The Pendulum Always Swings in Ukraine — Underground Conservative

 

I’ve resorted to a penname since Ricochet 2.0 came out. After the Mozilla events, it felt like using my name publicly has too many risks; but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.  Some of you may recognize my avatar and then may further connect me to my past life.  From 2004 to 2009, I lived in Russia, working for a multi-national. From 2009 to 2010, I took some time off and lived in Odessa, Ukraine.  

I have a lot of insight, perspective, and contacts in both countries. Up to this point, however, I’ve moved on to normal life back in the U.S. and have become more and more disconnected from Russia and Ukraine.  Even the latest chain of events has left me fairly apathetic. It had become my conclusion that Russia will never change, despite my many hopes in the past, and that Ukraine is forever weak and schizophrenic about its identity. 

What caused me to write this post was a recent exchange with a friend from Odessa. I had not written anyone in Russia or Ukraine before this, but just decided to check in with Oleg to get his take on everything going on. Here was his first response to my very general, open-ended question of how things were going. I received his reply on April 1.

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, to be honest, I don’t really care what’s going on. Odessa is pretty quiet, and this is most important. I don’t care about Kiev and all that stupid politics.

I’ll tell you what’s going on – one group of [expletive] criminals overthrow another group of the same [expletive] criminals — that’s it, nothing more. The worst part of all this [expletive] is that this action is directed by the US and Europe, and, unfortunately, killing some people was a part of the scenario.

I definitely know that nothing will change for ordinary people. It will be even worse, since they must make some changes in the economy to get credit from the european banks, and one part of it is to raise communal payments for the usual people, increase taxes — overall, nothing good. Odessa people don’t really want Russia to come. Most people want an independent Ukraine with mutually beneficial relations with Russia and the EU, without joining russia. Anyway, we will see what will happen in the near future.

Ugh. How am I supposed to respond to that? That’s what exhausts me: the classic mindset that the West is out to get them. As most of you know, Odessa is a very pro-Russian (and Russian-speaking) region.  hey always want to be friendly with everyone, but if he thinks that Russia isn’t conspiring to take them over or dominate them, he is delusional.  If he wants a nation, he may have to fight for it.  But I love Oleg and refrained from replying until I could come up with something useful to say to him.

It turns out I didn’t have to. About 3 days ago, I received a followup e-mail from him that I think you’ll find fascinating:

The situation has changed significantly. At the moment, we are trying to withstand Russian aggression and incursion. Nobody here never even thought such a situation was possible between our countries. Russia has shown its real face, without a mask.

I take an active part in anti-Russian marches, as do many people here. Most of us don’t want Russians to come to our territory and set up their totalitarian regime, so we’re trying to confront their aggression. Ukraine is a democratic country and will always be, and we won’t allow Russia to come. They’ve already taken our Crimea and have an intention to invade in our eastern and southern regions.

The worst thing of all is that our army is almost poverty-stricken and totally unfit for action. The previous government, led by Yanukovich and Azarov, plundered the country, including the Forces and other sectors of economy. Now the Forces are indigent and unable to resist Russia.

Our new government has announced a fundraising program for the army. They asked ordinary people to help, and many have responded to the call. They raised about 90 millions grivnas, but this covers just a little bit of their needs. I also participate in this process and do whatever I can. I don’t want at all to be under Russia. I collected about 12.000 USD from all the people I know in Ukraine and sent them to the army’s account.

So, in fact, this is the reason I’m contacting you right now. It’s atime to go abroad :) I’d like to ask if you could help to save a democracy in Ukraine and donate some amount for our army to help it to get back to efficient condition and resist Russia. Every penny is important now. Any help will be really appreciated. Any $100-$200-$300…will really help. Also, please, talk to all the people you know — friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.. Some of them might wish to help Ukraine. I thank you in advance for your time and everything you will do for us. ….Thank you again for your help. Pray for Ukraine. I hope together we will win.

And so life has changed due to the unfortunate vagaries of reality. I feel awful that this is the situation, yet it is exactly how I predicted events would unfold. In other words, I knew before Oleg did. 

What to do?  I don’t know yet. I haven’t replied. I trust him without hesitation, but giving money to the Ukrainian military could be a direct payment to any number of crooks down the line. I’m not really seeking advice about whether to send money, so please don’t add comments about that. I am definitely not soliciting funds.  I simply wanted you to see what is going on there on the ground. It is upsetting and sad that a place as lovely as Odessa is in such a pickle, but they tried for too long to straddle the fence between Russia and the West. Perhaps now they’ll learn the lesson. I only hope it isn’t fatal.

There are 30 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Underground Conservative: It had become my conclusion that Russia will never change, despite my many hopes in the past, and that Ukraine is forever weak and schizophrenic about its identity.

     What is the soul of a nation?  Always looking westward with envy and a bit of an inferiority complex.  The Third Rome still wants to be the light of civilization, even though it never was as presently constituted.  There were portions of it in parts of its history that truly held promise: Novgorod, the Cossacks.  But the promise always came from freedom and disorder, and the Russian inclination is to sort those out right quick.  What is the soul of a nation, indeed.

    • #1
  2. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Prayers ongoing…

    • #2
  3. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    I’m not surprised that many people on the ground don’t care, because there’s not much difference between the two countries (I don’t know if that’s true, just that a lot of people there think that).  And Putin is not like Stalin and probably won’t be.

    I’m reading a history of medieval England, and one assertion of the author is that the commoners away from London didn’t care what the nobility did or who won what battle.  They were equally miserable whoever was in charge.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Al Sparks: I’m reading a history of medieval England, and one assertion of the author is that the commoners away from London didn’t care what the nobility did or who won what battle. They were equally miserable whoever was in charge.

     Odd that some kings had more peasant rebellions than others if it didn’t matter.

    • #4
  5. user_536506 Member
    user_536506
    @ScottWilmot

    What little I know of Ukraine I have learned from George Weigel.

    October2011:

    “…it is not difficult to imagine a Muscovite strategy aimed at breaking up independent Ukraine, leaving a small Ukrainian mini-state around L’viv in western Ukraine while absorbing the rest of the country back into Greater Russia.”

    January2013:

    “Ukrainian civil society was virtually obliterated by communism. The (Maidan) protests have seen the spontaneous rebirth of civil society, led in large part by young people with no memory of communism who know that the present moral and cultural conditions of their country are intolerable—and that’s before we get to the dreadful economics and the wretched politics.”

    “The Ukrainian popular uprising of late 2013 … was motivated by a deep yearning for truth, justice, and elementary decency in public life. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, a Church that long embodied Pope Francis’s “peripheries,” is now fully engaged in the contest for the moral future of Ukraine. That brave Church deserves the solidarity of Catholics throughout the world.

    I’ll join Nanda in prayer that Ukraine can be an independent, economically vibrant, pluralistic model for freedom-loving people as they struggle to get beyond Communism

    • #5
  6. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Underground Conservative: I’ve resorted to a penname since Ricochet 2.0 came out. After the Mozilla events, it felt like using my name publicly has too many risks

    Heck, I usually change my online pseudonym every couple of years to keep the hounds off the scent. I’ve been tracked down by enemies more than once.

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Underground Conservative: “I’ll tell you what’s going on – one group of f*****g criminals overthrow another group of the same f******g criminals, that’s it,nothing more.”

    Sounds familiar:

    “The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.” – George R. R. Martin

    • #7
  8. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    BTW, whoever added the graphic to my post, that’s really, like, cool.  Thanks.

    • #8
  9. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Misthiocracy:

    Underground Conservative: I’ve resorted to a penname since Ricochet 2.0 came out. After the Mozilla events, it felt like using my name publicly has too many risks

    Heck, I usually change my online pseudonym every couple of years to keep the hounds off the scent. I’ve been tracked down by enemies more than once.

     Then 2.0 is a big improvement for you guys! It did not used to change your nick in the archives, but it appears that it does.

    UC, don’t be too hard on Oleg. He was caught in the full blast of the world’s most expensive and powerful propaganda machine. Better informed people than he was were also sucked in. Heck, Peter Robinson was suckered into posting a video that misled its viewers on when the Berlin Wall was set up (and when the World Wars were fought, etc.). If a propaganda operation is sophisticated enough to con Peter, it’s good enough to con any of us.

    • #9
  10. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    Fair enough.  Yes, Oleg is in a difficult spot. I should have stated that I was impressed with his eventual clarity of the situation.  The man is taking action for the sake of his country.  That I truly admire.

    • #10
  11. Albert Arthur Podcaster
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    James Of England: Peter Robinson was suckered into posting a video that misled its viewers on when the Berlin Wall was set up (and when the World Wars were fought, etc.). If a propaganda operation is sophisticated enough to con Peter, it’s good enough to con any of us.

     Eh? I missed that…

    • #11
  12. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Albert Arthur:

    James Of England: Peter Robinson was suckered into posting a video that misled its viewers on when the Berlin Wall was set up (and when the World Wars were fought, etc.). If a propaganda operation is sophisticated enough to con Peter, it’s good enough to con any of us.

    Eh? I missed that…

     http://ricochet.com/one-thousand-years-shifting-borders/
    It’s missing the video now (I’m guessing a 2.0 casualty), but it’s this one (for some reason not on Youtube). http://vimeo.com/89394659
    Note that this has East and West Germany coming into existence after 1963, when the Berlin Wall went up. The multi-decade extension of WWII is not untypical for the video’s deceits and these kinds of deceptions are the fundamental point of the video, causing European borders to appear as if they have been constantly in flux. I merely noted that date and feature because it emphasizes that this is history that Peter is intimately familiar with; the Russians can lie to us and get us to spread their lies even when we know better and live in freedom.

    • #12
  13. user_519396 Member
    user_519396
    @

    There was never an accounting of Lenin’s and Stalin’s crimes, and the lesser crimes of their successors right down to Gorbachev. Imagine an aggressive and expansionist Germany filled with Nazi irredentists, briefly cowed by losing the war and once again on the march demanding the restoration of East Prussia, Silesia, Danzig, etc. That’s what Putin’s regime is today.

    • #13
  14. user_313423 Member
    user_313423
    @StephenBishop

    It does sound like one of those Nigerian letters telling you you’ve won a bunch of money the only problem is you need to send money to unlock it.

    Has the veracity of of this information been checked?

    • #14
  15. big spaniel Member
    big spaniel
    @bigspaniel

    Stephen Bishop:

    It does sound like one of those Nigerian letters telling you you’ve won a bunch of money the only problem is you need to send money to unlock it.

    Has the veracity of of this information been checked?

     There are several websites that have been collecting money for the Maidan.  They might be ok.

    One organization is collecting for the army, the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee.  They’ve been around since the last war when they helped refugees.  They’re based in Philadelphia.  They are collecting for military and National Guard families now:  http://www.uuarc.org/.

    Yanukovych and his cronies stole $70 billion, so it’s a surprise there’s anything left, and not surprising that soldiers need anything they can get.

    • #15
  16. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    It is not a Nigerian-type letter, i.e. it is not an intentional scam.  I am personal friends with this person and I believe what he says.  As I stated above, I could trust him with money, but I’m not sure what the heck would happen to it once it left his own hands.  Frankly, this is pretty much common knowledge across Ukraine that the place has been looted.  

    • #16
  17. big spaniel Member
    big spaniel
    @bigspaniel

    Sorry to my friend Oleg.  But it’s tough when reality bites you in the ass.

    Ukrainian or Russian, we all should have seen this coming.  The Soviets (because that’s what they are, and will admit it) are like that.  They will lie as much as possible, and then accuse you of lying (the very term “Bolshevik” — “majority” is itself a lie, because they weren’t.

    The same thing happened after the war in eastern Europe — the Red Army harnessed the worst kind of criminals and traitors to rip apart their societies from within.  The “separatists” in the East are the worst kind of thugs, and are being paid well by Putin.  They are musor — living, breathing garbage.  All they know how to do is beat other people.   They are a small minority taking advantage of a vacuum.  Polls have showed little support for Moscow anywhere in Ukraine. 

    It is time to stand up.  Not just Oleg, but everybody.  The U.S., Europe and the West need to do more now, or we’ll have to do more later.  

    Let’s all  tell Oleg  mih z vamy — we are with you.

    • #17
  18. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    Spacibo big spaniel.  The amount of infiltration going on in the East must be daunting. I imagine nobody knows whom they can trust. However, if the pro-Ukraine movement is really that strong within the country, then why can’t they act against the separatists yet?  And yes, we need to stand stronger now since the situation will only get worse if we just leave Ukraine’s fate to Russia.  That has already been tried and failed too many times in the past.

    • #18
  19. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    BTW, I intend to write several more of my Ukrainian friends.  Anyone have any questions you want me to ask?

    • #19
  20. big spaniel Member
    big spaniel
    @bigspaniel

    If the pro-Ukraine movement is really that strong within the country, then why can’t they act against the separatists yet? 

    Nobody wants to start a war.  There was a similar standoff on the Maidan until the Berkut snipers shot.  Beforehand, neither side did anything to threaten the other.  Then there was enough people to chase them out of Kyiv.

    The Maidan forces were extremely well-organized for what they did, but deploying a large number of people a long distance on to a fixed target is a different story.  Probably the Ukrainian army would stop them if they tried.  The authorities would be afraid that it would be used by Moscow as a provocation, and the large, mechanized Russian forces just over the border would cross the border, beat them to wherever they were trying to go, and annihilate them.

    Over the weekend there was a pro-Ukrainian demo of a couple of thousand people in Donetsk, but the thugs beat the hell out of those people.  The police of course did nothing.

    The best place on line to follow events is the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website (remember them?):  http://www.rferl.com.

    • #20
  21. user_8182 Coolidge
    user_8182
    @UndergroundConservative

    Yes, agreed, taking the Russian bait is a real risk. At some point, something’s going to have to break, though. It would be nice if Ukraine had an ally that could give them the extra backbone and leverage they need to take care of business, but so much for that…

    Yes, have been a long-time consumer of rferl.com, though I’ve been a bit behind lately.

    • #21

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