Ukraine's Presidential Elections: March 31
And boy, it’s likely be a wild ride, especially as the World is Watching, the West is already interfering in the election, and Ukrainian politics can get pretty er…kinetic, as in how many ‘Rumbles in the Rada’ have we seen post-Maidan?
As of today there are still 39 candidates vying for the job, and euronews.com claims that this piece contains ‘everything you need to understand about key poll’. (Even though it’s manifestly biased against Russia and Yanukovitch who’d ‘fled’ as Maidan Uprsings, etc., but still kinda fun) including their category:
“Ukraine‘s challenges: conflict, corruption and a struggling economy
As of March 14: “Who is leading the race to be Ukraine’s next president?
The current leader of the race is showman and comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy with almost 25% of public support so far. His rating directly reflects the frustrated aspirations of many Ukrainians and their mistrust towards politicians in power. He is linked to one of the most powerful Ukrainian oligarchs — Ihor Kolomoyskiy — who recently also endorsed him publicly.”
“Zelensky played the role of President of Ukraine in the hugely popular 2015 television series Servant of the People. The political party Servant of the People was created in March 2018 by people from the TV production company Kvartal 95 who also created the TV series of the same name”
“The latest polls show that President Poroshenko with almost 17% and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with just above 18% of support tie in second place.
“Poroshenko is promising to renew the territorial integrity of Ukraine by diplomatic and political means and achieve the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.
Tymoshenko has made a dramatic return to mainstream politics [this is her third run for the Presidency for the Homeland Party, last time the Fatherland Party] promising Ukrainians a new constitution, cheaper energy tariffs, a reformed army and peace while vowing to make Russia pay for any damage it has done to the country.”
Tymoshenko, formerly ‘the braided one’, has a lengthy Wiki page, one photo of which is captioned:
“Tymoshenko and Chancellor Angela Merkel at a March 2011 European People’s Party summit in Brussels; the General Prosecutor of Ukraine’s Office lifted the travel ban imposed on Tymoshenko after U.S. Senator John McCain and European People’s Party President Wilfried Martens officially invited her to this event.
Other noteworthy entries are:
‘On 21 May 2016, Tymoshenko expressed hope that the EU will provide Ukraine a visa-free regime. Tymoshenko stressed that the Ukrainian state is there to protect the world all over Europe, continuing to fight the Russian aggression.’
(Received an) Award by American NGO Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for contribution to democracy development. (March 2007)
Was known as ‘the Joan of Arc’ for having co-authored the Orange Revolution, and has a long section on her trials and imprisonment. There’s even a section on Paul Manafort’s smear campaign against her in 2010 (beats me), but this is pretty funny:
‘In a recording (purportedly a leaked phone conversation with Nestor Shufrych, former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) Tymoshenko appeared to say in reference to the reunification of Crimea with Russia: “This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and go kill those damn Russians together with their leader; and nuke 8 million Russians who are now exiles in Ukraine.” In a statement, while admitting she had spoken to Shufrych on the telephone, Tymoshenko denied having advocated the use of nuclear bombs against ethnic Russians in Ukraine, and avowed that the recording had been deliberately edited to discredit her.’
The killing all the Russians was okay; but not the nuking; got it. Got a much more serious coiffure now, too, eh, Yulia. But sure, she was one of the ones outraged that Yanukovitch had refused to sign the EU Association memo, then came the US astroturfed Maidan ‘uprising’. She also of course wants Ukraine to become a NATO member. This is her website with her policy positions.
Now I’m going to borrow heavily from Eric Zuesse’s ‘Hope for Ukrainians, at Last’, and although I’d read it first at strategic culture, it had originated at washingtonsblog which encourages sharing (CC w/ attribution), March 25, 2019
‘Hope for Ukrainians, at Last’, Eric Zuesse, washingtonsblog.com (creative commons w/ attribution), March 25, 2019 [fascinating; off-Guardian’s picked it up; or maybe not so surprising…given all that follows.]
“Finally, it appears that there is realistic hope for an end to the brutal, far-right, regime that U.S. President Barack Obama, through his chief agent on Ukraine, Victoria Nuland, had imposed upon Ukraine, by means of an extraordinarily violent coup in February 2014, which replaced Ukraine’s democratically elected sitting President, by a rabidly anti-Russian imposed regime.
His bolded link goes to his ‘Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA,’ Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’, December 20, 2014
“Although, until recent days, there were signs that none of the three leading Presidential candidates in Ukraine’s upcoming March 31st election would veer far off the coup-installed regime’s hard-right path, that has changed drastically in recent days.
On March 15th, French Ambassador to Ukraine, Isabel Dumont, communicating privately on behalf of all seven of the G7 Ambassadors, warned Ukraine’s far-right Minister of the Interior, Arsen Avakov, that “the G7 group is concerned by extreme political movements in Ukraine.”
This is the letter referenced: ‘G7 Letter Takes Aim At Role Of Violent Extremists In Ukrainian Society Election’, March 22, 2019, rferl.org (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), Christopher Miller (who also writes for the Kyiv Post)
“In the letter that was addressed to Avakov on March 15, French Ambassador Isabelle Dumont wrote on behalf of her fellow ambassadors that “the G7 group is concerned by extreme political movements in Ukraine, whose violent actions are worrying in themselves.”
“They intimidate Ukrainian citizens, attempt to usurp the role of the National Police in safeguarding elections, and damage the Ukrainian government’s national and international reputation,” Dumont continued, in a thinly veiled reference to the National Corps and National Militia, the far-right Azov group’s political and vigilante wings, respectively.” [snip]
“The National Corps and National Militia were products of the Azov Battalion, a volunteer military regiment formed in the early days of the conflict against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that began in 2014. The battalion has been accused by international human rights groups of “war crimes” on the battlefield and has since been brought under the control of the National Guard, which is overseen by Avakov.
Members of the National Corps and National Militia have been blamed for multiple violent attacks on minorities in Ukraine, particularly Roma and LGBTI persons, in the past year.”
Back to Zuesse:
“This battalion is (though RFERL carefully ignores the fact) a white-supremacist Ukrainian organization. Its founder and leader, Andrei Biletsky (or “Beletsky”), calls his movement “Ukrainian Social Nationalism,” and he has laid out in writing its program as “racial purification of the Nation” and specifically as a return to “old Ukrainian Aryan values forgotten in modern society.” His followers had, under Obama (during and since the coup), powerfully helped to install the far-right new regime, which now possibly could finally end — Obama’s coup in Ukraine thus to become terminated in abject failure (which it actually already is) and ultimately abandonment by the Europeans (unless the U.S. Government gets out of there).
Zuesse also references this epic boost for the comedian Zelenskiy (some have dubbed ‘the joker’) from the Atlantic Council: ‘Why Zelenskiy Is the Only Decent Choice for Ukraine’, Feb. 21, 2019, Willem Aldershoff,
Keep in mind that the Atlantic Council er…advises NATO, which esteemed organization’s purpose is essentially to surround Evil Russia or promote hegemonic designs wherever…calls Ukraine variously: ’Nato aspiring member’, ‘under Nato’s umbrella’, or ‘a Partner of Nato’, meaning in Ukraine’s case: hurry up and clear up your corruption so you can afford to pay your Nato dues.
“Two candidates with long experience in Ukraine’s politics have a chance of making it through the first round: President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. However, they have poor reform credentials. Poroshenko actively frustrated efforts to dismantle Ukraine’s oligarchic system by blocking real judicial reform, effective anticorruption measures, and electoral reform. Not one member of former President Yanukovych’s inner circle was convicted for plundering the country, hardly any of the stolen money was retrieved, and not one leading person responsible for the horrific Maidan killings was convicted. Tymoshenko will forever be associated with the questionable ways in which she amassed a huge fortune early in her career. The years when she was prime minister do not stand out for reforms. [snip]
“Polls show that comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy seems best placed to make it to the second round. It is easy to paint the man as a buffoon who has made millions by making fun of Ukraine’s political problems, as a naïve but well-meaning chap, or as an insincere schemer dancing to the tune of a leading oligarch.
A serious analysis of his record yields a different picture. His “Kvartal 95” shows have a long tradition of sharp and profound criticism of Ukraine’s utterly unfair political system, starting well before the Maidan. He has consistently criticized Russia’s aggression in Crimea and the Donbas and ridiculed Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“In the same vein, the European Union and the United States should start building contacts behind the scenes with the Zelenskiy campaign. A stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine is not only what Ukrainians have longed for, but it is also in the vital interest of the West.”
Kewl, eh? The EU, Atlantic Council interfering in Ukraine’s elections again (as the US and USian billionaires had done last time before the ‘uprising against Yanukovitch? Did they stuff his campaign coffers with hryvnia? Ah well, better he than…Yulia or the Chocolate King, I guess.
“…and this is despite the continuing insistence by 98%+ (virtual unanimity) of both houses of the U.S. Congress — almost the entire U.S. Congress (419 to 3 in the House, and at first 97 to 2 in the Senate and then 98 to 2 there) — to sanction Russia and to arm Ukraine however much will be necessary in order for Ukraine’s Government to conquer the two rejectionist parts of former Ukrainian territory. Behind the scenes, there is now immense pressure from the EU (such as that Atlantic Council writer, who is a former high official of the EU) against the U.S. regime’s insistence upon Ukraine’s conquest of those two former Ukrainian territories.”
A little background from Oliver Stone’s ‘Ukraine on Fire’ via TRNN:
“Then, on March 23rd, UA Wire headlined “Front-runner in Ukraine’s election race names condition for returning Crimea”, and reported that the leading candidate, Volodmyr Zelensky, suddenly made the radical statement: “Crimea will return only when power changes in Russia. There is no other choice.” He was, tactfully — so as not to be killed by the racist anti-Russians who had carried out the coup on behalf of Obama — asserting implicitly that he rejected the constant refrain by the other two leading candidates, Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, that Ukraine must invade and conquer Crimea.”
The UA wire link.
“But now, with his clear (though entirely tactful) break away from Kolomoyskyi’s political record, Zelensky is, at the very least, pretending to be decent.
And the EU and even NATO are clearly coming out against the virtually unanimous policy of the U.S. Congress to push Ukraine toward outright war against Russia, and are backing, instead, Zelenskiy — the only leading candidate who is against invading Crimea and Donbass.”
A squib from ‘Election Watch: Polls don’t look good for Poroshenko; extra ballots cause concern; debates will be duds?’, Olga Rudenko, March 22, kyivpost.com.
“Editor’s Note: Election Watch is a regular update on the state of the presidential race in Ukraine. The country will elect its next president on March 31, 2019, with a possible runoff on April 21. The Election Watch project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. The donor doesn’t influence the content. NED, of course is a cover for the CIA…
‘Kiev’s Warmongering to Russia Plumbs Hysteria’, strategic-culture.org, March 8, 2019
“This week the head of Ukrainian armed forces Viktor Muzhenko claimed that Russia was prepping a massive invasion of his country with up to 80,000 troops. Such incendiary claims have been made before by Kiev, only to be proven false over and over.
How is that such a reckless regime is not hauled before an international court for incitement against peace owing to its crazed claims? Of course, because it is patronized by Washington and European allies who are not exactly averse to incitement against peace as can be seen with regard to Venezuela, Syria and countless other countries.
Another twist this week in the tortuous “Russians are coming” scaremongering fable were Ukrainian media claims that eight Russian submarines were spotted in the Azov Sea. Presumably that lurid vignette was intended to amplify public fears of a naval offensive in conjunction with the alleged mass troop invasion from “north, east and south”.
‘Ukraine’s Cult of Stepan Bandera: Not a Detail, but a Cornerstone’, Dmitry Babich, strategic-culture.org, Jan. 1, 2019, a teaser:
In the immediate aftermath of the Maidan coup in 2014, the mainstream press was ready to forget even that, since an honest account of Bandera’s activities between 1939 and 1959 could rekindle memories of the undesirable parallels to the “resistance to Russian occupation” by Poroshenko’s army in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015. Between the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2015, about 10,000 people died there, victims of the aircraft and tanks sent by Poroshenko (just months earlier, the US and the EU had been unable to abide the use of truncheons by the police of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych). At the time, the NYT called Bandera the “Ukrainian nationalists’ hero.” Obviously, the NYT’s authors were taking their cues from the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum, with her Banderite headline, “Nationalism is exactly what Ukraine Needs” in the once-glorious New Republic.
But here the mainstream press tried to kill off a memory that will never die — the memory of how Hitler’s East European Nazi allies participated in the destruction of the region’s Jewish population in the early 1940s. This was something not even Anne Applebaum could make people forget.”
Aaaaand…right on cue: ‘Russian Navy tracks NATO squadron entering Black Sea (PHOTOS, VIDEO) March 29, 2019, RT.com
“Russian ships are keeping a close eye on NATO, whose three frigates recently crossed into the Black Sea, preparing to sail near Crimea and conduct a joint naval drill with Ukraine and Georgia.
The large patrol ship ‘Vasily Bykov,’ along with surveillance ship ‘Ivan Khurs,’ both of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, are closely tracking the movement of NATO vessels in the area, the Defense Ministry said.
The photos and videos from Turkey had earlier showed three NATO frigates passing through the Bosporus Strait and entering the Black Sea on Thursday. The ships – Canadian HMCS ‘Toronto,’ Spain’s ‘Santa Maria,’ and Dutch HNLMS ‘Evertsen’ – are set to visit the Ukrainian port of Odessa, near Russia’s Crimea. They are later scheduled to participate in the ‘Sea Shield 19’ naval drill, together with ships from Ukraine and Georgia.”
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)