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PARTITIONING UKRAINE — WHO GAINS FROM FIGHTING RUSSIA TO THE LAST UKRAINIAN?

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By John Helmer, Moscow

When the last war with Germany was ending, the British intelligence services rounded up as many of their German counterparts as they could find, and interrogated them. They were taken by surprise, as a series of reports by Hugh Trevor-Roper, then a signals intelligence analyst, uncovered as early as 1944.* For the British, the surprise was that neither German military intelligence (Abwehr) nor the SS intelligence organization (Sicherheitsdienst) had the doctrine or the resources for strategic deception: that’s the capacity to mask from your opponent what your plans are, and thereby fool your target into positioning himself for defeat. By the standards of British deceit, as British historians and thriller writers have proclaimed ever since, the Germans were naïve – exposing a colossal Achilles heel to be exploited just because it was always possible to persuade them to put their Achilles foot into a trap.

Predictability and naivety aren’t recommended for war-fighting — nor just for Germans, and not just then. The British intelligence services’ reports on the Russian capacity for deception remain top secret. But what the British believed was once their own superiority in deception tactics, they have now dispensed with, or lost. So when it comes to waging the Anglo-American war against Russia, there’s been no disguise for the Achilles Heels on display in the war for Chechnya or in the Georgian War of August 2008 – both of them lost by the Anglo-American side.

So, too, the current campaign to liberate Ukraine by destroying it is pretty much what it looks like. The sole deception involved is the selfie type – the Americans, British and European Union (EU) apparatchiki are the only ones convinced that their campaign to liberate Ukraine won’t end in partition of east from west – and the pauperization of both. Having tried invasion, partition and pauperization of Ukraine themselves, the Germans aren’t so self-deluded.

One type of official Russian reaction has been to pretend the self-deception isn’t obvious. For example, last week President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced [1]: “It’s hard to comprehend why foreign ambassadors in Kiev should tell the Ukrainian authorities where these should withdraw their Interior Ministry troops and police from, what they should do next etc. In other words, we see these kinds of outside instructions as something altogether incomprehensible.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov didn’t pretend not to comprehend. At his annual briefing [2] for the press on January 21, he first qualified what is at stake by saying: “I would not like to support provocative talks about the breakdown of Ukraine. Russia is doing everything to prevent this from happening and stabilise the situation. We will continue to act in such a way. Ukraine is our neighbour, partner, friend and brother – there cannot be two opinions.”

Then Lavrov came to the point. “We know that this situation is quite actively promoted from foreign countries. It seems that these ‘promoters’ do not even consider the interests of the opposition and try to provoke violence. When something like this happens in EU countries, nobody doubts the need for strict measures to stop the violence and disorder. But here foreign countries request us to make a choice. Our US colleagues at the OSCE FMC session in Kiev at the beginning of December [2013] requested the Ukrainian government to ‘listen to the voice of the people’, ‘but if you don’t listen, there will be chaos’. I do not know whether it was a prophecy or an insight. I believe that somebody must be interested in this chaos. We are not. We wish Ukraine to be stable. We have too many connections, including economic, cultural, spiritual, to add fuel to the flames they are attempting to fire.”

brzezinskiIs fire, er war, what the Americans and British, want in Ukraine? Or is their campaign aimed at drawing Russia into a black hole – a sink hole of the Afghanistan or Caucasus type – in order to bleed Russia to the very last Ukrainian? That has been American strategy since 1997, when Zbigniew Brzezinski (right), exheridated Polish aristocrat and ex-US national security advisor, spelled out how Russia could be squeezed to extinction between Greater Poland and Greater China.** To listen to Bzrezinski’s “salute to EuroMaidan” this month, press this [3].

According to Lavrov, “we are ready to discuss with the European Union the measures, which will allow us to stop the policy of deepening the dividing lines, the policy of the attitude to Ukraine and other countries, which were included in the Eastern Partnership, according to the principle “either with us, or against us”. This is not our mentality. Some Europeans promote such an approach.”

But suppose this is no longer negotiable between Russia and the West? Suppose the BBC’s most recent map of the Ukraine is the Anglo-American blueprint for partition, a republic of Lvivistan in the west, and of Dnieperstan in the east? If that isn’t strategic deception on the western side, is the West ready to pay the costs of partition?

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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ [4]

For the time being, the consequences of a Ukrainian resource and asset split are far from predictable. But they aren’t as disadvantageous to Dnieperstan as they are for Lvivistan. The December agreements between Russia and Ukraine provide for stepwise financing of Ukraine to cover its debts, keep gas flowing, reopen the Russian market to Ukrainian exports, and motivate President Victor Yanukovich to stick to his commitments. Only the first $3 billion instalment of Russia’s $15 billion financial rescue programme has been paid so far. But the second instalment of $2 billion, due at the end of this month, is still in negotiation; it is subject to revision, according [5] to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov yesterday, “if the Ukrainian government, whatever it is after its formation, announces a different agenda and different priorities”.

Putin’s public position in Brussels on Tuesday looked softer; was harder . “Directly I will say at once in response to your question – whether we will revise our arrangements on the credits [to Ukraine] and on energy [supply] if the opposition comes to power – we won’t. For us it isn’t important — we carried on a very constructive dialogue with the government of Ukraine when this government was headed by Madam Tymoshenko.”

The December agreements, he said [6] in response to another question, were aimed to “support the people of Ukraine, not the government. It’s the ordinary people who always suffer. And we would very much would like that this burden on the ordinary citizen should be at a minimum.” But if the Anglo-American strategy continues to aim at “taking Ukraine out” of its Russian partnership, there would be no “backdoor entry into our market… There’s no cheap politicking here, there’s pragmatic interest.”

Other provisions in the Russian programme, such as pricing and volume of Gazprom’s gas shipments for 2014; repayment of last year’s overdue gas bills; the reopening of the Russian import market; and the reorganization of Ukrainian debts to Russian state and commercial banks are being delayed while Yanukovich wrestles inconclusively with his opponents. Yesterday in Brussels Putin warned that new demands from Kiev were undermining the undertakings former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov gave last month: “The Ukrainian side asks us to grant a delay even on payments for this year, for the gas received at reduced prices. But this is a very difficult situation for ourselves and for the Gazprom budget, as this income has been put in its investment plans. But all of this in working process, and we will be with our partners in Ukraine; whoever heads the Ukrainian government, we will carry on dialogue with them.”

In prospective total, the Kremlin’s December programme would add another $30 billion to the $15 billion state bailout. The Anglo-American outlay would be a minuscule fraction of this. Also, as Putin warned yesterday, “unlike the IMF, [the Russian programme] didn’t impose strict contractual requirements on paper as a condition for granting this credit.”

poroshenkoSo far the partitionist, er partnership media in the west have identified only two Ukrainian oligarchs to support the Anglo-American scheme. One is Petro Poroshenko, the chocolate-maker (right); the other is Victor Pinchuk (image above), the Dniepropetrovsk steel and pipemaker. Both have lost their export markets in Russia since last July. Pinchuk, however, is much closer [7] to bankruptcy, and more dependent on the Russian banks to stay solvent.

Pinchuk has also been financing lobbying in Washington, Paris, London, and Warsaw, promoting the Ukrainian opposition politicians, Vitali Klitschko and Arseny Yatsenyuk, as well the pro-EU, anti-Russia campaign. At the same time, Pinchuk’s lobbying [8] against Russia in Washington has failed to deter the Obama Administration from launching an anti-dumping investigation on behalf of American pipemakers to impose protection from Ukrainian imports. The shutout from both the Russian and North American markets, according to Pinchuk’s Interpipe, has left him scrambling for alternatives as losses worsen.

Recently also, Pinchuk has been behind attacks in Washington and London on his domestic business rivals and critics, Ukrainian steelmakers and bankers with power as well as solvency, especially in the east, where Pinchuk’s assets are vulnerable. In this line of attack, support for Yanukovich’s decision not to sign the partnership agreement with the EU is blamed on a group of oligarchs from which Pinchuk excludes himself.

In mid-December, Rinat Akhmetov, the most powerful of the Ukrainian oligarchs, issued a public statement calling for all-party negotiations to resolve the domestic conflict. “Politicians, government officials, opposition, and moral leaders … must sit down at the negotiating table. I would describe this negotiating table as a table for peace, compromise and the future of our country. The outcome should be a decision that will benefit Ukraine and every Ukrainian in the short, medium and long term… Many people want to know my personal attitude … I believe that now, at this challenging moment for our country, it is important to keep a cool head and take a balanced approach”.

Himself the target of protests outside his London home, Akhmetov did not call for the involvement of outside powers.

Pinchuk’s London home is a stone’s throw from Akhmetov’s, but has not been targeted. Yesterday he followed with a public statement [9] of his own. Distributed by a London public relations agency, and signed by a group of officials who have been on Pinchuk’s payroll, the statement concedes “there is the real risk that violence escalates, the economy collapses, and a disintegration of the country is not out off [sic] the question. A terrible scenario for a country right in the centre of Europe, unimaginable a few weeks ago.”

The Pinchuk statement calls for foreign intervention. “Internal Ukrainian political camps face stalemate and are probably unable to find a solution without the support of international partners. The US, the Russian Federation and the EU must bring together all political forces in Ukraine to initiate a constructive dialogue to prevent conflict, in everybody’s interest. We need a roundtable under the auspices of the international community, of East and West. Ukraine should become an example of cooperation of the West and the Russian Federation. The international community must act before it is too late.”

Having promoted the US-backed break from Russia, and now facing the loss of both his Russian and American business, Pinchuk claims to support a new balancing act. “The EU must move beyond its disappointment. The Russian Federation can use its influence, the US can bring its leverage to facilitate a solution.” Pinchuk’s change of stratagem is no feint — this Ukrainian oligarch is playing now to save himself. Assurances [10] in Washington last month that the US is considering duty-free entry for Ukrainian imports promises a benefit to Pinchuk which he would lose if the State Department presses its threat of sanctions, including a freeze on Ukrainian bank accounts outside the country.

At EU headquarters yesterday Putin tossed Pinchuk a lifeline, but only on condition that when the partitionists say partnership, they mean “to link the European and Eurasian integration processes. I am convinced” — this is Putin talking [11] — “that there are no contradictions between the two models: both are based on similar principles and norms of the World Trade Organisation; they could effectively complement each other and contribute to the growth of mutual trade turnover.”

[*] The declassified reports are quoted in Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Biography by Adam Sisman, London 2011.
[**] The Grand Chessboard, American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York 1997.