Streetwise Professor

February 18, 2014

The Blood Being Shed in Kiev is on Putin’s Hands

Filed under: Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 1:27 pm

My prediction that the situation in Ukraine was easing turned out to be horribly optimistic, and terribly wrong.  Within hours of posting, violence-the most extreme of the past months-erupted on the streets of Kiev.

The pretext for a brutal assault by regime forces was a march by oppositionists to the parliament building.  The marchers were demanding that the Rada return the country to the 2004 constitution, which substantially limited presidential powers. They were set upon by militia.  Then the government forces advanced on Grushevsky Street in Kiev, penetrating the protestors’ position through an opening that the opposition had agreed to make in exchange for amnesty of those previously  arrested.  Now the government forces have moved on the Maidan, and are announcing that all women and children should leave before the regime troops execute an “anti-terrorist operation.”  The militia have already burned down the protestors’ tents.  The scenes in the live feed are apocalyptic.

I have seen reports of up to nine dead, including seven protestors.  One body was allegedly found headless. This nearly doubles the previous death toll, and the night is not over.

The timing of the repression is telling.  It occurred the day after Putin released the next $2 billion in aid.  He presumably did so only if his conditions were met.  And Yanukovych would not have taken such action without the approval of his patron.  The circumstantial evidence therefore strongly suggests that Putin either ordered the action, or gave Yanukovych permission to carry it out.

Even if the crackdown is not a direct quid pro quo demanded by Putin in exchange for the money, the blood is on Putin’s hands, and on Russia’s hands.  The conflict on the streets results directly from his coercion of Yanukovych into walking away from the association agreement with the EU, and his demand that Ukraine associate with Russia alone.  No such demand, no protests, no blood on the streets.

That is, Putin’s actions in November were necessary and sufficient conditions for what is transpiring today.  If yesterday’s release of money was tied to Yanukovych’s agreement to end the protests by whatever means necessary, that only compounds the crime and determined the timing.

Thus, the blood is on Putin’s hands.

Now we have to watch to see what the coalition of the feckless-the EU and the US-does.  A Rubicon has been crossed.  What will Germany and the US do in particular to respond?

And respond not just against Ukrainian officials and the Ukrainian government, but at the ultimate source of the repression: Russia and Putin.

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  1. @Professor, the question near the end was rhetorical, right? Any child in Ukraine knows by now, they are “deeply”, no wait, “very deeply” concerned.

    Comment by Ivan — February 18, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

  2. So very deeply that they might even consider a resolution – as long as no one’s feelings get hurt. The EU and Putinites: Feckless vs. murderous bastards.

    Comment by sotos — February 18, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  3. @Ivan. Hope springs eternal, but yes, it was mainly a rhetorical question. And sadly, the #Euromaidan movement knows not to look for anything but lip service from the EU and US. They realize they are on their own. Godspeed.

    @sotos. We know how the contest of feckless vs. murderous bastards inevitably works out, don’t we?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 18, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

  4. I thought they would atleast wait until Sochi was over. Something precipitated this crack down. Would be interesting to find that out….

    Comment by Surya — February 18, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

  5. @Surya. So did I. Perhaps Putin just took the measure of those in the West and figured they would do nothing, Olympics or no.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 18, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

  6. The reports are that Berkut (Golden Eagle) special forces, together with Alfa forces, plus “titushky” – government hired thugs – started firing at the protesters. There were snipers on rooftops, live ammunition, the whole bit.

    At this point, it looks like there are at least 20 dead, including a headless corpse, plus hundreds injured.

    They were using live ammunition, stun grenades, and water cannons, among other weapons.

    VP Biden called Yanukonvikt and told him to be a good boy.

    The word is that Yanukonvikt really likes Biden.

    But a phone call from Biden speaks volumes about the “land of the free, and the home of the brave,” the advocate for democracy.

    Comment by elmer — February 18, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

  7. from Ukraine:

    Feeling very sad and incredibly angry. My city burns tonight. The capital of
    the country that I love (my adopted home and the land of my ancestors),
    today lost any sense of innocence that may have been left here. Tonight the
    center of Kyiv has become a war zone.

    This place of peace, of multiple languages and religions, of intellectual
    vibrancy, of tolerance and mutual understanding, today is drenched in the
    blood of protesters whose only demand was to be led by a just and
    non-corrupt government.

    As I write these words, the church tent on the Maidan where I have prayed
    for peace countless times during the past 2 months, burns – set on fire by
    riot police. Don’t look for logic behind such an act – there is no logic
    that can explain the work of thugs taking orders from an uber-thug
    desperately holding on to power.

    So far we know of 10 confirmed deaths today (in addition to the 5 who died
    in January’s clashes on Hrushevskoho St) and hundreds injured. Tonight we
    cry. We mourn those who innocently believed freedom could be won peacefully.

    Tomorrow we’ll regroup. There will be no more false beliefs. There will be
    no more negotiations. There is nothing to talk about. Tomorrow we’ll take
    back our city and the day after we’ll take back our country. There is no way
    that a few thousand riot police can hold back millions. God help them if
    they try…

    To all my friends throughout the world: I ask for your prayers for those who
    lost their lives today, and for those whose lives will be lost in the coming
    days. Pray for those who are sped away in ambulances outside our windows.
    May their wounds heal quickly. Pray for the heroes who are desperately
    trying to stop the inevitable advance on Maidan tonight. They face thugs in
    police uniforms, armed with live rounds. Many will not return home tomorrow.

    My world turned black and white today – there is no grey. Academic
    impartiality be damned. Evil must be stopped.

    God help us!

    Mychailo Wynnyckyj PhD
    Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

    Comment by elmer — February 18, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  8. from Ukraine:

    Victoria Sumar is one of the outstanding journalists in Ukraine

    Victor Pinchuk is one of the oligarchs in Ukraine who stole his way to wealth fair and square

    So is Firtash, and other oligarchs.

    Виктория Сюмар

    @неля ткачук пише, що всі польські змі підняті на ноги – марафони про Украіну. А в нас канали Пінчука показують комедіі, Інтер – кіно. І не треба заяв гарним текстом, чуваки. З вами все ясно. Ці трупи і море крові на вашій совісті…

    All of the Polish media are on their feet with marathons about Ukraine. But in Ukraine, Pinchuk’s channels are showing comedies, and Inter (Firtash and other oligarchs) are showing movies. And we don’t need nice text affirmations, the jerks. Everything is clear. These corpses and the sea of blood is on their hands.

    Inter channel is here:

    Comment by elmer — February 18, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

  9. from Ukraine – you’re driving along, and all of a sudden you get cut off by a “police” car, some special police jump out, and start destroying your car

    video and pictures here

    Comment by elmer — February 18, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

  10. Mustafa Nayem is one of the most outstanding journalists in Ukraine

    here is his Facebook page showing a video of police dropping what look like Molotov cocktails on the crowd from rooftops

    Comment by elmer — February 18, 2014 @ 10:16 pm

  11. > Thus, the blood is on Putin’s hands.

    Let me understand. In November Putin committed $15 billion (which is 10 times more than the US will) to rescue the utterly inept Ukrainian economy (which is the result of 20 years of one incompetent, greedy and irresponsible President after another) in exchange for Ukraine joining TS: the Customs economic Union (modeled after NAFTA between the USA, Canada and Mexico).

    In response demonstrators flooded the Maidan Square and demonstrated for several days. But after these peaceful demonstrators the paid followers of Yatsenyuk and Klitscho stayed for several months more, together with the unpaid right-wing extremist followers of Tyaibok, and eventually the provocateurs and the police clashed in a bloody mess almost 3 months later.

    And this bloodshed is on Putin’s hands. Why? Because, from the point of view of the American elite, it is a crime for Russia to give out foreign aid and enter into tariff-free economic agreements with other countries.

    Comment by vladislav — February 26, 2014 @ 2:47 am

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