if we drop the phrase “on behalf of a foreign power” from your equations above, where do you get the idea that Trotsky or Trotskyists view armed insurrection as more valid than peaceable assembly? Trotskyists have a whole hell of a lot more experience doing union work, organizing and participating in demonstrations and marches and running electoral campaigns than they do in participating in armed insurrections. And those groups who engaged in cheerleading for Third World Guerillaism were severely criticised by other wings of the movement.

I imagine that, like most slurs against Trotsky and Trotskyists, the charge that Trotskyism is inherently “adventurist” originated with Stalin but has been co-opted by conservatives.

#18 Comment By cka2nd On April 18, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

For me, the fundamental issue has been which side supports accepting the European Union’s poison pill of austerity, permanent indebtedness and military subordination to NATO, if not outright membership, and which is more likely to even tepidly defend the Ukranian working class, peasantry and pensioners. From there, I can criticize the strategic and tactical choices made by the side that I favor, or offer suggestions for alternatives, but the bedrock position is based on the interests of the Ukranian proletariat, not on whose protests are more or less violent.

#19 Comment By cka2nd On April 18, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

“…not on whose protests are more or less violent.”

Sorry, I got lazy at the end. Protests should be “actions” and I perhaps should have explicitly noted that the level and type of violence is absolutely one of those strategies and tactics that can be questioned or criticized.

#20 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 18, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

“This article is pure drivel.”

This time, it didn’t require Justin’s considerable talents at reasoned and often entertaining and inspiring discourse, to dismiss such a weak, flawed piece of puff for western oligarchs.

#21 Comment By James Marshall On April 20, 2014 @ 1:28 am

The West has lost any credibility it had left. The behavior really isn’t that of sane people, certainly not moral behavior. There’s no negotiating or reasoning with the tiny but rich minority pushing the world around. The only choice left is to fight back, hard. Russia said it, no more backing up.

#22 Comment By A.G. Phillbin On April 20, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

Others have already pointed out the factual errors and dubiously sourced material that make up much of this post, along with it’s facile analysis. I will not belabor these points.

Instead, I would ask the author why, if the present Kiev regime is so legitimate, how is it they cannot even properly command their army, with it’s aircraft and armored vehicles, to deal with an apparently small number of insurgents who are occupying a handful of buildings? How is it that one column handed over six APCs to the insurgents, without a fight? Are these ethnic Russian guys in unmarked uniforms so fearsome, or is it the civilian crowds that frightened them into not merely passivity, but submission? Read the article linked below, and tell us how this fits into your outlook.


#23 Comment By ThinkThrice On April 20, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

This article is great and makes a lot of sense! Most of these commentors are brought to us from Russia – you guys write english very well (or more likely – you have all become familiar with Google-Translate!).

I think there are some english speaking people in Moscow, German speaking volks in St. Petersburg, and French speaking people in Archangle… NATO needs to protect them.

#24 Comment By Richard Parker On April 20, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

Interesting to see the conjunction of the statue of Lenin with his hands in his pants and the Russian tri-color flag with the Imperial double-eagle on it.

If you live long enough, you see everything.

#25 Comment By HeartRight On April 21, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

‘Richard Parker says:
April 20, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Interesting to see the conjunction of the statue of Lenin with his hands in his pants and the Russian tri-color flag with the Imperial double-eagle on it.

If you live long enough, you see everything.’

Have you ever read The Mote in God’s Eye?
Admiral Kutuzov’s cabin.
Niven and Pournelle predicted that kind of stuff, when President Reagan was still in the future.

#26 Comment By JohnG On April 21, 2014 @ 1:38 pm


When one runs out of arguments anything will do. Such as “Oh, you guys must be Russian.” Well, if something is Russian propaganda that should make it only easier to counter and disarm using real arguments and facts?

As far as NATO protecting someone, why don’t you do a little research on what happened to the Serbian population of Kosovo after the former province got “liberated” with NATO’s help? And we are talking about a native population here, not about foreign businessmen in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

@Richard Parker

I agree, we live in a crazy world, with a similarly diverse (to say the least) coalition on the other side, from true liberals and gay rights activists to extreme Ukrainian nationalists. Which only reinforces my conclusion that the best thing to do here is DEFUSE the situation, promising security and something to each side, probably in a federal format. This extreme polarization in two camps, each of which feels so threatened that it will take ANYONE as an ally, is profoundly dangerous.

PS Written from Chicago by an American of Serbian origin, should anyone care about the source :-).

#27 Comment By John Sobieski On April 21, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

I’m relieved to see something in the paleo press that doesn’t merely parrot Russia Today.

Dazzled by Putin’s anti-modernist rhetoric on the one hand, and rightly suspicious of anything Eurobama does on the other hand, the paleos generally are missing the third player here: the Ukrainians. In the Maidan movement the paleo will find much to appreciate if he will only take the time to investigate. They are fighting against government corruption, for diffuse private property, for the principle of subsidiarity, for the rule of law, and for local government. The Maidan movement is a collection of local groups who are profoundly wary of anyone who has ever held political power. They are emphatically not fighting for Eurobama modernism. They are fiercely Christian–Catholics most of them. Respect for Patriarch Shevchuk is through the roof. Personally, I can’t wait till the Maidan movement comes to these shores. And come it must as it comes to all decadent societies.

#28 Comment By Daniel McAdams On April 21, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

Pat Buchanan and Taki must be weeping reading this piece of garbage. Don’t we have the Weekly Standard to turn to if we want to read such things? Shame on you!

#29 Comment By Philip Giraldi On April 22, 2014 @ 11:00 am

How can you write this kind of nonsense without once referring to the US $5 billion dollar years long effort to destabilize Ukraine? What BS!

#30 Comment By Colm J On April 22, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

The fact that the writer attempts to defend the sickening thuggery of the Maidan on “conservative” grounds illustrates to a frightening degree what an utterly decadent movement conservatism has become. Everything Evans says in this piece is the reverse of the true recent history of the Ukraine since last Autumn. And that ghastly weasel word “corrupt”, used so habitually to justify every neocon attack on sovereign governments that it has become almost meaningless. Not to mention the unspoken absurd premise inherent in this and so much other anti-Yanukovych propaganda – that western neocon regimes are not themselves massively corrupt.

#31 Comment By John Sobieski On April 22, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

It is far from nonsense, Mr. Giraldi. Ask any Ukrainian involved in the Maidan movement and he’ll tell you it was not bought with the CIA’s dollars. Money can’t buy the Maidan.

#32 Comment By Damein Zakordonski On April 23, 2014 @ 12:12 am


Justin Raimondo and Daniel McAdams love to throw around the 5 billion dollar number as if it was provided just before and during the protests that started in November. That real news is that money was a figure that was cumulative since its independence from the USSR just under 25 years ago. Much of it was undoubtedly embezzled by government cronies of one sort or another. To suggest, as you are, that it was spent militarizing the protestors, most of which used medieval-like armaments and means of defense, is preposterous.

#33 Comment By Damein Zakordonski On April 23, 2014 @ 12:19 am

Just wait, the Antiwar.com collective will soon provide Russian based news sources indicating that Vice News Reporter Simon Ostrovsky is actually being detained by the CIA, as the Eastern “Seccesionists” are, by their paleo-conservative nature, as well as their attempt to mirror Putin, peace loving and respectful regarding all foreign journalists.

#34 Comment By Philip Giraldi On April 24, 2014 @ 11:59 am

John – I never suggested that Maidan was a rent-a-crowd. I am just pointing out that a fair accounting of what took place would certainly include US meddling.

Damein – I know exactly what the $5 billion represents: 20 years of interference in someone else’s politics. It is a lot of money any way you slice it and I’m sure much of it was indeed stolen. There is no guarantee that all of the money that is now flowing Kiev-wards from the EU and US will fare any better. And BTW I did not in any way suggest that some of the money was used to militarize the protesters in the sense you are describing, i.e. by giving them weapons. They were no doubt supported and encouraged in other ways like walking arm in arm with US Senators and receiving cookies from senior state dept officials.

#35 Comment By Edison On April 25, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

“To suggest, as you are, that it was spent militarizing the protestors, most of which used medieval-like armaments and means of defense, is preposterous.”

Yeah Damein, sure. 20 fully equipped policemen supported by armored vehicles were killed by protestors armed with axes and maces. Up until today I thought snipers shot them down, but now that you say they were beaten to death or sliced to pieces, it all makes perfect sense to me. I just wonder why so far your people couldn’t conduct any serious investigation on these deaths. It shouldn’t be that hard to identify Conan the Barbarian among such a peace-loving pro-liberty Christian crowd.

#36 Comment By Satas On May 17, 2014 @ 12:09 am

I live in Crimea and i want to say 1 little thing – near 70% in this creation is bulls**t and author writing is good example of “propaganda” effect. And remember, always remember 1 thing – never trust a ukranian press and their politics.
Sorry for my english, ist not my primary language.