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What If?: Galicia Rose Up In Place of Donbass
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Five years since the referenda in Donetsk and Lugansk about joining the Russian Federation.

By early February 2014, numerous regional administrative offices (OGAs) had been seized by Maidan forces in Far West Ukraine, with attempts at storming them elsewhere in the West and Center. Some city and regional councils made autonomy- or even independence-sounding proclamations.

Now suppose that instead of wavering and signing an agreement with the opposition that they almost immediately turned their backs on, Yanukovych had ordered a truly forceful clearing of the Maidan, with the security services given carte blanche to use live arms and guaranteed total immunity from prosecution if or – let’s be honest, when – they came under armed attack.

Suppose that over a period of several weeks the Ukraine would have succeeded in restoring Constitutional order everywhere except for the far western provinces of Galicia, Rivne, and Ivano-Frankovsk (the historical and political heartlands of Ukrainian nationalism). By February 20 (in the real timeline), some bands in the far west had already begun to arm themselves, including with heavy weaponry from local storage sites – much as was happening in places like Lugansk and Slavyansk come March-April. Image that instead of going back under government control, the OGA seizures in the far west metastasize (lots of ammo dumps there given Ukraine’s Soviet-era military posture, plus a couple of military units might have defected), reject the government’s authority, and start incubating their own state structures.

Suppose then that Yanukovych had launched an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against the West Ukrainian militants. Throughout all this, suppose that Russia has negligible or minimal involvement, apart from – obviously – rhetorical support for Yanukovych, and strong statements in support of Ukraine’s stability and territorial integrity. Suppose this ATO has lukewarm support in the East and South, but is opposed in the Center and universally hated in the Far West.

How would you have reacted to this scenario? What about Western politicians? As the Ukrainian Army shelled Lvov, would it be a case of Yanukovych “killing his own people” and calls for intervention? Or at least furbishing supply and training to the rebels/terrorists? Peacekeepers? Sanctions? Against just Ukraine, or Russia as well, if Russia refused to join the West in condemning the Yanukovych regime? To what extent would they support the right of the Ruthenian Neo-Habsburg Republic to autonomy, to independence, etc.? Or would they support Yanukovych, the alt-ATO, and preserving Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity?

 
• Category: History • Tags: Alternate History, Ukraine, War in Donbass 
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  1. Most Ukrainians (Eastern, Southern, and Central) hate and fear Galician Ukies. So, if Galicia broke away from the rest of Ukraine, the prevailing feeling would be “good riddance!”

    • Disagree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @AP
  2. Wannabe Lokot Autonomy larpers in Galicia are probably not any kind of strategic threat to Russia, so it wouldn’t hurt to just kick them out and let them play We Wuz Hapsburgz while consolidating the rest of the Ukraine into a more solidly pro-Russian block. A reasonable choice given limitations.

    The US and by default Nato would be inherently hostile because, well (((they))) always are.

  3. Mr. Hack says:

    As it is, Ukrainian nationalist dreams are too closely intermeshed between Western and Central Ukraine. The Ukrainian nationalist idea was first developed in Central Ukraine and spread to the Western areas. Later, really hard core Ukrainian nationalist ideas were imported from the Southern Ukrainian writer Dimitri Dontsov. So far, the only areas that have shown any interest at all of ‘unifying with Russia’ are areas that have had a large Russian population, Donbas and Crimea. In your made up scenario, Yanukovych was to give the orders for a ‘truly forceful clearing of Maidan’ to instigate the West from tearing away from the center. Well, weren’t the 100 dead that fell on the streets of Kyiv forceful enough? More deaths would only have caused a greater coordinated reaction from the center and the west to lynch Yanukovych and his small contingency of loyalists, instead of letting them escape to Russia, like what happened to Ceausescu.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Gerard2
  4. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Most Ukrainians (Eastern, Southern, and Central) hate and fear Galician Ukies.

    Central Ukrainans certainly prefer Galicians to Donbassers. I remember signs in the passages under streets in Kiev – do not urinate here, this is not Donbas. During Maidan about 30% of the protesters in Kiev were from western Ukraine – Kievans took them into their homes, fed them, etc. There are large cultural differences between central and western Ukrainians but they are on the same side in terms of geopolitical orientation and national idnetity/loyalty. This makes those differences akin to the differences between “Galician” and “Russian” Poles.

    I recall coming across some central Ukrainian Tolkienists labelling Galicians as elves, central Ukrainians as humans, Donbassers as Orcs and Moscow, naturally, as Mordor.

  5. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    You are correct, but this is a thought experiment: what if Yanukovich had somehow succeded in holding onto power in Kiev and the rebellion would have been in the West, rather than in the East? How would everyone else have treated the Kiev government and the Galician rebels?

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  6. Mr. Hack says:

    In this highly unlikely scenario, I don’t think that anybody would have really supported any Galician rebels. Look at the West today, it is very careful in providing arms for the current Ukrainian government, that won the mandate in 2014. I don’t see it going out of its way to help some rebels in Galicia. Other than the US and possibly the weakling Lithuania, I don’t see any true friends that Ukraine has in the neighborhood. How do you think this scenario would have played out, especially with Ukraine’s most militarily advanced European neighbor (outside of Russia), Poland?

    • Replies: @AP
  7. @AP

    So, Volhynia massacre was committed by elves? Tolkien would disagree. Many others, too.

    • Replies: @AP
  8. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    What happened between 1991 and 2014 to shift central Ukrainians’ political orientation from the East to the West? In March 1991, with the exception of Kiev city, central Ukrainians voted in favor of transforming the Soviet Union into an EU-style union–and they voted for this by much larger margins than the Volhynians did.

    • Replies: @AP
  9. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I don’t think that anybody would have really supported any Galician rebels. Look at the West today, it is very careful in providing arms for the current Ukrainian government, that won the mandate in 2014.

    I disagree. Weapons to Ukraine could lead to direct fighting with Russians. This scenario, in contrast, would be more like harming a Russian ally or proxy, such as Assad. The West has sent plenty of weapons into Syria.

    Other than the US and possibly the weakling Lithuania, I don’t see any true friends that Ukraine has in the neighborhood. How do you think this scenario would have played out

    If the Galicians decided to control themselves and tamp down their Banderism (a big IF) they would get a lot of support from Poland.

    I suspect the Americans would be sending a lot of weapons also, I don’t think Yanukovich would have been treated better than Assad. They might also engage in the occasional air strike, as was done in Syria.

    If a lasting cease fire were declared, and both sides abandoned territorial ambitions*, ultimately it would be Kosovo except more successful for Galicia (NATO and EU memberhsip).

    *Very unlikely, however. Given Ukrainian nationalist ideology I can’t imagine “free Ukraine” abandoning the Ukrainians of Kiev. Central Ukraine would be the setting of IRA-style resistence with a constant flow of arms and propaganda from Galicia, Lviv would be home to Kievan exiles, etc.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Mr. XYZ
    , @Mikhail
  10. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Central Ukrainians didn’t have total independence on their ballot in 1991. Transformation of the USSR into a loose EU-style union where Ukraine would have its own army was as far as they were able to vote for.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  11. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Makes one wonder if the West would have attempted some sort of humanitarian-style military intervention in favor of the western Ukrainians like they did in Kosovo back in 1999 or in Libya in 2011. I mean, I would think that it would be unlikely, but not completely impossible. It might depend on just how bloody the West thinks that Yanukovych is going to be after reconquering Galicia and the rest of western Ukraine.

    Personally, I’d be a bit squeamish about supporting the western Ukrainians in such a scenario due to the fact that, by having them secede from Ukraine, the pro-Russian side could gain a decisive advantage in Ukraine. It was different for Russia in Crimea and the Donbass because demographics in Ukraine were already shifting more and more in favor of the West due to the higher birthrates in western Ukraine. Thus, tactically speaking, it made more sense for Russia to salvage a part of Ukraine than for the West to do so in a scenario where Yanukovych would have triumphed. In the latter scenario, Yanukovych is still going to have to deal with a demographic time bomb–even if the threat won’t be serious immediately.

    BTW, I’m actually not particularly opposed to what Russia did in Crimea and the Donbass. In addition to helping consolidate pro-Western rule in Ukraine, this move also fit in with the idea of national self-determination. It would be terribly inconsistent to support national self-determination in, say, Kosovo or Scotland or Catalonia but not in Crimea and the Donbass.

  12. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    The Volhynians also didn’t have total independence on the ballot in March 1991 and yet the idea of converting the Soviet Union into a EU-style union received much less support there than it did in central Ukraine (with the exception of Kiev city). Why was this the case?

    • Replies: @AP
  13. Mr. XYZ says:

    Here’s the relevant map:

    Compared to Vinnytsia, Zhytomir, Khmelnytskyi, and even Kiev Oblasts, Volhynia wasn’t that large of a fan of the idea of converting the Soviet Union into an EU-style union–in spite of it probably being more nationalistic than any of these other oblasts were back then (for instance, the UPA actually did get some support in Volhynia after the end of WWII, but not in any of these other oblasts). This raises the question of whether a significant percentage of Volhynians (40%?) thought that a vote against the idea of converting the Soviet Union into an EU-style union would have meant that the Soviet government would have been compelled to offer Ukraine full independence.

  14. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    I suspect they were more likely to boycott.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    , @Mr. XYZ
  15. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Volhynia massacre was committed by Orthodox Ukrainians, who were like Central Ukrainians – I suppose that would make them humans. They did this after Poles had burned down 180 or so Orthodox Churches. It was a repetition of what happened during the Khmelytsky uprising. Very funny how the same Russians who condemn UPA in Volhynia, somehow don’t condemn Khmelnytsky.

    Moreover, Tolkien’s elves were brutally efficient when they wanted to be. I’m not an expert on Tolkien, but it seems that elves sometimes slaughtered dwarves and humans (as well as orcs, of course):

    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Dwarves_of_Nogrod

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  16. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    I disagree. Weapons to Ukraine could lead to direct fighting with Russians. This scenario, in contrast, would be more like harming a Russian ally or proxy, such as Assad. The West has sent plenty of weapons into Syria.

    I think that conflating Ukraine with Syria is not very accurate. The US has historically shown that it is more free of constraints to act in the Middle East as it wants than it is in Eastern Europe. Ukraine has only very recently broken away from the direct influence of Russia, five years ago this wan’t the case. Again, I point to the US slow support of Ukraine, over the last five years, with sophisticated weaponry. In 2014 – 2015, no real support of weaponry was provided to Ukraine, why do you think that more would have been forthcoming to some hotheaded Galician nationalists during the same period of time? Similarly, I don’t see why you think that NATO membership for a breakaway Galicia would be more achievable than for a much larger Greater Ukraine? Who in Europe would be ready to accept a new member to NATO under these circumstances, certainly not Poland, as you seem to reluctantly admit?

  17. @AP

    I recall coming across some central Ukrainian Tolkienists labelling Galicians as elves, central Ukrainians as humans, Donbassers as Orcs and Moscow, naturally, as Mordor.

    Germany as Numenor (onetime “Supermen”, since “fallen”), Belorussians as Isengard (traitors), and America as the Valar (the gods over the seas)?

    • Agree: AP
    • LOL: Dreadilk
  18. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Was boycotting actually going to do anything meaningful in regards to this, though?

    Also, why didn’t central Ukraine boycott this referendum?

  19. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    If the West decides to militarily help Galicia in such a scenario (a huge “if,” but not completely impossible), is it going to try helping the Galicians conquer all of Ukraine west of the Dnieper or even parts of Ukraine east of the Dnieper? What are your thoughts on this?

  20. Mr. XYZ says:

    Honestly, I don’t see Yanukovych as being in a very good position. Even if he manages to crush the Maidan protesters, he’s still going to need to win an election in 2015. Given his low popularity, I would think that this would be highly unlikely unless Tyahnybok is his opponent in the second round. So, Yanukovych would essentially have two choices–outright rig the election or lose a fair election and then change Ukraine’s system of government from a presidential one to a parliamentary one with himself as Prime Minister (BTW, did Yanukovych actually have enough votes in the Ukrainian parliament to pull this off?). Either of these two scenarios could trigger new large-scale protests and even a new revolution against Yanukovych.

    • Replies: @AP
  21. Dreadilk says:
    @AP

    Nice fanfiction you got going there.

    • Replies: @AP
  22. AP says:
    @Dreadilk

    Wish I could find that map. I didn’t make it, I’m hardly a Tolkienist.

  23. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    If he crushed Maidan, he would have plenty of loyal interior ministry troops all over Kiev and there would be no more Maidans. Also, he owned the parliament so could do what he wanted.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  24. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Was a mere majority vote in the Ukrainian parliament enough to convert Ukraine from a presidential system to a parliamentary system, though?

    Also, even totalitarian regimes are not completely immune from revolution. Just ask Nicolae Ceaucescu.

    • Replies: @AP
  25. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    It does seem to me that voting “No” in this referendum was a more effective way of advocating in favor of Ukrainian independence in areas where this option wasn’t on the ballot than boycotting this referendum would have been.

    Also, the fact that Communists overwhelmingly won the 1990 elections in the territories that were a part of the Ukrainian SSR before 1939 (plus Crimea, of course) suggests that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians outside of the far west were not actually interested in complete independence during this time.

    • Replies: @AP
  26. @AP

    Personally, I have no love for Khmelnitsky. A ruthless adventurer, a minor Polish noble (typical “pieniądze nema, honor maem”) who wanted to be somebody, nonetheless. He would have allied himself with the devil if there was an advantage to be had. He sure underestimated Peter the Great, but Mazepa made an even greater blunder, so his stupidity overshadowed that of Bogdan.

    • Replies: @AP
  27. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Was a mere majority vote in the Ukrainian parliament enough to convert Ukraine from a presidential system to a parliamentary system, though?

    No, but Yanukovich controlled enough that when push came to shove he could probably bribe/threaten a few turncoats to get what he wanted (I think he was about 20 people short of the thershold to change the constitution, plus he controlled the courts).

    Also, even totalitarian regimes are not completely immune from revolution. Just ask Nicolae Ceaucescu

    Well this is why in reality Yanukovich fled. But in our alternative reality he crushed the Maidan.

  28. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Personally, I have no love for Khmelnitsky.

    Okay, you are consistent, that’s good.

    A ruthless adventurer, a minor Polish noble (typical “pieniądze nema, honor maem”) who wanted to be somebody, nonetheless.

    A complex figure, who ultimately did a lot of harm.

    He would have allied himself with the devil if there was an advantage to be had. He sure underestimated Peter the Great

    Khmelnytsky died before Peter was born.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  29. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    It does seem to me that voting “No” in this referendum was a more effective way of advocating in favor of Ukrainian independence in areas where this option wasn’t on the ballot than boycotting this referendum would have been

    IIRC “No” meant retaining the USSR in its present form. This is why “extreme” anti-Soviets called for a boycott rather than for voting no. “Yes” meant turning it into a much looser organization. Another question in Ukraine was about confirming the sovereignty declaration, which went much further than the first question and would have meant Ukraine getting its own army. This one got more votes than the one for retaining the USSR in the new form (82% for vs. 71.5% for).

    Only Galicia got a question about full independence.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  30. Mikhail says: • Website

    Another hypothetical pertains to what would’ve happened to Crimea and Donbass following Yanukovych’s being overthrown, if Russia didn’t offer any response?

    Crimea might’ve been more violent in the form of Bandera and Dzhemilev types provoking things against the pro-Russian majority, without much protest from the Kiev regime. The insurrection in the Donbass would probably not have been as successful with perhaps less violence.

  31. anon[330] • Disclaimer says:

    Like Erdogan shooting Gezi Park protesters in Summer 2013.

    I think the whole idea is a bit fantastical without Nato support.

  32. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    Central Ukraine would be the setting of IRA-style resistence with a constant flow of arms and propaganda from Galicia, Lviv would be home to Kievan exiles, etc.

    Keeping in mind that in the last Ukrainian presidential election, Poroshenko’s svido platform only won him Galicia and one part of Kiev, where Western NGO influence is predominates.

    In the preliminary round, Boyko was 5 percentage points behind Poroshenko, with the latter having gone to Moscow without penalty.

    As previously noted, central Ukraine has seen an increase in western Ukrainians, since the end of WW II – something noted by Subtelny as well as some others. Makes perfect sense since it’s the Ukrainian capital with western Ukraine (the former Habsburg portions not originally part of the USSR) pretty much only starting to experience Soviet peacetime rule after WW II.

    • Replies: @AP
  33. @AP

    Maybe. That does not matter much – tsars change, the Empire remains. As French put it, “the king s dead, long live the king!” Khmelnitsky, like many before and after him, greatly underestimated the Russian Empire. He paid for it, too, although not as much as Mazepa, Karl XII of Sweden, Napoleon, Hitler, or current imperial ideologues and imperial sidekicks will.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  34. @AnonFromTN

    Wilhelm II seems to have been the only one who ever got the better of the Russians.
    But then he did not underestimate them but rather begged his cousin for months to cut out the murderous nonsense.

  35. anonymous[261] • Disclaimer says:

    Doubtful the west would have had much interest beyond some possibility of creating mischief. The Galicians wouldn’t have brought valuable territory with them such as Crimea as possible future NATO bases. Their utility would be negligible except for whatever could be squeezed out of them to benefit the west.

  36. Beckow says:

    …what if: Galicia rose in place of Donbass

    The point of the exercise is to highlight the Western hypocrisy: Western reaction would be completely inconsistent, self-serving and dishonest. The eternal ‘you steal my cow, it is bad – I steal your cow, it’s good…’ We can again confirm that sun rises in the east.

    The only successful long-term future for Ukraine is as a federated, neutral, non-confrontational country getting along with its neighbours. All other scenarios lead to constant strife, chaos and eventual dismemberment. Galicia is territorially isolated, poor, land-locked, its only useful function for the West would be as a forward military base against Russia and a source of throw-away soldiers and cheap labor.

    Yanukovitch was doomed by the circumstances, so were Yushenko and Poroshenko. Zelensky is facing the same irresolvable dilemmas. They destroy Ukraine trying to square a circle. If Ukraine is lucky, a strong, unifying – and very local – character will appear to cut the crap, federate the country, go for neutrality, open up to both EU and Russia, and let Ukraine be with its wealth and potential.

    There will not be a centralised Ukraine run by the Galician-Kiev coalition, or Donbass-Dnipro coalition, or any other regional supremacy. Russia is too close, Europe is too weak, and Washington too self-serving and only interested in its post-menopausal geo-political dreams – what is left is a federated compromise or a slow dissolution.

    One point that gets overlooked: when West hates Russia (as they do today), they also in a transitive fashion hate all things associated with Russia. Nothing is more linked to Russia than Orthodox, funny-sounding Ukrainians – in the long run West doesn’t distinguish and same was true about Nazis. Mulatto did his work, mulatto can go.

    Ask who cares more about the well-being of regular Ukrainians – John McCain or Putin? Macron or Lavrov? Does anyone really think that Washington or London would lose any sleep if all of Ukraine was evaporated next year? Not a chance, they would see it as an opportunity, maybe move in their surplus migrants (I have seen discussions about it). They truly don’t care, but Putin just might.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  37. @Beckow

    The Empire does not give a hoot about any aborigines, it considers them disposable, like condoms. Of course, Russians care about the suicide of Ukraine more than anybody: nobody else has as many relatives in Ukraine, or ancestral cities, etc. But current Ukrainian government does its level best to make Russians ashamed of Ukraine, to make them stop caring, and stop throwing good money after bad. They are succeeding: the great majority of Russians now despise Ukrainians. No enemy could have done as much damage to Ukraine as its greedy shortsighted elites.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  38. AP says:
    @Mikhail

    Keeping in mind that in the last Ukrainian presidential election, Poroshenko’s svido platform only won him Galicia and one part of Kiev, where Western NGO influence is predominates.

    Zelensky is a pro-Ukrainian nationalist who donated a million of his own dollars to ATO, is sponsored by a Maidanist oligarch who also sponsors Right Sector, and now posts videos of elderly UPA helpers and Soviet veterans getting along.

    This idea that he is an anti-nationalist, or pro-Russian, repudiation of Maidan is very stupid wishful thinking.

  39. @AP

    (Minor correction: He donated a million grivnas).

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @AP
  40. @Anatoly Karlin

    That’s about 30-fold correction (might have been 26-fold when he gave).

  41. @AP

    This idea that he is an anti-nationalist, or pro-Russian, repudiation of Maidan is very stupid wishful thinking.

    Now, I agree with this. Ze is not pro-Russian, he is pro-Ze. He is a nonentity voted in just to get rid of Porky (which may or may not happen – Porky doesn’t seem to be willing to cede the power). In the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine the voters had the choice all too familiar to the US voters: you can have shit, or even greater shit, and you are free to decide which shit is greater – democracy.

    • Replies: @Gerard2
  42. Mikhail says: • Website
    @AP

    It’s very stupid wishful thinking to believe that Zelinsky ran a carbon copy svido campaign along the lines of Poroshenko.

    Poroshenko’s resounding defeat exhibits the limits of svido thinking in Kiev regime controlled Ukraine. BTW, Zelinsky has reached out to the UOC in a way that Poroshenko in his last months of the presidency didn’t.

    No denying that Zelinsky has definite limits from a pro-Russian perspective. Related articles to these observations:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/05/04/serbian-church-defeats-us-agenda-in-ukraine-but-not-in-serbia-yet/

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/04/24/gauging-ukraine-with-russia-and-belarus/

    https://nationalinterest.org/feature/petro-poroshenkos-nationalism-cost-him-presidency-53887

  43. Beckow says:
    @AnonFromTN

    …great majority of Russians now despise Ukrainians. No enemy could have done as much damage to Ukraine as its greedy shortsighted elites.

    Elites take the material stuff, but when it comes to emotions they have to reflect popular views. So I would not excuse regular Ukrainians – it is they who have been driving the rising hostility toward Russia. And it will be they who will pay a price for it, the elites will be fine.

    Nation-to-nation attitudes have a sticky quality, once Russians have crossed the line into despising Ukrainians, it will take a huge amount of work (and time) to undo. That’s something regular Ukrainians fail to grasp, this is not a game, there are consequences.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
  44. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Russians have crossed the line into despising Ukrainians, it will take a huge amount of work (and time) to undo

    You act as if Ukrainians don’t want this. Most don’t want Russia’s embrace, for them so much the better if Russians turn away.

  45. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Nation-to-nation attitudes have a sticky quality, once Russians have crossed the line into despising Ukrainians, it will take a huge amount of work (and time) to undo. That’s something regular Ukrainians fail to grasp, this is not a game, there are consequences

    So, we’re left to believe that up to this point its been a benevolent and brotherly Russia that has largely supported if not been the outright inspiration for the rip-off of Crimea and the further unrest in Donbas? Jeez, with friends like that, who needs enemies?

  46. DreadIlk says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Look for examples such as how Russia dealt with Chechnia. Or how China dealt with it’s Muslims. Or Balkans when the hatred sets in. Ukraine only has two possible futures. Friends with Russia or Neutral. Anything else and it will be destroyed or conquered.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  47. Mr. Hack says:
    @DreadIlk

    Personally, I’ve thought that a Findladization of Ukraine would be a decent solution, at least for the time being. Joining the Visegrad Group would be another interesting option. But it’s not what you or I think or want that’s going to be pivotal, but what the Ukrainian people feel is the best option to support their national and economic interests.

    Russia could very well destroy itself if it decides to play rougher in Ukraine. Ukraine is not Chechnya nor the Muslim part of China.

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
  48. DreadIlk says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Ukraine was conquered for the last 100 years by three different empires. Precedent is there. So no Ukranian people will decide on jack shit.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  49. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Why the passive voice? There is no benevolence outside of church and no brotherhood outside of family.

    Ukraine cannot afford to have Russia as its enemy in the long run – it is too big to be sponsored in perpetuity by the West, and too weak to withstand sustained pressure from Russia. Most people are neither enemies nor friends – they just are. The intentional triggering of hostility with a large, resource rich country next door – AP says it makes Ukies happy – is about the dumbest policy since Frau Merkel fell in love with the absence of boundaries. Ukrainians are earnestly peeing into a hurricane, when they wake up it will be all over them. What then?

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  50. Mr. Hack says:
    @DreadIlk

    All three empires are gone, into the dustbin of history, while Ukraine is still standing.

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
  51. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Nobody has a crystal ball and knows how it will all end. It’s hard though to deal with a former colonial master that still wants to try and recreate what once was with what is the reality of the situation. All colonial masters do eventually fade away…

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
    , @Beckow
  52. DreadIlk says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Ukraine did not defeat them like Afganistan. So I don’t know what you are trying to prove here. They fell apart for reasons that had nothing to do with Ukraine.

  53. DreadIlk says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Colonies implies something far away. I would use a word conquered or a vassal. And hoping for someone to die away some time in the future is not a strategy.

  54. AP says:
    @Beckow

    The intentional triggering of hostility with a large, resource rich country next door – AP says it makes Ukies happy – is about the dumbest policy since Frau Merkel fell in love with the absence of boundaries.

    Because brotherhood, with Russians believing Ukrainians to be Russians and therefore needing to be in the same country, worked out so well? Remind me how many Ukrainians were starved to death when they were in the same country as Russia. Or in the previous attempt, the scope of the expansion of serfdom. No thanks.

    Most Ukrainians will be happy when Russians finally dislike them enough that they want nothing more to do with them and their country. The ones who didn’t feel this way, thank God, have left, and hopefully their regions never again come within Ukrainian borders.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  55. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Because brotherhood, with Russians believing Ukrainians to be Russians and therefore needing to be in the same country, worked out so well? Remind me how many Ukrainians were starved to death when they were in the same country as Russia. Or in the previous attempt, the scope of the expansion of serfdom. No thanks.

    Technically speaking, though, the Russian people can’t be blamed for either of these two things since they never actually voted for either Tsarist rule or Communist rule.

  56. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Interestingly enough, Russia could have went for much more of Ukraine in 2014–in fact, all of Novorossiya–as Anatoly Karlin has in fact previously advocated. By being so mild in his territorial expansion, Putler! turned out to merely be Putlet.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @snorlax
  57. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    …Nobody knows how it will all end

    Nothing ever ends, endings are only a narrative device. Our future is fully contained in our present, in the choices we make. Using terms like ‘colonialism‘ is escaping into slogans to avoid reality.

    Ukraine is poorer and smaller because of the choices Ukrainians made. If they made other choices their situation would be better. Maidan triggered the loss of Crimea. Attack on Donbass led to a divided country. Signing the Association Treaty resulted in losing trade with Russia. No mystery: actions led to predictable reactions.

    Crystal ball says that pissing of one’s main trade partner makes you poorer. Why wouldn’t it?

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
    , @Mr. Hack
  58. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Ukraine is poorer and smaller because of the choices Ukrainians made.

    Indeed. Ukraine should have committed to a Western course in 1991. This was fixed in 2014.

    As for 2014 – Donbas is a lot poorer for the choice it made. Crimea is richer. Western and central Ukraine are not poorer for the choice they made (western Ukraine richer, central Ukraine poorer). Kharkiv is poorer, but it did not choose what happened. Ukraine being smaller is good. It’s good that France became smaller without Algeria, no?

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Mr. XYZ
  59. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Interestingly enough, Russia could have went for much more of Ukraine in 2014–in fact, all of Novorossiya–as Anatoly Karlin has in fact previously advocated.

    Karlin was only projecting his own personal feelings, not giving an informed opinion based on any facts. Of course Russian intelligence sources had infiltrated all of ‘Novorossiya’ as you put it (quite an antiquated and loaded nonsenical term), and was surprised to see that any efforts for agitation against Kyiv by this largely Russian speaking population was soundly rebuffed. Putlet was wise enough to get what he could, and leave everything else alone.

  60. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Using terms like ‘colonialism‘ is escaping into slogans to avoid reality.

    Actually, trying to avoid nasty terms like ‘colonialism’ is a sign of escapism and a refusal to deal with reality.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  61. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Signing the Association Treaty resulted in losing trade with Russia

    .
    So what? fortunately for Ukraine, it’s been able to shake off its stagnant past and resume rebuilding its economy with a much greater trading alliance than anything Russia has been able to put together. The most current statistics point towards a new robust European alliance where Ukraine’s trading patterns are increasing quickly, year by year. In 2018, Ukraine’s trade with the EU increased by 40%, or if you consider gains made through currency exchanges, as high as 56%. Your a bright guy, I’m sure that the FSB school that you’ve completed, has made sure that you’re at least reasonably conversant in Ukrainian: https://www.eurointegration.com.ua/articles/2019/05/10/7095934/

    • LOL: DreadIlk
    • Replies: @Beckow
  62. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    When you use on overly broad term – whose normal definition doesn’t fit the history of Ukraine…or Scotland, Norway, Corsica that are similar – you move to a lala-land where words don’t mean what you think they mean.

    E.g.one can call a random Hollywood starlet a prostitute – most technically fit the definition of an exchange of value for… – but how informative or helpful is it?

    If Ukraine was a colony according to you, was it previously then also a colony of Poland, Habsburgs, Ottomans and Crimean Tatars? Isn’t everything than a ‘colony’? Can you name a single spot on earth that wasn’t a colony by your broad definition?

  63. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    …Ukraine, it’s been able to shake off its stagnant past and resume rebuilding its economy with a much greater trading alliance

    Ukraine seems quite stagnant to any observer and statistics don’t show robust growth.

    Regarding trade – it is not an abstraction: it is selling and buying specific things from specific trade partners. If what you sell is also what they sell, there is not much potential for trade. Ukraine largely tries to sell what EU sells, and buys similar stuff that EU buys. Look at the details of trade – Ukraine is trying to under-sell the very same things already available inside EU. That’s why it hasn’t been very successful.

    Trade is about something: if two restaurateurs meet, there isn’t much they can ‘trade’ with each other. On the other hand a utility company can sell to both.

    EU and Russia have a natural synergy in trade: Russia sells stuff EU needs and EU wants Russia’s resources and consumer markets. If you remove restrictions, the trade will naturally grow, no pointless government meetings are even necessary. It is a natural economic fit.

    Similarly, Ukraine – or Poland and Baltics – have an economic fit with Russia. It has been like that for thousand years (on and off). It is the natural state when left alone. Atlantic meddlers don’t profit from that situation so they use time-honored comprador techniques to limit it. But it has no chance to succeed in the long run – just like water always flows downstream, the natural economic relations eventually prevail. Look at Germany and Russia, and ask what do German businesses know that Kiev doesn’t?

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  64. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    Ukraine seems quite stagnant to any observer and statistics don’t show robust growth.

    Only a blind man would try to characterize the percentages of increase in growth in trade with the following individual countiries as being ‘stagnant’. I’m quite sure that as time goes by these figures will go up even more:

    Ми вже згадали, що загальний експорт до ЄС зріс у півтора рази (точніше, на 55%). Окремі країни мають ще спритніше зростання постачань з України: Нідерланди – на 77%, Німеччина – 66%, Польща – 65%, Угорщина – 81%, Словаччина – 84%, Латвія та Бельгія – удвічі, Естонія – у 2,3 рази тощо.

    Even trade with your ‘native’ Slovakia has increased by 84%. It’s a good thing that not all Slovakians are so dead set against Ukraine as you are.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Gerard2
  65. Beckow says:
    @AP

    …Ukraine should have committed to a Western course in 1991. This was fixed in 2014.

    So what happened in 2004? The ‘Orange’ thing, what was that all about? Trying out orange street cleaning uniforms?

    You omit too much, why forget so quickly about the Orange revolution and ‘joining Europe’ already in 2004?

    France would be better off without Algeria if it didn’t decide to simply import ‘Algeria’ (and more) to France. As it is, French probably chose the worst available route: turn France itself gradually into a Third World colony. Not a good analogy with Ukraine, Crimea and Russia.

    • Replies: @AP
  66. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    The bulk of ‘trade’ with Slovakia is buying Russian gas that Kiev refuses to buy directly from Gazprom. It is a joke, Slovakia makes around half a billion on the trade without the gas ever physically leaving Ukraine.

    I don’t have the context for the other numbers you provide, so I won’t address them. But I have yet to see any actual Ukrainian products in EU. What the f..k are they selling here? Honey, timber, steel ingots? We got enough of all of them. What we get are desperate and very cheap workers from Ukraine. Looks like Ukrainians are dreaming of becoming Guatemala of EU (of course, without the chicas great math skills :).

    You also refuse to address the underlying mismatch in economies between EU and Ukraine, and a fit between EU and Russia. Looking the other way won’t change it.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
    , @AP
  67. Mr. Hack says:
    @Beckow

    You also refuse to address the underlying mismatch in economies between EU and Ukraine, and a fit between EU and Russia

    If there’s such a ‘mismatch’ between Ukrainian and EU trade, then why is it increasing, almost exponentially? The fact that Russian trade with the EU is also robust is a plus too. Trade is good for everyone, isn’t that the golden rule of the Western world? A rising sea lifts all vessels.

    • Replies: @Beckow
  68. Beckow says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Two reasons it is increasing: it started out from a very low base and there is a lot of political ‘trade’, e.g. re-selling of gas back to Ukraine, Netherlands does that too.

    In the long run it has to make business sense – that means the activity is profitable without subsidies. That’s only partially true about the Ukrainian trade. You see the glass as half-full, I also see the underlying issues. Look at Latvia for a recent example of a country that de-industrialised after switching to EU trade: they have services, banks, real estate. But losing Russia’s market has been devastating for industries in Riga, the population also dropped by 25%. Ukraine could retrace those steps on a larger scale. There will be ‘winners’, e.g. Latvian government officials and professional service people are well off, but is the country better off as a whole?

    • Replies: @AP
  69. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Ukraine should have committed to a Western course in 1991. This was fixed in 2014.

    So what happened in 2004? The ‘Orange’ thing, what was that all about? Trying out orange street cleaning uniforms?

    Ukraine was held back by Donbas and Crimean electorates so the shift wasn’t as strong as it should have been and then cut short.

    France would be better off without Algeria if it didn’t decide to simply import ‘Algeria’ (and more) to France.

    Correct, but do you think that if it had 41 million Algerians rather whatever number it has now, it would have been better off?

    Losing Crimea and Donbas were very good things for Ukraine. Too bad they weren’t lost in 2004, Ukraine would have been so much better off then.

  70. AP says:
    @Beckow

    The bulk of ‘trade’ with Slovakia is buying Russian gas that Kiev refuses to buy directly from Gazprom.

    Ukraine has seen dramatic increase in exports to Slovakia. Main exports in 2017:

    Ores, slag and ash $316.41M
    Electrical, electronic equipment $79.65M
    Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products $52.34M
    Iron and steel $41.18M
    Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal $24.63M
    Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers $22.99M

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
  71. AP says:
    @Beckow

    Look at Latvia for a recent example of a country that de-industrialised after switching to EU trade: they have services, banks, real estate.

    Ukraine isn’t deindustrializing. Large-scale increase in light manufacturing (stuff like auto parts, wires) compensates for losses in heavy industry so overall industrial growth is about even. In this area Ukraine is stagnant. In other areas (IT – not call centers, also outsourcing, programming, R & D) and agriculture it is growing.

    But the economic center of gravity is shifting – the new factories being built are closer to the EU border, the ones by the Russian border are doing worse.

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
  72. AP says:
    @Beckow

    But I have yet to see any actual Ukrainian products in EU.

    So there are no Audis, Mercedes Benz in EU? Do you know that much of their wiring is built in Ukraine? And the number of factories in Ukraine is increasing.

    https://www.ft.com/content/27f943ac-91b4-11e8-9609-3d3b945e78cf

    Employing some 3,200 people, the Zhytomyr assembly line is Kromberg & Schubert’s second in Ukraine, where dozens of global companies in the labour-intensive business have aggressively expanded in past years.

    Attracted by low monthly salaries of $300 to $500, global auto wiring companies including Leoni, Fujikura and Yazaki have shifted production to Ukraine from central and eastern European countries where costs have increased.

    Many jobs are now based in central to western Ukraine, far from the south-eastern Donbas region where daily battles continue between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists.

    Oleksandr Shavarskyi, commercial plant manager at the Zhytomyr plant — whose senior management is almost entirely Ukrainian — estimates the boom time for parts manufacturers has created “from 100,000 to 200,000” jobs. These include production line workers, subcontractors, and associated services. “In our business, all of the players are present here . . . dozens of them,” he adds.

    In the town of Vinnytsia, south of Zhytomyr, regional officials tour a brand-new factory initially employing 1,100 people to produce commercial refrigerators for international sellers of everything from ice cream to beverages.

    Similar efforts are under way in other Ukrainian cities, where more than 120 new factories have opened in the past three years. Increasing numbers of products made in Ukraine ranging from shoes to toothpaste appear routinely on store shelves.

    This is just one company:

    https://www.just-auto.com/news/leoni-opens-second-wiring-systems-plant-in-ukraine_id178896.aspx

    [MORE]

    Leoni has started a second wiring systems production facility in Ukraine in the Western city of Kolomyia.

    “I am happy to open this plant in Kolomyia, which is a positive sign for both the expansion of our company and the development of the Ukrainian economy”, said Leoni board member with responsibility for the Wiring Systems Division (WSD), Martin Stüttem.

    The first part of the plant in Kolomyia has been built up within ten months and has a total production area of around 6,500 sq m, expanding up to 25,000 sq m to 2020.

    Total investment in the buildings will amount to about EUR20m (US$23.5m). Leoni plans to hire up to 800 workers until the end of 2017 and by 2021 headcount will increase up to 5,000.

    The new plant will produce harnesses and wiring systems for the automotive industry, mainly supplying carmakers and suppliers headquartered in Europe.

    “During the next four years, Leoni will create up to 5,000 jobs in the Ivano-Frankivsk region”, said Leoni Ukraine managing director, Stephan Schmidt. “We consider the investment to be an important step for the development of the Ukrainian youth, which we believe has enormous potential.”

    Leoni has already been operating a wiring systems plant in Ukraine, located in Stryi (Lviv region) since 2002. It is the largest Leoni plant in one building with a total production area of around 44,000 sq m and where more than 6,700 workers are employed.

  73. Mikel says:

    This is an easy question to answer.

    By February 2014 the EU and the US were fully committed to supporting the removal of Yanukovich by the Maidan insurrection. They were handing out presents to the revolutionaries on the streets and openly discussing among themselves who the new rulers in Ukraine were going to be (“our guy Yats” and all that).

    A resolute crackdown of the revolt leading to those plans failing would undoubtedly have resulted in the imposition of fierce sanctions against the Ukrainian regime and likely against allied Russia.

    Sending the Ukrainian army to crush a rebellious Galicia in full force and mercilessly shelling civilian areas, exactly like Poroshenko/Yats did in Donbas, would have met an even more indignant response from the West. To this day we would be watching footage of the horrors on our TV screens and I wouldn’t discard the US, Poland and the Balts moving to support the rebels and foment a civil war in Ukraine.

    Of course, I am basing my conclusions only on a rational assessment of the realities that I observe. I don’t know how God would have judged these hypothetical events and what His reaction would have been, which, to my astonishment, I just learned that Anatoly and AP believe to be a relevant factor in these matters.

    • Replies: @AP
  74. DreadIlk says:
    @AP

    Less than a billion dollars.

  75. DreadIlk says:
    @AP

    Great strategy bud giving up heavy industry for light industry. Remember couple of months back how you were all about service industry being great until you were explained how service industry can not exist without a manufacturing base. Do I have to spell it out how heavy > than light?

    • Replies: @AP
  76. AP says:
    @DreadIlk

    Remember couple of months back how you were all about service industry being great until you were explained how service industry can not exist without a manufacturing base

    Yes, I remember your dumb comment. No R & D without tractors LOL.

    • Replies: @Dreadilk
  77. AP says:
    @Mikel

    I don’t know how God would have judged these hypothetical events and what His reaction would have been, which, to my astonishment, I just learned that Anatoly and AP believe to be a relevant factor in these matters.

    Do you belong to a disappearing secular nation?

    • Replies: @Mikel
  78. Mikel says:
    @AP

    Do you belong to a disappearing secular nation?

    Actually, yes. My increasingly secular homeland is being absorbed ever more thoroughly by its even
    more secular and bigger neighbors. But this is a clear matter of size and power. There isn’t the slightest sign of the process being driven by the revenge of any god, voodoo spell or any other paranormal explanation.

    In any case, I just expressed my astonishment at the fact that two very intelligent persons like Anatoly and you would believe in such things. Whatever I might think about it, I’m perfectly aware that people like high ranking politicians or bankers resort to Tarot reading services and similar pursuits. Apparently, these tendencies are more common in Eastern Europe.

    • Replies: @AP
  79. Dreadilk says:
    @AP

    R&D is not a service industry.

    • Replies: @AP
  80. AP says:
    @Dreadilk

    I was about IT (outsourcing programming and R & D) being great in Ukraine. R & D is service, as it does not involve manufacturing:

    a business that does work for a customer, and occasionally provides goods, but is not involved in manufacturing:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=service+industry&oq=service+industry&aqs=chrome..69i57.3223j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    a business that does work for a customer, and occasionally provides goods, but is not involved in manufacturing.

    • Replies: @DreadIlk
  81. AP says:
    @Mikel

    In any case, I just expressed my astonishment at the fact that two very intelligent persons like Anatoly and you would believe in such things.

    That God influences the world and world events is standard Christian belief. Despite being an intelligent person yourself, you are suggesting that intelligent people cannot hold Christian beliefs, which is an absurd and sad idea. The sadly common idea of disappearing peoples.

    I can also add another “coincidence” – those who rejected God violently through Bolshevism and Nazism disappeared brutally, whereas those who did so gently, through indifferent secularization, are being wiped off the face of the earth in a relatively gentle way, through demographic replacement.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  82. Mikel says:
    @AP

    you are suggesting that intelligent people cannot hold Christian beliefs

    No. I am suggesting that explaining historical events and sociological trends through acts of collective punishment by the revengeful God of the Old Testament is no more rational than predicting results of elections by reading Tarot cards.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  83. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mikel

    Are you a Christian? Do you realize that the God of the Old Testament is the very same God of the New Testament?

    • Replies: @Mikel
  84. DreadIlk says:
    @AP

    You splitting hairs and live in fantasy land. You count as a win service industry R&D. What next you will vax proud about how putting wires together is better than selling tanks and jet engines?

    Here is what needs to happen to indicate Ukraine’s economy will not be a slavic somalia. Ukraine needs to start producing it’s own planes in export quantities. It needs to produce it’s own heavy machinery in levels above 2014. It needs to produce it’s own military equipment instead of cannibalizing soviet parts and not meeting deadlines for pre-2014 contracts.

    Everything else is fantasy peremoga. Don’t get me wrong I would be happy for IT and bitch labor for car manufacturers. But that is maybe 10% of what you need to call a real peremoga.

    Also I hear Ukraine came short of GDP growth expectations last quarter.(low base)

  85. Mikel says:
    @Mr. Hack

    No, credulity and tradition may lead people to believe that the violent Yahveh of the OT and the benevolent God of the NT are the same deities, just as Muslims believe that Yahveh and Allah are the same being, but this is obviously not the case for any dispassionate reader of those fables. Note that the writers of these scriptures, composed many hundreds of years apart from each other, didn’t even give these entities the same names.

    I am not a Christian but I attended Catholic school for 10 years and our priest/teacher explained this issue very clearly at religion class: the stories in the OT are to be taken as allegories, not as a recount of any real events. Eg Adam and Eve were not the first humans and the latter was not created from a rib bone of the former.

    Some people may decide to believe the horrendous and incongruous stories of the OT for their spiritual needs but they are a minority even among contemporary Christians.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AP
  86. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mikel

    Personally, I think that the Old Testament can be read at times as allegory, sometimes as history, even at times as poetry. But it is quite interesting and quite prophetic, that there are scores if not hundreds of allusions to the then coming Messiah, that Jesus seems to perfectly embody? Not so with Mohammad…

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  87. AP says:
    @Mikel

    No, credulity and tradition may lead people to believe that the violent Yahveh of the OT and the benevolent God of the NT are the same deities,

    According to Christian belief it is the same God.

    I am not a Christian but I attended Catholic school for 10 years and our priest/teacher explained this issue very clearly at religion class: the stories in the OT are to be taken as allegories, not as a recount of any real events. Eg Adam and Eve were not the first humans and the latter was not created from a rib bone of the former.

    Correct. The stories from the Old Testament are all true but they are not factual. In contrast, the New Testament is basically eyewitness accounts of actual events. As with all eyewitness accounts of the same event, details differ. Voltaire stupidly thought this was evidence of it being false.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    , @Mikel
  88. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Well, a lot of people appeared (and still appear) to be willing to die on Muhammad’s behalf, so …

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  89. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Correct. The stories from the Old Testament are all true but they are not factual. In contrast, the New Testament is basically eyewitness accounts of actual events. As with all eyewitness accounts of the same event, details differ. Voltaire stupidly thought this was evidence of it being false.

    Makes one wonder why Jews refused to believe that Jesus is the Messiah if the evidence in his favor is allegedly so solid and bulletproof.

    • Replies: @AP
  90. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    IIRC “No” meant retaining the USSR in its present form. This is why “extreme” anti-Soviets called for a boycott rather than for voting no.

    If so, it’s interesting that most Ukrainians don’t appear to have followed their advice.

    BTW, Ukrainians could have voted for nationalists in the 1990 Soviet elections just like people in some other SSRs did. Had they done so, they could have easily refused to participate in the March 1991 Soviet referendum. The fact that most Ukrainians outside of the far west voted for the Communists in 1990 suggests that Ukrainians were uninterested in a complete break with the union even though this was indeed on the table (with Rukh, I believe).

    “Yes” meant turning it into a much looser organization.

    Yes, but boycotting this referendum or, better yet, not participating in this referendum in the first place would have been preferable from a Ukrainian nationalist POV.

    Another question in Ukraine was about confirming the sovereignty declaration, which went much further than the first question and would have meant Ukraine getting its own army. This one got more votes than the one for retaining the USSR in the new form (82% for vs. 71.5% for).

    Yeah, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Ukrainians failed to see the contradiction between being a part of a union and having one’s own military. I mean, it is theoretically possible within the EU, but it’s a thin balance since this union could either completely break up or become much closer. (Indeed, Britain withdrew from the EU in part because it was displeased with the idea of deeper EU integration.)

    Only Galicia got a question about full independence.

    Yep, as you said–because Galicians were actually enthusiastic about the idea of Ukrainian independence while other Ukrainians weren’t.

    BTW, it would have been interesting had the March 1991 referendum in Ukraine resulted in a very narrow No vote with Galicia being the decisive vote. Then, Galicians’ desire for full independence would have really screwed Ukraine over since Galicians’ stubbornness would have meant that not only would Ukraine not get full independence, but also it wouldn’t even manage to get the Soviet Union transformed into an EU-style union.

    Also, why did most Kievans vote No in the March 1991 referendum (out of those who voted)? Did a lot of people there boycott this referendum as well?

    • Replies: @AP
  91. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    It’s good that France became smaller without Algeria, no?

    Absolutely. There were too many Arabs in Algeria. With universal suffrage and a one person, one vote scheme (even after 1947, AFAIK, Muslim Algerian women were not allowed to vote and Muslim Algerians and the pieds-noirs each had the same amount of representation in the French parliament in spite of the much larger number of Muslim Algerians (6+ times larger than the pieds-noirs, if I recall correctly), Algerians would have eventually made up something like 40% of France’s total electorate. Add the other Muslims and Africans, and you might get close to a majority of Florida’s total electorate.

    This would also be why it would be stupid for Israel to outright annex the entire West Bank. Unless one is going to engage in gerrymandering and/or vote dilution to weaken Muslim political power afterwards, such an annexation is going to significantly affect the composition of Israel’s electorate.

    Thus, you do have a point that Crimea and the Donbass were ruining Ukraine’s electorate. Yanukovych would have barely won without Crimea (by something like 0.3-0.4% instead of around 3.5%), but without Crimea and the rebel-controlled parts of the Donbass, Yanukovych would have almost certainly lost. Still, Ukraine could have become even stronger by losing some additional areas–such as the rest of the Donbass, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhia. The Russophone presence was very strong in all of these areas in 2001. Also, as I previously suggested, it might have been a good idea for Transnistria to annex Odessa and the Budjak. That way, even more pro-Russian voters would have been removed from Ukraine while Transnistria would have finally acquired a port and sea access. As for the pro-Western Ukrainians in all of these regions, well, they could simply move to the remainder of Ukraine if they won’t like Russian or Transnistrian rule.

    BTW, I certainly found it interesting that, in spite of being more urbanized, “Novorossiya” was much more pro-Russian than western Ukraine is. “Novorossiya” and possibly Belarus were the major exceptions to the widespread support for European Union entry that existed in the rest of Eastern Europe after 1991.

    • Replies: @snorlax
  92. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Many did (a large percentage of early Christians were Jews), the ones who did not were very bitter.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  93. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    IIRC “No” meant retaining the USSR in its present form. This is why “extreme” anti-Soviets called for a boycott rather than for voting no.

    If so, it’s interesting that most Ukrainians don’t appear to have followed their advice.

    A lot of people simply weren’t politically fanatic and thoughtful like that (Galicians were). They saw a question about making the USSR much looser than it was – they voted yes. They saw another question making it looser still, with Ukraine getting its own army – and voted yes to that in an even greater number.

    BTW, Ukrainians could have voted for nationalists in the 1990 Soviet elections just like people in some other SSRs did. Had they done so, they could have easily refused to participate in the March 1991 Soviet referendum.

    In Ukraine the non-commies were legalized late and had zero access to media, while commies themselves were going non-commie (Kravchuk the first president, was a recently ex-communist). It was somewhat messy.

    Also, why did most Kievans vote No in the March 1991 referendum (out of those who voted)? Did a lot of people there boycott this referendum as well?

    D.K.

  94. Mr. Hack says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Lots of people throughout history have been willing to die for all manner of ridiculous ideas. With respect to Mohamed, I believe that many have done so under group psychosis, or similarly have been raised with these beliefs deeply ingrained within. The types of murders that individuals endured, like the first apostles and believers in Jesus occurred before Christianity was an accepted religious expression, that they could have easily avoided by a renunciation of their faith, There’s never been anything like it within any other religion during its formative period.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  95. Mikel says:
    @AP

    The stories from the Old Testament are all true but they are not factual.

    It’s much more simple than that. They’re clearly fables made up by and for primitive people who lacked the knowledge of the laws of nature that we now have. These people weren’t particularly concerned with reason and logic either, as revealed by the multiple contradictions that one finds in those writings.

    It is little wonder that, as societies become more appreciative of rational thought and abandon superstition, people stop believing in these fantasies altogether. It’s a much more natural thing to do than resorting to mental contortions of “allegories” and “true but not factual stories” in order to maintain some semblance of faith in those ancient myths. Even people who decide to remain Christian nowadays are obviously embarrassed by the need to keep that part of the doctrine.

    As a matter of principle, I don’t try to dissuade people from believing in whatever makes them feel good for their afterlives. I don’t have anything better to offer them. But in the 21st century using the more irrational parts of the Old Testament to explain current historical events is a bit too bizarre, I think.

    • Replies: @AP
  96. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Mr. Hack

    There’s never been anything like it within any other religion during its formative period.

    Mormonism?

    • Replies: @AP
  97. Mr. XYZ says:
    @AP

    Why were some Jews bitter?

    Also, did a lot of the early Christian Jews subsequently have their descendants become Muslims after the Islamic conquest of the Near East?

    • Replies: @AP
  98. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Why were some Jews bitter?

    They wanted a Messiah who would destroy their enemies and not one who was crucified; Christianity rendered their elites obsolete; Christianity opened up the faith to gentiles. So Jews were very bitter and hostile to Christians, and engaged in activities such as snitching on them to the Romans. This explains much of the hostility towards Jews by the Church Fathers.

  99. AP says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    There were occasional lynchings but those were much less gruesome, occured on a smaller scale (maybe a handful of people), and weren’t very voluntary.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  100. AP says:
    @Mikel

    The stories from the Old Testament are all true but they are not factual.

    It’s much more simple than that. They’re clearly fables made up by and for primitive people who lacked the knowledge of the laws of nature that we now have

    This does not contradict what I wrote.

    These people weren’t particularly concerned with reason and logic either

    These things should not be fetishized.

    It is little wonder that, as societies become more appreciative of rational thought and abandon superstition, people stop believing in these fantasies altogether.

    One can be intelligent, rational and nonsuperstitious and recognize the truth in those stories from the Old Testament. That God’s message was given to primitive people in terms they could understand, does not mean that He was in any way dishonest.

    Even people who decide to remain Christian nowadays are obviously embarrassed by the need to keep that part of the doctrine.

    I haven’t come across any of those IRL, I suppose some such weirdos exist.

  101. snorlax says:

    Fictional whataboutism! That’s quite innovative of you, to combine the two favorite standbys of Russia apologia. 😉

    As a vehement opponent[1] of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and utterly despicable aggression against Ukraine, I would consider this to be an internal Ukrainian matter, in which we would have no compelling interest that justifies interfering.

    Additionally, interfering, without the Ukrainian government having taken hostile actions against us or our allies that would justify it, would be a flagrantly illegal violation of their sovereignty under Westphalian international law. Aiding military aggression against the Ukrainian government would directly violate our treaty obligations under the Budapest Memorandum (also signed by Russia, of course).

    If we do not adhere to our sworn treaty obligations, that demonstrates us to be liars and cheats, profoundly so in the case of the Budapest Memorandum, where in exchange for our (and Russia’s) guarantees of nonaggression and Ukrainian territorial integrity, Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal, which without a doubt guaranteed their safety from aggression.

    If treaties, particularly arms control treaties, far more so nuclear arms control treaties, far more so treaties where a country agreed to give up its nuclear deterrent, are not worth the paper they’re printed on, that gravely and irreversibly endangers the entire world.

    Most importantly, European civilization is not in a position to afford wars amongst ourselves, and to foment, fuel or worst of all be the actual aggressor in such wars puts one among the worst enemies of our civilization and its people now living. For our civilization to survive, it is imperative to make every reasonable effort to prevent, or, should that be impossible, to resolve intra-European wars.

    As to the question of how Western governments would have responded to this scenario in real life, that depends on clarifying a few factors:

    A) How brutal of a crackdown on Euromaidan are we talking? Tiananmen Square or 1905 Bloody Sunday?
    B) Does this scenario imply the broadly-hated Yanukovich makes himself dictator and/or rigs the 2015 presidential election?

    Or Ukraine remains a democracy and either the loss of Galician voters plus backlash to Merkel’s Boner and insurrection boosts Yanukovich’s standing enough to squeak in, or PoR amends the constitution to eliminate the office of president, or another candidate is elected and continues the ATO.
    C) Do the rebels shoot down MH-17 or commit an equivalent war crime against civilian Westerners?
    D) Are the rebels Galician separatists or are they claiming to be the legitimate government of Ukraine? If the latter, are they supported by the mainstream opposition, e.g. Timoshenko and Klichko?
    E) Is the rebel government (in actual fact, not Russian propaganda) dominated by antisemitic Nazi apologists?
    F) Does Ukraine become an outright Russian puppet or does it continue to keep the door cracked open towards the EU and NATO?
    G) Is Russia threatening to match like-for-like any Western military aid or intervention on behalf of the rebels, and to retaliate against sanctions on Ukraine?

    If it’s A) Tiananmen Square, B) makes himself dictator, C) no, D) rival gov’t incl. opposition, E) no, F) Russian puppet and G) no:

    Western gov’ts would consider Yanukovich equivalent to Assad or Milosevic, and would take aggressive measures to depose him, somewhere in the range of Maduro (all forms of economic and diplomatic pressure and aid to regime opponents short of military intervention) to Gaddafi (enforce no-fly zone against Kiev gov’t plus provide air support to rebels).

    Russophiles and Corbyn-type far-leftists might advocate neutrality or outright supporting Yanukovich, but probably wouldn’t get their way.

    If it’s A) Bloody Sunday, B) another candidate elected, C) yes, D) Galician separatists, E) yes, F) door cracked open and G) yes:

    Western gov’ts would treat it like Yeltsin and Putin in Chechnya, i.e. occasionally criticize “human rights violations” but in practice treat it as an internal Ukrainian matter.

    Bolton-type ultra-hawks might advocate sanctions plus aid to the rebels, but probably wouldn’t get their way.

    If it’s somewhere in between, the Western response would be somewhere in between.

    [1] And no, I’m not a “Russophobe.” In fact I think America, the world and Ukraine would be better off if it had remained within a post-communist Soviet Union. I am agnostic as to the question of Ukraine pursuing closer ties with Russia, the West or both, except that it ought to be decided by Ukrainians.

    Given the rise of China and the ever-present threat of nuclear brinksmanship, I think it would be very much in both countries’ interests for the US and Russia to be allies.

    To achieve that end, while the first is not a concession I’d take lightly, I’d be willing to make a grand bargain with Russia where we allow them a free hand in the former Soviet Union except the Baltics (maybe throw in Kosovo as a sweetener) remove all sanctions, stop interfering in their domestic politics and share our advanced military technologies with their arms industry.

    In return, they would join NATO, stop targeting us with their nukes (mutual of course) and stop supporting but rather join an unified front against the most egregious bad actors (China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela). All of which are really in Russia’s interest anyway, so all in all a pretty fantastic deal for them.

  102. snorlax says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    “Novorossiya” and possibly Belarus were the major exceptions to the widespread support for European Union entry that existed in the rest of Eastern Europe after 1991.

    I’m pretty sure that back then a clear majority of Russians wanted to join the EU and NATO, or at least they did following the August coup, so presumably Belarusians and “Novorussians” would’ve had a similar opinion.

  103. snorlax says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    As I’ve said here before, from a Russian nationalist[1] perspective, Putin took the stupidest, worst-of-all-worlds course of action in 2014, simultaneously overreacting and underplaying his hand.

    Course of Action A) Just because you lose one hand doesn’t mean you need to kick over the table. The much smarter, conservative course of action would’ve been to simply do nothing.

    Yanukovich’s term was almost up and he was all but certain to lose reelection anyway. The pattern of Ukrainian politics is that each president quickly reveals himself to be as corrupt and incompetent as the last and ends up losing reelection by an embarrassing margin.[2]

    Per usual, exactly that in fact happened with Poroshenko. If Putin had done nothing, then with the votes of Crimea and the Donbass, and, according to polls, a large majority of Ukrainians considering Russia their country’s closest friend rather than by an equally large majority its worst enemy, instead of Poroshenko being replaced by the nationalist but more moderately so Zelensky, the president-elect almost certainly would’ve been an outright Russophile like Boiko.

    In the interim, Ukrainian politicians can all be bought, Ukrainophile and Russophile alike. Putin previously bought Timoshenko and even Yushchenko.[3] There’s no reason to think Putin couldn’t under different circumstances have done business with Poroshenko, a cartoonishly corrupt (per usual) ex-Kuchma/Party of Regions official.

    The from Russia’s perspective favorable or at least not-unfavorable political landscape in Ukraine has been drastically altered by the loss of much of the Russophile electorate and the massively decreased sympathy and increased hostility towards Russia among the rest, thanks to their war of aggression that has killed ~7,500 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians and counting. A presidential candidate as Russophile as Kuchma and Yanukovich is now unelectable.

    The argument that Putin needed to cut off his nose to spite the phenomenon of “color revolutions,” and specifically the possibility of being deposed in one himself, is nonsense.

    First, Euromaidan was set to do the work of discrediting itself for him, given Poroshenko’s wholly predictable failures.

    Second, it has made the possibility of a Russian color revolution much higher, not lower. Western intelligence agencies have dramatically ramped up their efforts at subversion in Russia. Now that the initial wave of patriotic fervor has died down, Western sanctions, which aren’t going away anytime soon, have had and continue to have a massive negative impact on the Russian economy; this and the attendant belt-tightening like the recent pension cuts work to sap the regime’s popularity.

    And last, what’s good for Putin bears little relation to what’s good for Russia. In this case they’re pretty clearly at cross purposes.

    The argument that it was necessary to stop Ukraine from joining NATO and/or the EU is also nonsense.

    The questions of Ukraine joining the EU and NATO, which formerly divided Ukrainian public opinion evenly, now have overwhelming majorities in favor. As mentioned above, while under the previous status quo pro-Western governments would regularly alternate with pro-Russia governments that put EU and NATO integration on ice, there will never in the foreseeable future be another Ukrainian government that seeks closer alignment with Russia than the West.

    Regardless of Ukrainian aspirations, EU and NATO membership are pipe dreams. The Europeans will veto both for the foreseeable future. Besides, a Putin-ignores-Euromaidan Ukraine in the EU would be good for Russia in several respects; it would make it that much harder for the EU to impose sanctions on Russia, and in Ukrainian domestic politics it would eliminate the Ukrainophiles’ best wedge issue.

    Contra the Russian government’s batty conspiracy theory, the EU is not an anti-Russia military alliance. Quite the contrary, EU institutions work tirelessly to promote anti-Americanism.

    To be a bit of a broken record, NATO is an anti-Russia alliance because Russia chooses to make it so. They could at any time bi- or even unilaterally bury the hatchet with NATO, which would render NATO’s continuing relevance somewhere in the ballpark of the Commonwealth of Nations, ASEAN or the CIS[4].

    Course of Action B)

    Forget half-measures. As demonstrated in Crimea and the initial takeover in Donetsk and Luhansk, owing to the extreme state of confusion and disorganization, Putin could have ordered a lightning, bloodless or nearly so, occupation of all of Ukraine. Yanukovich could then be restored to power, or (smarter) restored for a few days then made to resign in favor of someone who’s not a stupid, incompetent literal mobster, or a fake referendum could endorse annexation by Russia.

    Like Russians, Ukrainians have very jaded and fatalistic attitudes about government. The vast majority would be quite unhappy about Russian occupation or annexation, but would I suspect resign themselves to it. I doubt there would be much resistance by the population outside Galicia, and even there it would probably be manageable, especially if the troublemakers were “encouraged” to make a new life in Poland.

    The Western response in terms of sanctions would’ve been pretty similar or would possibly even be milder, since again there wouldn’t be a >5 year, >7,500 Ukrainians killed war. For that reason also, Ukrainian attitudes towards Russia would most likely be somewhat friendlier, and would grow progressively more so in the medium to long term with Russification in place of the previous Ukrainization policy.

    [1] That is, in a dispassionate analysis without the blinding effect of Putin Kool-Aid.
    [2] The one exception being Kuchma, who, in his 1999 reelection, lucked out to face his weakest opponent—the leader of the Communist Party—in the second round.
    [3] Who ended up forming an unholy alliance with Yanukovich!
    [4] To be a bit on the nose.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  104. Mikel says:
    @snorlax

    You are assuming that when Yanukovich was ousted there was no popular revolt in the areas that had voted overwhelmingly for him, especially in Crimea. I think that this is wrong.

    I did not pay much attention to the Maidan protests but when the violence began I did follow the events closely and, even though most of my information came from the Western MSM, it was quite evident that lots of people in the East wanted to secede and join Russia.

    The Kremlin was faced not only with this uprising of scores of Russophones right across the border but also with the fact that the West had overplayed its hand by supporting yet another violent regime change, this time on Russia’s doorstep. This came after more than a decade of disastrous Western interventionism across the world that had just resulted in the Libyan catastrophe and yes, it would be naive of Putin to think that at some point he could not be targeted himself with a color revolution so the occasion was as good as it gets to take a stand.

    It soon became clear that the pro-Russians were not strong enough even in Kharkov or Odessa so the uprising was more limited than what Putin may have hoped for but still there was no reason to abandon Donbas to its horrible fate.

    First of all, he shouldn’t haven’t played the silly game of “plausible deniability” that saved Russia no sanctions whatsoever and he should have acted in the open, both in Crimea and in Donbas. In Donbas he should have heeded Girkin’s advice to intervene when it was clear that the new regime in Kiev was throwing all its might against the rebel region, with no compunctions for civil casualties.

    A decisive pushback against the advancing Ukrainians, rather than the covert half-intervention that he provided, could have actually saved most of the 4,000+ civilian casualties that the conflict has caused so far. Contrary to what you seem to think, it is very clear that a majority of them were caused by the Ukrainian side when they advanced to recover the lost territories. With Donbas safe from Kiev punishment, he could have followed the Crimean path or perhaps try to negotiate a settlement for the region with Kiev. I don’t know what the best strategy would have been.

    You do have a point with the Russians making NATO countries more hostile against them than they would normally be. The Skripal stupidity comes to mind, for example. But that’s another matter. Making the West aware in Ukraine that its path of overthrowing regimes and exporting its values around the world had to stop was probably the right thing to do.

  105. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    As it is, Ukrainian nationalist dreams are too closely intermeshed between Western and Central Ukraine. The Ukrainian nationalist idea was first developed in Central Ukraine and spread to the Western areas. Later, really hard core Ukrainian nationalist ideas were imported from the Southern Ukrainian writer Dimitri Dontsov

    No they weren’t you cretin. You are doing is retrospectively, lying by promoting non-entity, failure idiots who have zero credibility at all in this absurd Ukrainian “national identity” BS . They didn’t have credibility at the time they were around and they don'[t have any credibility now. All it is the retard Banderite community in North America promoting these nobodies

    So far, the only areas that have shown any interest at all of ‘unifying with Russia’ are areas that have had a large Russian population, Donbas and Crimea.

    95% were against leaving the USSR, and withing a few years about the same percentage wanted to return to it you dimwit. Add in the failure and farce over this new church, the annihilation in election by the voters about how the country has moved in the last 5 years, the fact that the country now more than ever is defined socially, politically, morally, religiously and economically by Russia

    • LOL: Mr. Hack
  106. Gerard2 says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Now, I agree with this. Ze is not pro-Russian, he is pro-Ze.

    Correct – although from what I have seen from his main advisor ( Or officially, assuming that this idiot is Kolomoisky) called Dmitry Razumkov seems like he could be OK in advice towards Russia

  107. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    So, we’re left to believe that up to this point its been a benevolent and brotherly Russia

    Russia is STILL by far the biggest importer, exporter, FDI, remittance sender, language used by and services provider in Ukraine.

    if not been the outright inspiration for the rip-off of Crimea and the further unrest in Donbas

    Ukropia can’t run itself normally or safely – that is why they don’t control Crimea and Donbass you dimwit.

  108. Gerard2 says:
    @AP

    Central Ukrainans certainly prefer Galicians to Donbassers. I remember signs in the passages under streets in Kiev – do not urinate here, this is not Donbas.

    LOL – a lieing cretin as yourself has no knowledge or credibility to suggest this nonsense – particularly after the BIZARRE post by yourself on languages where it was comprehensively proven you know f**k all about Russian/Ukrainian! Nobody who can speak the language would even come close to writing the nonsense you did in your lanuage “analysis”

    Every country has their industrial area vs urban vs agricultural area jokes and critiques and relations – but your claim of seeing that sign is obviously fake – further reinforced by the fact of the huge amount of people in science, art, business, sport, writing and engineering born or lived in Donbass in history dwarfed the non-existant section of people in Galicia who have achieved anything in these fields in this over time

    Probably some idiotic lie you have recycled from some North American Banderatard blog ( those who don’t invest, visit or do anything remotely useful for their fake country)

  109. Gerard2 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Only a blind man would try to characterize the percentages of increase in growth in trade with the following individual countiries as being ‘stagnant’

    2-3% for a country that has had a catastrophic 20% loss IS stagnant you dimwit. Even more embarassing is that this (fake figure) only exists because remittances are about 10% of GDP ( taxes from which come about 30% of the government budget) . When Iran and Syria and Iraq and Libya came out of double -digit freefall recession they rebounded with far higher percentages. As it is – Belarus, Armenia growth dwarves Ukropia’s midget performance

    Even trade with your ‘native’ Slovakia has increased by 84%. It’s a good thing that not all Slovakians are so dead set against Ukraine as you are.

    LOL…increased from nothing to – slightly more than nothing! Even that is not an increase relative to 2014 you idiot…….and a huge part of that is reverse-gas from Russia.

    I’m quite sure that as time goes by these figures will go up even more:

    Nobody with a brain is saying that about a country on the verge of defaulting, massive unrest, massive emigration, nothing positive to say about itself, AND….amusingly….guaranteed another recession when gas transit cutoff starts next year (3-4% of GDP)!

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