Note: I didn’t expect the last two articles on Russia to be so popular. Because of the rampant censorship in the West, I had given up all hope of writing seriously about politics in English about two years ago. But, so far, Substack has allowed genuine dissidents to stay platformed on their service, so I figured that I might give it a shot. Here is my recently made substack where I will be re-uploading what has already been published on Occidental Observer and reposted elsewhere. If you like what I’ve written, feel free to sign up there because I’ve got a lot more analysis articles in the pipeline in the coming days and weeks about the situation in Eastern Europe and also some essays about just how much I hate Liberalism and all that it stands for. A huge thank you to Professor MacDonald for publishing my articles. – Rolo
There appears to be a breather in the offensive campaign two weeks in. Every talking head with a Telegram channel, a LiveJournal or a radio broadcast has weighed in on what this means. Some accept the statements from Russian officials at face value—that it is a genuine effort to provide humanitarian relief to the civilian population and to save lives through evacuations. Others, that it is a chance for the Russians to resupply and mass up even more troops. Some patriot voices in Russia are furious that Putin refused to give the order to engage the enemy head-on, choosing the velvet glove approach instead. Others say that this stratagem to win over hearts and minds is the correct one. Most intelligent commentators have already pointed out just how intense and overwhelming the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda barrage was and just how ill-equipped the Russian side was to deal with it. In our previous article, we explained why that may have been the case— the government never really took combatting Western disinformation too seriously until it was almost too late. If there is one clear and objective failing of Putin’s long rule that can be squarely pinned on his decision-making, this would be it. However, Putin did have a media strategy and it was quite clear for many years what it was: he focused on controlling the main TV channels and left the rest of the enemy’s propaganda untouched. In Russia, the “boomers” are the main voting block and they turn out in strength for whoever the TV tells them to… or the Communists, if they’re feeling particularly peeved at the government during that cycle. So it wasn’t a bad plan on Putin’s part by any means and it was better than anything that Trump or any other modern populist leader was able to pull off, by far. It was however, a half-measure, and while the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, the off-ramp was certainly built with half-measures.
Back on the warfront, rumors are circulating that Dniepopetrovsk might surrender by the time that the Russian forces reach it. Apparently, the Jewish oligarch Igor Kholomoisky, the kingpin of the city, may have sued for a separate peace with the Russians. I don’t want to make any hard predictions about the course that this war will take, but this isn’t really as absurd a proposition as it may seem at first glance. Rumor or not, mentioning it does cross us over neatly into the main topic of today’s post: the political power factions that control the Ukraine.
It is worth getting into the details here just so that we can come to an understanding of just what exactly Ukrainian politics was since independence. Ukrainian politics has been almost entirely dominated by the Eastern Mafias since the days of Presidents Kravchuk and Kuchma. There are two factions within the mafia that are worthy of particular mention: the Donbass and the Dniepropetrovsk groups. Both gained power when they took over the factories and the energy resources and the gas pipelines in their respective regions. Analysts who endlessly draw maps detailing ethnic compositions and language differences among the regions of Ukraine show themselves to be woefully uninformed and completely lost when it comes to understanding just what was happening in Ukraine over the last three decades. Dniepopetrovsk—–a Russian-speaking region (which shows how much that matters) has been the senior political power in the country since 2014. And the only shake-up that Ukrainian politics experienced over the last three decades, however minor, was the election and short-lived reign of Orange Revolution firebrand and then President (2005–2010), Victor Yushenko. Yushenko rose in on a wave of support from Western Ukraine, and crucially, he got many centrists in central regions to vote for him who were simply fed up with the corruption and criminal domination of Ukrainian politics. Nonetheless, Yushenko had to make a deal with Yulia Timoshenko (a Jewish gas baroness turned politician from Donbass) to form a powerful opposition block that became the ruling coalition once twice president (2002–2005 and 2010–2014) Victor Yanukovitch was ousted for the first time. Almost immediately, Yushenko ended up getting backstabbed by Yulia and her people. Or, to be fair, perhaps one could make the case that he betrayed her first and worse and got what he had coming. It doesn’t really matter in the grander scheme of things because the political elite of Ukraine always kept themselves busy tricking, arresting and stealing from one another. Yushenko’s ineffectual stint in power led to Yanukovitch’s (also a Donbass Mafia member) return to power and the events leading up to Euromaidan 2014.
That being said, the events that led to the current situation in Ukraine can be traced back to any point in history, really. One event leads to another so long as we are bound by the chain of cause and effect. It all depends on the skill of the writer to connect the dots and construct a narrative, really. So, my decision to pin the start of the sequence of events that led to this conflict on the events that occurred during the Yushenko era is arbitrary— we could just as easily go back to Kuchma and Kravchuk or to the events all the way back to the Khmelnitsky uprising in the seventeenth century if we wanted to. My goal is not to lay the blame on one corrupt politician or gangster to whitewash the others— only to shed light on a part of the story that Western readers might not be aware of and to push back against simplistic explanations offered for the conflict by ideologists with their own personal agendas informing their framing of events in a certain way.
As a direct result of Yushenko’s ascent to the presidency, a new faction began to rise in Ukraine that had hitherto not exercised power on the national level. We will pick up the story with the Orange Revolution president making the historic decision to start legitimizing and integrating the Galician right-wing radicals (often labeled “neo-Nazis”) into his government, but the lore behind the Galician faction stretches back to the bedlam of the Russian Revolution and is certainly worth delving into another time.
Once Yushenko began injecting die-hard Galician faction members into the security apparatus of Ukraine, they quickly carved out a niche for themselves in the secret police (SBU) and began taking up key positions in the military and defense offices. Assassinations, intimidations and power-grabs became the order of the day (not that they ever really stopped). Yanukovitch, who retook office soon after, did nothing to undo what was initiated by his predecessor and continued funding this operation up to the day that he was chased out of the country by many of these very same people working against him in the security services and in the mob that had gathered in the Maidan Square beneath his presidential residence. Why did he do this? Well, after the controlled demolition of the USSR, the political class of literally every single FSU country adopted something that has been derisively dubbed in Russia as the “sitting on two stools” approach to foreign policy. Put simply: they try to play the West and Russia off each other to extract more concessions from Russia. This was indeed a lucrative grift while it lasted, but eventually the stools toppled over and the whole thing came crashing down. Relative to Yanukovich, Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, got quite lucky. But that’s another story for another time.
Suffice it to say, in the FSU, the anti-Russian separatists/nationalists/Westernists have always enjoyed the secret support of even “pro-Russian” politicians and “pro-Russian” governments. This is because their job was to scare and intimidate the majority of voters, and shore up the power of the “moderate” government, which would prop up the radicals as scarecrows come election time. Now, I’m not a moral purist when it comes to politics by any means, and I can even appreciate a dastardly political stratagem pulled off by my enemies so long as it demonstrates acumen in the same way that a military man can appreciate and study a foreign army’s tactics while on campaign. But Yanukovitch was no Sun Tzu, and he ended up outfoxing himself. To be fair, perhaps he was too busy looting the country and settling old scores with his mafia rivals to notice the new pack of hyenas circling in on him. Regardless, after he was gone, the Galician faction got to finish their takeover of the entire security apparatus of Ukraine, helped along by the rebellion in Donbass and the annexation of Crimea, which gave them carte blanche to purge the ranks of unsympathetic officers, spooks and bureaucrats.
The bloggers who have been bellowing about UkroFascists!!! and the “nazification” of Ukraine on the internet for the last 10 years are probably talking about these people and their takeover of the security structures. But because of their use of the same hysterical buzzwords used by the beloved and trustworthy Western media and their thinly veiled USSR nostalgia, they have turned many sympathetic Westerners with conservative, nationalistic leanings away from them and their writings. The tone-deafness and poor persuasion skills of pro-Russian internet boomers aside, they are quite correct in stating that the Galicians or the Banderanazis(!!!) if you prefer, run Kiev now. However, this is only half the picture. The other half is the Eastern Mafia, which is very much still in the picture and hasn’t been sitting idly by. Kholomoisky of Dniepopetrovsk has successfully raised his own private army (the infamous Azov battalion) and he has defeated the Donbass mafia with targeted assassinations and because of his strategic alliance with the Galician faction, which runs the government. This is the power coalition running Ukraine now. The Galician faction runs the security apparatus/military with their gang and Kholomoisky controls the economy and media of the country with his gang. Needless to say, both groups have the support of Western spook agencies. And both groups believe that Ukraine is their turf and are willing to kill a lot of people to keep it that way.
But the largest feather in Kholomoisky’s cap is no doubt President Zelensky himself. Kholomoisky’s channel created and ran the “Servant of the People” show that featured Zelensky as an honest and intrepid President of Ukraine dedicated to fighting corruption and defending the Ukrainian people. When the elections came around, Kholomoisky’s people and his media resources went all out in campaigning for their man. My personal favorite play was when they bribed Facebook fortune-tellers to spin prophecies about the coming of the president-that-was-promised and thereby secured the superstitious peasant granny vote. If any Western politicians are reading this, put down Sun Tzu and try some of this Kholomoisky fellow’s stratagems during the next election cycle instead.
Now, Russia has declared that they are planning to do a thorough “denazification” campaign, which almost certainly means a thorough purge of the Galician faction from the positions that they have taken since Yushenko let them into the government. As for what will happen to the oligarchs who bankrolled this whole operation, well, that’s still somewhat up in the air. It’s worth point out that Russia used to have dealings with them right up until the events of Euromaidan. The arrangement was simple: Russia paid them to behave and not ally against Russia with the West. As we can see looking back, this was clearly a catastrophic strategy, and what’s worse, I can only shake my head at how uncreative and uninspired it was—a cardinal sin in my book. The worst possible outcome for Ukraine at this point is if Russia comes to a compromise with some element of the existing power structure in Ukraine once they wrap up the military operation. We now know that no negotiations with the Galician faction are possible, so we can cross them off the list. That leaves the Eastern Mafia. Rumors of Kholomoisky’s imminent surrender aside, I can’t help but hope that his chutzpah has finally crossed the line and that he will be forced to spend the rest of his days exiled in Israel along with his puppet Zelensky. As for the rest of the oligarchs, well, both Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Timoshenko held photo-ops in Kiev with Kalashnikovs in their hands, so we can cross them off the list as well. Further than that and we enter the realm of pure speculation.
Clearly, the best outcome would be for a military man from Russia with no history of doing politics or business in Ukraine to come in and take the reins as a vizier or military governor of sorts for a time. This solution may offend committed ideologists and apologists for Liberal Democracy (read: Oligarchy), but the hard truth of the situation that Ukraine finds itself in is one in which literally no one who was anywhere near the reins of power in that country for the last three decades has his hands clean. These people all looted, collaborated and murdered with near impunity for 30 years. With Russia now performing a political prison break from Liberal Oligarchic Occupation Government right before our very eyes, we can only hope that Ukraine will be able to follow suit and break free from the shackles as well.