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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Will Russia Do?

Things are getting dicey in the Ukraine. The Russian perspective, as set out in an article at Pravda, is:
... for Putin it is obvious that the West wants to swallow Ukraine up whole, leaving Russia without a buffer state against the military-political union of the EU and the USA. Putin called the interference of European officials in the Ukrainian conflict "not a very good thing," referring to the specific character of relations between Russia and Ukraine."
The EU couldn't even go it alone against Libya, so I'm not sure why Russia fears it so. Nevertheless, and with good reason, Russia has a strong historical fear of invasion.

The protests are having some results. The Washington Post indicates that the Ukrainian government has made some concessions to protesters:
Ukraine’s opposition movement gained ground Tuesday in its efforts to remake the country, with the resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet and the repeal of harsh new laws restricting freedom of speech and assembly.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, invalidated the anti-demonstration laws hours after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned. Passage of the legislation on Jan. 16 had triggered street clashes in the capital, Kiev, after months of protests against government corruption and the closer ties to Russia favored by President Viktor Yanukovych.

The unraveling of the government has the potential to become a severe blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who strove to prop up Yanukovych and keep Ukraine from drawing closer to the West.

Parliament passed an amnesty bill Tuesday that would drop criminal liability for protesters who agree to leave the government buildings they have occupied. But the opposition objected to the terms, and the bill is to be reconsidered Wednesday. Vacating public buildings has been a key government demand, but Oleh Tiahnybok, head of the opposition Svoboda party, said protesters would remain in the buildings until Yanukovych’s Party of Regions leaves the government.
 However, there are reports that Russian troops have been secretly entering the Ukraine. For instance, Intellihub has the following:
As the protests and uprisings in Ukraine continue to grow, the government is outsourcing troops from Russia to help put down protesters.

“There is information that at 1400 Russian Spetznaz troops were disembarking at [Kyiv local airports] Boryspil and Zhulyany dressed in civilian clothing and that they were going to dress in [Ukrainian riot plice] Berkut uniforms and proceed to the Madan” Rada deputy Andriy Parybiy, of the Batkivshchyna Party said at a recent press conference.[1]

Government agents in Ukraine have had trouble contending with the the large numbers of protesters and have been resorting to the most brutal tactics in some cases. As we reported earlier this week protesters have been kidnapped from the hospital and taken into the woods where they are tortured and executed.[2]
 As I wrote recently, this could be 1956 Hungary all over again.

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