Ukraine’s Increasing Polarization and the Western Challenge

By Eugene Chausovsky – Geopolitical Weekly – Stratfor – March 11, 2014


Ukraine’s Increasing Polarization and the Western Challenge

Just days before the Ukrainian crisis broke out, I took an overnight train to Kiev from Sevastopol in Crimea. Three mechanics in their 30s on their way to jobs in Estonia shared my compartment. All ethnic Russians born and raised in Sevastopol, they have made the trip to the Baltic states for the past eight years for seasonal work at Baltic Sea shipyards. Our ride together, accompanied by obligatory rounds of vodka, presented the opportunity for an in-depth discussion of Ukraine’s political crisis. The ensuing conversation was perhaps more enlightening than talks of similar length with Ukrainian political, economic or security officials. 

My fellow passengers viewed the events at Independence Square in an overwhelmingly negative light. They considered the protesters camped out in Kiev’s central square terrorists, completely organized and financed by the United States and the European Union. They did not see the protesters as their fellow countrymen, and they supported then-President Viktor Yanukovich’s use of the Berkut security forces to crack down on them. In fact, they were shocked by the Berkut’s restraint, saying if it had been up to them, the protests would have been “cleaned up” from the outset. They added that while they usually looked forward to stopping over in Kiev during the long journey to the Baltics, this time they were ashamed of what was happening there and didn’t even want to set foot in the city. They also predicted that the situation in Ukraine would worsen before it improved.

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  • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 7:25 am

    Putin and Russia seem to have taken command/control of the situation…
    and at least no more killings or fighting has ensued. Maybe UN
    should have acted earlier to avoid the blood bath which followed.
    Post mortems are not solutions.
    Claims and counter claims (mistrust) of free and fair elections will now follow
    during and after elections….however the results are already predictable.
    Win win with for Putin and Russia. UN is obsolete ..past sell by date not fit for purpose….failed in Syria failed in Ukraine.

    • Abert  On 03/14/2014 at 2:18 am

      This is kind of an unfair evaluation of the U.N. What could the U.N. do? Like other posters said, what about the required 5 member vote for action.

      • de castro  On 03/14/2014 at 1:41 pm

        UN has lost its way….it needs re-thinking on what role it plays
        in conflicts today….decisive action not knee jerk reaction.
        ..or reaction with impunity.
        Syria says it all….ROW as spectators…..
        Even peace keepers were victims in that conflict.
        Russia and China not helping either.
        If anyone is to be responsible it is UN as bad peace brokers.

        My spin

  • Thinker  On 03/13/2014 at 10:44 am

    Do you know who the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council are?

  • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 12:22 pm

    Can guess ! But certainly USA UK RUSSIA CHINA CANADA.
    Will now Google…but hey in diplomacy/ espionage it doesn’t
    matter anymore….Snowden changed all that…they are all in cahoots…
    Sleep in same bed….it is supposed to be democratic …one member
    one vote…or is it not !

  • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 12:29 pm

    In 1991 Yeltsin the vodkaholic re-confirmed its membership.
    OK then who are the “five” permanent/original members ?

    • Thinker  On 03/13/2014 at 5:52 pm

      My point is that the UN can decide on no action anywhere without the approval of France, the UK, Russia, China and the USA so how could the UN intervene in Ukraine????? Sounds live a dog spinning around to bite its tail.

      • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 7:49 pm

        Unfortunately the UN replaced the League of Nations and was only
        formed post WW2… now has 193 members which include the
        “Five” original members….its newly elected leader has been in charge
        for the psst 7 years…..a lot has happened during his office which
        include invasion of IRAQ which was “unauthorised” …with total disregard
        for UN s authority….and many other misdemenas under his administration.
        Maybe UN has lost its credibility …obsolete…past sell by date..not fit for purpose….it needs to be reinvented…rebranded …replaced.

        Sorry I don’t have the answers….but I do point my finger in UN
        direction if WW3 is at all possible… won’t matter then.

  • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 12:30 pm

    They do not have the “veto” option on new membership either….

  • Abert  On 03/13/2014 at 2:18 pm

    That was a good article. It certainly throw some light on the issue. What is not clear is what is Ukraine worth to the West and the U.S.A. Is it seen as a marketplace to sell their products or are they trying to hinder Putin ambitious intention of expanding Russia. Ukraine has a big debt problem. All I hear of are the Russian pipelines carrying energy for which it collects a fee. I may be wrong but Russia itself seem like a dying country. Most of its earnings come from oil and gas but, except for Sports, nothing new is created there. Those who extract a few millions in Russia enjoy it in the West or the U.S. It make sense to let the country find its way peacefully to the grave yard.

  • de castro  On 03/13/2014 at 4:23 pm


  • Abert  On 03/14/2014 at 3:25 pm

    The article by Friedman on Russia put everything into historical perspective. The writer shows why Russia has a strong military even though its a relatively undeveloped economy. It needs a strong army to keep member units of the former Soviet Union in line. It crushes rebellious groups threatening the order. It also explain how the U.S. and the West were successful in peeling away bordering members of the union to weaken Russia.
    What is the reason the U.S. would want to weaken Russia. My theory: Russia is the Center of the Communist/Socialist ideology which has spread to many countries around the globe. In the southern hemisphere countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador have become thorns in the U.S. backyard. The U.S. historically has always seen the communist/socialist ideology as an enemy of Capitalism. Weaken the source of the ideology Russia, and you weaken the belief that its a viable system. If it fails in Russia, where it started in modern times, the perception would be that it is likely to fail elsewhere.
    Just my take.

  • de castro  On 03/14/2014 at 8:35 pm

    Ideological warfare then…for political creditability….
    Capitalism V communism.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/14/2014 at 8:38 pm

    Here is some food for thought:
    James Baker, the Bush family consigliere, will likely take the details to his grave, but the story goes that as Secretary of State in 1990, he made a promise to the Soviet leader, Gorbachev: Go along with German unification and we’ll never expand NATO into the former Soviet Bloc countries.
    Three successive presidents have broken that promise thanks to groups like the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO – founded by Lockheed executive Bruce Jackson, wouldn’t you know …

    In reviewing the string on this blog, I suggest the reader NOT ignore BRICS – [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] – these nations as a group have a huge part to play in this crisis. If they don’t break ranks, they support Russia – if they support Russia, in the instant case: Checkmate!!

    Here is an interesting take from Washington Monthly: ‘U.S. & Ukraine – Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep’ ..
    [I don’t see any need to restate the implications – draw your own conclusions]

  • Abert  On 03/14/2014 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks for introducing that article. I never thought of the BRICS countries. I can see China but I did not recall that Russia was also a member. Brazil sells a great deal of steel to China and in return get Chinese help with construction. As far as I know of the group only China has a significant trade (energy) with Russia. This is potentially a greater economic threat to the U.S. than China alone with Russia included. I have to do some reading ……the significance of Russian inclusion in BRICS.

    • Abert  On 03/15/2014 at 7:32 pm

      After covering that article it seems the West has peeled Russia to its skin and bone. Did not realize all those bordering Russian countries had found cover under the NATO umbrella. Putin is having a defensive struggle for survival. It also expose the lie of the U.S. conservative: Putin saw Obama as weak that’s why he made the move into Ukraine. The truth seem to be the guy feel trapped like a caged tiger and is fighting to get out.
      U.S. history shows we are a country that does not keep its word. Look at the result of those treatise with the American Indians in the old west. We agree on a settlement one day then the next day we chase them off the land for the ranchers and miners. We see currently how the Republicans are engage in rigging what was once acceptable voting right laws. Power and greed are the driving forces which dominate our way of life.
      I think with BRICS China is consolidating its global economic grip. It is much more powerful than the other members and is ensuring its supply of raw material, while rebuilding infrastructure in return. Modern wharves, hospitals in return for fishing rights, access to raw material and so on. I don’t think Russia intrusion into Ukraine will breakup BRICS.

  • de castro  On 03/15/2014 at 5:49 am

    May add…..EURO will replace USD as the energy traded currency.
    Most Chinese and Russian are buying up every bit of “real estate”
    in UK as I write …with London prices skyrocketing.
    UKPLC was owned by Arabs oil money…now its Russian and Chinese
    The pound used for “money laundering” as the “hedge” fund.
    Evaluate that one…..China controls/owns most of the natural resources
    of the planet….wonder why !

    • Abert  On 03/15/2014 at 9:13 pm

      EURO replacing the USD ? Anything is possible. But for the moment remove Germany and what is the European Union. Italy got nothing, France? Spain? Portugal? The pound is use for money laundering. What’s the difference between England and a prostitute? The prostitute stop screwing when she is dying. England is almost dead but she still selling. Not enough resources to back the EURO. Don’t know why they would prefer EURO to the DOLLAR. In the meantime we in Uncle Sam country having a picnic but don’t know it. The poor man could buy a whole roasted chicken at Walmart for $4.00. It might be the dead ones they pick up on the chicken house floor, but don’t matter. Get a bad chest cold in England and better get back to the US before you die. Don’t know what the future hold for the U.S. but as the Bible say eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you die. The bible don’t lie. Does it?

  • de castro  On 03/16/2014 at 1:53 am

    My friend…
    Europe has 27 member states..USA 51 OR 52 ..PUERTO RICO
    and or Hawaii included….using one currency….that ROW uses
    for trading……in olden times it was Gold..yellow stuff before
    IOU s were invented (paper money)
    Today some of that paper money can be used as TP
    ZIMBAWEE dollars such paper.
    China is worlds largest holder of USD in its central banks reserve.
    USA IOU s….
    China may soon hold as many EUROS as USD in reserve in its central bank.

    Central bank is different to local banks in its operation.
    One national other international….
    To raise money they sell IOU (bonds) in world markets
    at market rates for their currency….

    Exchange rates determine the value of your currency in world markets.

    for your info
    Pound sterling is the strongest currency in the market.
    £ = €1.20 $1.68 ….and so on….£ = 346.00 GUYD

    Google “exchange rates” to see rate of 190+ currencies of the planet.
    Legal tender internally… rates change in seconds not minutes
    hours or weeks….

    Just hope my explanation helps in understanding that the Market
    Dictates the value of a currency.

    UK is not the “street hooker”…she is the “Royal hooker” …sells to the
    highest bidder…ha ha !
    And even street hookers can have a career change or move upmarket.
    Before they die…

    As for that “wallmart chicken” check the label it may be “made in China”
    UK found chicken in its local supermarket recently that originated in
    China….loophole in market…we are told it is now “plugged” ..the leak.

    My bad chest cold takes me to californicating South Spain or north
    Africa nearer equator …don’t have to cross Atlantic….ha ha

    As for the bible …have to leave that for another days discussion.


    • Abert  On 03/16/2014 at 4:23 pm

      So you are doing some reading on banking. That’s very good. Now let me add some confusion. $1.00 U.S. = $50 Barbados = $200 GUY Base on the above reasoning the Bajun dollar is stronger than the GUY dollar. You taking me back over 30 years to ask this question. If you took $100US
      and bought a basket of goods and services in Barbados and you did the same with Guyana in which country would you get more with your 100 US dollars.
      Sure you know you will get more bang for your buck in Guyana. So what does stronger currency mean.
      So the Chinese holding a ton of US dollars. Ever heard it said if you owe the bank ten thousand the bank own you. When you owe the bank ten billion you own the bank. So China hold billions of US dollars. Uncle SAM decides to print billions of billions more of US Dollars (which our FED BANK can do but not so easily done in EURO zone) then pay China. The loan will be repaid in the same value of the dollar but is the value really the same. Why not.
      Don’t mess around with Uncle Sam. Remember our culture is money.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/16/2014 at 8:52 pm

    ha! ha! ha! ha! Before you two go down the road kerfuffling yourselves and everyone around this blog – one is ‘VALUE’ and the other is ‘WORTH’ … just saying:

  • de castro  On 03/16/2014 at 9:42 pm

    Life is simple…its people who complicate it….for their own benefit.
    Greed the driving force.

    There is a thought process summed up in this statement….

    We know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    Your clip delves into value /worth….touching on growth.
    Would love to read a “growth” thesis explanation of how it
    Is measured….GDP etal…
    As a realist I know what I can buy with my pound/euro/dollar
    in my travels …..depending where I visit therefore this is how I
    measure “value”…price depends on where I shop. Worth is what
    I am prepared to pay or how much I can afford to pay.

    Growth is what economist tend to disagree on…how to measure/maximise
    it… me a plan on the growth thesis and I will study comment…
    Am just a simple simon who met a pie man going to the fair….

    Thanks clip which will have to read again to digest/regurgitate it all.

    Salud PS see desperate response to abert

  • de castro  On 03/16/2014 at 10:16 pm

    If uncle Sam’s culture is money then it explains why Israel
    was created….to accommodate persecuted “rich” on the planet.
    Not wishing to offend my Jewish brothers/sisters religion does
    have some influence on how one should view wealth creation/accumulation
    “Historically”….astuteness with money and how it influences our
    physce another matter.
    To Uncle Sam money is “god” the father son but not holy ghost.

    On money printing…it is a form of “devaluation” through the back door.
    The more you print the less the demand “eventually”…
    UK and USA printing presses have been busy since 2008
    six years later things are on hold…recovery our salvation.
    Until the next bubble pops…a 7 to 10 year cycle.
    Get the timing of the next bubble burst right and you
    won’t have to print more TP….
    START AGAIN…..and who will be “stockpiling/hoarding”
    IOU s…ha ha ..and what currency…POUND EURO OR USD…
    before I decide which area for my next holiday….and it isn’t
    Zimbawee or Equador where uncle Sam s money is legal tender…

    A decade or two ago I got $2.40USD for my pound today its $1.67
    USA not on my list of places to visit…sorry brother Canada or Carribean
    Latin America comes first…
    Tourist international
    Kamtan…hope this does not spoil our”special relationship” politically.

    • Abert  On 03/17/2014 at 3:20 am

      My friend, telling me about banking is like telling an old con teacher how to play a con game. These days all the banks do is to squeeze money out your pocket with penalties and fees.
      This country is all about money. It don’t necessarily make you happy but you cannot be happy in America without it.
      An old Guyanese fellow I knew in New York is very sick . His wife died years back and he has no children. The money he had save ran out with medical bills. His roots in Guyana dried up so he cannot return home. I tried but could not get him into a nursing home. Now he is next to ending up on the streets. This place could be brutal if you become old without a few dollars in your pocket.
      Sorry my country is off your tourist list. I was just about to put you on my guest list for the next Guyana Ball for senior folks. Hope we get you next time.

  • Thinker  On 03/17/2014 at 1:19 am

    Ridiculous nonsense on the early origins of the State of Israel.

  • de castro  On 03/17/2014 at 1:48 am

    “Ridiculous nonsense” …alternative explanation please….
    How did the “state of Israel” originate …do you have an opinion.

    In as many words please…

    • Thinker  On 03/17/2014 at 7:16 am

      Read up on the Balfour Declaration for starters.

  • de castro  On 03/17/2014 at 9:28 am

    Hey brother…we live and learn but never stop learning…


  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/18/2014 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be Happy, so they know the value of things – NOT the price!

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