Friday, April 25, 2014

Digital Ukraine 300, Putinism -500

The scorecard keeps getting more and more lopsided. A few days ago, Russia, the EU, the US and Ukraine agreed to a peace deal calling for a cessation of violence in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine has scrupulously avoided bloodshed. For their part, Putinism's goons beat up and jailed Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky (later released, thank goodness), and then tortured and murdered a Horlivka councilman and a young Kiev student (also see this excellent LA Times article). To top it all off, a separatist or Spetznaz soldier blew up a Ukrainian helicopter and transport jet parked at the Kramatorsk airport.

I've said this before, but will say it again: by mid-April, the window for Putinism's Operation Gobble-Up-Ukraine-Like-Crimea has closed. Everything Putinism is doing -- and I mean literally everything -- is failing. This is true locally as well as geopolitically.

Every day, ordinary Ukrainians are becoming more organized, more persistent, and more determined to save their nation. After the above-mentioned murders, the authorities cleared out the separatist roadblocks around Sloviansk and blockaded the small town.

After the attack on the airfield, Ukraine's Antonov plane firm announced it was giving three refurbished planes to the army free of charge (Ukraine also has the capacity to produce its own tanks and combat helicopters, it should be noted). Independent media activists have now organized Ukraine's first English-language media channel, available here:

There is also a noticeable split observable in the local protest movements in Donetsk, wherein the citizens who were genuinely protesting against the long-standing indifference of the Kiev authorities to their plight (and they have every right to protest peacefully) have almost universally rejected separatism and violence, and are calling instead for regional reforms.

The less popular support Putinism's thugs have, the more extreme their tactics have become. Just hours ago, these thugs kidnapped eight members of the enlarged OSCE team charged with being impartial observers in eastern Ukraine, and are apparently holding them in a jail somewhere. According to the OSCE's twitter feed, the captives consist of 4 Germans, 1 Czech, 1 Danish, 1 Polish, and 1 Swedish citizen.

I really couldn't think of a better way to convince the citizens of Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Sweden -- all model democracies and core countries of the European Union -- that the siloviki are not serious about defusing the situation, and to impose heavy-duty sanctions on Russia's already ailing economy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Digital Ukraine 100, Putinism 0

Love and respect to the people of Ukraine. While Putin indulged in his latest version of talk show Francoism (Russia's siloviki-plutocrats have turned the Russian economy into a stagnant, lower middle-income semiperiphery masquerading as a Great Power), Ukrainians are slowly but surely putting their country back together.

This is not to downplay the threat of Putinism's crime spree. There is incontrovertible proof that Russian agents ambushed and murdered one of Ukraine's top anti-terror officers in the countryside near Slaviansk (you can listen to a tape recording of the thugs bragging about the murder here).

This is a despicable act of war by a sovereign nation against another sovereign nation.

Instead of imploding, Digital Ukraine has been slowly but surely rebooting the entire country. The citizens of Kharkov, Odessa and Kherson all rejected Putinism's Russo-imperialism from the very beginning. Now Luzhansk and Dnipropetrovsk have organized themselves via citizen mobilizations against Putinism's destabilization campaign. Former Ukrainian oligarchs have turned into patriotic, socially responsible entrepreneurs, legendary Ukrainian special forces officer Vasyl Krutov (the Ukrainian equivalent of Lt. Col. Campbell in Kojima's Metal Gear Solid, for those of you familiar with that franchise) has returned to organize Ukraine's counter-terrorism efforts, citizens who were protesting against the Yanukovych government are now staffing roadblocks to ensure public order, and ordinary Ukrainian soldiers have been acting with dignity and restraint. Most remarkable of all, town square meetings are now taking place in Luzhansk and Donetsk, as Ukrainian citizens are beginning to take their destiny into their own hands.

Putinism is now faced with a startling lack of support in all the major cities -- not even Donetsk, Yanokovych's old turf and the least happy with the Ukrainian revolution, wants anything to do with becoming a Russian province. Putinism's next tactic was to incite mayhem in small towns around the cities, most obviously Slaviansk and Mariupol. Typically, they used covert squads of infiltrators (mostly GRU and Spetznaz soldiers) who blend in with the local population. Once there, they armed, financed and commanded local separatists to wreak havoc. The aim was to create enough bloodshed and mayhem to justify further colonial adventurism.

Here, too, Putinism's tactical ability to create spectacular, short-term media stunts recoiled into complete and abject long-term failure. While the media was focused on Slaviansk, where armed separatists hijacked a few APCs, an attempt by a violent rent-a-mob to overrun a military base near Mariupol during the night of April 16 was defeated and a number of thugs were arrested. Krutov's team has been arresting Putinism's infil squads with precision and efficiency, and with an absolute minimum loss of life.

We'll see what Putinism's next move is, but time is running out on their infil tactics. The longer this goes on, the more of their agents will be caught and exposed, the more thuggish their infil tactics will have to become, and the angrier they will make ordinary Ukrainians who, more than anything else, just want Russia to leave them the &%* alone.

EDIT: The above was posted a couple hours before a Geneva conference between Russia, Ukraine, the US and EU. The result was a complete and total Ukrainian victory. Putinism is calling off its attack dogs, all peaceful demonstrators will be reprieved, and Ukraine will be left alone to solve its own problems. My best guess: in just 48 hours, Krutov's capable team had completely demolished the spy network Putinism had spent fourteen years constructing in Ukraine, and was about to go public with embarrassing details on dozens of captured GRU agents. That would have triggered massive sanctions on Russia's already shaky economy.

Thank goodness it's all over. Now Ukraine can start to fix its problems, and Russia's citizens can start to press for genuine democratic change.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Hours Are Now Minutes...

A Wiktionary entry from 2024 I really, really don't want to see:

"Plutinism". [noun]. The class dictatorship of gangster plutocrats who monopolize a nation-state's wealth, politics and broadcast media, and then invent bogus wars to safeguard their looting spree. First applied by the US plutocrats responsible for the 2003-2011 Iraqicide, later copied by the Russian plutocrats responsible for the Ukrainocide. Also see: failed empires, Russian collapse of 2019, US bankruptcy of 2022.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

War, Ever Closer

From the phantom state, to the phantom empire, to the phantom annexation of Crimea -- and now comes Putinism's phantom colonial war on Ukraine: five or six thousand rent-a-thugs, supplemented by a thousand or so GRU and Spetznaz with state-of-the-art Russian weaponry, have occupied a few buildings in eastern Ukraine, mostly small towns with deeply corrupt police forces. In response, the interim government is mobilizing its army in preparation for a crackdown, albeit with a promise of amnesty for protesters who lay down their arms (there are some, though they are a minority compared to the rent-a-thugs).

More importantly, the Euromaidan is now spreading to the eastern cities. Large pro-Ukraine protests are starting to occur in the east for the first time ever, and will start to snowball, now that Putinism's thugs are resorting to open violence and murder.

I've said this before, but will say it again: Crimea is the only annexation Russia will ever get away. Eastern Ukraine is not Crimea. The region has been majority ethnically Ukrainian for centuries, which means the only way Russian could annex these regions is through open military invasion and subsequent ethnic genocide. Ukraine would resist with a devastating guerilla war, supplemented by massive EU military aid and a world economic blockade on Russia.

It's your move, Putin. You can keep your ill-gotten gains, or you can start a war which will destroy your economy, your Presidency, and eventually the entire Russian Federation -- because China is licking its chops on your doorstep, just waiting for a chance to roll over Siberia. If you truly want to be Russia's Second Napoleon, Li Xinping will be your Bismarck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The 18th Brumaire of Vladimir Putin

Chebu and the Bears Say: Hands Off Ukraine!

The "18th Brumaire of Vladimir Putin" is up in PDF and HTML format. There goes any chance I had of ever visiting Russia again. I've made my peace with that. Happy commoning!