Reading reports in the American media, that once revered institution which is now nothing more than a struggling source of poorly constructed propaganda, one would think that the Ukraine is in the midst of a pro-European revolution. According to their fairy tale, former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was a pro-Moscow tool, ousted only after he refused to let his pro-European citizenry join the EU. Protestors, they tell us, organized in an enlightened, democratic spirit, to run the murderous tyrant out of the country. Following this narrative, Moscow’s power in Ukraine has been significantly curtailed. The protestors expressed the will of the people and are now attempting to establish a pro-western, pro-EU government in Ukraine.
The American public, with their post-Bush distaste for active intervention, have tended to regard this as another victory in the Cold War that has abruptly gone hot. The reason for the current escalation in tensions can be explained in the context of a liberal, both American and European, push for LGBT rights, which has pitted sympathetic western media against the Kremlin. Moscow, true to its Orthodox heritage, remains dedicated to defending the Christian conception of marriage – that of one man and one woman. Putin’s contempt for the elitist American opinion of undefined sexuality and family was exemplified his recent disparaging comments of “so-called tolerance – genderless and infertile.”
But what if none of that is right? More than politics, tensions between Russia and Ukraine have long revolved around the issue of natural gas infrastructure. The Soviet Union had heavily invested in pipelines in Ukraine, vital to Gazprom’s distribution network to Western Europe. Moreover, an analysis of the leading opposition figures, their backgrounds, and the composition and demands of the protestors calls into question the veracity of the conventional understanding. Finally, several actions of former president Yanukovych suggest that he was not such a steadfast ally of Moscow, but an ally of convenience, more interested in personal profit than ideological allegiance.
It is almost certainly true that no single party has a handle on the events now gripping Ukraine and threatening to destabilize Europe. Yet if certain underreported details are better understood, it becomes clear that one likely outcome in Ukraine may ultimately benefit Aleksandr Dugin. Dugin is a professor of geopolitics at Moscow State University and confidant of Patriarch Kirill. At the very least, it should be fully expected that Dugin will attempt to harness the Nationalist coup against a former ally, Yanukovych, a residual Communist who apparently outlived his usefulness to Moscow.
Before an analysis of current affairs, a cursory review of two factions within Russian politics is instructive to understand the internal power struggle in the Ukraine. The Bolshevik Revolution ended Czarist rule in Russia. Shortly thereafter, the Communists established the Cheka, or Soviet secret police. In 1929, the Cheka was dissolved and replaced by the State Police Directorate, or GPU. The GPU and its successor organizations (e.g., NKVD) went on to become the KGB. As evidenced by the number of nominal changes, the Soviet secret police organizations were characterized by bureaucratic instability.
By contrast, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), Russia’s military intelligence organization, has been notably stable. Founded in 1918 by Leon Trotsky, from the beginning it operated outside the control of the Soviet (i.e. Communist) politburo. As a result, the GRU, in contrast to the KGB, was not as strictly ideologically Communist. In fact, having its origins in the Czar’s bodyguard, the GRU is known to be overtly sympathetic to the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian intelligence has long operated with a belief in parallelism: that is, intelligence must be independently confirmed from two different sources. The GRU and the KGB provided this important failsafe measure.
Americans are less familiar with the GRU than the fabled KGB of the Cold War, but in the last century it has provided some popular references with which the public can identify. Whittaker Chambers, the famous spy who turned himself in to American authorities, leading to the prosecution of New Dealer Alger Hiss, was an agent of the GRU. Also operating elite troop divisions known as Spetsnaz GRU, the defeat of 200 Spetsnaz by mujahedeen in Afghanistan is what Osama bin Laden a legend among jihadis. Today the GRU employs tens of thousands in military and civilian roles, including spies, special ops, technical specialists, scientists, and engineers.
Counterbalancing the decline of the Communists since 1991 has been the rise of the Nationalists. Arguably the most prominent Russian Nationalist alive today, and the major theorist among the nationalists, is Aleksandr Dugin. An outspoken defender of fascism, Dugin’s father was a Colonel-General in the GRU. The flag of Dugin’s National Bolshevik Party is essentially the Nazi flag, except that the swastika is replaced by the hammer and sickle.
Dugin’s National Bolshevik Flag – look familiar?
Which brings us back to Ukraine, where protesters, among them largely Nationalists, have just overthrown a former Communist.
Was Yanukovych, his Party of Regions the successor party to the Communist Party in Ukraine, such a staunch ally of Russia? Consider the following critical details, so ignored because they do not fit the propagandistic narrative:
1. In November, Yanukovych signed a $350 million deal with the American oil company Chevron, which could ultimately be worth $10 billion. He did this against the wishes of Russia, who would have preferred to keep American influence within the country to a minimum.
2. Under Yanukovych, Ukraine had been selling arms to the Syrian rebels – the same “al Qaeda linked” rebels who Putin has been at war with through Bashar al-Assad.
3. One of the major demands of the protestors was freedom for Yulia Tymoshenko, a close friend of Putin. Unlike Yanukovych, Tymoshenko had awarded Russia a sought after gas contract. She is also close with Viktor Medvedchuck, whose daughter has Putin for a godfather. (The website tymoshenkocase.com hosted an article entitle “Vladimir Putin’s Cupboard Love,” but in the last 48 hours this site has been taken offline. A cached version is available here.)
4. Apparently some members of the deposed Yanukovych government have fled to Turkey, arguably one of Russia’s major geopolitical opponents, given their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda in Syria. (Source pending for now.)
These 4 little facts completely turn the mainstream narrative on its head.
Bolstering this version of events is the ascendancy of the far-right Svoboda Party, essentially a group a party of Ukrainian neo-Nazis. The interim government of Ukraine has appointed no less than six “major cabinet ministries” to this “openly fascist, anti-Semitic, anti-Russian.” These ministries include Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, as well as the Education Ministry.
What of the leader of the opposition in Ukraine, world boxing champion and PhD, Vitali Klitschko? “Dr. Ironfist” fits the pattern established above, of a popular nationalist with ties to the Russian military establishment. Klitschko’s father was a Soviet Air Force Major General, and a Soviet Military attaché in East Germany. (Presumably this meant he worked with the KGB in East Germany, i.e. the STASI.)
For his part, Klitschko, who is fluent in German, has nurtured a close relationship with certain political elements within Germany. An article in Der Spiegel last February hints at Dugin’s fingerprint in Germany’s neo-Nazi circles – see here.
The “Identity Movement,” whose adherents wear masks not unlike the hacking group “Anonymous,” (known to have connections Russian intelligence, most notably through Julian Assange), uses much of the same language as Dugin’s identity politics (http://books.google.com/books?id=FGlPiZYIIugC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=identity+movement+dugin&source=bl&ots=w8z8XhI7dU&sig=gAYf0bt15RvFq5xeWBa8Dnmw7MI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=848TU6amF4mTkQfi0YCgCg&ved=0CEgQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=identity%20movement%20dugin&f=false).
Stormfront.org, the preeminent online community for White Power, even hosts a “Christian Identity” resource page (http://www.stormfront.org/posterity/ci).
Rumors have also circulated that Klitschko was debt collector (translated “enforcer”) for Ukrainian mafia bosses Viktor Rybalko and Andrey Borovik. In fact, it is purported that photographic evidence exists, Klitschko photographed with both men… now both dead. Klitschko vehemently denies the claims. Yet the allegations do fit a pattern of Nationalist leanings, skin heads, and organized crime. Famous, intelligent, and charismatic, if Klitschko did not exist, Dugin would have to invent him.
What is actually happening? In a narrower sense, Putin has acted to protect the economic interests of Russia, ensuring that future energy contracts are awarded to Gazprom, not American companies like Chevron. In a broader sense, the old Communist regimes of the KGB are falling and may be replaced by Nationalist regimes sanctioned by the GRU. Aleksandr Dugin’s grand Eurasianist plans under the aegis of fascism appear to be falling into place, albeit in a serendipitous, chaotic, and possibly uncontrollable manner. Combined with Nationalist gains in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, and England, the whole of Europe is tilting distinctively rightward; not toward free markets and peace, but toward nationalism and fascism.
A few other points to consider:
Whereas the fascists, especially the National Socialists, hated European Jews, this position appears to have changed with the new guard of Nationalists, especially those of the Russian persuasion. No doubt one reason for this is that Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman is from Moldova, speaks fluent Russian, and was born in the Soviet Union. Dugin, while highly religious, is not a Christian supremacist. He has offered strong praise to traditionalist Jews (see here), and apparently seeks the co-opting of Israel from what he views as American control. Note: This likely has already happened. (Also notable is Dugin’s outreach to Shiite Muslims.) In all likelihood, it is the remnant Communists who perpetuate Russian Antisemitism more than the Nationalists.
Just what on earth was Obama doing cheer-leading on the protesters? What is with his threat that Russia will have to pay “costs” should they intervene militarily in Ukraine? One presumes that Obama wanted to minimize Russian influence in Ukraine. If past is prologue, then it is safe to assume that the CIA was providing material funding to the protesters. Yet, the evidence above suggests that Russia has not been marginalized, but is now in a position to control a Nationalist Ukraine. Has American intelligence been so severely compromised that they cannot even realize when they are acting directly against their own stated goals?
On March 1, Russian military entered the Crimea. Though largely unknown to western media, it should be noted that March 1 is the “Day of Heroes” in Russia. This is a commemorative holiday celebrating the Russian victory in the Second Chechen War (2000-2009). It has become magnet for neo-Nazis of all stripes, to such an extent that even Dugin – who helped begin the tradition – has distanced himself from it in recent years. Crimean Tatars, Muslim ethnic Turks, were deported by Stalin to Siberia following the Second World War. They had collaborated with the Nazis through the Ostministerium, a Reich Ministry that engaged marginalized Turkic Muslims to fight the Soviet Union. Those who survived the GULAGs returned several decades later, with a strong distaste for Soviet rule. Unsurprisingly, links between the Tatars and Chechen terrorists are quite strong. It is completely reasonable to assume that, given the Nazi-Muslim Brotherhood collaboration, numerous Tatars in the Crimea are members of the same terrorist organization that birth al Qaeda. Russia has in mind the Crimean War, which they lost to a coalition of Western powers (France and Britain) and ethnic Turks. None of this is unfamiliar to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is well-versed in the Crimean War. Like in Syria, it now appears that Russia will be engaged in a proxy war against Jihadis, with Americans backing the “rebels.”
Crime and Corruption
One must never doubt the ability for organized crime to take advantage of chaos. Wherever skinheads, Islamist terrorists, and every imaginable discontented anarchist take to the streets, lawlessness reigns. The narcotics traffic blossoms in such situations, turning a political crisis into a business opportunity for those who are rather apolitical. Even the Russian Air Force is suspect, given their incredible smuggling activities during the war against Afghanistan. As in Lebanon during the Civil War (1975-1990), Mexico or Pakistan as they exist, it is safe to assume that for the foreseeable future, the Crimea will serve as a magnet for drug, arms, and human trafficking. Perhaps an instructive parallel can be drawn with the tri-border region between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, which attracts FARC, AUC, al Qaeda, and North Korean organized crime.
A note from a friend on Ukrainian and Russian history
“One more historical aspect. That has occurred to me recently. Russia has a dual foundation myth. On the one hand, there is the story of Rurik arriving in 862, claiming to have been invited to “rule over us” On the other is the myth of Kiy and Shchek, two brothers founding the city of Kiev. It seems that “Kievan Rus” may very well have had a dual foundation, much as did our own American civilization.
We were formed by colonists settling in in the northern Massachusetts Bay Colony and in the southern Virginia Colony within a few years of each other. In America the northern colonists were basically stern religious dissenters, and to the south Cavaliers fleeing Cromwellian religion. Thus, in America we were formed almost from the beginning by two rival founding groups basically ill-disposed toward each other, a legacy which lingers unto this day. In Russia, the two foundations seem to have grown together, as did we, under the imported Scandinavian Rurikid dynasty, at least until the Mongol conquest (1236) tore the whole arrangement asunder. The Ukrainian steppe and Mother Russia were separated for about four centuries before Peter and his father Alexei began the reintegration. This was the period when areas now Western Ukraine came under Western influence. And this is the capsule story of how the Russians came to view their Ukrainian brothers as the Little Russians, a backwards and undeveloped bunch of hicks. Just as the Pilgrim descendants of New England have come to look down their noses at their Southern, rednecked brothers.”
The Ukrainian revolution, now termed the “Maidan Revolution,” may ultimately birth a Russian-backed nationalism in the Ukraine. This is consistent with political developments across much of the continent, as more and more socialist parties lose ground to nationalist ones. Among the reasons for this trend are the rejection of unbridled immigration, especially from the Middle East, and a rejection of an LGBT agenda that rejects traditional morality pertaining to marriage and the family. The American media, and indeed apparently the American intelligence community, have misread the Ukrainian protests as a pro-Western movement. In fact, they are better explained as an internal coup against a corrupt, two-faced president who was trying gaming both Moscow and Washington. As popular resentment toward Yanukovych coalesced and ultimately succeeded in his ousting, it appears that the GRU is attempting to control the situation and re-install a sympathetic, nationalist leader. Whether the leader that emerges is the so-called martyr Tymoshenko, or the larger than life Klitschko, or some kind of far-right coalition, remains to be seen.
Related article: Fascism, Russia and Ukraine by Timothy Snyder - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/?insrc=hpss