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The Donbass is breaking away from an agonizing Ukraine

Donbass begins its formal break away as Ukraine falls apart.

The Saker

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This article is republished with the author’s permission.  Previously published by Unz and by The Saker.

Tectonic shifts are continuing to occur in the political landscape of the Ukraine. Last week, following the imposition of a total blockade against Novorussia by the Ukronazis, Russia declared that she will from now on recognize the official documents emitted by the DNR and LNR authorities. This week, the Novorussian authorities have nationalized all the key factories of the Donbass. Furthermore, the Novorussians have now declared that since the Ukrainian authorities are not willing to purchase their coal and anthracite they will from now on export them to Russia. And just to make sure that they cover all their bases, the Novorussians have also declared that from now on only the Russian Ruble will be circulating in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics.

Not to be undone, the Ukronazis have also taken a highly significant step: the Ukrainian Prime Minister has declared that he thinks that the irregular forces currently enforcing the blockade should be considered official border guards (as for these soon to be “border guards”, they have explained that for their main border post shall be called “nightingale” in honor of the Nachtigall battalion of the Nazi Abwehr).

Let’s sum all this up:

  1. The Urkonazis completely close down the unofficial border with Novorussia
  2. Russia recognizes Novorussian documents
  3. The DNR and LNR nationalize all the Ukrainian industry in the Donbass
  4. The Ukronazis declare that the line of contact is now to be considered a border
  5. The Novorussians declare that the Russian Ruble is the only legal currency in Novorussia
  6. The Novorussians will now export their entire production of coal/anthracite to Russia
  7. All the factories in Novorussia will no longer pay taxes to Kiev

I don’t know about you – but to me this sure looks like the DNR and LNR are cutting off their last ties to the Ukraine and the the junta in Kiev appears to go along with this plan.

In reality, this is all much more complicated. There is a covert war going on between the Ukrainian oligarchs Rinat Akhmetov, Igor Kolomoiskii and President Poroshensko and there is also a not so covert war taking place between the Ukronazi opposition and Poroshenko. There are also many unanswered questions left, including how and if the Novorussians will sell their production of coal and anthracite either to Russia (which Russia really doesn’t need) or through Russia (possibly concealing its real origin). This situation also begs the question of what the Russian banks will be able and willing to do to help the Novorussians. The sums of money involved are huge and there are many, often mutually exclusive, interests competing against each other. But I don’t dwell into that level right now – what is most important to me is the big picture and that big picture says “good-bye Ukraine”.

One can judge of the seriousness of these developments by the truly Herculean efforts made by the western corporate media not to notice them. Even the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, who was in Kiev yesterday, was focusing exclusively on the upcoming Eurovision competition, and not on the dramatic developments taking place in the southeast.

In the Ukrainian context, the expression “never say never” is probably even more important than usual, but I will say that if what I think is happening is really happening, that is, if the Donbass is now de-facto cutting its last ties with the Ukraine and integrating Russia politically and economically, and if the junta in Kiev appears to have been unable to prevent the Nazi volunteers from triggering this crisis with their blockade, then this potentially means to very important things:

  1. The Ukronazis have given up on the concept of reconquering Novorussia.
  2. The breakup of the rump-Ukraine has begun.

The blockade of the Donbass was decided by a rather small group of nationalist leaders who never asked for, or received, any authorization for their actions from the junta in Kiev. Furthermore, the junta in Kiev never officially endorsed or even supported that move. But most amazingly, the junta never sent any kind of official police/military/security force to regain control of the situation. There was a group of men who, armed with sticks and baseball bats, tried to remove the Ukronazi crazies from the tracks, but they were quickly beaten back. Keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of soldiers and policemen deployed in the immediate vicinity of these volunteer units, but nobody, absolutely nobody has made a move to restore law and order.

Of course, the very notion of “law and order” is largely meaningless in a country occupied by a regime which itself is totally illegal. Furthermore, “law and order” are also meaningless in a country where might – usually in the form of a gang of thugs with Kalashnikovs – makes right. Forget “central Europe” – think “Somalia” and you will be much closer to the truth.

The Ukraine is a failed state, politically and economically. And, as a failed state, the Ukraine has plenty of armed gangs and even official armed forces, but nothing like the kind of modern and civilized military you need to take on the Novorussians who, far from being a failed state, are a young state which has just completed the modernization of its armed forces. The difference between the Ukrainian and the Novorussian armed forces is not just the result of Russian help, although they clearly played a major role, but the fact for the Novorussians having a capable fighting force has been a matter or survival from day 1, whereas for the junta this has never been a priority simply because there never was a military threat to the junta’s power. Bean-counters will tell me that the Ukrainian forces are about 2x to 3x larger, which is quite true. It is also irrelevant. What matters is whether they can mount modern, combined arms, operations and that is something that the Ukrainian military does not seem to be capable of.

What we are seeing today is not just a Ukrainian military which seems to have given up on the notion of reconquering Novorussia, it is also one which appears to be giving up on the notion of holding the country together. Right now, this is only affecting the Donbass, but pretty soon other regions are likely to follow suit, especially the south (Odessa, Nikolaev, Mariupol) which, by itself, could be wealthy and prosperous and which has no need whatsoever for Neo-Nazi rulers. There are even some separatist movements in the western Ukraine who want to get rid of all the pseudo-Ukrainian “ballast” and build a “pure” Ukrainian state in the only place where such a state has real historical roots: on the border with Poland.

This all begs the question of the future of Poroshenko and here your guess is as good as mine. The only thing which kept him in power so long is the support from the USA and EU, but with the crises (plural) surrounding the Trump administration and the political uncertainty in Europe, there is only that long which Poroshenko can use his western mentors as the base for his power. Sooner or later, somebody somewhere in the Ukraine (my guess is in Odessa) will figure out that the local power configuration is far more important to him/her than what the western politicians have to say. Again, Somalia is the example to keep in mind: for a while the western powers also had a great deal of influence there, but only until that power was successfully challenged and then everybody declared victory and fled.

Needless to say, the Minsk Agreements are as far from being implemented as ever. For the AngloZionists that enough of a justification to continue to blame Russia for it all. That will continue until the Ukraine finally implodes at which point the real negotiation will be “who will pays for the mess?” at which point Russia will probably declare that she is primarily responsible for the Donbass leaving the rest of the mess for the Europeans who, unlike the Americans, will have no choice but to pay. But that is still far in the future. Right now the question is how long can the agony of the Nazi Ukrainian regime last?

Alexander Zakharchenko predicted yesterday that the Ukrainian state would collapse within 60 days. Maybe. My personal gut feeling is that this might take quite a bit longer, especially considering the momentum of such a large country. We should also never discount a possible large-scale Ukronazi attack on Novorussia for no other reason than an expression of blind and dumb hatred. Should that happen the goal of the Novorussians will be to free the parts of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions which are still under Nazi occupation. This might be difficult – the Ukrainians have been fortifying their defenses for many months now – but I expect them to eventually succeed. At which point the West will blame Russia again (what else is new?).

Irrespective of how long this agony will last, there is no doubt in my mind that it has begun and that it is irreversible. It is actually quite remarkable that it took so long to bring about this last phase. For many months already we had many minor indicators and signs that thing were not going well, but with the de-facto separation of the Donbass and its gradual integration into the Russian economy we are witnessing a qualitatively new phase in the disintegration process of the Ukraine.

PS: Today Alexander Zakharchenko has announced a total blockade of the Ukraine by the Donbass.  The practical result from that will be that Novorussia will completely cease to pay taxes to the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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Bercow blocks Brexit vote, May turns to EU for lifeline (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s latest Brexit dilemma, as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, shocked the world by citing a 1604 precedent that now effectively blocks May’s third go around at trying to pass her treacherous Brexit deal through the parliament.

All power now rests with the Brussels, as to how, if and when the UK will be allowed to leave the European Union.

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Via Bloomberg


Theresa May claims Brexit is about taking back control. Ten days before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union, it looks like anything but.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow’s intervention, citing precedent dating back to 1604, to rule out a repeat vote on May’s already defeated departure deal leaves the prime minister exposed ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels.

Bercow, whose cries of “Orrdurrr! Orrdurrr!’’ to calm rowdy lawmakers have gained him a devoted international following, is now the pivotal figure in the Brexit battle. May’s team privately accuse him of trying to frustrate the U.K.’s exit from the EU, while the speaker’s admirers say he’s standing up for the rights of parliament against the executive.

If just one of the 27 other states declines May’s summit appeal to extend the divorce timetable, then the no-deal cliff edge looms for Britain’s departure on March 29. If they consent, it’s unclear how May can meet Bercow’s test that only a substantially different Brexit agreement merits another vote in parliament, since the EU insists it won’t reopen negotiations.

Caught between Bercow and Brussels, May’s room for maneuver is shrinking. Amid rumblings that their patience with the U.K. is near exhaustion, EU leaders are girding for the worst.

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President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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