There is a problem with Ukraine

News & SocietyPolitics

  • Author Larry Farmer
  • Published April 11, 2022
  • Word count 1,500

There is a problem with Ukraine

There is something going on in Ukraine which is just not as it appears. Sophistication, complexity, and intrigue are the three best words to describe this beleaguered country. To begin, there are essentially four main forces that are driving events in the nation. They all compete with one another and have different agendas but have been drawn together to present a united front.

First and foremost are foreign NGO’s and American foreign policy operatives. Their goal is to make Ukraine a liberal democracy that will eventually achieve integration into NATO and the European Union. These people are extremely efficient, and they have outflanked their opponents both in Ukraine and the outside world. They effectively brought about two Revolutions, the Orange (2005) and the Maidan (2014). At this point in time, they have established the narrative which a vast majority of the American public accept as fact.

A few examples are worth noting. Victoria Nuland was the State Department employee tasked with the overall implementation of American’s Ukraine policy. During the Maidan Revolution, she was caught on tape organizing a new government and arranging who would be placed in key positions. Most on the ideological spectrum agree that corruption in Ukraine has been a persistent problem. Marie Yovanovitch, U. S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 2016-19, told Ukrainian officials who they could and could not investigate for corruption. Vice President Joe Biden was the point man for Ukraine in the Obama Administration. He threatened to withhold one billion dollars in aid if Ukraine did not fire a prosecutor who was investigating certain entities. One important target under investigation was Burisma, a company that employed Biden’s son. Alexander Vindman was a U. S. military and intelligence figure active in Ukraine. He was so involved in security arrangements in the country that he was offered a leadership position in its armed forces.

Since 2015 the government of Ukraine has been controlled by those who believe in liberal democracy. They make up force number two and are totally dependent on the first force in order to win support from the outside world. They’re not much different from the political elites in the United States which is to say they believe in democracy and Capitalism. They maintain the absolute sovereignty of the people to decide their own fate irrespective of their big and powerful neighbor (Russia), and they make no concessions on territorial integrity. All this would be fine if the country were in Western Europe, had a historically unified populous and culture, or a border that had a centuries old definition.

Force number three is the oligarchs. This group is made up of wealthy businessmen who, of course, have close ties to the first two. Their economic power gives them leverage over the political process. In the United States we call them billionaires. Like Donald Trump before he was President, they have to hedge their bets by supporting those in positions of political power or those likely to be at some point. Much of the corruption that is prevalent in Ukraine revolves around the oligarchs. Because of their intricate connections in the government and among foreign operatives, it is difficult for the legal system to do much about their power, influence, and corruption.

The fourth force is made up of fascists or Nazis. It makes up the shock troops for the other groups. During the Maidan Revolution, they carried the day by organizing protests, demonstrations, and violence. They have a military force called the Azov battalion. The battalion began as a private militia but was later incorporated into the Ukrainian army. They are the ones who have been on the front lines in fierce fighting against Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. It has been reported, I might add, that they have received military training from the United States. A political party was organized by their leaders after 2015, but it received little to no support from the electorate.

One might ask why the fascists would support liberal democracy. Don’t they have more in common with Moscow than Kiev? The answer is they can only exist in a democracy. While democratic leaders deplore their ideology, they allow them to continue for three reasons: they are beholden to them for support given during the Maidan Revolution, they depend on them to do the heavy fighting in Eastern Ukraine, and the ideal of democracy that all beliefs, however toxic, have the right to be expressed. This third reason goes back to Voltaire, the great French philosopher, who stated that tolerance extends to those who believe in intolerance. Putin, on the other hand, would have no tolerance for the Azov adherents. He would purge them to the last man, and they know it.

So what does all this have to do with American politics? Well, actually, quite a lot! In 2016 Donald Trump ran for President and began voicing skepticism about America fighting needless and endless wars abroad. For Ukraine this did not look good. To make matters worse, he hired Paul Manafort as his campaign director. Manafort had previously worked in Ukraine as a campaign advisor for the President who was deposed in the Maidan Revolution. At this point, Alexandra Chalupa enters the story. Chalupa is the daughter of Ukrainian-American immigrants. She is referred to by Wikipedia as a pro-Ukrainian activist and has worked at various times for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. She made it her goal to expose Manafort and thus paint the Trump campaign as a tool of Putin and Russia. In her effort to do this, she worked with the Ukrainian government, the American Embassy in Ukraine, and allies in the United States Congress. The project achieved some success as Manafort was fired from the Trump campaign when his Ukrainian contacts were publicly revealed.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee’s computer and the emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign director, were hacked. The contents were posted on various news sites including Wikileaks where it gained a widespread audience. Needless to say, the material was very embarrassing to party leaders, the mainstream media, and Hillary. Contrary to popular belief, the Committee’s computer server was not turned over to the FBI to determine the origin of the hack. It was instead analyzed by CrowdStrike, a private cyber security firm. Crowdstrike, not the intelligence agencies of the U. S. government, concluded that Russia was responsible for the hack.

A co-founder and chief officer of CrowdStrike was Dmitri Alperovitch. Alperovitch is a Russian who came to the United States in 1994 and later became an American citizen. He has an intense dislike of Vladimir Putin and is a member of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank and one of the NGO’s referred to in an earlier paragraph. The Council makes no secret of its intent to promote liberal democracy in Ukraine and make the country a full fledged member of NATO. One of the Ukrainian oligarchs is a significant donor to the Atlantic Council as is CrowdStrike.

As is common knowledge, President Trump’s first impeachment revolved around Ukraine. Alexander Vindman, Marie Yavonavitch and many career state department employees became star witnesses for the prosecution. They thought Trump was blackmailing Ukraine into investigating Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son who was heavily invested in Burisma (a Ukrainian energy company), and also CrowdStrike. Trump had apparently bought into the idea promoted by many conservatives that the Democratic server had been relocated to Ukraine. Putin may have lent credence to this idea as he supposedly told Trump that Ukraine was behind the theories advanced in the Steele Dossier that Russia was actively involved in helping Trump in the campaign of 2016.

It is worth noting that Ukraine did start an investigation of Hunter Biden and Burisma after Trump was acquitted of the impeachment charges by the Senate. After Joe Biden was elected President, however, the inquiry was dropped. I guess this could all be justified as hedging your bets.

Ukraine is now involved in a vicious war with Russia. Ukraine may be the underdog in this fight, but it has many forces at its disposal. The Ukrainian army is roughly equal in size to the invading Russian force, it has received drones from the West, the Trump and Biden Administrations have provided it with javelins (anti-tank weapons) and stinger missiles (anti-aircraft weapons), and its forces have received advanced military training from the West. Whatever one may think about the two countries and its leaders, it is clear that Ukraine has important friends in high places and has decisively won the propaganda battle in the United States. Public opinion more or less paints Ukraine as saintly and Russia as demonic. The only other times I have seen such unanimity of opinion were after the Kennedy assassination, during the Watergate scandal, and following the events of 9/11. And yet, I maintain based on the information presented in this article that there is a problem with Ukraine!

I received a bachelors degree in 1967 and a masters degree in 1971 from Western Kentucky University. I taught school for 44 years. One year was spent at Fordsville High School, 17 at Ohio County High School, and 26 at Trinity High School in Whitesville. The subjects I taught were government, history, and English. At Trinity I also served as coach, athletic director, and dean of students. I fancy myself a fairly good writer, and my main interests are sports and politics.

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