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Issue #1636      April 30, 2014

Culture & Life

Economic mischief-making

The Ukraine is a major strategic prize in the hotted-up Cold War being waged against Russia and China by the US and its main European capitalist allies. Tactics in this war include the now very familiar one of fomenting “civil unrest” with the aid of disinformation campaigns by pro-imperialist mass media (much of it beamed in from abroad), promises of future power – coupled with outright bribes to persuade “opposition” politicians to get on board, and the organising and fostering of fascist youth groups willing – even eager – to physically assault either left wingers or police as directed (they don’t mind which, so long as they get to have a stoush with somebody).

A pro-communist rally in the Ukraine.

The tactics are not new. They have been used since the 1930s at least. But the power of monopoly media interests is much greater today, and a monolithic media front presents most of the world with only one view of what is happening – a pro-Western, anti-Russian view that seeks to portray the fascists as patriots standing up for their country’s independence in the face of Russian attempts to take it over.

The Ukraine has been the most recent major battleground in this Cold War struggle (Syria is the most recent active, hot war struggle). Russia has offered Ukraine very favourable financial aid, including an offer to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and has already provided the $3 billion first tranche. Yuri Solozobov, International Projects Director at the National Strategy Institute in Moscow, says: “Compare that with the €150 million pledged by the European Union and conditioned by Ukraine’s ‘good conduct’ and commitment to fulfil all the recommendations of the IMF.

“That means that the Ukrainian economy will be destroyed as happened in Russia in the 1990s. Also the new government [would have to] be politically loyal to the West ... The West is offering colonisation without integration. Russia is offering Ukraine a major economic development project, industrial renewal. We are offering industrial cooperation, intensive investments in the energy sector, aerospace branch and logistics modernisation,” Solozobov declared.

No wonder the Ukrainian government decided to accept the Russian offer and decline the EU deal. The EU “deal” would have been so one sided that one must question the motives of the protesters (who incidentally seem to be able to stay in the city centre more or less permanently without risking their jobs – who is actually paying them?).

The protest organisers have been assiduously playing the anti-Russian card, playing on the remnants of bourgeois Ukrainian nationalism. The Nazis tried that card when the Ukraine was under German occupation in WW2, but with only limited success. Twenty years earlier, the British and the French interventionists encouraged the blue-coated Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists to support the “Whites” in the Russian Civil War as they tried unsuccessfully to put down the Revolution. The Ukrainian workers and peasants backed the Revolution, just as they backed the Soviet government and the Red Army in WW2.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the organised unrest in the Ukraine has been the open reliance on fascist gangs. Terrorising your opponents is a valuable aid if your aim is to “win the streets” from the left forces, but the open parade of fascist groups, emblems, salutes and slogans shows just how morally and politically bankrupt the “opposition” really is.

The “spontaneous” protests against the government’s decision have clearly been planned well ahead and are extremely well organised. As well as pro-fascist and anti-Russian groups, the “protesters” almost certainly include a large number of US and German intelligence agents and even special-forces personnel trained in just this kind of “false flag” civil disturbance operation.

Never hesitant about interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, the EU and the USA have sent a veritable “task force” of politicians and economic advisers to the Ukraine to bolster the diplomatic and financial pressure being put on the country’s government to sign an agreement with the EU. The capitalist media is presenting agreement with the EU as the country’s salvation, but in fact the EU is offering the Ukraine only a subsidiary, inconsequential status. Most existing EU member states are loath to add the burden of supporting an economically struggling Ukraine to the EU’s other economic woes.

And the EU does have economic problems. Its two main economic powerhouses – Germany and France – are experiencing “industrial and financial downturns”. And the smaller economies in the EU, countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland are in the grip of IMF-imposed austerity programs as unemployment explodes, mortgage repayments falter, small business failures multiply and industries decline.

European imperialism may want to take over or at least dominate the Ukraine (as it earlier did with the Balkans), but it is still capitalist, and subject to the problems inherent in capitalism: cyclical crises, unplanned chaotic and unsustainable growth leading to overproduction, layoffs and recession, housing bubbles and mass evictions, homelessness and mass unemployment.

Alexei Vlasov, Executive Director of the Moscow-based North-South think tank told Voice Of Russia: “I am not sure Europe is that rich today to be able to subsidise Ukraine on the least favourable terms.” Some seem to think the money will come from the USA, but the State Department has made it clear that any finance from that quarter will be tied to compliance with IMF directives that have already ruined the economies of several other European countries. “We are consulting with the EU … and other partners about support Ukraine may need after a new technical government is formed as the country gets back on the path to economic health through the IMF”, said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

A “new technical government” sounds suspiciously like an appointed rather than an elected one.

Ironically, the demonstrators in the centre of Kiev are clamouring to be allowed to participate more fully in this economic chaos. They should be careful, for if they’re not they may get their wish.

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