Geopolitical Analysis, Political Briefings

Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving Seat

Original: RussEurope – Ukraine : mettre la politique au poste de commande
Translated by @GBabeuf / Edited by Jacques Sapir

Jacques Sapir

August 29th, 2014 @ 12:40—Jacques Sapir

It is now high time that Politics resumes its rights in the Ukrainian crisis. However, this requires in the first instance, that a cease-fire should be speedily arranged between the governments of Kiev and of the insurgents. It is towards this end that all energies should be focussed. Nevertheless, one should note that this is not [currently] the case, and that anti-Russian hysteria is rife in the media. One should recall, then, several points, which appear to have been systematically forgotten in the commentaries one is able to hear or read on the situation in the Ukraine.

  1. The Ukrainian government has employed disproportionate force which has led to civilian casualties and untold destruction in the cities held by insurgents. There has been much indiscriminate bombing. Here the suspicion may be formulated that the military chiefs of the Kiev forces have deliberately to punish the population and have sought to carry out an ethnic cleansing in order to provoke an exodus of the Russophone population. All this goes as far as constituting “war crimes”. It is striking that, until a very recent period (in fact, until Saturday, 23rd August), there had been no reports on the subject on the “major” television stations. The French press, usually—to its honour—so readily moved, was for very long and very strangely silent on eastern Ukraine. Was this because the victims were “ethnically” Russian, as they say? To believe that Russia, whether it is a question of the Russian State or of the Russian population, could ignore the plight of this population is a profound illusion, a profound mistake. Indeed, to think that Russia could have taken an attitude of strict neutrality in relation to these events had no basis. Russia took, until these last days, a position of non-belligerence. The presence of Russian volunteers, comprising approximately three thousand of the insurgents’ forces, pays witness to the deep feeling of sympathy that the plight of the eastern Ukrainian population has aroused.
  1. The presence of Russian troops is alleged by NATO, and, of course, by the Kiev government. The Russian government denies these accusations. NATO estimates, for the moment, the number of Russian troops to be around a thousand. Note that, even if NATO is right on this point, this number of troops is completely inadequate to explain the military collapse suffered by Kiev’s forces in these past days. It is estimated that the number of soldiers (of the Ukrainian Army and of the National Guard) engaged in operations against the insurgents is some fifty thousand. Meanwhile, they face a force of around fifteen thousand. If the presence of those Russian troops were confirmed, they could only have performed a local and marginal role in the fighting that took place in these last days. Their presence cannot therefore explain the numerous defeats suffered by the Kiev forces. From this perspective, it is significant that the United States’ State Department talks of “an incursion” and not, as many journalists do, of “an invasion”. This means that the problem is political and not military. It is clear that, if it is proven, this presence of Russian troops is not acceptable, and that Russia must withdraw its troops as soon as possible. Russia must, if this is the case, return to a position of non-belligerency, and the countries of the European Union and the United States should guard against falling into the trap set by Kiev, which, evidently, is seeking to internationalise the conflict.
  1. Words have a meaning. In routinely employing the word “invasion”, certain French journalists are making a twofold mistake. On the one hand, they reactivate the image in our collective memory of the invasions suffered by our countries a number of times in history. When invasion is talked about, one thinks of hundreds of thousands of men breaching the frontiers. Now, it can be seen that this is absolutely not the case in Ukraine. On the other hand, in doing this, they take sides with the Kiev government. This also raises the problem of pluralism of opinion in different press organisations, whether of the written press or the audio-visual press.
  1. These same journalists claim that “Russian” equipment is in the hands of the insurgents, which “proves” the involvement of Russia to the benefit of the latter. Here, it should be known that the insurgents have captured in these last months significant amounts of equipment and materiel from the Kiev forces. The insurgents have reported more than two hundred units of armour (tanks, but also Infantry Fighting Vehicles and self-propelled artillery) captured in combat.[1]

The Urgency of a Cease-Fire

I have already said it on many occasions, a cease-fire is necessary and one must find political solutions to avoid crisis escalation. The Kiev government must agree to negotiate and accept the insurgents as interlocutors, which amounts, in fact, to accepting their legitimacy. As long as it will refuse to do this, the situation can only further deteriorate, not only on the ground, but also politically. Kiev’s troops have, in some places at the front, disbanded, abandoning their equipment and ordnance. Others are, today, encircled. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has anyway asked of the insurgents that a humanitarian corridor be opened for them so that those troops can be evacuated via Russia. The dramatic nature of the situation can easily be seen. At the same time, the Kiev forces continue to bombard civilian populations. One can therefore see well that henceforth it is imperative that an end to combat is sought. However, if a cease-fire can be established in the coming days, which is currently by no means given, it must be guaranteed for the long-term. This implies, ultimately, the interposition of troops [a ‘separation force’], under a United Nations mandate, to stabilise the situation on the ground, and to avert new provocations by either side which might be used as a pretext for a resumption of the shooting war. These troops, though, cannot in all likelihood be from European Union states, or from NATO or Russia. EU and NATO troops would be unacceptable to the insurgents, and equally Russian troops for Kiev. We must therefore resort to the emerging nations; to Brazil, to India, even to China. Here the weight of symbolism should be gauged: “Blue helmets” coming from emerging countries to ensure the task of separating warring sides [what is called “interposition” forces] in Europe will furnish the most striking indication of the failure of the European Union and of its inability, contrary to its claims, to guarantee peace. This will also be a demonstration of the reality of the multipolar world of the 21st century.

Which Political Solution?

A cease-fire is not an end in itself, even if an end to combat is today urgent. It must allow the emergence of a political solution to the crisis. Now, since the end of February, the magnitude of the tragic mistakes made either by the leaders of Kiev or of the European Union can be measured. In rejecting, in the first days of March, guarantees of the linguistic and cultural rights of the population of eastern Ukraine, the former made the uprising inevitable. In refusing the hypothesis of an extended federalism; in entering into hostilities with the purported “Anti-Terrorist Operation”, they provoked a rift , perhaps permanent, with the insurgents. As for the EU states, they took a long time before they told the Ukrainian government that there was no question of them joining the EU. They thereby encouraged dangerous illusions amongst leaders in Kiev. They also refused to exert decisive pressure on this government [on Kiev] to accept, while there was still time (in April and May, 2014), an extended federalism on the model of the Canadian asymmetric federalism, from which Quebec benefits. In this regard, these leaders have their share of responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis. Finally, the third and decisive error, was to take Washington’s declarations on responsibility in the drama of the Malaysian Airlines aeroplane (MH17) as granted. The more so when one could have had very serious doubts about Washington’s theory, they contributed to convincing Russia of a thoroughgoing bad faith in the EU concerning the Ukrainian case.

Today, while it is clear that neither the United States, nor NATO, nor the EU will militarily rescue Kiev, the available options for negotiation are actually smaller. They are reduced to two scenarios: a recognition of the rebel authorities and of the autonomy of Novorossiya within the framework of the Ukrainian nation [state] (on the model of the autonomous province of Kurdistan in today’s Iraq), or a de facto independence of the entity named Novorossiya, but which would not be recognised by the international community. We would have, then, a new “frozen conflict” in Europe, and the latter would entail long-term tensions with Russia. This would accelerate the latter’s tilting towards Asia, with important commercial consequences for the EU states.

I have written and said on numerous occasions: I remain convinced that the best solution is a broad autonomy within the Ukrainian national framework. This solution allows important economic relations to exist. Now, without the coal of the Donbass, with a frozen conflict, the economic prospects for Ukraine are catastrophic. The European Union will not have the means to pick up the pieces of the country. The insurgents must also, on their part, accept the fact of being nominally part of the Ukraine, just as the government of Kurdistan has accepted its nominal subordination to the Iraqi government. Social and human reasons militate strongly in favour of such a solution.

Since the EU has failed in the management of the Ukrainian dossier [case], as in many others, France would do well and would derive profit (because it is not forbidden to associate the useful with the honourable) from adopting a position quickly and unequivocally in favour of such an option. This not being done, it can be anticipated that, step by step, the option of de facto independence for Novorossiya will assert itself, with all the disastrous consequences that one can perceive for Europe.

[1]   From 16th to 23rd August, the insurgents captured 14 T-64s (tanks), 25 IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles), 18 APCs (Armoured Personnel Carriers), 1 ARV (Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle), 1 Uragan rocket-launcher, 2 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, 4 D-30 howitzers, 4 82mm mortars, 1 ZU 23-2 AA gun carriages, 33 cars.

From 23th June to 23rd August captured (on top of materiel destroyed) from Kiev forces: 79 T-64s (tanks), 94 IFVs (primarily BMP-2s and BMP-3s), 57 APCs (primarily 8-wheeled BTR-70s and -80s), 3 armoured engineer vehicles, 24 (122mm) Grad BM-21 MLRS, 3 Uragan rocket-launchers, 2 Tulip 2C4 self-propelled artillery pieces, 6 Nona 2C9 self-propelled howitzers, 27 Gvozdika 2C1 self-propelled howitzers, 14 D-30 howitzers, 36 82mm mortars, 19 ZU 23-2 23mm AA gun double carriages, 157 cars and trucks.

Furthermore, at the start of the insurrection, the insurgents seized police armouries, where equipment—generally old—had been stored. In total, then these are significant amounts which can equip forces the size of the insurgents’ (around 15,000 men). This is Soviet equipment, produced in the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. The various images that are available show this equipment, and even equipment which is much older. Nothing gives credence to the idea that Russia has delivered weapons to the insurgents. Now, it should also be said that occasional deliveries of weapons, whether these were decided by the government or whether they took place illegally, are perfectly possible. However, for now, the equipment which is used by the insurgents appears to have been seized form the Kiev forces.


14 thoughts on “Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving Seat

  1. Reblogged this on EU: Ramshackle Empire and commented:
    Very sensible and balanced.


    Posted by jimsresearchnotes | Aug 30, 2014, 13:55
    • The Nazi ‘Lebensraum’

      The above ‘article’ (very loosely named) neglects to mention the prevalent and long-existing ‘mentalitat’ of the Kiev Junta, and in not doing so, in true French ‘surrender monkey cheese-eating fashion’ presumes that the Kiev Nazis are somehow composed of ‘rational people who will respond to a little logic, but have somehow gone a bit off-track ‘.. What stupidity..

      Instead, everyone should recognise the terrible reality, which is that the Kiev Nazis are hardened psycho-pathic and sociopathic criminals..
      Killing and ‘razing to the bare earth to clean’ is their ‘raison-d’etre’ and they will lie endlessly and create false flag atrocities without end, in order to continue this berserker behaviour, and to pursue this totally inhumane and insane Fascistic paradigm.

      Did Belsen and Dachau and the other sixty eight Nazi ‘ filtration camps ‘ teach you nothing?

      They are SWORN NAZIS! and have vowed to ethnically cleanse ‘Moskals’ and ‘Colorado Beetle Insects’ and ‘Untermensch’ from their lands! (my capitals, they use none)

      The idiot Poroshenko even aired an ad on his TV channel showing Colorado Beetles (which, as every western Ukrainski viewer understands perfectly well) … represent fellow Ukrainians from the east … being mercilessly crushed underfoot.!

      Can you honestly pretend that the Kiev junta and the oligarchs who fund these terrible atrocities are going to be dissuaded by a little ‘diplomatic intervention’ consisting of a ‘stabilising force’ applied externally??… and from who knows where?
      (maybe try Hawaii, although unfortunately, the indigenous peoples there hate the US as well.)

      Presumably, after this ‘stern peace-keeping intervention’ and after a few years, the obscene Nazi ‘Lebensraum’ mindset will somehow dissipate and become perfectly benign?
      They take their children on their torch-lit marches with them, and together shout; ‘Kill the Moskals!’

      Is educating young children to idolize Fascism in Europe a good thing?
      Are you on drugs. or half asleep? This is aberrant and totally psychotic behaviour, and behaviour which is calculated to spread fascism throughout Europe for generations!

      Possibly you are asleep ?? (well the ‘article ‘ has that effect unfortunately..)

      Mais Oui.. Let’s tinker a leetle wiz ze management and appease them a leetle, while zair workers are slaughtering children, the disabled, women, orphans, and bombing hospitals, and other innocents, and using illegal munitions from Poland and Canada, and using UN choppers to deliver mercenaries and weapons and bombs and using the same UN choppers to kill civilians and freedom fighters alike!
      Excellent idea!.. Magnifique!. A leetle logic never went very far wrong ..Superbe!

      This ridiculous appeasement strategy is pathetic, and the product of deranged and appalling insanity.

      The Kiev ‘Lebensraum’ Nazi mindset does not consider the eastern Ukrainians as human beings at all, and it never ever has!
      Wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late!
      Lebansraum means to remove the ‘under-peoples’ and the ‘sub humans’ from your lands! Any means used to carry out that aim, the Nazis consider legitimate.!

      To the ‘Lebensraum’ mindset, the peoples of the East are totally and completely expendable, and according to that all-encompassing mind-set, exterminating them is every Ukrainian citizens sworn duty!

      Why else do they have torch-lit parades where they chant ‘Death to the Moskals, Death to the Enemy’ ???
      But like the author says in this ‘ excuse for an article’ , maybe they can be taught reason.. (yes, in your dreams!)

      Behaviour modification using applied logic NEVER EVER WORKS with the chronically insane.
      You should know that by now.

      What’s in it For Them Anyway?

      On top of the Kiev Nazi’s insane desire to ethnically cleanse Donbass, is the hitherto unmentioned, but crucially important fact that the Uzhivska gas field alone, (under Donetsk and Kharkhov Oblasts ) contains enough gas at today’s ‘cubic metre prices’, to pay the US National Debt between 90 to 200 times over.!

      US national debt stands at a colossal 18 trillion.(approx)
      The Uzhivska field gas assets (at today’s prices) and depending on recoverable yields, total revenue is estimated at between 1,600 to 3,000… TRILLION US Dollars!

      Eastern Ukraine has other similarly massive gas deposits, and of course, no-one ever estimates the Grand Ukrainski Totals in print .This is presumably for reasons of national secrecy and security, and of course ‘loose lips sink ships’ and ‘for God’s sake, don’t let them know what the hell we’re up to!’

      How Much is Enough?

      So, if money is really their God and their ‘raison-d’etre’ , and avarice beyond anyone’s wildest dreams motivates them, (and causing endless suffering and killing) then what will the Neocon Bidens and the Ukrainski oligarchs not do, to secure these colossal fortunes for themselves? Nothing! Zilch! Zip!

      What is butchering any number of innocents to people like the crazed sociopath Zionist-Nazi Oleh Kolomoyskyi, who funded and arranged the Pravy Sektor rapes, incinerations alive, and the summary executions of the young men and women in the Odessa Trades Union Building… along with the appalling garrotting of the pregnant cleaning lady?
      Butchery of passive protesters, and appallingly criminal insanity mean NOTHING AT ALL to ‘people’ like this!

      Europe must be cleansed of this scum forever… There is no other way!

      Or Living With People Who Use Illegal ‘daisy cutter’ Munitions on Innocent Ladies in the Lugansk Park, and Who Slaughter 298 Airline Passengers Straight After Lunch.

      As Novorossia has said… Novorossia MUST be a Sovereign Nation, and as such, she will prosper, and with sensible governance she will trade with Russia of course, and she will also trade with Europe, and trade profitably further afield.

      Complete separation is the only way, and a growing pride in the new Novorossian Nation might eventually supplant the terrible hatred which the east feels for the Kiev Nazi junta (and which it will feel for very many generations to come.)


      Whither Now?

      Is it really the contention of the author (and there is not one mention in the whole ‘article’ of the word ‘Nazi’ ) that the prevalent Nazi sentiment that is presently scourging Ukraine, will just somehow eventually ‘fade away’ and begone from Ukraine somehow? (presumably as the Nazis learn a little more sense?)

      What a crass, illogical, and very dangerous delusion.
      The Nazis have instilled themselves behind Verkhovna Rada and behind the State in positions of immovable power, and in positions which are not subject to removal by voting..
      This appalling war cannot stop until all of the Kiev Nazis are either imprisoned for life, or executed..
      This must include every one of the criminals who still make up the very many Pravy Sektor and Svoboda death squads, and who were released from jail sentences by Yarosh, Sytch, Parubuy, Turchinov, Yatsenyuk, Tyahnnybok and other Nazi filth, and conscripted into the Kiev ‘army’.

      If this fails, and you go down the pathetic ‘ cheese-eating surrender-monkey-appeasement route’, then every one of the 30 or 40 million Russian lives lost fighting the Nazi ‘Lebensraum’ program during the Second World War, was wasted.. Every single and solitary well as every one of those of the fallen ‘Allies’.

      If you continue to tolerate this extreme right wing ideology, and this fascist obscenity becomes an integral part of Europe and endemic in all EU nations, and if Governments all ‘amiably relate to it’, as they do now… then civilisation is doomed. Full stop,…
      regardless of what French Quislings and Nazi Appeasers say to the contrary..

      The idiocy of imagining that Nazis are human, is by far your greatest mistake, and by not mentioning their all-pervasive and inhumane governing ideology, you amiably collude with it.

      You are either pro-Nazi, or totally opposed to it, and sworn to actively eradicate it throughout Europe forever..
      This ‘fence sitting & appeasing and tinkering’ attitude, will only get very many more innocents killed.

      But this is exactly what the Neocons want, because then, with a ‘razed earth Donbass’ and a ‘totally ethnically cleansed East’, it will be much easier for them to make their ‘ fortunes beyond their wildest dreams’.

      Richard McDonald Brown

      Liked by 2 people

      Posted by Richard McDonald Brown. | Aug 30, 2014, 17:56
      • Your analysis is spot on.

        You can either be for Neo-Nazis or totally against them. There’s no half-way house. Most Europeans are completely asleep and are turning to the right in their countries for short-sigthes reasons. After all, they could never support national socialism 21st century style, as their fathers (grandfathers) fought against it and defeated it, forgetting completely that it was Russians who accomplished the defeat.

        I’m a native German living in the UK, but I know my history. Lebensraum and Geschaeftsraum (for fracking) is what it’s all about. I just hope that my ex countrymen and women will remember that and not make allowances for Ukrainian Neo-Nazis. Could European (German) polititians possibly be reasoning that fracking in Eastern Ukraine might save them from having to do it at home thus inviting the wrath of their citizens? Is that one of the carrots the Amerians are dangling? Maybe …
        But how to stand up to the US and the war mongers for NATO? We live in dangerous times.


        Posted by Sabine | Sep 4, 2014, 12:13
  2. Makes no sense to un-win a victory for Freedom. I reject the entire notion of a political solution without a military victory that removes the junta and disarms the Ukie Armed forces.

    1. The Ukies have never kept their part of any negotiated agreement.
    2. The Ukies are criminals, war criminals and economic mafia-types. (drugs, human organs, human traffickers).
    3. The Ukies are brain-washed so badly by the West that they are insanely destroying their own people and industrial base.
    4. The concept of federalization is long past possible. No one in the East and South all the way to Odessa could trust a federal government.
    5. Russia must have a neutralized, disarmed Ukraine or the de-stabilization project against Russia would continue.
    6. Banderistan must be squeezed into a tiny sector and left attached to Poland.
    7. Ukraine cannot be left with Odessa as a possible port for U.S. and NATO ships.
    8. This is unreal to suggest after the now public revelation of Russian regular forces, not just Spetsnaz forces, have fought and died in Novorossiya. Putin has invested Russian soldiers in this outcome. All talk of less than complete control by Moscow of Ukraine is ridiculous.
    9. With Russian blood on the ground, the political outcome for Russian mothers and wives must be victory or Putin suffers inside Russia.
    10. Anything less than complete domination of whatever is left of Ukraine when the fighting stops is failure. And it is a victory against Putin for the fifth column (the West’s proxy).

    Finally, Ukraine is bogus entity used as proxy in many ways against Russia and Eurasia. It’s collapse will speed the disintegration of the EU and help destabilize NATO.

    That the idea of a political solution comes from a French man shows the weakness of the concept. Where have they done well with their intellectual solutions to the chaos they have stirred into disasters?
    Marchon. Marchon.

    Ukraine is going to be a land-locked crippled entity, and Putin is already working on the psychology to reverse their hatred of Russians. Allowing the mothers to have their sons back from certain death in the boilers shows he cares about them and their families more than the madmen who sent them toward annihilation. He is brilliant and the Europeans are pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Bull Durham | Aug 30, 2014, 14:58
  3. Exactly. The EU and the US would like nothing better than to drain the will of Novarussia in an endless sea of blather. Novarussia can be sure of their sincerity and good faith the day after they return Kosovo to Serbia.


    Posted by Voss | Aug 30, 2014, 15:58
  4. “…a cease-fire should be speedily arranged between the governments of Kiev and of the insurgents.”

    Where has Mr. Sapir been? Has he never read about or heard about the Novorossia Armed Forces? Did he even bother to watch and take notes on the historic press conference of 24 August 2014?

    Setting aside the rather gigantic problem the current illegal Kiev regime is the result of a NATO-Nazi Putsch of 21-22 February 2014, which Mr. Sapir blithely ignores, let us invite Mr. Sapir to peddle his “solution” to NAF personnel on the frontlines, and to the power configuration now governing the DNR not very far from those frontlines. Funny how he has not travelled to the DNR to personally deliver his “suggestions”. One must bluntly ask Mr. Sapir if any of his ancestors were connected to Vichy. His written effluent has all the stench of Vichy and French-Nazi collaboration. By the way, who really pays you Mr. Sapir?

    This type of petit-bourgeois, weak-kneed, limp-wristed rhetoric and dribble must be rejected categorically and unconditionally. There has been too much blood sacrificed to turn back–This Is War! Negotiations will come, but only after the military outcome has been decided. History shows one can never, ever negotiate with fascists and Nazis. Punkt!

    There is a full blown war of national liberation in progress, and this must be carried through to completion. It is a question of vital historical necessity. For the people of the DNR and NAF, this war is literally a question of life or death, freedom or endless NATO-Nazi dictatorship and all the horrors this would mean.

    In the DNR, right now, the only thing that matters is: Victory or Death! Let us ALL hope and pray the NAF will deliver Ukraine from the horrors of Galician Naziism once and for all! And that will be accomplished when the illegal Nazi Kiev regime capitulates to Novorossia.

    Forward, always forward! Long live the new Donetsk National Republic!

    Postlude: I am more than somewhat surprised this “report” was even posted on this website.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by John L. Montgomery | Aug 30, 2014, 19:46
  5. Eu Usa develop coup in Ukraine
    eu looking for slave
    Usa new bases
    next time Putin want put his bases in Mexico
    so all is ok


    Posted by desnos | Aug 30, 2014, 21:45
  6. Novorossiya should seek full sovereignty and independence from Ukraine (i.e., the end of the present Ukrainian state as it has existed since the collapse of the Soviet Union), along with membership in the Eurasian Union. There is no way that the Novorossiyans can live in peace with the genocidal western Ukrainians who have been killing the civilians of the Donbass region with bombs, rockets, and ballistic missiles. Only a complete divorce (i.e., separation) of Novorossiya and Ukraine will bring true and lasting peace.


    Posted by Apotheoun | Aug 30, 2014, 23:49
  7. Brilliant (not).

    Political positions – such as those during the Cold War and neo-con ideology now – are what got us into this mess.

    And Sapir believes that politics is the answer! FFS.


    Posted by gerryhiles | Aug 31, 2014, 07:28
  8. “This also raises the problem of pluralism of opinion in different press organisations, whether of the written press or the audio-visual press.”
    As far as foreign policy is concerned, there is no pluralism in the Western media: they all follow Washington’s script, and neither journalists nor editors can deviate a iot.


    Posted by Enrique Ferro | Sep 1, 2014, 00:47


  1. Pingback: Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving Seat | | keesened's Blog - Aug 30, 2014

  2. Pingback: Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving Seat | For the Fans - Aug 30, 2014

  3. Pingback: Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving S... - Sep 1, 2014

  4. Pingback: Ukraine: Putting Politics back in the Driving Seat | RussEurope - Sep 8, 2014

Latest map of hostilities (25/01)

Our Partners:

Archived Briefings

A Record of Our Times

Follow on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 22,239 other subscribers.

Latest Briefings

Blog Stats

  • 1,739,744 hits
%d bloggers like this: