Written by Dr.Leon Tressell, co-authorted by Rosa Tressell exclusively for SouthFront
The Maidan coup in February 2014, carefully planned and orchestrated by American imperialism in cahoots with its Neo-Nazi stooges, set in motion a myriad of centrifugal forces that have been tearing the country apart. A cursory look at Europe’s mainstream press would reveal that the current civil war in Ukraine is the continent’s invisible war. There are no headlines lamenting the death and destruction that is the daily lot of people in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
On the anniversary of the Odessa Massacre on 2 May 2014 it reminds me of the old maxim,”Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them’’. The Odessa Massacre saw the murder of 43 Russian speaking activists by Neo-Nazis from Svboda and the Right Sector who acted in collusion with local police and special forces.
The Odessa Massacre can be said to be the event that cemented the determination of Russian speakers in the Donbass region to break away from a country that rejoiced in the murder of its own citizens.
To understand the current situation in Ukraine and its war against the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk we need to go back to the event that triggered this crisis which was the American sponsored coup that overthrew President Yanukovich on 22 February 2014. Yanukovich refused to sign the infamous EU trade association agreement that was used as the flimsy pretext for the Maiden protest movement. This in turn was used as cover by the CIA/U.S. State Department to launch the coup d’etat that overthrew Yanukovich and led to the installation of a pro-western puppet government dominated by billionaire oligarchs. Neo-Nazi groups such as Svboda and the Right Sector played a leading role in the bloody overthrow of Yanukovich’s government and went on to set the political agenda that has dominated Ukraine to this day.
This agenda was ultra-nationalist and demanded the supremacy of the Ukrainian language, history and culture and the repression of the Russian speaking population in the east of the country. Along with this, these ‘nationalists’ invited rapacious international institutions such as the IMF into the country setting the scene for Western imperialism to come in and take over the Ukrainian economy. A good example of this economic/political corruption is the case of Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest private gas company after the Maidan coup.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the gas transit pipelines from Russia delivering supplies to Europe through Ukraine have been a major source of the current conflict. Since the advent of fracking American imperialism has sought to use the crisis in Ukraine to stifle Russian energy supplies to Europe in the hope of boosting its energy exports to Europe. The U.S. got the EU. to prevent the Russian south stream gas pipeline into Europe. Washington and the EU are backing Ukraine in its incessant disputes with Russia over energy bills.
Of course, the blood thirsty ultranationalists in power in Kiev, while happy to see their country economically dominated and pillaged by Western imperialism, demanded satisfaction of their Russo phobia. This was to take the form of the infamous Anti-Terrorist Operations to reconquer the Russian speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk that had declared their independence from Ukraine.
Neo-Nazi forces involved in the overthrow of Yanukovich also took advantage of the situation to attack the Ukrainian labour movement. There were numerous attacks upon trade unionists, while small left parties like Borotba were driven underground. The Ukrainian Communist Party, while no workers formation, was banned, illustrating the extent of the repression. This wave of repression against the labour movement culminated in the massacre at the Trade Union House in Odessa on 2 May 2014 where Neo-Nazi elements murdered around 45, Russian speaking activists, many burnt alive in the building.
Not surprisingly, Russian speakers in the East of Ukraine spontaneously rose up demanding protection from Neo-Nazi militias, such as the Azov battalion, within the Ukrainian armed forces. In Donetsk and Lugansk regions (Novorossia) the people spontaneously organised militias to defend themselves from an expected attack by the Ukrainian armed forces. The junta that took power in Kiev, headed by billionaire Poroshenko, launched the so called Anti-Terrorist Operation against the nascent rebellions in the Russian speaking regions. This Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) brought Russian speaking areas under the junta’s control except in Donetsk and Lugansk oblast (regions) where the poorly armed militias, which were strongly supported by the miners of the region, repulsed the Ukrainian armed forces which included various neo-Nazi militias such as the Azov battalion.
The various war crimes committed by these military formations has been well documented by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. Even the U.S. Congress was forced to state that no more military supplies should be sent to Azov battalion due to its infamous record of murder, rape and pillage in the Donbass region.
In the first phase of the war the economy of Novorossia was largely nationalised. An international brigade of foreign volunteers was formed. At its core was a company of socialists and communists from all over Europe.
As the conflict settled down into a more conventional war then nationalist elements loyal to Moscow became increasingly prominent within the leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The militias, which at first were spontaneously created from below and largely made up of workers who had volunteered, began to change into more professional military units whose commanders were began to be replaced by Moscow henchmen. Popular militia leaders such as Motorola and Ghost who commanded mass support from the people were assassinated by Ukrainian special forces.
The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has turned into a more conventional war which has become a piece on the geopolitical chessboard. If you read IMF reports about Ukraine then it is clear that the junta is on life support and kept going only by loans from the West, totalling over $17 billion and rising, and U.S. military supplies. Ukraine’s economy is in a state of collapse while the population have suffered a large decline in their living standards.
The Anti-Terrorist Operation launched by the Ukrainian government, against the breakaway republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, has been used by the junta to try and divert an increasingly angry population from their socio-economic problems. The OSCE issues daily reports about infringements of the Minsk 2 ceasefire agreement. Everyday there is low intensity fighting taking place. The Ukrainian military shells civilian settlements in Lugansk and Donetsk with impunity every day committing war crimes safe in the knowledge that America and the EU will turn a blind eye. There are reporters on the ground, such as Patrick Lancaster who is married to a local women, who issue daily video reports showing the devastation caused by Ukrainian military strikes upon civilian settlements.
This is totally ignored by the Western media basically because the victims are Russian speakers caught in the middle of a war sponsored by American imperialism against the breakaway republics of Novorossia. Further it plays into their narrative that Putin is a nationalist looking to expand his borders, a “threat” therefore to the peace of the world. The underlying message is that whatever is happening in the Ukraine is Putin’s fault.
It is quite clear that U.S. imperialism has plans to stoke up the Donbass conflict by its recent decision to despatch heavy weaponry to the Kiev junta while maintaining financial support to prevent the collapse of the Poroshenko regime. The US and its EU ally have increased sanctions upon Russia this year while demanding Russia commits itself to the Minsk 2 peace accords!
The Ukrainian people are facing a very difficult social-economic situation while ultra-nationalist forces continue to set the political agenda in the Radha (parliament). Under the tender care of billionaire oligarchs, Neo-Nazi political and military formations, the IMF and the Americans, Ukraine’s economy will only continue to stagnate and decline whilst the civil war will only intensify. The ordinary people of Ukraine face a common enemy but are in a difficult position as the political environment is so repressive. The trade unions and radical parties such as Borotba were sent underground after the Maidan coup in February 2014.
Of course, this is all part of the Neo-Cons long term plan for the region. The destruction of Ukraine is a merely a stepping stone on the road to the ultimate prize of overthrowing the nationalist regime in Moscow and installing pro-western puppets into the Kremlin. Then at last Brezinski’s dream* of America dominating the people and resources of Eurasia has a chance of fulfilment.
The people of Ukraine stand at a crossroads. They can stand by passively and watch their country be completely destroyed aka Syria while yet more regions, such as Donetsk and Lugansk end up rejoining Russia, or they can stand up to the ultra-nationalist and Neo-Nazi forces dominating their government. Ukraine does not have to go the way of Syria.
Those of us living in the US and the EU should demand our politicians end their financial and military support for the Ukrainian government that has perpetrated numerous war crimes and is clearly committed to a military solution to the civil war in the Donbass region of the country.