Streetwise Professor

May 17, 2014

Yatsenyuk Also Warns About Ukraine Going All Medeival

Filed under: Music,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 12:12 pm

Hours after I wrote that a good model for understanding Ukraine would be medieval France or England, and that Putin would be perfectly fine with the country being ruled by local barons, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk warned of the dangers of the feudalization of the country, and said that was Russia’s goal.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk believes that separatists in the east are trying to achieve not federalization of state and its feudalization. But the central government will not allow it. Ukraine was, is and will be a unitary, independent and sovereign. The Head of Government said at the meeting of the second All-Ukrainian “round table” of national unity in Kharkov.

Yatsenyuk made another comparison that I had just mooted, namely that Ukraine would become a collection of rump statelets involved in frozen conflicts:

Ukraine should be a single unitary state with broad powers of regions and not to share small enclaves where every businessman will buy to itself local council, the local administration and have small Abkhazia, Ossetia and Transnistria in Ukraine.

Yatsenyuk seems to see what is transpiring in Ukraine, and Putin’s goals, similarly to what I’ve written here on SWP. Maybe we are both wrong, but I think this is a far more reasonable reading of Putin’s desired end state than to presume that he wants to invade and annex large swathes of Ukraine as he did Crimea.

Against this background, this article which is getting a great deal of play looks ridiculous. As I said in the comments to the earlier post:

[That] article is yet another example of the court press raving about Emperor Obama’s magnificent raiment, when in fact he is stark naked. The premise is that Putin wanted to invade and conquer Ukraine, and since he hasn’t, Obama must have deterred him. As I’ve written several times, I don’t believe that Putin had any intention of invading, let alone ruling over any part of Ukraine other than Crimea. Militarily it would be a disaster. Yes, he would likely succeed at first, but the occupation would become a bleeding ulcer. He is content to have frozen conflicts, and a balkanized and dysfunctional Ukraine. His primary objective is preventing Ukraine from moving closer to the EU and Nato, and having a weak Ukraine that he can manipulate from afar, primarily working through the oligarchs. He would be quite content having a purely transactional relationship with someone like Tymoshenko in charge.

With a few more Obama “victories” like Ukraine and Syria, we are well and truly ruined.




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  1. This may have required some thoughtwork from you, but all Yatsenyuk did was voicing what has been a meme for as long as the Kremlin has been pushing for “federalization”. Yatsenyuk is not that smart (if you need a clue: he is a politician). The danger for Ukraine is, with appointments like Kolomoisky and Taruta as regional governors, the provisional government has been laying groundwork for feodalization on their own. They are building the institutions that Putin needs, all that remains is for Putin to ensure the barons’ loyalty one way or another (and it’s not like he is short of ways).

    Comment by Ivan — May 17, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  2. Ever since the first president of Ukraine, Kravchuk, and then Kuchma, especially, allowed and built up and formalized a kleptocratic thug oligarchy, much talk from the opposition in Ukraine has centered around the oligarchs building a “feudal state”.

    Yanukonvikt was trying to do something more – he and his “family” wanted to be the richest in Ukraine, and he wanted to establish a dictatorial dynasty.

    The mafiosi oligarchs at first did not see this as a problem. But we have seen the extent to which Yanukonvikt went – via snipers and a walled fortress complete with armaments, a gutting of the military, and the build-up of special forces to protect yanukonvikt – that they it finally dawned on the mafiosi where things were headed. So those that did not flee joined with the people.

    Some of the mafiosi that fled are now back, negotiating to get back in the good graces of the current government.

    Part of what Yatseniuk is referring to centers around a long-standing debate in Ukraine – elected versus appointed officials, and if elected, on what basis – single candidates or party lists.

    And in his comments, ironically, you can see a fundamental distrust of local elections – that local beeznissmen will “buy” local city councils. Buying and selling of Parliament has occurred for years in Ukraine, and the voting system has been changed several times, but mostly it is a party list system.

    Vitaly Portnikov kept telling people not to continue to vote for the people that continually rob them – the Party of Regions. His very good friend, Mykola Kniazhytsky, one of the founders of TVi, and a brilliant man and journalist, just like Portnikov, knew about corruption in Parliament. But when Kniazhytsky finally ran for and got elected to Parliament, even he was shocked by the callousness with which a large number of the assholes in Ukrainian Parliament simply conducted business and protected only their own business interests in Parliament.

    The Donbas mafia, for the most part, controlled everything in and out of government.

    Thus – as you point out, Ukraine has had a huge problem with legitimate government, and in recognition of that fact, Ukraine has a huge underground economy.

    Thus – Yatseniuk, who is very, very bright, has to resort to relying on members of the Donbas mafia who are interested in protecting their wealth from Putler, and from other Rashan oligarchs, who have long operated in Ukraine, who have let mines and apartment buildings explode, while accumulating their wealth.

    He should be relying on the people themselves.

    But the people in Donbas have long lived in company towns, under threats of losing their jobs and under other threats, plus assorted propaganda.

    Even worse, Tymoshenko wants to build and lead her own army, and so does Lyashko, from the radical party.

    Ukraine’s police have been a joke. The military was gutted and, moreover, infiltrated by Russian operatives under the very willing care and supervision of yanukonvikt. For example, the air force lacked fuel for training, so training consisted of holding little model jets and “flying” them around a classroom by hand.

    In Crimea, Putler may be able to get offshore drilling spoils.

    Same thing in the areas around Sloviansk – Ukraine does indeed produce natural gas of its own, and there are deposits, shale and otherwise, than can be developed.

    Putler invaded Crimea. I would not dismiss invasion by Putler – he is, after all, an alcoholic psychopath.

    Comment by elmer — May 18, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  3. by the way, the discussion of Ukraine going medieval reminds me of a video I saw a few years ago, in which one of the mafiosi referred to the medieval “right of the first night” – the supposed right of the medieval lord of the manor to have sex with the bride on her wedding night.

    On the level.

    Yatseniuk and others in the opposition were not making idle talk when they shouted about how Ukraine had become a medieval feudal state.

    Comment by elmer — May 18, 2014 @ 10:43 am

  4. Hi professor!
    Curious to hear what u think about John Biden’s son and kerry’s stepson being nominated to the board of ukrainian gas company. Chance? Traces of oligarchy in the US? how do u think the average european voter will think about that in combination with us foreign policy?Could it even be credibility enhancing in th end like ” look these guys send their best men to build up the country”? Certiainly to ukrainians and russians this form of human capital management looks familiar…
    Just asking..

    Comment by Viennacapitalist — May 18, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

  5. Hi, @Viennacapitalist. What do I think of it? Not much. It’s awful.

    Actually, it seems very German (I’m thinking of Schroeder and other SPD types and their arrangements with Russian companies) so maybe the Euros will be fine with it. (You tell me.)

    All in all, it’s a disaster. The worst part of it is that no one in the US seems to care. This is how far we’ve fallen.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — May 18, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Professor,thank you for your response.
    Now, I would say that the germans/ euros are being confirmed in their prejudices concerning the goal of american foriegn policy. Contrary to the us, this was big news here. Mr. Schröder joined gazprom after he retreated from politics and when relations relations with russia where way better – and still his party suffered in the eyes of the german public – the accusations flamed up whenever putin made one of his moves.
    Also consider that in germany the fdp dropped out of the parliament as a result of a lobbying scandal involving privileges for hotel owners and the president hat to step back because he was invited for a vacation by a friend ( the sums involved are that small, i will not mention them here in order not to sound rediculous). Also not long ago the minister of defence, popular and a rising star until then, had to step down because they found out that his doctoral thesis showed signs of plagiarism – so at least superficially the case and the missing reaction looks very “un- german”, i would say….

    Comment by Viennacapitalist — May 18, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

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