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The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power in the East

By James Petras

May 07 2014 “ICH” –  Not since the US and EU took over Eastern Europe, including the Baltic countries, East Germany, Poland and the Balkans and converted them into military outposts of NATO and economic vassals, have the Western powers moved so aggressively to seize a strategic country, such as the Ukraine, posing an existential threat to Russia.

Up until 2013 the Ukraine was a ‘buffer state’, basically a non-aligned country, with economic ties to both the EU and Russia.  Ruled by a regime closely tied to local, European, Israeli and Russian based oligarchs, the political elite was a product of a political upheaval in 2004, (the so-called “Orange Revolution”) funded by the US.  Subsequently, for the better part of a decade the Ukraine underwent a failed experiment in Western backed ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies.  After nearly two decades of political penetration, the US and EU were deeply entrenched in the political system via long-standing funding of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), political parties and paramilitary groups.

The strategy of the US and EU was to install a pliant regime which would bring Ukraine into the European Common Market and NATO as a subordinate client state.  Negotiations between the EU and the Ukraine government proceeded slowly.  They eventually faltered because of the onerous conditions demanded by the EU and the more favorable economic concessions and subsidies offered by Russia. Having failed to negotiate the annexation of the Ukraine to the EU, and not willing to await scheduled constitutional elections, the NATO powers activated their well-financed and organized NGOs, client political leaders and armed paramilitary groups to violently overthrow the elected government.  The violent putsch succeeded and a US-appointed civilian-military junta took power.

The junta was composed of pliant neo-liberal and chauvinist neo-fascist ‘ministers’.  The former were hand-picked by the US, to administer and enforce a new political and economic order, including privatization of public firms and resources, breaking trade and investment ties with Russia, eliminating a treaty allowing the Russian naval base in Crimea and ending  military-industrial exports to Russia.  The neo-fascists and sectors of the military and police were appointed to ministerial positions in order to violently repress any pro-democracy opposition in the West and East.  They oversaw the repression of bilingual speakers (Russian-Ukrainian), institutions and practices – turning the opposition to the US-NATO imposed coup regime into an ethnic opposition.  They purged all elected opposition office holders in the West and East and appointed local governors by fiat – essentially creating a martial law regime.

The Strategic Targets of the NATO-Junta

NATOs violent, high-risk seizure of the Ukraine was driven by several strategic military objectives.  These included:

1.)    The ousting of Russia from its military bases in Crimea – turning them into NATO bases facing Russia.

2.)    The conversion of the Ukraine into a springboard for penetrating Southern Russia and the Caucasus; a forward position to politically manage and support liberal pro-NATO parties and NGOs within Russia.

3.)    The disruption of key sectors of the Russian military defense industry, linked to the Ukrainian factories, by ending the export of critical engines and parts to Russia.

The Ukraine had long been an important part of the Soviet Union’s military industrial complex.  NATO planners behind the putsch were keenly aware that one-third of the Soviet defense industry had remained in the Ukraine after the break-up of the USSR and that forty percent of the Ukraine’s exports to Russia, until recently, consisted of armaments and related machinery.  More specifically, the Motor-Sikh plant in Eastern Ukraine manufactured most of the engines for Russian military helicopters including a current contract to supply engines for one thousand attack helicopters.  NATO strategists immediately directed their political stooges in Kiev to suspend all military deliveries to Russia, including medium-range air-to air-missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles, transport planes and space rockets (Financial Times, 4/21/14, p3).   US and EU military strategists viewed the Kiev putsch as a way to undermine Russian air, sea and border defenses.  President Putin has acknowledged the blow but insists that Russia will be able to substitute domestic production for the critical parts within two years.  This means the loss of thousands of skilled factory jobs in Eastern Ukraine.

4.   The military encirclement of Russia with forward NATO bases in the Ukraine matching those from the Baltic to the Balkans, from Turkey to the Caucasus and then onward from Georgia into the autonomous Russian Federation.

The US-EU encirclement of Russia is designed to end Russian access to the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.  By encircling and confining Russia to an isolated landmass without ‘outlets to the sea’, US-EU empire builders seek to limit Russia’s role as a rival power center and possible counter-weight to its imperial ambitions in the Middle East, North Africa, Southwest Asia and the North Atlantic.

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