Political talk from outside of the UK
A mass grave found in Slavyansk a town that was controlled by the rebels

http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/v ... k.cnn.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There was also this.
(Donetsk) – Unguided Grad rockets launched apparently by Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias have killed at least 16 civilians and wounded many more in insurgent-controlled areas of Donetsk and its suburbs in at least four attacks between July 12 and 21, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today.

The use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes.
Both Ukrainian government and insurgent forces have recently used Grad rockets. Although Ukrainian government officials and the press service of the National Guard have denied using Grad rockets in Donetsk, a Human Rights Watch investigation on the ground strongly indicates that Ukrainian government forces were responsible for the attacks that occurred between July 12 and 21.

The four attacks took place close to the front line between insurgent and government forces. Impact craters on the ground and on buildings investigated by Human Rights Watch were characteristic of rocket attacks, not shelling. In all four cases, the angle and shape of the craters, and the fact that they were on the side of buildings facing the front line, strongly suggests that the rockets came from the direction of Ukrainian government forces or pro-Kiev armed groups. The attacks’ proximity to the front line also makes it unlikely, and in some cases impossible, that insurgent forces were responsible for the attacks. In two of the attacks, rockets hit on or near insurgent bases and checkpoints at the same time as they hit residential areas, indicating government forces were responsible.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/ukra ... -civilians" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, Poroshenko's coalition collapsed the other day - Klitschko's right-liberal UDAR and the neo-fascists in Svoboda pulled out.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/ ... 4U20140724" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There's also this

http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/07/26/p ... -smash-it/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This is the enemy we must fight
There isn't a side worth taking here for anyone of a vaguely progressive political persuasion. On the one hand you have a hard-right neoliberal movement with a well-organised fascist fringe, and on the other you have a bunch of Stalinoid throwbacks (also with a distinct fascist fringe). Neither EU/IMF shock therapy nor pro-Russian autocracy offer Ukrainian workers anything but immiseration, continued corruption and repression. Christ, they're not even going to get freedom of movement to western Europe, given the extreme anti-immigration mood currently prevailing here. The long-term outlook for Ukraine is very bleak regardless of which side wins out.

Meanwhile, here's Volodymyr Ishchenko on Kiev's decision to ban the Ukrainian Communist Party:

" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Ukrainian parliament has supported a proposal of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to introduce a temporary war tax of 1.5 percent on the wage fund until Jan. 1, 2015, Batkivschyna parliamentary faction leader Serhiy Sobolev said at a briefing on Thursday, July 31.
http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine ... 58786.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

To put this into some perspective, Ukraine's oligarchs control 80% of the country's GDP and yet parliament has chosen to tax ordinary workers to fund its military campaign in the east. That really says a lot about who the post-Maidan political class represents - the same people as the pre-Maidan political class. Much more of this and it won't take long before the next round of protest flares up in the west.
new puritan wrote:Much more of this and it won't take long before the next round of protest flares up in the west.
And maybe this time they'll be thinking that they should abandon the east to Russia and sort out that which can be sorted. Maybe.
Oh right so shall we cede the Baltic states to Russia as well, how about Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the rest of the former Soviet Republics.
Killer Whale wrote:
new puritan wrote:Much more of this and it won't take long before the next round of protest flares up in the west.
And maybe this time they'll be thinking that they should abandon the east to Russia and sort out that which can be sorted. Maybe.
As mentioned upthread I don't think Putin actually wants to absorb the eastern provinces into Russia itself - I think it's more likely he wants to leave them as part of the Ukrainian state to weaken it and make it harder for Kiev to reorientate itself towards the EU and NATO. But obviously, losing those provinces would be a hammer blow to the credibility of the new government in Kiev so they can't be seen to back down. But Ukraine is in for a hell of a time over the next few years as IMF austerity kicks in - there's potential for massive social unrest there. And given that there is no serious left in Ukrainian politics (the legacy of Stalinism, in large part) and that Ukrainian fascists are already very well organised, it's hard to be at all positive about Ukraine's future prospects.
In-depth piece about the economic and political mire Kiev finds itself in - and the swingeing cuts it's about to make.
The economic decline continues

Prime Minister Yatseniuk predicts that GDP will fall by 6% in 2014, inflation will go up by 19.5% and nominal wages will fall by 6.3%. The rate of unemployment according to the IMF will be between 10 and 15% by year end. These are conservative estimates, but they still represent a further serious decline from an already grave economic position for the great majority of Ukrainian workers, small farmers, students and pensioners. The hryvnia has already devalued by 47% against the US dollar since the start of 2014 ($1=12.2UAH). The combined impact of devaluation and inflation since the beginning of this year has cut the real income of workers by 50% and of middle class professionals by 30%.

Growth of a siege mentality

War inhibits protest against state policies: “All dissent is treason when the castle is under siege” (St Ignatius Loyola) So what will be the outlet for the inevitable social tensions and grievances generated by the economic crisis? Protest and political struggle or more war? Can there be both war and peace in Ukrainian society at the same time? Not for long. One will inevitably overwhelm the other. The “peaceful” area of Ukraine is increasingly on a war footing that will eventually make a democratic political process there unsustainable.
http://observerukraine.net/2014/08/05/e ... ating-war/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Telegraph on Ukraine's neo-Nazi Azov battalion.
As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi - into the front of the battle.

The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.
Interestingly, many of the men in the battalion are Russians from eastern Ukraine who wear masks because they fear their relatives in rebel-controlled areas could be persecuted if their identities are revealed.

Phantom said he was such a Russian but that he was opposed to Moscow supporting “terrorists” in his homeland: “I volunteered and all I demanded was a gun and the possibility to defend my country.”

Asked about his Nazi sympathies, he said: “After the First World World War, Germany was a total mess and Hitler rebuilt it: he built houses and roads, put in telephone lines, and created jobs. I respect that.” Homosexuality is a mental illness and the scale of the Holocaust “is a big question”, he added.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... tists.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There are, to be fair, fascists on the other side as well - again, neither side is worth supporting for anyone who considers themselves a serious progressive of whatever sort. But this is seriously disturbing.
Can't vouch for the source but if this is genuine, Right Sector is threatening to march on Kiev unless its prisoners are released and its seized weapons returned by Poroshenko.

http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/08/17/l ... -movement/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
While Putin is clearly not driven by genuinely humanitarian motives rather than simple geostrategic imperatives - the same as the US/EU/NATO/IMF - it's fairly clear that Kiev is trying to starve the rebel enclaves in Donetsk and Luhansk into submission by cutting off supplies. So even if the Russian convoy did consist of nothing more than humanitarian aid, Kiev wouldn't welcome it. Worth noting also that the US is trying portray itself as the saviour of the Yazidis - surrounded and facing starvation - while at the same time facilitating Kiev's, er, surrounding and starvation of Russian holdouts in the eastern provinces. But this is how markets are sometimes forced open I guess.

I have to wonder what the EU and US thought they were getting into when they helped drive the Kremlin client Yanukovich out of office. What sort of response were they expecting from Putin? Did they really think it would be quick and easy to draw Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence?
The Yazidis are under threat from a bunch of genocidal medivalist fascists. I think there is a clear difference between them and the Russian backed rebels.
Littlejohn's brain wrote:The Yazidis are under threat from a bunch of genocidal medivalist fascists. I think there is a clear difference between them and the Russian backed rebels.
There are actual neo-Nazis fighting on Kiev's behalf.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... tists.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The far right is also active among the rebel forces, certainly. Both our neoliberal ruling class and Putin's Russian plutocracy are amoral. Both are primarily concerned with money, resources and power, even though they might try to rationalise their actions in humanitarian terms. The US and its lackeys enabled the Egyptian junta to murder more than 1,000 protesters (the vast majority of them unarmed, as has since been established) as well as facilitating yet another of Israel's periodic killing sprees in Gaza. When it comes to the crunch these people are not that concerned about civil liberties and liberal democracy.
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Christopher Chope


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