American troops in Ukraine? You bet.

From the Ron Paul Institute, January 23, 2015

US-backed president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was among the elites gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the 2015 World Economic Forum. During his speech he made the remarkable claim that 9,000 Russian troops were currently fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the independence-seeking areas of the country. These 9,000 troops have brought with them tanks, heavy artillery, and armored vehicles, he claimed. “Is this not aggression?” he asked the gathered elites.

The US was quick to amplify Poroshenko’s claims, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Tweeting today:

Time and again, #Putin has extended an olive branch in one hand, while passing out Grad missiles & tanks with the other. #Ukraine
— Samantha Power (@AmbassadorPower)
January 21, 2015

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked whether the US might at least admit that the missiles fired by the Kiev authorities into residential areas in eastern Ukraine this week were a violation of the September ceasefire agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus. She refused to admit as much, and in fact she refused to even admit that the shells killing scores of civilians this past week were fired by the US-backed regime in Kiev. “Russia is not complying” with the agreement was all she would say.

NATO agreed with the US government assessment, adding that the movement of heavy equipment from Russia into Ukraine had increased in pace recently.

There appears to be a problem, however. The 9,000 troops and heavy weapons and equipment that purportedly accompanies them have been seen by no one. There are no satellite photos of what would certainly be a plainly visible incursion. We know from incredibly detailed satellite photos of Boko Haram’s recent massacre in Nigeria that producing evidence of such large scale movement is entirely within the realm of US and NATO technological capabilities. Still there remains a lack of evidence.

Moreover, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is on the ground monitoring the border crossings between Ukraine and Russia, reported just this week that, “At the two BCPs (border crossing points) the OM (observer mission) did not observe military movement, apart from vehicles of the Russian Federation border guard service.” If there has been an increase of Russian heavy weapons into Ukraine, why are the satellites in the skies and the eyes on the ground blind to them?

Poroshenko, who last week vowed to re-take eastern Ukraine by force, this week offered a different solution to the ongoing conflict:

The solution is very simple — stop supplying weapons … withdraw the troops and close the border. If you want to discuss something different, it means you are not for peace, you are for war.

That is probably good advice, but how ironic that it comes the very same week the Pentagon announced that US soldiers would be deployed to Ukraine this spring to begin training that country’s national guard. US military on the ground in Ukraine is a significant escalation, far beyond the previous deployment of additional US and NATO troops in neighboring Poland and the Baltics.

Additionally, the US announced it was transferring heavy military equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, including the Kozak mine-resistant personnel carrier and some 35 other armored trucks.

The US government has reportedly set aside several million dollars to help train the Ukrainian national guard. Considering the fact that the national guard was only re-formed after last year’s US-backed coup and is made up in large part of neo-Nazis from the extremist Right Sector, one would hope some of the money is spent dissuading members from such an odious ideology.

So there may well be Russian troops and equipment on the ground in Ukraine — though so far no proof exists and the Russians deny it. But we know very well that there are US troops and heavy military equipment on the ground in Ukraine because the US openly admits it! So Russia has no business claiming interest in unrest on its doorstep, but the US has every right to become militarily involved in a conflict which has nothing to do with us nearly 5,000 miles away? Interventionist illogic.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2015/january/23/foreign-troops-in-ukraine-you-bet/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/american-troops-in-ukraine-you-bet/5428067

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Auschwitz: where is the root of Polish guilt?

By Oriental Review, January 14, 2015

The statement by Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, claiming that it was Ukrainians alone who allegedly liberated the prisoners from Auschwitz, needs no further comment. We’ll let that remark lie on its author’s conscience, as he seems to have “forgotten” about the thousands of his own countrymen who fought heroically against fascism as part of the Armia Ludowa. In the end, Schetyna’s revisionism merely echoes the long-established opinions of some nationalist Polish historians. For example, back in 2005 the late Pawel Wieczorkiewicz, a former professor at the History Institute of Warsaw University, was quoted in the newspaper Rzeczpospolita as saying that he felt it would have been helpful to have had an alliance between Nazi Germany and Poland.

“We might have found our place on the side of the Third Reich, almost like Italy, and probably in a better position than Hungary or Romania. As a result, we could have been in Moscow, where Adolf Hitler and our Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły together could have watched our victorious Polish-German troops parade before them.”

That’s nothing new, there’s plenty of photographic evidence of the friendship between Polish nationalists and Nazis. Government officials simply agreed with the scholar’s conclusions.

Polish guilt, handshake 1

A handshake between Polish Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły and the German attache, Major General Bogislav von Studnitz, at the “Independence Day” parade in Warsaw, November 11, 1938.

Nevertheless, Schetyna’s statement gives us a good reason to take a closer look at the data in the archives. Who did the Red Army, which included people of every nationality living in the Soviet Union (including Poles), expel from liberated concentration camp? Let us peer through Mr. Schetyna’s nationalist “glasses” and take a look at the ethnic composition of the collaborators who were guarding Auschwitz. Immediately we see that there is a great deal of evidence that ethnic Poles and Ukrainians (known as “Trawniki men) volunteered for duty in the execution brigades and as camp guards. Ethnic Germans, even those “devoted” to the SS, viewed such “work” with contempt. Many of the Polish-Ukrainian collaborators fled to Canada after the war. There they have been living out their lives in peace, and are now watching, no doubt awash in happy nostalgia, as their disciples, bearing torches, march triumphantly under the Wolfsangel rune in Kiev. Apparently this skeleton in the closet so haunted the professor and diplomat that the Polish Foreign Ministry grasped onto an alternative history. “They prefer to call themselves ‘victims’ and emphasize their own suffering under Soviet rule, ignoring the fact that they themselves exterminated Jews on a massive scale,notes Dr. Efraim Zuroff, a respected historian and the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Israel.

Here is just a sampling of facts about precisely from whom the Red Army rescued the prisoners at Auschwitz. Information from the official archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum proves that at various times the Blue Police (“Granatowa Policja”) were made up of Polish collaborators who helped send people directly from train stations to Auschwitz.

Polish guilt, police officer 2

Pictured is a Polish police officer in the Governorate General, German – “Polnische Polizei im Generalgouvernement,” Polish – “Policja Polska Generalnego Gubernatorstwa”). These sturdy Polish fellows in blue uniforms helped the Nazis at train stations and borders.

The 1946 book, The Death Factory (“Továrna na smrt“, Czech language), written by Auschwitz prisoners from Czechoslovakia (cited according to the Russian edition, State Publishing House for Political Literature, 1960, Moscow), tells about the “Polish prisoner doctor, Vladislav Doering” (pg. 112), who took part in the inhuman experiments conducted on prisoners, and about the barracks leader Stefan Wierzbic from Upper Silesia, who preferred to kill prisoners with “three blows of club” (pg. 53), and also describes the unique method of curing the ill with beatings “from the Polish prisoner doctor Zenkteller” (pg. 82).

The authors of this book identify as Polish fascists: the barracks leader Bruno Bronevich; Raportschreiber Kazimierz Gosk from Warsaw; Julius Miklus; and others (pg. 252—253). Many Polish names can be found in the list of the SS members who were guilty of particular brutality towards prisoners at Auschwitz (pg. 231).

Tadeusz Piotrowski, a well-known American professor of Polish origin, provides a good selection of sources on the subject of Polish collaboration at Auschwitz in his book, Poland’s Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, (1918-1947). Among other matters, he relates about Polish blackmailers (“szmalcowniki”), who demanded money from Gypsies, Jews, and Communists, threatening that these “enemies of the Reich” would be otherwise shipped to Auschwitz.

So, while the Red Army and the Armia Ludowa partisans (which included ethnic Poles who were fighting the fascists) were liberating the country, what did those Polish collaborators, whose interests the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw has been so zealously defending, do? Why Mr. Schetyna is so committed to such defense? Isn’t it because his own relatives were collaborating with Nazi occupants back then as the officers of Granatowa Policja? At least the following archive photo below taken in March 1943 at the railway station of Sobibór extermination camp shows a Polish officer of Granatowa Policja named Kazimierz Schetyna (on the right).

Polish guilt, Schetyna 3

Source: State archive of the Brest district, Belarus.

The Sobibór camp was situated near the town of Włodawa (Lublin district of occupied Poland) and was operated since May 1942 until the only successful uprising in the history of Nazi concentration camps, led by the Soviet POW Alexander Pechersky, took place in October 1943. According to official estimations, around 200 thousand prisoners (mostly Polish Jews and Soviet POWs) were murdered in gas chambers there.

Red Army soldiers were of various nationalities,” Schetyna claimed, clumsily trying to calm the raging international scandal. “They included Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Kazakhs and Central Asians.

Most likely his ancestors have indeed kept in memory  nationalities of their victims for quite a long time after the war…

Source:
http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/24/auschwitz-where-is-the-root-of-the-polish-guilt/

 

Nationalist radicals storm Krivoy Rog city government

Posted on Fort Russ, 1/29/2015

“Repeating the Past”—Krivoy Rog City Council Occupied,Surrounded by a Truck Tire Barricade

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

In Krivoy Rog, a city in the Dnepropetrovsk region which is headed by the former Party of Regions member Vladislav Shtefan, a mob of aggressive young men stormed the city council building, broke into the session chamber, and occupied it. The 40 policemen who were in the building at the time were not able to stop the assault.

Similar attempts were undertaken many times over the period of the last two months by the group of radicals who call themselves the Krivoy Rog Maidan.

The youngsters want the City Council to dismiss the city mayor Vikul.

The city’s leadership turned to President Poroshenko with a plea to ensure law and order in the city.

“Such actions are endangering the provision of vital services to one of Ukraine’s major industrial centers. The inhabitants of the city with the population of 700,000 are negatively predisposed toward such actions by extremists, who are headed by criminal elements.”

http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/01/nationalist-radicals-storm-krivoy-rog.html

The West’s agri-business conglomerates take over Ukraine

Two reports by Oakland Institute are linked in the footnotes below the article.

From Asia Times, January 28, 2015
By Frederic Mousseau

At the same time as the United States, Canada and the European Union announced a set of new sanctions against Russia in mid-December last year, Ukraine received US$350 million in US military aid, coming on top of a $1 billion aid package approved by the US Congress in March 2014. 

Western governments’ further involvement in the Ukraine conflict signals their confidence in the cabinet appointed by the new government earlier in December 2014. This new government is unique given that three of its most important ministries were granted to foreign-born individuals who received Ukrainian citizenship just hours before their appointment.

The Ministry of Finance went to Natalie Jaresko, a US-born and educated businesswoman who has been working in Ukraine since the mid-1990s, overseeing a private equity fund established by the US government to invest in the country. Jaresko is also the CEO of Horizon Capital, an investment firm that administers various Western investments in the country.

As unusual as it may seem, this appointment is consistent with what looks more like a takeover of the Ukrainian economy by Western interests. In two reports – “The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture” [1] and “Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict” [2] – the Oakland Institute has documented this takeover, particularly in the agricultural sector.

A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and eventually to president Viktor Yanukovych’s removal from office in February 2014 was his rejection of a European Union Association agreement aimed at expanding trade and integrating Ukraine with the EU – an agreement that was tied to a US$17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After the president’s departure and the installation of a pro-Western government, the IMF initiated a reform program that was a condition of its loan with the goal of increasing private investment in the country.

The package of measures includes reforming the public provision of water and energy, and, more important, attempts to address what the World Bank identified as the “structural roots” of the current economic crisis in Ukraine, notably the high cost of doing business in the country.

The Ukrainian agricultural sector has been a prime target for foreign private investment and is logically seen by the IMF and World Bank as a priority sector for reform. Both institutions praise the new government’s readiness to follow their advice.

For example, the foreign-driven agricultural reform roadmap provided to Ukraine includes facilitating the acquisition of agricultural land, cutting food and plant regulations and controls, and reducing corporate taxes and custom duties.

The stakes around Ukraine’s vast agricultural sector – the world’s third-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat – could not be higher. Ukraine is known for its ample fields of rich black soil, and the country boasts more than 32 million hectares of fertile, arable land – the equivalent of one-third of the entire arable land in the European Union.

The maneuvering for control over the country’s agricultural system is a pivotal factor in the struggle that has been taking place over the last year in the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

The presence of foreign corporations in Ukrainian agriculture is growing quickly, with more than 1.6 million hectares signed over to foreign companies for agricultural purposes in recent years. While Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont have been in Ukraine for quite some time, their investments in the country have grown significantly over the past few years.

Cargill is involved in the sale of pesticides, seeds and fertilizers and has recently expanded its agricultural investments to include grain storage, animal nutrition and a stake in UkrLandFarming, the largest agribusiness in the country.

Similarly, Monsanto has been in Ukraine for years but has doubled the size of its team over the last three years. In March 2014, just weeks after Yanukovych was deposed, the company invested $140 million in building a new seed plant in Ukraine.

DuPont has also expanded its investments and announced in June 2013 that it too would be investing in a new seed plant in the country.

Western corporations have not just taken control of certain profitable agribusinesses and agricultural activities, they have now initiated a vertical integration of the agricultural sector and extended their grip on infrastructure and shipping.

For instance, Cargill now owns at least four grain elevators and two sunflower seed processing plants used for the production of sunflower oil. In December 2013, the company bought a “25% +1 share” in a grain terminal at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk with a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes of grain per year.

All aspects of Ukraine’s agricultural supply chain – from the production of seeds and other agricultural inputs to the actual shipment of commodities out of the country – are thus increasingly controlled by Western firms.

European institutions and the US government have actively promoted this expansion. It started with the push for a change of government at a time when president Yanukovych was seen as pro-Russian interests. This was further pushed, starting in February 2014, through the promotion of a “pro-business” reform agenda, as described by the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker when she met with Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk in October 2014.

The European Union and the United States are working hand in hand in the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture. Although Ukraine does not allow the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which ignited the conflict that ousted Yanukovych, includes a clause (Article 404) that commits both parties to cooperate to “extend the use of biotechnologies” within the country.

This clause is surprising given that most European consumers reject GM crops. However, it creates an opening to bring GM products into Europe, an opportunity sought after by large agro-seed companies such as Monsanto.

Opening up Ukraine to the cultivation of GM crops would go against the will of European citizens, and it is unclear how the change would benefit Ukrainians.

It is similarly unclear how Ukrainians will benefit from this wave of foreign investment in their agriculture, and what impact these investments will have on the seven million local farmers.

Once they eventually look away from the conflict in the Eastern “pro-Russian” part of the country, Ukrainians may wonder what remains of their country’s ability to control its food supply and manage the economy to their own benefit.

As for US and European citizens, will they eventually awaken from the headlines and grand rhetoric about Russian aggression and human rights abuses and question their governments’ involvement in the Ukraine conflict?

Frederic Mousseau is Policy Director at the Oakland Institute.
http://www.oaklandinstitute.org

[1] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/corporate-takeover-ukrainian-agriculture
The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture

[2] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/walking-west-side-world-bank-and-imf-ukraine-conflict
Walking on the West: the World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict
http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/press-release-ukraine-brief-russian-language

Source:

http://atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-02-280115.html
http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-crops-for-ukraine-the-wests-agri-business-conglomerates-snap-up-ukraines-bread-basket/5428060

Martin Luther King: “Now that he is safely dead, let us praise him”

From Global Research, January 21, 2015
By Dr. Gary G. Kohls

Now that he is safely dead let us praise him,
build monuments to his glory,
sing hosannas to his name.

Dead men make such convenient heroes.
They cannot rise to challenge the images
we would fashion from their lives.

And besides, it is easier to build monuments
than to make a better world.,” — Carl Wendell Hines

Excerpt:

Purging the Prophets

Both ancient and modern powers-that-be recognize dangerous whistle-blowers when they see them, and they usually don’t waste much time making contingency plans for the “silencing”. That is the function of the national security apparatus of all states and, in King’s era, it was a major function of J. Edgar Hoover, the racist FBI head who was a sworn enemy of King and all that he stood for.

Usually whistle-blowing prophets are ignored early on, but then, if the rabble-rouser doesn’t go away, he is more actively opposed and eventually brought down, by hook or by crook.

German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer proclaimed that all great truths are dealt with in three ways: firstly they are ignored, secondly, they are violently opposed and thirdly they are accepted as self-evident.

In our more complicated era where bullies, paid informers, spies, lobbyists, the mass media, megacorporations and politicians use hidden persuasion (propaganda), fear and gun violence to silence the truth-tellers, the first two parts of Schopenhauer’s dictum still hold. But these days there are more sophisticated ways to discredit or silence the prophets and whistle-blowers seem to be delaying the third part. The enemies of truth seem to have perfected the use of dirty tricks, smear campaigns, rumor-mongering, “honey traps”, psy-ops, intimidation, infiltration of the prophet’s movement by agents provocateur, death (or job loss) threats to the whistle-blower (or his family]) the use of right-wing think tanks to spread disinformation and even the arranging of murders that look like accidents or suicides.

A Vocation of Agony

And so it goes. Being a prophet is hazardous duty. King called it “a vocation of agony”.

Whistle-blowers such as King know very well that they are going to pay a heavy price for their refusal to bow down to authority. They know that they will have to endure character assassination and eventually physical assassination if they don’t shut up.

“I Have a Dream” vs “Beyond Vietnam”: A World of Difference

Over the decades we Americans have been indoctrinated in the belief that the essence of King was his “I Have A Dream” speech. The ruling elites allow the repeated airing of that worthy speech but have successfully kept hidden his more powerful anti-war “Beyond Vietnam” speech.[1] They have managed to virtually erase from the history of the civil rights movement the antiwar activism of King’s maturing years and the unshakable commitment to gospel nonviolence that he had had from the beginning.

King’s commitment that “black lives matter” came out of his understanding of the life, mission and gospel ethics of what most Americans were briefly exposed to in Sunday School. King’s commitment to nonviolent societal transformation mirrored the politics, theology and the ethics of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

A testament to the deep truth of King’s message and the likelihood of the success of King’s nonviolent tactics is the fact that his institutional enemies had to conspire to assassinate him in order to stop the movement.

And it was King’s willingness to come out against the dirty war in Vietnam in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech that unleashed the final assassination plot (by hired assassins other than the patsy James Earl Ray) in order to permanently silence him (or so they thought) with a single bullet to the head exactly one year to the day after that speech.. (For the documentation proving the innocence of Ray,listen to Dr William Pepper’s speech at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24-ALnvr4kM or read Pepper’s book – “An Act of State” – that tells.about the Memphis jury trial that exonerated Ray in 1999.) [2]

“The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today is my Own Government”

William Pepper, in 1967 a free-lance journalist just back from Vietnam, met with King that year and told him the stories and showed him the photos he had taken that proved the truth about the alleged American war crimes, atrocities, torturing and murdering of innocent Vietnamese civilians in that war. King had wept with Pepper over the information; and thus began the new reality for King. He had struggled for months with what he knew was his calling to speak out against the atrocities that deceived American soldiers were perpetrating in Vietnam. Ultimately he realized that he had no choice but to exercise his duty to warn others about what his government had been up to in the fog of war.

He said: 

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But, they asked, what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”

King saw the connections between the financial, spiritual and psychological costs of participation in the human slaughter in Vietnam and the racial and economic violence that was preventing poor blacks from attaining justice in America. King knew a nation couldn’t adequately fund both “guns and butter” (the notion that a nation can pay for war and simultaneously provide for its people’s basic human needs simultaneously). They have to make a choice between the two, and America’s politicians, as usual, easily made the choice, and they voted massive funds for the guns and a pittance for the butter.

“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

The funding was predictably going to go to the war and not the poverty and injustice. Pouring scarce resources into war-making automatically sabotages programs that provide impoverished, suffering people with the basic necessities of life.

President Johnson’s “war on poverty” was lost because American war profiteers and warmongers chose to fight Johnson’s war in Vietnam instead. King understood the incongruities and spoke out about them. He knew that the war in Vietnam trumped freedom for the oppressed back home especially if the uber-patriotic white racists and militarists who controlled Congress had anything to say about it.

Many historians believe that King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech was equivalent to the signing of his own death warrant. The war profiteers, the pro-war pseudo-patriots, the national security state apparatus, the weapons-industry-funded politicians and most of the others in positions of power at the time absolutely could not tolerate and antiwar activism that might interfere with the “golden goose” and “cash cow” that was the Vietnam War. Continue reading

Who was shelling the city of Mariupol?

Posted on Oriental Review, January 26, 2015
By Vladimir Kozin (Russia)

According to the Ministry of Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Ukrainian Army has misinterpreted the column of its own 18th Battalion of the 28th Mechanized Brigade moving very close to Mariupol January 24th, 2015 as if it belonged to ‘separatists’ or de jure the DPR freedom fighters, and shelled it from the Stary Krim area (see the map) located on the Western side of Mariupol. Mariupol as a whole as well as Stary Krim are fully controlled by the Ukrainian Army.

So, the Ukranian Army shelled its own military column by using multiple rocket launching system “Grad” and “Uragan”. Their missiles were flying across and above Mariupol. Some of them landed at the 18th Battalion column position, some of them at the residential areas of Mariupol killing more than 60 civilians and wounding more than 100 people. That is why Kiev is fully responsible for these atrocities.

The DPR resistance units are deployed more than as close as 20 km on the East near Shirokino (see the map). They do not have “Grad” or “Uragan” MRLS or heavy artillery in that area. So, de facto the DPR units have not been able to hit Mariupol.

Mariupol shelling map

They claim they do not have any intention to capture Mariupol – their aim is remove the common border line with Ukraine in some other places so that the Ukrainian MRLS were not been able to shell residential areas in Donetsk and other cities in Donbass. Their aim is justifiable: the overall number of KIA in Donbass are 5038 civilians only. All of them have been killed by the Ukrainian Army.

So, the shelling of the 18th Battalion column and a residential area in Mariupol by the Ukrainian Army is either as its military mistake (miscalculation of its Intelligence), or as a mere provocation with the aim to disrupt a peace process and to enhance additional economic sanctions versus Russia.

Russian MFA has strongly criticized the shelling of Mariupol by the Ukrainian Army. The Russian MFA official representative Alexander Lukashevitch said that the Ukrainian authorities are de facto slowing down the proper investigation of the recent Mariupol case.

Videos containing recordings of Saturday’s GRAD strikes at Mariupol:

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PqflsD_Kpmc&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

(since 2.40)

Professor Vladimir Kozin  was directly engaged in NATO-related issues during his 40-years-long professional career in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was one of the leading negotiators from the Russian side at the most of the Russia-US diplomatic and military talks on disarmament, strategic deterrence and other issues in 1990s. He is a professor and member of Russian Academy of Military Science.

Source:
http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/26/who-was-shelling-the-city-of-mariupol/

Ukraine is looting its own museums

From Oriental Review, January 28, 2-15
Ukraine is plundering its own museums on the way to Europe
By Victor Lipnitsky (Ukraine), Urmas Eckholm (Finland)

The looting of museums and the private collections of well-heeled fellow citizens seems to be an inevitable byproduct of all revolutions. The rebels Robespierre and Cromwell did so in the name of revolution, and during the fighting in the Middle East, hundreds of rare items have vanished from the national museums in Cairo and Baghdad and the Babylon Museum complex. The pandemonium at Maidan and the general free-for-all in Kiev and throughout Ukraine has also made it possible for property to be seized at will. The criminal world is extremely sensitive to social and political unrest and has moved rapidly to restore its old ties with its reliable “shady customers” from the highest echelons of power who are in the market for antiquities.

Looted museum of history Kiev

On the night of Feb. 18, 2014 unknown persons ransacked the collections of the Museum of the History of Kiev, located on the fourth and fifth floors of the Ukrainian House convention center. The museum’s storage area was devastated, and it was several months before the number of objects stolen from their displays could be determined. Some of the exhibits, such as the 19th-century tableware produced by the Volokitinsky porcelain works, were simply destroyed. Paleolithic bones were trampled under revolutionary feet.

Olga Drug, the head of the museum division, reported, “The thugs tossed a large 18th-century icon, The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, into a corner of the room. They wrapped the image in a dress embroidered with gold and silver threads, which is over 200 years old and was only recently restored. The dress ripped. For some reason, they left the icon, but stole a porcelain sculpture of Empress Catherine II, made at the Gardner porcelain works near Moscow in 1780 and with an estimated value of $50,000.”

Kavaler, porcelain, Miklashevsky factory, XIX century

Among the missing items was a knife with a blade of Damascus steel and a handle of mammoth tusk, worth $25,000, plus a few sabers valued at about $10,000 each. The thieves took some sacred objects from the early 20th century – the icons The Virgin and Child, Christ, and The Ascension of the Lord, plus an image of St. Nicholas the miracle worker. The market value of each of these icons ranges from $2,000-$2,500. A copy of the Gospels was also stolen ($2,000-$4,000). At the same time, a 19th-century sculpture of children playing the piano was snatched ($1,500), as was a handbag from the same century ($1,000), a silk embroidered tablecloth from the first half of the 19th century that had only just returned from the restoration studio ($5,000), an 18th-century English clock ($2,000-$2,500), and much more. According to the museum staff, the estimated cost of all that was taken exceeded $200,000.

The builders of a “new Ukraine” have ruthlessly stolen property that is part of Ukraine’s historical heritage, pilfering not only from the past, but from the future as well. The Museum of Gifts at the Kiev Mayor’s Office, located in the same building as Kiev’s city hall (which has been “seized by the people”) was looted. Working on a tip, they also raided collections in private homes as well as exhibits being shown at private viewings – everywhere that housed objects of interest to potential customers.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ABdtFbLAekg&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Faced with the revolutionaries’ massive exportation of stolen works of art, the Ukrainian Customs Service has stepped up inspections on the Polish and Slovak borders, as well as within Kiev. The magnitude of the contraband being seized by customs is evidence of the scale of the theft. For example, opening an unremarkable case, customs officers in Kiev discovered a rare musical instrument signed by the master Giovanni Paolo Maggini.

In the spring of 2014, the staff of the eastern customs division blocked two attempts to illegally export an 1884 icon and an 1890 Bible through the Novoazovsk customs checkpoint.

In November 2014, workers at customs control at the Borispol airport recorded yet another attempt to illegally export a large shipment of precious stones and amber weighing almost 235 kg.

Recently, customs staff in Lvov detained another group of lawbreakers trying to spirit 18 gold coins out of the country. Experts estimate the cost of each of them to be at least $10,000. An entire collection of ancient weapons was also intercepted that had been stolen from museums in Kiev and other cities. The state returned some pictures by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

chastini_model_garmati_18_stUkrainian customs officials believe that the most stable “currency” being exported today from post-revolutionary Ukraine consists of art (paintings, icons, and sculptures) and antiques (weapons, coins, jewelry, and books).

Arseniy Yatsenyuk is the “icon of style” for Ukrainian citizens who might slip an item from a museum into a bag or tuck a rare piece of jewelry into a pocket. In the spring of 2014, he announced that a collection of Scythian gold currently in the Netherlands, which had been shipped from museums in the Crimea for display at the Allard Pierson Archaeological Museum in Amsterdam, was actually the property of Ukraine.

This case includes one interesting detail. When Valentin Nalivaychenko, then the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), was in the process of being appointed the ambassador to the US in the spring of 2009, the Ukrainians decided to probe the attitude of the US State Department. Washington’s answer shocked Kiev – American officials informed them that they possessed reliable data indicating that Nalivaychenko had committed serious violations of Finnish law when he worked at the Ukrainian embassy in Helsinki. Using his diplomatic status, Nalivaychenko had set up a pipeline for smuggling antiquities. With their customary attention to detail, the Finnish police recorded every fact in writing, which naturally they shared with their American friends. They requested that the matter not proceed any further. And now, given the exceptional nature of the US-Ukrainian partnership, the US State Department has recommended that Kiev not move the issue to an official level, i.e., that they not request agrément for the country’s chief spy, suspecting that at the most inopportune moment this sensitive information might become public knowledge and have a fatal effect on the progressive development of their bilateral relations. But in fact, the CIA needed Nalivaychenko for what Washington saw as a key post – as head of the SBU. So there’s the story.

Time is passing. The valuables won during the battles of the “Revolution of Dignity” are slowly but surely trickling abroad. Apparently, Ukraine’s cultural and historical heritage is being amassed in Europe to act as a dowry for an aging bride. But the Ukrainian people will most likely find themselves bereft of their valuables, their historical heritage, and even Europe itself.

Source in Russian: RusVesna

Re-posted on
http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/28/ukraine-is-plundering-its-own-museums-on-the-way-to-europe/