I couldn’t draw a map of Europe with Ukraine on it, so why should I and my nation care about its status?
Ukraine’s current crisis erupted in February 2014 when parliament replaced corrupt politicians, rewrote the constitution and scheduled a presidential election for May 2014. The USA might consider such refreshingly shorter presidential campaigns.
Ukraine claims to be a free nation. Sadly, it may be neither free nor a nation.
We should care because the emerging truth is political corruption has left Ukraine unable to pay its debt to Russia and with no army to ward off a voraciously scheming Russian president Putin.
According to the Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s new prime minister believes deposed president Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies’ stole $70 billion. Frank Vogl, a blogger for Huffington Post who has exposed the willingness of giant western banks to accept suspicious deposits and the complicity of lawyers to hide the money, said $70 billion would be a world record.
Western banks in the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the U.S. froze the accused officials’ assets, but Global Witness, an organization with 20 years of frustration fighting the complicity of banks, says banks moved so slowly the money won’t be recovered.
It cites Ukraine as another instance of global conflict rooted in political corruption that could be reduced with stronger controls on bank accounts linked to corrupt officials. Investigations are confirming rumors Yanukovych’s regime illegally has total ownership of major coal mining companies in the Ukraine.
Who is protecting the allegedly corrupt Yanukovych? Putin. He said on Russian television that Yanukovych is the legitimate president of Ukraine who “fulfilled his duties as he considered possible and needed.”
Putin also sounds like his campaign manager. Putin wants him immediately reinstated and the May election rescheduled until later this year under the old constitution. The New York Times reported Polish newspapers saying Yanukovych intends to visit eastern Ukraine soon. That seems logical, assuming he needs a campaign committee and briefings on his coal mining firms.
Russia holds billions of the basically bankrupt Ukraine’s debt, which Putin detailed in a letter to 18 European presidents, according to news source Aljazeera. Ukraine owes $17 Billion for current long-running gas contracts plus $18 billion if it attempts to cancel them. And Putin threatened to demand cash for future deliveries, a demand Ukraine couldn’t meet with its economy collapsing.
Maybe parliament would reinstall Yanukovych as president if he promised to personally pay off Ukraine’s debt, and reform, of course.
Meanwhile, retired Russian military officers on Ukraine’s eastern border lead peaceful seizures of buildings. An NPR reporter said a barricade of wires and tires around one building demonstrated a well-organized takeover. That sounds to me like the work of KGB craftsmen.
The takeovers are exposing the feckless Ukrainian army. The NYTreported two elite Ukrainian paratrooper units with 21 armored vehicles sent to recapture buildings were repulsed by unarmed men and women on April 17. One unit surrendered its armored vehicles.
In March 2014 Sen. John McCain recommended the U.S. fortify Ukraine’s army with weapons. They’d end up in Russian hands, but maybe Russia would lower the debt out of gratitude.
Obama and Putin talk on the phones, but about what? Maybe Obama’s seeking advice on approval ratings. His have plummeted while Putin’s have skyrocketed to 80 percent since he seized Crimea and uses the social media for propaganda.
Russia’s propaganda insists the chaos has been created by Ukrainians and Western spies, requiring Russian troops stationed on the border to protect Russians.
David Herszenhorn of the NYT reported on Russia’s comprehensive stream of false media reports and misinformation. He quotes one expert labeling the statements “embarrassingly transparent lies.”
Obama could respond on Facebook. You and I could chime in. It’d be less costly than destroying soldiers and weapons for a lost cause begun long ago by Russian meddling with corrupt politicians.
The world shouldn’t react helplessly to political conflicts caused by massive corruption abetted by the complicity of banks and attorneys.
Active banking controls could avoid active corruption causing the inevitable misery of innocent citizens.