The Guardian has launched some new stories about Ukraine again recently, after months and months of saying nothing…because the only people getting shot were getting shot by neo-Nazis that don’t exist.
There’s good news and bad news, if you’re Ukrainian.
First, the bad news: Despite trying really super duper hard, Ukraine hasn’t actually become any less corrupt. Even a bit. It might be more corrupt, actually. But it was all a big accident. Really. Shaun Walker says so.
There are some delightful bits here. First there’s this little chestnut:
Unlike in Russia, where the term “oligarch” has been a misnomer since Vladimir Putin stripped them of real political clout more than 10 years ago…
Which determinedly power-walks through a dangerous area for the Guardian: Things Putin might have done right. In fact it even links to this article, from ten years ago, that portrays the Putin regime trying to get billionaires to pay their taxes as some kind of medieval power-play. Indeed, in those sunny days before Putin became “Putler”, MacBeth seems to have been the metaphor de jour. Boris Berezovsky was his Banquo, if you can believe it.
And then there’s this one:
Ukraine has been an oligarchy in the true sense, with a few extremely wealthy men wielding huge power and influence.
Which neatly avoids the very idea that Western power lies anywhere near the hands of billionaires. Here, wealthy men having power and influence is some kind of old-fashioned accesory that any sensible civilisation just stopped doing. Like wearing togas, or slavery.
Anyway – de-oligarchisation is a very good thing (unless Russia does it), and it was honestly what all these lovely democrats in Kiev wanted. Honestly. The billionaire Prime-Minister, and the billionaire President and billionaire governor of Dnipropetrovsk all really wanted to get rid of billionaires. It was just really super hard. I mean, who even knows how to do that? How could they possibly have known that appointing a wanted international criminal, accused of the corruption in the homeland he was kicked out of, could possibly be a bad hire?
But Poroshenko is from the oligarch class and critics say he has failed to introduce a new kind of politics.
“Critics”, in this case, meaning anybody with one working eye and half a working brain. Anybody with any kind of sense knew, as soon as the new “democratic” Ukraine had only 5 billionaires on the presidential ballot, that the maidan “revolution” was simply a coup – a replacement of one set of billionaires with another. The people of Ukraine have never been worse off, financially speaking, they have civil war and the draft. And they have billionaire in-fighting to thank for it.
But that’s the bad news.
The good news is that this is not happening. At all. The neo-Nazis that were all imaginary a year ago are still imaginary now – even after blowing up two police stations in Lviv, and shooting up a gym in Mukachevo. None of that really happened. At all. And those 6000 people on the Maidan aren’t really there. It’s just Russian propaganda.
This guy is real though. The Ukrainian film director currently on trial for “terrorism related charges”, but says he is innocent. Of course he says that, who the hell wouldn’t? But the Guardian knows he’s telling the truth – because Russia is a backwards hell hole that only ever tries innocent people. People like Nadiya Savchenko, who are just nice girls that joined the Aidar batallion by accident, and didn’t mean to bomb anybody.
The director, Oleg Senstov, and his associate on trial for apparent involvment in several acts of “destabilisation” during the Russian “annexation” of Crimea, last year. I have no idea if he’s guilty, but there’s nothing to say he’s clearly innocent, and the Guardian certainly is more interested in waving an anti-Russia flag than making a case. Apparently Senstov has ties to “right wing” group Right Sector. We know them, they are the people who don’t blow up policemen, burn down buildings full of people or get cited for war-crimes by the HRW. They are also, according to the Guardian “villified on Russian television”. Russian TV is funny like that, all you have to do is wear a few swastikas and they all jump on dog-pile and villify the shit out of you. The BBC used to villify Right Sector too, of course, but stopped around February 2014.
The article does it’s best to try and talk-up the crisis and misery facing the people of Crimea since the brutal, casualty-less coup last spring. Apparently, according to the Crimean Human Rights Field Mission, “at least a dozen” Crimean dissidents and Tartars have been killed or disappeared in the last year. The CHRFM, interestingly enough, were founded on March 5th 2014, roughly ten days before the referendum, and their website gives no details about who founded them or where they get their money. I’m sure they’re totally legitimate.