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Boardman writes: "A possible invasion has been as true for decades as it is now, and it will be just as true as long as Russia and Ukraine share a border."

The perimeter of Independence Square, known as Maidan in Kiev in 2014. (photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
The perimeter of Independence Square, known as Maidan in Kiev in 2014. (photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Ukraine, Instability, and the US Election - No Way Out?

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

08 August 16


Headline: Ukraine claims Russian invasion possible ‘at any minute’

f course this sensationalized claim is as true as it is empty. A possible invasion has been as true for decades as it is now, and it will be just as true as long as Russia and Ukraine share a border (currently almost 1,000 miles long). Since September 2014, Ukraine has been building “Project Wall” along about 110 miles of the Russian border, an admitted “jobs project” reminiscent of the Maginot Line of the 1930s between France and Germany. But a possible invasion is a far cry from an imminent invasion, and a farther cry from an actual invasion, neither of which is shouted among the current cries of wolf in the region. More realistically, reports from Ukraine in early August suggest that the long-simmering, chronic near-crisis there, while perhaps warming a degree or two, remains a long-simmering, chronic near-crisis (or perhaps, as some optimists suggest, a “frozen conflict”). For now, the unstable stasis of Ukraine seems to suit the needs of the major players – Russia and the U.S./NATO – if not the people actually on the ground in Ukraine, slowly being ground up by the unbroken hostilities of a broken culture. Geopolitically, the structure of peace in Ukraine seems to have more fault lines than support members. This has been true for many years, so maybe the rickety construction will continue to hold, however shakily – until the parties find the will to settle their differences somewhat rationally, or until someone decides to kick out the jambs.

The only constant in the Ukrainian meta-construct is that the country is and remains a shaky buffer against direct confrontation between the world’s two most deadly nuclear-armed states.

The headline shown above is from the Irish Times, over a story quoting unnamed sources in the Kiev government, who in turn quote unnamed sources in Crimea. Nothing in the story, taken as a whole, supports the fearmongering headline. Even Kiev acknowledges that Russian troop movements are exercises, of unstated scale at an unstated distance from the border. Even less ominously, Kiev reported that the Russians closed several (not all) Ukraine-Crimea border crossings along the 114-mile border, then reopened them after several hours, for unstated reasons.

Reporting the same news, the American propaganda outlet Radio Free Europe (RFE) based its story on reports from unnamed “Crimean Tatar activists” who said some border crossings were closed and undefined but “unusually large concentrations of Russian hardware” were seen in the northern region. RFE also quoted Nariman Celal (or Dzhelalov) describing movement of equipment but not troops, also reported by the Crimean Human Rights Group. And RFE quoted a Tatar member of Ukraine’s parliament and member of the Poroshenko Solidarity Party, Refat Chubarov, a Crimean Tatar exile since 1968, as saying the Russian activities appeared to be a training exercise. In the past, Chubarov has described Crimea as a territory of fear for Tatars: “they are prosecuted, sentenced on fabricated charges, forced to leave their land.”

Irish Times also reported Luhansk assassination attempt 350 miles from Crimea

During the past year, in the breakaway provinces of eastern Ukraine, several rebel commanders have been killed in attacks similar to the August 6 roadside bombing that injured Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the Luhansk People’s Republic since 2014, and two guards riding in the same car. A third guard was killed. Plotnitsky was hospitalized with reportedly severe liver and spleen damage, but was reportedly in stable condition on the evening of the bombing. Luhansk authorities blamed the attack on Ukrainian and Western intelligence agencies. Kiev denied involvement. Plotnitsky himself blamed the U.S. in an online audio:

I am alive and healthy. The war is not over, and behind the Ukrainian government are the intelligence services of the U.S., those who try to roil the situation in Ukraine and in the world in general.

Since declaring independence in 2014, Luhansk has reportedly had an internal power struggle among various factions. Nevertheless, Plotnitsky helped shape the 2015 Minsk peace agreement that achieved an erratic cease-fire and reduced fighting in the region. According to the Moscow correspondent of the Los Angeles Times:

Shortly after declaring independence [in 2014], Luhansk split into several warring enclaves that were controlled by Cossacks, far-right nationalists and other pro-Russia forces. Plotnitsky consolidated control by removing and exiling his opponents whose supporters accused him of trying to assassinate them. Two of Plotnitsky’s main rivals were killed last year [2015] in car explosions. Plotnitsky’s advisor was gunned down in April.

The attack on Plotnitsky comes in the midst of increased violence in the Donbas region, with reports of armed combat and increased shelling on both sides of the ceasefire line established by the Minsk agreement of February 2015. Reporting the highest level of civilian casualties in a year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, reported on August 3:

The escalation of hostilities and the accompanying civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine over the last two months are very worrying. Civilians are once again having to flee to improvised bomb shelters in their basements, sometimes overnight, with increasing frequency – the price of the ceasefire violations is too high for the women, men and children in eastern Ukraine….

The many casualties we have documented in recent weeks suggest that neither Ukrainian forces nor the armed groups are taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians. We urge all sides to respect the ceasefire provisions, to remove combatants and weapons from civilian areas, and to scrupulously implement the provisions of the Minsk Agreements.

The UN High Commissioner also called on the Kiev government to act on its promise to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Since the Rome Statute provides for personal, individual accountability for criminal actions, the commissioner argued, its adoption will increase incentive for all parties to act lawfully and protect civilians.

According to an Associated Press report on August 6, “the worst of the fighting in eastern Ukraine [is] now over,” having the effect of releasing a flood of weapons into the rest of Ukraine, creating a “supermarket” for millions of illegal weapons. Crimes committed with guns have more than doubled since 2014. Weapons are also reportedly being smuggled to Europe and to the Middle East. Ukraine has classified all information it has on illegal arms trade.

U.S. shadow war with Russia quietly escalates in smallish increments

After twenty years of stealth aggression, U.S./NATO efforts provoked the Ukrainian coup that drove Russian ally and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych out of office and out of the country. Facing a hostile takeover of a country on the Russian border, Russian president Vladimir Putin took over Crimea and incorporated it into Russia, which a majority of Crimeans may have preferred, rather than remaining part of a hostile and chaotic Ukraine. If U.S./NATO apparatchiks saw that coming in the wake of their coup, they had no effective plan to head it off, and the ensuing “that’s-not-fair” tantrum by the stymied West is what we’ve had to live with ever since. Russia continues to integrate Crimea into Russia. The U.S./NATO forces continue to bring military threats to Russia’s European borders. This is a quiet cold war, but just as dangerous as the original Cold War.

Since 2014, the U.S. has spent more than $600 million in Ukraine just training the National Guard and the Armed Forces, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Michael Carpenter. The U.S. is also the largest donor of military equipment to Ukraine, more than $117 million since 2014 (out of a total of $164.1 million from all donors combined). Affirming that these supplies and training are part of continuing Western pressure on Russia by bringing a neighboring state into the NATO military alliance, Carpenter also indicated the Ukrainian forces remain substandard:

They still have a lot of work ahead. Especially, if Ukraine wants to create a new army, compatible with NATO forces, by 2020. This requires a lot of efforts put into structural reorganization, logistics reform, military health system etc.

There are U.S. troops in Ukraine at any given moment, in the hundreds if not thousands, moving in and out with different missions, making any reliable count a transient fact. The Russians also have troops in Crimea, which they consider Russia. And there are likely Russian troops and/or irregulars in eastern Ukraine, present at the behest of the disputed current governments. (A year ago, Ukraine was citing Russian forces on both sides of the Ukraine border as evidence of imminent war, as reported by the Independent, like the Irish Times’ war “at any minute” this year.)

The U.S. commander of NATO frets about the Russians’ ability to move troops more quickly than NATO can, comparing recent training exercises (and assuming what the general says is true). This is designed to raise fear of the Russians. But in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of NATO stealth aggression, there is an unspoken assumption that Russian maneuvers within Russian borders are far more threatening than U.S. troop movements on Russia’s borders, some 5,000 miles from Washington. In this Washington wonderland, somehow it makes sense for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to continue its 15-year-long war in Afghanistan, which is not really that close to the North Atlantic.

What happens if the U.S./NATO forces just stop advancing?

So we have a presidential election underway, right? That means there’s a possibility of power shifting to saner heads than we’ve seen since 1992, at least in theory. So what have the candidates been saying?

Hillary Clinton has called Putin a bully and said she’s stood up to him in the past. She doesn’t talk much about her role as Secretary of State when she chose Dick Cheney puppet Victoria Nuland to stir up the catastrophic Ukraine coup that has brought us to the present unstable mess. Still to be sorted out are the donations Ukrainian oligarchs made to the Clinton Foundation before Mrs. Clinton helped destabilize the country. In an ironic prelude to recent hacking accusations in the current campaign, back in 2011 Secretary Clinton accused Putin of rigging his election and he accused her of meddling in Russian politics. In 2014, Clinton compared Putin’s annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler’s 1938 unopposed occupation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. The comparison is as politically raw as it is historically distorted, but never mind, Hitler analogies are useful as a measure of the desperation of their users. Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, is concerned that Clinton sees war as “the first instrument of choice.” If Clinton has any plans to defuse the U.S.-Russian confrontation, she’s kept them well hidden.

Almost a year ago, Donald Trump told a conference on Ukraine that the Russians invaded Ukraine because “there is no respect for the United States…. Putin does not respect our President whatsoever.” He said it was Europe’s problem to clean up the mess, about which he has showed no comprehension, saying it didn’t matter to him whether or not Ukraine was in NATO. More recently Trump, apparently meaning something else, said that Putin is “not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going into Ukraine, all right, you can mark it down.” That makes sense if one assumes that Crimea is a fait accompli and that Putin has no desire to embrace the fractious chaos of the rest of Ukraine (beyond maintaining the irritant of Donbas independence).” Of course Trump did not explain it that way, or any other coherent way.

What’s interesting here is that the worse candidate, in his inchoate and apparently mindless way, is stumbling down a road that could lead to peace. The more experienced candidate appears to remain determinedly committed to a course that leads inevitably, sooner or later, to a nuclear confrontation. No wonder Russians are saying, according to USA Today, that Trump’s “rude jokes and fun is like a fresh breeze” and that Trump would be more likely than Clinton to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

And even less wonder that a former CIA director and deputy director is castigating Trump and endorsing Clinton. The CIA has such a wonderful record of alerting the President to bin Laden, affirming WMDs in Iraq, promising the success of the Ukrainian coup, and preventing the rise of the Islamic State, among its peak accomplishments. Michael Morrell, CIA 1980-2013, published an August 5 Op-Ed in The New York Times headlined: “I ran the C.I.A. Now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.” That’s a mixed notice well calculated to exacerbate cognitive dissonance, or in more colloquial terms: That’s a joke, right?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-24 # Activista 2016-08-08 14:47
Ukraine East and West had conflict - nationalism feeding the civil war for generations -

Clinton anti Russian rhetoric is not helpful - but claims that she will start nuclear war against Putin are more than ridiculous.

Trump combination of ignorance and arrogance is even worth.
+52 # guomashi 2016-08-08 16:31
Quoting Activista:

Clinton anti Russian rhetoric is not helpful - but claims that she will start nuclear war

IN her own words. start at 2:30 of the video:

You clearly have zero idea what you are talking about when it comes to Clinton.


While it is true that Ukraine is historically divided, the war could be over tomorrow if NATO said it wouldn't add Ukraine. Countries involved in internal hostilities cannot become part of NATO. Putin isn't stupid, he is just supporting the rebellion enough to ensure that NATO doesn't make it to his borders.

And the author of the article has it right. For whatever reason, Trump is the only presidential candidate in the past 7 decades who has really come out for peace and cooperation with Russia. Whatever the reason, it's preferable to anything else that has been going. To quote Eisenhower:

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

That was 1953, and that has been our destiny for the intervening 63 years.

Is there anyone who thinks this is a good thing?
-19 # Activista 2016-08-08 21:49
IN her own words. start at 2:30 of the video:
one snentence AGAINST Iran if (to please Israel)?
"CLINTON: “And we will make sure the Iranians and the world understand, that the United States will act decisively if necessary including taking military action.”
“There will have to be consequences for any violation by Iran and that the nuclear option should not at all be taken of the table. That has been my position consistently.”
CLINTON: “And Russia has to support the international community’s efforts sincerely or be held to account.”
CLINTON: “That Russia and China will pay a price. Because they are holding up progress, blockading it. That is no longer tolerable.”
just a talk, not much substance? BUt, "clinton-is-a-t hreat-to-all-of -humanity" please.
+18 # hipocampelo 2016-08-09 00:22
Activista: You happen to be correct. I've
no idea as to why the negative responses.
Mrs Clinton is a bad dream about to become
a nightmare.
+1 # hipocampelo 2016-08-09 00:22
Activista: You happen to be correct. I've
no idea as to why the negative responses.
Mrs Clinton is a bad dream about to become
a nightmare.
+2 # dascher 2016-08-10 14:19
You take Trump at his "word" at your own risk... he knows nothing, understands nothing, not even what he is saying. The man is a totally ignorant, unintelligent, boor - among his more attractive characteristics . As soon as somebody in his family explains to him that he might have said the 'wrong thing' about Ukraine, he will try to stop saying anything like that again... unless he thinks it will rile the press. He has no more idea what he's saying than Homer Simpson.
+29 # Radscal 2016-08-08 22:09
Hi Activista,

I know you've written you're from a former Soviet or at least Soviet-puppet state. Czechoslovakia? (and BTW: if that's right, I presume you're from the Czech and not Slovak side?).

I've no doubt that life within the Soviet sphere was often harsh, and for some much worse than just harsh. Especially when compared to the Welfare States that were your Western European neighbors, even the middle classes no doubt felt exploited and repressed.

And I knew some Ukrainians who told me some about both pre-and post-secession, and the "Color Revolution" of 2004, so was somewhat more prepared than some in the US for the "pro-democracy Maidan protests."

But I am also shocked at the brutality and racism of now-powerful factions in the Ukrainian putsch regime and especially their privately-funde d militias.

So, what do you think should happen there?

Do you think that the largely ethnically-Russ ian parts (mostly the East and South) should secede?

Do you think, as do many in the putsch regime, that any ethnic Russians should be forced to leave or be "put to the knives?"

Do you think the Minsk Agreement of creating a Federated Union with more autonomy for each region would work?

Because the situation since the coup has put Europe and the world on the verge of a world war, and something has to change before one of those many NATO or Russian "drills" goes live.
+4 # Activista 2016-08-09 14:07
I left Czechoslovakia in 1968 - Spring, Immigrated to USA 1968 Fall.
If you would go back, I am against nationalism - do not support Maidan "revolution" - pro Russian oligarchs were replaced by pro USA oligarchs.
Yes - the USA wants to revive Cold War - military-indust rial complex profit rules.
East Europe, Ukraine, Russia is still backward and much more racist than West Europe or USA. Trump is popular there.
I do not fear nuclear war (people her are using this fear as US propaganda did to invade Iraq - Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq
Mushroom clouds, duct tape, Judy Miller, Curveball. Recalling how Americans were sold a bogus case for invasion.

Think that status quo now - borders in Ukraine reflect majority preference - Crimea - very important strategically (interesting is present Putin x Turkey talk) - is like 90% pro Russian.
Putin strong man mentality is dangerous - but he is not stupid - will not start nuclear war.
+3 # Radscal 2016-08-09 20:21
Both the people I know who live in Europe, and the alternative news sites from Europe I read shows that a substantial number of Europeans are quite concerned about the Russia/NATO conflict going hot.

Germany and France have intervened (or tried to) since before the coup. They brokered the agreement that Yanukovych signed with "Klitch" and other protest leaders (many of whom I take to be sincere). Then they brokered the Minsk Agreement. So even the governments seem very interested in ending the conflict.

I am not so confident as you that a hot conflict could not go nuclear. But even if not, a conventional war between Russia and NATO would be disastrous.

At any rate, you think Ukraine should stay unified, but do not offer any ideas how to accomplish that.

You do know that powerful elements in the current Ukrainian regime openly call for ethnically-clea nsing or even annihilating all the Russians, right?

You do know that the NeoCons backing Clinton have been calling for (and working on) "regime changing" Russia and taking control over all the resources, right?

What do you think can or should be done by the people of Ukraine?
+2 # Activista 2016-08-09 23:37
"At any rate, you think Ukraine should stay unified, but do not offer any ideas how to accomplish that."

Think that status quo now - borders in Ukraine reflect majority preference - Crimea - very important strategically ... ]
aka Crimea and Eastern Ukraine (now under pro Russian control) - aka present lines will stay pro-Russians. It could be hot area (continuous civil war) - exodus of ethnic Russian population to Russia, and vice versa
for maps
+4 # dascher 2016-08-10 14:24
if you examine the history of Ukraine, its current territory has been part of Russia, part of Poland, part of Austria-Hungary , part of the Ottoman Empire, etc. etc. Its current borders are as arbitrary as the borders in the Middle East, sub saharan African, India/Pakistan, and other areas abandoned by their colonial masters. There is nothing particularly sacred about Ukranian territorial boundaries.
+2 # WBoardman 2016-08-10 19:50
"unified Ukraine" is a geopolitical oxymoron,
also an existential impossibility,
also a historical fantasy,
but there the land sits, full of people,
a fat target for hegemonic opportunists of all sorts.

How about a Belarus-Ukraine confederation? ;-)))
+2 # librarian1984 2016-08-11 09:01
Let's move the Palestinians there. What could possibly go wrong?
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-11 14:18

Of course, the Jewish Oligarchs in Ukraine would probably not be so happy with that.
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-11 14:17
Wow! So you think a likely continuous "civil war" can only be solved by all the ethnic Russians being ethnically cleansed.

Despite having lived there for generations, or even many hundreds of years, they have no valid claim to their homelands?

+2 # librarian1984 2016-08-11 08:59
I also think Obama's updating of our nuclear arsenal makes an eventual strike more likely. Little tiny 'doable' nukes. awww. can we dress them up in I'm With Her t-shirts?

Just think how that's going to help climate change along.

Our leaders have no concept of survival. At least not ours.
+13 # jdd 2016-08-09 07:21
HRC is presently involved in continuing the Obama game of demonization of President Putin, Assad of Syria and escalation of confrontation with not only Russia, but China as well. Now we have Obama, Clinton and Samantha Power in outright support of an Al-Queda takeover of Aleppo by demanding an end to the Syrian-Russian siege while attempting to sabotage the peace agreement between John Kerry and Russian Sec, Lavrov. So far, Putin has done a masterful job of war-avoidance in the face of ever increasing provocations, but a Clinton presidency, if unchecked, will test the limits of such tolerance, putting the entire world at risk of war, even nuclear war. That is the real "clear and present danger."
+6 # Anonymot 2016-08-09 08:32
Absolutely correct.

However, Clinton started the aggressive Russian threats, not Obama. who probably could not have found it on an unlabeled map.

Clinton said whatever the 50 signers of her anti-Trump letter told her to say. The CIA owns her. I've wondered if they managed to sneak a few million dollars into her phony foundation.
+5 # Radscal 2016-08-09 13:29
Before he ran for President, Obama introduced Zbignew Brzezinski as his mentor on foreign policy. He continued to rely on that fiend in his Presidency.

And of course, Brzezinski has been profoundly anti-Russian for many decades. He was the genius who decided in 1979 to fund, arm and train religions fanatics who were mostly in exile in Pakistan to go into Afghanistan and wage acts of terrorism.

That was specifically with the goal of drawing the USSR to send troops in to defend the Afghan people and their government.

Even after his "freedom fighters" morphed into al Qaeda, he still claimed it was a good and successful idea, and is rather put off that he and Carter don't get credit for it.
+43 # RMDC 2016-08-08 16:53
Ukraine is a good point on which to compare Trump and Clinton as possible leaders of the US.

1. Clinton wants to ratchet up the conflict by supplying weapons and aid money to the Ukrainian ultra right wing. These people are fueled by a centuries long hatred for Russia. Clinton wants to increase the pressure on Russia by enacting more economic sanctions, using NATO to pressure Russia, and sabre rattling about war.

2. Trump removed the section of the republican party platform that called for supplying weapons to the Kiev regime. He has said openly he will seek cooperative relations with Putin.

If this sort of difference extends to the rest of US foreign policy, then Trump is clearly the better candidate. And it is clearly why the "establishment, " the oligarchs, and the mainstream media are hysterical in their scorched earth campaign to exterminate Trump. But it is well to add that Trump has not yet received the orders the CIA will give to any new president. When that happens, he may change his views completely. HIllary is already one of the CIA service dogs.
-2 # Activista 2016-08-08 21:56
"These people are fueled by a centuries long hatred for Russia. "
especcially after pogroms by Stalin -
"Ukrainian genocide that began in 1929 with the massive waves of deadly deportations of Ukraine's most successful farmers (kurkuls, or kulaks, in Russian) as well as the deportations and executions of Ukraine's religious, intellectual and cultural leaders, culminating in the devastating forced famine that killed millions more innocent individuals. The genocide in fact continued for several more years with the further destruction of Ukraine's political leadership, the resettlement of Ukraine's depopulated areas with other ethnic groups, the prosecution of those who dared to speak of the famine publicly, and the consistent blatant denial of famine by the Soviet regime."
+25 # markovchhaney 2016-08-08 22:45
And then there was Germany and the Jews, and yet Jews today manage to have friendships with Germans. Amazing, eh?

Better that we should all hold onto as many nationalistic grudges as possible, right? Stalin has been dead for how long now?
+13 # economagic 2016-08-09 07:27
As I was about to say in somewhat different terms. In the Balkan conflicts of the late 1990s it came out that certain factions were still fighting over something that happened nearly a thousand years ago. I more than understand the power of ancient traumas, but the task of humankind in the 21st century is to "process" that deep anger in order to deal realistically with the present. And in the present, those ancient squabbles pale against the multiple existential threats to the continuation of human life on Planet Eaarth if not of all life. Continuing to fight them will assure our extinction. Global warming is only one among many critical global systems stressed to the breaking point and many humans are behaving in very immature fashion, to put it politely.
+5 # Radscal 2016-08-09 13:34
And practitioners of RealPolitik utilize simmering, and often vague resentments to create major conflicts that serve the benefits of Empire.

Yugoslavia is the perfect example,where neighbors who babysat one another's children, worked and played together and even intermarried were driven to acts of horrendous violence within a few years.
+27 # lorenbliss 2016-08-09 02:51
Just to put those "pogroms" in historical perspective, Soviet Russia was at that time trying to consolidate its revolution. The fledgling USSR had already been (unsuccessfully ) invaded by U.S., British, French, Japanese and Czech armies. The Soviets thus feared these foes would try again, and the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine -- Ukraine means "borderlands" -- were notoriously anti-Communist. Thus, too blinded by Christian dogma to comprehend the notion of economic democracy, they were easily goaded by the clergy into murderous resistance, including real pogroms against the Jewish population.

The Soviets, recognizing the Ukraine as a logical invasion route and its western inhabitants as logical collaborators with any invader, reacted accordingly -- a reaction the USian Empire is in no position to criticize given its own (ongoing) genocide against First Nations peoples.

Then of course came the Nazi invasion and Stepan Bandera's fulfillment of the Soviet fears, for the Gestapo/Abwehr/ MI6/CIA-sponsor ed complexities of which see

It should also be remembered that Russian foreign policy at least since the time of Bonaparte's invasion has been the creation of a zone of borderland buffer-states to protect Rodina -- the Motherland -- against invasion from Western Europe. Indeed one of Hillary's most dangerously misleading Big Lies is her claim Putin's continuation of this traditional policy is new aggression.
+11 # jdd 2016-08-09 07:29
Yes, and fear made all the more real by the unprecedented buildup of NATO forces on Russia's eastern borders, and Obama's placement of ABMs in Romania, against the nonexistent Iranian "nuclear missile threat."
+10 # economagic 2016-08-09 07:33
Once again, your extensive knowledge, of history in particular, and your mastery of the language, is an invaluable asset to readers here.
+2 # lorenbliss 2016-08-09 14:20
@economicmagic: Thank you.
+5 # Activista 2016-08-09 14:21
plus add Hungarian Revolution 1956 -
Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution - Nov 04, 1956 ...
A spontaneous national uprising that began 12 days before in Hungary is viciously crushed by Soviet tanks and troops on this day in 1956. ... The Soviets did so, but Nagy then tried to push the Hungarian revolt forward by abolishing one-party rule."
one party dictatorships - gulags - Stalin killed more people than HItler ..
BTW now Russia under Putin does NOT have capital punishment - as the rest of EU -- but in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China ..??
+10 # RMDC 2016-08-09 07:42
Activista -- on the civil war between Ukraine and Russia. Don't forget that the Ukrainian wealthy farmers were allied with the British who were buying all of their wheat and starving all of Russia. Stalin's famous comment was "people in the cities of Russia have a greater right to eat than farmers have a right to a profit" (very loose paraphrase). In this Stalin was right. The British were wrong.

So many Ukrainians joined the Nazi movement in Europe in order to oppose Russia. Europe is still fighting out the consequences of the UK inspired war against the USSR.

The best solution is to de-fuse the situation by removing all weapons and military support. There will not be a military solution, since each side has very powerful backers.
+5 # Radscal 2016-08-09 13:40
And BTW: during the "Potato Famine" in Ireland (what the Irish refer to as "the Great Dying"), Ireland was producing enormous amounts of wheat and other foodstuffs that were exported to Britain and British trade partners.

Parliament actually debated whether to allow the Irish to keep some of the food they were forced to export, and voted that it was god's will that the Irish starve.

Instead, the Brits actually made it illegal to fish and even gather seaweed to eat.
+2 # librarian1984 2016-08-11 09:05
Fighting evil is the burden of each generation.
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-08-09 08:28
The Kulaks included a whole lot of viciously oppressive landlords.
+3 # Radscal 2016-08-09 13:44
We have/had a commenter here on RSN with the screen name, Kulak.

He/she/it/they was a rabid defender of Zionist violence.

When I asked why the choice of that name, the response I got was that not ALL Kulaks were Jewish.
+3 # Activista 2016-08-09 14:29
The policy of all-out collectivizatio n instituted by Stalin in 1929 to finance industrializati on had a disastrous effect on agricultural productivity. Nevertheless, in 1932 Stalin raised Ukraine's grain procurement quotas by forty-four percent. This meant that there would not be enough grain to feed the peasants, since Soviet law required that no grain from a collective farm could be given to the members of the farm until the government's quota was met. Stalin's decision and the methods used to implement it condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation. Party officials, with the aid of regular troops and secret police units, waged a merciless war of attrition against peasants who refused to give up their grain. Even indispensable seed grain was forcibly confiscated from peasant households. Any man, woman, or child caught taking even a handful of grain from a collective farm could be, and often was, executed or deported. Those who did not appear to be starving were often suspected of hoarding grain. Peasants were prevented from leaving their villages by the NKVD and a system of internal passports.

.. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay."..
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-09 20:34
I think almost all of us agree that Stalin was a brutal dictator. I don't think his collectivism was strictly an economic choice. I've read some pretty convincing evidence that he was deliberately harming and killing people using that as the mechanism (as the British did to the Irish).

Some of us also recognize that Stalin did mobilize the USSR to prevent the Nazis from winning WW II, which they almost assuredly would have done had Hitler not chosen Operation Barbarossa.

But Stalin is long dead. The Soviet Union has been gone for more than 1/4 century.

Russia was nearly destroyed after the NeoLiberals took control through Yeltsin. They seem determined not to let that happen again. Nor will they be unprepared for yet another invasion from the West.

The anti-Russian propaganda and rhetoric sure looks like laying the groundwork for what Kissinger and Brzezenski planned out in the 1990s.

I find that terrifying.
+1 # Activista 2016-08-09 23:52
" Nor will they be unprepared for yet another invasion from the West. "
EU will not invade Russia - this could be a bit of Putin nationalistic propaganda.
"like laying the groundwork for what Kissinger and Brzezenski planned out in the 1990s." ?? really?
Russia has enough internal problems (oligarchs/corr uption) - would not touch it.
I visited Russia - found people very hospitable, friendly - not money obsessed like Americans are. Alcohol is big problem there.
+1 # Radscal 2016-08-11 14:37
Have you read Brzezenski's 1996 book, "The Grand Chessboard?"

This plan has been expertly carried out ever since.

NGO's like "National Endowment for Democracy" and Soros' "International Renaissance Foundation” are the instruments of fomenting those "internal problems" you observe.

Before the Ukrainian coup, NED President Carl Gershman wrote in the Washington Post, calling Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.

Gershman also wrote threateningly:

“Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

And just like so many other places across the globe, if Empire fails to "regime change" through covert means, it will seek to finish the job militarily.
+6 # Anonymot 2016-08-09 08:38
Who are you referring to with "These people..."? There are all sorts of people in the Ukraine today, some pro some against Russia.
+4 # Activista 2016-08-09 14:35
Quoting Anonymot:
Who are you referring to with "These people..."? There are all sorts of people in the Ukraine today, some pro some against Russia.

answering RMDC:
Clinton wants to ratchet up the conflict by supplying weapons and aid money to the Ukrainian ultra right wing. These people are fueled by a centuries long hatred for Russia. Clinton wants to increase the pressure on Russia by enacting more economic sanctions, using NATO to pressure Russia, and sabre rattling about war.
+5 # wantrealdemocracy 2016-08-09 13:01
Yes, Trump is better than Hillary on matters of war against Russia---but that is not to say he is the guy to lead our government. Both Hillary and Trump are bad choices. I'm not going to try and say which is the lesser evil. I think we need to vote for the common good. Go on line and look up Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President.
+38 # ReconFire 2016-08-08 17:11
"I ran the CIA. Now I'm endorsing HC."
Now there's a reason NOT to vote Dem. or Repug.
+1 # Bic Parker 2016-08-09 07:29
"If this sort of difference extends to the rest of US foreign policy, then Trump is clearly the better candidate."

Trump does not even know what is going on!

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program “This Week,” Mr. Trump said that if he were president, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia would not send his forces into Ukraine. He then backpedaled when Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out that Russian troops had been there for nearly two years.

“He’s not going into Ukraine, O.K., just so you understand,” Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, said when the issue came up. “He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.”

“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Mr. Stephanopoulos interrupted.

“O.K., well, he’s there in a certain way,” Mr. Trump replied.
+12 # RMDC 2016-08-09 07:54
Bic -- yes, Trump's knowledge of world events is very, very weak. But so was the knowledge of ALL republican presidents since Nixon. Reagan knew less than Trump and Bush II knew even less than these two.

Obama has shown an incredible about of either ignorance or willful misrepresentati on.

Hillary knows a lot but that may be a worse problem than knowing very little. All she knows is the world seen through the perspective of US military (and CIA) operations and US banks and corporations. Her Libya campaign was based on her knowledge of US hatred for the Libyan revolution from 1967 onward. She really understood nothing -- NOTHING -- about Libya, Qaddafi, or African decolonization movements.

Presidents don't make US foreign policy. The CIA and State Department's policy planning board make it. What presidents need is good judgement and deep moral commitments. The CIA and State Department have NO judgment or moral commitments. They are totally amoral.

Both Trump and Hillary are terrible candidates for president. We just don't know what Trump might do. We do know that Hillary has a terrible record of judgment and she has no moral commitment.

What a dilemma.

BTW -- Stephanopoulous was unclear. Crimea is part of Russia, so yes the Russians are there. But Trump was thinking of a Russian invasion of Kiev and a regime change. Russia is not doing that and won't.
+10 # Anonymot 2016-08-09 08:54
I was about to post your BTW. Trump knew exactly what to say and assumed Stephanopoulos knew what he meant. From Day 1 of Hillary's venture into the Ukraine Russian military was legally present in the Crimean naval bases that Russia leased just like we lease Guantanamo (but our uses have been less anodine.)

Only the CIA constantly thinks about war as the neutral term regime change. And they and their Hillary think about it all the time.
+5 # economagic 2016-08-09 09:12
Very well said. I posted the comment below before reading this:

"Hillary knows a lot but that may be a worse problem than knowing very little."
+8 # economagic 2016-08-09 09:09
Trump is dangerous in part because he is clueless. Clinton is dangerous in part because she has drunk the Kool Aid of American exceptionalism and also seems to believe that it applies to her personally (as of course Trump does as well).
+4 # Helen Marshall 2016-08-09 16:32
Just because DNC shill Stephanopoulos claims that Russian invaded Ukraine two years ago does not mean anything! Are you talking about Crimea, which VOTED massively to leave Ukraine and return to Russia, and in which Russia has had troops for a long time, per a security agreement!!!
-11 # Lyuda 2016-08-09 07:40
This article looks for me who is UKRAINIAN as payed for by Russia, as well as many of Robert Parry articles in which he talks about Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. To criticize an American government it is one thing but to justify Putin or diminish his terrible acts is another!
+7 # Anonymot 2016-08-09 09:01
Ah, yes, there are numerous Ukrainians who advised the CIA. Most went back and made a lot of money. Numerous Americans went there to profit from the new CIA governments, Joe Biden's son included.
+10 # WBoardman 2016-08-09 10:30
Lyuda avers that Russia paid for this article,
which it has not, but metaphorically I get the point.

Ukraine is a big country (almost the size of Texas)
with a population of roughly 45 million people
(Texas has 27 million).

It is almost 1,000 miles east-to-west, and the culture
differences at either end are striking. Ukraine is not a
coherent country with a coherent history.

There ARE neo-Nazi thugs in Ukraine, just as there are
pro-Russian thugs.

Putin may or may not be "justified" in taking Crimea,
but the key question is whether that taking would have
happened without more than 20 years of US-NATO
stealth aggression.

The Russian presence in Crimea is longer-standing than
US presence in Cuba, as Anonymot points out. Also almost surely more welcome.
+6 # Radscal 2016-08-09 13:56
Yes, William.

Crimea had been part of Russia since before there was a USA.

Khrushchev(who had Ukrainian roots) "gave" Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, but of course it remained in the USSR, so that was largely symbolic.

Crimea was only part of a sovereign Ukraine for 20 years. Most of the population is ethnic Russian. In 2014, more than 80% of Crimeans voted on secession from Ukraine and petitioning Russia to accept Crimea back. More than 90% of the voters chose to return to Russia.

Polls done since then show that roughly the same percentages are pleased with that decision. This includes the Tatars.

Since the coup, Ukraine's economy has crashed (as Yanukovych said it would if he signed the altered trade treaty in 2013). Reports of horrendous violence, racism and anti-Jewish actions within the "peaceful" portions sneak past the Ukrainian censors. But most information is suppressed.

The Crimeans have seen their income and services mostly improved.

They had the right to secede, and it was the right decision.
+9 # wrknight 2016-08-09 08:20
For those of us who believe in global warming, just look at the photo at the beginning of this article. Then try to compute the carbon footprint created by that conflagration. Then try to extrapolate your calculations to the total carbon footprint of all the devastation caused by wars and conflict, not to mention that caused by the production and deployment of the weapons that caused it. Finally, consider that all that carbon footprint, which leads to global warming, is caused unnecessarily by the policies of warmongering rulers and their supporters, our own included.

It is believed that the demise of the dinosaurs was caused by changes in their environment to which they could not adapt. A very plausible theory is that the dinosaurs contributed significantly to those changes through overpopulation, overconsumption of their food supply and general mucking up their habitat. But the dinosaurs did that unwittingly. The same cannot be said for humans as humans are supposed to be more intelligent.
+8 # economagic 2016-08-09 09:17
The asteroid theory is still considered the most likely, although a massive episode of volcanic activity is also considered a possibility.

Otherwise your point about the willful ignorance of humans is well taken. A friend, a first-rate free-lance scholar trained as a field biologist, says our species should be known as "Homo sap."
+3 # wrknight 2016-08-09 11:05
Quoting economagic:
The asteroid theory is still considered the most likely, although a massive episode of volcanic activity is also considered a possibility.

Otherwise your point about the willful ignorance of humans is well taken. A friend, a first-rate free-lance scholar trained as a field biologist, says our species should be known as "Homo sap."

Aside: The asteroid theory doesn't hold water. The most severe (fatal) effects of an asteroid impact wouldn't last more than a couple of years. (Witness the effects of Mt. St.Helens, Mt. Vesuvius and other volcanic eruptions). The main effects would be immediate death to direct impact of falling debris, asphyxiation in minutes to hours from a poisoned atmosphere or a slower death of days to a few months due to destruction of the food supply. But the dinosaurs, with a life span of 75 to 300 years, survived more than 30,000 years after the asteroid impact. And then it is believed that what we call birds are direct descendants of those dinosaurs that didn't perish.

The asteroid impact had to have a major effect on all life in the vicinity and perhaps even world wide. But, by itself, it fails to account for the long period of dinosaur survival after it hit.
+1 # tingletlc 2016-08-09 12:44
" . . . (T)he dinosaurs . . . survived more than 30,000 years after the asteroid impact."

I never heard this. Got a citation?
+4 # Radscal 2016-08-09 14:10
I've read that a very small number of species of dinosaur (and other plants and animals that went extinct at the K/T boundary) did survive for some time after the asteroid impact. Not counting birds, of course.

Economagic is also correct that enormous volcanic eruptions lasting for more than a million years appear to have played a major role as lava beds date to the K/T boundary as well (see the Deccan Traps). And we know the effects of even relatively small and short-lived eruptions like wrknight mentions.

But it's absurd to claim that overpopulation drove dinosaur extinction since their population collapse early in the extinction process would have removed that alleged engine.

And there's no evidence I've seen of any sudden increase in their population numbers or mass after thriving for some 180 million years.
+2 # Patriot 2016-08-09 13:03
Thank you! Always wondered about that theory. What you say makes sense.
0 # Radscal 2016-08-09 14:13
Remember Stephen Colbert's "truthiness?"

I recommend that you search for evidence of this claim rather than relying on how it feels.
+3 # economagic 2016-08-09 16:53
Correct. As usual, I looked it up to make sure my knowledge was not out of date, as many areas of science advance rapidly these days. It was not. Apparently wrknight has not checked reliable sources.
+7 # economagic 2016-08-09 09:27
Actual aggrieved parties almost always blame "Them" -- the Other. That is to be expected, and it is often the case. But we all owe it to ourselves and our planet (see my post above at 2016-08-09 07:27) to seek out the realities behind our own government's propaganda. As the late, great investigative journalist I. F. Stone taught his students, "All governments lie." In truth (no pun intended) it is part of their job.
+1 # ChrisCurrie 2016-08-10 09:05
The bloody civil war in the Ukraine which the Obama Administration created by organizing a coup de tat to replace the Ukraine's democratically elected head of state with a fascist leader who is more friendly toward "Western corporate interests" should be a major political issue in this year's Presidential election season. Our government's "regime change" foreign policy for the benefit of US corporate profits is MORALLY DEPRAVED!
+1 # librarian1984 2016-08-11 09:10
Anybody notice that the trolls aren't interested in foreign affairs?

0 # ChrisCurrie 2016-08-18 09:05
The US government has a hundred-year history of engineering coup de tats, insurgency movements, and even outright military invasions in order to serve the financial "interests" of US corporations. So far, at least, it appears that as President Hillary disastrous "US foreign policies."
0 # ChrisCurrie 2016-08-18 09:07
The US government has a hundred-year history of engineering coup de tats, insurgency movements, and even outright military invasions in order to serve the financial "interests" of US corporations. So far, at least, it appears that as President Hillary Clinton plans to CONTINUE such disastrous "US foreign policies."
0 # ChrisCurrie 2016-08-18 09:27
Now the we have the internet, Wikileaks, etc. the ability of the US Government to hide its clandestine corporately sponsored ("regime change") coup de tat and insurgency attempts is no longer viable. If our next President engages in such activities without a declaration of war, he our she could end up being impeached, removed from office, and perhaps even jailed for such crimes.
0 # Edwina 2016-08-19 11:17
Good article and discussion. Re: Putin & Russia, Putin seems more rational than our leaders, who continue to push an agenda of empire as capitalism ceases to function as a useful economic system. It has become a system for the elites to grab the last of the wealth before the whole system collapses. I don't see the know-nothing Republican candidate, or the status-quo Democratic candidate changing that. The real change seems to be coming from indigenous and more local groups, fighting for their home territories against corporate abuse and bank fraud. And making alliances across borders with other groups doing the same.

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