Massacre in Odessa

Russia’s Channel Odessa has done a real piece of investigative journalism on the Odessa massacre.

It appears to show that the street fighting in Odessa that preceded the massacre bore the hallmarks of a carefully staged provocation in which sections of the police and of the local authorities were actively involved. It shows that the “pro Russian protesters” (if such they were) who initiated the street fighting were a different group from the anti Maidan activists who were driven out of their protest camp and who were then burnt alive in the most barbaric way in the Trade Union building in what can only be called a massacre. These “pro Russian protesters”  appear to have started the street fighting with the active assistance and complicity of the local authorities and of the Odessa police. Once the larger group of Maidan activists who were involved in the street fighting moved towards the anti Maidan protest camp where the local anti Maidan activists were based the “pro Russian activists” who started the street fighting simply melted away.

I understand Channel One did not try to identify who these “anti Russian protesters” actually were.  Given that the local authorities in Odessa support Kiev if this was a provocation as seems likely then their  involvement and that of sections of the police tends to suggest that it was aimed at discrediting the anti Maidan protests in Odessa.  Certainly the provocation cannot have been arranged by Russian Special Forces unless one accepts the entirely farfetched possiblity that they have successfully suborned Odessa’s local administration and polce department.

At this stage any views as to who was responsible for instigating the provocation that led to the street fighting must be tentative. In order to arrive at a definite conclusion there would need to be a proper, impartial and independent investigation. Of course that will not happen at least whilst the present political conditions prevail just as there will not be a proper, impartial and independent investigation of the sniper incident on Maidan.

A few further points:

1. Regardless of who was responsible for the original street violence, film and eye witness evidence make it abundantly clear that the fire at the Trade Union building and the massacre there was carried out by Maidan supporters. Even if it eventually turns out that the “pro Russian protesters” who were behind the original street clashes were actually what they appeared to be that can in no way excuse or justify the barbaric actions of the Maidan supporters at the Trade Union building. The utterly appalling comments about the massacre from certain Maidan supporters that have appeared on social media and the perfunctory response to the massacre from the present authorities in Kiev (Yatsenyuk for example has criticised the local police but he has utterly failed to condemn those responsible for the fire and the massacre) only make things worse.

I am afraid this is consistent with the pattern of behaviour we have seen ever since the start of the Maidan protests in November with Maidan leaders and supporters (Klitschko being the occasional exception) reacting with extreme and often disproportionate anger when force is used against themselves (even when that force is lawful) whilst being callously indifferent and mostly supportive to the far greater force and violence used by their supporters

2. The conduct of the British media in response to this massacre has been beyond appalling.

Following the sniper attacks on Kiev the British media had no hesitation in putting the blame on Yanukovitch though the evidence (to put it mildly) was far from conclusive. At an earlier stage in the Maidan protests sections of the British media devoted a phenomenal amount of time, reporting and commentary to the attack on Chornovil with all sorts of unsubstantiated speculations that Yanukovitch was personally behind it though evidence of that there was none.

Not only has the British media by contrast failed to give the Odessa massacre anything remotely approaching the amount of reporting the scale of the massacre justifies or to carry out anything like the soñrt of investigation into it we have seen from Channel One but it persists in pretending that there are uncertainties about who was responsible for the massacre even though film and eye witness evidence is conclusive and even though (as I understand it) persons involved in the pro Maidan organisations involved in the massacre have openly bragged about it.  Instead

The Guardian in its editorial the day after the massacre preferred to editorialise about the wickedness of Russia holding a May Day party on Red Square

http://www.theguardian.com/global/2014/may/02/editorial-ukraine-kievs-eastern-question

We had an article in the Daily Telegraph calling the local people who demanded the release of the surviving anti government activists saved from the fire and arrested by the Odessa police following the massacre a “mob” threatening Odessa with “anarchy”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10808244/Ukraine-crisis-mob-frees-separatist-heroes-as-anarchy-grips-Odessa.html

We have an article in the Guardian today calling readers who post comments on Comment is Free critical of its pro Maidan editorial line “Kremlin trolls” (thanks to Mark Sleboda for this).

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/04/pro-russia-trolls-ukraine-guardian-online

Whilst The Times editorialises that Putin must stop his campaign of “subversion and coercion” against the Ukraine which has in  Odessa has “inspired separatists” into “acts of war”

. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/leaders/article4080839.ece

I invite people to imagine how the British media would have reported this massacre if roles had been reversed and if it had been Maidan supporters who were burnt alive in the Trade Union building with an anti Maidan crowd filmed throwing Molotov cocktails into the building whilst baying for blood outside.

As for the political consequences of this massacre, its immediate effect will be to harden anti Maidan feeling in the south eastern Ukraine first and foremost in Odessa itself. That also for the moment appears to be the principal effect of the “anti terrorist operation” in the eastern Ukraine. Needless to say that makes the prospect of any sort of constitutional negotiations as required by the Geneva Statement all but impossible. It also makes the prospect of outright civil war in the Ukraine ending eventually in the violent partition of the country and the loss of the Ukraine’s eastern regions to Russia also more likely.

Comments

  1. ” Given that the local authorities in Odessa support Kiev if this was a provocation as seems likely then their involvement and that of sections of the police tends to suggest that it was aimed at discrediting the anti Maidan protests in Odessa.

    Do the local authorities support Kiev? The mayor was not elected, but appointed during Yanukovich’s term. He’s a Party of Regions man, who in January compared the Euromaidan to the Holocaust. The police were on the pro-Russians’ side (there was footage of a pro-Russian firing an air pistol from behind the police). One of the things the new government did was to plan for new elections for Odessa mayor on May 25th. Also, the harsh anti-police statements and actions from Kiev suggest that the police had not been acting under Kiev’s orders – unless the police in Donetsk who allowed Russians to do what they wanted were also acting under Kiev’s orders? Indeed, the police behavior in Odessa was similar to the police behavior in Donetsk. The difference is that the population was not nearly as pro-Russian in Odessa. While Yanukovich’s political machine was able to establish a monopoly of power throughout southern and eastern Ukraine, the populations in these areas is far from uniform.

    I had earlier posted poll results showing much less support for Russia in Odessa than in Donetsk. The fact that the pro-Russian side would be less successful and would experience significant push-back in Odessa, compared to Donetsk or Luhansk, is no surprise for people who take polls seriously.

    Surprises are for those who reject info they don’t like, by dismissing polls, believing in bogus ones, etc.

    “Even if it eventually turns out that the “pro Russian protesters” who were behind the original street clashes were actually what they appeared to be that can in no way excuse or justify the barbaric actions of the Maidan supporters at the Trade Union building.

    I’ve read bizarre Russian conspiracy theories claiming that the Trade Union building was used for mass executions (over 160 dead! look at the photo of the pregnant woman strangled to death!) by the Maidan supporters and that the fire was set in order to cover it these executions. The truth is less relevant than whether or not parts of Ukraine really believe such nonsense. If they do – then this will be like the Alamo for them. Interestingly, on the ground, in Odessa, the locals don’t tend to see it that way. This event may further exacerbate Donetsk’s split if the people there really believe some of these stories. However, it won’t have much of an impact within Odessa. A little more than a thousand pro-Russians showed up at the police station – compare this to what happened in Kiev after the police crackdown by Yanukovich – crowds of over 100,000. Kiev is three times Odessa’s size, so 1,200 people in Odessa would be less than 4,000 in Kiev – nothing. May 9th is coming, let’s see what happens then. The city is evenly divided so I wouldn’t expect a pro-Russian takeover as in Donetsk where the pro-Ukrainian side is a minority.

    Apparently pro-Russian social media had been urging an attack on the Ukrainian demonstrators, as had been successfully done in previous demonstrations in Donetsk when the pro-Ukrainians were intimidated and scattered after experiencing injuries. The first confirmed death was of a pro-Maidan protester. The pro-Russians drew first blood in Odessa. It backfired, with tragic consequences. The Maidan protesters fought back, chased the pro-Russians around the city, destroyed the tent camp, and surrounded the Trade Union building where both sides threw Molotov cocktails at each other.

    We cannot even be certain of what happened in the building. Molotov cocktails were thrown by both sides. If a Molotov cocktail thrown by the pro-Maidan crowd started the blaze, it was more like an accident (manslaughter, in American legal understanding) rather than murder. Ukrainians claim some of the Maidan supporters were trying to save and catch the pro-Russians jumping out of the building. Russians claim they were trying to kill them. I haven’t seen video corroborating the Ukrainian claim. There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video: it just showed horrific scenes of people jumping to their deaths and Ukrainians standing around with bats – nobody hitting anyone.

    “The utterly appalling comments about the massacre from certain Maidan supporters that have appeared on social media

    This goes both ways, however, to put it mildly. I remember during the Euromaidan, Russians commenting that they hoped the tanks would come and kill the “Banderists.” This would mean many more deaths than 40. When the sniper shootings began in Kiev many Russian commentators were saying, “at last”, or cheering on the deaths. I’m sure now, in revenge for the 40 or so dead pro-Russians, they want a war and invasion in which 100,000s will die. And that’s okay, while cheering on the deaths of 40 people is not.

    • Philip Owen says:

      The terminology “Russian” is not helpful. Not all in opposition to the current government are ethnic Russians or want union with Russia. The terms Presidentialists and Parliamentarians, for example, return the focus to internal Ukranian matters and also point out that the Kiev government has some claims to legitimacy, especially as it slowly removes the facists and backtracks on the declarations of 22nd February and immediately afterwards.

    • The farewell ceremony saw around 7000 on the streets of Odessa. So sure, the protest over freeing those arrested gathered round 1000, enough to get the people freed apparently. It was not a demonstration of protest against violence. The pro-Maidan crowd were not exactly Odessites either. They had serious reinforcements from football hooligans from Khar’kov and from Vynnytsa. Odessites were rather indifferent to the whole protest thing for now, be that Maidan or anti-Maidan. The Odessites are not so much pro-Russian, and not so much pro-Kiev either. Incidents such as the one under review here are likely to shake things up a little, even in Odessa.

      There was an attack on the pro-Maidan hooligans in town. However, the pro-Maidan crowd clearly decided to take this out on peaceful protesters at Kulikovo who had nothing to do with the violence. The talk about Molotov cocktails from the House of the Unions is nonsense spread by the Maidanites that are now desperately seeking to defend their inexcusable actions. They would like to say that those that burned in the building are guilty of burning themselves. I have a better version for them: “Putin himself was running around igniting fire.” After all, Yatsenyuk told us to seek for Russian involvement.

      It now transpired that the far right hooligans were in fact killing people inside and outside the building, the people did not just burn. Here is some disturbing footage. Viewer discretion is advised!
      http://youtu.be/YvnLsshOJ18

      • The video has been removed. I’ve seen video footage of Molotov cocktails being thrown by both sides. The Ukrainians claim that someone inside the building tried to throw a Molotov cocktail through a closed window. I have not seen proof of that. At any rate, this tragedy seems to have an accident caused by reckless violence, ultimately caused by anti-government thugs attacking and killing people in a pro-Kiev march.

        • Fedia Kriukov says:

          You mean pro-government thugs in cahoots with junta controlled police?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpV_Dnd2v9s

          Also, why are you calling it a tragedy when Ukrainian nationalists have been celebrating this momentous victory over “separatists”?

          • The police in Odessa, like those in Donetsk, were form the old regime and in cahoots wit the thugs who initiated the violence by attacking the pro-Ukrainian demonstration. The difference is that, unlike in Donetsk, they were defeated.

            • “Also, why are you calling it a tragedy when Ukrainian nationalists have been celebrating this momentous victory over “separatists”?

              All of the pro-Ukrainians I know consider those deaths to have been tragic. I guess I don’t know any of the ones they show on Russian TV and websites.

              • Southerncross says:

                Lying shit. You and your friends were probably watching the livestream and jacking off.

                Ukraine is an evil fraud and so are you. Your history is a fabrication. Your heroes were murderers, whores and failures. Ukraine will die and God willing all of your friends with die with it.

                • Wow. Thanks for the vivid demonstration of murderous rage from the pro-Russian side. I wonder if your ideas about the Ukrainians stem from an assumption that they must be like you?

              • authorialbylinesarefortheweakofheart says:

                Oh come on. I’ve met such people in Ukraine (which seems to include the mayor of Odessa, assuming the twitter comment attributed to him is accurate) and I’ve been there a grand total of 4 months. Either you are lying, to others or to yourself, or you live some kind of hermetically sealed existence shielded from unpleasant events, or you have never actually been in Ukraine. There is no other option.

                • There is mainstream approval of the killings, and apologetics for the killers. Anyone who claims otherwise is simply engaging in approval and apologetics.

                  • Dimitar says:

                    AP is Kyiv Post’s mouthpiece on here. Blaming the victims? Really?! I suppose you were chuckling heartily at the KFC and Colarado Beetle dehumanisation campaign on Twitter too.

                    On one note, the parallels between the Reichstag Fire and the Odessa Massacre is startling. Instead of communists, federalists are now blamed. All of this happened under the watchful eyes of the glorious descendants Bandera.

                    Timoshenko herself is now threatening a revolution if she doesn’t win – what a patriot, eh?

                    http://en.itar-tass.com/world/730688

                    Good riddance Ukraine, you died on the 2nd of May. Your only merit being that you were first country in post-war Europe to have Nazis actively in power.

                    Hip hip hooray!

                • “I’ve met such people in Ukraine (which seems to include the mayor of Odessa, assuming the twitter comment attributed to him is accurate) and I’ve been there a grand total of 4 months.

                  I’m sure such people in Ukraine exist and that they get a lot of coverage in Russian media sites; I’ve lived in Moscow and recall seeing a couple of people wearing swastika white power t-shirts. I also saw a few skinheads chasing after a terrorized African. But I didn’t know any such people personally. Of the dozens of Ukrainians in Ukraine I know, not a single one thought that what happened in Odessa was anything other than a tragedy. I find it very ironic that people who complain of false western portrayal of Russia as a land of Nazi skinheads and murderous homophobes basically engage in the same sort of demonization of Ukraine. What was Yarosh’s rating in the presidential poll? 1.5%? Another 2.5% for Tiahnybok?

                  • I don’t engage in apologetics for Russian homophobia, or racist skinheads in that country for that matter. I don’t see anyone here do that. But far right elements in Russia are mostly opposed to the government, they are not the government, they are not the “security forces”. When Yarosh and Parubiy, and number of others, are part of the security apparatus of the state, that makes things a little different, don’t you think? When Nalivaichenko, the head of the security service has a connection to Yarosh and his organisation, how much relevant is Yarosh’s presidential rating? Number of Svoboda members have been given governorships around Western Ukrainian regions. And I have to say, that radical nationalist ideology is also present among members of Bat’kivshchina and Udar.

                    The argument that nazis are marginals has been made often. Truth be told, the silent majority is just that: “silent”. I actually suspect there is a silent approval of all this.

                    I have noticed in online discussions, that people who deny the presence of nazis in Ukraine, often turn out to be nazis themselves when pressed about the issue. For instance, try asking why they use nazi slogans on demonstrations. Guess what I was told just recently: “This is our national idea!”

                    Well, it is their national idea, fair enough. So why do they deny they hold these views?

                  • Dimitar says:

                    When you were on your ‘trip’ to Russia, did you see any neo Nazis chase a group of people into a building and then torch it? Were the survivors shot or stranged? Did the mob outside chance ”Slava Rossiya”?

                    Your personal anecdote (if it is believed) cannot be compared to the tragedy in Odessa. Whataboutery will not whitewash the murders that the Euromaiders carried out in the name of a “free country”.

                    What is it with you and polls? Polls count for nothing when the smell of burnt flesh lingers in a city which did not ask for its people to burned alive by Galicians. Your numbers are, with the utmost respect, a load of shite.

                    • “When you were on your ‘trip’ to Russia, did you see any neo Nazis chase a group of people into a building and then torch it?”

                      No, but there’s a video of Russian skinheads beheading two Muslim gastarbeiters whose authenticity has been verified. Catching and beheading someone is much more of a planned, deliberate act than is a fire caused by a Molotov cocktail during a chaotic street battle. In 2008 there was a peak of over 100 people murdered by skinheads in Russia. This number has declined a lot in recent years.

                      “What is it with you and polls? Polls count for nothing when the smell of burnt flesh lingers in a city which did not ask for its people to burned alive by Galicians.”

                      So then – demagoguery over substance? BTW the attackers were mostly local Odessan Ultras, with Kharkiv Ultras mixed in, as well as activists from Vynnytsia. There probably were a few Galicians but they weren’t a significant number. The people speaking the Ukrainian language in the video were the ones telling the attackers (presumably local Odessan ultras) to stop beating the pro-Russian/antigovernment activists.

                    • Dimitar says:

                      AP,

                      Whataboutery, whatboutery. In Russia, skinheads are put in prison. In Ukraine, they are given the role of ‘defending’ the country. I abhor skinheads and am happy to see these evil monsters locked up for life. You, on the other hand, are happy to defend them to the end. Your previous posts are evidence enough.

                      I’ve also now realised why you post so many ‘polls’. It is not only to further your specific agenda, but also a cheap (but effective) way of adding some level of bearing to your ‘argument’. It has nothing to do with substance. The fact that you pull out numbers from your magic hat in order to rationalise the murders in Odessa is a strong testament to that.

                      Blaming the victim implies hidden guilt, psychologically absolving the perpetrator of any crime. It is akin to a rapist saying “oh she was wearing provocative clothing, that’s why I couldn’t resist her”. Maybe your lies can lull you to sleep at night, but as other posters have shown – the mob was more than happy to let these people burn alive.

                      Ukraine isn’t full of rainbows and European dreams, rather an unhappy population which delightfully torches their own in the hopes of running off to the west. The key word is hope, that is the only thing keeping Ukraine together.

                      Keep spinning AP, you are a propaganda spider. Keep spinning.

                    • You might appreciate these pics from May 1st in central Moscow:

                      http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/05/nazis-and-stalinists-thrive-on-may-1-in.html

                    • Dimitar:

                      ” In Russia, skinheads are put in prison.

                      So how many of these guys are getting locked up for life:

                      http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/05/nazis-and-stalinists-thrive-on-may-1-in.html

                      I post polls because they provide better and more comprehensive info than mere anecdotes. I also like to post census data or other information. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you are afraid of and dislike objective information? Thanks for admitting that you do, however.

                      There are no “magic hats” as a source for the numbers, by the way. They are called polling organizations such as Pew, etc.

                      “Blaming the victim implies hidden guilt, psychologically absolving the perpetrator of any crime. It is akin to a rapist saying “oh she was wearing provocative clothing, that’s why I couldn’t resist her”.

                      I’m sorry, I wouldn’t compare a mob shooting into a demonstration, killing a demonstrator, to a “rape victim.” Nor is describing circumstances leading up to the tragedy “blaming the victim.”

                      “You, on the other hand, are happy to defend them to the end.

                      Please point out where I have defended killing the people in the Trade Union building.

        • That’s unfortunate that the user removed the video. I think he was ashamed of it.

          You have not seen any proof of the claim, because there most likely isn’t any. Like their isn’t any proof of the claim that Russian interlopers or Transnistrian tourists burned in the House of Trade Unions. I quite frankly find all of these claims rather malicious and disgusting. The claim that the protesters brought this on themselves is bogus. Those that attacked the pro-Kiev demonstration were not the same group as those at Kulikovo who were engaging in a peaceful protests (and actually that’s why it is doubtful they had Molotov cocktails).

          • “I quite frankly find all of these claims rather malicious and disgusting.”

            I agree with Leos. And let me add to this that I find AP’s comments disgusting as well. I’m neither Russian nor Ukrainian, by the way. Why do I treat pro-Ukrainian claims with far more suspicion than pro-Russian claims? Because I know that there’s a lot more hatred on the west Ukrainian, Ukrainian nationalist side.

        • That deleted video was reposted here: http://video.yandex.ru/users/varjag-2007/view/118

        • Fedia Kriukov says:

          Ah, someone has already translated the blogger investigation into English: http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/crucial-investigation-into-role-of.html

          If Ukraine doesn’t survive this, 2 May 2014 will be marked as the day it died.

    • “after the police crackdown by Yanukovich”

      AP, how can we take anything you say seriously when you throw out stuff like that? Yanukovich was overthrown BECAUSE he didn’t crack down. West Ukrainian thugs whom you defend at every opportunity humiliated and abused Berkut officers for weeks. Nothing from Yanukovich. This pacifism, indecision, whatever you want to call it, frustrated the maidan thugs so much that they seem to have hired some snipers.

      How many governments in the world would have acted as meekly as Yanukovich did if their enemies threw these kinds of animals (there is no other word for them) against law enforcement of all things?

      Where do you think that picture of the dead pregnant woman come from? Knowing the animalistic, hate-filled psychology of the movements you defend, I think it’s perfectly plausible that this story would be true. It fits. We know that maidan animals finished off the humans who jumped from the windows of that building. That’s on video. We know that maidan animals celebrated the whole thing by singing the Ukrainian anthem and laughing it up. Why wouldn’t they have killed a pregnant woman while at it? Given the mindset of the movements you defend, what exactly would have stopped them?

      • “AP, how can we take anything you say seriously when you throw out stuff like that? Yanukovich was overthrown BECAUSE he didn’t crack down.

        Perhaps he didn’t crack down decisively because in Kiev he was outnumbered. It’s a similar situation that the Kiev government faces in Donbas.

        However, he did try to crack down. The fact is that the protests really escalated in November after his police started beating people.

        “How many governments in the world would have acted as meekly as Yanukovich did if their enemies threw these kinds of animals (there is no other word for them) against law enforcement of all things?

        I’m sorry that you seem to believe that the majority of Kiev’s population – who supported the anti-Yanukovich protests – are “animals.” Yanukovich’s was not a typical government. It was deeply unpopular, particularly in Kiev, and had no army support to back it up. Even when 70 or so protesters were eventually shot, the protesters didn’t flee. Yanukovich isn’t Putin, a genuinely popular politician in his country, nor is he Bush or Obama who even when they become unpopular have institutional legitimacy with legal ways of dealing with them that people trust.

        “Where do you think that picture of the dead pregnant woman come from? Knowing the animalistic, hate-filled psychology of the movements you defend, I think it’s perfectly plausible that this story would be true. It fits.

        So…you believe the crazy narrative that pro-Kiev people are a bunch of genocidal animals. Then, based on this belief, you’ll believe all sorts of claims about what they allegedly do. Thus, further reinforcing your beliefs about them in a sort of feedback loop.

        • Glossy says:

          I totally sympathize with protesting against rule by oligarchs. But as a result of the February coup oligarchs acquired even more power in the Ukraine. This was very predictable. How could any movement supported by the US State Department and Western NGOs have led to any other result? I doubt most protesters were THAT gullible. Instead I’m assuming that the two main motivating factors for the disturbances at the Maidan were getting paid by NGOs and hatred of Russians and east Ukrainians.

          The individuals who put officers on fire, beat them up, put them on their knees, etc., while knowing that the officers weren’t allowed to respond, didn’t seem particularly human.

          And somebody must have voted for Yanukovich. How unpopular could he gave been if he managed to win an election.

          • “And somebody must have voted for Yanukovich. How unpopular could he gave been if he managed to win an election.

            Yanukovich won the election under exceptional circumstances (economic crisis, dislike by opposition electorate for opposition politicians), with a poor mandate – less than 50% of the vote in a two-person election. His popularity then sank. And the key is that while his popularity was sinking he was consolidating more and more power while stealing more and more – a recipe for disaster. The last-minute EU backtracking was the spark that set off the protests…which started to die down until he sent the police to bash heads in. People (at least half of them and the majority in the capital) just didn’t want to live under that kind of government. Note that there were two escalations in the protests – the first one was in response to the police brutality in November – that brought a peak of 200,000 people into the streets. The next one happened after the new anti-protest laws were passed in January. This second wave ultimately led to the overthrow of the government. Motivation can be inferred from the actions that preceded and triggered the escalation of the protests. And this matches surveys results closely:

            Reasons for protests according to protester were:

            http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=226&page=1

            Brutal repression by the government: 69.6%
            Remove Yanukovich from power: 53.5%
            Desire to change Ukraine’s way of life: 49.9%
            Desire to change the government in general: 39.1%
            “Protect democracy”: 18.9%
            Danger of Ukraine joining the Customs Union and integrating with Russia: 16.9%
            Getting paid to protest: .3%

            So while avoiding Russia was a significant reason it was not close to being a main one.

            • Glossy says:

              “The last-minute EU backtracking was the spark that set off the protests…which started to die down until he sent the police to bash heads in…”

              I don’t believe a word of that. The US State Department and Western NGOs started those “protests” because they didn’t want Yanukovich to integrate the Ukrainian economy with Russia’s. The people who run the West see Russia as a rival. They don’t want it to get stronger, to acquire an economic bloc of its own. So they wanted the Ukraine to integrate with the EU instead of Russia. When Yanukovich went against their plans they organized these “protests” against him. It was total astroturf, as are all color revolutions everywhere. It amazes me that there are people out there who pretend to take the propaganda associated with such events seriously. The NGOs don’t even try to make this stuff look believable. It’s like TV advertising or spam e-mail.

              Anyway, the organizers of these color revolutions always need blood at the end. And Yanukovich wasn’t providing it. So they seem to have hired their own snipers eventually. I don’t have proof of that, but it makes intuitive sense. Cui bono, the record of prior color revolutions done by the same organizations. It’s an assembly line. There’s a rough script to these things. If the other side isn’t saying its lines, they’ll say them for it.

              Of course they use pre-existing fissures in any society. It would be dumb not to. Galician yokels hate Russians and anybody who speaks Russian? Let’s bus them into the capital. Which reminds me of another bit of your disingenuousness here. There were so many that I almost missed this one. You pretended to believe that Yanukovich was overthrown because he was hated in Kiev. He was overthrown because he ran afoul of Western powers that be. These powers bussed West Ukrainians into Kiev to use them as tools against him because they, West Ukrainians, harbor an ethnic hatred for Yanukovich and his voters.

              Was he corrupt? Sure. But so are the people who organized those “protests”. And that was always obvious.

              • “I don’t believe a word of that. The US State Department and Western NGOs started those “protests” because they didn’t want Yanukovich to integrate the Ukrainian economy with Russia’s.

                Yes, it’s all a conspiracy. Those 50,000 were paid, according to you. Or holograms. And the polls showing that the majority in Kiev supported them were fake, right?

                Just because the wishes of the EU and Americans coincided with the wishes of most of Kiev’s people does not mean that Kiev’s people do not have opinions or attitudes.

                “It amazes me that there are people out there who pretend to take the propaganda associated with such events seriously.

                That is true of the people who believe the protests were fake.

                “Anyway, the organizers of these color revolutions always need blood at the end. And Yanukovich wasn’t providing it. So they seem to have hired their own snipers eventually.

                Well, first you were saying that the protests were possible because Yanukovich wasn’t shooting anyone. He lost power because of his lack of violence. But then when a lot of protesters were shot and he lost power anyways (protesters were willing to risk their lives and die for the sake of overthrowing him – hmmm, I guess they don’t just go after defenseless people after all, right?), it became part of the Western conspiracy too. When you want to believe something you will find a way to fit any facts, even contradictory ones, into your story.

                “Galician yokels hate Russians and anybody who speaks Russian?”

                So many silly stereotypes here. Let’s start with “Galician yokels.” Lviv oblast has the third highest % of people with university degrees in the entire country – only the city of Kiev and Kharkiv oblast have higher percentages. Of Ukraine’s top 10 universities, two are in Galicia and a third ion the western Ukrainian province of Chernivtsi. Lviv is the number three source for IT outsourcing in Ukraine, behind only Kiev and Kharkiv (and the top city in terms of IT jobs per capita) I suspect, given the geographical location in the far west, Galicians are more likely to be multilingual than are other Ukrainians.

                Interesting “yokels.”

                As for “hating Russians and anybody speaking Russian”, here’s a recent Pew poll:

                http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/05/08/despite-concerns-about-governance-ukrainians-want-to-remain-one-country/

                “Views toward ethnic Russians, however, are more positive in the country’s east (93% favorable) than either the far west or center west (60% and 81% favorable, respectively).”

                So while Galicians like ethnic Russians much less than other Ukrainians do, 60% of them still have favorable opinions of ethnic Russians.

                I hope you don’t think that this poll was part of the conspiracy also?

                • Oh, and one more thing:

                  “These powers bussed West Ukrainians into Kiev to use them as tools against him because they, West Ukrainians, harbor an ethnic hatred for Yanukovich and his voters.

                  Surveys of demonstrators indicated 50% were from Kiev city and another 10% from Kiev oblast. About 30% were from Galicia. While Galicia was certainly overrepresented, it is a myth to describe these protests as simply a bunch of Galicians causing trouble in Kiev.

                • Glossy says:

                  “Those 50,000 were paid, according to you.”

                  Nuland’s $5 billion must have gone somewhere.

                  “But then when a lot of protesters were shot and he lost power anyways”

                  Some of them were shot by snipers who were not seen. There is a real possibility that the pro-Maidan side hired those. Again, I’m at work, have no time to research this and could be wrong, but it’s my impression that another portion of the maidan victims, the ones who were not shot by snipers, were killed on the last day when the Maidan got and started using firearms and all remains of authority broke down. I don’t know if Yanukovich had any influence on events at that point.

                  I understand that this would be unpleasant for you to acknowledge, but the Carpathian range is the Appalachia of Europe. Much of it is rural and poor. It’s unpleasant for me to acknowledge that most of the oligarch and neocon scum are Jewish because I’m Jewish myself, but it’s true, they are. I’ll be the first to tell you that they’re evil. There’s value in facing unpleasant realities.

                  • ““Those 50,000 were paid, according to you.”

                    Nuland’s $5 billion must have gone somewhere.

                    So, any evidence that the 50,000 were paid from 5 billion that Nuland mentioned in some offhand comment?

                    “I understand that this would be unpleasant for you to acknowledge, but the Carpathian range is the Appalachia of Europe. Much of it is rural and poor.

                    Yes, but not most of Galicia. The uneducated, poor, rural parts of western Ukraine are Zakarpattiya and Chernivtsi. As I mentioned, Lviv oblast has Ukraine’s 3rd highest % of people with university degrees – Zakarpattiya and Chernivtsi have the lowest in all Ukraine. They are also much less nationalistic than Lviv.

                    In terms of pay, western Ukraine is somewhat poorer in nominal dollars per month but this difference disappears when one takes into account cost of living. Lviv has the fourth highest disposable income in Ukraine, after Kiev city, Kiev oblast, and Donetsk oblast. The smallest number is in Cherkassy oblast, south of Kiev:

                    http://pollotenchegg.livejournal.com/42524.html

                    Realities should be faced, but they ought to be realities, not myths.

                    • DrBill says:

                      5 billion that Nuland mentioned in some offhand comment?

                      Offhand? It was in a speech she delivered gloating about what she had done.

                • Glossy says:

                  I was just looking through the poll writeup. 88% of Crimeans think that the Ukraine should acknowledge the Crimean referendum according to a Western polling firm. Pretty impressive. 23 years of Ukrainian TV and educational system trying to make them into enthusiastic Ukrainians, and about 88% still wanted out in the end.

                  About attitudes: it’s not just that West Ukrainians have a more negative view of Russians than East Ukrainians do. This conflict has polarized everyone, but before it started West Ukrainians definitely had a more negative view of Russians than Russians of Ukrainians in general or of West Ukrainians. There was an obvious asymmetry.

                  • Glossy says:

                    And only 4% of Crimeans said that the Ukraine shouldn’t recognize the referendum. If the undecided (8%) broke evenly, the the recognize-the-referendum option would have gotten 92%.

                    It’s a pity there’s nothing in the article on Donbass specifically.

                    • “I was just looking through the poll writeup. 88% of Crimeans think that the Ukraine should acknowledge the Crimean referendum according to a Western polling firm. Pretty impressive. 23 years of Ukrainian TV and educational system trying to make them into enthusiastic Ukrainians, and about 88% still wanted out in the end.

                      No, those were two different questions. Although 88% want the results to be recognized, the percentage of Crimeans who believe regions have the right to secede was 54%. This is closer to what the referendum result would probably have been (I was guessing it would have been 65% or so in favor) and matches the pre-referendum polls. I think that a healthy majority of Crimeans, including those that might have voted no, don’t mind being in Russia and don’t want trouble or further conflict.

                      I agree that it is a pity that there is nothing about the Donbas specifically. In the Pew study they should have divided Ukraine in three instead of in two. Lumping consistently “Orange” oblasts such as Poltava with those further east diluted the strength of the pro-Russian feelings in the East. However there is a comprehensive poll that does look at each oblast in the south and east individually:

                      http://zn.ua/UKRAINE/mneniya-i-vzglyady-zhiteley-yugo-vostoka-ukrainy-aprel-2014-143598_.html

                      The results actually match fairly well with this Pew poll. Which suggests that either they are all in on the same conspiracy, or they provide a realistic view of peoples’ attitudes.

                    • Glossy says:

                      54% can be interpreted as the percentage who think that regions within the remainder of the Ukraine should be allowed to secede. Very few Crimeans would now think of their peninsula as a region of the Ukraine. It’s not difficult to come up with plausible explanations for the difference between 88% and 54%. Separatism on the mainland is bound to be and has already been much more bloody than separatism in the Crimea. A portion of the respondents may think that secession isn’t worth it at the price in death and destruction that the Donbass is paying for it, but that it was worth it at the much lower price that the Crimea paid for it.

                • Just because the wishes of the EU and Americans coincided with the wishes of most of Kiev’s people does not mean that Kiev’s people do not have opinions or attitudes.

                  What did neocons like Nuland want from the February putsch, what did West Ukrainian nationalists want from it? Both parties, regardless of what they say in public, must be enjoying the sight of Russians and Russian speakers being torched and shot in the Ukraine. This is nationalism at its most primal. I’m up, you’re down. I’m sure that both parties are satisfied with the fact that the Ukraine hasn’t entered into a closer economic relationship with Russia. In summary, the things that both of these political forces wanted have indeed been achieved.

                  But how much of the stuff that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted but the neocons didn’t want has been achieved? I’d say none. I’m sure that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted the Ukraine to become less corrupt, which is impossible without a decrease in the influence of oligarchs on Ukrainian politics and economy. That influence has only grown under the new regime. The junta has been appointing oligarchs as governors and an oligarch will soon be elected president. I’m sure that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted to lift the standard of living of their people. All nationalists want that by definition. The standard of living has fallen under the new regime. Pensions are being cut and gas prices are being raised.

                  So the stuff that both parties in this alliance wanted is being achieved, but the stuff that only West Ukrainian nationalists wanted is not being achieved. I think that this tells us who is the driver in this relationship.

                  • “What did neocons like Nuland want from the February putsch, what did West Ukrainian nationalists want from it? Both parties, regardless of what they say in public, must be enjoying the sight of Russians and Russian speakers being torched and shot in the Ukraine.

                    Attributing sadism to people is not only not very nice, but also false. I’m sure there are freaks who enjoy this, just as there are pro-Russian freaks who hope that Lviv gets bombed, and such people comment on the internet, but thankfully such people are rare. As we see, even in western Ukraine 60% of the population have a positive view of ethnic Russians. Since at least 90% of these people vote for nationalistic* parties, this means that a majority of western Ukrainian nationalists have a positive view of ethnic Russians. They just want Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence, and despise Putin.

                    “But how much of the stuff that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted but the neocons didn’t want has been achieved? I’d say none. I’m sure that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted the Ukraine to become less corrupt, which is impossible without a decrease in the influence of oligarchs on Ukrainian politics and economy. That influence has only grown under the new regime.

                    It’s too early to tell. One of the reasons why Yanukovich was even more corrupt than were his corrupt predecessors was because he was using his power to build up his wealth and that of his relatives/cronies.

                    “I’m sure that West Ukrainian nationalists wanted to lift the standard of living of their people. All nationalists want that by definition. The standard of living has fallen under the new regime. Pensions are being cut and gas prices are being raised.

                    Everyone expects a couple of years of hardship. The government has openly said this from the beginning.

                    BTW, a bit off-topic, but have you seen this video. It’s funny:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A05s6GrztbQ

                    A politician at a Victory Day celebration, at about :50, stated “Hitler put forward the slogans of liberation of people from communist yoke, liberation from the tyrant Stalin, when his primary motivation was movement on a sovereign nation and to grab territory. But people came together in their wish to save their native land…they threw back the aggressor, and showed that people could defend their territory. Today the same thing is happening…” It was an over-the-top oblique comparison of Putin and his actions, to Hitler.

                    But – the fools in the crowd apparently heard “Hitler” and “liberation from communist yoke” and went wild, apparently believing that the speaker was supporting Hitler. Some frenzied woman, using her child as a “human shield”, even threw the microphone out of the guy’s hands. It is like the crowd of villagers from the scene in Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail, judging the witch.

                    This is a perfect illustration about how even presumably normal people “zombified”, trapped in their single-minded belief, will believe all sorts of crazy nonsense, such as that on May 9th a politician, himself a Soviet army veteran, would praise Hitler.

                    • The comparison of Putin to Hitler is offensive in itself. Hitler wanted to clear Eastern Europe of its native population through extermination and by sending the survivors to Siberia. He wanted to give the land over to German settlers. In comparison an overwhelming majority of the people of the Crimea are satisfied with the Russian administration of their region as shown by an American (!) polling firm. I’m guessing that the reason why Putin hasn’t intervened in the Donbass is that he thinks that the local welcome wouldn’t be as overwhelmingly positive as in the Crimea.

                      Saying that the guy in the video praised Hitler (I’ve seen this claim on the Internet) is about as dishonest as comparing Putin to Hitler, which is what the guy did himself.

                    • “They just want Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence, and despise Putin.”

                      You know that that’s not a full list of their demands. They want to coerce many millions of Russians and Russian-speakers to abandon their language and culture. They’re doing that through the educational system and by other means. They want to inculcate their own cultural mythology on an unwilling population by force. When that population wants to leave, they want to shoot it, burn it, torture it into submission. It is so disingenuous for you to describe the West Ukrainian nationalist attitude in this conflict in live and let live terms. You yourself have described the Crimean situation as an invasion. Translation: you’re not a live-and-let-live kind of person. You would have preferred it if the Ukraine forced the Crimeans to stay, if it continued to coerce them into abandoning their culture. The West Ukrainian nationalist attitude is culturally imperialist, not live-and-let-live. If West Ukrainian nationalists simply wanted to be left alone, they wouldn’t have anything against any of these referendums.

                      They’re saying that they’re retaking what was once theirs, that these people’s ancestors felt themselves to be Ukrainian and that the Russian Empire and the USSR coerced them into being Russian. There are many problems with this thesis. First, before the 20th century the Ukrainian/Little Russian identity was understood by most of its bearers to be a subset of the Russian identity. Second, the USSR promoted the Ukrainian language in its schools. Third, many parts of what’s now SE Ukraine were never culturally Ukrainian/Little Russian. They were “the wild field” sparsely populated by Tatars and then they became Russia, with settlers from all over Russia coming in. Some of these areas have no Ukrainian/Little Russian cultural past of any sort.

                    • I’ve always known how culturally imperialist West Ukrainian nationalism is anecdotally, but since we’re having this discussion, I decided to look up the details.

                      “From 2004 government banned Russian-language TV and radio programmes,[31] meaning Russian-language programmes need a Ukrainian translation or subtitles.[31]”

                      Wow.

                      “According to the laws on civil and administrative procedure enacted in Ukraine in 2005, all legal and court proceedings in Ukraine are to be conducted in Ukrainian. ”

                      Wow.

                      “in Kiev 6 out of 452 schools use Russian as their primary language of instruction,[25]”

                      Wow. For those who don’t know, Kiev is a Russian-speaking city. How could this result (6/452) have been achieved without coercion?

                    • For anyone who might come upon this discussion without knowing the Ukraine well, I would like to provide some context for the above quotes. The following map agrees with my anecdotally-derived understanding of the linguistic situation in the Ukraine pretty well:

                      http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/2009-copy.jpg

                      All “legal and court proceedings in the Ukraine” have to be conducted in a language that is not spoken by the majority of the population at home. Native language statistics paint a different picture from the one above but anecdotally a huge percentage of the Ukrainian population speaks Russian or Surzhik at home, but indicates Ukrainian as their native language for the purposes of political correctness. I think Yulia Tymoshenko is a good example of such a person.

                      I was born and raised in Moscow, but my mom’s parents were from Chernigov. I’ve been to that fine city and can report first hand that the language spoken on its streets and in its public transportion and stores is Russian with a Ukrainian accent. And that’s not even eastern Ukraine. That’s center. The language West Ukrainian nationalists are trying to ban from TV is essentially the main medium of communication in the country. I think that’s pretty remarkable.

                    • OK, I’m a language nerd and I love maps. This is fascinating:

                      http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhmlYNxCUAAyXxj.jpg:medium

                      That shows the languages used by Ukrainian users of the social network V Kontakte, which is similar to Facebook.

                    • AP has posted survey results of the Maidan movement before here. I’m not going to convince him nor he me, but for the benefit of anyone who might come upon this thread I would just like to explain these items the way I see them.

                      Brutal repression by the government: 69.6%

                      What West Ukrainians really meant there is that they wanted to culturally repress the Russian and Surzhik speaking majority more brutally, but that Yanukovich wasn’t letting them.

                      Remove Yanukovich from power: 53.5%

                      It was a fundamentally anti-democratic movement. A minority that could never win an honest election was trying to overthrow a government elected by the majority. Same thing with the earlier Orange “revolution”.

                      Desire to change Ukraine’s way of life: 49.9%

                      Since the protests were sponsored by the US State Department and Western NGOs, they could have never brought about a decrease in corruption in the Ukraine. And did not. It was reasonable to expect the putsch to usher in a more anti-Russian government but it was unreasonable to expect it to bring in a more honest government.

                      Desire to change the government in general: 39.1%

                      Same thing.

                      “Protect democracy”: 18.9%

                      They subverted democracy by a violent coup precisely because they knew that they could never win at the polls.

                      Danger of Ukraine joining the Customs Union and integrating with Russia: 16.9%

                      This would have helped the Ukraine economically and was only rejected because of Western pressure and Far West Ukrainian ethnic hatred of Russians.

                      Getting paid to protest: .3%

                      Yeah, like they were going to fess up to that.

                    • The first language map you linked to is a proven hoax. The clue is the alleged “Polish speaking” islands in the West, that don’t exist.

                      The other maps you posted are credible.

                      I agree that banning the Russian language in movies and on TV was gong too far. As for schools, such as in Kiev – this has broad popular support. Yes, most Russian-speaking Kievans want Ukrainization in the schools. They see it as patriotism. That is why Russian-speaking Kiev has voted overwhelmingly for political parties that support Ukrainization. In Russian-speaking Kiev, even Svoboda did better than any pro-Russian party. Think of Jews who spoke English or Yiddish or Polish at home, who supported the resurrection of Hebrew in Israel. That desccribed many of the Russian-speaking central Ukrainians.

                      “They subverted democracy by a violent coup precisely because they knew that they could never win at the polls.

                      Sorry, this is a silly statement. They won the popular vote in every recent election other than the 2010 presidential one. They were leading in the polls. They didn’t fear not winning in the polls, they feared Yanukovich subverting them.

    • If the stuff AP says about public opinion in the Ukraine is true, why are Ukrainian soldiers refusing to fight? Why have so many given their weapons to the insurgents and gone home? This is the least enthusiastic army I’ve ever heard of. Most of the murdering has so far been done by cowardly maidan animals against unarmed civilians. And these animals are a tiny percentage of the Ukrainian population. Even if they had the guts to fight armed men, they’d have surely been outnumbered by the insurgents in the Donbass. People think US soldiers were unenthusiastic about the Vietnam War. At least they didn’t give their weapons to the other side en masse. This campaign has beaten all records for lack of enthusiasm. I’m assuming that this is reflective of public opinion in the Ukraine.

      • “If the stuff AP says about public opinion in the Ukraine is true, why are Ukrainian soldiers refusing to fight? Why have so many given their weapons to the insurgents and gone home?

        Because soldiers aren’t interesting in shooting crowds of unarmed civilians with women in their midst. They’d rather give them their weapons than shoot them.

        Also, the polls show that there is strong opposition to the Kiev government in Donbas. The events there reflect that. There is much stronger support for Kiev in Odessa. And the events there, reflect that. And stronger support still in Dnipropetrovsk, which has predictably been very quiet.

        “Most of the murdering has so far been done by cowardly maidan animals against unarmed civilians.

        Until the Trade Union tragedy most of the murdering and violence was done by the pro-Russian or anti-government side. For example, a pro-Ukrainian rally on Donetsk was violently broken up. And note that the Trade Union mass deaths seem to have been unplanned – the building was set on fire by Molotov cocktails during a chaotic struggle with both sides engaged in violence (and let me emphasize again that the violence in Odessa started when the pro-Russians attacked a Ukrainian demonstration and killed a Ukrainian demonstrator first). Pro-Russian sources make it seem like totally peaceful Russian demonstrators were herded into the building and slaughtered. In contrast to these horrific chaotic deaths, the anti-government side has actually kidnapped and tortured to death maidan activists in the east:

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/23/us-ukraine-crisis-politician-video-idUSBREA3M0EX20140423

        Can you provide evidence of pro-government activists targeting, kidnapping, torturing and murdering pro-Russian ones, as has happened to pro-Ukrainian/pro-government ones?

        • Glossy says:

          “Because soldiers aren’t interesting in shooting crowds of unarmed civilians with women in their midst.”

          They haven’t been very interested in fighting Strelkov’s armed men either. I don’t know if you’re aware of the War Nerd. He talks about different countries’ and peoples’ approaches to war. The “no battles, only massacres” approach is most common in Africa. It also seems to be the Banderite pattern.

          From what I’ve read the original Banderites were mostly useless to Germans in battle. They were only good at massacres. Similarly, the most militant pro-Ukrainian elements in this conflict have so far distinguished themselves by attacking 1) Berkut officers who were not allowed to fight back and 2) the people from that tent city in Odessa who fled into the trade union building. In contrast, the guys fighting and refusing to fight pro-Russian armed insurgents (which is far, far more like a battle) seem to be regular recruits, i.e. not Banderites or political activists of any sort.

          To recap, there ARE people on the pro-Ukrainian side who exhibit a pattern of preferring massacres to battles. Fortunately there aren’t a lot of them. They’re not fighting much in Slavyansk because that would be too much like a battle for them.

          “Can you provide evidence of pro-government activists targeting, kidnapping, torturing and murdering pro-Russian ones, as has happened to pro-Ukrainian/pro-government ones?”

          Off the top of my head, Tsaryov was beaten up twice by Right Sector types. I saw both videos. In the second one the crowd was shouting “mochy ego” (“whack him”). Weeks ago I remember an incident in Kharkov when Right Sector guys took hostages in an apartment. There may have been fatalities there, but I’m at work now and don’t have time to look this up for certain. I may when I get home. I’d think there would be lots of incidents. Plus there’s all the targeting, kidnapping and torturing done by the SBU, etc. I’m thinking of Gubarev and others.

          • Glossy says:

            Just checked Twitter and what do you know, “@Hest_ebooks: Another pic of #Donetsk Defense Minister Khakimzyanov captured by loyalist paramilitary http://t.co/agp5gGeZeI #Ukraine”

            https://twitter.com/hest_ebooks/status/464072092141371394

            • So, nobody actually captured, tortured and murdered.

              • Huh? I just gave you an example. Didn’t even have to look for them. Just opened up my Twitter app and it jumped at me. Here’s more from the same case:

                http://alaverin.livejournal.com/624077.htm

                Again, I didn’t have to do any research. The guys you defend and justify tend to be proud of their sadism and boorishness. It’s like it was with Muzychko – why would he TAPE this? How dumb IS he? Very.

                • Neither one of the examples you gave were of people tortured and then murdered. Tsaryov was beaten up, the other guy was captured.

                  The link you posted didn’t work.

              • Oh, and what about those two Slavyansk insurgents who were fished out of a river dead, with cut-through stomachs and other signs of torture on Easter?

            • That man is no minister of Donetsk Republic. I was not able to verify who that was but it seems it was just a random guy Lyashko captured. Lyashko later complained that the police released the guy, I guess the cops found nothing they could pin on him.

          • ” He talks about different countries’ and peoples’ approaches to war. The “no battles, only massacres” approach is most common in Africa. It also seems to be the Banderite pattern.

            True, to a large extent. It’s also the Balkan pattern. And the pattern of peasant revolts everywhere.

    • Glossy says:

      “There was one from the Russian side claiming that they were trying to finish them off with bats, but it didn’t show that in the video”

      I learned about that through Twitter while it was happening from people who were watching live streams of the events. I didn’t see those streams themselves. Just looked through some of the video on YouTube. Here (0:20 to 0:50) some maidan animals are kicking a survivor with their legs while loudly proclaiming themselves to be Ukrainians:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n6xnC–5eU

      A bat touches the man, but not violently. This video was taken after nightfall, so it’s not one of the streams that people were commenting on live while the building was burning. The fire happened before nightfall.

      • The guy saying we are Ukrainians seems to also be saying “ne biy” (don’t hit him) – this is not totally clear. But very clearly, after that, another person speaking Ukrainian is saying “ne chipayte” – “don’t touch him!” at :40 seconds. Is he a maidan animal also, according to you?

        Other people are saying let’s go and save people, taking then to ambulances, etc. Maidan animals?

        • Glossy says:

          Nope, those are human beings. Only the ones kicking the man when he’s literally down and in acute distress are animals.

  2. Putin is a fecking coward and should be hanged in Red Square. That’s all.

    • Why are you hysterical? How is Putin a coward?

      • Putin is letting Kievan junta win.

        • Philip Owen says:

          Russia’s best strategy is to do nothing. Any initiative will be used by the US to justify sending in some kind of force to occupy ground (echoing Russia’s annexation of Crimea) and to put pressure for substantial sanctions on the EU. Relatively, Russia is ten times more important as a trading partner to the UK than it is to the USA.

        • There are reasons why invading Ukraine is not a great idea, and the often mentioned sanctions are not first on the list. I think the US will follow though with its policy of sanctions regardless of what Russia does vis-a-vis Ukraine. Further sanctions of some kind are inevitable, and they will find a reason to impose them in Washington.

          The real issue here is that only a minority of people in Ukraine desire Russian intervention at present. Quite frankly, in the South-East they barely know what they want, federalisation, independence, Russian irredentism. Not so long ago, observers even doubted the people there capable of staging a meaningful protest. Russia will not protect people like that, however bad their end might be.

          Imagine, Russians move their Black Sea fleet to Odessa, with infantry on board, occupy the city, and the locals will tell them they are not welcome. Or if not the locals, several thousand Right Sector members that seem to like that place very much. Right Sector with IEDs? Who needs that? It is not the job of Russia to save Odessa from hooligans. There are enough people in Odessa to show their displeasure, and they seem to be largely indifferent. They have tolerated this for years, so I assume they are used to it. But they are not used to Russian marine infantry patrolling the streets.

          So far, only parts of Donbas erupted in rebellion, and the opinion there is still not as decisive as it was in Crimea. Besides, Donbas holds much less strategic value to Russia than Crimea. Crimea is home of a Russian naval base, and taking Crimea makes Ukraine’s entry into NATO difficult, Russia does not gain much from occupying Donbas. Russia annex Donbass and can seize Ukraine’s industry which would need massive investment to restore to acceptable standards. And Russia also doesn’t particularly benefit from having a Transnistria like state on her border either.

          • Dimitar says:

            The Kiev putsch know that they’ve lost the Donbass forever. Why are they going after Slavyansk and Kramatrosk (relatively small towns) when they have Donetsk and Lugansk to deal with? It is a ploy to get Russia to intervene. That way, all IMF economic problems can be blamed on evil Moskali and the murderers in power will be absolved of all guilt.

            President Putin is being extremely cautious and I’m certain war plans have already been prepared. Ukraine, as an independent country, is no longer feasible. The irony is, austerity will plant the final bullet in the skull of this diseased empire. Why is Ukraine called an empire? It is currently in possession of vast territories of land which do not want to remain a part of it. It is imposing a single-ethnic construct on the populace and has no qualms about sending APCs against civilians who protest its unelected nature. Ukraine cannot exist when its leaders view its population through the prism of imperialism.

            To conclude, Ukraine dies either via military intervention (unlikely, unless Putin takes the bait) or through IMF austerity. In the second scenario, it will be the Ukrainians themselves who will dismantle this failed attempt of a nation-state.

            • Glossy says:

              From what I understand, the Ukrainian army is trying to go after Slavyansk because that’s where the main body of the armed, organized insurgents are. Why did so many insurgents set themselves up in Slavyansk? Probably because that town’s size corresponds well to the amount of force they can project. There aren’t enough of them to control a city like Donetsk fully. They just have some buildings there. There are enough of them though to fully control a town of Slavyansk’s size. Why, out of all the towns in the Donbass of that approximate size, did they choose Slavyansk? Could be because of its name. The US-backed junta is storming Slavic Town – that resonates.

              I have no idea what the future holds. Putin doesn’t want to intervene, but the Kiev government’s foreign sponsors will continue to bait him. He says he wants federalization, but that’s impossible if the other side is refusing. Could he take a page from the West’s playbook and organize a coup in Kiev that would bring in a government that would agree to federalization? Seems unlikely. More Russian volunteers will probably seep into southeastern Ukraine regardless of whether Putin approves of that or not. The US will probably provide better arms to the Ukrainian military. The more I think about the future there, the darker it look to me.

              • Slaviansk is an important junction apparently, from there roads lead to Lugansk and Donetsk. I think you are underrating control of the rebels over Donetsk. My information from the place is little different. Watch this report from Vice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEkafQZ5IAA

                Ultimately however, the Kiev regime is against the people, not against some armed insurgents.

                • Dimitar says:

                  Glossy and Leos,

                  Thank you for your replies. Slaviansk has a symbolic name indeed. This may explain why the MSM refers to the city as ‘Sloviansk’ (Galician spelling) as a means of denying it of its obvious Slavonic character.

                  For Russia’s sake, I hope intervention does not happen. Ukraine will end up gutting itself from the inside. Odessa has made clear that there was never any ambitions for “freedom from a police state, corruption and tyranny”.

                  • My understanding is that Slavyansk is in the centre of a transport network leading out to Kharkov, Luhansk and Donetsk, and that it’s also the centre of a machine parts-making industry for eastern Ukraine and those parts of Russia bordering the east.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovyansk

                    So strategy is to take out the pivot and everything that revolves around it or depends on it becomes weaker.

                    Also if you’re fighting on a number of fronts, you go for the smaller cities first which you know (or you believe you know) you can overcome. This gives you a psychological advantage over your enemies, knowing that they can’t defend their weakest points which also supply them with potential war materiel.

  3. johnUk says:

    I was actually going to post on the Guardian article suggesting it would be pretty easy to confirm whether the comment section of the Guardian was infiltrated by trolls by tracking the ISP address of the comment posted even if they were using a proxy but the comment section is closed.

  4. Philip Owen says:

    I don’t read the daily press much but I will say the BBC has not been so crass. The TV has reporters on the ground which is why I watch. Newspapers these days use wire services and press releases, insofaras there is a difference. Naturally the English language press releases tend to come from Kiev. Of course Russia’s Channel One will continue to cover this as top story rather than the BBC’s number 3/4 slot now. It is as important to Russia as Ireland is to the UK. And Russia is still building up war hysteria as policy. This massacre will polarize opinion, not sway it. Commitment in the various camps will intensify. The Donbass is the Europe’s last large working class proletarian community. Groupthink is the way when you all rely on the same coal mine or steel mill. The Donbass is already committed. No change there.

  5. Doug M. says:

    Is there some reason that posts here have suddenly stopped identifying the author? It’s useful information. I may disagree with Anatoly, but I trust him a lot more than that dope Patrick Armstrong. Armstrong regurgitates the straight Kremlin line; since I live in Eastern Europe, I can get that easily enough. Anatoly digs deeper, acknowledges contradicting narratives (even if only to rebut them), and tries to provide context and analysis.

    Anyway. Can we go back to putting authorial bylines on posts, please?

    many thanks,

    Doug M.

    • I assume you want the names so that you can identify the dopes, because otherwise you don’t know when the straight Kremlin line is being regurgitated.

    • noIhavenoauthorialbylinefuckyou says:

      I live in Eastern Europe, and I can use the magic abilities this gives me to deduce that you are an imbecile.

    • a_liberal says:

      Notice that Doug M. never has any serious heartburn with any comment that’s hostile to Russia or Putin.

  6. “It is a ploy to get Russia to intervene.”

    Russia has to wait for the local populations to wake up from their euro-dream and begin to see the reality of the Yukos style nightmare Proud Victoria and friends have planned for them.

  7. Philip Owen says:

    The Daily Telegraph coverage of the Odessa Massacre. It is not a pro Parliament rant.