by Tyler Cowen
on February 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm
in Current Affairs, History, Political Science
He is an economics professor at Berkeley and he recently gave a talk there on “Ukraine: A Battle for the Future of Europe?”
The slides are here (pdf)., Q&A is here, the slides are especially useful. Gorodnichenko’s home page is here.
The pointer is from @MatiasBusso.
An amazingly biased and one sided analysis that has claims to “objectivity”.
I didn’t see
— “peaceful” protester ramming police ranks in a bulldozer
— peaceful protesters throwing molotov coctails at police
— burning police
— stormed / burned gov’t buildings
— threats to families of policemen
— threats to families of government
— Stepan Bandera portraits on the stormed government building (see Volyn Massacre in Wikipedia, to get an idea who that guy was)
Date March 1943 – 1945
Deaths 35,000-80,000 in Volhynia, 20,000-40,000 in Eastern Galicia. In the entire conflict, including areas outside of Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, the estimated numbers of total Polish casualties range from 60,000 to 200,000
Perpetrators: Ukrainian Insurgent Army
and so on.
The presentation by Gorodnichenko does not explain what this conflic is about at all. It apparently tells a story of how this guy, Yanukovich, somehow ended up in power, doesn’t speak proper Ukrainian (see slide 21), is corrupt (unlike the leaders of the opposition) and is using force and torture to subdue peaceful demostrators. Give me a break. This turn of events is exactly what Samuel P. Huntington from Harvard predicted for Ukraine back in 1992 (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48950/samuel-p-huntington/the-clash-of-civilizations) – split between pro-Russian and pro-Western parts of the country. The corruption and violence are real enough, but they are present on both sides. They are just used by western media to portray this as a struggle of good (west) against evil (Russia).
Oh, and the photo of McCain in Kiev sent the chills down my spine. I could almost see the cloud with words above his head: “We must go to total nuclear war with Russia to ensure that Ukraine is safe for democracy!” God help us all.
Previous comments sponsored by… neo-imperialist Russia!
The east/west divide is real but overly exaggerated in the West, to make the story simple. It’s Russia versus the West, a la Cold War.
Sorry but this was NOT the reason for this conflict. There were protests in the East as well – Crimea being a special case/exception/the more realistic area for potential separatism.
My own take on the recent events: http://theredbanker.blogspot.com/2014/02/random-thoughts-on-ukraine-europe-and.html
That was my thought. Apologies to the Ukrainians, but everything I’ve heard and read about the place suggests it is famously corrupt. I don’t see any principle at stake here beyond Who-Whom.
Re: McCain, a testament to the ridiculousness of our own political system is that this man was still heard from by anybody after 2000.
Gorodnichenko clearly clearly has a position on the Yanukovych presidency and supports the demonstrations. To his credit, he doesn’t try cover that up. At least half of his slides are simply straightforward facts. I would love to see an clearly articulated case made for the other side, but have not come across it yet.
As for the majority Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine…I came across this video of how they are handling peaceful protesters in Crimea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h_bRyNxYCM The police appear to be doing their best to protect the speakers, though seem reluctant to pursue the attackers.
It’s hard to be a peaceful protester when the government responds to peaceful protests by kidnapping, torture, and murder. I am sure Putin and Yanukovych would have preferred the protesters to be mild sheep who didn’t resist while being slaughtered. Due to the criminal actions of the government, I think the protesters actions have been justified.
Ffor the most part, the protesters have been extremely disciplined in their response, using just enough force to resist being dislodged and preventing the government from committing more criminal acts against its citizens. The protesters are demanding justice, but so far refraining are from vigilante justice. The government’s actions have been far more criminal, and since the government is supposed to be fount of law has completely destroyed its own legitimacy.
While Svoboda and some less popular right wing organizations have their origins with extreme Ukranian nationalist heritage, pointing out crimes Bandera and others have taken is really besides the point. None of the protest leaders or groups are advocating pogroms or any of the objectionable actions and crimes done in 1943. Those who point those out seem to not have any problem with the pro-Yanukovych Communist Party being historically linked with the far greater crimes of Communism. Furthermore, calling Bandera (and other nationalist leaders and groups who lived between Germany and the Soviet Union) a Nazi is a misleading simplification of the terrible situation Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, and Poles found themselves in between 1941-1945 when both Nazis and Communists waged war against them as well as each other. They took what help they could while trying to keep their independence. No one in such situations can come away clean, but the moral compromises made are at least understandable and does not reflect what they would have preferred to do.
I see this kind of message a lot on other blogs regarding Maidan. It’s good to see that Putin’s cronies are telling the story that Moscow wants told, the old discipline and organization for misinformation is in fine form. It’s not fooling anyone though.
The presentation exactly explains what the conflict is about – people against criminals (You can have a look at new pictures that the president http://goo.gl/3516rD and general prosecutor http://goo.gl/Y0ddld built for themselves – they really seem to be mentally sick) and their sadistic adherents. The country is not split between east and west – there were thousands of protestors from eastern regions in Kiev on Maidan, as well as in their own cities. Ukraine is no more divided as the US between republican and democratic states.
I would like to ask Mishka what he would do if (s)he or his friends/relatives were robbed, publicly tortured, murdered? Give up, run away, hide in the doghouse? Or stand against the racketeers who wears uniform? How can you tolerate the police who destroys it’s own people? Molotov is a mild response
And have a look at this video – people are shot away by machine guns and snipers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozHH9OhMHpI
PS. Bandera, whom Mishka mentions – is a like a boogie man for people who were totally brainwashed by soviet propaganda (i. e. who have no clue of what was really going on and have no intentions to remove their ignorance). Those people are loyal to any leader who promises to protect them from some mythical nationalists who “drink blood of Russian infants”.
Having lived in both Ukraine and Russia, I actually find Gorodnichenko’s presentation fairly objective. Note also that his view from “one side” are actual facts, as for the other side… Well, all this time both Yanukovych and his ruling powers, including police, have been avoiding talking not only to their own people, but also to foreign diplomats, not picking up calls from EU & USA, and now Yanukovych is on the run. Not to mention how during the turmoil the police beat & even shoot media and press (including foreign press) & refused to comment on the situation. One might wonder why they have not been so eager so share their views – perhaps this could explain at least part of it:
Why should Ukraine have anything to do with a “Battle for the future of Europe”?
Who wants battles?
When we can have peace.
Ask Kremlin first.
The current Russian policy is to reassert their power over much of the former Soviet Union. They are quite open about it. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Union.
This union makes no sense without Ukraine, and most ethnic Ukrainians are quite happy to have escaped the yoke. Things like Holodomor are still a painful memory – remember, that was deliberately inflicted mass killing on the scale of the Holocaust.
The whole turmoil was about the fact that many Ukrainians are willing to risk their lives to remain out of Moscow power.
I can understand the sentiment, any Central European can. We’ve had a fair share of experience.
Look at the map of Eurasia, it is easy to see how small is the geographic distance between Ukraine and other European countries, but also how ‘convenient’ is Ukraine’s location between Russia, Middle East and Europe. In hands of criminal government and given recent crime tendencies, economically starved and drained Ukraine could easily become a “banana republic” & a transit zone for trafficking drugs, weapons and what not. Do you think this will NOT affect the future of Europe?
Liu was one of the 31 migrant workers elected to the National People’s Congress last year. She is a foot masseuse in southeast China’s Xiamen City. A native of south China’s Anhui Province, Liu was a school dropout at the age of 14 and worked to support the schooling of her siblings.
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