The Ukraine’s many ticking time bombs, by The Saker - The Unz Review
While the Ukraine has mostly been out of the news, there were bigger stories out there, things have gone disastrously wrong under “Ze” (Zelenskii) and the Ukraine is now looking at several time bombs which could explode at any minute. Here is a partial list of problems which the Ze administration will have to deal with in 2021: (in no particular order)
The strengthening of the internal opposition to Ze’s rule
The COVID pandemic, the vaccine scandal and the crumbling Ukrainian infrastructure
The crackdown on free speech
The persecution of opponents inside and even outside the Ukraine
The (limited) rise of (putatively pro-Russian) OPZZh party
The sharp rise in European rhetoric against Russia which the Ze admin will want to match and cater to
The hardening of the positions of the LDNR
A further increase in US/NATO saber rattling and provocations
The regime in Kiev openly planning for a war against Russia
Still, before looking at each one of these threats, I think that we need to first look at what the Zelenskii presidency has meant to the Ukraine. To make a long story short, many (most?) Ukrainians are now realizing two things: first Zelenskii made many promises and kept none of them and, second, Zelenskii is even worse than Poroshenko (which is hard to believe or even imagine, but such is the sad truth). Early on, it did appear that Zelenskii might bring some real “change we can believe in”, the main one being that he would take action against the various Nazi death squads and open real negotiations with the Donbass. Neither of those actually happened. Zelenskii is clearly terrified of the political and military power of the nationalists and far from forcing the Ukronazis to abide by the rule of law, Ze comprehensively caved in to their agenda.
It is not my purpose today to analyse in detail what Zelenskii did or did not do, I will simply summarize it all by saying that Zelenskii was all talk and no action. Literally, he has completely neglected the many crises which have plagued the Ukraine since the so-called “revolution of dignity”. What he did do is preside over a sharp increase in the scope and magnitude of suppression of free speech (more about that below). He also tightened laws against the Russian language. And, of course, Ukrainian Su-27s escorted US B-1Bs along the border between Russia and the Ukraine (makes me wonder if these Ukrainian pilots have any honor or dignity left! But no, they are just servants, that’s all, meek servants of their overseas masters). These are just a few examples of purely political actions which are “for show only” but which do absolutely nothing to actually address any real problem.
A perfect example of this “all talk no action” approach was how Ze dealt with the COVID pandemic in the Ukraine. First, opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow and came up with a plan to help the Ukraine deal with the COVID pandemic: Russia would hand over her vaccine-development technologies to the Ukraine’s only advanced pharmaceutical company which could then produce Sputnik-V for the needs of the Ukrainian population first, and then for export. Considering that neither the EU nor the US has any inclination to offer vaccines to the Ukraine, and considering that the Ukraine has zero chances of developing its own vaccine, this solution would seem a no-brainer. But not in the ugly Banderastan the Ukronazis created on the ashes of the real Ukraine. Instead, the Ukrainian authorities announced that they would be getting their vaccines from China. There were only two problems with this “solution”: 1) the Chinese vaccine is only about 50%+ effective and 2) the money allocated to this purchase was immediately stolen and has now disappeared (it is being investigated, of course, but we all know how such “investigations” end). However, with all the hysterical anti-Russian propaganda of the Ukrainian Nazis, it was quite unthinkable for them to accept anything Russian publicly, including a vaccine (away from the public eye, the Ukraine still purchases a lot of things from Russia, including energy). Russia is, after all, a fake “Rus” populated by Ugro-Mongols (not “pure Slavs” like the Ukrainians imagine themselves to be), it is “Putin’s Mordor” and, last but not least, Russia is the official “aggressor-country”, how can a proud Ukie nationalist accept *anything* from this demonic country, even if this saves his life?
Besides, Ze personally explained that Sputnik-V has not been properly tested and that he did now want to turn the Ukrainian people into “guinea pigs” (apparently, he and his advisors are too dumb to read The Lancet; either that, or they don’t mind their own people dying as long as the priorities of political discourse are upheld). As a result, while normal Ukrainians are denied any possibility of vaccination, wealthy Ukrainians are already organizing special trips to Russia to get vaccinated (US diplomats in Moscow are also getting the Russian vaccine).
As a result of this kind of ideology-driven “policies”, the Ukraine is now begging the West for any vaccine (even the clearly dangerous ones!). In response, the US gave the Ukraine a refrigerator (presumably to keep any future vaccines properly refrigerated). As for the Ukrainian medical infrastructure it is, just like the rest of the Ukraine’s infrastructure, in shambles. In fact, it was in shambles long before the COVID pandemic. All the pandemic did was to make things worse and reveal the truth to the rest of the world.
Furthermore, the COVID pandemic is hardly the only medical crisis facing the Ukraine: with a crumbling infrastructure, demoralized, demotivated and underpaid Ukrainian MDs who work in terrible conditions (many have emigrated, many to Russia, by the way), and no funds to deal with anything (the Ukraine is broke and is barely keeping one nostril above water by means of western loans). This situation is similar to the one Russia faced in the 90s during the “blessed times of democracy and freedom”, as seen by the West, and the “nightmare of the 90s”, as seen by most Russians.
It would not be honest to say that Ze did not try to deal with these problems at all. He did something: he ordered a massive crackdown against the opposition. These measures included banning, by executive order, the last three (rather moderate) opposition TV channels, by charging a Ukrainian blogger who lives in Spain with, I kid you not, “high treason” and by imposing sanctions on several opposition figures, beginning by Medvedchuk. And just to clarify – none of this was done legally or even in a vaguely lawful manner (how can a country impose sanctions on its own citizens? And without any judicial review!) . As expected, the US Embassy in Kiev gave these repressive measures their full and enthusiastic support. After all, according to Uncle Shmuel, this is all about “countering Russian disinformation”. In sharp contrast, the Ukranian public immediately understood what this meant (the Russian language Internet has also been blocked in the Ukronazi Banderastan, as are Russian social networks, books, art, music, etc.).
Like the typical imperial satrap that he is, Ze now rules almost exclusively by executive orders, always backed by the “muscle” of the Ukrainian “security services” (which, in reality, are the typical kind of absolutely corrupt third world “secret police” which the regular citizens are fearful of, but which those connected to the regime can always use as their personal terror squads; the Ukie “SBU” really reminds me of the kind of death squads I remember from Latin America in the 70s and 80s, say like this one).
Of course, the main reason for this crackdown on free speech can be found in the dramatic loss of popularity of Ze himself, but also because the arguments of the opposition are now becoming more popular, giving the opposition a sense of confidence. Alas, this confidence might not be warranted.
Let’s take the most famous Ukrainian opposition party, the “Opposition Platform for Life” abbreviated (in Russian) “OPZZh”. In the 2019 elections the OPZZh did very well, it came in as the 2nd party in the Rada after the “People’s Servant” party of Ze. That is true. But what is often forgotten is that OPZZh came in 2nd with only 13.05% of the vote and, even more importantly, the OPZZh has already “maxed out” its electoral potential. Why? Because this party is perceived by most Ukrainians as being pro-Russian and most Ukrainians are not pro-Russian at all. Many decades of anti-Russian and nationalist propaganda, from the Krushchev years up to today, combined with a massive and sustained Ukronazi propaganda aired by western radio stations and media, all have left their devastating impact on the self-perception and ethos of the Ukrainian people. This is especially true since the Ukraine lost both Crimea and the Donbass, which were strongholds of anti-Nazi political opposition to the Ukronazi regime. I just don’t see regions like Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk or Zhitomir ever giving a majority vote to the OPZZh, even if southern and eastern regions might. So while the OPZZh might get some more votes (say, in the southern regions of the Ukraine), it will probably never be enough to turn this self-described opposition party into a ruling one.
There used to be an alliance of opposition parties called “Opposition Block” which brought together various opposition movements and parties. Now its members have gone either to the OPZZh or founded their own sub-groups (like the 2019 version of the Opposition Block). The former Party of Regions has dissolved in abject shame, its clueless leaders mostly in exile, but a few strong and outspoken opposition figures did come from it, including Elena Bondarenko and Elena Lukash. I should also mention the name of Vadim Rabinovich, a very outspoken and articulate politician (whose main political liability is his Israeli passport).
All-in-all, there are definitely some interesting political figures in the opposition, but they do not, in my opinion, represent a viable option for the Kremlin and, frankly, they aren’t much of an option for the Ukraine either.
Still, for the Kremlin to put all its political eggs into the OPZZh basket does, to some degree, make sense. Why? Well, for one thing, OPZZh is the only major political force in the Ukraine willing to openly talk with the Kremlin. So you can say that the only option is by definition also the best one. But while Putin and the Russians are going through all the right motions with the Ukrainian opposition figures, I strongly suspect that the Kremlin knows what the real score is, and that this score looks very grim indeed. Simply put: there is no personality in the Ukraine capable of rallying enough people to finally kick Ze and his gang out of power. Why? Mostly because the Ukraine is ideologically and morally bankrupt. Well, financially, too, of course. But the main problem is that the only people with a vision for the future of the Ukraine are the Nazis. Nobody else is offering any halfway credible vision for the future of the Ukraine. Of course, this makes sense because the tragic truth is that the Ukraine has no future. None whatsoever. After all, it is an artificial country, created by Lenin and Khrushchev, whose national identity is solely based on hatred (see here and here) and whose constituent parts have mutually exclusive ideologies, beliefs and views.
It is quite remarkable that while under Poroshenko’s rule the opposition was persecuted both legally and illegally (unpunished murders of political dissidents happened in large numbers, nobody in the “democratic West” had anything to say about them!), Ze has actually gone one step further: he is clearly determined to declare that the entire opposition is composed not of Ukrainian opponents, but of traitors to the Ukraine, “Putin agents” and secret supporters of the “Russian world”. Hence, the latest series of crackdowns, lawsuits and administrative persecutions.
As always, the West only makes things worse. How? Well, since Biden won stole the US presidential election, the US-run comprador ruling classes in Europe are scrambling to show that they are just as anti-Russian as the new administration. That, in turn, encourages the regime in Kiev to show more anti-Russian aggression (in whatever form, does not really matter). This “change of tone” is immediately noticed in the Donbass and results in an escalation of the political rhetoric (and military “incidents”) in the LDNR. That, in turn, impacts the Russian political scene and resulted in things like the trip of Margarita Simonian, the editor-in-chief of the television news network RT and of the state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, to Donetsk were she publicly declared “Russia, mother, take the Donbass back home!” (“Россия, матушка, забери Донбасс домой!”). Of course, she insisted that this was her private opinion and that she was not speaking in any official capacity, which is true. But what is also true is that Simonian is a popular figure in Russia, and her words were immediately discussed on all the talkshows, VK, blogs and all the major TV channels. Everybody understands that while she was speaking in her own name, she was acutely aware of, shall we say, the “mood” in the Kremlin (and of the Russian street!) and that her saying that now will have a noticeable impact on the Russian political discourse, both the official onе and on the Russian Internet (Runet). This is a potentially very dangerous sequence:
The US ups its anti-Russian rhetoric.
The Europeans immediately follow suit and also escalate.
The Ukronazis also immediately follow suit and also escalate.
The LDNR republics warn of escalation and increase pressure on Russia.
The Russians react to all of the above and harden both their rhetoric and actions.
The West feels like it has to show its military power, but can only do so symbolically.
Russia uses actual military capabilities to oppose western symbolic actions.
The West accuses Russia of military escalation.
The Russians officially declare that the West is 1) non-agreement capable (old argument) and 2) hypocritical beyond words.
The West then uses its “soft” (political) power to harass Russia, only further making things worse (see #1 above)
This is exactly the kind of open-ended escalation which can result in a major cataclysm. As for Ukronazis politicians, they flood the air with triumphant declarations about their “new” missile “Neptune” which they could use to destroy the Crimean Bridge (see here or here for a good laugh!). Of course, the Russians know that the “new” Neptune missile is just a modernization of the old, 1980s era, Soviet Kh-35 missile, a subsonic missile with a 145kg (320lbs) warhead. The original Kh-35 had a 130km (70nmi) range, which was bumped up to 300km (160nmi) in Russia in 2015. The “new” Neptune also has a 300km range. In plain English this means three things: 1) the Russian air defenses can easily shoot down this slow flying missile 2) a 145kg warhead can’t do any meaningful damage to a huge structure like the Crimea Bridge and 3) Kiev is still up to no good and dreams of a reconquista.
But that is not all! Kiev is also promising to 1) build a new naval base not only on the Black Sea coast, but also on the Sea of Azov and 2) they are now working with the UK to build up these capabilities. Best of all, the western and Ukrainian propaganda outlets are open declaring that this is a strategy to defeat Russia (for a good laugh, read this). The truth is this: nevermind the Sea of Azov, the entire Black Sea is now a de facto “Russian lake” and Russia has the means to destroy any ship sailing the Black Sea within minutes, everybody knows that, at least anybody with any military background. In case of conflict, the survival time of these two Ukrainian bases would be counted not even in minutes, but in seconds. Deploying any force so near to the Russian border is basically suicidal.
One more example of the kind of insanity which has taken over the Ukraine with Ze in power: believe it or not, but the Ze administration has explained that the Ukraine gave NATO the “authorization” to overfly Crimea. Again, this is such a self-evidently stupid idea that I won’t discuss it on its merits. All I want you to do is imagine hearing all that crazy stuff if you were a Russian decision maker: would you simply ignore these nutcases or would you take the needed measures to make sure that none of that ever happens. Even Lavrov recently quoted the famous Roman wisdom “si vis pacem, para bellum” which, considering that Lavrov is most definitely a “moderate” tells you all you need to know about Russian responses to all this insanity.
The sad truth is that Ze’s Ukraine is no more viable than Poroshenko’s was. In fact, I would argue that the Ukraine is cracking at all its seams and that the only solution left just to delay, but not prevent, a Somalia-like style collapse is to import everything from abroad: from the EU, of course, but also from Russia (especially energy) which continues to provide the Ukraine with energy, even if this is rarely advertised (especially in the Ukraine). The Ukrainian energy sector is in ruins, as is the Ukrainian agricultural sector (the “agrarian superpower” promise also failed to deliver; it reminds me of Krushchev’s “corn crusade”…). None of that is ever reported in the West (for a good laugh, see here, here or here) except buried deeply in some reports like this rare admission “The informal sector in Ukraine is estimated to account for a third of the country’s GDP, and GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) is only 20% of the EU average”.
The reality of the collapse of the Ukraine is so serious that the international community has decided to provide COVID vaccines to the Ukraine through the COVAX program which Wikipedia defines as “the financing instrument that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income economies to access to COVID-19 vaccine funded by donors”. In fact, the decision has been made that the Ukraine will be amongst the first countries to benefit from this international aid program. Okay, in plain English this means this: since the Ukraine cannot produce a vaccine, and since the Ukraine has no money to purchase vaccines abroad, and since the epidemiological situation in the Ukraine (and in all the other poor countries) represents a real danger for developed and wealthy countries too, it only makes sense for the rich to inoculate the poor, if only to avoid being contaminated by them (yet another case of self-interest masquerading as charity).
The richer countries will have no option but to pay for the costs to inoculate those people who live in failed states and other indigent countries. Yet, even Ze himself had to admit that even this will not be enough. It sure looks to me like the US will peddle its worst vaccines (Pfizer) to the Ukrainians and still make a profit. Some opponents of the regime, like Anatolii Sharii (the blogger living in Spain and accused of “high treason”) suggested to do with the Russian vaccines what the Ukraine has already done with Russian energy: don’t buy it from Russia but, instead, let Russia sell her vaccines (Russia is the only country in the world with 3 tested and fully approved vaccines) to the EU which then can re-sell it to the Ukraine, thereby obfuscating the “aggressor-nation” origin of the vaccine from the public eye. This technique, called a “reverse”, is what the EU and the regime in Kiev came up with to avoid admitting the absolutely inadmissible fact that the Ukraine still only exists because Russia allows it to (if Russia was to cut off all ties with the Ukraine the latter would quickly collapse, if only because of a lack of energy).
But no country can live by “reversing” everything. Not only are “reversed” goods more expensive than the original ones (transportation costs money), but it’s not like the EU has enough energy or vaccines for itself. And while the Europeans have lied to the Ukrainians about pretty much everything and made innumerable promises about how the Ukraine will become “the next Germany” in the EU, the sad reality is that nobody in the EU gives a damn about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. EU politicians don’t even care about their own people, why should they care about anybody except themselves anyway? Remember, this is the “new EU” where the only truly “European values” left are greed, power and psychopathic hypocrisy. From now on when you think Europe, don’t think Henry Dunant (the founder of the Red Cross movement, long before Clara Barton who only founded the American Red Cross 18 years later) or J.S. Bach, but think Conchita Wurst: that is the new, Woke, face of Europe.
In fact, I would even argue that the *only* country in the world where people still *truly* care about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people remains Russia. This idea is, of course, 100% pure crimethink which nobody in the West will ever admit to it. Sadly, there are plenty of signs indicating that the traditional love the Russian people had for the Ukraine is quickly being replaced by a strong sense of disgust.
In this highly unfavorable backdrop it is now also becoming increasingly impossible for the Ukrainian propaganda machine to conceal the scope and magnitude of the deep crisis affecting the country: the quickening pace of the collapse of the Ukrainian infrastructure is simply impossible to conceal. And does one conceal stuff like the severe shortages in goods and services? Or how do you conceal an electricity outage?
The Ukraine is facing a range of major problems which are unlikely to remain contained to the territory of the Ukraine. Things like crime, or a pandemic, or the rule of the mob are very hard to contain. Sooner or later these inevitably bleed over the border to the neighboring country which then, in turn, has to face the same threats. In theory, Russia, the US and the EU could get together and agree on an international rescue plan, but since the US and EU consider that they are playing a zero sum game against Russia, no western politician will ever openly advocate for a real collaboration with Putin’s Mordor. Putin recently declared that “why does everything revolve around the Nord Stream — 2? They want to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project “Ukraine”, that’s all. In fact, everything is quite primitive, everything is simple, we have long understood this, but this is the world in which we live”. Needless to say, Russia won’t agree to foot the bill for this disastrous experiment russophobic ethnogenesis, if only because she simply does not have the kind of reserves to pay for such a huge program. At most, Russia will continue to help the Donbass, and even in this case Russia (or the LDNR republics) could consider demanding reparations from Kiev and its western sponsors. Again, knowing how western arbitration courts work, that won’t happen either.
I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that the Donbass or Crimea will ever agree to return under Kiev’s rule, not de facto and not de jure. That is a given. Neither do I believe that the rump Ukraine is a viable entity. The only conclusion I can come to is this: a breakup of the Ukraine might be inevitable. In fact, such a breakup might even be desirable for all parties (except the russophobic warmongering ruling classes of the AngloZionist Empire who want to destroy Russia at any and all cost).