Monday, February 03, 2014
What's it like to be clubbed unconscious by thugs?
I've been trying to follow events in Ukraine. Here's the most moving account I've seen of what the Euromaidan events mean and what it means for a Ukrainian. As author Tetyana Chornovil implores us, don't be indifferent to what is happening. (And here's the original post in Ukrainian.)
Most of what I have been reading is by Ukrainians. Yes, I also read things from American and western European sources, but the bulk of "western" analysis is crap. In another excellent piece economist Volodymyr Dubrovskiy analyzes the politics of the situation and how westerners are completely missing that Yanukovych is establishing a brutal dictatorship. (I should mention that I do not know Dubrovskiy, but he is with CASE Ukraine -- Center for Social and Economic Research. When I taught with EERC we had some loose connections with this institute; they do good work.)
I think this is really a life or death situation for Ukraine. The alleged amnesty means nothing, as Dubrovskiy points out. Protestors and activists cannot simply give up now and go home. If they do they'll eventually be hunted down and punished, extra-judicially. Yanukovych and his puppet master, Vladimir Putin, will run Ukraine as a brutal dictatorship on the Lukashenka/Stalin model. Ukraine will be a kleptocratic dictatorship if Yanukovych is not brought down... brought down, as in removed from power, because he really is the maniac Chornovil describes. There can't be any compromise agreement with such a maniac, because he'll renege and destroy you at first chance.
Finally, one more piece, by Anton Shekhovtsov, in which he documents the hand of Putin in disinformation campaigns being conducted in the West. It's interesting -- but not surprising -- that both left-wing and right-wing "experts" are involved. Note that one of Putin's mouthpieces is Daniel McAdams of the "Ron Paul Institute," and a frequent writer on Lew Rockwell's site. It's not at all surprising that these worms turned up when Shekhovtsov looked under a few rocks. Rockwell's site (and its sister site, AntiWar dot Com) have regularly condemned the Ukrainian protestors and supported Yanukovych and Putin. That's not news, and I won't link to their drivel.
Far worse, Doug Bandow of Cato wrote an utterly uniformed, unprincipled, and ultimately disgusting piece in Forbes on why there are no important issues for the west in Ukraine. In the course of his piece he managed to say that Russia is actually behaving very nicely to Ukraine; after all, didn't Putin offer Ukraine financial assistance? OK, we expect pro-Soviet drivel from pseudo-libertarians like Rockwell and Raimondo. But from a Cato Senior Fellow?
A number of my friends and former students are at Maidan Nezalezhnosti. They have put their lives on the line. They are fighting for freedom and for civilization. Before long they too might be learning what it is like to face a death squad. There's no point in my saying anything anything to the likes of Rockwell and his friends; given the number of appearances Comrade Lew makes on KGB-TV (RT News) it wouldn't shock me to learn that they were even on Putin's payroll. But to Doug Bandow and other "experts" who feign knowledge in an attempt to appear balanced and reasonable, and find yourselves upon the sidelines apologizing for despotism, listen to Tetyana Chornovil:
Indifferent people, please understand this faster and start to care... those of you who are indifferent should not stay away when the bells are ringing. When there is still time to stop the most horrible. Because it has not reached your turn yet, but it definitely will, even if you don’t care.