11 March 2014 — China Matters
Pepe Escobar put me onto these pictures, both taken a few weeks before the new ruling troika’s accession to power in late February. Victoria Nuland in the first, Baroness Ashton in the other. Pretty clear from these formal portraits that a formal anointment by the US and the West was underway. The three are Yarsenyi Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko, and Oleh Tyahnybok.
Tyahnybok, the one least familiar to Western readers—and for very good reason, as shall be seen– is the leader of the Svoboda Party and a real piece of work, according to his Wikipedia entry:
On July 20, 2004, Tyahnybok was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction
after he made a speech in the Carpathian Mountains
at the gravesite of a commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
In the speech, which was aired on television in the summer of 2004, he made comments like:
“They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.
In his defence Tyahnybok said he had not offended Russians
by calling them an occupying force as this was based on historical fact. He also denied that he was anti-Semitic
, saying he was rather pro-Ukrainian.
The head of the State Committee of National Migration (Derzhkomnatsmihratsia) Hennadiy Moskal
published an open letter with insulting content towards the head of the AU Freedom. The Prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges of inciting ethnic hatred, but later closed the case for lack of offense. Since that time Mr. Tyahnybok has won nine court cases in that regard. By the decisions of courts it was recognized that the criminal case was raised unlawfully, and the actions of TV-channel “Inter” that showed the footage of the Tyanybok’s speech as well as the Head of the Derzhkomnatsmihratsia H. Moskal were recognized as ones that insult the honor and dignity Oleh Tyahnybok and caused him a moral damage. The actions around that issue led to creation of the “Program in defense of Ukrainians”
. Tyahnybok stated in 2012 “this speech is relevant even today” and “All I said then, I can also repeat now”.
In April 2005, Tyahnybok co-signed an open letter to President Yushchenko calling for a parliamentary investigation into the “criminal activities of organized Jewry in Ukraine.”
Tyahnybok’s results in the presidential elections of 2010
In December 2012 Tyahnybok was voted Person of the Year by readers of Ukraine’s leading news magazine, Korrespondent
Tyahnybok regards Russia as Ukraine’s biggest threat. He has accused the Medvedev presidency of “waging virtual war on Ukraine along many fronts – in the information sphere and the diplomatic sector, within the energy trade and throughout the world of international PR spin.”. He is pro-NATO and critical of the European Union, but supports a Europe of free nations. According to polls both stances put him at odds with the majority of Ukrainians. Tyahnybok also wants to deprive Crimea of its autonomous status and Sevastopol of its special status.
Tyahnybok wants to introduce a “nationality” section into Ukrainian passport, a visa regime with Russia, and for Ukrainians to pass a Ukrainian language test to work in the civil service.
Tyahnybok wants to re-establish Ukraine as a nuclear power. He believes this would stop the “Russian virtual war on Ukraine” (mentioned above).
Here’s a picture of Tyahnybok doing what looks like national socialist, excuse me, social-national calisthenics:
Thanks, Wikipedia. I guess Khodorkovsky neglected to read Wikipedia before he declared there were no fascists or Nazis in Maidan.
As to why Victoria Nuland and Catherine Ashton cherish Tyahnybok, or at least hold their noses, ignore his blatant anti-Semitism, Ukraine ethnic chauvinism, and flirtations with fascism, the explanation can be found within the final passage in his Wikipedia entry:
In an opinion poll conducted on December 7–17, 2013, respondents showed that in a hypothetical presidential election between Viktor Yanukovych
and Tyahnybok, results found that Tyahnybok would win with 28.8% of the popular vote, versus Yanukovych’s 27.1%.
Another poll taken on January 42–February 2, 2014 across all regions of Ukraine showed that in a presidential race between Tyahnybok and incumbent Yanukovych, 54.% of the population would vote for Tyahnybok.
In other words, with pro-Russian candidates off the ballot, Tyahnybok is a dominant political power in Ukraine. He certainly is a bigger votegetter than Yatsenyuk, whose main responsibility is to negotiate with the West over financial aid and the EU package, and Vitali Klitschko, who is seen as a political tyro. In recognition of Tyahnbyok’s clout, Svoboda members got the posts of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Ecology, and a acting prosecutor general. A founder of the Social Nationalist party was made secretary of the Ukraine National Security and Defense Council.
Looks like Ukraine might be in for a prolonged session of Strategic Patience (TM), my shorthand for the US persisting with spectacularly flawed policies because 1) the pain and cost is mostly borne overseas 2) the United States can step in and claim credit for confronting the problems itself created, but without ever addressing or removing the underlying causes and 3) there is always the hope that things will get so bad that everybody will just give up and America will get its way.