Rival protests in Kiev as Ukraine crisis gathers pace

Ukraine tak childThe political tensions that have been building in Ukraine over the past year or so may well come to a head over the next few days.

Two rival protests have been organised in Kiev this weekend. One for supporters of embattled President Viktor Yushchenko, the other for supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

The protests are expected to attract tens of thousands each, and I’d imagine there is a significant risk of a clash between rival groups at some stage over the weekend. Particularly as the protests come at a point when President Yushchenko is reportedly considering dissolving Parliament and ordering new elections.

I must confess, I haven’t been following the nuances of Ukrainian politics recently, but I’m a little baffled by this decision. I’d thought that Yushchenko was in a relatively weak position electorally, with his potential support divided between two parties (his Our Ukraine People’s Union party and Yulia Timoshenko’s All Ukrainian Union Fatherland party), whilst his Viktor Yanukovich’s support was more unified.

What do you think? Would dissolving parliament be a wise decision for Yushchenko?

*This image, found on Flickr, was taken by user txd.

You may also like...

92 Responses

  1. Yushchenko has been masterfully outplayed by Yanuk in nearly every single political battle. It’s hard to know if it’s because he’s a bad leader with terrible instincts, he’s got bad people around him or if it’s because he’s really quite ill — probably a combo of all three.

    All his current choices are bad. He can wait until the next elections and idly watch as Yanuk. chips away at his official powers and PoR buys off all his MPs until they get a constitutional majority, or take his chances with new elections.

    A likely scenario: PU/OU fails to cross the threshold, he becomes more marginalized and irrelevant, Tymoshenko officially becomes the voice of the opposition (a de facto position she’s held and capitalized effectively on) and the 2009 Presidential election continues to play out. Meanwhile Yushchenko spends the rest of his Presidency abroad in places where people still think he’s a hero.

    Oh, yah, and the Russians regain their political foothold in Ukraine.

  2. kash says:

    hi,
    is thre anywhere i could find out about the institutional wranglings going on and who’s allied to to whom; which government mnistrie are Yunuk and which Yushchenko? i’m looking essentially for a sumary of wht’s been going on since the 2006 parlimentary election.
    many thanks
    kash

  3. Andy says:

    Hmm, I’m not sure. The Wikipedia site on Ukrainian politics is probably a pretty good starting point.

    Anyone else have any ideas?

  4. kash says:

    I’ve actually just had a look on the economist intelligence unit’s page and that’s been extremely helpful. It’s subscrpition only but if anyone wants to ave a look, I can e-mal it on to them.

  5. Michael Averko says:

    The Russians never really lost their foothold in Ukraine in the first place.

    A bit of a setback yes. However, one can’t easily wish away how many in Ukraine feel towards Russia.

    Yushchenko is being ridiculous.

    Reference the RFE/RL article in the Ukraine segment of this link:

    http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@525.kVLEbzlNFtm.1@.77480649/7461

  6. Crimean girl says:

    The main reason Yushchenko has been outplayed by Yanukovich is Ahmetov’s money behind the latter. When you have the richest man of the country and the strongest mafia clan playing you like a puppet it makes it much easier to be the winner in your games with others.
    Other reasons, surely, include Yuschenko’s leadership skills, or to be precise – absence of such. The only way that lead him to the presidential throne was Yulya and today she is the only person who seems to have the required qualities to mount it (not much choice anyway).
    I know in the last couple of years political situation in Ukraine has been looking pretty ridiculous, yet very tragic and humiliating for our people.That’s why I think dissolution of Rada whould be a necessary move at this stage. Even though it will have just a temporary pain relief effect, we cannot let the gangster PoR take over everything and bring us back to the early 90s.

  7. Crimean girl says:

    The tragedy of the situation is that the country is being torn apart and there is always a danger of peaceful protests turning into a violent revolution and the only way out of it will be disintegration of Ukraine.

  8. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    How sad to have a political climate where your best choices for competence are Tymoshenko (aka Baba Yaga Kieva), and Yanukovich.

    Tragic.

  9. Baba Yaga Kieva

    I have never heard this “nickname” for Tymoshenko before. An interesting comparison though.

  10. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    well, I take full credit for this ‘invention’. I once had the opportunity to ask her questions during a public talk she gave in North America — and her reaction to my questions was, well — not very positive. The Ukrainian community was not too happy, either, actually, and I have to be quite grateful to the people who actually knew who I was not to have divulged my name……;)

    They were reasonable questions, along the lines of… “since Ukraine will never be a member of the EU, wouldn’t it be better to get along with Russia?” and… “when will Ukraine stop stealing Russian oil/gas?”… I worded them much nicer, though…

    Back then she had dark hair, actually, and none of this cute ‘peasant-girl’ hairstyle she’s fancying now.

  11. Michael Averko says:

    I suspect that my views on YT mirror Ger’s.

  12. Crimean girl says:

    Dear ReluctantMuscovite, you’re getting a little too personal regarding Mrs.Tymoshenko. I don’t think that her hair style has much relevance to the political issue we’re discussing, even though the braid does reflect Yulya’s national identity today.
    I don’t think if you ask any Ukrainian (not pro-Russian) person (in Ukraine) one of your “reasonable” questions, you most likely won’t hear a positive reply. The EU issue, as well as the “gas stealing” topic are very arguable. Russia itself has never been the symbol of righteousness. And btw, Ukraine will never get along with Russia as it will never forget the genocide.

  13. Stefan says:

    Crimean girl is right. Yulia’s hair has nothing to do with it, and neither does the gas.

    Ukraine is at a crossroads and has been since 2004. The decision is whether to lean west and towards democracy. Stay neutral and form independantly. Or lean towards the east, forgo democracy, and embrace Russian style politics.

    The first option is my prefered choice as it ensures a future for all my people “as Ukrainians” and not as “little Russians”.

  14. Michael Averko says:

    “And btw, Ukraine will never get along with Russia as it will never forget the genocide.”

    ***

    Bigoted BS as Russia didn’t commit any so called “genocide”.

    ———————————————–

    “Stay neutral and form independantly. Or lean towards the east, forgo democracy, and embrace Russian style politics.

    The first option is my prefered choice as it ensures a future for all my people ‘as Ukrainians’ and not as ‘little Russians’.”

    ****

    Ukrainian style politics is more like your suggested Russian style politics.

    Many of your people don’t think like you.

  15. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Actually, Ms. T’s hair has a lot to do with things, because it’s symptomatic for her cheap populism. I know plenty of rather proud Ukrainians who do not try to look like cute little peasant girls. That Ukrainians seem to fall for this is sad.

    If she were a man, people would not be as gung-ho on her, but she is very deliberately using all the advantages traditional Slavic culture provides women with (without having to bother about the disadvantages).

    She’s nothing but yet another oligarch who is trying to secure the levers of politics to retain her ill-gotten gains from the time when her good connections (daddy) allowed her to accumulate them.

    The choices are not West+democracy vs. East+”Russian style” politics, but between stability and border-line chaos, at least for the moment.

    my two cents.

  16. Tim Newman says:

    Bigoted BS as Russia didn’t commit any so called “genocide”.

    No, they merely starved half of the Ukraine to death by a mixture of vindictiveness and incompetence. Admittedly they were busy starving their own to death at the same time, but it is not difficult to understand why many in Ukraine aren’t overly friendly with the powers in Moscow.

  17. Michael Averko says:

    Bigoted BS repeated.

    See the Holodomor issue of this AUR which includes a citation of Quick Takes:

    http://action-ukraine-report.blogspot.com/2007/02/aur811-feb-4-anti-sovietchik-no-1-1932.html

  18. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Actually, the Holodomor is not generally considered a genocide by historians, not even by Robert Conquest.

  19. Michael Averko says:

    Whatever. Russia not responsibe for it.

  20. Tim Newman says:

    Actually, the Holodomor is not generally considered a genocide by historians, not even by Robert Conquest.

  21. Tim Newman says:

    Actually, the Holodomor is not generally considered a genocide by historians, not even by Robert Conquest.

    No, and I said as much. But even if it was not genocide, it is still an episode in history which serves to explain why many Ukrainians may not hold Russians in high regard.

    Many Irish still hold the English responsible for their starvation under the British. It is not surprising that many Ukrianians hold the Russians responsible for their starvation under the Soviets, especially considering the famine is still within living memory.

  22. Tim Newman says:

    Bigoted BS repeated.

    Whatever. Russia not responsibe for it.

    How’s the hunt for an editor going?

  23. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Tim — ok, point taken. Just wanted to set the record straight. I’m very touchy on these issues, so that’s why.

    Yes, the Ukrainians are rather bitter about this — but it’s unfair, and it’s a bitterness that is kept artificially awake by interested nationalist circles. Ukrainians, Russian, Kazakhs, etc. etc. suffered under the Soviets — it’s rather unfortunate that some UR nationalists try to present themselves as the main, if not only, victims, and blame it on the ‘Russians’. One could point out that the majority of Bolsheviks were members of ethnic minorities, not ethnic Russians… as if that mattered.

  24. Tim Newman says:

    RM,

    I’m not sure I’d call the bitterness “unfair”, as Russia most certainly bears a lot of responsibility for what happened in Ukraine. However, I agree that it should be noted that there are more than enough Ukrainians (as well as other ethnic minorities) who bear responsibility as well, and that many, many Russians suffered in exactly the same manner.

    But any objective view is unlikely to be taken in the current political climate in Ukraine, which is highly polarised with each side claiming completely different versions of events. So I guess I’m saying that until an objective analysis is undertaken, any view on the matter coming out of Ukraine would be unfair.

  25. GER O'BRIEN says:

    RM is right. The whole of the Soviet Union and its leadership in particular was culpable for the Ukrainian famines. Blaming the Russians for it is just cheap populism that suits nationalist interests in Ukraine. Another factor is that famine perpetuates itself -one bad year can cause several bad subsequent years, because of lack of seeds, labourers and also lack of physical strength and wellbeing amoung the labourers that are left to plant for next year. This is what happened in Ireland. And even in tiny Ireland, the problem was very localised. Balanced Irish people do not blame the English for what happened; certainly they exacerbated the problem but they werent its cause. And funnily enough, it was the famine more than anything which led to the end of the British landowning class in Ireland. After the famine gradually the Irish simply stopped listening to the British and obeying them, our rebels became as vicious as them, and eventually ran them out the door in 1921.
    Tim is also right in saying any view coming of Ukraine should be taken with a pinch of salt. And I blame Yushenko for the rise again of Yanukovich – Yushenko had to be the man, courting the US, NATO, Mickey Mouse, everyone but Russia, his nearest neighbour and biggest trade partner. If he’d engaged properly with Russia, with whom half his country have affinity, he’d surely have got a few more deputies into parliament and wouldnt be in this hopeless mess now. Whether the Russophobes like it or not it makes no sense to fall out with your biggest customer.

  26. Tim Newman says:

    Yushenko had to be the man, courting the US, NATO, Mickey Mouse, everyone but Russia, his nearest neighbour and biggest trade partner.

    Which was pretty idiotic. Once he’d won, he should’ve built some sort of relationship with Russia. The problem is, it doesn’t look as though Yanukovich would be any wiser in shunning the EU and Western Europe and cosying up to Russia. Ukraine would do so much better by compromising between the two and drawing benefits from a good relationship between both, even acting as a bridge between the two blocs. But Ukraine is so damned polarised it’s hard to see how this will ever occur.

  27. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Its very sad actually Tim. I remember in history class in school the teacher telling us about Ukraine, the ”Breadbasket of Europe”, about its endless golden plains and mountains of grain. Yushenko has, through stupid nationalism and personal pride, crippled Ukraine. He should have been quick to fix relations with Moscow after his election. Instead he sour pussed and further polarised the country. The worst thing is the nonsense of that policy -it makes no sense, no matter what LR or anyone else says – to give two fingers to your biggest punter, irrespective of the rows you’ve had. As for Yanukovich, seemingly he makes George W look like an intellectual. Bravo Yushenko! Never mind, the US will give you a few used pc’s and burly drill sergeants for your faithful policy!) Who needs warmth for your pensioners when you’re welcome in the White House?)

  28. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Talking of grain, any of you followed the mess they made of last year’s grain harvest? Best harvest in years, gov. forgets to buy it’s quota, prices rise, bans grain from being exported (not ban, but limits), grain rots. Contracts had to be cancelled. Total mess.

    Ger: d’accord.

  29. Michael Averko says:

    “Many Irish still hold the English responsible for their starvation under the British. It is not surprising that many Ukrianians hold the Russians responsible for their starvation under the Soviets, especially considering the famine is still within living memory.”

    ***

    Not a good analogy. The Brits didn’t suffer during that famine. More Russians died during that period than Ukrainians and Stalin among others in the Soviet leadership weren’t Russian. There were no Ukrainian Communists?

    On another point, which hunt for an editor are you talking about?

  30. Tim: But Ukraine is so damned polarised it’s hard to see how this will ever occur.

    And there are far too many Virginean Farm Boys (aka “The CIA”) hopping around on the Ukrainian fields ensuring that Ukraine stays polarized.

  31. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Heribert — wie kannst Du nur! The Americans would NEVER interfere in other country’s domestic affairs. Tsk tsk tks.

  32. Heribert — wie kannst Du nur!

    Ich bitte um harte aber gerechte Bestrafung. 😉

  33. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Drei Wochen Doppelzelle mit dubbelju….;)

  34. Drei Wochen Doppelzelle mit dubbelju….;)

    That’s no punishment, that’s pleasure. I could get back into boxing and wouldn’t even need to buy a punchingbag.

  35. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Ah well, at least i managed the gerecht part.

  36. Ah well, at least i managed the gerecht part.

    No, indeed, you managed both parts. “Hart” for him, “Gerecht” for me. But as he is an experienced “fighter” who bravely defended Texas against the Vietcong in the 60ies, it will at least be a fair competition 😉

  37. Tim Newman says:

    And there are far too many Virginean Farm Boys (aka “The CIA”) hopping around on the Ukrainian fields ensuring that Ukraine stays polarized.

    That Russia is struggling to compete for influence in Ukraine against a handful of Virginian farm boys speaks volumes about how Russia is perceived in Ukraine.

  38. Tim Newman says:

    Not a good analogy. The Brits didn’t suffer during that famine. More Russians died during that period than Ukrainians and Stalin among others in the Soviet leadership weren’t Russian. There were no Ukrainian Communists?

    Presumably then, Czech Jews murdered in the Sudetenland by the Nazis cannot hold Germany responsible on the grounds that more German Jews died than Czech Jews, Hitler was not German, and there were some Czech Nazis?

    On another point, which hunt for an editor are you talking about?

    Judging from your comments on various message boards over the last couple of months, I understand you are struggling to find an editor who will publish your writings. Might I suggest that this situation will likely continue for some time if from your analyses you conclude such results as Russia being absolved of all responsibility for Soviet actions in the Ukraine?

  39. Tim Newman says:

    Just to avoid one or two obvious strawmen which might be built here, I am not saying that Russia and only Russia is to blame for what happened in Ukraine (or indeed any other part of the Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc). I am also not saying that Ukraine does not bear some of the responsibility too.

    I am saying that Russia bears some, even a lot, or responsibility for what happened in Ukraine; and by saying “Russia” I mean the nation of Russia as a political entity, and not “ethnic Russians bear responsibility”.

    I am also not suggesting what Russia should do about it, if anything. I am simply pointing out that the political entity called “Russia” shares responsbility to what happened in the politcal entity named “Ukraine”, and as a result a lot of citizens of the Ukraine are not particularly fond of the polical entity called “Russia”.

  40. Michael Averko says:

    Tim: “That Russia is struggling to compete for influence in Ukraine against a handful of Virginian farm boys speaks volumes about how Russia is perceived in Ukraine.”

    ****

    More like the handful of Virginian farm boys miscalculated in thinking that Russian influence would end back in early ’05. Ditto Taras Kuzio.

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Me quoted: “Not a good analogy. The Brits didn’t suffer during that famine. More Russians died during that period than Ukrainians and Stalin among others in the Soviet leadership weren’t Russian. There were no Ukrainian Communists?”
    Tim: “Presumably then, Czech Jews murdered in the Sudetenland by the Nazis cannot hold Germany responsible on the grounds that more German Jews died than Czech Jews, Hitler was not German, and there were some Czech Nazis?”

    Me again:

    Nonsense analogy. There were no Jewish Nazis. There were plenty of Ukrainian and other non-Russian Communists.

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Tim quoting me: “On another point, which hunt for an editor are you talking about?”

    Tim again: “Judging from your comments on various message boards over the last couple of months, I understand you are struggling to find an editor who will publish your writings. Might I suggest that this situation will likely continue for some time if from your analyses you conclude such results as Russia being absolved of all responsibility for Soviet actions in the Ukraine?”

    My reply: Time, you’re overly presumptuous in a most ignorant manner. In the past couple of months, my commentary has appeared in The Tiraspol Times and Serbianna, in addition to my Siberian Light interview and Sean’s Russia Blog articles. In the SL interview, I note the free web design and customer support offers accorded me.

    Much unlike yourself, I make it a point to fully read the many other views out there. In your Siberian Light interview, you acknowledged not reading too many blogs. I’ve noticed how you’ve previously jumped into conversations overlooking what was said in the given article and related conversations.

    My strength is knowing your view far better than you knowing my take.

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Tim: “I am also not suggesting what Russia should do about it, if anything. I am simply pointing out that the political entity called ‘Russia’ shares responsibility to what happened in the political entity named ‘Ukraine’, and as a result a lot of citizens of the Ukraine are not particularly fond of the political entity called ‘Russia’.”

    ***

    Tim overlooks how more citizens of Ukraine are more Russia friendly than Russia unfriendly.

  41. Michael Averko says:

    Nothing personal Tim. Saw Alexander Cockburn on CSPAN over the weekened. He noted how he likes to engage in the art of direct hard hitting commentary and added that he would be a hypocrite if he couldn’t take what he dishes out.

    Without naming names, there’re some rather hypocritical folks out there who follow a half assed route on such matter.

    I’m not one of them.

  42. GER O'BRIEN says:

    RM, would you expand a bit on your Q&A session with Timoshenko? That sounded very interesting. I’ve always thought she was a bit of a fraud, I just wondered what she’s like when questioned.

  43. Tim Newman says:

    Nonsense analogy. There were no Jewish Nazis. There were plenty of Ukrainian and other non-Russian Communists.

    It is not nonsense. The basis for your objection to Ukrainians apportioning some of the blame on Russia for their treatment at the hands of the Soviets is that:

    1) more Russians died than Ukrainians,
    2) Stalin wasn’t Russian, and
    3) many Ukrainians supported the Soviets.

    Pointing out that my analogy doesn’t take into account that no Jews were Nazis does nothing to nulify my rebuttal of the first two points, i.e. that by your logic Czech Jews can’t blame Germany because:

    1) Germany lost more Jews than Czechoslovakia
    2) Hitler wasn’t Austrian.

    Which leave us with 3), your assertion that Ukrainians cannot apportion some of the blame to Russia because some Ukrainians collaborated with the Soviets. This takes the view that Ukrainians should all be treated as one amalgomous block, and not as individuals. It is perfectly acceptable for some Ukrainians to dislike Russia for their involvement in the Ukraine regardless of whether other Ukrainians were involved also.

    Time, you’re overly presumptuous in a most ignorant manner. In the past couple of months, my commentary has appeared in The Tiraspol Times and Serbianna, in addition to my Siberian Light interview and Sean’s Russia Blog articles. In the SL interview, I note the free web design and customer support offers accorded me.

    My apologies. Given that you are such a successful commentator and have no problem getting published across a raft of impressive outlets, can we now expect an end to your rather tedious insistence from you and your fans that you are being silenced and censored?

    In your Siberian Light interview, you acknowledged not reading too many blogs. I’ve noticed how you’ve previously jumped into conversations overlooking what was said in the given article and related conversations.

    Can you provide some examples? Or at least let me make the prediction that almost all such examples will involve me talking about a subject with others whilst ignoring the rather dubious arguments that you yourself are espousing?

    He noted how he likes to engage in the art of direct hard hitting commentary and added that he would be a hypocrite if he couldn’t take what he dishes out.

    I have no idea who Alexander Cockburn is, but I tend to avoid any commentary which is self-described as “hard-hitting” and involves “dishing out” something or other.

  44. Tim Newman says:

    Sorry, 2) above should read: Hitler wasn’t German.

  45. Michael Averko says:

    You show your ignorance yet again in a way that suggestively promotes hating a group of people despite your addendum to the contrary. Russia is inhabited by Russians.

    Nazi Germany was opposed to Jews. The USSR saw loyal Ukrainians rewarded over perceived Russian threats. Nazi Germany had no loyal Jews who benefitted over Germans. Hence your poor analogy.

    The previously stated mass media biases are a clearly defined matter of record hushed up by (among others) some perceived Russia friendlys. It’s all well documented in my Siberian light interview and discussion following it.

    You don’t know that because you are by your own self admission not so well versed on the matter inclusive of not reading too many blogs and not knowing who Cockburn is.

    In your interview, you were clear in not reading too many blogs. In the Sean’s Rusia Blog 91 posted comments on the media coverage, you made some of the inaccurately stated Anglo-American mass media statements about the wars in former Yugo. Issues previously detailed at length at that and other venues where my commentary has appeared.

    That and your ongoing incorrect supposition that more Ukrainians dislike Russians over Ukrainians not disliking Russians. Were you well read on the subject, you would know this to not be true.

    There’s a reason why the Blue folks are back, why most Ukrainians oppose NATO membership and why a series of polls shows Ukrainioans not holding the misguided grudges you continue to claim.

  46. Lyndon says:

    Briefly on the Holodomor issue – Russia succeeded to the USSR’s international obligations and rights under various treaties, as well as inheriting the USSR’s property around the world.

    Claiming that Russia gets to wash its hands of responsibility for all Soviet wrongs suggests that the RF should get all of the upside of being the USSR’s successor state and none of the downside.

    Since no int’l obligations were implicated in the Holodomor (genocide as an int’l crime – and the concurrent int’l obligation not to commit it – was not yet recognized in the ’30’s), maybe the RF’s status as the USSR’s successor state doesn’t matter to this discussion. But it still feels like Russia could perhaps pre-empt the Ukrainians fighting for a “genocide” designation by simply apologizing (assuming that hasn’t been done before) and trying to get people to move on.

  47. Michael Averko says:

    Not quite Lyndon. Give Crimea back to Russia. You can’t bash Communism, while supporting some of its spoils for your own biases.

    It’s 100% bogus to whitwash the many non-Russian Communists in the USSR and abroad.

    No apology as you define it is owed.

    An apology is owed to Russians for the bigoted US congressionally sponsored Captive Nations Committee, which appears to be the most institutionalized form of anti-Russian bigotry on record.

  48. Michael Averko says:

    Also note the non-discussion of how a minority of Ukrainians (primarily from Galicia) are seeking to have the OUN/UPA formally honored.

    This group was known to have committed atrocities against Poles, Jews and those Ukrainians who weren’t in agreement with them.

    The remnants of this group greatly influenced the bigoted anti-Russian Captive Nations Committee overseeing Captive Nations Week.

    This isn’t stressed unlike the topics discussed here like blaming Russia for what happened in Ukraine in the 19 thirties.

    Such selectivity highlights flawed venues like Johnson’s Russia List.

    At the http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson search engine feel free to type in Holodomor and do likewise for Captive Nations Week and Captive Nations Committee.

    No small wonder that the OUN/UPA crowd promotes an anti-Russian declaration on the Holodomor.

    The earlier cited (in this discussion) AUR link gives a detailed accounting of the Holodomor.

  49. Tim Newman says:

    Russia is inhabited by Russians.,/em>

    Please highlight where I have said otherwise. Let’s save time: I haven’t.

    The USSR saw loyal Ukrainians rewarded over perceived Russian threats. Nazi Germany had no loyal Jews who benefitted over Germans.

    Yes, I know. But as I have already said, it is perfectly acceptable for some Ukrainians who suffered under the Soviets to hold Russia partly responsible, regardless of whether some Ukrainians benefitted under the Soviets. Your statement, as I have also pointed out, does not refute my analogy.

    In your interview, you were clear in not reading too many blogs.

    No, I believe I said I do not read many Russian-themed blogs for somebody who himself blogs on Russia. I actually read a great many blogs, just not that many Russian-themed blogs. For what it’s worth, all those blogs on my blogroll I read on a daily basis. Also, I would not draw too many conclusions from my not reading many blogs on Russia. Blogs are a hit-and-miss source of information at best. When it comes to Russia, I prefer books.

    In the Sean’s Rusia Blog 91 posted comments on the media coverage, you made some of the inaccurately stated Anglo-American mass media statements about the wars in former Yugo.

    Actually, what I said was that I believed that Kosovo had no right to independence until Serbia started to persecute the Kosovars. Having done so, Serbia lost its right to rule Kosovo. Now, please can you find where this argument appears in any “Anglo-American mass media” outlet?

    Issues previously detailed at length at that and other venues where my commentary has appeared.

    Heh! You’ll forgive me for repeating the prediction I made in the last comment of mine:

    At least let me make the prediction that almost all such examples will involve me talking about a subject with others whilst ignoring the rather dubious arguments that you yourself are espousing?

    Yes, I was right: you complain that the person who does not agree with your arguments is not aware of the full facts, and attempt to set him straight by using one of your own identical arguments as an authoritative source.

    That and your ongoing incorrect supposition that more Ukrainians dislike Russians over Ukrainians not disliking Russians.

    Please highlight where I have said this? Let’s save time: I haven’t.

  50. GER O'BRIEN says:

    I think any comparison with Germany and the USSR in this regard is slightly wrong. The reason is very simple; the Jews, quite rightly, can blame the Germans for what happened – because the German people bought into the whole idea of Nazism. They were not intially forced to follow Hitler. They chose to and most of them fervently supported him until the Soviets were at the door. I’m not saying for a second that Germans necessarily liked what was going on with the Jews, but it seems to me there was no overiding ‘compelling’ of them to support Nazi idealogy. But they did and it eventually swallowed them up. Hitler was elected dont forget. In the USSR on the other hand, people bought into the revolution simply to end WW1 and to get fed. They wanted to end their pain and hunger. They did not choose a dictatorship or central planning or any of the evil and stupidity that helped cause the Ukraianian famine. The Soviet people, Russian or otherwise, did not knowingly choose the path the USSR eventually took. It was fostered upon them. And therefore, the Russians I feel are far, far less culpable for Ukraine than the Germans are for the Holocaust.

    Again, I might be totally wrong in this, but somehow it seems to me that Ukraine was a disaster more of the making of the Soviet leadership than any nationality in particular. I’d also like to stress my points on the Germans are from my own limited info; I may be well off the mark.

  51. Tim to Mike: Judging from your comments on various message boards over the last couple of months, I understand you are struggling to find an editor who will publish your writings.

    Does a foreign policy analyst and media critic have to do this ? Why does he claim to not have a blog of his own ? What about Averko’s Russia Report ?

    Gosh, he is so far off the mark when analysing and criticising Russia, does he really have to do the very same thing with Germany, with the very same quality now ? Plese no !

    Do 2 comments (one of December 23, 2006 and one of March 22, 2007 at Serbianna.com hake someone an foreign policy analyst and media critic ?

    Do 8 hits at “The Tiraspol Times” (most of them only bring up his name, only 2-3 were written by him) make a foreign policy and media critic ?

    Do 9 letters to the editors of the New York Times (1st on August 16, 1993 – last on March 16, 1999) make a foreign policy analyst and media critic ?

    Do comments on privately owned blogs make anybody a foreign policy analyst and media critic ?

    Is my 3 year old son a foreign policy analyst and media critic because he grunts and whines when I switch the TV set from his favourite kiddy channel to the news (on foreign policy) ?

    Could anybody please tell me what it takes to become a foreign policy analyst and media critic ?

  52. Andy says:

    I’m not sure what it says about your son’s credentials as a foreign policy analyst, but I think you’ve clearly demonstrated that he is a far more able media critic than most of us…

  53. GER O'BRIEN says:

    )))Beauty Andy. Very well said)) Am actually laughing at loud at that one!))

  54. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Ger,

    that was many years ago. She ranted a lot about how Ukraine should be an EU member, or will be, how it will defend itself against Russia… run of the mill nationalism. It was mostly about recruiting election observers, lots of appeals to the Ukrainian diaspora and such stuff. She actually never really answered my question, come to think of it.;)

  55. I’m not sure what it says about your son’s credentials as a foreign policy analyst, but I think you’ve clearly demonstrated that he is a far more able media critic than most of us…

    Ok, the “media critic” goes to my son then. But there are other things I could do ….

    a) I could go out to dinner in a Michelin Star decorated restaurant and could yell at the waiter … this clearly would make me a gourmet critic.

    b) I could address the ladies of the Salvation Army running around in Düsseldorf, analyse their looks and the quality of their uniforms …this clearly would make me a military analyst.

    c) I could engage my mother-in-law and saw her head off. After this I could not only claim to be an expert on the war on terror, I could also claim the title of a successful dragon slayer and become the hero on the Medieval Fantasy Websites & Blogs

  56. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Funny that RM, so she’s just like our politicians back home -hot air, waffle and bullshit. I knew a girl who got to ask Yegor Gaidar questions at a seminar at MGU some years ago -and she said the same thing you did. Hardly any useful information came from him at all. You’d imagine Yegor Gaidar would have a few tales to tell or at least strong opinions anyway.

    Tim/Mike/Heribert – stop this row please. Now I know I’m not one to talk myself and sorry to all I’ve offended previously, but this row has gone a bit personal. Everyone has something to add here but ripping pieces off each other has no use at all.

    Andy -my parents old dog at home Bob is quite docile and funnily enough only seems to bark when politicians are making the rounds of the houses before elections. How would you rate him as a political observer?

  57. Tim/Mike/Heribert – stop this row please. Now I know I’m not one to talk myself and sorry to all I’ve offended previously, but this row has gone a bit personal. Everyone has something to add here but ripping pieces off each other has no use at all.

    Hä ? Which row ? The (serious) question is what does it take to become a foreign policy analyst and media critic.

    As far as I remember, neither Tim nor me ever claimed to be anything else than bloggers who have fun in what they do. And what we do is blogging, not giving us the aura of being some expert, analyst or critic. Neither Tim nor me have ever claimed to be the one and only source of important information the world has to listen to. And I cannot remember having read Tim, or having written myself, that people do not have the right to make a fool of themselves. I do this on a daily basis.

    And yes Ger, you are right. No offense intended, but the job of the Siberian Light Moralist is Andy’s job, not yours. Particularly not after posting your “Birthday Wishes” to the La Russophobe Boys just recently. As long as Andy doesn’t complain and tells me (or Tim) how to behave on his blog I will write what I think is appropriate, the way I think being appropriate.

  58. Michael Averko says:

    Tim:

    Seeing how Russians suffered at the hands of Ukrainian and Jewish Communists, then Russians have a right to despise Jews and Ukrainians?

    It’s wrong to blame Jews for Communism. It’s also wrong to do that with Russians.

    as per your other comments, the Serbs were persecuted by Albanians which in turn ignited what transpired after 1989. This had been detailed at the venue you participated in with fact based info.

    Heribert:

    One of my Tiraspol Times articles is frequently featured at the very top portion of its web site at http://tiraspoltimes.com. TTT has informed me that my articles there are among the most read.

    You’re carrying on like a demagogue with broad negative side swipes which misrepresent my contributions elsewhere, to go along with not directly addressing my points.

    Your LR like belittling of my NYT letters negates the following:

    – 7 of the 8 were published within a two year span in a pre-internet era when it was extremely difficult to get anything published in the “paper of record”.

    – Such names as Mark Ames and Peter Lavelle have yet to make The NYT op-ed.

    – From the looks of things, I’ve provided more original and fact based analysis than your grandson and yourself combined and not just at blogs (besides The NYT and TTT: JRL, Serbianna, Intelligent.ru and the AUR).

    I did it while never backtracking on my views, which are very much suppressed in the “free” (for those who can afford to influence it) press.

    Ger:

    Just setting the record straight.

  59. Michael Averko says:

    Tim:

    Seeing how Russians suffered at the hands of Ukrainian and Jewish Communists, then Russians have a right to despise Jews and Ukrainians?

    It’s wrong to blame Jews for Communism. It’s also wrong to do that with Russians.

    as per your other comments, the Serbs were persecuted by Albanians which in turn ignited what transpired after 1989. This had been detailed at the venue you participated in with fact based info.

    Heribert:

    One of my Tiraspol Times articles is frequently featured at the very top portion of its web site at http://tiraspoltimes.com. TTT has informed me that my articles there are among the most read.

    You’re carrying on like a demagogue with broad negative side swipes which misrepresent my contributions elsewhere, to go along with not directly addressing my points.

    Your LR like belittling of my NYT letters negates the following:

    – 7 of the 8 were published within a two year span in a pre-internet era when it was extremely difficult to get anything published in the “paper of record”.

    – Such names as Mark Ames and Peter Lavelle have yet to make The NYT op-ed.

    – From the looks of things, I’ve provided more original and fact based analysis than your grandson and yourself combined and not just at blogs (besides The NYT and TTT: JRL, Serbianna, Intelligent.ru and the AUR).

    I did it while never backtracking on my views, which are very much suppressed in the “free” (for those who can afford to influence it) press.

    Ger:

    Just setting the record straight.

  60. Andrew Waller says:

    This comment has been removed by the blog’s administrator.

  61. Mike,

    Your LR like belittling of my NYT letters negates the following […]

    I do not belittle anything. I simply say that a writer of a letter to the editor is no columnist. By adding to every line you drop somewhere “Hey, the NYT published me !” you falsely suggest to have been published for being a serious commentator, columnist or author. Which you clearly aren’t.

    There are plenty of analysts and critics who never were published by the NYT, simply because they never wrote a letter to its editors or didn’t feel like writing a column there.

    This definitely does not make them worse than you are, or the other way around, makes you better than they are.

    Everbody has (at some time) a dream about what he / she wants to become in life. Some want to become a firefighter, some want to become a cosmonaut. Some manage to make this dream come true and to achieve their goal. Others fail. You obviously want to become a famous journalist, analyst and critic. You’ve failed up to now. And this is the reason why some od your “friends” accuse you of actually flipping hamburgers at Wendy’s and not making a living of being a great analyst and critic.

    Someone who travelled to Star City and was permitted to wear a real cosmonaut’s helmet once is as much a real cosmonaut as someone only writing letters to the editors of the NYT is a co-editor of this newspaper. Regardless how many times he / she claimes the opposite.

    For the record. The young gentleman I mentioned is my youngest son not my grandson. I am no grandfather yet, although my older children are of an age when the easily could be parents already.

    True, you’ve “provided” a lot of stuff. And a lot of the stuff you “provided” wasn’t published at all. You keep complaining yourself intensively enough about how much of your stuff is not published and accuse those who refuse to publish you of applying censorship and suppressing you.

    May the real analysts and critics decide whether the stuff you provide, and which is “published”, is fact based and original or not.

    My opinion doesn’t count as I am no self-proclaimed independent analyst and media critic. Your “independent” reads “unemployed”, this explains why you are so desperately in need of attention.

    Or is your behaviour simply the symptom of a tremendous Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ? This would explain the massive flooding of blogs and message boards you (not only) lately produce.

  62. Lyndon says:

    Mike, you might try to modulate your tone a bit. I made a reserved comment just throwing a couple of ideas out there. I know you feel embattled and “censored,” but that’s no excuse for going off in a manner that alienates everyone, including people who might otherwise agree with some of your points.

    Give Crimea back to Russia.

    That’s one I can’t agree with, because I think we’ve seen how damaging it can be to try to re-draw borders in the post-Soviet space. Why not give northern and southern Bessarabia back to Moldova while you’re at it? If you start doing this, every country (or de facto statelet) will want to rewind history to the point in time when their territory was largest and declare a historical precedent for those borders.

    It’s 100% bogus to whitwash the many non-Russian Communists in the USSR and abroad.

    Sorry, but none of them ended up with any of the USSR’s property or legal obligations. Russia decided (wisely, I think) not to set up something like South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Committee, so many of the Soviet-era perpetrators will never be called to account. And I do recognize that in terms of raw numbers it was Russians who suffered the most. But I don’t think that justifies belittling the suffering of the smaller nationalities.

    Also, you not only found something in my statement that wasn’t there (a supposed desire to “whitwash” [sic]), you also called it “100% bogus” – a classy way of showing how you’re open-minded and enter into these discussions in good faith.

    No apology as you define it is owed.

    I never said any was owed, or defined what form it might take, I just suggested that some form of apology might help everyone move on. One can debate at length whether the US states which have begun to apologize for slavery and racial discrimination owe those apologies; I think they can sometimes be a good idea regardless.

    An apology is owed to Russians for the bigoted US congressionally sponsored Captive Nations Committee, which appears to be the most institutionalized form of anti-Russian bigotry on record.

    I actually agree with your general idea that the Captive Nations concept became less productive after the fall of the USSR, and the diaspora communities could have found other ways to move forward in defining their home countries’ independence in ways that were not solely defined in opposition to Russia. At the same time, I don’t think it ever rose to the level of “bigotry.” And the idea of an apology for words (as opposed to, say, starving millions of people) is laughable. Would you have Russia apologize for the anti-American statements of certain Duma members? I hope not, because no one needs such an apology.

    I did it while never backtracking on my views

    George W. Bush has taken great pride in his similar approach to Iraq and other issues. I commend you both for your devotion to your respective articles of faith and persistence in propounding them.

  63. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Timeout, please.

  64. Michael Averko says:

    Heribert:

    Try getting anything published in The NYT, especially in the pre-internet era.

    You disingenuously overlook the many articles I’ve had posted/published at sites that are well respected by many.

    You once again don’t directly challenge any of my views which are in fact highly regarded by (among others) some of the folks regularly appearing at JRL.

    You’ve definite crank like qualities.

    When compared to yours truly and using your criteria, you aren’t qualified to judge me.

    Lyndon:

    Okay.

    Here’s another tact to your earlier mentioned successor state point. Serbia and Russia are successor states to former multi-national conglomerates that each are no longer a part of (Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, etc). Likewise, the brutal Communist aspects of Yugoslavia and the USSR aren’t Serb and Russian monopolies.

    Crimea was a rhetorical reference.

  65. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Timeout. Timeout. Who cares. Who gives a damn. I don’t care where anybody got published. Really. Couldn’t care less. Idiots get published, smart people get published. And vice versa. Heck, I got letters to the editor published in the only daily newspaper of the capital of one of the largest countries in the world…;) To this day i suspect it was published for comic relief.

    Here’s the ultimate test for ‘being published’, in my opinion: if you are in Lexis Nexis (and i am not talking about the Court case database…)

    Time out. Time out. Please.

  66. Michael Averko says:

    RM

    Jus playin with some people who make some rather absurd points. I’m not referring to your last post comments Lyndon. I’ll more than gladly keep it level with you and anyone else. I do have limits when it comes to reading some questionable commentary that harps on misguided sterotypes.

    Hit and get hit is my motto. If you hit and then whine when such manner is returned, then….

  67. Mike,

    Try getting anything published in The NYT, especially in the pre-internet era.

    Why should I want to do something like that ? One Averko in a century is truly enough 😉

    You disingenuously overlook the many articles I’ve had posted/published at sites that are well respected by many.

    From time to time cows drop something very unpleasant, particularly when the weather is hot, and there are “many” circulating around it. Truly not a role model to follow 😛

    You once again don’t directly challenge any of my views which are in fact highly regarded by (among others) some of the folks regularly appearing at JRL.

    Are we talking about the “biased” and “censoring” Johnson’s Russia List refusing to publish you ? The one that published the famous “La Russophobe Interview but for some yet unknown reason didn’t publish the Averko Interview ?

    Are we talking about this particular Johnson’s Russia List you so bitterly complained about on this blog and elsewhere ? Didn’t you insist that Johnson’s Russia List wasn’t worth reading because it doesn’t publish The World’s One and Only Truly Independent Foreign Policy Analyst and News Critic ? Oh, I see. 🙂

    When compared to yours truly and using your criteria, you aren’t qualified to judge me.

    Hey, I am not judging you. I have a hell of a time laughing about you. Please keep up the good work !

  68. Andy says:

    Guys, this conversation is getting a bit tetchy, and I’d appreciate it if you would both tone it down a notch.

    I know that both of you are pretty laid back, and neither will take too great offense from each other’s insults, but I have a problem with people throwing around personal insults on this blog, and its clear that others do too.

  69. Michael Averko says:

    Me as well.

    For the record, when I get posted at JRL,it’s a great accomplishment in lieu of the well documented biasaes there.

    The not so funny bozo here can’t seem to make it anywhere and has yet to successfully debunk any of my points.

    He has also insulted blogs by suggesting that they aren’t as worthy.

    Some of my best material has been posted at blogs and establishment venues take some the leading blogs seriously.

  70. Michael Averko says:

    In respect to Andy, I take back the Bozo comment while remaining steadfast on the rest.

  71. Andy says:

    Cheers Mike, much appreciated.

  72. Michael Averko says:

    You’re a good man bro. Along with Sean and a few others, you’re a credit to the Eng. language coverage of the former USSR.

  73. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”And yes Ger, you are right. No offense intended, but the job of the Siberian Light Moralist is Andy’s job, not yours. Particularly not after posting your “Birthday Wishes” to the La Russophobe Boys just recently. As long as Andy doesn’t complain and tells me (or Tim) how to behave on his blog I will write what I think is appropriate, the way I think being appropriate.”

    Heribert, who’s being a moralist? I was just asking you to stop acting like a twat, to put it more explicitly. You were ranting. LR style. Give it a rest, as Brian’s mother told him in ”Life of Brian”. 90% of what you were saying was just personal insult, trying to denigrate a man rather than what he had to say. Again to put it firmly to you, i dont give a s**t who’s in charge(apologies Andy). Some of what you said above was caustic and totally unnecessary and I’ll have a cut off you whenever the mood takes me for out. I just asked you politely/ I’ll know in future which tone is better with you. And by the way spare us the humour. You’re German. You’re not supposed to be funny and frankly you arent. With the exception of the mother-in-law/war-on-terror line, the rest of it was about as funny as a dose of the runs with no toilet paper. It’s like the Irish and cricket. Sometimes it works but really its just not meant to be.I’m telling you that I think what YOU said above was inappropriate, regarding Mike and Wendys. It was bloody atrocious. And unlike you, when I go over the top I apologise and withdraw what i said. I guess its all in the rearing.

  74. Ger, are you being a little nationalistic today ? Thank you for reminding me, being a German, what I am supposed to do.

    I will not remind you, being an Irishman, what you are supposed to do according to some. This involves “Wellingtons” and “sheep”.

  75. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Heribert,

    nice try, but well wide of the mark. You wouldnt be raising the touch-judges flags with that one. Apologies. My tongue slipped. I meant to say Germans ‘arent’ funny rather than ‘supposed’ to be funny. Because frankly you arent. And I’ve worked with plenty of Germans to know that. They’ve certainly got their talents – frugality, avoiding buying rounds of drink, taking horrendous long distance bus journeys instead of paying a few extra euros for the train and wearing the same clothes for two years. But, I digress.

    Your attacks on Mike were cheap and nasty and dont get too upset now that someone is flying in with a cheap and nasty tackle for you. And by the way getting a letter published in the NY Times is no small achievement. Around 20 million people read that newspaper so as you can imagine they get a lot of mail. Well done Mike. Did you get published anywhere, Heribert? Der Bild maybe?

    ‘Wellingtons’, ‘sheep’…are you thinking of New Zealand maybe? Can you think of a good one at least? Our drinking and fighting maybe? Our atrocious football team?

  76. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Heribert/Andy,

    I take back the latter half of the first paragraph above. It was too much. The rest stands though.

  77. Ger,

    you may have your ideas about Germany and Germans. That’s perfectly ok with me. I understand why your German workmates didn’t buy you any drinks. I wouldn’t either 🙂

    Back to the point of being published, I am not claiming to be a journalist or author, not claiming to be an analyst or critic. This is why I do see no need to write to any newspaper and demand to be published. Maybe this has slipped your attention.

  78. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    And I’ve worked with plenty of Germans to know that. They’ve certainly got their talents – (…)

    taking horrendous long distance bus journeys instead of paying a few extra euros for the train and wearing the same clothes for two years.

    ====
    Actually, taking the bus is cheap AND educational. Done it FOUR times so far, and never got bored.

    And what kind of wasteful rascals are you working with? Half of MY wardrobe is AT LEAST F I V E years old, and that’s NOT counting that great cardigan I inherited from my uncle…

    😀

  79. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    And German humor is VERY funny. It’s not OUR fault YOU don’t understand it…

  80. GER O'BRIEN says:

    RM -i stand corrected)) Actually I cant say a word about clothes myself. I’ve got stuff on me this minute thats likely banned by the fashion police in most countries. Its not like I’m bloody YSL myself)

    Heribert -you can dish out poison
    ”Hey, I am not judging you. I have a hell of a time laughing about you. Please keep up the good work !’

    But you cant take it. Andreas Brehme clearly you aint, or Klaus Augenthaler for that matter. These were fine Germans who could sure take a good thump and give it back as good. You have that priceless tone of righteous indignation. Funny, you werent so righteous above in your attacks on Mike earlier.

    Nothing slipped my attention Heribert. What caught my attention is you ridiculing Mike because of his publishing claims in the NYT and your cheap, childish, two rouble insults at him. No-one is saying you claim to be a journalist or a critic. But you do seem to have an unhealthy fixation with Mike’s claims, resulting in those enormous, meandering, humourless and frankly caustic rants above(sodium hydroxide is a very cheap chemical). Hence my questioning your big interest in his journalism and wondering out loud if, just maybe, you were really a hack in disguise..after all, journalists spend more time mouthing off about each other than anything worthwhile. You seem to fit that bill.

    As for Germans not buying me pints, now that hurt. There are few ways to insult a Paddy better than not buy him a pint. After all, we’ll die of thirst and have to return to our cottages to eat potatoes and wait for the next EU cheque. From Germany. So one way or another we get drink from you)

  81. This comment has been removed by the blog’s administrator.

  82. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Stop it, please. Ger, Heribert — you’re both cool dudes, and as far as I know, you both have more than amply paid jobs to your honor. Please, please, stop it.

    Thank you!!!!

  83. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    Oh my god. I’m acting as a peacemaker… please don’t tell anybody, I’ve reputation to protect.

    Ihr seid alles Saukoeppe. Da, fuehlt Euch beleidigt!!!!! Dammich.

  84. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    As I’m not sure Ger understands my insults in German, here’s a special, just for you 😉

    Aich te bheal – Póg me hón!

    Now stop hatin’….:D

  85. Ihr seid alles Saukoeppe. Da, fuehlt Euch beleidigt!!!!! Dammich.

    Jau, der war gut. 🙂 Zeig mal Deinen blauen Helm 😉

  86. and as far as I know, you both have more than amply paid jobs to your honor

    I have no job, sniff. Ich bin nur “Unternehmer”.

  87. Michael Averko says:

    My formal titles are:

    Foreign Policy Analyst Extraordinaire (FPAE) & Political Dissident (PD)

    This is acknowledged by Heribert never having put a substantive dent in my analysis and the ongoing commentary from people like Yulia Latynina and Taras Kuzio.

    http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@139.fkHUbwLtJ9D.3@.77480649/7475

    To quote Dizzy Dean: “It aint braggin if you’re good.”

    Heribert reminds me a bit of a German contact of mine in Moscow.

  88. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEACE!

  89. ReluctantMuscovite says:

    PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEACE!
    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAZE!

  90. Andy says:

    Yes, I think it’s time to bring this ill-tempered thread to a close.

    As of now, I’ve turned off the comments box on this post.

  1. April 5, 2007

    […] Light had to close the comment section on this post about the current events in Ukraine, after minor virtual fighting broke out between a bunch of […]