[Marxism] "Geopolitics" and mass struggle in Ukraine

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 19 05:22:52 MDT 2014

Louis and others have been highly critical of those who have drawn attention to the conflict between NATO and Russia over Ukraine, ostensibly because these same "neo-Stalinists, tankies, conspiracists" etc. and their dupes on the left have focused on it to detract from and misrepresent the more important mass democratic struggle in the country represented by Euromaidan. In fact, Ukraine has been a textbook example of how there can be no separation, especially in times of crisis, in relations between rival states and relations between the rival classes and/or nationalities they support on the ground. 

The complex interplay of these forces is currently revealed in the standoff between the new government based on the Ukranian-speaking majority and the Russian-speaking minority resisting it in the heavily industrialized Donbas region to the east. The intransigence of the Donbas protesters can't be explained other than in relation to the sharp disagreements between the European NATO countries about how strongly to to risk a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine. If there were unanimity within NATO and the EU about economic sanctions against Russia and military support to the Kiev authorities, the Donbas rebellion and the uneasy support for it by the Putin government would have dissolved by now. It may still do so under Russian pressure resulting from last week's accord with the US and EU in Geneva but that is not yet clear. More generally, the conflict between the western and eastern regions of the country can't be explained other than in the context of their geographic, cultural, and economic ties to the EU nations and to Russia respectively and the centrifugal class and ethnic pressures which these exert inside Ukraine.

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Ukraine Accord Doubts Grow as Protesters Refuse to Disarm
By Stepan Kravchenko, Sangwon Yoon and Volodymyr Verbyany 
Bloomberg News
April 19, 2014 

Pro-Russian protesters, testing Russia’s willingness to help defuse the Ukraine crisis, are refusing to lay down arms even as the interim Ukrainian government pledged to abide by an accord reached in Geneva.

Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s government suspended its anti-terrorist operations in the country’s east and expressed a readiness to pursue constitutional revisions. A protest leader in Donetsk refused to disarm and vacate seized property and public places until Yatsenyuk’s administration steps down.

The discord adds to skepticism about whether Ukraine, the U.S., and the European Union will be able to use the Geneva accord to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for de-escalating tensions he and his associates deny they’ve had any role in creating. U.S. and EU officials yesterday reiterated their readiness to deepen sanctions against Russia, which they say has massed troops near Ukraine’s border and is fomenting unrest after annexing Crimea last month.

The developments don’t mean Russia is “necessarily reneging on the deal, as it is more of an effort for them to test the deal” and see how they can “avoid sanctions without trying to change the situation on the ground,” said John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Full: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-18/ukraine-accord-doubts-grow-as-protesters-refuse-to-disarm.html

Energy Needs Curb Eastern EU Hunger for Russian Sanctions
By John Fraher  
Bloomberg News
April 18, 2014 

The European Union’s eastern members, once united in their opposition to Soviet rule, are now split over how to respond to Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian incursion.

In one camp, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his Baltic allies argue that the EU and NATO need to face up to their historic responsibility and respond to Russian aggression with tougher sanctions. Others argue that such a stance is unrealistic given Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

At a recent EU summit, conversation turned to energy sanctions, according to a person at the talks. At that point, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban intervened to say he can’t support a clampdown on Russia when Hungary relies on it for 80 percent of his energy, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate was private.

The split highlights how Europe’s dependence on Russian energy is hobbling its ability to craft a united response that will deter Putin as he extends Russia’s reach into Ukraine. While the EU targeted individuals in initial rounds of sanctions and is threatening Russia with economic measures, it’s not clear how punitive they will be and will require unanimity to pass.

Full: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-18/putin-gas-splits-eastern-eu-over-russia-sanctions.html

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