Monday, May 26, 2014

Stop forcing Ukraine into a narrative of Moscow versus Washington | Oliver Bullough | Comment is free | The Guardian

Damn, this article starts off well, but it's conclusions are well off the mark. :-(

Anyone who tells you Ukraine is a battle between Russia and the west is wrong. It is a lazy narrative told by ignorant people, but is helping create a genuine tragedy that we should all be concerned about.

The history of Ukraine's crisis began not in February, with Viktor Yanukovych's flight, but in 1991, with independence. Desperate to break communism, privatisers sold state assets as quickly as they could. They didn't care who got them; they just wanted private property to exist. They thought the new owners would insist on their rights, and thus build a stable society, governed by the rule of law.

It was the west that killed that dream. By moving their wealth offshore – to Austria, the Caribbean or the various UK-owned tax havens – Ukraine's property owners could enjoy western property rights, while benefiting from chaos at home. That turned the privatisers' calculations on their head.

Insiders snatched Ukraine's industries, with particularly powerful business clans in the cities of Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. They fought for control of the government in Kiev, but all had the same basic interest: to perpetuate chaos. The longer Ukraine was a mess, the richer they got.

This was not Russia against the west; everyone piled in. Just look at the needless intermediary company created by Dmitry Firtash in 2004 to buy gas from Russia and sell it to Ukraine, making more than $600m a year. RosUkrEnergo was a west-east joint venture: half owned by Russia's Gazprom, half owned via an Austrian bank. Every dollar it earned was a dollar less for ordinary Ukrainians.

Complete story at - Stop forcing Ukraine into a narrative of Moscow versus Washington | Oliver Bullough | Comment is free | The Guardian

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4. Gladio - NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe - Richard Cottrell
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