Archives for : Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity

New Evidence: Russian Spies Backed Kiev’s Killers

The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

New Evidence: Russian Spies Backed Kiev’s Killers
Following on a Daily Beast report, Ukrainian authorities say that Russian advisers and ex-President Yanukovych played a direct role in the slaughter of protesters on February 20.
Ukraine’s new authorities have arrested a dozen members of the country’s disbanded “Berkut” riot police. The men are suspected of participation in the February slayings of dozens of protesters in Kiev, gunned down while agitating for the ouster of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. The authorities say more arrests are to follow and they are turning their attention to other security units, including a crack Ukrainian anti-terrorist team first identified by the Daily Beast last weekend.

In a dramatic press conference by the prosecutor general and heads of the interior ministry and SBU state security, Ukraine’s new security chiefs say Yanukovych ordered the mass slayings and the snipers were under his “direct leadership”. They allege also they have uncovered evidence that Russia’s intelligence service the FSB assisted and advised Ukrainian counterparts in the bloody bid to suppress anti-government protests, leaving more than a hundred dead.

The new head of Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service Valentyn Nalivaichenko told reporters that his predecessor at SBI, Aleksandr Yakimenko oversaw the carnage in the Maidan on the orders of ex-president Yanukovych. The operation started to be put into effect on the evening of February 18 when 108 Alfa Team members tried to set up on a building overlooking Independence Square. Protesters had vacated the structure earlier because of an fire there. The Alfa members were armed with AK-47s and sniper rifles, including German Blaser hunting rifles. But the fire and smoke prevented the Alfa team from remaining in the building.

Russian experts, who had flown in that day to advise, also brought weapons, ammunition and explosives, said Nalivaichenko. The Alfa members involved are now in hiding in Crimea but some former commanders are still in Ukraine and are being interrogated. The Ukraine government is demanding from Moscow the identity of the Russian FSB officers who acted as advisers.

Video screenshot
Alfa Team Exclusive Video
The authorities stress that the investigation into the killings is still in its early stages and is centering on the killing of at least 53 anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, on February 20. Many of the dead were killed by long-distance sniper rounds. Those killings came the day before the Yanukovych government crumbled with some key government loyalists deserting the regime as a result of the bloodshed and the ousted president fleeing Ukraine’s capital for Russia.

In all at least 103 people were killed on the streets of Kiev in the months-long protest against Yanukovych, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, although the protesters put the number at 118. The ministry says 166 protesters remain missing and that 1,528 persons were injured in the anti-government clashes.

A spokesman for the general prosecutor said all of the arrested are being detained as suspects in “mass murder on Institutska Street,” which leads off the Maidan. It saw some of the worst violence in February and has been renamed by protesters as the Avenue of the Heavenly Hundred, in honor of those killed.

According to Ukraine’s interim Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky those detained so far were members of a special “Black Unit” within the Berkut “trained for special operations including the killing of people.” He says, “They were overseen by the presidential administration,” adding that additional arrests are likely in the coming weeks.

The special operations unit provided cover for unarmed Berkut, acting Deputy Prosecutor General Aleksey Baganets told reporters. “Their task was, as they explained, although we don’t fully believe them, to shoot back at advancing protesters and allow the regular Berkut troops to retreat.” The commander of the Black Unit is among the arrested.
kiev killers2Feb 20. Click to launch gallery. (The Daily Beast)

The decision to announce preliminary findings of the ongoing probe came 48 hours after the Daily Beast published exclusive still photographs of armed members of the SBU’s anti-terrorist Alfa unit and other crack special forces units from the interior ministry locking and loading on the morning of February 20 in the courtyard of the Kiev headquarters of the Ukrainian intelligence service three blocks from the Maidan.

The SBU is the successor intelligence agency to the Ukrainian branch of the Soviet-era KGB and has exceptional ties with the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, says Ukraine’s new Justice Minister, Pavlo Petrenko. He claims the former head of the agency was a Russian agent. The Alfa Team trains with specialists from Russia, according to former Russian military intelligence officer Boris Volodarsky.

The photographs, part of an archive of hundreds of pictures and video footage shot on February 20 by ordinary Ukrainians and supplied exclusively to the Daily Beast also show Alfa Team members and other crack units rotating in and out of the courtyard during the shootings. Many of their faces are visible while they are preparing for action or resting during the morning without their masks.

Today the Daily Beast is adding to the photographs published Saturday night by posting video footage of the SBU courtyard on February 20 as well as some video frames taken the following morning of suspected Alfa team members loading up a van in the courtyard with ammunition boxes before driving it away. The February 21 frames were taken hours before Yanukovych fled the capital. Team members are seen switching tags on VW and Mazda vans parked in the courtyard before driving them off in what Maidan activists suspect was an operation to rid the SBU of ordnance and weaponry that could be linked to the shootings.

Maidan leaders have expressed reservations about the set-up of the investigation into the slayings, which is being overseen by the new heads of the SBU, the police and the prosecutor general’s office. They have objected to agencies possibly involved in the carnage leading the investigation, fearing the results will be flawed, worrying that even if the new leaders are determined to get to the bottom of the shootings, there are Yanukovych loyalists in the agencies able to sabotage the probe or cover up evidence.

Some activists expressed satisfaction with the explosive preliminary findings on Thursday but others are still pushing for an outside international body to probe the killings and provide oversight.
Jamie Dettmer

God help us never to allow such tragic killings of Ukrainians to ever occur again. Russian brutality must be overcome my the JUDEO-CHRISTIAN principles of life. The civilized world must seek for justice and hold Russia’s Kremlin and Putin accountable for propagating evil. Kremlin must be exorcised! To the Ukrainian Heavenly Hundred-Heroes Never Die!!!!

Read More: Russia’s FSB was involved in the mass killings in Kyiv.

Young girl from Odesa: We are all Judeo-Bandero-shahids!

Young girl from Odesa: We are all Judeo-Bandero-shahids!

We must share this post by a young girl from Odesa:

March 2, 2014 Facebook
Translated by Voices of Maidan
Image source:

“If we survive, live through [these events] and stabilize, then I would suggest to build a monument to Vladimir Putin – for the revival of the Ukrainian nation. We thought Yanukovych had united us. No, it was still not the unity we could have had. Yesterday, Odesa held an “Odesa is Ukraine” rally, which proved to be the most numerous rally in the history of Ukraine’s independence (you must understand, it’s Odesa after all). We finally lifted our butts off the sofa and went. Apparently, there are still some Jews left in Odessa. A couple of thousand for sure. And, you will not belive it, they are all Banderites! Yes! The real Banderites. We have a preponderance of Banderites here [in Odesa]: Jewish Banderites, Russian Banderites, Ukrainian Banderites, as well Armenian Banderites, Bulgarian, Greek and many others. Muslim Banderites uh … I do not remember how they call it …. said that three million Muslims will defend their homeland – Ukraine, and a column of Jewish Banderites passing by a mosque (disguised as Arab cultural center) shouted “Allah Akbar!” One man said, “Now I’ve seen everything in life!”

Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], you have made the impossible possible! We thought we were Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Tatars, Orthodox, Jewry, Muslims … and it turned out that we are all Ukrainians. Banderites. They say that Kiselev will have a glitch, but I believe in him! Expect a new term: “State Department agents, Judeo-Bandero-shahids!” God save Ukraine! Glory to its Heroes!”

‪#‎ЄвромайданSOS ‪#‎Евромайдан ‪#‎EuromaidanSOS ‪#‎Euromaidan ‪#‎saveUkraine ‪#‎Одеса
People attend an anti-war rally in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa on March 2, 2014. Ukraine has placed its army on full combat alert, but with ageing equipment and limited personnel. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images
People attend an anti-war rally in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odesa on March 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine Chief Rabbi Accuses Russia of Anti-Semitic ‘Provocations’ in Crimea. Yaakov Dov Bleich Compares Behavior to Nazi Anschluss

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jew syn

Open letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.

Western Media: Don’t distort the situation in Ukraine!

Western Media: Don’t distort the situation in Ukraine!
Halya Coynash

They’re out on the streets, they’re vocal and they tacitly allow the West to think that since there are two sides to the story, expressing grave concern is enough. There are indeed a large number of pro-Russian citizens in the Crimea who welcome Russian intervention, however there are plenty of Ukrainians – including ethnic Russians – who vehemently oppose Russia’s effective occupation of the Crimea.

Any media coverage should be objective and present all sides.

A CNN report on Sunday afternoon spoke only to people who were pleased that the Russians had seized control and delighted to be asked if they were frightened of the new government in Ukraine. No attempt was made to ascertain what was meant by their allegations of “fascists” in control or what the grounds for their fears were. This has no basis in fact, making the fears unfounded, if understandable. If journalists had spoken to a broader range of interviewees, they would have understood that nobody is stopped from speaking Russian in the Crimea, and that these fears were largely being fuelled by propaganda on Russian television channels.

As of around 23.00, Kyiv time, just over 117 thousand “ethnic Russians and Russian speakers” have signed a petition entitled Mr Putin: We ethnic Russians and Russian speakers don’t need protection; there have been statements of protest from religious bodies; human rights organizations (Ukrainian and Russian); the Crimean Tatars (up to 15% of the Crimean population, and an indigenous people for whom the Crimea is their sole homeland).

Nobody is asking international news agencies to take a stand. Quite the contrary: the truth is needed to ensure adequate response to a situation of grave danger and to counter seriously distorted coverage of events which mislead the public.

Please be careful in your news coverage, and provide as full a picture as possible.

Media beware in the coming days and weeks Putin will try to destabilize Ukraine’s eastern regions with hired thugs and paramilitaries. And he may yet impose his will on these regions with a formal invasion. Get the word out and do good to stop a war between Russia and Ukraine.

Fact-Checking The Ukrainian Revolution

Fact-Checking The Ukrainian Revolution
Feb. 27, 2014 By Andrea Chalupa

Amy Goodman via YouTube

In 2008, while covering the Republican Convention, I bumped into Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!, and I was star struck. When Russia Today announced that Julian Assange would get his own show, I thought that was brilliant and couldn’t wait to watch it. One of my more interesting email newsletter subscriptions comes from CounterPunch, a political website in Portland, Oregon—that lovable hipster Narnia. But now that my mainstays in alternative media are covering the revolution in Ukraine—a part of the world I have lived in and researched extensively for years—it’s left me heartbroken, and wondering: If Russia Today, DemocracyNow!, and Counter Punch are spreading misinformation about Ukraine, what else have they been wrong about? By sharing their articles in the past, have I helped them blur the truth?

Ukraine has a history of being the victim of media conspiracy. In 1933, the Western mainstream media deliberately covered-up Stalin’s genocide famine in Ukraine that starved to death many millions. Stalin, a great statistician himself, cited 10 million dead. Eugene Lyons, a reporter for UPI in Moscow, confessed to the cover-up in his tell-all memoir Assignment in Utopia. It was reviewed by Orwell and helped inspire ideas for 1984, namely the slogan: 2+2=5.

Before reading this article, had you heard of the famine? There’s a reason why most people still don’t know that many millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by their government in a single year; the Western media, confined to Moscow, was successful in ignoring “the rumors.” In one notorious instance some of the world’s most influential foreign reporters ganged up on a brave, young, independent journalist named Gareth Jones, by publishing articles full of lies that contradicted Jones’ fearless eye-witness reporting. The media’s silence or flat-out denials helped the Kremlin keep the truth of the famine locked behind the Iron Curtain. It eventually became reserved to the world of academia, where it was debated for generations.

Today the alternative media is the Kremlin’s little helper. Many Americans are infuriated with our government’s NSA spying and wars-for-profit, and obviously rightfully so. But their anger toward American neocons seems projected onto a revolution that would inspire free thinkers and freedom fighters. If only they could forgive The New York Times for Judith Miller, they would trust the incredible reporting the paper is doing on the ground in Ukraine. Yes, corporate media is fiercely generic and prefers covering shiny celebrity objects; but its ability to afford fact-checkers and travel budgets can lead to some damn good reporting.

Here’s what you need to be aware of as the situation in Ukraine develops:

Any article that links to Russia Today (RT) to cite a “fact” was written by a lazy journalist. It’s well-known that Russia Today was started by the Russian government, which has a history of imprisoning and killing investigative journalists

Russia Today has led the charge that Ukraine’s protest movement was a fascist, neo-Nazi take-over of the country. Luckily, the jaw-dropping photos of President Yanukovych’s Versailles McMansion, built with stolen tax-payer money on privatized national park land, clearly communicated to the world why Ukrainians were fighting. They had enough of their government’s sociopathic corruption: an estimated $70 billion was stolen from the budget since Yanukovych became president in 2010. Yes, he was democratically elected (and he lied to get elected), but he delegitimized his power when he violated the Ukrainian constitution by mass-murdering his own people.

In fact, many Jewish intellectuals across Ukraine were protest organizers, according to Tablet Magazine. A former Israeli soldier taught self-defense on Maidan—Kyiv’s Independence Square. Unfortunately, Haaretz and David Firestone, a columnist for The New York Times, were duped by an erroneous story that quoted a Kremlin ally who urgently called for Jews to leave Ukraine for their own safety. (Ukraine has one of the largest Jewish communities in the world, according to Haaretz.) Haaretz has since issued a correction; Firestone has not and seemed to attribute a recent attack on two Jews to the protesters. Jewish-Ukrainian historian Vitaliy Nakhmanovich released a statement that those attacks were a provocation by government forces—a statement I tweeted to Firestone just after he re-tweeted something else I posted, but I have not received a response.

It’s safer to be Jewish in Ukraine than black in Florida. Anti-Semitism is not on the rise in Ukraine. Vadim Rabinovich, president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress (VEK), co-founder of the European Jewish Parliament (EJP), issued this statement:

“Thus, I categorically refute the statements appearing in a number of foreign media outlets of facts of massive anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Ukraine that do not correspond to reality! The whipping up of the situation around this issue is of a provocative nature and does not contribute to a calm life for the Jewish community of Ukraine. Together with the entire people of Ukraine, the Jewish community will actively participate in the building of a democratic state and promote the renewal and prosperity of the country.

Another common fallacy is that the “Russian half” of Ukraine supports and wants to be aligned with Russia. First of all, how do you think half of Ukraine became Russian in the first place? After Stalin wiped out millions of Ukrainians in the genocide-famine, he replaced them with Russians; the borders of Ukraine then only extended around what is now eastern Ukraine; that is why western Ukraine, then under Poland, is still so very Ukrainian—they did not experience the famine. Mind blowing, eh?

Ukrainian protesters are not fascists: the movement was started by a dark-skinned Afghani-Ukrainian, the first victims were Armenian and Belarusian, and many of the killed protesters were native Russian speakers. Even some Russians are inspired by what Ukraine has done; this incredible footage from a hockey game in Russia shows young Russians chanting: “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” Yes, there are far-right elements–there’s a shadow side to every movement and human-being; Jewish-French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy breaks down that issue wonderfully here.

The anti-corruption movement is diverse. Leaders and victims came from all over the country. Ukraine does not want to be partitioned, and symbolically expressed its unity on Wednesday when Lviv agreed to speak Russian, and Donetsk agreed to speak Ukrainian for a day. My father is from Lviv, and my mother is from Donetsk; if they can stay married for 45+ years, Ukraine can stay united. The only threat is Russian meddling which will either take the form of its usual Soviet-style subterfuge or a Russian military invasion of Crimea. During this critical time, Western leaders and especially media must stay vigilant and not serve the Kremlin by spreading its propaganda.

Know that Ketchum PR represents Russia, and has placed Russian-friendly content in The Huffington Post. Conservative bloggers have been paid to write pro-Kremlin pieces, as this bombshell investigation explains. You will continue to see a retired university professor named Stephen F. Cohen defend Russia and demonize the Ukrainian anti-corruption movement onThe Nation. This is because Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and part owner of The Nation, is his wife. So his perverse defense of Vladimir Putin will likely always have a home there. It is strange how Cohen can overlook Putin’s human rights record. Historically, communists and other liberals have associated the Soviet Union with the socialist struggle. The Soviet Union never achieved the dream of socialism that Denmark, for instance, has. It was a terror regime that seduced liberal movements and leading intellectuals in the West. When he was a newly arrived immigrant in the Lower East Side, my uncle saw his American high school teacher crying on the day “Uncle Joe” Stalin died. For him, it’s a memory as strong as witnessing the fiery clashes of Hitler and Stalin’s armies in east Ukraine’s Donbas region.

The West did not orchestrate the Ukrainian protests—they started from a Facebook post by Afghani-Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayem. When the State Department’s Victoria Nuland was caught in the leaked phone call saying “fuck the EU,” it was obvious that this would color the movement as a “Western conspiracy.” But many Ukrainians also had to agree with her: the EU seemed to do nothing but issue statements of moral support. I feared it would soon run out of combination of words that all said the same thing. Their tone-deaf moral support is perfectly called-out in this video from protesters. In the end,Ukrainians rejected a Western-brokered “peace deal” and threatened to storm the president if he didn’t leave town the next day; he fled. Ukrainians won their freedom despite the West, not because of it.

Another fun-fake-fact is that the protesters were paid. Such a cliché deserves a cliché: that’s like saying Santa Clause is real. People gave their lives fighting for their freedom—a sentiment honored in the Ukrainian national anthem.

If you think that’s romanticism, then maybe we in the West need to get romantic, and fast. We, the American people, on the left and the right, have a common enemy in corporate-bought politicians. If anything should unite our country and draw us out into the streets it’s America’s desperate need for campaign finance reform. But who among us would be willing to take a sniper bullet for that? TC mark
image – Russia Today – YouTube

Andrea Chalupa
Andrea is a Brooklyn, New York–based journalist and author of Orwell and The Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm. She studied at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. In January, she and thousands of others around the world launched DigitalMaidan.

When will Russia’s/Kremlin/Putin distortions of Ukraine STOP.
“What ethnic Russian, Russian citizen, or Russian speaker in ANY part of Ukraine, specifically Crimea, has had ANY of his or her rights abridged by the central government in Kyiv? And in what manner? Evidence, please!

What evils is Putin’s occupation preventing from occurring? Show a SINGLE instance of such a xenophobic act AGAINST a Russian.
I’ve seen plenty perpetrated BY Russians!”

US stakes in Ukraine tied to location, location

US stakes in Ukraine tied to location, location

Associated Press
Wednesday February 26, 2014, 4:46 PM

WASHINGTON — Ukraine isn’t typically a U.S. foreign policy priority, experts say. President Barack Obama is more occupied with Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and more. His administration rejects the notion that the situation in Ukraine represents some kind of epic East vs. West power struggle.

Still, there are reasons why Americans should care about what’s happening there, starting with location, location, location.

1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Sure, it would be nice for Ukraine to have a stable, democratic government simply because that’s a good thing, and no one wants to see more bloodshed. But the U.S. is more concerned about Ukraine because of its location, perched between Russia and the rest of Europe, where the U.S. has lots of friends. “The U.S. has an interest in a wider, stable, secure Europe,” says Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who’s now at the Brookings Institution. “If Ukraine goes into chaos, that’s likely to pull those European countries in — and we may get involved later on, too.

2. BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MARCH OF DEMOCRACY. The overthrow of Kiev’s democratically elected (but corrupt and repressive) government by protesters seeking a more just Ukraine raises unsettling questions. “Ukraine doesn’t fit this ideal model of how democratic change progresses,” says Olga Oliker, associate director of RAND Corp.’s international security and defense policy center. “What does it mean to try to create more democratic systems in nondemocratic ways?”

3. LOOKING OUT FOR A FRIEND. Ukraine’s actually been a good friend to the U.S. since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It was once home to the world’s third-largest nuclear weapons arsenal, and voluntarily surrendered the stockpile to Russia. It sent troops to help out in Iraq in 2003-05 and dispatched peacekeepers to Kosovo and Lebanon. It agreed to cancel a planned $45 million nuclear deal with Iran in 1992. “On a lot of foreign policy issues, they’ve been fairly helpful, and I would argue that that is one reason why we ought to care about what is going on,” Pifer says.

4. RUSSIA. The unrest in Ukraine could complicate U.S.-Russian relations. The Obama administration dismisses the idea of competing spheres of influence as wildly outmoded and deliberately has tried not to insert itself too deeply in the situation. But Russian President Vladimir Putin very much want,”s to tilt Ukraine his direction. “The U.S.-Russian relationship has been very combative lately and scratchy” says Andrew Weiss, a Clinton administration expert on Ukraine and Russia who’s now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Ukraine adds one more layer on top of the problems that already exist.”

5. PEOPLE. BUSINESS. MONEY. People: There’s obvious concern among the estimated 1 million to 1.5 million people of Ukrainian descent in the U.S., with large concentrations in Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Sacramento, Calif., and the New York City area. Business: Ukraine, an economic mess, is not a big U.S. trading partner. But there’s plenty of commercial potential in a country of 46 million people. Money: Ukraine is in dire need of billions of dollars in financial assistance. The main lender is likely to be the International Monetary Fund. But Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the U.S. plans to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and will consider additional direct assistance.
– See more at:

A democratic and Free Ukraine will influence the democratization of Russia- a Russia without Putin. The West needs a free and democratic Russia for economic development and for geopolitical balance towards China and global militant Islamism.

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

Fallen Heroes in Ukraine

In Memory of the Fallen Heroes of Ukraine Revolution of Dignity.

This is the Shrine to those who gave their lives yesterday on Maidan.
Symbolically, this memorial was set up at the foot of the monument to Ukraine’s independence – scarred with bullet holes, blackened by fire, but still standing!


Blood stains have been covered with flowers, and memorials set up at each spot where a person was killed during the fighting on Feb 19-20. The coffins of heroes who lost their lives to sniper fire and riot police grenades were brought to the stage in pairs all day today – each was sent off in a moving ceremony in the presence of tens of thousands of demonstrators.


21 century genocide in Ukraine February 2014 Massive funerals today in Kyiv.

A tribute to the Heroes that gave their lives for Ukraine and her people ….. average folks like you and I in their regular lives; but extraordinary in their sacrifice. Maidan tonight. The city is heartbroken over its deceased heroes.
The Heavenly Hundred. A tribute to those who defended Euromaidan. Our Heros. Please share in their memory.

Decoding Ukraine

Decoding Ukraine
A lexicon of the smears, stereotypes, and clichés used to describe the battle for the country’s future.
By Anne Applebaum

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Independence Square on Feb. 19, 2014, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Anti-government protesters clash with police in Independence Square on Feb. 19, 2014, in Kiev, Ukraine.

Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

WARSAW, Poland—For those who are new to the subject—indeed, for those who have been following it for many years—the Ukrainian crisis can seem murky. The Ukrainians have a president, Viktor Yanukovych, who granted himself dictatorial powers and then repealed some of them, announced a truce and then broke it, and claims to enforce the law but employs thugs who haul journalists out of cars and shoot them. The Ukrainian opposition, meanwhile, has three separate leaders who may or may not actually control the Ukrainian protest movement at any given moment.

The opacity helps to explain why Ukraine, after years of stability, has suddenly become violent and unpredictable. It also helps to explain why so many inside and outside the country use historical clichés to describe the situation. Often, those clichés are intended to serve the interests of those who use them. Sometimes they are just bad simplifications. Either way, what follows is a handy guide to the terms, words, and phrases to treat with deep skepticism:

Fraternal assistance
This is a Soviet expression, once used to justify the Soviet invasions of Prague in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979. Fraternal assistance was intended to prevent Soviet puppet states from being overthrown, whether violently or peacefully. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukraine a “fraternal” country, hinting that he sees it as a puppet state. This week, a senior Russian parliamentarian declared that he and his colleagues are “prepared to give all the necessary assistance should the fraternal Ukrainian people ask for it.” This may well be the cue for pro-Russian organizations inside Ukraine to ask for intervention.

Anti-terrorist operation

This is a Putin-era expression used to justify the Russian invasion of Chechnya in 1999. An anti-terrorist operation, in this particular context, means that anything is permitted: The term granted Russian soldiers carte blanche to destroy Grozny, the Chechen capital. This is why so many reacted with horror earlier this week when the Ukrainian defense ministry warned that the army “might be used in anti-terrorist operations on the territory of Ukraine.”

Coup d’etat
This more universal expression has been used since November by both the Ukrainian government and Russian commentators to describe street protests in Kiev and elsewhere. It can mean anything from “peaceful protests that we don’t like” to “protesters using violence against police,” but either way, it is a term being used to justify the deployment of an “anti-terrorist operation” and not necessarily to describe an actual coup d’etat.

Nazi or fascist
These loaded historical terms have been used by both Russian and Ukrainian officials for many months to describe a wide range of opposition leaders and groups. Fake photographs of nonexistent Hitler posters in Kiev have been circulating online; recently, the Russian foreign minister lectured his German colleagues for, he said, supporting people who salute Hitler. Of course there is a Ukrainian far right, though it is much smaller than the far right in France, Austria, or Holland, and its members have indeed become more violent under the pressure of police clubs, bullets, and attacks.

At the same time, those who throw these terms around should remember that the strongest anti-Semitic, homophobic, and xenophobic rhetoric in this region is not coming from the Ukrainian far right but from the Russian press and ultimately the Russian regime. As historian Tim Snyder has written, “The Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.” The smears do stick. Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, just wrote an otherwise anodyne article ticking off Ukrainian “far-right nationalist groups” as if they were the main problem, proving that even Western statesmen aren’t immune.

Ethno-linguistic divisions or Yugoslav situation

These are more loaded terms, used in both the West and Russia, to show that the conflict in Ukraine is atavistic, inexplicable, and born of deep ethnic hatred. In fact, this is not an ethnic conflict at all. It is a political conflict and—despite the current opacity—at base not that hard to understand. It pits Ukrainians (both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who want to live in a “European” democracy with human rights and rule of law against Ukrainians (also both Russian and Ukrainian-speaking) who support an undemocratic, oligarchic capitalist regime that is politically and economically dependent on Russia. Some of the regime’s supporters may well believe they are fighting fascists and militant European homosexuals; others may simply fear that deep reforms will cost them their paychecks.

Either way, this is not a fight over which language to speak or which church to attend. It is a deep, fundamental disagreement about the nature of the state, the country’s international allegiances, its legal system, its economy, its future. Given how much Ukrainians have at stake, the least we outsiders can do is avoid foolish stereotypes when discussing their fate.

The Ukrianophobic Media and Press must stop the pathological lying about the Ukrainian people! Its time for fair and balanced reporting. Truth is on the Ukrainian people side along with their Revolution of Dignity. Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom as said by Thomas Jefferson.


Prayer for Ukraine


The Knights of Columbus has been following the events unfolding in Ukraine. Yesterday, Pope Francis said: “I assure the Ukrainian people of my closeness and pray for the victims of the violence, for their families, and for the injured. I urge all parties to cease every form of violence and to pursue harmony and peace throughout the country.”

In solidarity with our Holy Father, and with the Catholic Bishops and Church in Ukraine, the Knights of Columbus is asking all of our members around the world to pray the Prayer of St. Francis this coming Sunday that there may be a renewed dialogue and respect and a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine.

assissiPrayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands

Blood and Berkut Sniper Bullets on the President’s Hands
18.02.14 | Halya Coynash

Two of those whom the authorities call "extremists"

Two of those whom the authorities call “extremists”

The first reports that Berkut riot police were positioned on roofs and aiming rubber bullets and grenades at protesters came early on Tuesday. They almost certainly preceded the later disturbances and the two women who received wounds were very clearly peaceful protesters.

This soon changed, and the conflict became ugly. As of 1 a.m. on Wednesday, at least 20 people are reported dead and the centre of Kyiv is burning.

It is those later images that have been published in the world media and that have prompted European and North Atlantic countries to issue statements condemning the violence and calling for “both sides” to renounce force and sit down at the negotiating table. Ukrainian oligarchs have also grabbed the opportunity and called for “an end to violence”.

Some western commentators are refreshingly blunt. David Kramer from Freedom House has stated that “legitimate democratic leaders do not order riot police to attack protesters asking for a more open government, Yanukovych has forfeited his legitimacy and needs to step down”.

The following are just a few of the day’s events that strip any regime of its legitimacy. More will become clearer over the coming days and weeks. Time however is not on Ukrainians’ side now that the president, Viktor Yanukovych, doubtless buoyed – or bound – by yesterday’s 2 billion loan from Russia has chosen bloodshed.

The reports from Tuesday morning showed ordinary protesters preparing for a march on parliament. The pro-presidential Party of the Regions was blocking attempts to even table a draft law proposing changes to the Constitution. Berkut riot police blocked the streets to prevent the protesters even approaching parliament. Judging by those early reports, and confirmed by photos, Berkut snipers began shooting (then only rubber bullets) and hurling grenades very early on.

This is indeed not the behaviour of a legitimate democratic government, but there is more. There have been reports from morning of large number of titushki or hired thugs in the centre. They were seen provoking conflict, looting and some reports suggest that they may have shot at Berkut officers. There is also a video clip which appears to show a protester injured, perhaps killed, by fire from titushki.

Can such reports be treated as standard attempts to blame the other side for any escalation? There is ample evidence of such use of titushki over recent months, as was noted by the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner during his visit to Ukraine. The assertion by the police that 7 officers have been shot and killed seems at least strange since none of the western or Ukrainian media reports speak of protesters using firearms.

The government has tried to present the protesters as “extremists”, and has called the use of force to clear the EuroMaidan demonstrators on Maidan Nezalezhnosti “an anti-terrorist” action. Despite the violence and the number of deaths, the numbers on Maidan have not abated. Some thirty thousand people simply by virtue of their numbers can hardly be called “terrorists”. They do not fit the description in any other way either. Through the evening, they have been singing the Ukrainian national anthem, taking part in public prayer and listening to addresses, including one from Mustafa Jemilev, veteran defender of the rights of the Crimean Tatars and Soviet political prisoner, who expressed pride in his fellow Ukrainians.

These “terrorists” are being treated, when injured, by a medical service made up solely of volunteers, some of whom have themselves come under attack. The EuroMaidan Civic Sector reports that with Berkut setting protesters’ tents and some buildings on fire, the medical unit has been forced to move to the Myhailivsky [St Michael’s] Cathedral. A large number of people have been detained, with lawyers not allowed to see those held at 5 police stations

During meetings with EU and Council of Europe representatives at the end of January, EuroMaidan and human rights activists spoke of credible rumours that a crackdown would be attempted after the middle of February. The timing was linked with the fact that the Sochi Olympics would then be drawing to an end, and Russia would not need to fear any boycott of its games. Over the weekend that danger seemed to have abated with Maidan and opposition negotiators showing readiness to comply with the notorious “hostage law” by vacating government buildings, clearing part of the road, etc, in order to get the charges against a huge number of protesters waived.

The announcement on Monday that Yanukovych had agreed another loan of 2 billion from Russia led to considerable speculation as to what the agreement had entailed.

Tuesday began with Ukrainians of different ages, professions, ethnic origin and faiths endeavouring to present demands which are legitimate in any democratic country. The descent into violence and bloodshed is indeed a cause of deep concern. It is surely time, however, for that concern to be translated into action by those who hold democratic values dear.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.


I Am a Ukrainian

The people demand change.

They recognize that something is wrong in their country