The Ukrainian Template

It didn’t take long for the supporters of Viktor Yushchenko, the West’s Ukrainian sock puppet, to point to the KGB as the perpetrators of the poisoning of their candidate with a major dose of dioxin:

"When asked by ABC News’ Bill Weir if the Russian government, and specifically President Vladimir Putin, had anything to do with the poisoning, Yushchenko chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk said: ‘I am not very positive about government, but what I might say that was Soviet Union … sort of KGB experts are clearly involved in this plot.’"

What evidence did Rybachuk present? None, of course. Yushchenko’s supporters didn’t need any evidence to back up the contention that their candidate was poisoned to begin with, and the same standard applies to finding out who did it and why: In the murky world of Ukrainian politics, where plots and counter-plots are par for the course, one conspiracy theory is just as good as another – and truth gets lost in the shuffle. But when the medical evidence finally did come in, confirming that Yushchenko had been poisoned by toxic levels of dioxin, it raised more questions than it answered. The first one being: if this really was the KGB, then what’s happened to their legendary ruthless efficiency – perhaps the only efficient institution in Soviet society?

Of all the available poisons to choose from, why did the poisoners choose dioxin? There has never been a single recorded fatality due to acute dioxin exposure. What amounts to a lethal dose varies widely. In male rats, it is 23 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (mcg/kg); in female rats, however, it is 45 mcg/kg; in guinea pigs, 1 mcg/kg, and hamsters: 5,000 mcg/kg. The lethal dose for humans is not known. In any case, it would take an awful lot of dioxin to knock off a human being. More than one dose would be required, perhaps ingested over an extended period of time.

However, as the bleary-eyed viewers of Good Morning America found out the other day, the Yushchenko camp has a ready answer to this:

"Rybachuk added that Yushchenko had been forewarned of the plot. ‘I actually talked to [Yushchenko] in late July when getting messages from both Ukrainian and Russian ex-secret service agents saying there was a plot and poisoning is number one,’ he said. Rybachuk said the agents told Yushchenko the goal would not be to kill him but to make him an ‘invalid’ in order to knock him out of the campaign. ‘We couldn’t believe they would dare, but they did,’ said Rybachuk."

Perhaps the early morning hour accounts for the logical fuzziness of this line of argument, but in any case Rybachuk’s scenario makes little sense. Failing to kill Yushchenko with a poison that lingers for years in the body could only catapult him into office – and leave an evidentiary trail leading straight to the perpetrators. Where is the logic in that?

But logic has little to do with the campaign to demonize supporters of Viktor Yanukovich, the perpetually bewildered-looking apparatchik who carries the banner of the "Regions of Ukraine" party. As the latest issue of The Economist makes all too clear, the Western financial and political elites have taken out after a fresh quarry, test-marketing their new strategy of "peaceful" "nonviolent" regime-change in Ukraine, to be ultimately deployed against Russian president Vladimir Putin – who I’m afraid is slated to be cast in the role of a Russified Saddam Hussein. Here’s The Economist:

"The drama playing out in the streets of Ukraine in recent weeks has been gripping in its own terms. But its bigger significance for the West lies northeast of Kiev, in Russia. As the tide moves towards a presidential election victory for the opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, on December 26th, the efforts of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to thwart him have looked ever more cack-handed. But they have also depressed those who still hope that Mr. Putin’s Russia might move, slowly and tortuously, on to a path leading to political liberalism – and that it might prove an ally not a foe of the West."

You’re a "foe of the West" and an opponent of "liberalism" unless you genuflect while NATO points a sword at your neck. If you don’t grovel appropriately as your country is isolated, economically and politically, from Europe, and cut off from its traditional sphere of influence, the Western elites start to get visibly "depressed" – and then watch out! Because there’s such a thing as homicidal depression.

Emblematic of the West’s disappointment in Putin’s performance, according to The Economist, is his treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch worth some $15 billion, who accumulated his fortune through government connections during the Yeltsin era. He made a success of his Menatep Bank by getting government contracts through his links to the Communist party youth group, and made a killing by taking over the formerly state-owned Yukos oil company. He managed to do this by getting Menatep put in charge of auditing the "privatization" process. A rival company’s higher bid was ruled out of order on a technicality, and Khodorkovsky – through a front "subsidiary" – got Yukos and much more for a song. Menatep is also implicated in elaborate money-laundering schemes, in which American "foreign aid" and "loans" from the International Monetary Fund to Russia have been spirited out of the country and stashed in Western banks. There is at least one case of a Yukos-connected murder currently under investigation.

Khodorkovsky was arrested and jailed on charges of fraud and theft, and his trial is ongoing. But his martyrdom and canonization as a patron saint of the globalized "free market" economy is odd, to say the least, unless one considers capitalism an utterly immoral system based on fraud and typified by such icons of corporate virtue as Enron, Ivar Krueger, and the Sopranos.

Khodorkovsky and his fellow oligarchs are the product of the old Communist party ruling class: they are, in many cases, their children. What happened in the former Soviet Union is that the "collectively owned" state resources were "privatized" into the hands of the Soviet party elite, which up until that point had lacked the ability to pass on its ill-gotten gains to the next generation of swindlers. This is what marked the transition from socialism to "capitalism" in the former Soviet Union: in reality, the morphing of oligarchical collectivism (what Max Shachtman and other dissident Trotskyists called "bureaucratic collectivism") into oligarchical capitalism, better known as state capitalism.

By taking on the oligarchs, who are widely hated in Russia, Putin has enraged their amen corner in the West – which doesn’t care about the non-capitalistic source of Khodorkovsky’s wealth. Richard Perle demanded that Russia be thrown out of the G-8 group on account of Putin’s "vindictive" pursuit of the neocons’ favorite oligarch, and the neoconservative media has been out for Putin’s scalp in a big way, with wooly-headed liberals adding their voices to the chorus. Here, at last, the same "progressives" who hailed the conquest of Kosovo can join the neocons in hailing the "liberation" of Ukraine. As the tug of war between East and West in Kiev reaches a dramatic climax, the New Cold War is on – with fresh battlegrounds in Belarus, Moldova, Abkhazia, and Adjara soon to witness more conflicts in this latest "clash of civilizations."

In each of the above-mentioned cases, a variation of the Ukrainian folk tale, based on the Yushchenko mythos, is being prepared: an evil, tyrannical, proto-neo-Communist puppet-of-Putin is thwarting the "democratic" will of the people. Furthermore, a Russian-speaking minority refuses to have another language imposed on them, while "pro-Western" oligarchs loot formerly state-owned enterprises and rob the country blind. And while the European Union is not exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of absorbing yet another penniless, unstable East European gangster state, along with many thousands of Westward-fleeing Ukrainian immigrants, the NATO-crats and the military-industrial powerhouse that profits from NATO expansion are practically jumping for joy.

With NATO troops stationed a few hours from Moscow, Khodorkovsky could easily be "liberated" by Western troops from his cell at the Matrosskaya Tishina prison. Only Russia’s nukes deter them from doing exactly that, and Putin shows every sign of understanding this quite well. But there is another arrow in the War Party’s quiver, and that is to pour billions into the creation of an indigenous fifth column inside countries targeted for absorption: the Ukrainian model writ large.

That’s why Yushchenko reacted sharply and immediately to Rep. Ron Paul’s statement before the House International Relations Committee exposing U.S. government support for the "Our Ukraine" movement. After all, the "orange revolution" is supposed to be a nationalistic affair, mobilizing anti-Russian sentiment to anchor Ukraine firmly in the NATO alliance. As Russian news outlets reported:

"Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko denied information that the USA had been funding him during the presidential race. Commenting on the speech of US congressman Ron Paul that the US government could have spent ‘millions’ of dollars in support of Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian opposition leader declared: ‘I am sick and tired of these legends. If everybody appears to be financing Our Ukraine, I have only one question here – where did the money go? Who could finance the people on Independence Square for 17 days?’ the opposition leader inquired. According to him, twelve private hospitals worked on Independence Square with over 15 restaurants donating food for protestants [sic] during these 17 days."

If Yushchenko is "tired" of "these legends," then Americans are surely tired of the arrogance of our foreign welfare clients, who challenge the ability of our own elected representatives to question the legitimacy of sub rosa disbursements in Ukraine. Where the money went, as Yushchenko well knows, is to funding the "exit polls" that proclaimed Yushchenko the "winner" – much as they declared Kerry the "winner" last month – and in paying the thousands of cadre necessary for such a mass mobilization in the streets.

The answer to Yushchenko’s question – "Who could finance the people on Independence Square for 17 days?" – is simple: the United States government (with a little help from George Soros). The U.S. Treasury is the banker and financier of first resort when it comes to spreading "democracy" worldwide: that, after all, is the declared foreign policy goal of George W. Bush. His "global democratic revolution" is a tactical subset of the Pentagon’s worldwide military strategy, which is now focused on a dangerous and increasingly reckless new adventure: the encirclement and political isolation of the former Soviet Union.

This is not a substitute for a military solution, but a complementary tactic that supplements rather than replaces force of arms. It is a page torn out of the old Bolshevik play-book, and, in that sense, Leninism is returning to Russia from the outside. The idea is to set up a pro-American "International" of parties-disguised-as-NGOs and other "activist" groups, all feeding from the U.S. trough. Their goal: divide, re-divide, and bring to heel the Russians, the Arabs, and anyone else who gets in their way.

The self-canceling concept of imposing "democracy" – never mind a regime of "individual rights" and the "rule of law" – at gunpoint, even if it were possible and beneficial to the "liberated," would still be the wrong policy because it is bad for America. By making a worldwide program of "regime change" a function of the federal government, we invest the State with more resources and power, increase the chances of a military conflict with nations that resist "the revolution," and quicken America’s transition from republic to empire.

The proper American policy toward Ukraine ought to be one based on free trade and noninterference in the internal affairs of that country. Period. The paradox of American power is that the more it expands the frontiers of "freedom" outward, the more rapidly our own sphere of liberty right here in the homeland contracts. With all the mighty resources of Big Government mobilized in pursuit of a quixotic effort to implant "democracy" worldwide, the pro-freedom forces abroad are manipulated – and routinely misled and betrayed – by the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy. They are turned into mere instruments of U.S. interests, discredited and distrusted by genuine patriots everywhere. That is why the Ukrainian template, as a strategy employed by the U.S. to further its alleged national interests, does not bode well for the future of peace and freedom, either at home or abroad.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].