Coffee House

Ukraine: It’s not about Europe vs Russia

19 February 2014

7:00 PM

19 February 2014

7:00 PM

To discuss the Ukrainian crisis in terms of a choice between Europe and Russia is misleading for several reasons.

First, the European issue has been ruthlessly exploited by the Ukrainian opposition and its Western backers as an excuse for overthrowing the government illegally and by force. Opposition leaders have never distanced themselves from the most radical elements on the streets of Kiev, even though these include neo-Nazis. On the contrary, they have done everything to use their violence as a bargaining chip in their battle with the government. Let us never forget that the majority of the 25 deaths on the night of 18 – 19 February were murders committed by the protesters:  9 policemen were shot dead or stabbed to death, while 3 members of the governing party and a journalist were also killed.

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Second, the choice Ukraine faced between the EU and Russia was not an equal one.  The EU association accord was a comprehensive political straitjacket designed to lock Ukraine into the orbit of Brussels and Washington by installing, as all over the EU itself, a pro-EU (and ultimately pro-NATO) elite whose policies would remain unchanged whichever team was in power. By contrast, Ukraine’s agreements with Russia are confined to a free trade zone and, lately, loans.  They carry no internal political implications at all.  Even the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia, which Ukraine will probably not now join, takes decisions by consensus: it has none of the heavy-handed supranational and technocratic control of Brussels.

Third, Ukraine did not really have a choice. Thanks to decades of corrupt politics, the Ukrainian state is bankrupt.  So is the EU. In spite of stringing Kiev along with pretty words about a European future, the EU could offer only $800 million , via the IMF, and that came at the price of exceptionally painfully economic reforms.  Ukraine would have been subjected to the same devastation of its agriculture, on which it depends, as Romania and Bulgaria were in their pre-accession period.  Its industry would have collapsed as well.  Russia, by contrast, has been able to offer nearly 20 times this sum in loans to prevent Ukraine from becoming insolvent, and it is the biggest market for Ukrainian exports – bigger than the whole of the EU put together. Moreover, Europe’s coffers are empty for good reason:  her member states are drowning in their own debt, while the economic vice turned on its own member states – Greece, Spain and others – has plunged those countries into misery. Russia, by contrast, has tended to run balanced budgets while her growth ticks along at 4% or so, against Europe’s anaemic 1%.  Trade in the Customs Union has grown by 40% in 5 years. Ukraine’s signature on the EU association agreement (the one Georgia signed runs to 400 pages) would have been the longest suicide note in history.

To avoid facing up to its own inexorable decline, the post-modern EU, like the United States, has plunged ahead with a radically anti-Russian geopolitical and ideological agenda based on left-wing fantasies about resurgent nationalism in Moscow. We used to laugh at Cold Warriors but the absurd anti-Russian ravings of Dr Strangelove and Jack D. Ripper have now become the standard fare served up in Washington and Brussels. What a shame most of the Western media swallows this rubbish.

John Laughland is Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, www.idc-europe.org

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Show comments
  • regbs

    Accusations of anti-Semitism are sure signs of hollow arguments and weak positions. Laughland led with it in is second paragraph.

    Applying Laughland rhetorical method: Laughland is an anti-Semite with known memberships and close ties to neo-Nazi groups. There, now Laughland is discredited. No more libelous than Laughland’s baseless accusations due to a dearth of substance. The West overthrew the Ukrainian government by force? Please provide pic of NATO military in the streets. By your reasoning, the collapse of Communism was illegal and imposed by force by the West.

    Did the Spectator print a Guardian article by mistake?

  • Kevin T

    I didn’t used to laugh at the Cold Warriors. I do laugh when the western liberals who 30 years ago couldn’t say a bad word about Russia (you know, when it was still shooting defectors, running the KGB and putting dissidents in gulags) now stamp their little feet over Putin, because he’s not gay-friendly enough.

    The west should stay out of Ukraine and so should Russia. This is an ethnic conflict with the potential to turn horribly ugly, and every war-torn country we’ve tried to “help” in recent years has only gotten worse.

  • roger

    Why are the EU and NATO inherently structured to be ‘against’ Russia, Russia is largely European and the north atlantic will soon be a ice free to Vladivostok so lets get a big tent idea going with no pissing in our out. I could also mention a unifying feature, christian culture , present or past.

  • confiderenemo

    First, excellent to read an article by John Laughland. He has always been a first rate writer and I haven’t seen much from him recently.

    Secondly, this business is a great opportunity for Putin to rid himself of the useless Western Ukraine. Western Ukraine is not part of the real Ukraine. It was tacked on by Stalin’s imperialist impulses. Eastern and South Eastern Ukraine are the real Slav lands.

    Western Ukraine is a bankrupt burden on the Russian state. Forever with its begging bowl out, costing a fortune to subsidise, full of sad, but delusional people who have nothing to offer, but think they EU is going to make them all rich. if it only it were true. They are in for terrible disappointment.

    Eastern Ukraine is a viable place. It has much to offer and it is productive. It is also Russian. It is in a sense more Russian than parts of Russia. Let Moscow and its foul, corrupt oligarchs go, before you let Eastern Ukraine go.

    The solution is simple: let Western Ukraine go. Sell it to highest bidder, if anyone wants such a bankrupt dump. Eastern Ukraine draws very close to Russia. It becomes a new country. It is an important element in building a great pan Slavic revival.

    By the way, Putin needs to pull his finger out in this respect. I am beginning to wonder if he is up to job. Inside of wasting his time and his people’s money on absurd projects like Sochi, let him deal with real issues like this one. He has been presented with a God given opportunity to make his place in Russian and Slavic history by getting rid of Western Ukraine and building permanent ties with Eastern Ukraine. Let us pray that he is man enough to do the job.

    On a minor key, it’s also a good chance to get rid of Yanukovych – a worthless, incompetent, crook. Let the Western Ukrainians have him. they can practice serial imprisonment. Five years for Tymoshenko, then five Yanukovych, followed by five for Yushchenko – round and round the merry go round. Hague to supervise and mediate.

  • drydamol1

    BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS –DEMOCRACY IS A SHAM – BUT AT LEAST THE UKRAINIANS
    GOT RID OF A BAD APPLE

    I remembered Thatcher’s mantra “We are the biggest
    Democracy in the World” she taught me a lesson whenever a politician repeats a
    phrase it is nothing but Spin .

    Take the example of the Ukraine that became Independent 24 years
    ago after the ‘Peoples Revolution’ took control in 1917 .

    Peaceful Protesters in the Capital of the Ukraine
    occupied Kiev Square ,protesting about the incumbent President Yanukovych who with the Ukraine being in
    financial difficulty has been ‘rewarded’ by Putin to keep allied to Russia
    rather than move towards an EU Affiliation .

    The Ukrainian People have not forgotten the Stalin
    Totalitarian Regime and feel that the EU is a more viable Financial Arrangement
    for the Ukraine to prosper and validate its Independence whereas its leader elected under dubious circumstances does not
    .

    Feeling the Pressure of Democracy at work ,he began
    appeasing the masses relenting to his people’s wish of becoming a Western Nation.

    This upped the game for Russia to spend a little more
    which made Yanukovych do a U

    turn .The protesters were then subjected to having Civil
    Liberties removed and replaced by Draconian Laws making it a Prisonable offence
    to blockade public buildings, wear masks or helmets at demonstrations, erect
    unauthorised tents in public areas, and even made it an arrestable offence to
    “slander a government official.”

    The President is now in hiding and Ms Tymoshenko who was
    jailed for seven years in 2011 for abuse of power is now on her way to the
    capital, Kiev, to join the protesters who have changed the political landscape
    through months of demonstrations that have left dozens dead.

    The Price of Democracy when Corruption is a norm for the
    Privileged in Power .

    http://brokenbritishpolitics.simplesite.com

  • rtj1211

    It’s merely about which bunch of completely corrupt politicians you want looting Ukraine.

    I”m sure the Spectator, in the tradition of its long-standing rigorous journalism will provide a forensic examination of the probity of Julia Tymoshenko whilst in office and it will not be very pretty reading.

  • Bonkim

    Have to agree with the analysis. Ukrainian protesters are right-wing and assuming they will be allowed to emigrate to EU countries once their country goes bankrupt. Russia’s loan the only solution for Ukraine to survive. The division between the Orthodox and Catholic Ukrainians will open up once the dust settles, and the country will be divided.

  • Kennybhoy

    Replay of Yugoslavia…

  • bwims

    I’m getting sick to death of Western governments supporting mobs on streets trying to get rid of their governments. It would be most amusing to see what would happen in London if a violent mob demanded that LIBLABCON get out in favour of UKIP because they weren’t satisfied with the skewed results of FPTP and postal ballot stuffing.

  • WetThrust

    Cogent blog.

  • Tony

    I’m from Russia and I’d like to say that if we watch CNN, BBC or some else news on Internet or somewhere else we just laught or outraged by things what they say. Seems like these people talk about any other “Russia”. It’s all fake or semi-true.
    You may say that I personally get money from Putin for this comment, and maybe you’ll not believe me, but I tell you – Just come to Russia and you will see all the things by yourself. Seems like your news-makers create new 3rd Reich or USSR on the basis of Russia – I don’t know for what, but lie had never brought peace. We don’t want any war, we don’t need any new territory (we have enough, as you know) we just want to see our country economically strong and self-sufficient.

  • Tom Tom
  • jklamper

    The author of this piece works for the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation. Follow the money.
    “Institute of Democracy and Cooperation is a think tank with offices in Moscow, Paris and New York. It was founded in 2008 by a Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and is funded by Russian NGOs and private businesses.[1] It was set up to gain a hearing for Russian positions…”
    That’s really all you need to know about this non-objective opinion piece.

    • Makroon

      On the other hand, your “objective opinion piece” ignores the facts and attacks the blog-poster.

  • Edmund burke326

    People complaining about Russia’s influence on Ukraine seem ready to ignore the fact that the EU and the US are carving the world up for their rich elites and that America’s sphere of influence is the whole Southern Hemisphere. GMOs, I did not vote for it but the British govt wants it, redefining marriage, criminal justice sentencing policy, allowing prisoners to vote (the US has just announced the same thing), the EU is corrupt and power hungry and their policy is “whatever works.”

  • Tom Tom

    The birth of the Russian State lies in Kiev just as Lviv is the Polish city of Lwow. the West send agents into Ukraine into the mid-1950s to stir up partisans against the Communist regime – Kim Philby betrayed every one of them.

    This was a very good blog article above and it is time that the USA reined its ambitions in somewhat. The way things are progressing is reminiscent of Hitler’s activities inside Sudetenland or Danzig and it is stunning how Europe has come full circle and seems oblivious to the dangers. China is watching and arming because it sees existential war with the USA as inevitable just as Mao did

    • Kennybhoy

      FSB shill.

  • pearlsandoysters

    Thanks for a realistic account of events, that seem to be spiraling of control. There’s so much spin around the whole issue with blood-thirsty nationalists bent on wrecking havoc on the country for no good reason whatsoever poising as “freedom-fighters”.

  • Two Bob

    Jeremy Clarkson managed to come out alive…

  • Sanityville

    It’s incredible to find this sort of dumb propaganda in The Spectator. It’s actually worse than Mark Weisbrot’s pro-Chavezista nonsense in The Guardian.

  • Curnonsky

    Pity the poor Ukrainians, forced to choose between the corrupt gangster empire of Putin and the corrupt bureaucratic EU. Perhaps their experience with Stalin and the terror and famine he instigated have convinced them that there can be worse things than Cathy Ashton, Barroso and von Rompuy in this world.

    As for this Putin sockpuppet’s contentions that the current state of affairs has been cooked up by resurgent cold warriors in Washington and Brussels – who might they be? The ineffectual bleats of John Kerry et al couldn’t rouse a mob of bloggers to storm the buffet let alone thousands of Ukrainians to overthrow their government.

    • Kennybhoy

      Thoughful post…

    • Bonkim

      Putin is a friend of Ukraine – historically Ukraine was within the Russian sphere, and will split along Orthodox/Catholic divide despite the non-sectarian history of the USSR.

  • Noa

    The real concern for Britain is that, for the first time in our history, we are becoming entangled in a major east-west power struggle, the real issues of which we understand imperfectly or not at all, as an involuntary and third rate subsidiary to a conniving and expansionist EU, rather than independently determining what is in our best national interest.

    • Tom Tom

      First time in our history ? What was the Fall of the Ottoman Empire
      about then when we backed the Russians against Austria-Hungary in 1913 ?
      Or the way that Britain put itself between Germany and the USSR in
      March 1939 ?

      • Noa

        You miss my point. Britain was then a world leader acting in its own right. In the current mess it is a minor player without significant influence, the strings of its puppet, Cameron, pulled by Fraus Ashton and Merkel.

        • Tom Tom

          In the first instance Grey made informal arrangements not communicated to Cabinet, in the second Chamberlain was tricked by Colonel Beck and unwilling to come to agreement with Stalin and ended up giving Colonel Beck a blank cheque to taunt Berlin with British backing for his policies

          • Noa

            And your point is…?

      • Bonkim

        in the interests of the Imperial power then.

    • Bonkim

      Spot on Noa – Haigh is cautious on this matter, give him credit for that.

  • Daniel Maris

    Can we agree (a) Ukraine is a complicated country pulling in two directions (b) Russia, USA and the EU are all vying for influence (c) no such protests would ever be allowed in London.

    • Makroon

      Yes.

    • Kennybhoy

      Agreed.

  • Daniel Maris

    Laughland’s warning about neo-Nazis is accurate.

    • HookesLaw

      Its biased propaganda.

      • serialluncher

        He’s basically a hack for Russia Today (ie. on Putin’s payroll).

        • Daniel Maris

          I’m not saying his overall appraisal is accurate…but to pretend there are not large numbers of neo-Nazis involved in the protest is naive. Ukraine has a very virulent far right, racist movement.

          In case you’ve forgotten:

          http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pavlo-lapshyn-jailed-life-after-2532574

          • serialluncher

            The neo-nazis are not pro-EU.

            • Daniel Maris

              Nazis and Communists, indeed all totalitarians are more than happy to fly false flags. Remember all that talk about democracy we used to get from the Syrian Jihadists? I am sure Neo-Nazis will wave EU flags if they think it does their cause good.

              • serialluncher

                Sorry you’re wrong in this case. The protesters have different agendas. The anti-Russian/anti-corruption sentiment is what binds the protesters whatever they think of the EU.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Sorry – you’re claiming the protesters have not been waving EU flags?!?

                • serialluncher

                  Some of them are pro-EU and some (like the neo-nazi thugs) are not. It’s an anti-Russia protest predominantly.

            • an ex-tory voter

              Neither are they “far right”.

  • HookesLaw

    Interesting who the Spectator manages to dredge up to peddle its lines
    Wikiu says
    ‘Institute of Democracy and Cooperation is a think tank with offices in Moscow, Paris and New York. It was founded in 2008 by a Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and is funded by Russian NGOs and private businesses.[‘

    Wiki adds that someone going by the name of ‘Nikolaus von Twickel of the The Moscow Times
    described the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation as, “an
    pro-Kremlin think tank that focuses on relations between Europe and
    Russia” while an article in The Hill also described the Institute as, “a pro-Kremlin think tank in New York.”

    Are we therefore surprised that the article makes absurd claims like ‘The EU association accord was a comprehensive political straitjacket
    designed to lock Ukraine into the orbit of Brussels and Washington by
    installing, as all over the EU itself, a pro-EU (and ultimately
    pro-NATO) elite ‘
    Meantime Putin is more saintly than Florence Nightingale.

    Congratulations Spectator for helping peddle this rancid propaganda.

    • Alex Golubev

      Thank you for finding this connection. Explains everything.

    • Trapnel

      I am experiencing name envy: Nikolaus von Twickel. Genius. Incidentally, anything the EU does is automatically suspect, so while knowing next to nothing about Ukraine, I know sufficient about the EU to suspect its every move. I wouldn’t trust the EU to classify a banana, let alone possess the wherewithal to pronounce on democracy in another country.

    • Tom Tom

      Nothing you say alters the conclusions. All the agreements with
      Gorbachev were breached – NO Warsaw Pact countries were supposed to join
      NATO. When Gorbachev wanted an agreement on the Kabul regime following
      Soviet withdrawal the US rejected any such deal and let the Pakistanis
      install Taliban.

      Occasionally, the Russian view of events has
      merit and not everything emanating from Washington and London or Paris
      smells of roses….large parts of the globe have experience but you are
      clearly a glove puppet

    • Kennybhoy

      Oh Hookey…

  • serialluncher

    This is a bit of a distortion (actually a travesty). The protesters are not a single entity. The ultra-nationalists who caused most of the violence are not pro-EU for example. And there are stories about some of them being provocateurs funded by Moscow.

    Maybe Ukraine’s deal with Russia on the face of it is just loans and the tiny free trade zone. However you missed out the corruption. Eg. Yanukovych and his family have apparently been handed oil & gas import rights from which they will personally make billions. In reality Ukrainians have lost their sovereignty to Putin. He has his pigeon in Kiev and most importantly he has lots of tanks ready to roll just after the closing ceremony.

    • HookesLaw

      Interesting points but will the knee jerk anti EU rabble be listening?

      • serialluncher

        I’m a sceptic but some of the bull that’s being bandied about is almost enough to push me to the other side. I can’t be the only one.

        • tastemylogos

          You certainly arent.

          • serialluncher

            Look up the definition. Ukip aren’t sceptics.

            • tastemylogos

              I’m just saying that I agree with you

              • serialluncher

                Oh sorry. Misunderstood.

      • Trapnel

        No chance.

      • Makroon

        Will the throw-back Lord Palmerstons be listening ?
        (that means you and l’il big mouth Hague, by the way).

        • Kennybhoy

          You insult Palmerston.

    • rtj1211

      It’s a war about getting control of Ukraine’s agricultural bread basket.

      Western Corporations want it and expect others to die to give it to them.

      • Kennybhoy

        Are you Tom Tom in disguise?

  • Jez

    There has to be some focus on the tapped conversation from the US state department where they slandered the EU……. in the same conversation the personalities actually CHOOSE the next government for the Ukrainians. Please excuse my spelling but the boxer Kitshchenko(?) is dropped and others chosen.

    Are the far right insurgents (now armed with more than a thousand small arms stolen yesterday) being used as the shire horses were in Orwell’s Animal farm to plunge the place into chaos and civil insurrection? If the liberal architects who are manipulating this situation, then plan to then drop the far right and glide into a flatpack DIY EU region, then hasn’t this got to be a colossal risk.

    All sides of this tragedy have to be scrutinized. Fast.

  • lozerama

    A vile article that only represents the positions of the elites and airbrushes the aspirations of the Ukrainian citizens. They stand to gain much more personal freedom, prosperity and hope with the eventual freedom of movement in the EU than under domestic Ukrainian leadership and Putin. While we may look down on the EU, the peoples of the European periphery look up to it; both are correct in their relative assessments of their prospects as individuals and non-elite citizens. The peripheral citizens yearn to leave the absolute corruption, oppression, and poverty that their national governments foist on them, for the relative improvement the EU represents; not by staying put and changing stuff, but by leaving their hopeless shitholes. And we yearn to leave the EU for the relative improvement our constitution and polity offers. It’s only the elites and their gobshite media reps who cost benefit analyse a contrary conclusion and associated agenda.

    • Makroon

      The EU was sufficiently satisfied with the democratic and human rights record of Ukraine to proffer an associate agreement. The agreement was declined, and now Ukraine apparently needs “a thoroughgoing makeover”, under EU “supervision”.

      • Kennybhoy

        Bullseye!

    • Bonkim

      absolute corruption, oppression, and poverty – are features of social organisation and governments feed on social corruption. Ukraine is divided socially and by religion, most likely will split along Orthodox/Catholic parts. This is a historic division.

  • Jez

    This is why the Spectator is now striving from strength to strength.

    The highest quality, top grade opinion from all perspectives.

    This is excellent.

    • tastemylogos

      spot on. No PC here.Whether you agree with it or not, it is thought provoking and antithetical to cliche. Love it.

  • Michael Dillon

    I am shocked to find someone in the media who actually investigates the facts about Russia and Ukraine and does not just swallow the propaganda promoted by Russophobes. I have read the EU Association Agreement offered to Ukraine and agree that is is a straitjacket. I do not understand why the EU demands such a punitive agreement. Why can’t there be a series of single issue agreements? That way the Ukraine government would have a shance to explain it to the people.

    • bradanfeasa

      “I do not understand why the EU demands such a punitive agreement. ”

      It did such wonders for the popularity of the EU in Greece… Perhaps it’s all just a cunning plan to convince the Ukraine not to join the EU!

    • pearlsandoysters

      The EU wants control, that’s the point.

  • swatnan

    So the prodigal son returns to Mother Russia; and so it should be.

  • Newcombe

    Spot bloody on!

    US still uses the “Russian card” to scare the Europeans (who would otherwise won’t give a toss about the Americans) and thereby keeping them in its fold. For all intents and purposes NATO is now totally redundant, but US wants to keep it alive and the only way it can do so is by resurrecting the ghost of old Soviet Union and Russian nationalism. Without it (NATO) and the promise of joining the EU, Turkey would also give the bird to the Yanks and scurry along to its natural allies – the Islamic ME.

    Russia has been benevelont to its former commonwealth, more than some of these new states deserve. Meanwhile, EU is now showing all the signs of being an imperialist force itself.

    • rtj1211

      The USA wants to rule the world. Period.

      Hitler was an amateur compared to that bunch…….

      • Kennybhoy

        I wonder why Disqus has changed the voting system? lol

    • Tom Tom

      The agreement with Gorbachev was that Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria would not be joining NATO…….funny how that was abrogated. The US intends to block the Mackinder Plan…….whoever controls the Eurasian bloc controls the world

      • Kennybhoy

        Who do you shill for?

    • Kennybhoy

      Nope. Like the destruction of Yugoslavia this is an EU not a US project.

  • Makroon

    A good blog post. France and Washington now cooking up EU sanctions on the Ukraine, because the democratically elected government won’t cave in to the street thugs ? How does that work ?
    As for the “public service broadcaster”, these days they favour street revolutionaries over democratically elected governments whether in the Ukraine, Turkey, Brazil or Thailand.

    • Newcombe

      Socialism is nothing if not forever overthrowing civilisations. Look at the so called “Arab Spring” and how the Obama’s US and EU immediately fell for the reactionery fascist thugs buring and looting everything that stood in their way.

      • telemachus

        What a stupid post
        Yes the progressive forces needed to get rid of a repressive monarch in October 1919
        But the Arab spring had little to do with socialism

        • Guest

          Unless you consider Islamism a form of socialism, where tyrannical government forces exclude anyone who “doesn’t belong” and force inclusion and collectivism for all those it deems “belong” in the collective, paid for by the citizens who have no vote, or very little vote, run by the elites who are above the law and beyond accountability.

          • telemachus

            Islamism is the ultimate right wing dictatorship

            • bwims

              A lie popular with the Leftist media. Right=freedom; Extreme Right = Anarchy. Left= State Control; Extreme Left = totalitarianism, i.e. Stalin Hitler Mussolini. Ergo, a totalitarian religion is Left, not Right.

              • JT

                How black and white of you. How’s this in return? You’re smoking crack. Right = oppression of the poor by the rich; Extreme Right = Fascism. Left = Regulation; Extreme Left = communism (fairy tale incompatible with the current human nature). Totalitarianism is just another version of despotism, and history has plenty of examples of that, no matter the ideology they used to get there. In the end, it’s about absolute power.

          • bwims

            And where capitalism is against their religion

    • HookesLaw

      Only if you think the writer is unbiased.
      ‘street thugs’?? Where are you coming from? I’ve just seen innocent people machine gunned to death on the BBC News.

      Do you think Putin was elected democratically or was his election rigged? Kippers go berserk about a few postal votes in Wythenshaw – they are keeping shtum about the Ukraine..
      You think the Ukraine election was fair?
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20204527

      To spell it out for you and maybe wake you up from your torpor the above link says
      ‘International observers say the election was marred by “abuse of power and the excessive role of money”.
      The monitoring mission from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) say state resources were used to give the party of power an unfair advantage during the campaign, and note that President Viktor Yanukovych’s chief rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is in prison and was barred from running.’

      • an ex-tory voter

        It is hypocritical in the extreme for any supporter of the present Europhile and the EU to complain about “money” being used to influence elections. The EU in particular spends millions if not billions on pro EU propaganda.
        By the way, just who is the OSCE, who funds it and who staffs it. Does it by chance take a large percentage of its income from the EU coffers?

      • Tom Tom

        State resources give the government an unfair advantage in Britain. I wonder what would happen in London if a mob had AK47s and Makarovs and had cut off the hand of a policeman and poked out his eye. No doubt the Met would love bomb them……….it will be good to see the uprising for liberty in London against the corrupt oligarchy and Surveillance State

        • pearlsandoysters

          Supposedly, state is a sole wielder of “force of coercion” within given territory, or so the accounts run. The current mayhem in the Ukraine seems to be a well-organized enterprise, though the movers & shakers are a mystery for me.

      • Makroon

        So those young chaps wearing military helmets, carrying riot shields, armed with rifles, Molotov cocktails and bombs are “innocent people” are they ?
        Your loyalty to the party knows no bounds. Hague is a useless idiot promoted way beyond his capacity, just dying to get us into another futile war, just to get his rocks off.
        You might reflect that such a thoroughly pointless entanglement (which Cameron, being the ‘heir to Blair’ seems to see as a jolly jape), will kill stone-dead Osborne’s recovery and your party’s last chance of a majority in 2015.
        Timoshenko is at least as corrupt as Yanukovich, and has zero credibility, she is nobody’s “chief rival”.
        You evidently believe in an EU style “democracy” – if you don’t like the result, just cry foul and demand a rerun.

      • Kennybhoy

        Oh Hookey…

    • Alex Golubev

      This article is direct Russian propoganda
      “Institute of Democracy and Cooperation is a think tank with offices in Moscow, Paris and New York. It was founded in 2008 by a Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and is funded by Russian NGOs and private businesses”

      • Jez

        And across the board 100% the rest is anti-Russian propaganda.

        The run up to the Winter Olympics was an utterly disgraceful spectacle of how the media is misused for political agendas.

        If they’re that bad, don’t hold the Olympics there, pull out your athletes- and whilst your on it- tell the EU to stop buying gas off them.

        • rtj1211

          As RT said today, the punishments for gays in the US are 100 times worse in many states than in Russia. That’s why they couldn’t pull out…..

      • tastemylogos

        I don’t agree or disagree with the article as I have no knowledge of Ukraine or its political culture other than it has a 100% democratically elected parliament ad executive and is corrupt to the core.

        BUT… Why is it that you will dismiss this article ad not pro EU institutions like the BBC or EU funded NGOs who disseminate a lot of the information coming out of there? I don’t get it.

        There are 2 sides to every story and I am quite frankly sick of hearing simplistic ONE SIDED analyses of what must be very complex political/geo-political situations whether in Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Turkey, Syria, etc, etc. Sick of it. I am not stupid, and neither are the majority.

        This article was a pleasure to read.

        • pearlsandoysters

          Right, the stories behind the news are very complex and nuanced, often require a thorough knowledge of history while simplistic accounts make things worse by promoting read-made views.

        • Kennybhoy

          Replay of Yugoslavia…

        • Bonkim

          Ukraine is corrupt to the core, the revolution will not change that.

    • Mynydd

      I wonder how long it will take Mr Cameron/Hague to do a Syria and call for the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and provide aid to the anti-government forces. After all Mr Hague has been quiet of late, time for him to hit the headlines again, and it will have the added advantage of diverting the media away from the governments miss handling of the floods.

      • Tom Tom

        Why not simply announce FREE MOVEMENT of Ukrainians to enter the EU and enjoy full benefits ? Isn’t that what they want, another 50 million in the labour market ? Or do they want more territory and control of Russian gas pipelines ?

        • Makroon

          Given their history in the Ukraine, you might think the Germans would be the last country to be up-to-it’s-neck meddling in Ukrainian politics.

          • bradanfeasa

            Old habits die hard.

          • Kennybhoy

            Didn’t stop them in Yugoslavia…

        • pearlsandoysters

          I think the point is to tie Ukraine within the EU orbit without any benefits of full membership, thus to exercise control over new territory without any responsibility for the population.

      • revkevblue

        He was doing exactly that on some platform or other, on Friday

    • Noa

      For a counter-balancing view from the Right to the progaganda being pushed out by Putin’s apologists consider Alexander Boot’ analysis.

      It seems Ukrainians have long memories of the 7-10 million deaths in Stalin’s Holodomor and are resistant to the re-introduction of the USSR through Putin’s own creation, the Eurasioan Economic Union.

      http://alexanderboot.com/content/it%E2%80%99s-not-kiev-where-chickens-are-be-found

    • pearlsandoysters

      Right, the law and order counts for nothing when it happens in less “developed” countries. Ukranian mayhem is a “classics” taken straight from pages of revolutionary manuals and the history books on emergent “nation-states”.

  • lgrundy

    Thanks for bringing some much needed and well-informed balance to the debate.

    • telemachus

      Even if only for selfish energy purposes we should support and partner Putin’s vision of post Yeltsin europe

      • tastemylogos

        I hate that I am tempted to agree with you. The sad thing is, I do it based on logic, not ideology.

        • telemachus

          Logic and naked self interest

          • tastemylogos

            no mate. logic. I was always blessed with an ability to forensically sift through ideology in order to identify what is true. You should try it. You are blinkered and rather myopic. Though now and again you get it right. Like here, no doubt Iraq and Syria (you are predictable after all)..

            But then again, if you throw enough s*** at the wall, some will stick.

            • telemachus

              What is true here is the naked power politics involved in the Russian Bear with its strong leader keeping its charges close
              If we have any sense we should leave him to it

              • tastemylogos

                You’re a wind u merchant. A pretty sad one too. Spending your time bizarrely trying to wind people up from behind your keyboard on a newspaper you despise. Lonely are we?

        • Kennybhoy

          Nothing worse than seeing one’s own impeccably logical and considered positions echoed by knaves and cretins…

          “An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.”

          • Fergus Pickering

            Who said that? It’s balls, isn’t it?

            • Kennybhoy

              A quick Google would have told you it was Don Marquis.

              Not balls. Sweet reason.

              Whit you doing up at this ungodly hour Fergus?

  • telemachus

    An excellent post
    I am tired of the UK media doing down the people of Russia and its enlightened but strong leadership

    • monty61

      Yes. Long live Comrade Putin, arch-democrat.

      • telemachus

        He rescued Russia from the debacle of Yeltzin

        • serialluncher

          No, the oil price went up.

          • tastemylogos

            Disgustingly, Telemachus is correct. Yeltsin was a disaster for his country and was an American lakey (I do not hate America unlike the idiot above). Putin is detestable too but he did rescue Russia.

          • tastemylogos

            1) Corruption is a massive issue in Russia today. Under Yeltsin it was at a different level all together. Business goes to Russian companies today, not American and European ones.

            2) This does not take anything away from the commodity band wagon Russia has jumped on the back of for its success.

    • lozerama
      • telemachus

        Trust the DT to sensationalise the actions against a group of crazy provoking women

        • Fergus Pickering

          Doesn’t need much sensationalising. You can see it on television. Putin is an old secret policeman. It’s what he does. Boots and bullwhips..

          • Tom Tom

            George Bush Sr was former Head of the CIA

            • Kennybhoy

              FSB shill alert.

          • Makroon

            Putin was elected to office, nobody can seriously claim that he didn’t have majority support. There were several much worse candidates. We will have to wait and see whether the Russian people have now had enough of Mr Putin.

          • Kennybhoy

            We have all seen just as bad on the streets of Western cities, including London…

    • global city

      Why do silly old Commies still carry a flame for old Mother Russia?

      I actually agree with you on this point however.

      The EU is the danger to peace, not Putin.

      • telemachus

        Neither are
        The EU consolidates post WW2 peace now that the US have lost interest

        • global city

          The strangeness of the Leftist mindset.

      • Kennybhoy

        No. They both are.

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