US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

By Finian Cunningham
Source

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In a controversial snub to international law, the United States signaled last week that it is moving to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. If the US does so, then it forfeits any moral authority to sanction Russia over allegations of “annexing Crimea”.

In its annual US State Department report, the section dealing with the Golan Heights reportedly refers to the contested area as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied”. The change in wording deviates from United Nations resolutions and international norm which use the term “Israeli-occupied” to designate the land Israel annexed from Syria following the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel has occupied the western part of the Golan since 1967 as a spoil from that war. In 1981, Tel Aviv formally annexed the Syrian territory. However, the UN Security Council in 1981, including the US, unanimously condemned the annexation as illegal. The resolution mandates Israel to return the land to Syria which has historical claim to the entire Golan. The area of 1,800 square kilometers is a strategic elevation overlooking the northern Jordan Valley.

If Washington confirms its recent indications of recognizing the Golan as officially part of Israel, the development would mark an egregious flouting of international law.

But what’s more, such a move totally prohibits Washington from posturing with presumed principle over the issue of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which since 2014 voluntarily became part of Russia.

Just last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated accusations against Russia of “annexing” Crimea. Pompeo insisted that US sanctions against Moscow would be maintained until Russia “returns Crimea to Ukraine”.

“The world has not forgotten the cynical lies Russia employed to justify its aggression and mask its attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory,” he said. “The United States will maintain respective sanctions against Russia until the Russian government returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.”

Last year, Pompeo’s State Department issued a ‘Crimea Declaration’ in which it was stated that, “Russia undermines a bedrock of international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force.”

Claims by Washington and the European Union of “illegal annexation” of Crimea by Russia are the central basis for five years of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. Those sanctions have contributed to ever-worsening tensions with Russia and the build-up of NATO forces along Russia’s borders.

Those claims are, however, highly contestable. The people of Crimea voted in a legally constituted referendum in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. That referendum followed an illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the US and Europe against a legally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Historically, Crimea has centuries of shared cultural heritage with Russia. Its erstwhile position within the state of Ukraine was arguably an anomaly of the Cold War and subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union.

In any case, there is scant comparison between the Golan Heights and Crimea, save, that is, for the latest hypocrisy in Washington. While Crimea and its people are arguably historically part of Russia, the Golan Heights are indisputably a sovereign part of Syria which was forcibly annexed by Israeli military occupation.

The illegality of Israel’s occupation of Golan is a matter of record under international law as stipulated in UNSC Resolution 497.

There is no such international mandate concerning Crimea. Claims of Russia’s “annexation” are simply a matter of dubious political assertion made by Washington and its European allies.

The latest move by Washington towards recognizing Golan as part of Israel – in defiance of international law – comes on the back of several other recent developments.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham made a tour of Israeli-occupied Golan last week in the company of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pointedly transported by an IDF military helicopter. Graham said following his tour that he would recommend the Trump administration to officially recognize the area as under Israeli sovereignty.

Currently, there is legislation going through both the US Senate and House of Representatives which is aimed at declaring the entire Golan as Israeli territory.

The stark shift in pro-Israeli bias in Washington under the Trump administration is consistent with the White House declaring at the end of 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Again, that move by President Trump overturned international consensus and UN resolutions which have stipulated Jerusalem to be a shared capital between Israel and a future Palestinian state, to be worked out by (defunct) peace negotiations.

Why Washington has taken up the Golan issue as a prize for Israel at this time is not precisely clear. It could be seen as the Trump administration giving a political boost to Netanyahu for next month’s elections.

There has been previous speculation that Trump is doing the bidding for a US-based oil company, Genie Oil, which is linked to his administration through his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family investments. The New Jersey company has a subsidiary in Israel, is tied to the Netanyahu government, and has long been aiming to drill the Golan for its abundant oil resources.

The Golan move could also be retribution meted out to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his country’s historic defeat of the US-backed covert war for regime change. The nearly eight-year war was also covertly backed by Israel which sponsored jihadist militia operating out of the Golan against the Syrian army. Having vanquished the US regime-change plot, thanks to crucial military support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the payback could be Washington stepping up Israeli claims to annex the Golan.

But whatever the background explanation is, the initiative by Washington to legalize the annexation of Golan by Israel is a brazen violation of international law. In doing so, the US is officially sponsoring war crimes and theft of Syria’s sovereign territory. Or as the Crimea Declaration would put it: “changing the borders of another country by force” – supposedly a “bedrock principle” that Washington continually sermonizes about to Russia.

Crimea and Golan are different issues of territorial dispute, as noted already. Nevertheless, the duplicity of Washington over Golan makes its posturing on Crimea null and void. If the Europeans meekly go along with the US move on Golan, then they too should shut their mouths and their moralizing sanctions over Crimea.

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Why 2019 Ukraine Imports Terrorists and Exports Terror 1933-1991

March 23, 2019

by GH Eliason for The Saker Blog

Why 2019 Ukraine Imports Terrorists and Exports Terror 1933-1991

For the last 5 years, the world has gotten a glimpse of what Ukrainian nationalism is. “The Ukrainians” are never shy about claiming the right to murder their enemies. Since 2014, we’ve watched the entire government of Ukraine publically call for the murder of civilians in Donbass and Crimea as easily as the neo-nazi jackboots working for them murdered all those people in the May 2nd Odessa massacre of 2014.

Why are the US and EU supporting such a deviant political group? Why don’t they demand Ukraine act like it belongs to the community of nations?

The questions are tough ones considering the billions of dollars the US alone pumped into post-Maidan Ukraine. For its part, “the Ukrainians” are doing exactly what they have done since the end of WWII. The post-Maidan (revolution of dignity- their term) Ukrainian nationalists have gladly taken every penny offered and like their WWII political progenitors, they promptly stole most of it.

In the spring of 2014, following Ukraine’s coup of indecency, the first 3 billion dollars of US aid disappeared into a fund called Grandma’s Cookie Recipes and was never seen again. This was about the time coup activist Arseny Yatzenyuk and Peter Poroshenko’s wealth spiked. This level of corruption has been the norm for the last 5 years in Ukraine.

At the expense of the world, the Ukrainians have spent the last one hundred years trying to invent themselves.

The “Ukraine” was previously all the borderland between two competing empires. The Russian Empire to the east called their Ukrainian (means borderland) people “little Russians.”

The Holy Roman, Hapsburg, or Austro-Hungarian Empire to the west called their Ukrainian border people “little Austrians.”

This included over 18 nationalities that Ukrainian Diaspora leaders and historians called ethnic “Ukrainian” for the first time in Canada during the 1930’s through 1950s. Being Ukrainian was very much like being American in the sense it is not an ethnicity.

The 1930’s prewar and wartime Ukrainians were a political movement that started in eastern Poland’s Galician province and went to every extreme unsuccessfully trying to set up their own nationalist statelet under the supervision of Adolf Hitler’s 3rd Reich.

Of consequence, during WWII, all of the “little Austrian” regional nationalities congealed under the leadership of the Nazi, Stepan Bandera’s OUN. From that point, until they received their own states in the ’80s through the ’90s, they were under the direct oversight of Bandera OUN Nazis. Afterward, most of the established states like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia never left the fold. In the West, the OUN Ukrainian lobbies gained too much power to walk away from.

“The Ukrainians” as a group quickly encompassed every nationalist group in Central and Eastern Europe. After WWII, with OUNb (ultranationalists/Nazis) taking the lead, diverse nationalist groups in Europe, Asia, the Levant, Far East, and Central and South America joined ranks under Stepan Bandera nationalists.

Following WWII, “the Ukrainians” set up governments in exile through their Diasporas with the help of western countries just as fast as the Cold War started. Until that point, the west including the US and Europe had no interest in Eastern European Nazis other than to try them for war crimes.

“The Ukrainians” gained notoriety during the Cold War as rabid anti-communists.  During the war, the Ukrainians developed their own assassination and torture group called the SB OUN. This group gained the OUN worldwide influence because of their brutal terrorist methods. In postwar Spain, they were trainers for Franco’s nationalists.

Most nationalist groups worldwide including Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese nationalists joined the “Ukrainian” OUN(Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) group called the ABN (Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations). The Ukrainians tried ineffectively to get the US involved in the Chinese civil war. The Ukrainians vowed to never fail again.

The Ukrainians acted unsuccessfully for the benefit of their Chinese nationalist group leader Chiang Kai-shek in the late 1940s and 50’s. Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists can literally be labeled as part of “the Ukrainians.” This was known as the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) which was started by Yaroslav Stetsko.

After his death, Slava Stetsko took over the ABN and leadership of WACL until after 1991 which signified Ukraine’s independence. WACL leadership fell to Chiang Kai-shek nationalist groups and after a generous renaming to World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), they write human rights reports for the United Nations.

In the 1950s “the Ukrainians” organized a million man march on Washington. They were able to force then President Eisenhower to not recognize China and that remained the US policy until Richard Nixon changed it in the early 1970s..

Not bad work when you consider most of “the Ukrainian” Diaspora activists weren’t citizens, couldn’t vote yet, and the leaders were stateless Nazi leftovers like Yaroslav Stetsko who should have been tried for his people’s (OUNb, UPA, Waffen SS)conduct at all the death camps in Europe.

In the 1950’s they lobbied the US government into the Korean War to support Korean nationalist aspirations. In the 1960s, “the Ukrainians” were the reason the US jumped into the Vietnam War for the S. Vietnamese nationalist groups.

Going into the 1980s, the extreme nationalist governments in South and Central America joined the ABN. They became “the Ukraine” in the larger sense because they directly followed Stepan Bandera’s 2nd in command, Yaroslav Stetsko’s directives and started anti-communist revolutions as members of the ABN. Mass murder and torture followed them. This was what “the Ukrainians” brought to the table.

Throughout the Cold War, the various groups under the heading of “the Ukrainians” were tolerated by Intel Agencies because they had assets in communist countries that were supposedly working with the West.

The reality is that across the spectrum of the FOIA document releases about “the Ukrainians” under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, the consensus of the CIA, FBI, and US State Dept. is “the Ukrainians” were liars throughout the Cold War, could not be trusted, and only provided real Intel if it helped provoke a war with the Soviet Union, China or a proxy state.

During the post-war period from 1946 to the end of the Cold War, “the Ukrainians” were directly responsible for setting up and carrying out the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people worldwide. The innocents only crime was not agreeing with” the Ukraine” (ABN) member’s nationalist/fascist state building political program.

Historically, the highpoint in ABN (OUN) Ukrainian history came just before Iran-Contra happened. “The Ukrainians,” thought they succeeded in buying the American Presidency. The Nazi Ukrainian leaders Slava and Yaroslav Stetsko brokered a deal financing Reagan’s presidential aspirations.

The Cold War ended. The Soviet Union split up. The value of generations of “Ukrainian” political Nazis dropped through the floor.

The speech then-President George H. W. Bush gave in Kiev August 1st, 1991 made that clear and can be put into context against this backdrop. Dubbed the “Chicken Kiev” speech, these small sections of the speech make it almost seem likely he was looking at Stetsko when he spoke it.

Because of his position in the CIA and the Reagan Administration, George HW Bush knew both Stetskos and all the Ukrainian nationalist leaders for over 30 years.

This speech outlining American policy is probably the only thing that kept a fully Nationalist Ukraine(OUNb fascist/Nazi) from being realized through the Diaspora before 2014.

“In Moscow, I outlined our approach: We will support those in the center and the Republics who pursue freedom, democracy, and economic liberty. We will determine our support not on the basis of personalities but on the basis of principles. We cannot tell you how to reform your society. We will not try to pick winners and losers in political competitions between Republics or between Republics and the center. That is your business; that’s not the business of the United States of America…

…But freedom cannot survive if we let despots flourish or permit seemingly minor restrictions to multiply until they form chains until they form shackles. Later today, I’ll visit the monument at Babi Yar — a somber reminder, a solemn reminder, of what happens when people fail to hold back the horrible tide of intolerance and tyranny.

Yet freedom is not the same as independence. Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.” – George HW Bush August 1991

Slava Stetsko, wife of Yaroslav Stetsko was the only post-WWII Nazi leader to take an MP position in a post-war government. Her people were at Babi Yar too. They were there committing the atrocities in September 1941. The surviving members of her OUN and UPA along with their children, the 2nd generation of Ukrainian nationalists were at Babi Yar with President Bush commemorating their own work 50 years later.

Slava Stetsko was in Ukraine SSR on June 30, 1991, to celebrate her late Ukrainian nationalist husband Yaroslav’s speech and action “declaring” a free Ukraine 50 years before. Yaroslav Stetsko celebrated by starting the Lviv Pogroms on June 30, 1941.

Apparently, Stetsko thought to murder innocent Jews was great fun and the Ukrainian nationalists had 2 more pogroms within the next month. They even dedicated one of them at the end of July to the last nationalist leader who murdered 100,000 Jews during the 1917-18 pogroms and failed to establish a state. The late July pogroms were called “Petliura Days.”

She came back in July when it became clear Ukraine would secede from the Soviet Union. Her husband Yaroslav Stetsko was 2nd in command of Stepan Bandera’s OUNb until his death. Babi Yar was the first act of the Holocaust in WWII at a large scale. Over 36,000 Jews were killed by OUN members of the auxiliary police in only a few short days.

There is little doubt she attended the Bush speech. And if there was an incarnation of the evil he spoke against gaining power or office, it was her and her Ukrainian nationalists.

The irony is that this Nazi leader took a Senate position the very next year in a post-Soviet government ruling the very people both she and Adolf Hitler were intent on wiping out 45 years before. In 1945, even as the 3rd Reich was falling, she was in Berlin begging Adolf Hitler for more armies.

In an interview, Stetsko made it clear Slava Stetsko never felt bad enough to lose a night’s sleep over anything she or her Ukrainians had ever done. As the leader of the OUNb from the mid-’80s until her death, she was the worldwide leader of “the Ukrainians” and their various Diasporas currently totaling over 20 million voters in the US alone and have a profound effect on US elections.

Most of the WWII death camps in Europe were staffed mainly by “the Ukrainians.” In the Diaspora Slava Stetsko was still leading “those Ukrainians” spread across the globe in 2002. The nationalist groups that still existed in Ukraine and the Diaspora were never even made to apologize for the murder of millions. Let that sink in for a moment.

In a landmark work , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:

“the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly …. [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 … ‘I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.’ Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words ‘I apologize’ ….

Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide …. [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and … up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is “relative’ or other such evasions.”

Should “the Ukrainians” have been educated in how to act civilly before being handed a state in 1991? One month before an independent Ukraine joined the community of nations, “the Ukrainians” celebrated pledging their honor and loyalty to Hitler and Nazism forever as well as the beginning of the 1941 Lviv pogroms. This was part and parcel with commemorating the 1941 declaration. The festivities were grand marshaled by Slava Stetsko.

From the 1940s through the fall of the Soviet Union, the CIA made it clear every time they wrote about the Stetskos that the only time these people or their groups told the truth was when it got them something. The Stetskos were and Ukrainian nationalists are liars.

According to the Ukrainian Encyclopedia written by former SS officers, “The Ukrainians” nationalist political program demands that they can never change direction. They lie and betray as a matter of course. Whether or not lying was necessary to attain their goals is a different subject. The CIA files make it clear, lies were the preferred method of communication for Ukrainian nationalists.

After 1991 and before the nationalist revival, nationalists in Ukraine were rewriting their history, and the monsters of the world from WWII became heroes.

Szawlowski’s work on the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is brought up to date by the recent observations of Ukrainian Wiktor Poliszczuk. “… he condemns the dangerous activities of the post-UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] nationalists in present-day Ukraine, taking place not only in Lvov, but even in Kiev, ‘Galician Fundamentalism,’ and other such phenomena. Also criticized by him are the promoting of the totalitarian and genocidal doctrines of the Ukrainian Dmytro Dontsov, the erecting of monuments to the SS-men of the 14th Ukrainian SS Division “Galizien” (“Halychyna”), the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] and UPA leaders: Yevhen Konovalets, Andryi Melnyk, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and others, and the glorifying of the murderers of Poles, Jews, Russians and Ukrainians as national heroes of the Ukraine, after whom streets and squares are named, awaking the spirit of the Dontsov and Bandera era, so much hated by people.”  This was written only a few years ago.- The July 1943 genocidal operations of the OUN UPA in Volhynia

The shame of post 2014 Ukraine is that its only equivalent would be the civilized world giving “the Ukrainian” Waffen SS death camp guards and officers charge of Israel. Giving them free reign to do as they will, then turning a blind eye to the fact they still practiced NAZI politics and the final solution was what they were determined to attain.

If this seems unlikely, we know that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.

Hitler and “the Ukrainians” (nationalists from outside the Soviet Ukraine) murdered at least 8 million inside the borders of today’s Ukraine. And since 2014 “the Ukrainians” are finally in charge of the families of people they murdered in the Great War.

Part 2 will examine the role “the Ukrainians” played in the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS as well as how they support them. We’ll also look at the barbaric role “the Ukrainians had in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and other countries in the run-up to the 2019 Ukrainian election.

POLL: Crimeans Still Strongly Prefer Russia Over Ukraine

March 22, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

POLL: Crimeans Still Strongly Prefer Russia Over Ukraine

Whereas the U.S. regime and its allies demand that Crimea be returned to being ruled by the Ukrainian Government, as it had been during 1954-2014 (but Russian at all other times), all polls, ever since at least 2013 (when the U.S. Government started polling this) have shown that approximately 90% of Crimeans want to be ruled instead by Russia’s Government, and the latest of these polls was issued on March 14th.

Here is the opening of the Tass report on this poll:

http://tass.com/society/

Overwhelming majority of Crimeans would again vote to reunite with Russia, says poll

According to the poll, Crimea’s confidence in President Vladimir Putin’s is higher than in the rest of Russia, viewed positively by 90% of the respondents

SIMFEROPOL, Th. 14 March 2019 /TASS/. Crimea remains positive about the peninsula’s reunification with Russia and if the referendum was held today, 89% of Crimeans would support joining Russia, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center announced in Simferopol the results of a poll on Thursday.

“The attitude towards Crimea’s reunification with Russia remains decisively positive. Eighty-nine percent would cast their votes to reunite with Russia if a referendum were held next Sunday, and 93% view the reunification in a positive light. The level of negative attitudes and support for an Autonomous Republic of Crimea as part of Ukraine are minimal (3% each), the data says. The survey also noted that across Russia, 85% of respondents support the reunification. …

Here were the prior polling results:

http://rinf.com/alt-news/

U.S. National Public Radio Propagandizes Against Putin, For Regime-Change In Russia

By Eric Zuesse, 27 December 2014

(1) The March 16th, 2014, referendum of the voters in Crimea, produced a 96% vote to secede.

(2) Gallup polled 500 Crimeans during May 16-30 in 2013, and found that only 15% considered themselves “Ukrainian.” 24% considered themselves “Crimean.” But 40% considered themselves “Russian.” Even before Obama’s February 2014 coup which overthrew the Ukrainian President whom 80% of Crimeans had voted for, the Crimean people overwhelmingly wanted to secede from Ukraine – and, especially now they did, right after the President for whom they had overwhelmingly voted, Viktor Yanukovych, had been overthrown in this extremely bloody coup. Furthermore, in April 2014, Gallup again polled Crimea, and they found that 71.3% of Crimeans viewed as “Mostly positive” the role of Russia there, and 4.0% viewed it as “Mostly negative”; by contrast, only 2.8% viewed the role of the United States there as “Mostly positive,” and a whopping 76.2% viewed it as “Mostly negative.” During the intervening year, Crimeans’ favorability toward America had plunged down to 2.8%, from its year-earlier 6%. Clearly, what Obama had done in Ukraine (his violent coup in Kiev) had antagonized the Crimeans. And, as if this weren’t enough, the 2014 poll provided yet more evidence: “The 500 people that were sampled in Crimea were asked [and this is crucial] ‘Please tell me if you agree or disagree: The results of the referendum on Crimea’s status [whether to rejoin Russia] reflect the views of most people here.’ 82.8% said ‘Agree.’ 6.7% said ‘Disagree.’” In the hearts of the local residents, Crimea was still Russian territory, after an involuntary hiatus of 60 years; and so the Russian Government accepted them back again, into Russia – this was not as [NPR’s] Corey Flintoff droned, “Russia’s seizure of Crimea.” It was Russia’s protection of them from the invasion of Ukraine by the United States in a bloody coup.

The U.S. regime nonetheless won overwhelming support at the U.N. to force Crimeans to revert to rule by Ukraine’s Government:

https://www.un.org/press/en/

27 MARCH 2014

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PLENARY

General Assembly Adopts Resolution Calling upon States Not to Recognize Changes in Status of Crimea Region

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

100 Votes in Favour, 11 against, 58 Abstentions for Text on Ukraine

However, Crimeans continued to reject the U.S. regime’s position, by around 90%:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/

The Crimean conundrum

O’LOUGHLIN THE JOHN and BY GERARD TOAL 3 March 2015  [NOTE: This site is anti-Russian. By “conundrum” is meant that these findings aren’t what America’s rulers want.]

One year since Crimea was annexed by Russia, polling reveals that (with the notable exception of the Tatars) the new order enjoys legitimacy among the population. …

We thus decided to conduct an equivalent survey … conducted in Russian between 12 and 25 December 2014. …

63% declared their nationality as Russian, 21% as Ukrainian and 8.5% as Tatar. …

First, the great majority of the sample (85%) declared that Crimea was ‘moving in the right direction.’This finding is in contrast to previous polling conducted in Crimea. …

When asked if the annexation was a ‘ wrong decision,’ ‘generally a right decision’ or ‘absolutely the right decision’, 84% of this combined group picked the third option. …

These responses indicate that had a legal referendum that met international standards been permitted in Crimea (as Scotland held in September 2014), there would likely have been a majority in favour of leaving Ukraine and joining Russia. …

The strong majority (85%) of the population of Crimea do not perceive themselves as European. … In Crimea, 89% of respondents agreed that Crimea belonged to the ‘Russian world.’

And again:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/

The Annexation of Crimea to Russia. Opinion Poll

February 12, 2015. by Konstantin Kosaretsky. [10 Feb. in Oriental Review as “German Sociologists on Crimea’s Choice”] …

The attitudes of Crimeans were studied in January 2015. …

Do you endorse Russia’s annexation of Crimea?” 82% of the respondents answered “yes, definitely,” and another 11% – “yes, for the most part.” Only 2% gave an unambiguously negative response, and another 2% offered a relatively negative assessment. Three percent did not specify their position. …

However, the U.S. regime remained adamant against democracy in Crimea:

http://web.archive.org/web/

One Year Later – Russia’s Occupation of Crimea

Press Statement

Jen Psaki

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

March 16, 2015

On this one year anniversary of the sham “referendum” in Crimea, held in clear violation of Ukrainian law and the Ukrainian constitution, the United States reiterates its condemnation of a vote that was not voluntary, transparent, or democratic. We do not, nor will we, recognize Russia’s attempted annexation and call on President Putin to end his country’s occupation of Crimea.

But some Americans were beginning to recognize that the U.S. Government are fascist con-artists who want to rule even in Crimea, which is terrified of Washington:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/

One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev

20 March 2015, Kenneth Rapoza

The U.S and European Union may want to save Crimeans from themselves. But the Crimeans are happy right where they are. One year after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukrainians, ethnic Russians or Tatars are mostly all in agreement: life with Russia is better than life with Ukraine.

Little has changed over the last 12 months.  Despite huge efforts on the part of Kiev, Brussels, Washington and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the bulk of humanity living on the Black Sea peninsula believe the referendum to secede from Ukraine was legit.  At some point, the West will have to recognize Crimea’s right to self rule.

Here are some of the things that Crimeans were terrified of that the U.S. regime armed, backed, and patronized: this, and this.

America’s proxy ‘freedom fighters’ in Ukraine are like America’s proxy ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria, except Christian instead of Muslim. Of course, Hitler’s also were, but that regime was far more honest about its psychopathy than is the U.S. regime, which spouts about ‘democracy,’ ‘human rights,’ etc., instead of about “Lebensraum.”

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Crimea: The Geopolitical Jewel Russia Continues to Polish

Crimea: The Geopolitical Jewel Russia Continues to Polish

TOM LUONGO | 20.03.2019 | FEATURED STORY

Crimea: The Geopolitical Jewel Russia Continues to Polish

With all that is happening in the world Crimea has taken a bit of a backseat recently. Yes, the US, EU and Canada just added more sanctions on Russia via the odious Magnitsky legislation but this is inconsequential.

There’s been a flurry of good news coming out of Crimea and the Black Sea recently that bears discussion. Let’s start with the most important. President Vladimir Putin was in Crimea earlier this week to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the peninsula’s reunification with Russia. There he also officially inaugurated two major upgrades to Crimea’s power grid.

Located in Simferopol and Sevastopol, two new power plants will produce 940 megawatts and secure Crimea’s energy needs for now and into the future.

Power has been Crimea’s Achilles’ heel since breaking off from Ukraine in 2014. It received almost 90% of its power from the mainland. In November 2015, the trunk lines into Crimea were sabotaged by Ukrainian nationalist radicals, encouraged by President Petro Poroshenko plunging it into darkness as winter took hold.

Does this sound familiar? A place that defies US edicts geopolitically is first hit with a full trade embargo, sanctions and threatened militarily by proxies before having its electricity shut off?

*Cough* Venezuela *Cough*

And there are reports that the US has game-planned a similar fate for Iran as well. For Crimea it was easy because of the single-point-of-failure, the trunks from the mainland. For Venezuela it was as well, with the Guri dam, which affected nearly 70 percent of the country.

So, Putin timing the fifth anniversary of reunification with the announcement of the plants moving to full operational status was yet another smooth bit of international political maneuvering.

A not-so-subtle poke in the eye of the Gang Who Can’t Sanction Straight in D.C. as well as lame duck Poroshenko. Elections are at the end of the month and this celebration by Russia and Crimea will not sit well with many Ukrainians, especially the diaspora here in the US which is virulently anti-Putin in my experience.

Secure and stable power generation is a hallmark of a first world territory. Without that economic growth and stability are impossible. This is why to first help stabilize the situation in Crimea after the blackout Russia brought in 400 MW of power across the Kerch Strait from Krasnodor.

Tying Crimea to the mainland via the Kerch Strait bridge was a masterstroke by Putin. The initial power lines were simply a necessity. For those that complain he isn’t doing enough to counter US and European aggression need only look at the Kerch Strait bridge.

Not only did the Russians not seek international approval given the nearly universal refusal to recognize Crimea as Russian they built the thing in a time frame that defies description.

Imagine if this had been an EU project. They would still be debating the initial engineering plans and the political effects on some protected minority.

Not only does it open up the Eastern Black Sea to trade via Crimea but it ends the use of the Sea of Azov as a potential staging ground for naval provocations as last fall’s incident proved. Ukraine is cut off from acting aggressively and cannot count on any help from the US and Europe.

Moreover, Crimea is now permanently Russia’s. And every bit of infrastructure Russia builds there ties the two further together and weakens any bonds Crimea had with Ukraine. The resultant growth and modernization will make its way, economically and culturally back into southern Ukraine and erode the hard border over time.

This is far more important than striking out and metaphorically punching Poroshenko in the mouth, that many of Putin’s detractors wish for.

Presidents change, after all. Patience and attrition is how you beat an aggressive, distant enemy like the US

To remind everyone just how insane the Trump White House has become on matters international, no less than Vice President Mike Pence lobbied Germany to provoke another naval incident at the Kerch Strait.

If there was ever an example of how little Trump’s gang of moldy neocons think of Europe it is this bit of news. In effect, Pence was saying, “We can’t start a war with Russia because it would go nuclear, but you can because Russia can’t live without your trade.”

This coming after the US unilaterally pulled out of the INF treaty and is now flying nuclear bombers to eastern Europe. The message is clear. If the EU doesn’t get with this open-ended belligerent program against Russia and China of John Bolton’s they will be the ones paying the price when chaos breaks out.

On the other side there is Putin; building bridges, pipelines, power plants and roads.

He’s making it clear what the future holds not only for Europe but the Middle East, central Asia and India. We will defend Crimea at all costs, develop it not only into a tourist destination but also a major trade hub as well.

You are more than welcome to join us. But, we don’t need you.

These power plants will raise Crimea’s power output well beyond its current needs, allowing first export of power as well as providing the foundation for future growth.

And as if it weren’t coordinated in any way, the Chinese, on the morning of Putin’s speech, announced that Crimea would be an excellent fit for investment projects attached to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

That’s according to the head of the association of Chinese compatriots on the peninsula, Ge Zhili. “Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges and friendly contacts with the Crimean society,” he said at an event dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, which was held in the Russian Embassy in Beijing on Monday.

It is also ready to contribute to the establishment of “reliable partner ties” and the explanation of legal details of business cooperation with Crimea, Ge Zhili said. “The Chinese society hopes for the development of friendly cooperation with Crimea; we are ready to overcome difficulties for fruitful results.”

Again this is a direct challenge to the US who has Crimea under strict sanctions in the West. China is happy now to move forward with integrating Crimea into its plans. It’s just another example of how Russia and China simply ignore Trump’s fulminations and move on.

I can’t wait until I get to write this article all over again, this time about North Korea, now that Bolton has thrown Russian and Chinese assistance in getting North Korea to the negotiating table back in their face by destroying the Hanoi talks.

This announcement is not to be underestimated given that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is in Rome this week to open up relations with the new Italian government. Five Star Movement’s Leader Luigi Di Maio said he would welcome becoming a part of BRI, much to the consternation of Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as his coalition partner Lega Leader Matteo Salvini.

It’s already well known that Salvini is interested in ending sanctions on Crimea and re-opening trade with Russia. Italy is desperate for new markets and opportunities, currently stifled under the euro itself as well as Germany’s insistence on austerity hollowing out Italy’s economy and its future prospects.

These issues as well as energy security ones are coming to a head this year with Brexit, the European Parliamentary elections in May and the completion of the Nordstream 2 pipeline later this year.

As Putin continues to polish his Black Sea jewel, Europe has to decide if it is going to continue playing the U.S’s games over Ukraine or begin the next phase of its independence. Salvini will lead a Euroskeptic revolt within the European Parliament in May. It may be big enough to finally defy Merkel and end EU sanctions on Russia over Crimea.

At that point the US will also have a choice, burn down the world economy with even more sanctions, tariffs and acts of war or accept the facts on the ground.

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

US Duplicity over Golan Demolishes Posturing on Crimea

In a controversial snub to international law, the United States signaled last week that it is moving to officially recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israeli territory. If the US does so, then it forfeits any moral authority to sanction Russia over allegations of “annexing Crimea”.

In its annual US State Department report, the section dealing with the Golan Heights reportedly refers to the contested area as “Israeli-controlled”, not “Israeli-occupied”. The change in wording deviates from United Nations resolutions and international norm which use the term “Israeli-occupied” to designate the land Israel annexed from Syria following the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel has occupied the western part of the Golan since 1967 as a spoil from that war. In 1981, Tel Aviv formally annexed the Syrian territory. However, the UN Security Council in 1981, including the US, unanimously condemned the annexation as illegal. The resolution mandates Israel to return the land to Syria which has historical claim to the entire Golan. The area of 1,800 square kilometers is a strategic elevation overlooking the northern Jordan Valley.

If Washington confirms its recent indications of recognizing the Golan as officially part of Israel, the development would mark an egregious flouting of international law.

But what’s more, such a move totally prohibits Washington from posturing with presumed principle over the issue of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which since 2014 voluntarily became part of Russia.

Just last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated accusations against Russia of “annexing” Crimea. Pompeo insisted that US sanctions against Moscow would be maintained until Russia “returns Crimea to Ukraine”.

“The world has not forgotten the cynical lies Russia employed to justify its aggression and mask its attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory,” he said. “The United States will maintain respective sanctions against Russia until the Russian government returns control of Crimea to Ukraine.”

Last year, Pompeo’s State Department issued a ‘Crimea Declaration’ in which it was stated that, “Russia undermines a bedrock of international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force.”

Claims by Washington and the European Union of “illegal annexation” of Crimea by Russia are the central basis for five years of economic sanctions imposed on Moscow. Those sanctions have contributed to ever-worsening tensions with Russia and the build-up of NATO forces along Russia’s borders.

Those claims are, however, highly contestable. The people of Crimea voted in a legally constituted referendum in March 2014 to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. That referendum followed an illegal coup in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the US and Europe against a legally elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Historically, Crimea has centuries of shared cultural heritage with Russia. Its erstwhile position within the state of Ukraine was arguably an anomaly of the Cold War and subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union.

In any case, there is scant comparison between the Golan Heights and Crimea, save, that is, for the latest hypocrisy in Washington. While Crimea and its people are arguably historically part of Russia, the Golan Heights are indisputably a sovereign part of Syria which was forcibly annexed by Israeli military occupation.

The illegality of Israel’s occupation of Golan is a matter of record under international law as stipulated in UNSC Resolution 497.

There is no such international mandate concerning Crimea. Claims of Russia’s “annexation” are simply a matter of dubious political assertion made by Washington and its European allies.

The latest move by Washington towards recognizing Golan as part of Israel – in defiance of international law – comes on the back of several other recent developments.

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham made a tour of Israeli-occupied Golan last week in the company of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pointedly transported by an IDF military helicopter. Graham said following his tour that he would recommend the Trump administration to officially recognize the area as under Israeli sovereignty.

Currently, there is legislation going through both the US Senate and House of Representatives which is aimed at declaring the entire Golan as Israeli territory.

The stark shift in pro-Israeli bias in Washington under the Trump administration is consistent with the White House declaring at the end of 2017 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Again, that move by President Trump overturned international consensus and UN resolutions which have stipulated Jerusalem to be a shared capital between Israel and a future Palestinian state, to be worked out by (defunct) peace negotiations.

Why Washington has taken up the Golan issue as a prize for Israel at this time is not precisely clear. It could be seen as the Trump administration giving a political boost to Netanyahu for next month’s elections.

There has been previous speculation that Trump is doing the bidding for a US-based oil company, Genie Oil, which is linked to his administration through his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family investments. The New Jersey company has a subsidiary in Israel, is tied to the Netanyahu government, and has long been aiming to drill the Golan for its abundant oil resources.

The Golan move could also be retribution meted out to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his country’s historic defeat of the US-backed covert war for regime change. The nearly eight-year war was also covertly backed by Israel which sponsored jihadist militia operating out of the Golan against the Syrian army. Having vanquished the US regime-change plot, thanks to crucial military support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the payback could be Washington stepping up Israeli claims to annex the Golan.

But whatever the background explanation is, the initiative by Washington to legalize the annexation of Golan by Israel is a brazen violation of international law. In doing so, the US is officially sponsoring war crimes and theft of Syria’s sovereign territory. Or as the Crimea Declaration would put it: “changing the borders of another country by force” – supposedly a “bedrock principle” that Washington continually sermonizes about to Russia.

Crimea and Golan are different issues of territorial dispute, as noted already. Nevertheless, the duplicity of Washington over Golan makes its posturing on Crimea null and void. If the Europeans meekly go along with the US move on Golan, then they too should shut their mouths and their moralizing sanctions over Crimea.

Why Calling US a ‘Democracy’ Is Both False & Dangerous to Do

Why Calling US a ‘Democracy’ Is Both False & Dangerous to Do

ERIC ZUESSE | 15.03.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Why Calling US a ‘Democracy’ Is Both False & Dangerous to Do

It’s false because it is definitely untrue, and that’s not merely because America has a higher percentage of its residents in prison than does any other nation on this planet, but also because the only scientific studies that have been done of the matter show — they prove scientifically — that the US is a dictatorship by its very wealthiest residents, against all the rest of the population. Traditionally, that’s called an “aristocracy,” not a democracy, but ever since Mussolini in the 1920s, it came to be called “fascism,” which is the successor to “feudalism” and thus is merely the modernized form of feudalism. What used to be called by such terms as “monarchy” or “aristocracy” is thus now called “fascism” but the leopard is the same regardless of what it is labeled, and what it really is a dictatorship. Mussolini sometimes instead called fascism “corporationism” and it certainly is today’s United States Government, even if some people choose to call it ‘democracy’. It’s what the US Government has been scientifically proven to be: dictatorship, by the richest few (the controlling owners of the international corporations), against the entire public.

But even worse than being only false, calling the US a ‘democracy’ is also itself extremely dangerous to the entire world, and here is why:

Every time that the US perpetrates a coup (such as it’s trying now to do against Venezuela) or a military invasion (such as it did to Iraq 2003 and Libya 2011 and Syria 2012- and to Yemen 2015-, and many others) the US regime and its propagandists call it an action ‘for humanitarian purposes’, and for regime-change ‘to bring democracy and human rights’ to that country, and it’s always lies, which wouldn’t even be believed by anyone who knows that the US itself is actually a dictatorship, which it is. So, the lie of calling the US a ‘democracy’ is actually okaying a lying dictatorship by using, for it, the term “democracy,” which this particular dictatorship chooses to refer to itself, for PR purposes.

Calling the US a ‘democracy’ is to support this government that the entire world (in the only polls that have been done of the matter) recognizes to be the most aggressive and dangerous regime on Earth. To smear the good name of “democracy” that way, by calling the world’s most rapacious Government a ‘democracy’, is to assist in corroding that high term of praise, “democracy,” and turning it instead into an insult, which applies to what is actually the globally recognized most aggressive and dangerous nation on this planet.

The United States of America used to be a limited democracy, but now it’s no longer even that, and to call it a ‘democracy’ at all is not only false, but it encourages the world’s most dangerous and harmful regime and sets it as a model for other nations. To encourage evil by lying to say it’s not that but is instead good, is itself evil, or else rabidly ignorant and deceived; but, in any case, it is a very wrong thing to do.

On March 7th the liberal US billionaire who owns Bloomberg News was so much opposed to the over-the-top, far too overtly fascist, billionaires who now control the country, so that Bloomberg News headlined “Pence Asked Merkel to Provoke Russia by Sending Warships to Crimea”, and their reporters opened:

The US leaned on German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month to conduct a naval maneuver in Russia’s backyard aimed at provoking President Vladimir Putin, according to three people familiar with the talks. At a Feb. 16 meeting at the Munich Security Conference, US Vice President Mike Pence urged Merkel to send German warships through a narrow channel between the Crimean peninsula and mainland Russia to show Putin that Western powers won’t surrender their access to those waters, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The German leader refused, they said.

On March 8th, RT (a reliably truthful news-site that the US regime calls ‘fake news’ because it reports truths the US rulers don’t want the public to know) headlined “Caving in to the US? Brussels kills its own money laundering ‘blacklist’ after Washington criticism” and reported that the US regime objected to the EU’s European Commission including in its proposed list of 11 additional money-laundering centers four US territories, after which “the Council of the European Union, which consists of the ministers representing all 28 EU members, justified its decision to reject the document with the arguments that seemed strikingly similar to those employed by the US Treasury.” Page 11 of the European Commission’s 36-page detailed explanation of its proposed list said: “Based on the review of additional information sources, the Commission’s analysis has concluded that 11 additional jurisdictions present strategic deficiencies for the purposes of Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2015/849. Those jurisdictions are the following: Afghanistan, American Samoa, Guam, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, US Virgin Islands, Samoa.” The objective of the additions was to make more difficult the laundering of proceeds from crime. A legal advisory from a law firm representing US international corporations explained that “The US Treasury Department has objected to the inclusion of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands on the grounds that the European Commission did not follow the methodology used by FATF in developing its own list of high-risk third countries, and that FATF standards apply to all US territories.”

Supposedly, the methodology of FATF was more ‘transparent’ than that set forth in the European Commission’s 36-page detailed explanation of its proposed 11 additions. The European Council arrived at its rejection of the 11 additions to the list on the grounds that “The consultation ended on 28 February 2019, with the required majority of delegations having declared their intention to object to the delegated act in question, in particular on the basis that the act was not established in a sufficiently transparent way.” The European Council thus accepted without question the US regime’s undocumented allegation that the US regime’s chosen methodology is more ‘transparent’ than the European Commission’s is. In a press release, the European Council justified its decision on the grounds that it “cannot support the current proposal that was not established in a transparent and resilient process that actively incentivises affected countries to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard.” In short: BS. How can either the US regime, or the one in the EU, reasonably claim to be ‘transparent’? It’s ridiculous. That’s merely a relationship between the imperial nation and its vassal-states. They’re all dictatorships, they’re a hierarchy of dictatorships. But only the US dictatorship has been scientifically proven.

Anyone who opposes America’s dictatorship of the world will call the US regime what it is: a dictatorship. This cat is now out of the bag and roaming wildly, almost everywhere, trying now even for Venezuela, the Kerch Strait and the South China Sea. (Calling the South China Sea and Kerch Strait ‘disputed waters’ is like calling the surrounding waters of the US ‘disputed waters’; but only the international bully-regime is deliberately trying to “provoke” other nations in order to get them to buckle to its international dictatorship — which is the US regime, which regime Obama had called “the one indispensable nation,” meaning that all others are ‘dispensable’. It’s clearly not only Trump that’s the problem. It’s the regime, which is the dictatorship, and it outlasts any particular ruler.)

The US is no democracy. It clearly is a dictatorship, by its richest. To call that a ‘democracy’, is to insult democracy itself. Maybe America’s actual rulers would therefore like that.

The Other Ukraine

Source

by arras for The Saker blogThe Other Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in the Eastern Europe, which doesn’t require introduction to most readers as it was and still is filling pages of the newspapers and screens of a TVs. Courtesy of ongoing geopolitical conflict between the United States and the Russian Federation there. Some say, this is a conflict between East and West and thus suggesting that it is not just a place of competition between the world great powers, but between cultures and civilizations.

This conflict isn’t new to Ukraine. Ukraine is one of those places, where history never falls asleep it merely takes short naps. After the last nap, which we call the Cold War, history is back in Ukraine, writing new pages full of dramatic lines.

However, Ukraine has a sister. It was on the front pages of the newspapers as well not long time ago and it is also rich with dramatic history. The fate and history of both, including the most recent history, bears remarkable similarity and many parallels. Parallels that I intend to show you.

The name of the “other” Ukraine is Krajina and a reader might remember it as a place in the Balkans, which was one of the frontlines of the civil war in Yugoslavia. Krajina is a part of Croatia, but historically it was inhabited by the Serbs. The name of Ukraine in the native Slavic languages is “Ukrajina” and thus the difference in the name is just a prefix “U”. That’s not by a coincidence. Ukrajina and Krajina are the virtually same word, just pronounced slightly different in different Slavic languages. In English, it means “edge”, “margin”, “frontier” or “borderland” and that’s exactly what Ukraine and Krajina were. They were one of those places where realms, cultures, civilizations and empires converged and clashed. Seems they still are, and because of that, Ukraine and Krajina were not just ordinary frontiers, they were military frontiers. Romans used to call such places as “limes” and in the Western Medieval Europe, they were called as “march” or “mark” – ruled by “marquis” and of the same etymological origin as the word “margin”.

Ukraine was a borderland between Russia, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Crimean Khanate which itself was a remnant of the mighty Mongol Empire and at that time, it was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. Today Poland and Lithuania might seem like small countries compared to Russia while Crimean Khanate doesn’t even exist, but back in medieval and early modern era these were powerful realms vying for control over the whole region of the Eastern Europe. Krajina together with the similar region called Vojvodina on the other hand was a borderland between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. These places, were such powerful states, even religions and civilizations met weren’t the most peaceful ones and not very well suited for long prosperous life. They were in the state of almost perpetual conflict and war, because even if realms were in formal peace, irregular forces and local chieftains and feudal lords carried raids across the border seeking plunder or revenge, often with the silent consent of their sovereigns. Today we call it a hybrid war and plausible deniability. For that reason, such military frontiers had special status and were organized according to the military rather than civilian principles. Their purpose was to serve as a buffer zone, which was supposed to shield deeper inland territories from enemy attacks and raids and as a staging place for own attacks and raids against the enemy. Traditionally military settlers who had special status populated such territories. These settlers were typically freemen, as opposed to serfs in more secure territories and were exempt of taxes. Instead, they were obliged to carry military service on the border. Being half soldiers, half farmers, these men weren’t the best trained, equipped and disciplined comparing to the regular troops, but they were always available on the spot and required little or no pay as they supported themselves from their land which they supplemented with plunder from lands of the enemy.

These military settlers were often recruited from refugees. In the case of Ukraine, these were the peasants fleeing wars between Russia and Mongol Golden Horde in the east on the one hand and on the other advancing feudalization of Russia itself, which saw farmers being forced in to serfdom in the increasing numbers. Refugees were fleeing to the areas away from the main conflict and out of the reach of the central authorities. Here they begun to organize in to small communities and as soon as the situation in the central parts of Russia was consolidated and Russia has emerged victorious from the wars with Golden Horde and its successor khanates, these communities came in to attention of the Russian authorities who begun to utilize them as military settlers, giving them lands and tax exemption in return for the military service. Thus famous Cossacks were born. The word Kazak, which is Russian for Cossack, is of Turkic, not Slavic origin, and it is assumed to be originally describing nomadic mercenaries hired by the Russian princes to fight in their wars. Later it was used to describe men for hire, both in civilian and military roles and that is likely how it was originally applied to the people we now know as Cossacks.

It should be noted however that modern Ukraine is not identical to historical Ukraine. Historical Ukraine was much smaller compared to modern Ukraine and it never was official name of some administrative region with definitive borders. Not until the creation of the modern Ukraine at the end of the First World War. This term was vaguely applied to the lands that were bordering Russia, Poland-Lithuania and Crimean Khanate, border that kept changing with the fortunes in wars. Moreover, Russia did not had just one Ukraine, there were several ukraines and “little” ukraines (ukrajinka) all along Russia’s sensitive borders. There were ukraines in the west, on the territory of contemporary Belarus, there were ukraines in the south near Caucasus Mountains and there were ukrainas in the Eastern Siberia. Only in the north where Russia shared a border with polar bears, Russia did not have ukraine. However, as Russia kept growing in power, securing its borders or expanding them further, most of the other historical ukraines disappeared and the one that was left longest became The Ukraine. Consequently, Cossacks did not exist only in Ukraine, there were and in some cases still are other Cossacks. Cossacks on the rivers Volga and Don, Siberian Cossacks and Terek Cossacks in the Caucasus to name the most notable ones. Russians were not the only ones who recognized usefulness of Cossacks either, Poles and Tatars were actively using them as well. Cossacks themselves were keen on exploiting conflicts between those powers to extract political and economic advantages for themselves.

Delineatio Generalis Camporum Desertorum vulgo Ukraina cum adjacentibus Provinciis-General Draving of the Deserted Fields, vulgarly known as Ukraine together with its neighbouring Provinces by French cartographer Guillaume Le Vasseur de Beauplan (1600-1673), note that North is down and South is up): source: Wikipedia

Military settlers in Krajina on the other hand were recruited mostly from Serbs, Vlachs (Romanians) and Croats fleeing Ottoman Turks who conquered Constantinople, capital of the East Roman Empire (also known as Byzantium) and defeated the kingdom of Serbia and the fragments of Bulgarian empire in the Balkans and were aggressively pushing north towards the Central Europe engaging with Hungarians and Austrians. That’s how Krajina got its Serbian population. Just like in Russia, historical Krajina does not necessarily copy the borders of what is considered Krajina in Croatia today. And just like in Russia, there are other krajinas elsewhere in Balkans. Bosanska Krajina near Banja Luka, Timocka Krajina between Serbia and Bulgaria, to name a few. In 1881, with the danger of Ottoman incursions all but disappearing, Austrian Emperors dissolved Krajina as an administrative region and incorporated it in to the kingdom of Croatia.

Map of the Krajina (in red) cca 1800:source: Wikipedia

While Cossacks are widely known as famous horsemen, a few people know that Krajina, and neighboring regions of Balkans are where the other most famous light cavalry of Europe comes from. Not less famous Hussars. Hussars were originally irregular cavalry from Balkans. Hungarian kings and Austrian emperors who employed them in their armies introduced them to the Western Europe, where they were quickly copied and adopted by the other armies for their effectiveness. With the advent of firearms, European knights in their shining expensive armors, riding heavy warhorses were gradually withdrawn from the battlefields as European armies begun to appreciate less heavily armed cavalry in their place, which substituted speed and agility for direct protection and ambushes and flanking for charges in to the enemy front lines. And that’s where experience of combating Turks and Tatars of Asia who always preferred lighter cavalry came in handy. Through centuries of constant fighting, Cossacks and Hussars adapted themselves to the fighting methods of their opponents and adopted many elements of their equipment and tactics. Not everybody though served in the cavalry and contrary to popular belief, most Cossacks served as infantrymen. Horse, especially saddle horse back in those days was something that only the wealthiest Cossacks could afford.

Hungarian hussar in the 16th century. Woodcut by Jost Amman:source: Wikipedia

When Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires collapsed in the flames of the Balkan Wars and the First World War, which had aroused from the conflict over the Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia joined Yugoslavia, a new state that supposed to unite all the Slavic people of the Balkans. Krajina ceased to be a province on the edge and it seemed that history there would slow down. Nevertheless, history just took a nap. On April 1941, German army invaded Yugoslavia under Adolf Hitler’s orders and Yugoslavia quickly fell apart. In Croatia, with the support of the Germans, puppet state with the pro-German fascist political party of Ustashe in power was established. Ethnic cleansing campaign and persecution of Serbs and other minorities followed, and lasted until the defeat of Nazi Germany in the WWII. The exact number of Serbs who perished in those repressions is unknown, estimates vary between 300,000 and 500,000. About 50,000 alone died in one of the concentration camps in Jasenovac.

With the National Socialist Germany and their allies defeated, Yugoslavia was reinstated under the leadership of the Communist party and a war hero Josip Bros Tito. Whereas survived Nazi collaborators found a shelter under the wings of the US and British secret services in the West Germany, Canada, USA and Australia. Unlike Nazi scientists, they did not possess any great knowledge or technical skills, but experience of political repression and anti-guerrilla warfare were of the value for the CIA in the upcoming Cold War. The end justifies the means. Interestingly enough, Ustashe from Balkans found themselves thriving at the same centers and under generous tutelage of the same secret services of the same governments as Nazi collaborators from Ukraine – the infamous UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and its political leaders like Stephan Bandera. In some instances, political and cultural institutions of the Ustashe and UPA were located on the same streets, sometimes even inside the same buildings of Western cities like Munich. Just like Ustashe, the WWII records of UPA are full of the ethnic cleansings, mass murders and war crimes against civilian population that did not fit UPA’s racial and ethnic standards. Now they were to be sustained like bacteria of a biological weapon on a Petri dish in CIA laboratories, waiting for their time.

Ironically, their time did not come during the Cold War, even when there were some failed attempts to utilize them. Their time came with the end of the Cold War and fall of the Communist rule in the Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The easiest way to destroy multinational country is to start ethnic conflicts between the peoples of a country itself and let them destroy it themselves. Under Tito, who himself was from mixed Croat-Slovenian family, stability was maintained between the various ethnic groups dwelling in Yugoslavia, but that balance was fragile and rested to a large extend on the authority of Tito himself. With his death, the institutions of the state and the way Yugoslavia was constructed came for a test.

Yugoslavia was constructed as a federation in such a way, as to prevent any one of the constituent nations from dominating the state. Serbs were always the most numerous and therefore strongest nationality in Yugoslavia and other nationalities, particularly Croats and Slovenians feared that Serbs would dominate the state. Not without a good reason either as interwar Yugoslavia indeed ended up being dominated by the Serbs and their elite. To prevent that, in post war Yugoslavia, Serbia was divided in to four parts: republics of Serbia and Montenegro and autonomous regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina. Later three had significant non-Serbian ethnic minorities. That accomplished the goal of creating a balance between the powers of national republics inside Yugoslavia, but it inevitably created feeling of injustice among the Serbs. It was only Serbia which was divided and weakened in such a way, neither Croatia, nor Bosnia or Macedonia were divided even if they too had regions with ethnic minorities present. Serbs in Krajina were an example and Bosnia was heterogeneous to such extent, that it was sometimes nicknamed as Little Yugoslavia.

After period of unsuccessful Communist experimenting with creating single Yugoslav supranational identity, which would replace individual nationalities, Tito and his Communists went the other way and in the new constitution of 1974 tried to placate nationalist sentiments by bestowing more power on to the republics and strengthening autonomy of the regions. In Voivodina, Montenegro and Kosovo that led to an increasing cultural, economic and political pressure against Serbs who became convinced that system inside Yugoslavia works at their expense and they are loosing. In Kosovo where Albanian population was steadily increasing due to immigration from Albania and higher birth rates, issue was especially sensitive because Serbs consider Kosovo to be historical cradle of their civilization.

But any attempts to change the situation by the Serbs, inevitably led to the reaction in the other republics creating endless spiral of increasing suspicion and tensions between the republics. With the economy and central institutions weakened by the gradual decline in the power of the Communists and change of the political and economic situation in the whole of Eastern Europe, it required only a gentle push from the outside to spark ethnic conflict. That’s were Ustashe and other similar groups been held in the reserve during the Cold War in the West were finally put to a good use. Under disguise of democracy and freedom of speech, they were re-imported back in to their countries of origin along with the literature and propaganda created around their ideologies in the Cold War exile thanks to the generous US and German sponsorship. Money from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries played similar role in the Muslim communities of Yugoslavia.

Eventually it brought yields. Spinning in spasms, in 1990 Yugoslavia has arrived at the cliff when constitutional crisis completely paralyzed federal institutions, including Communist party itself. Republics were fighting each other. The only significant federal institution left willing to defend Yugoslavia was its army. However, army required an order from politicians to start acting, and there was no one to issue it. Yugoslavia was going to dissolve. The only question was how and when.

Anybody remotely familiar with Yugoslavia, knew, that if it would be done in unilateral uncontrolled manner, it would lead to a war. Only in Slovenia, the administrative borders were identical to the ethnic borders. The rest of Yugoslavia had ethnic minorities living all over the place. This was also well known in Washington and Berlin. Despite, or may be because of it, Washington and Berlin chose exactly this option even against the warnings from other European capitals. Berlin was the first to recognize independent Slovenian and Croatian states and hence British diplomats unofficially named the war that begun immediately in Croatia as “Gensher’s war“, after German foreign minister at that time Hans-Dietrich Gensher.

Single picture that explains civil war in Yugoslavia:source: Wikipedia

When Croatian government declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Serbs of Krajina in response declared their own independence from Croatia. All peoples have equal rights for independence. Right? Wrong. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” to paraphrase George Orwell and his famous book. Everybody likes to be independent himself, but not when others want to be independence at his expense. Croats are no different and independence of Republic of Serbian Krajina, which is how Serbs named their new country, was met with more than a strong disapproval in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. A conflict flared almost immediately and it set off bloody civil war that engulfed other parts of Yugoslavia, eventually ending its existence.

When declaring independence, the most important thing isn’t who has the right for independence and who does not, the most important thing is who supports it. And here Serbs of Krajina were placed at a disadvantage because they were supported only by small Serbia, which itself was having plenty of problems inside, while Croats were supported by several world’s most powerful countries – USA, Germany and the entire NATO alliance. Serbs held for several years, but at the end fight was just too uneven. It ended when Croatian forces supported by the USA and Germany overrun Serbian lines manned mostly by local militiamen on August 1995 and proceeded to ethnically cleanse Krajina of its Serbian inhabitants for good. Up to 1500 of them lost their lives, 2/3 of that number were civilians and up to 200,000 had to flee to Serbia and Bosnia. It was one of the two places in former Yugoslavia, where an entire historical region was ethnically cleansed of its population during the civil war. The other region being ethnically cleansed of Serbs was Kosovo, also with the support of the USA and it’s allies. The irony that is still carefully hidden from the public by the politicians and journalists in Washington, London and Berlin who worked tirelessly to convince people in their countries that those are Serbs who perpetrate crime of ethnic cleansing and had to be stopped by noble and smart bombs, enriched with uranium. Everyone else were portrayed as victims. It was a deliberate lie. Even supposed plan of ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo by the Serbs, named “Operation Horseshoe” which served as a pretext for bombing of Serbia itself by the NATO forces, was after the war exposed as entirely fabricated by the German secret service BND with the help of Bulgarian government. To be sure, there were plenty of cases of local ethnic cleansing, perpetrated by all sides of the civil war, Serbian one including, but not on the scale of the entire historical regions like Krajina or Kosovo. Nevertheless, ethnic cleansing wasn’t the real reason for the intervention, the real reason was that USA, Germany and EU wanted Yugoslavia to be gone and Serbs in Krajina and Kosovo stood in their way. Yugoslavia was too large to be incorporated in to the EU and NATO, one has to join the EU and NATO as weak as possible and under the conditions favoring those who are in charge of the EU and NATO. Conditions that demand political, economic and cultural subordination and transfer of the control over national resources and markets to the global corporations. Corporations of the global Empire. Therefore, Serbs of Krajina and Kosovo had to go. All of them. Yugoslavia had to be broken in to small pieces and pieces then digested by the Empire one by one until the whole Balkans had “proper” democracy, endorsed “proper” values and values were “protected” by the US military base or two. Divide et impera, Romans used to say.

The conflict in Ukraine is driven by exactly the same motives and reasons and using the same old methods and the same propaganda tricks. Timed bombs in the form of the arbitrary changes of the administrative borders made by the ruling Communist elite blew up during break up of the USSR too, as well as their policies of creating new Soviet people. Former Nazi collaborationist were also used to instigate ethnic hatred. Place Soviet Union instead of the Yugoslavia, Russians instead of Serbs, Ukraine instead of Croatia, Donbas and Crimea instead of Krajina and Kosovo and the story is almost identical. Ukraine and Krajina share similar history once again. Almost. With the exception that the Soviet Union was much larger than Yugoslavia, Russia is much larger than Serbia, and Russia has powerful allies in the world of its own. A victim turned out to be too big and vital and the Empire appears to suffer major digestive problems as a result. Will Ukraine end up sharing the fate of its sister after all?

Or will Ukraine turn out to be one mouthful too many? One thing is certain, history did not stop. History has no end. Prophets of the Empire has been proven wrong.

arras‘s mini-bio: HIC SVNT LEONES

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