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Putin vs. Pro-West Ukrainians (Revolt in Kiev Against Reabsorption by Russia, Lenin Statue Toppled)
FrontPage ^ | December 10, 2013 | Arnold Ahlert

Posted on 12/10/2013 10:00:43 AM PST by xzins

The massively attended Sunday protest in Kiev, highlighted by the toppling and smashing of the monument to Vladimir Lenin, has apparently forced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s hand. Yesterday, he called for talks with former government leaders and opposition forces aimed at resolving the nation’s political crisis. It is a crisis ignited by his decision to turn away from Europe and feed Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s dreams of a Eurasian Union, which is little more than a thinly-veiled effort to restore Russian hegemony over large swaths of Eastern Europe.

The current standoff is reminiscent of the Orange Revolution that took place in 2004, when a pro-democratic government was swept into power. Thus it was hardly surprising when government officials announced on Sunday that they would undertake an investigation against opposition leaders they accuse of attempting to seize power, and warned demonstrators that they could also be subjected to criminal charges. That investigation will be conducted by the Ukrainian security service SBU, formerly known as the KGB.

Yanukovych’s conciliatory gesture, based on former President Leonid Kravchuk’s call for an “all-national round table,” that includes three former presidents of Ukraine who favor closer EU ties, was belied by threats of a crackdown. Pro-European demonstrators currently occupying a city government administration building claimed heavily armed riot police broke into their Fatherland Party offices. They reportedly entered through doors and windows and seized computer servers. An additional cadre of riot police have also massed behind barricades erected by protesters to block off Independence Square, and metro stations near the area were closed due to a purported bomb threat.

Sunday’s demonstration in Kiev, which may have been attended by as many as a million people, was buttressed by demonstrations in other cities around the country. These “EuroMaidan” protests in favor of establishing closer ties with the European Union have been ongoing for the three weeks following Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement with the EU. And while that may have been the initial impetus for the uprising, the protests have become more anti-government in general. Opposition leaders have rejected calls for talks until the police who beat protesters at a demonstration November 30 are arrested, detained demonstrators are released, and the current cabinet is fired. Many are also calling for Yanukovych himself to resign.

Currently the protests remain peaceful, with both opposition party and protest leaders calling for calm. Yet there is differing opinion on what should happen next. Kateryna Kobko, a 19-year-old student, believes the protests should “get more radical” because Yanukovich’s Party of Regions “is a malformed structure, and the system built on it must be fully destroyed.” Twenty-two-year-old student Roman Bilan believes “the peaceful mass protest is the only way to go.” Political consultant Taras Berezovets thinks Yanukovych will call for a state of emergency, despite the possibility that his support among the police is on the wane. ”Yanukovych may through the parliament ask Russia to send peacekeeping troops,” he speculated, adding that it would be unlikely absent an escalation.

It may take more than that. Yesterday Sergei Markov, Putin political advisor and vice rector of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics conceded that the Ukrainian situation is currently “too explosive right now” and that any linkage between Putin’s anticipated customs union and Ukraine could take years. But he noted that Putin believes it will happen eventually. “Putin believes that time is on his side and Russia will benefit in the end,” he added.

The newfound reticence seems surprising, given that Putin met with Yanukovych as recently as last Friday, in an effort to shore up the proposed ”strategic partnership” between the two nations. It is a deal undoubtedly bolstered by Russian threats of trade retaliation against Ukraine, underscored by the reality that Ukraine is on the hook for $17 billion in debt repayments and Russian gas bills due next year. Despite being a key east-west energy transit route, Ukraine currently needs $10 billion to avoid possible default, even as the country remains mired in its third recession since 2008. Yanukovych has repeatedly rejected bailout terms offered by the EU’s International Monetary Fund (IMF), but remains enticed by Russia’s offer of financial aid and cheaper energy prices.

So why does Russia remain non-committal? Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, who yesterday insisted there are “no preliminary agreements” between the two nations, claimed that any agreement “assumes a massive amount of work and a clear desire to join on the part of a country that’s a possible candidate. We have seen no such clear desire,” he contended.

Nonsense. As The Atlantic’s Brian Whitmore explains, protests in the Ukraine have galvanized Russian opposition to Vladimir Putin’s autocratic rule. Protesters have gathered outside the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow, and 30 high-profile Russians writers and poets wrote an open letter in support of their Ukrainian counterparts, noting that their demonstrations “would be a sign that in Russia we too can defend our rights and freedoms. We are with you!”

Whitmore further explains that the timing of the current protests is significant in that they are occurring almost exactly two years after Russians engaged in the largest anti-government demonstration since the fall of the Soviet Union. Writing for the New York Times, Moscow journalist Masha Gessen illuminates the significance of Ukraine’s unrest. “Russia is using every kind of pressure–from threatening economic sanctions to declaring tens of thousands of Ukrainians persona non grata–all in order to drag Ukraine back into the Middle Ages with it,” she writes. “Western Europe, which has many demands of its own, promises a future of openness and progress.” She further notes that if the protests succeed, “they may change the future of not one but two of the largest countries in Europe.”

Putin is keenly aware of the consequences of such success. Eight days ago, he characterized the demonstrations as a “pogrom.” “This internal political process is an attempt by the opposition to destabilize the existing legitimate rule in the country,” he said during a visit to the former Soviet nation of Armenia. Yesterday he upped the ante, dissolving the state news agency RIA Novosti. It will be replaced with an entity called Rossiya Segodnya, which will be tasked with the mission of promoting Russia’s image around the world. It marks Putin’s second effort in two weeks to accomplish what RIA described as ”a series of shifts in Russia’s news landscape which appear to point towards a tightening of state control in the already heavily regulated media sector.”

Unsurprisingly, Radio Free Europe reveals that Russian media coverage of the protests in Ukraine have been “odd” and “misleading” and have “spared no efforts to portray the protesters as a horde of hooligans funded by the West to topple Yanukovych and sow chaos in Ukraine.” Leading the effort is Dmitry Kiselyov, tapped to lead the newly-created Rossiya Segodnya. He has accused protestors of ruining Christmas, surviving on lard, and using ”ancient African military techniques” against Ukrainian police. Kiselyov, who has publicly stated that homosexuals should be banned from donating blood, sperm and organs, described Ukrainian boxing champ and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Vladimir, as gay icons.

Klitschko demonstrated why he’s a target. ”We call on people to stand their ground, and peacefully, without using force or aggression, to defend their right to live in a free country,” he said according to Reuters. ”We are expecting the break-up by police of peaceful demonstrators. If blood is spilled during this dispersing, this blood will be on the hands of the person who ordered it: …[President Viktor] Yanukovych.”

Larger forces remain in play. In the West, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso emphasized “the need for a political” solution. Toward that end he has sent EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to Kiev for a two day visit beginning today. She is tasked with mediating a solution between the two factions. Vice President Joe Biden has spoken with Yanukovych by phone. “He noted that violence has no place in a democratic society and is incompatible with our strategic relationship,” said the White House in a statement explaining Biden’s objective. Barroso also spoke with Yanukovych by phone. “I’ve asked him to show restraint in the face of the recent developments, to not use force against the people who are demonstrating peacefully,” Barroso said.

The Russian side of the equation is illuminated by Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman. He explains that the demonstrations are “both a humiliation and a threat to Mr. Putin,” because his “main foreign-policy goal is the construction of a sphere of influence for Russia, covering most of the old Soviet Union” and Ukraine “is meant to be the jewel in the crown.” He further notes that because the highly nationalistic Putin views Russia as a unique civilization, he finds the idea that Ukrainians could be more attracted to Europe “offensive.”

There are darker motives at work as well. ”Ukraine performs a vital role for the not-so-open elements of the Russian economy,” New York University professor and longtime Kremlin-watcher Mark Galeotti contends. “Ukraine is an initial pre-wash venue for dirty Russian money. We’ve seen the port of Odessa being used for all kinds of dubious arms deals…. Losing that would affect not only the Kremlin but also the profitable opportunities of a large number of people whose opinions matter to the Kremlin.”

Late yesterday, police began moving against some of the demonstrators, dismantling camps set up in front of government buildings. Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka issued a warning, telling the demonstrators to cease creating “anarchy and lawlessness” by blocking the buildings. As of now, no action has been taken against the crowds occupying Independence Square. How long it will stay that way remains to be seen.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Russia
KEYWORDS: gideonrachman; putin; randsconcerntrolls; russia; ukraine
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1 posted on 12/10/2013 10:00:43 AM PST by xzins
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To: All
The Russian side of the equation is illuminated by Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman. He explains that the demonstrations are “both a humiliation and a threat to Mr. Putin,” because his “main foreign-policy goal is the construction of a sphere of influence for Russia, covering most of the old Soviet Union” and Ukraine “is meant to be the jewel in the crown.” He further notes that because the highly nationalistic Putin views Russia as a unique civilization, he finds the idea that Ukrainians could be more attracted to Europe “offensive.”
2 posted on 12/10/2013 10:01:28 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

“Putin...finds the idea that Ukrainians could be more attracted to Europe “offensive.”

In that we are in agreement.


3 posted on 12/10/2013 10:11:22 AM PST by Edward Teach
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To: xzins
This is what they are fighting for!

4 posted on 12/10/2013 10:12:38 AM PST by BCW (Salva reipublicae)
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To: xzins

The oligarchs are heavily involved. Some are pro-EU while others are pro-Russia. Someone is paying about $25 each to many of the demonstrators. It isn’t the government.


5 posted on 12/10/2013 10:15:01 AM PST by meatloaf
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To: Edward Teach

Putin knows best! Send in the tanks! It’s just a couple hundred thousand protestors.


6 posted on 12/10/2013 10:15:53 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: meatloaf
Someone is paying about $25 each to many of the demonstrators.

Source?

7 posted on 12/10/2013 10:17:14 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Edward Teach

I don’t want the old Soviet reunited.


8 posted on 12/10/2013 10:17:36 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: meatloaf

I’d say you’re likely right. Everyone knows the EUSSR and the Ruskies have agitated in the past.


9 posted on 12/10/2013 10:20:17 AM PST by Viennacon
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To: meatloaf

Never mind, I found it. You believe Russian propaganda. (I’ll wager that you rail against MSNBC, too).


10 posted on 12/10/2013 10:30:41 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: BCW
Not guilty!

Am I on the right thread...?

5.56mm

11 posted on 12/10/2013 10:38:27 AM PST by M Kehoe
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To: meatloaf
Someone is paying about $25 each to many of the demonstrators.

George Soros.
12 posted on 12/10/2013 10:43:03 AM PST by jimbo123
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To: xzins
Go ahead Ukrainians, trust Obama, the EU, and the IMF, you too can have Shariah.
13 posted on 12/10/2013 10:58:22 AM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Putin is a communist. The Old Soviet must not be reunited.


14 posted on 12/10/2013 11:04:09 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Navy Patriot

Absolutely! Why can’t these silly Ukrainians prefer Putin over freedom!


15 posted on 12/10/2013 11:04:40 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: xzins

The irony gets a little thick on these threads. Imagine telling your typical Ukrainian protesting against the Russians that “conservatives on FR” have decided that they know what’s best for them, and it is not the EU.


16 posted on 12/10/2013 11:12:18 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy; MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
Imagine telling your typical Ukrainian protesting against the Russians that “conservatives on FR” have decided that they know what’s best for them, and it is not the EU.

That has surprised me. The Ukrainian history with Russia has been one of being brutalized, pogromed, and subjugated. I'm sure they want to go back to that. /sarc.

17 posted on 12/10/2013 11:31:20 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins
And to add yet another level of irony: allegations by Russian state-owned media are repeated without any sense of objectivity.

What makes it so sad is that it is so predictable--anti-Soviet, er, Russian protesters are paid stooges seeking to provoke a reaction from the benevolent, God-fearing Soviet, er, Ukranian authorities.

Again, it would be funny if it wasn't so Hugo Chavez-esque, and if some FReepers wouldn't fall for it so easily.

18 posted on 12/10/2013 11:37:57 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: xzins
The Old Soviet must not be reunited...

...in the East.

19 posted on 12/10/2013 11:43:31 AM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: xzins
And yet another irony: these protestors topple a Lenin statue, and the FReeper Borscht Brigade says, "Hey wait--let's think about this."
20 posted on 12/10/2013 11:47:46 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Navy Patriot

Anywhere


21 posted on 12/10/2013 11:59:09 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: M Kehoe

If you were a Ukrainian male - wouldn’t you want to stop Russia from taking over again - and oppressing (see photo) the people?


22 posted on 12/10/2013 12:00:40 PM PST by BCW (Salva reipublicae)
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To: xzins
Anywhere

Speak to Obama and the Rats about that.

23 posted on 12/10/2013 12:03:03 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: xzins

Don’t ever humiliate a megalomaniac. It’s like poking a bear.

Unique civilization? Ho ho. That’s for sure.


24 posted on 12/10/2013 12:03:53 PM PST by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Let me see if I follow your logic: the Ukrainians should welcome the loving embrace of Mother Russia because you are afraid of “Obama and the Rats.”


25 posted on 12/10/2013 12:07:18 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

If they don’t know what’s good for them, they’ll have to be taught./s


26 posted on 12/10/2013 12:23:40 PM PST by Eleutheria5 (End the occupation. Annex today.)
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To: 1rudeboy

There’s no need to modify Russian with propaganda. Lies are implied by the country of origin alone. I’ve done business with Russians and I wouldn’t sign a contract. It’s worthless and more likely to put you in harms way than just a handshake.


27 posted on 12/10/2013 12:25:54 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD
"Revolution is an expensive thing." That refrain has become common in Russia this week, as journalists on Kremlin-controlled channels spin the rallies in Kiev as the work of meddlesome, moneyed foreigners.

NTV said that many of the protesters had come from outside of Kiev and labeled them "professional revolutionaries, for whom organizing riots is a job." Another channel, Rossiya, said that the Ukrainian opposition was receiving foreign money and training, sometimes via "seemingly harmless" non-governmental organizations and sometimes directly from the U.S. Embassy.

The Rossiya report then showed a man who said he had been promised payment for participating in a protest. The interview was lifted from a Ukrainian channel and the full version does indeed show the man complaining about not being paid — for protesting in support of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to ally with Moscow.

Ukraine's Protests Look Different to Russian Eyes, ABC, December 3, 2013.


28 posted on 12/10/2013 12:30:17 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Edward Teach

I don’t think there are any good options for Ukraine. Prayer.


29 posted on 12/10/2013 12:33:32 PM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: 1rudeboy
The Ukrainians have a choice, trust Obama, the Rats, Soros, the Muslims, NATO backed EU economics and IMF debt, trust Putin, the Russian Federation, the Christians, an emerging economy, abundant energy and debt forgiveness, or go it alone against the Soros types.
30 posted on 12/10/2013 12:33:35 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: 1rudeboy

The EU may very well be what’s best for the Ukraine, but doesn’t that make their situation all the more sad. At least we have the hope of secession.


31 posted on 12/10/2013 12:36:08 PM PST by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: 1010RD
While hundreds of thousands were protesting in Ukraine at the weekend, a steely-voiced Russian newsreader dismissively told viewers that the protests had dwindled to a few hundred people and seemed to have run out of steam.

In the end, Sunday's protest on Kiev's Independence Square, or Maidan, was likely the biggest in Ukraine since the 2004 Orange Revolution and the assessment of the anchor on Russian Channel One television rapidly went viral on the Internet.

The phrase "there are just a few hundred people on the Maidan" became a hit on Twitter as the protest swelled to hundreds of thousands and demonstrators spectacularly toppled a granite Lenin statue.

The almost farcical assessment of the protest was symbolic of Russian state television's clearly conscious move to downplay the scale of the massive Ukrainian protests.

The pro-Western protests broke out on November 21 over President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a pact with the European Union in favour of promoting ties with Russia.

The main news channels are tightly controlled by the Kremlin and broadcast dogmatic Soviet-style scripts with a clear bias against the Ukrainian opposition.

Ukraine's 'paid-for' protests played down on Russian TV, EUbusiness, December 10, 2013.


32 posted on 12/10/2013 12:37:41 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Navy Patriot

And they gave you a pretty strong hint when they toppled that Lenin statue.


33 posted on 12/10/2013 12:39:22 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
when do we topple the obama statue?


34 posted on 12/10/2013 12:44:51 PM PST by MeshugeMikey ( Visit http://icantenroll.com/ In Glitch We Trust....;o})
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To: MeshugeMikey

I would be all in favor of toppling an Obama statue. Seeing FReepers argue that I shouldn’t have because they hate RINOs, not so much.


35 posted on 12/10/2013 12:48:21 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
It’s just a couple hundred thousand protestors.

Source?

36 posted on 12/10/2013 12:48:51 PM PST by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: mac_truck

37 posted on 12/10/2013 12:54:31 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Navy Patriot

The Ukrainians don’t trust anyone as you would not after what they have been through. What they are looking for is a trade agreement not membership in the EU

There is a strong nationalist movement now that I think will prevail


38 posted on 12/10/2013 12:58:10 PM PST by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: 1rudeboy
And they gave you a pretty strong hint when they toppled that Lenin statue.

The paid "pro EU" demonstrators in Ukraine may get what they ask for, like the gibmedat Occupy demonstrators in the US got (among other things) Obamacare, the ever improving Obama economy, the Obama dollar, and plenty of Obama jobs, plus a real bright future.

The really great part is everybody else gets it, too!

39 posted on 12/10/2013 1:03:37 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: Navy Patriot

You have provided no evidence that these protestors are being paid, and you cling to the hope that they are with the same passion that some commielib clings to the hope that Tea Party protestors are being paid by the Koch Brothers.


40 posted on 12/10/2013 1:05:51 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Lol!

Do you have any evidence that photo wasn't taken in 2004? Or that is hasn't been digitally manipulated?

Who's the "leader" in the black jacket?

I'm sure your boyfriends at Reddit know the answer..

41 posted on 12/10/2013 1:25:03 PM PST by mac_truck ( Aide toi et dieu t aidera)
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To: Jimmy Valentine
The Ukrainians don’t trust anyone as you would not after what they have been through. What they are looking for is a trade agreement not membership in the EU

There is a strong nationalist movement now that I think will prevail

I think you're right.

The Serbs got no mercy from the West when it was necessary to make them toe the Western line, and Georgia got no help for willingly toeing the Western line.

All the Ukrainians need is to be able to accurately predict the future.

42 posted on 12/10/2013 1:27:11 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: xzins

Some reason why the Ukraine would want to end up like Greece, Cyprus, or Portugal?? Looks to me like they chose life over death...


43 posted on 12/10/2013 1:39:48 PM PST by varmintman
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To: Navy Patriot

The USA did help Georgia. We armed them and helped them shoot down Russian jets and kill Russians. We sent our ships to the Black Sea carrying nuclear missiles and Putin backed off because he is afraid of the USA. When Georgia needs help again we will help them kill more Russians.


44 posted on 12/10/2013 1:49:14 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Navy Patriot; All

It’s all about Western Ukraine vs. Eastern/Soviet Ukraine.

Lots of History.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_annexation_of_the_western_Ukrainian_territories

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_collaborationism_with_the_Axis_powers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD_prisoner_massacres

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepan_Bandera


45 posted on 12/10/2013 1:49:39 PM PST by jimbo123
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To: 1rudeboy
I see the Georgian flag made an appearance in that picture, Georgians know better than to try to appease the mass-murdering war criminal KGB Putin since he invaded their country and massacred thousands of innocent Christians souls.

Saakashvili Addresses Protesters In Kiev - December 7, 2013 - “Ukrainian triumph will put an end to the era of Vladimir Putin and it will start here, on this very square,” he said.

Saakashvili, who graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University in Kiev in 1992 after serving with the Soviet border troops in Ukraine, addressed the rally in Ukrainian reading out from notes.

“I am Georgian, I am Ukrainian, therefore I am European,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday he told Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV in Kiev that developments in Ukraine are of vital importance for Georgia. “Georgia’s fate is also being decided here. We can’t remain passive observers,” he said.


46 posted on 12/10/2013 2:02:18 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: BCW

And look, oh my goodness, 3 out of 3 are wearing crosses.


47 posted on 12/10/2013 2:30:50 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("See something, say something.")
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To: mac_truck

Stuff it, Ivan. I am to believe that this is all a Soros-led conspiracy, but you cannot believe a single photo or video easily found on the Internet.


48 posted on 12/10/2013 2:47:49 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Do you remember, when the Russians invaded Georgia, a couple of our resident Bolsheviks trying to convince the rest of us that it was a military operation against Muslims?

Because they "heard*" it somewhere. LOLOL

_____
*From the Kremlin.

49 posted on 12/10/2013 2:50:23 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
They also tried to convince us that actually Georgia attacked Russia first and Putin was only defending Russia from Georgian aggression.

Their lies are laughable.

50 posted on 12/10/2013 3:09:49 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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