08 Nov 2018
The democratic revolution that ensued in Ukraine in 2014 was in fact a revolution against democracy, unleashing the dogs of thuggery and gangsterism.
Someone who made the mistake of falling foul of those with a vested interest in the corruption that is a hallmark of today’s Ukraine was Katerina Gandzyuk. The anti-police corruption activist was murdered in an acid attack in Kherson, southern Ukraine. Before succumbing to her injuries, Gandzyuk alleged that “corrupt” high ranking police officers might have been behind the attack, though as yet no one has been prosecuted in connection with it. Prominent members of the far-right group Right Sector are suspected however, begging the question of where the far-right ends and the police begin?
The treatment of Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky sheds even more light on Ukraine’s failed experiment in pro-Western democracy. The head of the Russian RIA Novosti news bureau in Ukraine, Vyshinsky was arrested in May on treason charges by Ukrainian authorities and has been held in detention ever since. Even in the face of a call for the journalist’s release by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a Ukrainian court has ruled that Vyshinsky’s detention be extended until the end of December.
When things reach the stage that even the neocons over at the Atlantic Council are no longer able to put lipstick on the pig of the far-right swamp that is Ukraine in 2018, rock bottom has surely been reached.
“Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitions, LGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”
“International human rights groups have sounded the alarm. After the March 8 attacks, Amnesty International warned, “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.”
It all sounds so very Munich 1923, when a young Adolf Hitler and his Nazi gang of fascist thugs were shooting up beer halls on the way to turning Germany into a vast Dodge City of far-right violence, intimidation, and criminality.
Where now are Victoria Nuland, Catherine Ashton, not to mention the various other Western politicians and leaders who descended on Maidan Square in Kiev during the unrest at the start of 2014, lending fulsome support to the ‘democratic revolution’ the world was assured was underway? And what now of the boast of the recently departed John McCain, who told the protesters that “Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better.”
Yes, where now and what now?
Because let us here not beat around the proverbial bush. The likes of Nuland, Ashton, McCain et al., those who promised the Ukrainian people a land of milk and honey if they would only turn their faces West, never cared one whit for the country or its people. To them, both were and remain a pawn in the game of international power politics, used as a wedge against Russia in the cause not of democracy, peace, and prosperity, but instead of containment.
In truth and in sum, Jeffersonian democracy was promised to Ukraine and fascism has been delivered. Twas ever thus and ever thus shall be.
And just in case anyone makes the mistake of placing Ukraine in the box marked ‘well meaning mistake’, the fate of the former Yugoslavia, whose fate was sealed according to the same hegemonic script, immediately renders nugatory this line of thinking.
Economic dislocation and recession, exacerbated by the West, made Yugoslavia vulnerable to the very ethnic tensions and discord that descended upon it in the 1990s, turning the country and society in on itself to thus pave the way for Western intervention on the pretext and basis of humanitarianism, the new imperialism.
Ukraine in 2014 followed much the same pattern – apart, that is, from one key difference. It is that much to the chagrin of Western neocons the Russia of 2014 and the Russia of the 1990s described two entirely different entities: the former willing and able to draw a line over which no pasaran (they shall not pass), while the latter was and could not.
Oh, by the way, did I happen to mention corruption? Well, in that case, allow me to share with you the conclusions drawn by the good folks over at the Gan Business Anti-Corruption Portal on post-Maidan Ukraine, set out in a 2017 report:
“Companies face significant risks when dealing with the Ukrainian police. More than half of Ukrainians consider the police to be corrupt. The police have often been able to act with impunity. The United Human Rights mission in Ukraine has highlighted frequent impunity for law enforcement abuses, which they attribute to pressure on the judiciary, as well as the inability and unwillingness of the country’s prosecutors to investigate the abuses…Companies do not trust the police to uphold law and order.”
So there you have it: Ukraine, darling of Western neocons and ideologues in 2014, is in 2018 a place where fascism is embraced and the rule of law and human rights scorned. A society corroded from top to bottom by corruption, it is redolent of Al Capone’s Chicago in the late 1920s and early 1930s, functioning behind an increasingly thin blanket of democracy.
Ukraine marks yet another dystopia cooked up in the laboratory of Western democracy, testament to the unyielding search for meaning in destruction that defines its works.
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.