An American in Ukraine Comments on the Ukraine Crisis

<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">An American in Ukraine Comments on the Ukraine Crisis

by <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">John-Henry Hill, M.D.
First Posted: March 1, 2014
Edited:<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal"> March 17, 2014

Introduction: I an American living in Ukraine
full-time since 2009. I saw an interview by <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">Greg Hunter (on
of Paul Craig Roberts on March 11,
2014. My reaction was: AT LAST someone is presenting an accurate picture of the
crisis in Ukraine!

The following is a comment I first wrote on March 1, 2014,
then updated on March 17, 2014, presenting my views of the crisis and possible
solutions - based on my experiences here over the years and literally hundreds
of conversations in the past few weeks with Ukrainians in Odessa,
Kiev and Crimea.

I am an American who has lived in Ukraine
since 2009 (and a visitor here for some 10 years before then), with houses in
both Odessa and Simferopol
(Crimea), as well as in Scotland
and Switzerland.
(I am currently in Odessa; my wife is in Simferopol visiting her
parents and phones me several times each day with the news.) The people here
are greatly interested in how Americans view the political crisis here. So I
have read hundreds of articles on American news web sites to get an idea of
what is being presented there. I can assure you that MOST of the information
presented by the Obama administration and the American news media about the
political crisis here is WRONG! Among the more accurate presentations of what
the mood is here was a short
piece by Lev Golinkin, a former
Ukrainian, titled “Vladimir Putin’s
enemies aren’t all good guys” in the Boston
Globe of March 10, 2014.

The word that best sums up the situation here is FEAR.

The people in southern Ukraine
and Crimea view the post-coup leaders in Kiev
as illegitimate. Like the Maidan protesters in Kiev, they saw the former president
Yanukovitch as corrupt and no doubt would have voted him out of office in the
upcoming elections. But they are appalled by the post-coup government and are
fearful of its affiliations with the neo-NAZI factions (e.g., Right-Sector and Svoboda
from western Ukraine) that
currently control the streets and government offices in Kiev. Of note, armed gangs of Right-Sector
members, having scared off the police, now patrol the streets of Kiev and the halls of
government buildings. These well-armed gangs, who were the primary snipers
killing both the Maidan protesters and the police in Kiev, have beaten and
kidnapped political opponents in the parliament and in neighboring districts;
and in a few cases even burned their opponents’ homes. As the two tape-recorded
conversations of Victoria Nuland
(U.S. State Dept.) with the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine and more recently of
Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas
Paet to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reveal, both the
post-coup government leaders and the neo-NAZIs groups were supported and funded
by the U.S. and NATO, primarily through U.S. NGOs (non-governmental
organizations). Further, the U.S.
government was well aware of the violent history of these neo-NAZI groups,
whose recent history includes combat in such places as Georgia and Chechnya.

I do not use the term “neo-NAZI” lightly. Many of the coup leaders are
followers of Ukrainian Nazi Stepan
Bandera, who collaborated in the mass murder of Jews, Poles and pro-Russian
Ukrainians during World War II. Indeed, masses of men from northwest Ukraine worked
for the NAZIs in both the military and in concentration camps. Their current political
ideology, organizational structures and symbolism are straight out of NAZI
Germany, but with a nationalist Ukrainian twist. More importantly, these
neo-NAZIs are not on the fringes of the post-coup government in Kiev. Rather, they are
the core leaders of that government (including the new prime minister Arseniy Yatsenuyk or “Yats” - as Victoria Nuland called him
- of the Fatherland party), including the armed forces, police, courts,
national security, education, and economic affairs. The links to international
bankers are also evident, primarily in the persons of <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">Yatsenuyk (as prime minister) and newly appointed central bank
head, Stepan Kubiv.

The calls for the use of force by the U.S. are WRONG! The solution is NOT
force – military or economic - by the U.S. and NATO. The people here do
NOT want violence. Like most Americans, they simply want to live their everyday
lives as they desire, without fear from government and violent extremists. They
are seeking the assistance of Russia
because there currently is NO
alternative, as the U.S.
has sided with the post-coup Kiev
government. One must understand that the current Ukraine
is “false nation” – a forced union created by Krushchev in 1954 of the real Ukraine (the northern and western regions only)
with the eastern-southern regions and Crimea, the latter two actually
historically and culturally part of Russia. After 60 years of this
union, the vast majority of the people in eastern and southern Ukraine do NOT wish to break up Ukraine and join Russia. Nor do they wish to become
affiliated with the European Union, which they view as an economic “death
sentence” as befell Greece, Portugal, Italy,
Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. But, given the U.S. government’s support of what they perceive
as an unelected and illegitimate rogue Kiev
government imposed by force and dominated by fascists, they see no viable
alternative. They prefer to secede rather than submit to the violence and
servitude promised to them by the Right-Sector, Svoboda and other neo-NAZI leaders
now in power in Kiev!
They prefer the relative economic freedom offered by Russia, as opposed to the
neo-feudalism the international banks and the IMF have imposed on the peoples
of other nations.

It is FEAR that is pushing the Ukraine people toward Russia - NOT ideology! If anyone
thinks that the threat of military and economic force by the U.S. will
change the situation, he is dead wrong. The people ALREADY perceive such
threats of deadly force coming from the post-coup Kiev government and the neo-NAZIs. They fear
that if these neo-NAZIs consolidate their power, a PURGE of pro-Russian
Ukrainians will take place throughout Ukraine
and Crimea. The American people have never
experienced the political purges such as those that occurred here under Stalin
and Hitler (aided by western Ukrainians). But the people here remember them
well and realize that they could happen again. Whether this fear is rational or
not is beside the point: the fear is genuine and growing. Its effect on the
people here should not be under-estimated.

Any solution to this crisis must include:

1.) long-term guarantees by the U.S. and Russia, backed up by mixed-unit
U.S.-Russian military forces if necessary, that there will be no political
purges or retribution anywhere in Ukraine by any parties;

2.) all armed para-military forces be removed from Kiev (by a joint, mixed-unit
U.S.-Russian military force in Kiev ONLY),
with their replacement by the regular police (who are afraid of Right-Sector
and Svoboda groups);

3.) all foreign (especially U.S.)
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must
be banned permanently in Ukraine;
and further EU and NATO expansion to
the east must be halted permanently.

4.) the post-coup government in Kiev be disbanded
immediately; and a temporary government council be created, composed of two
representatives from each oblast to act as a type of unicameral legislature to
appoint temporary administrators of the central government and to organize a
new Ukraine-wide REFERENDUM (see #8 below).

5.) the current treaty with Russia
for its Black Sea fleet and land-based troops in Crimea
must be maintained and extended indefinitely;

6.) a guarantee that no future Ukraine government may sell,
transfer or monetize (“privatize”) any state-owned assets; that all such assets
shall remain in a legal trust for the people of Ukraine; and that all loans to Ukraine, its oblasts
(similar to our states) and Crimea from any outside groups (such as the IMF,
World Bank, the EU, NATO, BIS, the U.S. and all other nations and their agents,
foreign banks, etc.) will be subject to immediate
cancellation and the discharge of
such debts should any attempt be made by them to introduce “austerity measures” or any other
fiscal, monetary, capital controls, political or military interventions into
Ukraine, its oblasts or Crimea.

7.) the people of Ukraine must retain their individual right
to keep arms, as the militia concept is very strong here and the people will
never forfeit the rights of keeping arms and of self and community defense;

8.) that a REFERENDUM be held
throughout Ukraine (with international monitors) within the next 30 days in
which the people of each OBLAST (similar to our States) are given a choice of
whether to remain a part of Ukraine as a FEDERATION
of autonomous OBLASTS; OR to become <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">independent nations (and thereafter free to form new nations within
their current geographical areas or to join existing foreign nations, such as
Russia, Belarus or Poland). If such a referendum were to take place, in order
to earn the trust and confidence of the Crimean people, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">Crimea (which on March 16, 2014 voted for independence – in full
compliance with the UN’s International Court of Justice guidelines as set forth
in its Kosovo-Serbia decision - and acquisition by Russia) would need a
guarantee from ALL nations of complete and total independence, both
from Ukraine and from Russia, but with all
treaties with Russia intact (see # 5
above). Only under these conditions would the people of Crimea ever even
consider NOT being annexed by Russia,
which they view as their guardian. (The UN’s International Court of Justice
decision of 22 July 2010 on Kosovo, adopted at the request of the UN General Assembly at the initiative of Serbia, <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:
normal">confirmed the fact that unilateral announcement of independence by a
part of a state does not violate any provision of international law.)

The American media fail to understand that CORRUPTION is the primary problem here,
with its origins both in the West and in Russia. They see the international
bankers, the IMF, the World Bank, multi-national corporations and the
ultra-rich oligarchs (Russian, European and Ukrainian) buying their politicians
and selling their nation to the highest bidders. And the Ukrainian people, like
most Americans, are sick of it! They do NOT want to be ruled by Russia; nor by
the U.S or the European Union. But like most people here, I would rather be
under Russian protection than at the mercy of the post-coup Kiev government. The people here are fleeing
a burning house - and they flee toward Russia
solely because they view the U.S.
and EU as throwing more gasoline on the flames!

If the U.S. government truly
wishes to resolve the crisis in Ukraine,
it must give the Ukrainian people a viable alternative to BOTH the Kiev neo-NAZI government
(in collusion with the IMF, EU, mega-banks and multi-national corporations) AND
to a Russian takeover. And, if any proposal is to gain the trust of the people
here, its implementation must be undertaken by the U.S.
and Russia
jointly, probably requiring a mixed, joint U.S.-Russian military force. Above
all, the U.S. needs to
recognize the genuine FEAR that exists among the people here; along with their
current distrust of the U.S.
government and the EU.

Wake up before thermonuclear war makes this all a moot

John-Henry Hill, M.D.