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Ukrainian situation a complex affair

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 06:00 am

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The situation in the Ukraine is a bit more complicated than Doris Wrench Eislerís simplistic dismissal of it as being "a coup initiated by far-right elements" in her letter to the editor in the March 12 issue of the Gazette. It should come, I suppose, as no surprise that the good Mrs. Eisler is herself reluctant to pour out indictment on Russia. Putin represents as much of a return to the Soviet era for that nation as is ever likely to happen, after all.

The current turmoil in the Ukraine is not something that can easily be pinned on persons, groups or parties of any one political alignment. Yes, nationalist and anti-communist groups like Svoboda, and far-right neofascistic (actually a contradiction in terms, not that most would care) elements like Right Sector certainly factor into the mix ... but so does the centrist Batkivshchyna party, which seems to currently be the main party in control of the Ukrainian government at present.

The Maidan People's Union is every bit as eclectic a collection of groups, spanning a range of political ideologies, as Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's pro-Russian Party of Regions ... which Maidan has all but ousted from power.

For example, Mrs. Eisler fails entirely to mention the involvement of Spilna Sprava, another Ukrainian militant group that participated in the Euromaidan protests alongside Right Sector. This group is a progressive group, which may even be funded in part by noted American left-wing financier George Soros.

She likewise fails to mention the involvement of UDAR (a pro-European liberal party) and Vidsich (a nonviolent social movement based on a platform of human rights, consensus-based decision making, and copyleft principles). And of course, the Maidan movement enjoyed the support of a number of countries around the world, including the United States (the Obama administration is left-wing/progressive, politically) and Sweden (also a fairly left-leaning state). The generally progressive EU also supported Maidan.

It's also hard to square Mrs. Eisler's claim that "anti-Jewish ... racist extremists" played a significant role in Maidan, when the current prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, is half-Jewish (having been born into a family of Jewish-Ukrainian professors from Chernivtsi University) himself. Anti-Russian fervour certainly played a part in Maidan; anti-Semitism much less so.

That all being said, I should clarify that I'm offering the above as a corrective only. Like as not, and as corrupt as the Yanukovych administration was, what transpired in the Ukraine was indeed a coup, largely anti-democratic in nature, and seemingly driven by the interests of Ukrainian national banks more than anything else. (Yatseniuk used to be the head of Ukraine's National Bank, it should be noted).

I doubt the U.S. has overt military ambitions in the Ukraine, though ... not after they convinced the Ukrainians to give up their nuclear weapons and to scale back their military. They likely do have some larger anti-Russian goal in mind, however, since Putin has set himself up as their main geopolitical antagonist.

This is Syria revisited, yet another proxy conflict in the rekindled tensions between the West and a resurgent, if no longer directly aligned, Eastern Bloc.

Kenneth Kully, St. Albert


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