The stench of hypocrisy..

The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

“We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments,” the White House spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said.

Boris Johnson spoke to the Ukrainian president on Monday night. According to Downing Street, Johnson said the steps taken by Putin made the Minsk peace process begun in 2014 “unworkable”. [1]

Minsk 2 was signed in 2015. It laid out simple sets to resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine by granting Donbass political autonomy within the Ukrainian constitution. It was workable and it was the only logical solution short of Donbass becoming a Russian protectorate. In the 7 years since it was signed Kiev has done nothing to move forwards towards a political solution. In the last few months multiple political figures in Kiev have been more or less openly repudiating it – saying for example that they will not grant special status to Donbass as Minsk requires. [2] It has become common to say that this agreement, sponsored by France and Germany and mediated by the OSCE, was signed under duress and so they don’t have to implement it. During these 7 years Western countries including the UK and US have been sending arms and military training (and giving intelligence support as well in the case of the UK at least) to the regime in Kiev.

Donbass is overwhelmingly populated by Russian speakers. There are significant numbers of ethnic Russians. A 2014 Gallup poll showed scant support for joining NATO and the EU in the East of Ukraine. [2] These people were democratically disenfranchised by the Western backed coup in 2014 which ousted a democratically elected President who had signed an agreement with Russia. The new and unelected regime then signed a political agreement with the EU. Is this how democracy progresses? The new regime in Kiev tried to introduce legislation downgrading the status of the Russian language. They failed. But a recent law requires shopkeepers to greet customers in Ukrainian. [3]

The population of Donbass in large measure wants in fact not to be autonomous within Ukraine or to be an independent statelet. They want to be part of Russia. Despite the barrage of propaganda this fact (with its narrative destroying capacity) occasionally accidentally seeps out:

Anecdotal evidence has shown that many of the people who remain are those who strongly opposed the 2014 revolution that toppled the former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych (his hometown is in the separatist-controlled regions) and those who are too poor or were unable to leave when fighting broke out [4]

The journalist has tried to hide it but he can’t completely obscure it. Or this:

Some said they believe the latest events will force Russia to step in and officially recognise or even annex the territories that it has run as proxies since 2014. “All of us who left are thinking and hoping that this is the last time,” said Elena Kravchenko, a post office worker from the Starobesheve district. “That [Russia] will come in and clean them out.” [5]

This is incontestable. The Maidan ‘revolution’ so heralded in the West was not a revolution for everyone in Ukraine. It was not a victory for the 4 million inhabitants of Donbass. These people were disenfranchised by the coup, in which far right nationalists played a significant part. [6] There has been zero sign since then that the authorities in Kiev were prepared to acknowledge their concerns and meet them half-way. On the contrary Kiev has consistently denied them their voice and refused to speak with them.

The West had 7 years to pressure their client-state to implement the internationally mediated agreements which they had signed up to. Not only did they not do this but they went along with Kiev more or less openly repudiating them. And all the while they armed the regime in Kiev. The media played their part broadcasting statements from Ukrainian politicians casting doubt on Minsk without ever questioning what was happening (and even from NATO member Lithuania). Consistently reporting ceasefire violations as if it was only the militia side who was responsible (though OSCE information showed otherwise). The Russian annexation of Donbass is the inevitable result.

For the US and UK now to talk about Minsk and “international commitments” is hypocrisy of the highest order. But then we all know that for the West “international law” is a lever of Western policy – it has nothing to do with law in the sense of a set of rules which applies to everyone equally. It applies only when it suits them. They look stupid but this stupidity is covered up by a partner media which produces the required narratives. We hear a lot about “Russian aggression” but next to nothing about how Maidan was a ‘revolution’ of the West, and to some extent centre, of Ukraine – which in fact disenfranchised Russian-speakers in the East. The one-sided presentation in the media is entirely in synch with the refusal on the part of Western powers to recognize anyone’s rights but their own. This is why Russia had to take them.

Notes

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/02/kremlin-call-boris-johnson-ukraine-diplomacy-effort-utterly-confused-protect-russian-invasion
  2. https://www.usagm.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf
  3. https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210401-new-law-stokes-ukraine-language-tensions
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/17/what-is-the-background-to-the-separatists-attack-in-east-ukraine
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/20/donbas-ukraine-evacuees-face-uncertain-future-in-russia
  6. http://www.channel4.com/news/svoboda-ministers-ukraine-new-government-far-right

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer