In the midst of a supposed tug-of-war between two giant powers — the emerging Brussels-based European Union super-state and Vladimir Putin’s Russian government — massive protests rocked the streets of Ukraine and its capital, Kiev, in recent days. The oftentimes violent demonstrations, elements of which are aimed at deposing the current regime, came after Ukrainian authorities ditched controversial negotiations for closer trade relations with the EU in favor of an even more controversial tighter alliance with Moscow.
Amid the escalating turmoil, some analysts have suggested that there is mass deception at work — an effort to mislead the people of Ukraine with two orchestrated alternatives: closer links with Moscow, or deeper ties with the increasingly out-of-control entity ruling over much of Europe. Apparently being a sovereign nation and trading with all willing partners is not on the menu. Meanwhile, as part of a long-running trend in geopolitics, Kremlin-linked globalist voices are again calling for more “integration” between Russian authorities and the EU.
The latest round of unrest in Ukraine, the worst in almost a decade, began late last month when President Viktor Yanukovych’s government announced that it was backing out of talks with the EU. Yanukovych, a former member of the Communist Party during the Soviet era, remains closely affiliated with Moscow, which reportedly exerted strong pressure on Ukrainian officials to scrap the EU deal. Shortly after the announcement, though, tens of thousands of furious protesters swamped government buildings and clashed with police.
The so-called “Association Agreement” between the Ukrainian government and the sovereignty-crushing European bloc would have, among other developments, eased trade restrictions while showering IMF and EU taxpayer funds on Ukraine — with “strings” attached, of course. While it was not guaranteed, supporters of “integration” with the super-state in Brussels hoped the apparently defunct deal would have put the Ukrainian government on the road to full EU membership. Authorities in numerous other former Soviet-controlled Eastern European nations have already joined.
Instead of the EU deal, however, Yanukovych and his allies decided to pursue closer alignment with the Kremlin, which is working to build its own “Customs Union” transnational integration scheme with former Soviet-dominated countries. After the massive protests, Yanukovych said he was willing to “reconsider” talks with the EU, but analysts broadly suspect that unless his regime resigns or is ousted from power, Kiev will remain under Russian influence — at least for the foreseeable future. A bid in Parliament to oust the current Ukrainian leadership was narrowly rejected this week.
As the unrest escalated, Yanukovych took off for an official visit to the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China. Under heavy financial pressure and crushing debt, analysts claim the Ukrainian government and the nation itself need to borrow more money — whether from the West, Russia, or China, which has already lent it billions. Banks and ratings agencies commenting on the growing uproar in Ukraine largely warned of further risks to the economy, government bonds, and the hryvnia currency.
Russian officials have stood by Ukrainian authorities amid the escalating unrest after threatening to retaliate if the EU deal went forward. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, for example, said Moscow was watching events closely and that Kiev was an “important strategic partner” during meetings with a high-level Ukrainian delegation in the Russian capital. “We're watching what's happening in your country,” Medvedev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. “It's an internal affair of Ukraine, though it's really important to have stability and order there.”
Western officials, meanwhile, offered mixed reactions. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen blasted what he called the “excessive” use of force against protesters and called for an end to the violence from all sides. “Obviously we fully respect Ukrainian decisions on their alliance affiliations and to which organizations they want to belong or with which organizations they want to cooperate,” he claimed. “But I would expect such decision-making processes to be truly democratic.”
Polls cited in media reports suggest about 45 percent of Ukrainians supported the deal with the EU, while some 15 percent would prefer to join the Moscow-led “Customs Union” with the governments and regimes ruling Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The rest reportedly either rejected both integration schemes or were undecided. Other polls, however, have suggested that the public is more evenly split between the EU and the Customs Union.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Brussels for a NATO summit at the time, cancelled a planned visit to Kiev and claimed there was “very powerful evidence” that the Ukrainian public wanted closer associations with the EU. “We stand with the vast majority of the Ukrainians who want to see this future for their country,” he told journalists, adding that he looked forward to visiting Ukraine “when it too gets back on the path of European integration and economic responsibility.” The Obama administration has also been threatening the British with “consequences” if, as polls suggest, they vote to secede from Brussels.
While the ongoing saga has largely been portrayed in the establishment press as a battle over Ukraine between the two behemoths — the EU and the Kremlin — some analysts are expressing suspicions about the narrative. “Ukrainian enthusiasm for the EU seems a kind of manipulated reality,” noted a staff analysis report about the situation in the market-oriented Daily Bell, adding that “whether the Ukraine stays within Russia's ambit or crosses over is probably not going to make much of a difference in the long run.”
Noting that regional tensions between “East” and “West” reminiscent of the Cold War era were being reignited, the Daily Bell analysts suggested that “the re-imposition of the dialectic is part of a larger manipulation now taking place throughout the world.” The idea, the analysis continued, is to foment largely bogus polarization as a tool to advance a broader agenda — something the establishment has long exploited to advance its aims.
“At the top of the ‘pyramid,’ elites use similar techniques and have similar goals and objectives,” they noted, dismissing the portrayal of Putin and his “mafia” as some sort of heroes ready to save the world from an out-of-control Western establishment. “And given the way the power elite works, we wouldn't be surprised if there were ‘understandings’ at the top that transcended the evident hostilities between the BRICs and the West.... The current conflict in the Ukraine may be presented as one that pits East against West, but in reality the goal is always the same.”
Indeed, as The New American has documented even recently, the goal of eventually achieving “convergence” between “East” and “West” is now openly discussed even by top government officials. With the ongoing crisis in Kiev, the same mantra is back in the headlines yet again. In a Moscow Times column dubbed “How Russia and EU Can Build a Greater Europe,” for instance, veteran Putin apparatchik Sergei Markov described the vision clearly.
“Russia would like to build good relations with Europe, and it has proposed the Greater Europe project with that goal in mind,” Markov wrote, highlighting Moscow’s efforts to build a “Eurasian Union” after the Customs Union scheme. “At that point, the Eurasian Union could join with the EU to create a Greater Europe, gradually formalizing common economic and humanitarian practices, establishing a unified set of rules and the free flow of trade, capital, people and ideas. That would make for a very strong Europe.” At the same time, the Obama administration is working on an “integration” deal with the EU, too.
Strategically located in the heart of Eastern Europe, Ukraine has suffered from more than its fair share of government terror and brutality over the last century — particularly under Soviet rule, when Communist autocrats exterminated resisters and deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians into submission in the early 1930s as part of what many experts refer to as genocide. The New York Times and the establishment, of course, tried fiendishly to cover up and sugar-coat the horrors, but the facts slowly emerged anyway. National Socialist (Nazi) rule a decade later was brutal as well.
After Ukraine re-emerged as a supposed independent nation in 1991 after the “collapse” of the USSR, turmoil continued, but conditions seemed to be improving — even if slightly and slowly. Eventually, amid allegations of election fraud and corruption, mass political chaos and protests that analysts refer to as the “Orange Revolution” rocked Ukraine in late 2004. The latest demonstrations are reportedly the largest since then, and few expect the crisis to blow over any time soon.
As The New American has documented extensively, despite the apparent effort to create an impression of division and competition between the socialist and communist regimes ruling the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) against the Western establishment, even a brief perusal of official documents and statements would expose the purported split as largely manufactured for public consumption. In reality, Western leaders and the BRICS are all openly calling for an empowered United Nations, a global currency, and what many top officials from “East” and “West” have described as a “New World Order.”
Meanwhile, more than a few prominent voices have drawn parallels between the EU and communist totalitarianism. Former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev even approvingly described the Brussels-based super-state as “the new European Soviet” during a 2000 visit to Britain. Additionally, numerous top figures in the EU served barbaric communist dictatorships and were members of communist parties before joining the new and improved party in Brussels.
“What they did is they recreated the very evil system that the people in Eastern Europe had lived under before, but the incredible thing was that many of the new [EU] bosses had also worked for that same evil system before,” observed U.K. Independence Party leader and popular Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage. He was referring, of course, to the Soviet-backed regimes ruling much of the region just two decades ago.
“The common denominator with the (EU) Commission is the sheer number of them that were communists or were very close to communism,” Farage said in a separate speech, pointing to EU commission boss José Manuel Barroso, a former Maoist revolutionary, and other known current or former communists in power at the EU. “We have at least 10 communists in this commission, and it must feel like a return to the good old days.”
More than a few analysts and political leaders, including the last president of the formerly communist-ruled Czech Republic, have echoed those concerns. With the public narrative around Ukraine trying to portray the issue as some sort of “East vs. West” brouhaha, however, reality and the facts have been largely overlooked. In essence, it appears that Ukrainians are being bamboozled into embracing one of two bad options.
Better alternatives — independence and freedom, for example — have hardly even been mentioned amid the uproar.
Photo of protestors in Kiev, Ukraine: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at