Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Maidan to You

Victoria Nuland could have said it any better .... to Chevron.

This from the little lady who, almost single-handed, launched $6 billion dollars worth of the kind of 'assistance' that makes America great.

Some of America's 'investment' in EUkrainian freedom probably did do some good, somewhere, but if it's like any of the close to two trillion dollars the US has spent since 2001, nobodies know where it's all gone. The best places to look for the 'benefits' are in outback Montana and the ski zones of Utah, Cabo San Lucas, Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay and the Dalmatian coast. America has made some wealthy people filthy rich. Including a few in Ukraine

                 Montenegro Y.C.

A year ago the three-times elected President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich 'welched' on a potential deal with the EU that would have seen an infusion of a paltry $15 billion dollars to prop-up the 'zombie' of what used to be a fairly-healthy country. Along with the 'deal' were a number of 'austerity' measures designed to make sure Ukrainians serviced their debt, before they serviced themselves. If there hadn't been a Maidan about 'joining Europe', there would have been a Maidan about losing the pensions and trimmed government salaries.

At the same time, the Russians were offering $15 billion without the strings. But that was a stop-gap and an "insult to the nation", one that 'real' Ukrainians could not stomach. It promised nothing but more of the same.  A revolution was required. This time, one with imported flowers.

So as winter morphed into deep winter, the smoke rose from an increasingly violent Maidan until gunshots resulted in about 100 dead - the "heavenly Hundred' - Yanukovich 'fled' east and the 'appointed' government of old pols and Maidan 'leaders' took over - hailed by the USA and the west, as Ukraine's new voice of freedom. Within  days the 'twins' - Prime Minister Yatsenuk and President Turchynov - who had floated to the top - started ruling by decree.

                                    "America's choice - Yats and Turchy"

One of the first decrees blamed all the trouble on 'Russians', outlawed the language and effectively introduced a second-class citizenship. Crimea, largely-populated by potential second-class citizens,  voted to leave Ukraine and asked to be received into the Russian Federation. The 'interim' government blamed this on Russian troops rather than the Russian majority and when similar separatist sentiments 'caused' increasing violence in the eastern cities, the 'interim' government declared a 'war' on (Russian) terror and ordered a mobilization.

Historically the revolution was 'in danger' and the people needed to be 'leveed en masse' to defend 'liberte, egalite and fraternite'. The tanks rolled east in May.

Since then a tentative advance, in some places stopped by local citizens reprising a Chinese road-block,  turned into a 'drive-by shooting' experience when 'nationalist', and fascist, militias 'took the lead'. Much of the east was 'liberated' before the Kyiv forces closed-in and virtually encircled Slavyansk and other towns in the east. A period of shelling resulted in the retreat of eastern forces. Battles for regional airports at Lugansk, Slavyansk and Donetsk were fierce and, in the latter case, turned into in a long destructive slog. That one is 'on-going'.

By July the rebels had started fighting back, trapping some Ukrainian units against the Russian border and embarrassing them with some notable raids and strikes. At the end of August a 'counter-offensive' trapped a number of Kyiv forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas. Some surrendered, some were destroyed and some broke out to flee west. A new front was opened along the Azov littoral and Kyiv forces were driven back in a number of places, including around Mariuople.

The 'ceasefire' declared at the EU meeting in Wales, provided an opportunity for the Kyiv forces to withdraw for replenishment, the creation of newly-drafted units and the replacement of destroyed materials. The army was redeployed to the east by the end of October. To-date it is reported to be 'digging-in' to await the 'Russian offensive'. Like the related 'Russian invasion' one shouldn't hold one's breath. Shelling continues from both sides and small scale raids will probably dominate the winter months.

                     Xmas 'tankov' . Slav'Eukrainie!

Who knows what Springtime will bring but it's highly unlikely the Kyiv forces will improve during a winter at the front.

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