With the bankrupt country falling apart Andrew Korybko argues Ukraine has never been closer to an actual grassroots revolution than now
This article originally appeared at The Vineyard of the Saker
It’s been discussed since the civil war first began last spring, but Ukraine might finally be on the verge of a legitimate people’s uprising against the government.
The Color Revolutions in 2004 and 2014 were organized from abroad (despite the misleading mass media representation that they were popular movements) and aimed to achieve concrete geopolitical objectives on behalf of the West, thereby discrediting them as real grassroots actions and exposing their ulterior nature.
Although Ukraine has thus far not experienced a single genuine (as in organized by Ukrainians and for Ukrainians) revolution to date, it doesn’t mean that one couldn’t be forthcoming, as all the proper ‘ingredients’ are currently in effect.
Three recent developments indicate that the country is a lot closer to a real revolution than most observers might believe, and if the people take the initiative in seizing the opportunity in front of them, they might have a chance at reversing some of the regime’s most disastrous policies before it’s ultimately too late.
Kiev has taken the decision to ban a handful of books by certain Russian authors, notably the works of famous anti-Color Revolution crusader and historian Nikolai Starikov and presidential advisor Sergei Glaziev. These two individuals in particular have been extremely critical of the regime, and it appears as though Kiev views them as ideological threats to its rule.
The book banning comes amid already existing political oppression against all dissident voices, be they politicians, the media, or even average citizen's. The authorities are plainly expressing that no counter-views will be tolerated under their rule, and that they seek to control the flow of information that the population receives.
This can be read as nothing more than a fear of its own citizenry, since if Kiev and its representatives were secure in their rule, there wouldn’t be any need to be so authoritarian.
The fact that they’re now taking the publicized and extreme step of banning a small number of books speaks to their heightened paranoia, which in turn can be read (pun intended) as the serious threat that they believe they face from the people.
The thing is, it might not just be paranoia, but an objective reality that some elements of society and not just the Neo-Nazi battalions (albeit for their own separate reasons ) are getting ready to turn on Kiev.
Russian Food Embargo Threat
The latest news coming out of Moscow is that Medvedev announced that the counter-sanctions campaign “has been extended to Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Liechtenstein and, subject to special conditions, Ukraine”.
Specifying matters, he warned that if Ukraine goes forward with the economic component of the EU Association Agreement expected to enter into force at the beginning of next year, its agricultural products would also come under the same restrictions.
A ban on fruit and vegetable imports from last October already threatened to wipe out up to $51 million of market loss for Ukrainian producers, and expanding it to include all agricultural goods could be cataclysmic for the already crippled economy.
According to Business New Europe , agriculture is the country’s largest industry right now (due mostly in part because of the manufacturing losses incurred from the War on Donbass) and the only one to show any growth last year, so if exports to Ukraine’s largest trading partner are cut off, then the consequences could very well be fatal for the country.
As an additional point on this topic, it must also be noted that it’s highly unlikely that Russian-destined exports could be reoriented to the EU, because domestic producers there are already howling in pain at the economic misery inflicted by Russia’s counter-sanctions against them and are heatedly competing amongst themselves in an oversaturated market.
It would thus be a poor political move on the part of any EU government to prioritize Ukrainian agricultural products over their own producers’, even more so since the EU is suffering its worst dairy crisis in three decades and can’t possibly absorb any Ukrainian imports of this kind, for but one example.
If Ukraine can’t sell its products in the EU, then the excess that should have originally gone to Russia will stay in the domestic market and precipitate a rapid price collapse that could serve as a prelude to the sudden collapse of the entire agricultural industry.
This would in turn affect the country’s capability to feed itself, meaning that more expensive foreign foodstuffs (probably GMO-laced products from the US) would have to be imported to meet the demand.
With farming no longer a profitable venture for many by this point, farmland can be sold for bare-bottom prices to foreign companies (again, likely American,specifically Monsanto ), thus ushering in the complete foreign takeover of one of the most rich agricultural regions in the world.
This calamitous scenario can be avoided, however, provided that Ukrainians take urgent action in changing their government before the end of the year, which leads to the final examined development.
The Committee For Salvation Of Ukraine
Last but not least, one of the most important, if underreported, aspects that could push Ukrainians towards a real revolution is the establishment of the Committee For Salvation Of Ukraine (CSU), essentially a government-in-exile based in Moscow. As the saying goes, “better late than never”, and it seems quite suited to this case.
From what can be discerned, the CSU is the brainchild of former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, and although he’s not the leader (Vladimir Oleynik is), he seems to be running the show. Azarov promised that if it comes to power, the CSU will immediately hold new, free, and fair elections, but in order for this to happen , he “ask[s] all citizens, political parties, labor unions and social movements to unite and restore order in our home by joint efforts”.
The point, it seems, is to unite civil society organizations and average citizens into a coordinated anti-government campaign, believing that it could prove to be the pivotal tipping point for the regime.
Just about every observer would agree that Kiev would never relinquish power without a fight, but Azarov makes no mention of resorting to violence in the upcoming struggle, although it can be understood that this would be a logical response to harsh state suppression, should some of the participants so choose to react in this way.
Right now the CSU doesn’t seem to inspire much enthusiasm from anyone, but all of this could change with time. After all, the organization isn’t perfect (and much of its makeup and activity is still mysterious and undeclared), but it symbolically stands as the first realistic form of opposition to the Maidan government, and it’s helped by the fact that it’s based abroad and is thus safe from Kiev’s clutches.
Most importantly at this point of time, however, is that the organization is likely building a network of supportive cells inside of Ukraine in order to construct a unified anti-government platform from which to challenge the state.
This means that the CSU could essentially function as a coordinating committee in managing outreach campaigns across the country, public demonstrations (when the time is right), and perhaps after that, if they’re violently suppressed, even Hybrid War military operations as well.
To speak on the protest part of the CSU’s assumed responsibilities and interests, if there ever was a perfect social environment to test Gene Sharp’s “ From Dictatorship To Democracy ” and “ There Are Realistic Alternatives ” protest theories, then it’s contemporary Ukraine, which is undoubtedly a dictatorship with a capital D. If a legitimate people’s revolution ever does occur in Ukraine, then it’s a sure bet that the CSU will have a leading role in it and will likely use the event to help catapult itself and its leadership from Moscow back to Kiev.
Never before has Ukraine been closer to a legitimate grassroots revolution than now. Many citizens were fearful of the new regime after the February 2014 coup, but not many of them outside of Crimea and Donbass publicly demonstrated against it.
When they did, such as in Odessa in May of that year, they were horrifically killed and the perpetrators never brought to justice (purposely so). Some people, unsure of what they could individually do to resist the regime, decided to passively “give it a try” and see what it could ultimately do for their well-being.
Nearly 18 months later, the Maidan authorities have done nothing except split the country with civil war, kill thousands of civilians, and crash the economy, and enough time has passed for their ridiculous ‘blame Russia’ tirade to grow stale and unbelievable among most of the population.
The problems Ukraine has gotten itself into since the overthrow of Yanukovich are entirely of its new authorities’ making, and it seems as though some Ukrainians might finally be wising up to this, ergo why Kiev is making yet another paranoid push to suppress independent thought and go as far as outrageously banning a handful of books.
Average Ukrainians might be politically misled, but most of them are smart enough to realize that the country is falling apart in front of their eyes, and that it’s becoming ever more difficult to make simple ends meet.
With Russia’s counter-sanction ultimatum to Ukraine, some of them might finally feel desperate enough to consider going against the government, despite being aware of the likely beat-down (or worse) that they’ll receive for doing so.
Still, these individuals presumably lack a sense of organized direction, which is where the CSU comes in. It’s assumed that it wouldn’t have gone public had it not established some kind of shadow presence in Ukraine first, no matter how small, and one can draw the conclusion (using Azarov’s own words) that it’s in favor of mass anti-government activity and will do its best to support them.
Building upon this logic and putting two and two together, the CSU could very well be organizing such a movement itself, gathering the disaffected segments of Ukrainian society to help engineer a regime change push before the year is over.
If the Maidan authorities remain in power and don’t walk back the economic component of the EU Association Agreement by that time, then Ukraine will be plunged into an even deeper domestic crisis that might unwittingly turn Kiev’s regime change paranoia into a solid reality.