Per Anders Rudling | LUND | | ukraine
(Per Anders Rudling)

LUND german-foreign-policy.com interviewed Per Anders Rudling about the roots that gave rise to the Ukrainian far right within historical mythmaking, initiated by former Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. Rudling is an associate professor in the Department of History at Lund University. He has published extensively on nationalism, historical culture, and the instrumentalization of history in various East European countries, especially Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. more…

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - Many contradictions have appeared over the case of the captured German military observers in Slavyansk. Contrary to persisting misinformation, a leading OSCE functionary has confirmed that the military observers were not on an OSCE mission in the Ukraine, but rather on a German Bundeswehr mission at the request of the putsch regime in Kiev. Even before the incident in Slavyansk, the Bundeswehr considered the activities of this partisan unit - which officially claims to be acting on the authority of "the Vienna Document" arms control agreement - to be "unusual" and "unprecedented in this form." In fact, the Bundeswehr personnel were not only involved in a dangerous conflict; they were also engaged on the territory of a successor state of the Soviet Union. To maintain the military balance in Europe, the West had once promised Moscow not to station any military in these countries. Last week, one of the detained Germans had publicly declared that his delegation was exclusively monitoring Ukrainian security forces; their mission statement did not allow anything else. more…

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - A prominent German jurist has sharply criticized the German government's anti-Russian declarations concerning the Crimea Crisis. As Reinhard Merkel, a law professor at the University of Hamburg, explains, the allegation of Russia having "annexed" the Crimea or having made a "land grab" must be unambiguously refuted. These allegations are not only false, from the standpoint of international law; they are also extremely dangerous, because annexation usually engenders war as a response. Merkel explicitly advocates being very skeptical of "official government vocatives insisted on from Berlin to Washington" concerning the Crimea Crisis. Simultaneously, the situation in Ukraine has further escalated. The government that illegally seized power has begun a "lustration" ("purge"), with the objective of removing all supporters of the party of the overthrown President Yanukovych from public office. This is said to affect "thousands." At the same time, Ukrainian oligarchs, against whose methods of reign the earlier Maidan demonstrations had been protesting, are being given new posts. The ex-boxer Vitaly Klitschko's, "Made in Germany," UDAR party has chosen a billionaire as its presidential candidate, rather than its hopeless leader. Fascist forces are positioning themselves to move against the increasingly marginalized pro-Russian segments of the population. The Berlin-supported Maidan opposition had effectively used the fascists' potential for violence to overthrow Yanukovych. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - Last week's signing of the political part of the EU Association Agreement began Ukraine's transition into the German-European hegemonic system. That country, whose current government, which came to power through a putsch and lacks democratic legitimacy, will now have to align itself on EU standards at all levels. Besides adopting Brussels' system of norms, the country, first of all, will face its integration into the German-European foreign and military policy. Ukraine is already participating in EU Battle Groups and EU military missions. Western - including German - energy companies are seeking to take over the Ukrainian gas sector. This even includes the use of controversial "fracking" methods to weaken Russian influence on Kiev in the natural gas sector. As in Greece, the country will now face the glaring impoverishment of an "extreme austerity" policy, according to experts, which could "torpedo Ukraine's recent political reorientation." more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - The raids on TV editorial boards by parliamentarians in the new Ukrainian government, which Germany helped bring to power, is provoking massive protests. Tuesday evening, Svoboda Party MPs stormed the office of the acting President of the National Television Co. of Ukraine (NTU) and forced him to resign with physical blows and verbal insults. A similar incident took place the day before in Chernihiv. Dozens of journalists in Kiev and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media have harshly criticized these attacks, which are in line with Svoboda's electoral program promising to revoke the licenses of all media "spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda." Svoboda's party program calls also for making the day of the founding of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) a national holiday. The UPA had participated in the massacres of Jewish Ukrainians and tens of thousands of Poles - according to estimates, up to 100.000 people. The German Foreign Minister has lent this party international social respectability and German media is characterizing Svoboda not as "fascist," but merely as "nationalist." A leading German daily claims that the leader, Oleh Tiahnybok, has led his party "out of the right-wing quagmire." more…

The Free World

BERLIN | | russische-foederationukraine

BERLIN (Own report) - In light of the pending incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation, German politicians and media are stepping up their Russophobe agitation. The public's "understanding for Moscow's alleged motives" regarding the Crimea, remains "strikingly high," complains a leading German daily. This reflects the view that Western global aggressions are either "not better or even worse." In this context, a leading German newspaper, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung," has discontinued a Russian PR insert, which it had begun carrying following a lucrative European-Russian economic conference. Another leading publication, the weekly "Die Zeit", has "apologized" for having printed differentiated articles about the Ukraine. The author, a freelance journalist, had also earned his living, doing editorial work for the above-mentioned Russian PR insert. Last week, the leading German Green Party's candidate for the European parliamentary elections tabled a motion for a gag order on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who had criticized the EU's Ukrainian policy. This motion, to restrict his right of freedom of expression, has been ultimately rejected by the European parliament, however, not by her Party. more…

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - An German expert on Eastern Europe is raising strong criticism of Berlin's policy toward and German media coverage of Ukraine. Berlin and the EU have been systematically ignoring Russian cooperation proposals for years and massively provoking Moscow, observes Stefan Meister, a specialist on Russia at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Therefore, they are "to a large extent responsible" for the current crisis escalation. The conflict between the West and Russia has been generally viewed "too one-sided." "We are using (...) cold war images." While politics and media are preparing public opinion for further escalation, initial evidence of plans to destabilize the Crimea are coming to light, in case the peninsula's population votes in favor of joining Russia in Sunday's referendum. Militant Ukrainian fascists, for example, who have announced that they would "defend the fatherland to the end," have already begun their mobilization. Some of them had fought against the Russian military in Chechen militias. In addition, it is being claimed that Moscow may have to contend with attacks from Crimean Tatar Salafist Muslims. Some of these Salafists have gained combat experience in the Syrian War. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - The Estonian foreign minister expressed his suspicion that "somebody from the new coalition" in Kiev could have been behind the sniper shootings on the Maidan, according to a tapped telephone conversation, which has gone online. Sniper fire had preceded Berlin's massively promoted putsch in Kiev. In the telephone conversation, the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Paet, reported to the chief of EU foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton that a medical doctor in Kiev assumes that the mortal wounds to policemen and demonstrators had the same handwriting and could have come from the same assassins. The fact that Kiev's government has yet to initiate an investigation could arouse the suspicion that elements from its own ranks could have been responsible for those assassinations. Videos, in fact, have already documented that snipers had been shooting at both sides. The putschist government, incriminated by Paet's remarks and still enjoying strong German government support, is comprised also of rightwing extremist forces, for example several Svoboda Party politicians, as well as the commander of the armed militia on the Maidan and the leader of the paramilitary "Pravi Sektor" (Right Sektor). Both have been given high-level posts as Secretary and Deputy Secretary in the National Security and Defense Council of the Ukraine, under the personal leadership of the President. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukrainerussische-foederation

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - As the Crimean crisis escalates, the German Navy is dispatching one of its spy ships to the Mediterranean. The "Alster," which had already been carrying out espionage on the Syrian war zone, is reported to have sailed from its homeport. Whether it will pursue a route through the Mediterranean to the Black Sea remains the Bundeswehr's secret. With the Crimean conflict, the power struggle over the Ukraine is involving an area of utmost geostrategic importance to Moscow. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed on the Crimean Peninsula, which is considered "Russia's diving board into the Mediterranean," where Russia has increased activities since 2013, seeking to counterbalance the USA. It is already being speculated, that the pro-western putschist government could annul the accord on stationing the Black Sea Fleet, thereby depriving Russia of this strategic position. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow has had to watch how NATO has expanded its position in the Black Sea - with Bundeswehr participation and at the expense of Russia. Crimea's geostrategic importance explains why Germany - unlike in the case, for example, of Yugoslavia - is trying to prevent the peninsula's secession and a rapprochement with Russia by all means. more…

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN | | ukraineschweiz

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) - In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now - truthfully - being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts "difficult times" ahead: "It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales." In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements - unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU "second ring" would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. more…