Ukraine’s Tragicomedy

Remember that “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine that was supposed to take place over a year ago? Well, it’s still “imminent”!

President Poroshenko has just announced that the Russians are about to undertake a “full-scale” invasion of his country and that therefore the military budget must be increased, while “traitors” who refuse to be drafted – and who persist in criticizing his government – must be dealt with harshly.

While demonstrators ring the Parliament almost daily in Kiev, Poroshenko beats the war drums to drown out their protests, citing the “colossal threat” posed by that ever-imminent Russian blitz. Of course it’s just a coincidence that the upcoming G-7 summit – from which the Russians are being pointedly excluded – is sure to feature the familiar war propaganda aimed at the Kremlin.

While the Western media is giving us the usual pro-Kiev spin, echoing Poroshenko’s accusations that renewed fighting was started by the rebels, the OSCE monitors tell a different story: apparently the fighting began with shelling of rebel-held villages by the Ukrainian army, with at least 19 killed. If you click on the OSCE link, note two interesting facts: 1) The monitors insist on putting scare quotes around all mentions of the rebel entities and official titles, and 2) The report also describes a number of protests in government-held territory, mostly directed against official corruption and soaring prices. The natives are getting restless.

In Ukraine, where tragedy and comedy are inextricably linked, there’s never a dull moment: the latest tragicomedy is the news that Poroshenko has appointed former Georgian strongman Mikheil Saakashvili as the new governor of Odessa. Saakashvili and his gang were forced to flee Georgia when they were kicked out of office by outraged voters. Saakashvili fled the country when charges linked to his violent 2007 crackdown on street protesters were brought against him. He was also charged with embezzling government funds for his own personal use. The New York Times details the charges, including:

“[U]sing public money to pay for, among other things, hotel expenses for a personal stylist, hotel and travel for two fashion models, Botox injections and hair removal, the rental of a yacht in Italy and the purchase of artwork by the London artist Meredith Ostrom, who makes imprints on canvases with her naked, painted body. …

“Mr. Saakashvili is also accused of using public money to fly his massage therapist, Dorothy Stein, into Georgia in 2009. Mr. Saakashvili said he received a massage from Ms. Stein on ‘one occasion only,’ but Ms. Stein said she received 2,000 euros to massage him multiple times, including delivering her trademark ‘bite massage.’ ‘He gave me a bunch of presents,’ said Ms. Stein, who splits her time between Berlin and Hoboken.”

US aid continues to pour into Ukraine, a portion of which will doubtless include more “massages” for the new governor of Odessa. Also pouring into that war-torn country are US military “advisors.” Their mission is to train Ukraine’s army of conscripts and neo-Nazi volunteers, who have been pathetically inept when faced with the determined residents of east Ukraine.

While the Poroshenko regime continues to arrest dissident journalists, jail “draft-dodgers,” and drive out opposition politicians (many of whom have “committed suicide” under very dicey circumstances), the intrepid defenders of Ukrainian “democracy” in America and Europe plumb for a confrontation with Russia.

New York Times columnist and unapologetic Iraq war supporter Roger Cohen is the latest entry in the Putin-is-Hitler sweepstakes, comparing the scheduled 2018 World Cup in Russia to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and bewailing the West’s ongoing defeat in Ukraine. There was no mention of Munich in his overwrought polemic, but I’m sure that was just an oversight.

Meanwhile, in spite of the widely-condemned Russian “aggression” in Crimea, there is still not even a hint of rebellion by its inhabitants: perhaps this has something to do with the history of the region, which was Russian from the time of Catherine the Great up until when Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to Ukraine in 1951, during the Soviet era.

Unlike tranquil Crimea, east Ukraine is in blood-stained turmoil, with the inhabitants refusing to buckle under to rule from Kiev. This may have something to do with the merciless pounding they have taken from the Ukrainian military, which has murdered thousands of civilians in aerial bombardments of cities and towns. Kiev’s attitude toward its citizens in the eastern part of the country was succinctly summed up by Poroshenko, who famously declared:

“Our children will go to school, to kindergarten, while theirs’ will hole up in basements. This is how we will win this war!”

His statement has got to be the first time in recorded history that a government leader has boasted about targeting children in wartime.

Poroshenko and his US backers are determined to sink the Minsk accord, brokered by the Germans, which has kept a shaky truce intact until now. But with the internal political and economic situation in Ukraine coming to a boil, and Kiev’s rapidly ballooning debt threatening to bring down the regime, Poroshenko needs a diversion – a new external “crisis” – to bring in more Western aid and direct rising popular anger at the Russian bogeyman.

Although I don’t know how much credence to give to these hacked emails, supposedly between billionaire George Soros and Poroshenko, it’s not exactly shocking if the former is indeed lobbying the Federal Reserve to swap out Ukraine’s burgeoning debt. We always knew US taxpayers would foot the staggering bill.

Soros has long been a major player in the Balkans, acting to counter Russian influence, protect his own considerable investments, and gin up conflict wherever he can. He was a major source of funding for pro-war front groups during the Kosovo war, and he’s playing the same role these days. As a major source of money for the Democratic party, Soros is bound to have a decisive influence over the restored Clinton administration – and this will be a point of unity between the two major parties, as the neocons in charge of the GOP have also been agitating for a showdown with Putin.

The major threat to Poroshenko’s government isn’t the Russians, or the easterners, but his own people, who are chafing under the burden of imposed austerity and suffering greatly. With the outright fascists like Right Sector and its allies waiting in the wings, Poroshenko’s Western backers would be loath to accept his probable successor should the “Chocolate King” fall.

That’s why, as I noted here, they’re ginning up yet another manufactured “crisis” in neighboring Macedonia, where Western NGOs are agitating for regime change in order to block the proposed Russian pipeline that will bring natural gas to European markets. The goal is to isolate Russia, both economically and politically, and eventually move the West’s regime change operation into the Russian heartland, restoring the rule of the oligarchs – their oligarchs, as opposed to Putin’s – and silencing the Russian leader’s trenchant critique of US hegemonism.

This policy is entirely contrary to our real national interests, which are not served by starting a new cold war with Russia. The Russians, after all, face the same threat we do: Islamic terrorism has torn apart the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, reaching into Russia itself to wreak death and destruction. Yet we have favored the Islamists, openly supporting their Chechen branch, just as we’re funding and arming Islamist rebels in Syria – all in the name of “democracy,” of course.

It’s a suicidal policy, one that has no rational explanation or justification: but then again, that’s nothing new when it comes to understanding Washington’s motives.


You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

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].