Ukrainian nationalist and far-right groups
© michael-parenti.orgSupporters of Ukrainian nationalist and far-right groups take part in a rally to mark Defender of Ukraine Day in Kiev, October 14, 2017.
In early 2014 more than 83 percent of the qualified voters of Crimea, on their own volition, participated in a referendum to rejoin Russia. And of that number, nearly 97 percent voted to separate themselves from Ukraine and once again become a part of Russia, in what was a massively one-sided victory. Returning to Russia meant better wages and better pensions, and somewhat better living conditions. The eagerness to reconnect was not anchored totally in ethnic emotionality; Crimean voters also hoped for a better standard of living.

It should be remembered that Crimea would never have pursued such an action, and Russia would never had been receptive to such a course, were it not that Ukraine was in the grip of disruptive forces that were driving toward regime change.

Regime change is a form of action designed to make it impossible for the existing government to govern. We have seen this well-orchestrated chaos and endless disruption in various countries. Militantly organized groups are financed and equipped by outside western interests. NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) surface in substantial numbers and produce rebellious publications and events designed to unsettle the besieged government — in Ukraine's case, a government that was democratically elected not long before. The NGOs handle billions of dollars worth of supplies used to mobilize and sustain the protests. Even though they are supposed to be independent ("nongovernmental") some NGOs get all their funds from the U.S. government. An Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, proudly exclaimed that the United States had poured some $5 billion into the struggle for regime change.

Ultra-nationalists and mercenaries soon took hold of the protesting crowds and set the direction and pace of action, secure in the knowledge that they had the powerful reach of the western nations at their backs. This included NATO's military might and the western (corporate and public) mainstream media with a global reach that pretty much shut out any contrary viewpoint. The most retrogressive elements among these operatives in Kiev launched slanderous attacks against Jews, Blacks, Chinese, Muscovites, and — of course — Communists.

In Ukraine, crypto-fascist groups like Svoboda, the Right Sector, and others secured ample funds to keep thousands of people fed and comfortable enough on the streets of Kiev for weeks at a time, complete with well-made marching flags, symbols, and signs in various languages (including English). Svoboda henchmen were being financed by someone. They wore insignia that bore a striking resemblance to the swastika. Svoboda's top leaders openly denounced "Russian scum," and "Muscovite Jewish mafia." Disguised men in unmarked combat fatigues attacked unarmed police and security guards. They moved among the gathered crowd and at times, according to independent sources, delivered sniper shots into the crowd — which could then be readily blamed on the nearly asphyxiated government. Meanwhile the western media reported everything the way the White House wanted, for instance, unfailingly referring to the perpetrators as "protestors."

This manufactured uprising in Kiev is something we have seen in numerous other countries: from Venezuela to Thailand during this very same time frame. The scenario is much the same, and the goal of these western-financed attacks has been to make the world safe for the 1%, the global super rich. Ukraine citizens who think they are fighting for democracy will eventually discover that they are really serving the western plutocracy. They will be left with a new government filled with old intentions. Ukrainians will end up with nothing to show for their efforts except a still more depressed and more corrupt economy, an enormous IMF debt, a worsening of social services, and an empty "democracy," led by corrupt neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists.

Russia has stepped in on behalf of Russian Crimea. And Russia does not seem quite ready to leave Eastern Ukraine to the mercy of the regime changers. So Russia is now maligned by the western plutocrats who seek ways to put Moscow in isolated retreat. Putin is denounced and demonized at every turn. What exactly have been the demonic moves Putin has committed? Specifics are seriously wanting. What we have witnessed is a longstanding ploy of U.S. global aggrandizing. When confronted by a country or a political movement that decides to work out its own problems, a country that does not open its land, labor, natural resources, and capital to the U.S. empire's voracious embrace, U.S. leaders play the heroic rescuers. The leaders of such countries and movements are demonized: Castro, Mossadegh, Allende, Aristide, Noriega, Milosevic, Qaddafi, Hugo Chavez, and others too numerous to mention.

Leaders who serve U.S. interests by killing off and otherwise repressing the democratic reformers in their countries, are hailed as friends and heroes as, for instance, was Saddam Hussein hailed by Washington until he started asking for a larger oil quota. Those leaders who step out of line, as did Saddam, by committing economic nationalism, refusing to throw open the land, labor, capital, and resources of their countries to the western investors, they are demonized and targeted, depicted as purveyors of mass destruction and whatever other terrorist menace. Once a leader is properly demonized, the U.S. empire builders exercise their presumed license to bomb his people.

So with Ukraine. In Kiev, all through January and February of 2014, the ominously dressed and masked squads that threw fire bombs and sniped from windows and roofs were uncritically and ever respectfully described as "protestors" and "demonstrators" by the western mainstream media. The American Confederacy flags and KKK symbols they hung in the parliament building, after they took it over by force, were pictured on the Internet by freelancers but never mentioned or shown in the corporate news. The "protestors" waged a forceful and successful takeover of the democratically elected government — a government that was promising new elections in a few months. This regime-change campaign earned nary a critical utterance from the U.S. mainstream media. But in March 2014, Russian-speaking citizens in eastern Ukraine who engaged in demonstrations and municipal building takeovers were immediately labeled "terrorists" and "militant agitators" bent on making trouble for the Kiev "authorities."

And what of the wicked Putin? How really wicked is he? Has anyone in the U.S. media ever read Putin's speeches? If so, they are keeping it a secret. Putin's utterances are so much more clear and sane than the twisty pretenses put out by Obama. Take for instance Obama's Brussels speech of March 2014, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in which he dared to claim, with a straight face, that the United States has saved and democratized Iraq! In Iraq, the president and his cohorts did not grab control, he reassured his EU audience: "We left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign state." No, we left Iraq with a million casualties, hundreds of thousands in destitution, a shattered infrastructure, a breakdown of public safety, and a demoralized population choking on wretched sectarian violence.

In this same speech, Obama asserted that Washington selflessly felt obliged to help Ukraine. He noted that issues in Ukraine did not infringe upon U.S. interests. Still the United States had a commitment to international law and to the humanitarian rights of all nations, even poor little ones, or maybe especially poor little ones. "We cannot turn our backs on smaller nations" (but Russia is obliged to turn its back on Crimea). Obama was unswerving in his claim that the United States was dedicated to fighting "the bully." And in this instance, the bully was Russia, led by bully-boy Putin. Russia must learn, Obama went on, that it cannot "run roughshod over its neighbors" and it would accomplish nothing "through brute force" (advice not proffered to the Kiev regime changers themselves). Furthermore, Obama reminded us, we Americans "need to defend democracy" (except when we impose regime change on an elected democratic government as in Ukraine). Moscow's "invasion of Ukraine" was a violation of international law and is deserving of all the sanctions imposed upon Russia — and more to come. Meanwhile, the changed regime that now represented Ukraine was to be bolstered with a $17.1 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and an increased U.S. military presence in neighboring Poland. Immediate disbursement by the IMF of $3.2 billion will allow Ukraine to avoid a potential debt default. In other words, it will protect the rich creditors, not the Ukrainian taxpayers. It will enable Ukraine to pay its maturing debts by going still deeper into debt.

As the weeks went on, Obama was now making it clear that all decent nations had to stand up to Moscow and challenge the way that Russia was behaving. Some day we might have a U.S. president who does not use diplomacy to play the irate schoolmaster, who does not patronize or scold one or another country with complaints about their behavior. The presumption is that U.S. leaders have no questionable motives, no hidden agendas of any kind. Self examination is not in order.

But others have examined things. Putin himself, on 29 April 2014, remarked that Washington was behind Ukrainian events all along, though keeping low. "I think what is happening now shows us who really was mastering the process from the beginning."

The U.S. empire's ultimate intent is to encircle and reduce Russia to a frightened and discombobulated satellite. But that is much easier said than done. At this time, as I write, Moscow reportedly no longer accepts telephone calls from the White House. Meanwhile protests against the NATO-supported Ukrainian regime are on the rise. Anti-Kiev activists are seizing administrative buildings and calling for a referendum on federalization. Ukraine's acting President, Aleksandr Turchinov, put the Ukrainian army on full alert due to the "threat of a Russian invasion." Turchinov admitted that the government in Kiev could not control the situation in eastern Ukraine. It did not even seem able to control the situation in Kiev itself.

Obama may have a few tricks and trumps left to play. But he is fishing in troubled waters and might invite more danger and tribulation than he — or we — can handle. As Putin put it: "The situation is serious" and we need "to find serious approaches to the solution."

This article was published in Flashpoint In Ukraine: How the U.S. Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III, edited by Stephen Lendman, 2014.