Grand Chess and Great Flops in Ukraine

Michael Colhaze


Roadside in Eastern Ukraine

Roadside in Eastern Ukraine

Materialists and madmen never have doubts
G. K. Chesterton

If you wonder how the above birds could fit into the heading of this piece and I told you it’s because of Global Strategies as I understand them, you might even go so far and lift an eyebrow in consternation. Thus permit me to commence with the fowl and move on from there.

The birds are healthy and happy geese who, among other denizens, populated Joyful, a small village somewhere in the vast expanses of Eastern Ukraine. I know this because I have lived there myself for two healthy and happy years, together with my lovely young wife, our daughter and our dog. The village is mostly a long road bordered by small farmsteads with an adjacent acre or so of arable land. Many families own a cow, and the entire crowd of docile and contented beasts is lead every morning at sunrise, weather permitting, into the nearby meadows for grazing and ruminating. Milk, cheese and butter are cheap and untainted, just like the eggs or an occasional hen for Sunday supper.

We were growing our own vegetables and received twice a month organic foodstuff from a retailer in Kiev. Our garden had a few fruit trees, among them a mighty chestnut and an even larger apricot, and both produced more bounty than we could handle. The village is peaceful and on the whole very safe, with troves of kids playing unguarded next to the road or in the court yards, and poultry scratches and cackles everywhere. Transport happens by way of an ancient bus, old and very old automobiles, antediluvian motorbikes with sassy sidecars, or horse-drawn carts. Many villagers are blond and blue-eyed, and I felt as if transported half a century back into the serene little hamlet where I grew up myself. The nearest city is about twenty miles away, to be reached by a road with formidable potholes that become sometimes impassable, particularly after a heavy rain. City traffic is relaxed, drivers behave civilly, and it happens rarely that someone bangs the horn or swears at you. Road controls are frequent, but the cops let you off for a few bucks if you had a bottle of wine or were driving too fast.

Wages are pitifully low and nearly everyone tries to earn something by the side. Once, while visiting Odessa’s magnificently restored Opera House to enjoy a lovely and strictly traditional Tosca, an acquaintance told us that the First Baritone worked during the day as a taxi driver and upon demand entertained his clients with an ear-splitting aria.

Bribes are a part of life, particularly when dealing with an often ponderous officialdom. This can be sometimes awkward, but after a while you twig the game and manage to play along. Where big government is concerned, the habit appears to be more manifest and most likely happens on a much larger scale. Julia Timoshenko, a former prime minister of dubious merits, stands accused to have embezzled millions of dollars, all parked safely abroad — a vice much scoffed at by our Western Presstitutes.

With time — and how could it be otherwise? — I learned more about my host country and its people. And realized to my surprise that there exists a deep divide that separates East and West. One that manifests itself, to begin with, in two different languages. Inhabitants of the huge eastern Donetsk basin speak Russian, whereas in Kiev and further west Ukrainian is predominant. Both tongues are rooted in the Slav idiom, but differ considerably.

The languages apart, there prevails an emotive separation that is even more significant. It has its genesis in Stalin’s collectivization orders, a catastrophe diligently enforced by his NKVD lynchpins Genrikh Yagoda, Leonid Reichman and Lazar Moisevich Kaganovich, a gang of human monsters who efficiently managed to murder whole population strata in cold blood: independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members of the bourgeoisie, priests, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labour movement activists, “opposition supporters” who were defined completely at random, and countless members of the Communist party itself. We cannot know the exact number of deaths these men have on their conscience, but it surely exceeds twenty million, with at least six million in the Ukraine alone.

As to the latter, the terrible tragedy is remembered as Holodomor, a time when the people of Joyful, at least those who could not escape beforehand, were ordered at gunpoint by NKVD thugs to surrender their winter provisions and, in due course, first saw their children die of hunger and then died themselves.

Historical accuracy was hard to come by in those years, and many Ukrainian survivors blamed the crimes on the Soviet government, a sinister and lethal creature impossible to fathom, but generally believed to be Russian. A misconception entirely, because the ethnic Russians themselves suffered even more from their Georgian tyrant and his Jewish henchmen. Yet what it effected was an escalation of the tragedy, if that could be possible. Because there arrived a day when Hitler set out to take with the fist what is refused to amicable methods, an intention long since heralded in Mein Kampf.

Land can be only obtained at the expense of Russia, and this means that the new Reich must again set itself on the march along the road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to obtain by the German sword soil for the German plough and so daily bread for the nation.

The nation in question was of course exclusively meant to be Germany, a simple fact not understood by most of those Ukrainians who only recently had escaped Stalin’s collectivization terror. Thus when Hitler’s armies invaded Galicia and other parts of western Ukraine, they were greeted as a welcome liberators. Young men flocked en masse to the Führer’s heathen banners, military units were created, complete with uniform and insignias, and all wanted eagerly to go east and exact revenge. Yet what came to pass was an even worse carnage that ended in utter defeat at Stalingrad, and those who got caught alive paid dearly for their treason.

Memories of the gruesome era have been diligently kept alive, and the profound differences, ethnic and ideological, were only thinly camouflaged during the following decades of communist rule. When Boris Yeltzin and his oligarchs broke up the USSR and arbitrarily created present-day Ukraine, a majority of parliamentarians refused to install Russian as the country’s second official language, even though it was spoken by millions of citizens in the large southern and eastern provinces. This downright discrimination only ended when Victor Yanukovich won the elections in 2011, and it is of interest to know how this came about.

While living in Joyful, I asked myself often who owned the enormous expanses of arable land that unfold beyond the local peasants’ paltry acres. You can drive for hours on end along endless fields of wheat or maize, and only sometimes see a small village, often destitute and clearly not related to the substantial riches which the country’s fertile soil must necessarily yield. Until the head of our local kindergarten, a diligent and warm-hearted lady who earned about one hundred dollars a month, told me that all was owned by foreign companies who changed their legal trappings every year to avoid paying taxes.

Sounds familiar, you may say, and I agree.

Looking back, the Soros-financed Orange Revolution is a first indication of the strategic struggle that culminated in the havoc recently unleashed on Kiev’s Maidan Square.

This said, allow me to take a look at one of the other side’s principal players.

During my entire and much varied career have I never encountered a politician who could rock me off the chair. I liked Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, but in a vaguely emotional fashion and without plumbing the deeper layers of their personalities. For the rest it seems to me that the entire bunch of shifty performers who populate the political vaudeville stage have nothing but their own advance in mind, and I despise them accordingly. As a man of letters, however dilettante, I can look easily through their stale and empty talk, delivered without a grain of true feeling, including sympathy or compassion, and I find it even more disgusting.

This changed when I took one day a closer look at Vladimir Putin. It happened shortly after my debut as essayist at TOO, and I only remember a mainstream outlet’s venomous attack which sounded too improbable to be true. But it made me appraise the Russian president more closely, and what I discovered caused first surprise and then admiration.

Because here was clearly a man who had offered battle to the gnomes and did so shrewdly and with iron resolve. It must have been a difficult and dangerous time when he and his friends began secretly to conspire against a bunch of powerful mega-crooks who, with their enormous tool of looted money, controlled Russia and its executive branches. Men he later called somewhat euphemistically the quasi-colonial element of the elite — those determined to steal and remove capital, and who did not link their future to that of the country.

Well, they never do, do they?

Rather, they are willing and able to trick an entire people out of its possessions, like Yukos and other giant state-owned enterprises, and sell it to the gnomes or become a gnome themselves. Yet in this particular case the scheme didn’t work out. Instead of consolidating their powerbases and multi-billion dollar bank accounts, they found themselves on the run or in prison. And this thanks to a man who valued his country more than mountains of stolen gold or political influence to attain strictly personal gains.

Once firmly in power, he set out on the tortuous road to heal his country and create a measure of prosperity for its people, and if you are stuck today in one of Moscow’s traffic jams amidst the many Mercedes, BMW or Audi limousines, you will agree that he has done very well so far.

But it was and still is a dangerous game. Because the gnomes didn’t take it kindly when an immensely important piece of their Orwellian puzzle dropped unexpectedly under the table. They immediately regrouped and began to destabilize Russia from within and without. Lavishly funded NGO’s were established, like the Pushkin Library whose Jewish-Georgian director received his massive resources directly from George Soros. And who, after his shop had been closed down for blatant subversion, publicly called President Putin a tyrant and demanded his removal from office.

Meanwhile the former Soviet republics, those set adrift by Yeltzin and his posse, were an easy game for Western emissaries with pockets full of cash. Since poverty still reigned, the prevalent fantasy of any intelligent citizen was of course an instant leap into the American Dream. Or, even better, the European one. Thus when the so-called Colour Revolutions were staged, all thinly disguised coup-d’états financed by Soros and his Neocon buddies from the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, they became an instant success. Western-orientated governments were installed, and NATO began to tighten the noose around Russia’s neck. Its president had little leeway to counteract these open threats, and only when Georgia, long since an US-Israeli colony, tried to force South Ossetia into its orbit, he reacted swiftly and decisively. It provided a first indication for the gnomes that not everything worked out as planned, and as time went by, their power bases began imperceptibly to deteriorate. One important fact was the incapacity to forge a united front. This because their European associates worried more about uninterrupted gas deliveries, giant amounts almost exclusively supplied by Russia, instead of antagonizing the latter for reasons nobody really believed. Particularly Chancellor Schroeder refused to make Germany a springboard for future NATO interventions, a posture that was later on rewarded with a well-doted job at Gazprom.

Another element that decisively thwarted a sneaking conquest was the promised riches which stubbornly refused to materialize, particularly in the Ukraine. Europe, itself already in dire straits, balked at accepting yet another aspirant with empty pockets. Thus Julia Timoshenko, the aforementioned premier and latter-day Messalina with long braids that keep changing their tint, could not improve the bleak conditions of most citizens who eventually believed that they lived better under Leonid Brezhnev than under her. She too depended much on Russian gas to get the country through the long and icy winters, and did not dare to risk an open rupture. And while she openly antagonized her political cronies, she did little to stem the sell-out of her country’s assets. Small wonder thus that she lost out against a Russian leaning contender in the 2011 elections, a result that must have set all the gnomes’ alarm bells ringing.

It is to be assumed that behind the stage of these particular elections the Russian president has pulled a few strings as well, simply because the situation in this most important part of the former Soviet Union must have caused him much headache. Take, for example, the Russian Black Sea fleet stationed at Sevastopol on the Krim, a strategic asset of the first magnitude. And one extremely vulnerable if NATO’s throng were to creep up right to its precincts. Then the entire Donetsk basin with its important industrial environs, including Dnjeperpetrovsk, once a centre of space research and home to the first satellite sent into orbit, but now up for grabs. Or the enormous stretches of fertile land owned by foreigners in league with the gnomes.

He might have wished often to reclaim this part of the world and incorporate it into Russia again, simply to be on the safe side. But that would have been only possible by way of a referendum, and even though many people in the region were quite openly advocating a return to the Motherland, it could have been too risky a game. The gnomes’ propaganda outlets are still powerful, including in the Ukraine, and a massive disinformation campaign might have wrecked the scheme entirely, leaving its instigators humiliated and empty-handed.

Then came NATO’s assault on Libya, and most of the world saw it for what it was, namely a murderous and entirely unprovoked onslaught that utterly ruined Africa’s wealthiest and socially most advanced country. When the same gangsters and assassins tried a replay in Syria, Russia was better prepared. It alerted its Mediterranean fleet of warships in Tartus, including a special unit of listeners that keeps track of the highly sophisticated submarines which the German chancellor doles out entirely free of charge to the Israeli navy. The Chinese gave a hand as well and sent a destroyer, and most of the world hoped passionately that peace would prevail. Which was the best possible backup for Russia when it launched a diplomatic offensive so elegant and effective that the American president had no other choice but to call off the venture, for fear of being made a monumental fool.

It must have set the gnomes and their neocon buddies foaming at the mouth with rage. Accordingly, their next moves became increasingly erratic, to such a degree that they finally found themselves where the Russian president wanted them to be.

To begin with, there was suddenly an EC admission on the table again, including the once much coveted NATO membership, with the only difference that at this point in time even the most backward hillbilly realized how Europe was falling apart at the edges. Desperate pensioners committed suicide in front of the Greek parliament, and violent protests against the gnome-imposed austerity sanctions were an extensively televised occurrence in Italy, Portugal and Spain. What exactly Ukraine could gain from such a convolution was a mystery for those with a cooler head, except of course the usual interest enslavement on behalf of the IMF and a consequent sell-out of the country’s last remaining assets. As it is, some pampered Brussels bums and boffins were dispatched to work out practicalities with President Yanukovich, who in turn behaved like an overlarge virgin dealing with suitors of dubious merit. He said yes, and no, and yes again, with plenty of perhapses in-between, and the haggling went on for a while until the boffins got completely exasperated. Then he just said no.

And that was that.

Which brings us to the last stage of this strange and intricate play. Propelled by the usual brazen arrogance and a near-demented overestimation of their own capacities, the gnomes resorted to what they do best, namely unleashing naked aggression. But first they dispatched that abominable noodle John McCain to Kiev to deliver the usual nauseating nonsense about democracy and what-not, and to pave the ground for further intrusions. Next came Victoria Nuland of the US State Department, an equally offensive noodle who was overheard, though not by the NSA, in a conversation with the US ambassador to suggest that Europe should get —-ed and America go it alone. A diplomatic faux-pas so stupid and rude that half the world rolled on the floor with merriment.

Nevertheless, America did go it alone in the end, even though for her it is most likely something entirely different from what a genuine Yankee believes it to be. Thus among the genuine Ukrainians who protested the elected President’s decision and only hoped for a betterment of their lives, there appeared the first nationalist thugs and armed foreign mercenaries, all paid well by Nuland’s agents. They soon controlled proceedings, and finally unleashed the havoc we have seen.

And while all this happened, there were a lot of people who wondered what was really going on. Why did nobody take McCain by his bovine ears and send him packing? Why didn’t the army move in and clear Maidan Square when there was still time? Why did Russia seem so strangely mellow and disinterested?  President Putin threatened to intervene with his army, it is true, but only to protect the eastern provinces. And how was it possible that the legally elected Ukrainian president behaved so hopelessly undecided and incompetent?

Well, as it happened he escaped south, probably by a pre-planned route, and Kiev got itself a new government. One completely illegitimate, if not downright criminal, as most Ukrainians can see for themselves. The IMF has tendered a first offer, to the usual murderous conditions and most likely with the usual sugar-coating for those in charge, but it seems they can’t find anybody with the proper authority to sign lasting contracts. Which in turn is probably the reason why, and against all expectations, the new regime can’t pay the gas bill anymore.

So who played grand chess and who made the great flops?

Don’t ask me, because I don’t know. All I know is that there will be soon a referendum in the southern provinces, and if you so want, I’ll bet you one to ten on its outcome.

And who can see what the future might bring? Perhaps time will tell the western Ukrainians that it has been all a false hope and a big mistake, and they remember their former compatriots and forget the past and look ahead and become friends for a change.

Michael Colhaze’s Website:  www.michael-colhaze.biz

The Cows of Joyful

The Cows of Joyful

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