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The New Autocracy
editted by Daniel Treisman with 11 chapters by different authors
provides a detailed analysis of Russia since 1991. Unfortunately, the
last Chapter 11 on Crimea lacks references to Igor Girkin and the
"Putin Khuylo" chant that was sung by Ukraine's football fans, which
went viral around the world.
This has prompted me to append the following version of events as I see them:
Zuzak analysis of the situation in Ukraine since 1991
- In the 1980's, Yuri Andropov and the Soviet elite realized that the
Communist system no longer worked and wanted to make a transition to a
- Gorbachev, with his glasnost and perestroika, tried to make a gradual
- However, Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of the other 15 Soviet
Republics demanded dissolution of the Soviet Union.
With the urging of Western so-called "advisors" to utilize "shock
therapy", they decided on crash privatisation, which led to poverty,
the creation of fabulously rich Oligarchs in cahoots with flourishing
organized crime and an impoverished general populace.
In my opinion, Boris Yeltsin truly did want to make a transition to a
Western-style democracy and market economy. And he truly did want to
respect the independence and territorial integrity of the 15 former
- Unfortunately, a very large fraction of
Communist believers and Tsarist Russian Empire enthusiasts that were
entrenched in the bureaucracy throughout the Soviet Union
of recreating the Russian Empire. Vladimir Putin was and remains one of
these. With his appointment and election as President of the Russian
Federation in 2000, he was in a position to implement his dreams.
The situation in Ukraine was very similar. From 1991 to 2000, the
Russian Empire chauvinists that were entrenched in the Ukrainian
bureaucracy kept a low profile, but retained their allegiance and ties
to Moscow. This was compounded by Russian-based organized crime (RBOC)
with their connections to Moscow mafiosi and the proliferation of
Oligarchs with allegiance to Moscow. Together, they did
possible to subvert the establishment of democratic institutions and
the development of a healthy market economy in Ukraine.
the advent of Vladimir Putin in 2000, I suspect that a detailed program
to subvert Ukraine's independence and to re-integrate Ukraine into the
Russian world was developed and implemented. Everything was going to
plan (with the hiccup of the Orange Revolution in 2004 and Viktor
Yushchenko's presidency) with the election of Viktor Yanukovych in 2010.
Unfortunately for Putin, the Revolution of Dignity (Euromaidan
demonstrations between 21Nov2013 and 22Feb2014) disrupted Putin's
long-term plans. He was forced to adopt Plan B.
- Viktor Yanukovych
had been playing both sides of the fence as he blatantly abused his
office as President to increase his own and his families wealth at the
expense of Ukrainian citizenry. During the summer of 2013, he
negotiated a Association Agreement with the European Union. Putin was
forced to provide a $3 billion bribe to induce him not to sign the
Agreement. This led to the Euromaidan protests by peaceful university
students initiated via Email by Mustafa Nayyem on 21Nov2013.
decided to terrorize the demonstrators into submission by brutally
beating the students on the night of 29/30Nov2013, which led to the
massive demonstrations by Kyiv residents and Afghan war
veterans on Sunday, 01Dec2013 protesting the beating of their
children. Thereafter, the terror, the deaths and the
progressively increased until the death of about 100 demonstrators by
sniper fire on the fateful days of 18 and 20Feb2014. I suspect that by
early February 2014, Putin decided to abandon Yanukovych and initiate
- Plan B consisted of:
- Occupation and then annexation of Crimea as described in this book.
Occupation of Kharkiv and later the annexation of Kharkiv oblast, which
was thwarted by the timely intercession of (probably) Arsen Avakov, who
was intimately familiar with the RBOC headed by Hennadiy Kernes, Mayor
of Kharkiv and virulently anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian.
Occupation and later annexation of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,
which was partially successful (initially at Slovyansk and Kramatorsk)
through the efforts of Igor Girkin (who arrived from his operations in
Crimea), but which was stymied by the intercession of thousands of
patriotic Ukrainian volunteers, many of whom lost their lives fighting
the Russian-orchestrated separatists. A stalemate has resulted with
about one third of the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts designated as the
LNR and DPR under Russian control (as of 2018).
- Occupation of
Odesa and later annexation of the Odesa oblast. A planned provocation
occurred on 02May2014 as Ukrainian patriotic soccer fans were marching
to the football game chanting "Putin Khuylo". Pro-Euromaidan activists
were confronted by anti-Euromaidan provocateurs Two Ukrainian
patriots and four pro-Russian demonstrators were shot and killed and
many injured. The enraged crowd chased the pro-Russian provocateurs
into the Trade Union building, where, during the standoff, Molotov
cocktails started a fire and some 42 people died of asphyxiation.
[It is surprising that Treisman and the other authors never mention the
Putin Khuylo song intitiated by Kharkiv football fans in March 2014,
which went viral around the world and which was then sung at most
football games in Ukraine. This must have shocked Vladimir Putin, who
must have realized that ordinary Ukrainian youth was adamantly opposed
to his incursion into Ukraine.]
- The Novorossiya project to
occupy Mariupol, Berdyansk and locations along Azov Sea coast so as to
provide a land bridge to Crimea was put on hold, but the Kerch bridge
from mainland Russia to Crimea has already been built. It threatens
Ukraine's sovereignty in the Azov Sea and access to the Black Sea.
Plan B was only partially successful, this was just a small detour in
Putin's long-term plans for Ukraine. Anti-Ukrainian propaganda, cyber
attacks, destabilization, infiltration by Russian agents, etc. continue
as always. Russian agents on both sides of the Ukrainian border with
Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland are
incidents to foment dissension and hatred between Ukrainians and the
citizens of these countries. Putin is doing everything possible to
promote the disintegration of Ukraine.
The Russian imperialist
mindset is that wherever the Russian conqueror has set foot will
forever remain Russian territory. Recently, a Russian musical group
wrote a song to this effect, which even included the American
state of Alaska. In my opinion, until the Russian imperialists abandon
their "rape, loot and pillage" mindset, there is little possibility of
raprochment between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
Will Zuzak; 2018.08.01