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  • At the same time, as indicated on the website of the American Alliance for Securing Democracy, from 14-31 January 2018, members of the Alliance studied 159 major articles distributed from the URLs of Kremlin-linked accounts on Twitter. As a result, it turned out that 31% of the trending links were devoted to the legends of the Deep State and attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Mueller probe. Half of these articles were devoted to the release of the Nunes Memo. Other targets of Russian trolls were Hillary Clinton, Andrew McCabe and Lindsey Graham. An anti-immigration theme was also trending. Based on this data, congressmen Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff sent a letter to the Twitter and Facebook management asking them to investigate the bot activity.

    The Lakhta project reappears in another indictment, issued by the US Justice Department against Russian citizen Elena Husyainova. She was involved in accounting for finances, which were used, in particular, for conducting operations to influence American elections. Cash flows were used for payments to activists, political advertising in social networks, registration of domain names, purchase of proxy servers, etc. This time the interference was also directed at the mid-term elections to the US Congress in 2018.

    The operational budget of the project, according to the investigation, in 2016-2018 was $35 million; moreover, only part of it was spent on the operations in the USA. Also, part of the funds was allocated for the campaign to discredit Republicans John McCain and Paul Ryan, who were contrasted with Trump as a defender of Americas true interests. Trolls were encouraged to support all of Trumps initiatives as president.

    If we look away from the American realities, we can recall one of the largest revelations of Russian active measures in Ukraine, in particular, the publication of the letters of the gray cardinal of the Kremlin Vladislav Surkov in 2016 and 2017.

    The hacked emails range from those proving Russias involvement in the proxy republics in eastern Ukraine to financing electoral campaigns of ex-Communists to massive psy-ops aiming at the federalization of Ukraine. Activists were paid to protest the perceived economic ruination that the cessation of economic ties with Russia may bring, foot soldiers on a salary hung up banners calling to bring in Russian troops, journalists were bribed to cover Russian-organized activities, and an operation to set up an alternative center of power in the multi-ethnic region of Besarabia was unfolded. This all was carried out against the backdrop of lobbying to change Ukraines Constitution with the aim of legalizing Russias proxy republics in Donbas and attempting to convince the Ukrainians that they can never become part of the EU and should go back to Mother Russia Ed.

    Why is the Integrity Initiative necessary?

    I mentioned and described only a few examples of the actions of Russian propaganda in just two of the many countries where Moscow conducts its active measures. However, they show how much effort Russia directs at destabilizing sovereign states, trying to split their societies and supporting candidates loyal to the Kremlin. Naturally, the victims of such interventions try to defend themselves from hostile attacks. By the way, according to the above-mentioned indictment against Husayinova, the Russians informally call intervention in the American elections an information war against the USA.

    In 2015, a group of American volunteer enthusiasts led by the former senior CIA officer Charles Leven created an informal group to combat Russian disinformation in Linkedin in the United States. The work of this group was described in major American media.

    However, their project only lasted a year the Russian trolls, funded by the Russian government, well-organized and much more numerous, succeeded in blocking the American volunteers by using the standard social media complaint mechanism. It became obvious that ordinary people with limited resources are unable to stop the flow of misinformation from a huge totalitarian country which made the spread of fake news and trolls one of its priorities. At the same time, it is no less obvious that protection against such aggressive intervention is a national security issue for victims of Russian information operations.

    Now, lets return to the points listed above on the basis of which the project The Integrity Initiative was condemned by the Russian media, and try to understand whether they constitute necessary conditions for protection against Kremlin propaganda.

    1. State funding and participation. It is clear from the above-mentioned facts and figures that volunteers, working at their own expense, are not able to withstand a huge propaganda machine, whose work is worth millions of dollars a month on a single country from the list. The participation of government funding in the Integrity Initiative is also understandable: active measures are a professional area of activity of Russian special services for the destruction of democratic institutions in other countries, thus protection against them is a matter of national security. These issues, of course, fall within the purview of the government of any country.

    2. Clusters. The work of the Russian propaganda described above is carried out in all countries which the Integrity Initiative interacts with. For the above-mentioned reason, enthusiasts engaged in combating this propaganda need help, including organizational assistance. Coordination of common work is perfectly normal for any serious business.

    3. Participation of security experts and other professionals in the activities of the clusters. Fighting Russian propaganda is a matter of national security for many countries, since in some of them this propaganda is aimed at weakening and destabilizing the country, and in others (in particular, post-Soviet ones) threatens the very existence of the state. A group of volunteers cannot effectively confront the special services this should be done by professionals, at least veterans, as well as professional journalists, linguists, and other experts. It is also quite normal that these experts share their knowledge with less experienced community members.

    4. Analytical work. From the above documents, we see that Russian trolls disguise themselves as the ordinary residents of the victim countries; therefore, in order to identify propagandists, understand their tactics, and effectively resist disinformation, serious analytics are needed. Moreover, Russian propagandists, while publishing the stolen documents, unwittingly confirm that the activity of the Integrity Initiative is not aimed at creating propaganda, but on the contrary, at identifying and studying it.

    Once again, answering the main question of the report: why is Putin lying, the British summarize: because of power and wealth, as well as the exploitation of Western freedom of speech. According to them, power and wealth are the reasons why Putin bombarded the West with disinformation, reports one of the Russian propaganda websites, thus showing that the Integrity Initiatives activities fully meet the stated goals: to understand the causes of misinformation in order to realize how to confront it.

    5. When the analytical work is done, and misinformation is revealed and refuted, spreading the truth in the media space becomes a completely natural next step. It is also important to inform the public about the ties of this or that official or politician with Russia since Russia behaves in relation to the countries involved in the project like a hostile state. At the same time, the participants of the British project, unlike the Kremlin, spread the truth, not lies, do not use stolen names and fake data and do not violate the law.

    Participation of Russian dissidents in the project is also quite understandable they understand in-depth propaganda techniques and the mentality of certain parts of the Russian populatio that can be indoctrinated.

    Thus, the Russian active measures and the activities of The Integrity Initiative aimed to counter them relate roughly in the same way as the activities of criminals and the police designed to counteract them. In fact, the peoples militia is not able to resist organized crime. To combat the mafia, government funding, professional staff, good coordination, high-quality analytical and research work are needed. The police also needs international coordination Interpol (just recently Moscow unsuccessfully tried to gain control over it using the standard active measure: winning the election for the position of its president.) At the same time, not all police activities are publicized: secrecy is needed to protect sources and continue to investigate and prevent criminals from covering their tracks.

    The hacker attack on The Integrity Initiative and the scandal that followed is an attempt by Russian propaganda to swap the criminal for the one who is trying to investigate his crimes. But the difference between those spreading lies to destroy other countries and those spreading the truth to protect their own countries is equal to that between an aggressor and a victim. Even if the way of organizing their activities seems similar at first glance.http://euromaidanpress.com/2019/01/1...om-the-police/









    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

    Comment


    • Russian attack on the Integrity Initiative: what makes the Mafia different from the police
      EUROMAIDAN PRESS Kseniya Kirillova 2019/01/17 - 20:24

      In late November, a scandal erupted in the largest Russian media. Propaganda publications told us about the British anti-Russian program, The Integrity Initiative, which, according to RIA Novosti, was used to interfere in the internal affairs of European countries and for the information war against Russia.

      The Russians refer to internal documents of the British project, saying that the hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility for obtaining them. At the same time, even the Russian media dont deny that the goal of the Integrity Initiative was not creating propaganda but fighting against it.

      The stated goal of the Integrity Initiative project is to fight against Russian propaganda and information attacks. The way to do it is to form a network of knowledgeable people from the political, military, academic, and expert areas, RIA Novosti quotes the British project in one of their articles (as of now, this website contains over 30 publications about the Integrity Initiative).

      Nevertheless, Moscow is trying to prove with all its might that the goal of the project is to deliberately denigrate Russia and interfere in the affairs of other countries. Through the mouths of hackers, Russia states: Hiding behind noble intentions, Britain actually created a large information secret service in Europe, the USA and Canada As part of the project, Britain has repeatedly interfered in the internal affairs of independent European states.

      At the same time, Russian propagandists claim that the project is nothing but a brainchild of British intelligence services and is closely connected with British intelligence.

      The scandal has grown so large that members of the Russian State Duma have already stated their willingness to conduct an investigation into the Russians cooperating with the project, and the Russian embassy asked the British Foreign Ministry for clarification about the authenticity of the published documents on the activities of the Integrity Initiative, as well as the information about all the projects on Russia funded by the Ministry.

      What are the Russians accusing The Integrity Initiative of?

      Lets try to figure out what the Russians base their accusations on, and what makes the British project the main evidence of malicious purposes? Focusing on publications in the main Russian propaganda media devoted to the analysis of the published documents, one can single out the main complaints presented by the Russian authorities.

      1.Effective organization of activities in different countries, built through a system of clusters.
      2.Coordination and interaction between clusters, which is carried out both electronically and, sometimes, through British embassies.
      3.Great analytical work on Russian propaganda in each region, conducting seminars and studies.
      4.Promotion of the results of this work in social networks, the use of information platforms to counter Russian active measures.
      5.Partial financing of the project by the British government and NATO, the participation of Western security experts in the project.

      The Russian authorities were particularly insulted by the project documents mentioning of one of the people most hated by Vladimir Putin financier and lobbyist of the Magnitsky Act William Browder, as well as Vladimir Ashurkov, an associate of corruption fighter Alexei Navalny, and the Russian scientist Igor Sutyagin, convicted in the past for spying.

      It is important to bear in mind the documents laid out by hackers may partially be faked. However, the projects management does not deny that the program dedicated to fighting against disinformation in Europe really does have to spend most of its time studying the activities of Russia, including those carried out through intelligence services. The Integrity Initiative considers the hacker attack carried out under the name Anonymous itself as one of the Kremlins propaganda operations.

      Thus, both parties recognize as generally truthful information about the structure, scale of activities and contacts of the project. The fundamental difference between what Russian propagandists say and the real work of the Integrity Initiative is primarily in the goals and methods of the British organization. In order to understand which of the parties is right, it is important to answer the main question: does the fight against Russian propaganda really require such complex organization, coordination, and funding as is being used in the British project?


      æ, !

      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

      Comment


      • Pt 2
        How does Russian propaganda work?
        Over the past years, many experts have described the strategies and tactics of Russian propaganda and information operations, which are part of the active measures of the special services. However, the most accurate information about these tactics can be obtained from legal documents. In particular, the indictment by US special counsel Robert Mueller against 13 Russians accused of interfering in the elections in the United States, describes some of them in detail.
        According to the document, the accused conducted campaigns in support of Donald Trump and undermined the image of the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on social networks and beyond, used the stolen personal data of American citizens to create accounts and profiles on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, and also infiltrated the US under false pretense. The Internet Research Agency based in St. Petersburg, led by Yevgeniy Prigozhin and partly funded by two of his other companies, Concord Management and Concord Catering, conducted this work. The monthly budget of the troll factory, as the Internet Research Agency is often called, was about 73 million rubles as of September 2016 (more than $1.25 mn). Concord, among other things, acted as a contractor in several government contracts. Then it was transformed into a new project called Lakhta.

        The employees of the troll factory worked day and night in two shifts for many months and created hundreds of social media profiles using the names of the Americans. Since 2014, they have created the web pages of organizations fighting for immigration, the importance of the lives of African Americans (Blacktivists), Muslim and Christian groups, etc., which then pitted the Americans against each other. In 2015, Lakhta employees have started buying advertising on social networks and have become more active on Twitter. Their work and the main topics of agitation in the meantime were carefully supervised from Moscow.

        Lakhta also acquired servers in the United States and created virtual private networks, trying to disguise themselves as a domestic American network. E-mail addresses for non-existent Americans were also created. With their help, they communicated with other activists and circulated appeals to local media for the purpose of promotion of their events.

        In 2016, Lakhta employees began using real social security numbers and genuine birth dates of actual Americans without their knowledge. With the help of this information, wallets were created in the PayPal payment system, drivers licenses were obtained, and then pages of organizations controlled by Lakhta were created under the names of the victims of theft, and advertising on social networks was bought.

        Starting in February 2016, Lakhta began to use any opportunity to criticize Hillary Clinton and support Trump, including organizing rallies in his support. Rallies in support of the Democrats were also held but were actually aimed at discrediting them (for example, their organizers called for the introduction of Sharia law in the USA). Lakhta also called on the Democrats potential electorate not to vote.
        After the elections, the Russians did not stop interfering in the affairs of the United States. In particular, they conducted campaigns to undermine American security, discredit law enforcement agencies and ongoing investigations.

        A vivid example of the flow of Russian slander into American mass media is a smear against James Comey published in an English-language source, but using the Russian word pravda (truth), written in Latin letters.

        Separately, its worth mentioning the activity of Russian trolls that preceded the release of the Nunes Memorandum, in which the FBI and the Department of Justice were accused of bias against President Donald Trump. The Twitter hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo was originally published by several Republican senators on 18 January 2018, and on the same day, it was picked up by Wikileaks.

        At the same time, as indicated on the website of the American Alliance for Securing Democracy, from 14-31 January 2018, members of the Alliance studied 159 major articles distributed from the URLs of Kremlin-linked accounts on Twitter. As a result, it turned out that 31% of the trending links were devoted to the legends of the Deep State and attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Mueller probe. Half of these articles were devoted to the release of the Nunes Memo. Other targets of Russian trolls were Hillary Clinton, Andrew McCabe and Lindsey Graham. An anti-immigration theme was also trending. Based on this data, congressmen Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff sent a letter to the Twitter and Facebook management asking them to investigate the bot activity.

        The Lakhta project reappears in another indictment, issued by the US Justice Department against Russian citizen Elena Husyainova. She was involved in accounting for finances, which were used, in particular, for conducting operations to influence American elections. Cash flows were used for payments to activists, political advertising in social networks, registration of domain names, purchase of proxy servers, etc. This time the interference was also directed at the mid-term elections to the US Congress in 2018.

        The operational budget of the project, according to the investigation, in 2016-2018 was $35 million; moreover, only part of it was spent on the operations in the USA. Also, part of the funds was allocated for the campaign to discredit Republicans John McCain and Paul Ryan, who were contrasted with Trump as a defender of Americas true interests. Trolls were encouraged to support all of Trumps initiatives as president.

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

        Comment


        • Pt 3
          If we look away from the American realities, we can recall one of the largest revelations of Russian active measures in Ukraine, in particular, the publication of the letters of the gray cardinal of the Kremlin Vladislav Surkov in 2016 and 2017.

          Editors Note
          The hacked emails range from those proving Russias involvement in the proxy republics in eastern Ukraine to financing electoral campaigns of ex-Communists to massive psy-ops aiming at the federalization of Ukraine. Activists were paid to protest the perceived economic ruination that the cessation of economic ties with Russia may bring, foot soldiers on a salary hung up banners calling to bring in Russian troops, journalists were bribed to cover Russian-organized activities, and an operation to set up an alternative center of power in the multi-ethnic region of Besarabia was unfolded. This all was carried out against the backdrop of lobbying to change Ukraines Constitution with the aim of legalizing Russias proxy republics in Donbas and attempting to convince the Ukrainians that they can never become part of the EU and should go back to Mother Russia Ed.

          Why is the Integrity Initiative necessary?
          I mentioned and described only a few examples of the actions of Russian propaganda in just two of the many countries where Moscow conducts its active measures. However, they show how much effort Russia directs at destabilizing sovereign states, trying to split their societies and supporting candidates loyal to the Kremlin. Naturally, the victims of such interventions try to defend themselves from hostile attacks. By the way, according to the above-mentioned indictment against Husayinova, the Russians informally call intervention in the American elections an information war against the USA.

          In 2015, a group of American volunteer enthusiasts led by the former senior CIA officer Charles Leven created an informal group to combat Russian disinformation in Linkedin in the United States. The work of this group was described in major American media.

          However, their project only lasted a year the Russian trolls, funded by the Russian government, well-organized and much more numerous, succeeded in blocking the American volunteers by using the standard social media complaint mechanism. It became obvious that ordinary people with limited resources are unable to stop the flow of misinformation from a huge totalitarian country which made the spread of fake news and trolls one of its priorities. At the same time, it is no less obvious that protection against such aggressive intervention is a national security issue for victims of Russian information operations.

          Now, lets return to the points listed above on the basis of which the project The Integrity Initiative was condemned by the Russian media, and try to understand whether they constitute necessary conditions for protection against Kremlin propaganda.

          1. State funding and participation. It is clear from the above-mentioned facts and figures that volunteers, working at their own expense, are not able to withstand a huge propaganda machine, whose work is worth millions of dollars a month on a single country from the list. The participation of government funding in the Integrity Initiative is also understandable: active measures are a professional area of activity of Russian special services for the destruction of democratic institutions in other countries, thus protection against them is a matter of national security. These issues, of course, fall within the purview of the government of any country.

          2. Clusters. The work of the Russian propaganda described above is carried out in all countries which the Integrity Initiative interacts with. For the above-mentioned reason, enthusiasts engaged in combating this propaganda need help, including organizational assistance. Coordination of common work is perfectly normal for any serious business.

          3. Participation of security experts and other professionals in the activities of the clusters. Fighting Russian propaganda is a matter of national security for many countries, since in some of them this propaganda is aimed at weakening and destabilizing the country, and in others (in particular, post-Soviet ones) threatens the very existence of the state. A group of volunteers cannot effectively confront the special services this should be done by professionals, at least veterans, as well as professional journalists, linguists, and other experts. It is also quite normal that these experts share their knowledge with less experienced community members.

          4. Analytical work. From the above documents, we see that Russian trolls disguise themselves as the ordinary residents of the victim countries; therefore, in order to identify propagandists, understand their tactics, and effectively resist disinformation, serious analytics are needed. Moreover, Russian propagandists, while publishing the stolen documents, unwittingly confirm that the activity of the Integrity Initiative is not aimed at creating propaganda, but on the contrary, at identifying and studying it.

          Once again, answering the main question of the report: why is Putin lying, the British summarize: because of power and wealth, as well as the exploitation of Western freedom of speech. According to them, power and wealth are the reasons why Putin bombarded the West with disinformation, reports one of the Russian propaganda websites, thus showing that the Integrity Initiatives activities fully meet the stated goals: to understand the causes of misinformation in order to realize how to confront it.

          5. When the analytical work is done, and misinformation is revealed and refuted, spreading the truth in the media space becomes a completely natural next step. It is also important to inform the public about the ties of this or that official or politician with Russia since Russia behaves in relation to the countries involved in the project like a hostile state. At the same time, the participants of the British project, unlike the Kremlin, spread the truth, not lies, do not use stolen names and fake data and do not violate the law.

          Participation of Russian dissidents in the project is also quite understandable they understand in-depth propaganda techniques and the mentality of certain parts of the Russian population that can be indoctrinated.

          Thus, the Russian active measures and the activities of The Integrity Initiative aimed to counter them relate roughly in the same way as the activities of criminals and the police designed to counteract them. In fact, the peoples militia is not able to resist organized crime. To combat the mafia, government funding, professional staff, good coordination, high-quality analytical and research work are needed. The police also needs international coordination Interpol (just recently Moscow unsuccessfully tried to gain control over it using the standard active measure: winning the election for the position of its president.) At the same time, not all police activities are publicized: secrecy is needed to protect sources and continue to investigate and prevent criminals from covering their tracks.

          The hacker attack on The Integrity Initiative and the scandal that followed is an attempt by Russian propaganda to swap the criminal for the one who is trying to investigate his crimes. But the difference between those spreading lies to destroy other countries and those spreading the truth to protect their own countries is equal to that between an aggressor and a victim. Even if the way of organizing their activities seems similar at first glance.http://euromaidanpress.com/2019/01/1...om-the-police/

          æ, !

          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

          Comment


          • The rise and decline of Donbas: how the region became the heart of Soviet Union and why it fell to Russian hybrid war
            EUROMAIDAN PRESS Bohdan Ben 2019/01/18 - 16:37

            Despite the dominance of the Russian language and the Soviet image of the region as predominantly Russian, 56% of people in Ukrainian easternmost region of Donbas name themselves as ethnic Ukrainians.

            Moreover, in 1991 not only Ukrainians but also Russians and other nationalities 83% of Donbas inhabitants voted for Ukrainian independence Nevertheless, self-declared separatist republics emerged exactly in Donbas some 23 years later thanks to Russian backing. There are demographic, historical and political reasons for Donbas being susceptible to Russian hybrid war, while other regions withstood Russias Novorossiya separatist project, which unsuccessfully laid claim to half of Ukraine

            The demographic portrait of the region: how Russian propaganda used it
            The ethnicity map of Ukraine suggests that Putin had a reason to target the territories of Donbas and Crimea. These are the regions with the smallest percentage of Ukrainians in the country.

            https://i2.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...ize=1024%2C787
            The percentage of ethnic Ukrainians according to the census of 2001 by regions (there havent been more recent censuses). Source: wikipedia, edited by Euromaidan Press

            Crimea was the only Ukrainian region where Ukrainians were the minority. The proportion of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars in Crimea was around 5:2:1. In the case of Donbas, Ukrainians were 1.5 times more numerous than Russians. However, both in Donbas and Crimea, Russian was the most common native language (in the Donbas, due to a large part of Russian-speaking Ukrainians). Putin used the commonality of the Russian language in south-eastern Ukraine as the main justification for a Russian invasion. The line separating Russian-occupied and Ukrainian-controlled territory runs across territories where the Russian language dominates. And occupied Crimea is predominantly Russian-speaking.

            https://i0.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...ize=1024%2C723
            Municipalities where Russian was the most widespread native language (depicted as red). Source: wikipedia, edited by Euromaidan Press.

            In no way do these demographics justify Putins aggression or annexation, but they explain why the Kremlin indeed had a part of the local population to rely on. Russian propaganda has claimed that Donbas and other south-eastern oblasts of Ukraine were simply Russias regions artificially appended to Ukraine. This, in particular, was stated in the separatist project of Novorossiya for Ukraine in 2014. According to it, all south-eastern Ukraine was to belong to Russia or to participate in a so-called confederation of peoples republics.
            Novorossia as a political, not historical concept, was first defined by Putin in his speech on 17 April 2014. It was also proclaimed on 22 May 2014 by the first congress of the Novorossia party held in Donetsk, attended by Aleksandr Dugin, the Russian philosopher and one of the founders of the imperial Neo-Eurasianism political movement, which pits the Atlanticist New World Order (mostly, the US and the UK) against the Russia-centered New Eurasian Order.

            Putin and pro-Russian separatists claimed such a position was historically justified because these regions were conquered, colonized and built up by the Russian Empire. However, this is not a sufficient argument even for Donbas:
            Donbas was populated mainly by Ukrainians in all periods of its history from the 17th century till today; during 1917-1918 Revolution it belonged to Ukrainian peoples Republic; in the 1960s it was home for Sixtiers (Shistdesiatnyky) an opposition movement against Russian state chauvinism and Russification; the government-controlled territory of the contemporary Donbas is a place of so-called Renaissance in the East where an incredible number of new Ukrainian cultural projects took place during last years.

            Though not historically justified, demographically Novorossiya project was comprised of the oblasts of south-eastern Ukraine which voted for pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych in 2004 and, similarly, in 2010. (In 2014 Viktor Yanukovych was removed from the presidency by a parliamentary vote in the consequence of the Revolution of Dignity). Also, a significant part of people in these regions was Russian-speaking, though Ukrainians still constituted a strong majority 56-82% depending on the oblast.



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            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

            Comment



            • Donbas Pt 2
              https://i2.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...004.png?w=1181
              Presidential elections of 2004. The oblasts which supported Viktor Yanukovych (blue, the same as in 2010) were framed as Novorossia by Putin and by the first congress of the Novorossia party.

              On the other hand, many Ukrainian historians and even some politicians, like Yevhen Nyshchuk, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine have portrayed the cities of the south of Ukraine and Donbas as imported from Russia during Soviet times. This is yet another manipulated historical fact. Hennadiy Yefimenko, a researcher of resettlement and deportations on the territory of Soviet Ukraine during the interwar period, tells that resettlements from Russia to Ukraine were not so decisive in forming the population of these areas. Overall, 138,000 of people were resettled from Russia around 3% of the Ukrainian population at that time. More common, however, were forced resettlements inside Ukraine. In the case of Donbas, more people were resettled from the northern Chernihiv Oblast to Donbas than from the whole of Russia.

              Neither the portrait of Donbas as initially Russian (Novorossia) nor the portrait of its inhabitants as imported from Russia is fully right, though the formation of the local population of the region was indeed very complex and to a large extent artificial. This last thing created favorable conditions for vulnerability and instability in the region.

              Historical insights
              Prior to the 18th century, the territory of contemporary Donbas was nearly depopulated. It was a frontier territory between Ukrainian Kozaks (independent warriors) and nomadic peoples. This land was called the Wild Fields (Dyke Pole in Ukrainian). The Donbas is the youngest region of Ukraine because its systematic colonization began only in 18th century. First, it was colonized by Ukrainian Kozaks who created there the Kalmius palanka (Kalmius district) which existed between 17391775. After the liquidation of the Kozaks autonomy by Russian Empire, those territories were distributed among different nobles and in 1802 The Yekaterinoslav Governorate was created there. This Governorate, according to the first census of the Russian empire in 1897, was populated on 68.9% by Ukrainians and 17.3% by Russians. This fully ruins the propagandist myth that Donbas was ethnically Russian during the Russian empire.

              Up to 1870s, the region was still mainly agricultural where most peasants were Ukrainians.

              https://i0.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...id-2.jpg?w=960
              Early 20th-century Kamyanyi Brid village (now a part of Luhansk). Source: English Luhansk

              https://i1.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...id-1.jpg?w=960
              Early 20th-century Kamyanyi Brid village (now a part of Luhansk). Source: English Luhansk

              In the 1840s, the mining of Donbas coal was still unprofitable because of bad organization of mining and transportation. At the same time, in the ports of Azov and Black sea, European coal was sold to the Russian Empire at a cheaper price. Only in 1886, the Katerynoslav railway was built in Donbas and it changed the situation entirely. Rapid development began in the region then, and whole new cities were built around new mines among empty steppes in some 3-4 years. The mines and cities required many workers, which lead to demographic changes regarding the social status of inhabitants but not their ethnicity. Most of the industrial workers were former Ukrainian peasants who couldnt find free land and had to move to new industrial and miners workplaces. Also, Russians, Belarusians, Greeks, and other nationalities worked in the region. But even summed up, their number was smaller than the number of Ukrainians.

              On the other hand, when moving to Donbas, Ukrainian peasants faced many social problems which made them lose their national identity. First of all, it was language. At first, the industry was speaking German and English because of the western capital which was a driver of local industrial development. However, since the 1890s, Russians took more and more ruling positions. In general, it was common that Russians preferred living in industrial cities while Ukrainians wanted to remain in their villages as long as possible. Subsequently, despite prevailing by number, Ukrainians remained on the bottom of the social hierarchy of industrial region, moving there not because of their will but because of the conditions.



              æ, !

              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

              Comment


              • Pt 3
                As Maksym Vihrov, Ukrainian researcher of Donbas writes, when Ukrainians came to Donbas, they had to learn Russian right on their new workplace since the end of 19th century and this remained the case throughout the 20th century.

                According to Tetiana Portnova, who also investigated the resettlement to Donbas, peasants were heavily affected by the gray industrial cities of that time, without trees, with large barracks for workers to live in, full of dust. This sharply contrasted with the places and social conditions where Ukrainian workers used to live before. It was hard for peasants even to get used to such simple things like daily registration at the workplace and work in accordance with a particular shift round the clock, sometimes at nighttime. People didnt know each other in the giant factory, the staff turnover was extremely high.

                All these conditions created a kind of a melting pot, where people had to forget who they were before and either become a new class of workers or return back to other regions.

                Luhansk on the postcard, early 20th century. Source: the book Work, exhaustion and success: Industrial Monocities of Donbas

                In the 1920-1930s, during Stalins policy of industrialization, this melting pot was warmed up by regular official referrals to work in Donbas from all regions of Ukraine and also outside of Ukraine. Also, people were forced out from their homelands by collectivization (creation of common farms) and Holodomor. Former prisoners preferred to take cover in the anthill of industrial giants. Generally, the migrants, despite mainly Ukrainians, couldnt fully reproduce their own culture and even language in the social conditions of Donbas under the pressure of Russian elites and Soviet propaganda. New settlers of Donbas were usually dissimilated in the mass of Soviet people in the second and third generation, and the Russian language became dominating.

                Simultaneously to Holodomor, the official Russification of the region began in the early 1930s when a large flow of workers was coming to Donbas. Maksym Vihrov writes about an interesting example of the magazine Literary Donbas which had been published in Ukrainian till 1930. The editor-in-chief Vasyl Haivoronskyi remembers that the team was accused as betrayers and the magazine was closed in 1930. However, a few months later a new Literary Donbas emerged, but this time in Russian. This one paved the way for some local Russian writers.

                Later, in the 1950s-1960s, Ukrainian writers rebounded because of the softened official policy. Many Ukrainian writers of that period were originally from Donbas and some, like Vasyl Stus, were still living and writing in Donbas. Its incredible that prior to 1971, when the government of Ukrainian SSR again turned pro-Russian, Donbas had more Ukrainian schools than after Ukraines independence in 1991.

                Altogether these conditions led to 56% of Donbas inhabitants still self-identifying as Ukrainians but overwhelmingly speaking Russian in 2001 against 68% Ukrainian-speakers in Donbas in 1897.

                Yaroslav Polishchyk also mentions in his research one prominent example of Donbas people self-identification during the census of 2001. Many inhabitants of the region didnt want to choose their nationality between Ukrainians (who were portrayed at Soviet times as inferior peasants) or Russians (who dominated and showed intolerance to others) and preferred to identify themselves as Soviet, though it wasnt one of the many possible answers in the poll.

                The same researcher writes, that millstones of Russification, which were set during the Soviet times, continued circling in the age of Ukrainian Independence. After 1991, the central government didnt pay attention to the language policy in the region while local elites secured Russian in education and discouraged the use of Ukrainian. Except for 2 lessons of Ukrainian per week to fulfill official requirements, in most of the schools, Russian was de-facto the language of instruction during the times of Ukrainian Independence. This was the case even with state schools. For example, Luhansk had only three schools with Ukrainian as the language of instruction a nutshell for a city with 407,000 of inhabitants.

                After the war in Donbas started, the region began to be investigated from different perspectives. One of the most innovative ones are the analyses of images of Donbas in the literature of different periods and their correspondence to the real political, economic and demographic situation. This reveals the inner spirit of the region, explains its past and illuminates the possible future. Inna Levchenko, a Ukrainian researcher of Donbas, describes three main metaphors of Donbas which evolved successively one to another: hard physical labor in the steppes, heroic labor in the heart of USSR, an existential emptiness.

                The first metaphor of Donbas in 1860-1914: hard physical labor in the steppes
                The first metaphor was formed back in the second half of the 19th century. Fear and abhorrence were the main attributes of the region of that time. They were related to the unnaturally rapid speed of the development of the region ruled by the flows of the western capital since the 1860s. 95% of mines in 1914 were owned by foreigners from western countries. The price for the rapid economic development of the Russian empire was natural and beautiful steppes fully occupied by mines, destroyed by new cities full of hard work of thousands of people. This work was accompanied by typical for that time tensions between workers and owners. All this emerged in some 30-40 years.

                On the one hand, the region was compared with the American frontier, the Wild West, which was colonized steadily from the neighbor lands where cities emerged on the empty land. New cities in Donbas were attractive because of electricity, modern technologies and promising speed of the development. From the very beginning, the region was torn from the inside between promising industrial and technological development and improper conditions of life.

                https://i1.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...vka.jpg?w=1024
                The main street in miners village Yuzivka (now Donetsk), beginning of the 20th century. Source: wikipedia

                Continue interesting read :http://euromaidanpress.com/2019/01/1...an-hybrid-war/








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                • Society guarding fairness of Ukraines Supreme Court: 78 new judges to be selected next months
                  EUROMAIDAN PRESS Olena Makarenko 2019/01/18 - 20:08

                  The presidential election campaign in Ukraine gets all the attention now. But behind it, highly important processes of forming new court institutions are taking place. From them, the creation of the High Anti-Corruption Court is in the spotlight now, due to the participation of the international experts and some interest to the process from Ukraines western partners. But the competition for 78 seats to the Supreme Court, the highest court institution of Ukraine, remains in the shadows.
                  ------------------------------------------------
                  The judicial reform launched in Ukraine in 2016 foresaw the creation of the new Supreme Court. In general, changes were aimed at renewing the old system and forming fair institutions. In the years since Ukrainian independence in 1991, courts lost the trust of society in November 2018, only 16% of Ukrainians trusted the judicial system. Three key steps were made in an attempt to bring back the trust people from outside the system (lawyers and scholars) were allowed to enter it, and the process of selecting new candidates was made more transparent. Last, but not least, the process should have taken place under the control of society. A civil society watchdog called the Public Integrity Council (PIC) was created for that reason. Its task is to assist the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ), the body of judicial self-governance, in assessing the integrity and professional ethics of future and current judges.

                  The first competition to the Supreme Court in 2017 served as an exam for the collaboration between the PIC and the HQCJ. It didnt go well. The HQCJ ignored the majority of the PICs conclusions on dishonest candidates. As a result, according to the society watchdog, at least 29 of the 118 appointed judges of the Supreme Court have proof of being dishonest. Altogether, there are reasons to doubt the integrity of about a half of them.

                  Later, during another stage foreseen by the judicial reform, the qualification assessment of old judges, the relationship between the PIC and the HQCJ became even worse. The Commission changed their own regulations in a way that in fact blocked the work of the PIC, namely put forward unrealistically short deadlines for the PIC to provide its conclusions. The PIC members did not want to serve as a cover for unfair assessment of judges and left the process in March 2018. A mediation process for the two bodies organized by Ukraines western partners did not bring results. The Commission moved on without society and assessed nearly 2,000 judges. The watchdog, in its turn, assessed the integrity of judges to inform society.

                  As the term of the office of the old squad of the PIC expired after two years, a new team was elected in December 2018. It contains 20 members ten from the previous squad, ten new ones. Despite the conflict with the HQCJ remaining relevant for the new PIC as well, they decided to officially participate in the selection of judges to the Supreme Court. Now, the competition is taking place for 78 positions in the court.

                  Participation in the selection of judges was the first decision we made, because this process is highly important, Mykhailo Zhernakov, the coordinator of the PIC and the head of the DEJURE Foundation, said. He explained that the Supreme Court is the highest court institution in Ukraine. It will also consider the cases of the new Anti-Corruption Court in the cassation instance.

                  Roman Maselko, lawyer and another member of the PIC, added that they realized that the process without them would be even worse.

                  The PIC still tries to reach a compromise with the HQCJ. A minor change has been agreed the commission consented to change their regulations regarding the deadlines for the PIC to submit their conclusions from 10 calendar days to 10 working days.

                  Still, time remains a very scarce resource for the PIC. Aside from their regular work, the PIC members, who are all volunteers, not only review open source data but analyze the requests of citizens, information of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, write requests in order to assess the candidates for judges. The first interviews of the candidates are scheduled for January 23.

                  Another weak point of the process is that the HQCJ has not disclosed their criteria for assessing the integrity of the candidates. While the PIC has their criteria, which are also used by the international experts who take part in the selection process for the Anti-Corruption Court judges, the absence of clear criteria of the Commission opens the door for manipulations.

                  As of now, the PIC has analyzed 62 candidates out of 235 and has concluded that 16 candidates have breaches of integrity and professional ethics. Another challenge for the watchdog is to provide judges with the right to reply. The task is not easy because the body simply does not have the contacts of many candidates.

                  The representatives of the PIC admitted that the new competition to the Supreme Court is being rushed. Maselko noted that it appears the rush is taking place so the court is formed before the presidential election takes place in March 2019. He finds this terms unjustified and questions whether the president himself influences the process and whether incumbent President Poroshenko, who is considered the author of the judicial reform in Ukraine, is influencing the Commission to appoint loyal judges.http://euromaidanpress.com/2019/01/1...d-next-months/


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                  • No Russian armed forces have even been in Ukraine and other recent narratives of Russian propaganda
                    EUROMAIDAN PRESS EUs East StratCom Task Force 2019/01/19 - 21:1

                    On 14 January the pro-Kremlin media claimed that Russia is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine because there is a civil war there. They also said that there have never been and are no Russian armed forces in southern and eastern Ukraine. Sadly this would only be true if pro-Kremlin media were able to build a time-traveling machine and used it extensively.

                    Ukraine was constantly in the crosshairs of Kremlin disinformation last year and it seems that the country will remain there this year as well. This week there were again false accusations of Ukraine being an aggressor in Donbas and in the Kerch Strait.

                    The well-known narrative about Ukraine as a failed state was also present, as there were incorrect claims about Ukraines plans to close its nuclear power plants due to a shortage of uranium. In addition, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was accused of serving the interests of oligarchs and we were told that Ukraine would soon reach the top of the list of countries with the biggest debt. However, those claims only ring true in pro-Kremlin media; elsewhere they appear for what they are accusations without evidence.

                    Last but not least, pro-Kremlin media tried to disinform about the dispute over the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church claiming that the whole process is a pre-election trick and Tomos, i.e. the document with the decree of Ukrainian autocephaly, is not entirely real. Both of those narratives are used to undermine the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and at the same time discredit the upcoming presidential elections in the country.

                    Fascism special
                    On 13th of January, the Lithuanians commemorated the night in 1991 when Soviet troops attempted to crush the countrys re-established independence. That night Soviet troops killed 14 unarmed civilians who were amongst the crowd standing as a human shield to protect the TV tower and the countrys only TV station. Pro-Kremlin disinformation has consistently tried to put these events into a completely different and cynical light, claiming that the 14 people were killed by fellow Lithuanians.

                    As if attacking the memory of 14 innocent people was not enough, pro-Russian media also had a problem with the annual Freedom Prize, which the Lithuanian parliament gave to seven freedom fighters the Forest Brothers, who took up armed resistance against the Soviet occupation at the end of WW2.

                    The pro-Kremlin media has long been slandering the Baltic Forest Brothers as Nazi collaborators, in attempts to discredit the Baltic States independence struggle and whitewash the history of Soviet occupation. This year the rhetoric was updated to reflect more current trends, as the Forest Brothers were also labeled as terrorists.

                    https://youtu.be/h5rQFp7FF9c

                    Disinformers also used the occasion to praise Stalins regime as not bloody and very humane. A regime, which, according to estimates, killed around 20 million people. http://euromaidanpress.com/2019/01/1...an-propaganda/

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                    • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Anders slund January 16, 2019
                      The Best Ukraine Can Hope for with Russia in 2019

                      Donald Trump has been president of the United States for two years, but it remains uncertain whether he has a Ukraine policy. His administration does, but Trump is famously superficial in his knowledge.

                      Trump has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, hardly said anything negative about Russia, and insisted on the need to cut sanctions to improve relations with Russia. Trump has had numerous phone calls with Putin that have not been reported and two scandalous private meetings with Putin from which nothing has become known.

                      In practice, US policy on Russia has been tough.

                      Trump did approve of the delivery of lethal arms to Ukraine before Christmas 2017, but mainly because President Barack Obama had opposed it. Trump got angry when this news attracted attention, seemingly afraid that it would harm his friendship with Putin. It remains to be seen whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be able establish why Trump is so favorably inclined to Putin.

                      During the last two years, the United States has imposed ever more sanctions on Russia for Crimea, the Donbas, Syria, Iran, election interference, cyber warfare, chemical warfare, and North Korea. But this drumbeat of small events seems to be below Trumps radar.

                      The question remains for how long the US administration can carry on with these sanctions, which the president overtly opposes. In practice, Congress drives US policy on Russia, demanding ever more sanctions, while the administration stalls slightly and Trump protests moderately.

                      Russia has made it abundantly clear that it is not intent to make any progress in the Minsk negotiation process in 2019, leaving open what will happen later on. Most important is that the new elections in Ukraine are a major threat to Putins authoritarian kleptocracy in Russia. If Ukraine succeeds in holding democratic elections, Putin will feel seriously threatened, as democracy is apparently possible in an orthodox and East Slavic country.

                      Therefore, Ukraine should expect the worst from Russia in 2019. The economic sanctions have gone so far that their political effect has probably been exhausted. The pro-Russian candidates running in Ukraines presidential election look truly hopeless, so Moscow will have to resort to other measurescorruption, cyberwar, disinformation as always, assassinations, and sheer terrorism.

                      Naturally, the Kremlins interference undermines the rule of law and breeds corruption in Ukraine but this is probably bearable. What would be truly serious is if Putin feels that he can carry out further military aggression in Ukraine, as the recent play in the Sea of Azov suggests, because Trump would retain sufficient power to block new sanctions against Russia.

                      The best Ukraine can hope for in 2019 is no further deterioration in its terrible relationship with Russia.
                      https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...russia-in-2019


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                      • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Mykola Vorobiov January 16, 2019
                        How Will Ukraines Next President View the World? A Look at the Top 5 Candidates

                        Ukraines presidential election season is in full-swing. After the holiday recess, the campaign is getting even more dynamic with about forty candidates who have already declared. While the ratings fluctuate almost daily, the top five remain steady, so its time to dig in and start evaluating their various views. Below weve analyzed their foreign policy platforms.

                        Yulia Tymoshenko: Tymoshenko remains the leading candidate with 19.3 percent of support among decided voters, while her Fatherland (Batkivchyna) political party could gain 16.4 percent.

                        In October, Tymoshenko outlined her peace strategy and suggested returning to the Budapest Agreement, which was signed by Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain, and Russia in 1994 and guaranteed Ukraines sovereignty in exchange for giving up its Soviet nuclear arsenal. According to Tymoshenko, the West didnt live up to its word after Russia annexed Crimea and put troops in the Donbas. As the Minsk 2 agreement is not enough to achieve peace in the Donbas, Tymoshenko wants to broaden the treaty to include Germany, France, and China, in what she calls the Budapest+ Format, which would force Russias military to withdraw from eastern Ukraine and eventually Crimea by increasing sanctions against Russia until it pulls out completely from Ukraine.

                        Tymoshenko didnt spell out how she would entice the other countries to join. She also rejected special status for the occupied territories of the Donbas, along with amnesty for some categories of pro-Russian separatists which was written into the Minsk 2 agreement in February 2015.

                        The former prime minister also called for the creation of a war cabinet to develop a realistic military doctrine, as she considers the current one which calls for Ukraines army to transition to NATO standards as utopian.

                        Another important point of her strategy is Russias legal responsibility for its aggression in Ukraine through financial compensation. For this reason, Tymoshenko called for Ukraine to bring more lawsuits against the Kremlin to international institutions.

                        Volodymir Zelenskiy: Polls put Ukraines top comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy in second, with 12.9 percent while his would-be Servant of the People party takes fourth with 8.3 percent.

                        Zelenskiys foreign policy is still to be determined, like many of his policies. Last week he asked his supporters to name five key challenges which he, if elected, should resolve first. His request has already gained over one million views on his Facebook page.

                        There are hints of his views. During a long interview at the end of December, he told TV journalist Dmitry Gordon that for the sake of peoples lives, Im ready negotiate even with the devil and at the end of the day, we will need somehow to achieve an agreement with the Russians as there is no military solution over the Donbas.

                        Yuriy Boyko, the For Life party candidate, polls third at 11.6 percent. In November, he was expelled from the Opposition Bloc, but his ratings continue to grow. Boyko doesnt hide his intentions to normalize Ukraines relationship with Russia through achieving a comprehensive peaceful strategy in the Donbas where he was born. For these reasons, Boyko wants Ukraine to implement all political provisions of the Minsk 2 agreement, including further reintegration of the uncontrolled territories of the Donbas. His other statements are predictable for a pro-Russian candidate: he rejects the IMF demand to raise gas prices for households, wants to shrink the defense budget to increase social welfare payments, and advocates for the government to stay out of the independence of the church and economic relations with Russia.

                        The fourth candidate is incumbent president Petro Poroshenko, who can expect 11.3 percent, although he hasnt officially declared. His big themes are consistent in his speeches: he stresses the necessity of sticking with the Minsk 2 agreement, blames the Kremlin, and calls for more Western sanctions. Moreover, in December Poroshenko announced a record budget for the army which will exceed 5 percent of GDP this year.

                        Poroshenko will likely maintain a strategic course toward NATO and the EU; he also wants to maintain cooperation with the key international financial institutions, such as World Bank and the IMF.

                        Ukraines retired army colonel Anatoliy Hrytsenko takes fifth with 11.1 percent. On January 11, members of his Civic Position party nominated him as their presidential candidate and his political platform later appeared on Hrytsenkos Facebook page. In it, Hrytsenko pledges to fight corruption, dismantle Ukraines oligarchy, sign legislation that would enable the Rada to impeach the president, return Crimea, shrink the number of Ukraines army generals, and bri
                        In terms of the Donbas, Hrytsenko stressed the necessity of Ukraine regaining control over the Ukrainian-Russian border. The Kremlin uses the porous border to send its troops, equipment, and other supplies to the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics. After Ukraine gains control of the border, the Ukrainian government should disarm all separatists. To achieve these goals, international peacekeepers must be sent to control the border. He envisions a transition period of at least three to five years to make life peaceful again in the Donbas. Hrytsenkos plan most closely resembles those of international experts.

                        In conclusion, most candidates employ populist rhetoric to increase their ratings, and most are cautious when it comes to controversial questions regarding war, peace, and foreign policy. That being said, Ukrainian voters care very much about ending the war, and this is a key theme to watch as the campaign evolves. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...p-5-candidates



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                        • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Andreas Umland January 16, 2019
                          Ukraines Euromaidan Democrats Have No Shot at the Presidency, but What About Parliament?

                          Ukraines anti-oligarchic forces have finally started the process of forming a broad pro-reform coalition in advance of the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections. On January 11, a congress of various reformist groups announced its support for the presidential candidacy of former Minister of Defense Anatoliy Hrytsenko. While the meeting was largely an event of Hrytsenkos Civic Position party, it included a number of small parties and civil movements which backed Hrytsenko as well. In addition, a number of prominent MPs from the well-known Euro-Optimists inter-factional group in parliament, including Svitlana Zalishchuk, Serhiy Leshchenko, and Mustafa Nayem, joined the congress.

                          Nayem called for a broader coalition of pro-reform politicians to work together, urging Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi and the lead singer of the popular band Okean Elzy Sviatoslav Vakarchuk to back Hrytsenko. Nayem also touched upon the crucial question of the entire enterprise: Will the new alliance eventually become broad enough to exert real political influence?

                          For a number of reasons, the new alliance has more political meaning and practical significance for the fall parliamentary elections than for the spring presidential ones. This has to do with Hrytsenkos low chances of becoming president and the constitutional division of power in Ukraine.

                          To be sure, Hrytsenko would, perhaps, be the ideal choice for president, from among the candidates currently on offer. National defense, state security, and foreign affairs are the main prerogatives of the presidency, while social and economic matters are largely in the hands of the prime minister who is elected by parliament. A former military officer and experienced politician, Hrytsenko would be especially well-prepared for the presidential post.

                          Moreover, his Civic Position party has official observer status with the European Parliaments liberal ALDE group. His team includes a number of internationally well-connected politicians who could help him deepen Ukraines relations with the West. Hrytsenko is one of the few known politicians with an untainted reputation and image of a resolute anti-corruption fighter. He and his team would be welcome as Ukraines new leaders in the EU and US.

                          But the odds of him winning are slim. Ukraines presidential elections will be, to a considerable degree, decided by the amount of money each candidate can invest, and here, Hrytsenko is at a disadvantage. He cannot count on much support from Ukraines oligarchs, as he is unwilling to offer anything in exchange. Even if he manages to enter the second round of the presidential elections in April 2019, Ukraines oligarchs would then mobilize against him.

                          Still, his candidacy and the rallying of reputable anti-corruption forces around Hrytsenko and Civic Position are important for Ukraine and its integration with the West. The unification process offers a chance to create an appealing list and powerful force for the October 2019 parliamentary elections. In 2014, Hrytsenkos Civic Position formed a coalition with the small but reputed Democratic Alliance party. Yet, this political couple eventually proved too weak to pass the 5 percent threshold and did not enter parliament. One hopes that this years attempt will be different, and that the new alliance will be far broader.

                          If Civic Position enters parliament, the new Rada would gain an important player which could be relied on to push through economic as well as judicial reforms, implement the Association Agreement with the EU, and further advance Ukraines ongoing decentralization. A strong showing of Hrytsenkos list might mean that it would be included in Ukraines new coalition government, as the next government is likely to be made up of a number of political parties. Hrytsenko as well as well-respected veteran politicians such as Viktor Chumak, director of the respected Institute for Public Policy, Mykola Tomenko, a political scientist and former vice prime minister, or Taras Stetskiv, one of the founding members of the late Soviet Rukh movement, might obtain ministerial portfolios or other relevant positions within Ukraines legislature and executive, if the party performs well in October.

                          But it will not be easy. Ukraines pro-democratic forces will have to further coalesce and consolidate to make this a reality. The field of parliamentary contenders will likely be crowded. The three leading presidential candidates, Yulia Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, will propose their lists and invest considerable resources. In addition, Oleh Liashkos notoriously populist Radical Party, far right groups, and at least one successor organization of the Party of Regions will make serious bids in the Rada elections. As a result, there may not be enough political space and urban educated voters for even two pro-democratic anti-corruption groups to make it into the parliament. In a worst-case scenario, two or more similar parties could divide Ukraines anti-oligarchic electorate, thereby depriving all radical reform parties of a parliamentary faction.

                          Euromaidan groups will have to show political wisdom, electoral pragmatism, and strategic foresight in order to make it jointly over the 5 percent hump in October. On the one hand, Hrytsenko and his team will have to be inviting, tolerant, and generous when forming a list with others. On the other hand, other players will need to be realistic, modest, and oriented toward the common good. The infamous proverb, When two Ukrainians get together, there will be three hetmans (chieftains), is an apt warning.

                          The West has a role to play, too. Many reform leaders frequent Western embassies and capitals. Ukraines European and American partners should tell their friends in Kyiv, Lviv, and other places that they need to act constructively. Those who break out of the currently shaping alliance and decide to make their own competing bids, or who behave unhelpfully within a broadening coalition should be warned that they may face consequences for any divisive conduct.

                          Official sanctions are too much. But Western diplomats, activists, and politicians can make clear that invitations to embassy receptions in Kyiv, and political gatherings in EU capitals, and other benefits will occur less frequently for those who are splitting the pro-reform vote, hindering political alliance formation, and thus weakening the anti-oligarchic forces in Ukraines future parliament. The stakes are high in Ukraines upcoming elections, and so too should Western attention be. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...out-parliament



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                          • ATLANTIC COUNCIL Alexander J. Motyl January 16, 2019
                            Putins Dream Scenario for Ukraine

                            Ukraines problem is not that it hasnt changed enough. Its that its changed too much too fast, thereby raising popular expectations, undermining long-existing patterns of behavior, creating uncertainty, and thereby increasing the popularity of populists who argue that a return to the good old days is imperative.

                            In fact, Ukraine has changed more in the last four years than in the previous two decades after independence in 1991. Consider the following eight impressive achievements:

                            --Ukraine has built a highly competitive army and military industrial complex and stopped Russias aggression in the southeasta remarkable achievement in light of Ukraines having had some 6,000 battle-ready troops in 2014.
                            --Ukraine has moved decisively toward integration with the West and the world, as trade with Russia has fallen dramatically and foreign direct investment, much of which is Chinese, has grown. Ukraine is no longer Russias hinterland, especially as gas pricing has been rationalized and Ukraines dependence on direct imports of Russian gas have fallen dramatically.
                            --Ukraines economy has been growing at about 3.5 percent for the last few years. Agriculture and IT are booming. Investments in alternative energies are on the rise (renewables are projected to comprise 25 percent of Ukraines energy production in 2035), even as Ukraine has identified several huge gas fields that could make it an energy exporter within a decade. Billions have been dedicated to repairing and expanding infrastructure. The banking system is on the mend and macroeconomic stability has been by and large achieved.
                            --Local government has received greater authority and significant resources. In the meantime, local civic activism continues, sometimes leading to pushback by local powerbrokers, usually producing visible change. A much-needed reform is currently restructuring Ukraines dilapidated health care system, even as Ukrainians complain that the reform is misguided.
                            --Education has been reformed at all levels; universities and colleges have received greater autonomy. Ukrainian language and culture are currently experiencing a renaissance similar to the golden 1920s. Book publishing is rapidly expanding, the filmmaking industry has been revived, art, music, dance, and theaterboth of a traditional and avant-garde varietyare as innovative as anything in the West.
                            --The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has become autonomous, thereby solidifying the countrys move away from Russia. As exarchs and parishes of the church subordinate to Moscow increasingly jump ship, the pace of defections will rise after a certain tipping point is reached.
                            --Important steps have been taken to curb corruption. All functionaries must reveal their assets. An anti-corruption agency and Ukrainian equivalent of the FBI have been set up. An anti-corruption court is in the works. Business people report that its become easier to do business in Ukraine.
                            --Ukraine has managed to remain a vigorous, if imperfect, democracy, with a lively press reflecting all opinions, a strong civil society, and generally accepted democratic institutions and procedures. The far left and the far right are marginal phenomena in Ukraine and nothing like their equivalents in such established democracies as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Antisemitism is also marginal.


                            Paradoxically, despite such impressive, and manifestly visible change, most Ukrainians will insist that nothing has changed and that the country is moving in the wrong direction. These views are contradictoryif nothing has changed, Ukraine cant be moving in the wrong directionbut they reflect a widespread Ukrainian impatience fueled by exaggerated expectations in the aftermath of the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. In fact, everything has changed and the country is moving in the right direction.

                            Understandably, Ukrainians want to live like Western Europeansnot tomorrow, not the day after, but today. Naturally, that hasnt happened, for the simple reason that its impossible. By the same token, the only way to get Ukraine to begin to approximate Western Europe is to continue to adopt extremely painful reforms. Just that has been doneand its been painful, as Ukrainians struggle to make ends meet while gas price increases have cut into their growing wages. At the same time, oligarchs appear to have suffered very little (in fact, the war with Russia has severely diminished their assets), corruption remains a problem, and the politicians responsible for the massive thefts of the Yanukovych era have either fled or remained unpunished.

                            Unsurprisingly, populist appeals are not without resonance and could affect the outcome of the forthcoming elections. President Petro Poroshenko deserves to win the presidential ballot in March, but probably wont, as people hold him responsible for the supposed fact that nothing has changed and that Ukraine is moving in the wrong direction. Yulia Tymoshenko, the fiery former prime minister, co-architect of the Orange Revolution, and political prisoner under the Yanukovych regime, is leading the populist charge, promising to reverse the reforms and institute social justice. She leads in all the polls. Second in most polls is the actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whos rocketed to fame thanks to the television exposure hes received from playing an average Joe who becomes Ukraines reformist president. Some polls suggest he would beat Tymoshenko in the second-round run-off.

                            A Poroshenko victory would mean a continuation of Ukraines ongoing positive trends. A Tymoshenko victory could be destabilizing, especially if she decides to attack the establishment and seek a quick deal with Russia. A Zelenskiy victory could change everything, especially if he adopts incompetent policies that enable the oligarchs to retake control of the economy, fuels inflation by raising wages and pensions, and invites Russian invasion by neglecting security and defense.

                            Not surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping for, and may be committed to doing everything possible to bring about, a Poroshenko defeatwhich may be the best reason for reelecting the incumbent president. Tymoshenko would be preferable to Poroshenko for Putin, but, being unpredictable, could be cause for concern. A Zelenskiy victory would be Putins dream scenario.

                            Ironically, by failing to acknowledge that everything has in fact changed, Ukrainians could wind up with the worst of all possible worlds a reversal to the status quo ante and a return to Russias embrace. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...io-for-ukraine


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                            • ATLANTIC COUNCIL David A. Wemer January 22, 2019
                              International Support Urged For Ukraine in Face of Russian Aggression

                              There is a war going on in the middle of Europe. A very hot war, according to Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraines vice prime minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, who urged policy makers to confront this uncomfortable truth about Russian aggression.

                              Speaking in a panel discussion hosted by Ukraine House Davos in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, Klympush-Tsintsadze said: Ukraine needs to be given a hand, a shoulder, or some engagement to help against Russian aggression, especially in the year of elections. Ukraine is gearing up for presidential elections on March 31.

                              Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Fredrick Kempe, who moderated the discussion, said Ukraines fight against Russian aggression goes way beyond Ukraines borders in terms of importance, not only for Europe and the region but also the world.

                              At its core, Kempe continued, Ukraines struggle is about the future of a Europe, whole and free.

                              Russian aggression toward Ukraine has been marked in recent years by the annexation of Crimea in 2014, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and, more recently, the capture of Ukrainian naval vessels and sailors in the Kerch Strait.

                              Klympush-Tsintsadze and Kempe were joined in the discussion by Ieva Ilves, a former first lady of Estonia and current head of the Latvian Ministry of Defenses National Cybersecurity Policy Coordination Section, and Melanne Verveer, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and the United States first ambassador-at-large for global womens issues from 2009-2013. Ukraine House Davos is organized by the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, the Western NIS Enterprise Fund, the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, and Horizon Capital.

                              Ukraine is and has to remain European, Ilves said, but agreed with Kempe that the threat is much larger. What worries me on a global scale, she explained, is the fact that Russia can manipulate open, liberal democracies. That it can manipulate peoples heads and hearts in a way that they cant notice. Moscows use of disinformation and cyberattacks is something the Baltic states have seen as well as we have always seen that every sensitive political issue. . . have been accompanied by certain activities in the digital realm, according to Ilves.

                              With such widespread exposure to this threat, Ukraine should not be struggling alone against attacks like these from Russia, Ilves said.

                              The United States is sending mixed messages on its support for Kyiv, Verveer said, as US President Donald J. Trumps statements implying potential support for recognizing Russias annexation of Crimea have come alongside consistent US diplomatic and military support for Ukraine. While the administration may not appear united, Verveer argued, Ukrainians should take heart that support for Ukraine remains strong on both sides of the aisle. Still, Washington can do much more, according to Verveer, who added that we need to be there with more positive support on the humanitarian side.

                              Europe should help Ukraine, Klympush-Tsintsadze said, because of the fervent desire of Ukrainian citizens to remain part of European society. Ukrainians are the last romantics in Europe, she said, as at a time when many European populations are openly doubting the value of the European Union, Ukrainians are taking the European flag to the streets. Rather than being a burden for Europe, Klympush-Tsintsadze said, Ukraine can give a new breath to the European project and moreover the Western civilization project.

                              Klympush-Tsintsadze also warned Europe against approving the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would see Russian gas pumped directly into Germany and Central Europe, as Moscow will use the project as leverage over Europe, as it has been using it for decades over Ukraine.

                              Despite some bumps in the road, Klympush-Tsintsadze praised the solidarity Ukraine has seen from its European neighbors, saying that while Russian President Vladimir Putins moves may have caught some people by surprise, it is the unity of support from Europe that is catching Russia by surprise.

                              While it is crucial to focus on the Russian threat, Kempe said, Ukraine must focus internally as well. Ukraines territorial sovereignty must be preserved, but at the same time Kyiv must complete the domestic reforms that will make Ukraine compatible with EU norms and draw further investment to grow the economy. . . and make the country less easy to undermine from the outside, Kempe said.

                              For Verveer, this means taking significant action to help grow certain sectors, such as renewables, IT, and even enhancing the productivity of agriculture, to make the Ukrainian economy competitive in the 21st century global economy. But in addition to these economic reforms, Verveer said, Ukraine must also ensure the leadership and the engagement in significant ways of [the] female population in the country.

                              Women drive economic growth, Verveer explained, adding that in those countries where there is greater equalitythe gap is narrow between men and womenthose countries are far more economically competitive and far more prosperous.

                              Klympush-Tsintsadze highlighted the significant progress Ukraine has made in the last few years on female participation in politics and society, noting that the 12 percent representation of women in parliamentwhile still too lowis the highest number we have ever had, and I am sure that will only grow. She also noted new legislation encouraging political parties to have women make up at least 30 percent of their local candidates, as well as the lifting of more than four hundred professional restrictions on women, which banned their participation in jobs deem too dangerous for them.

                              Following a surge in sign-ups after attacks from Russia, 10.6 percent of the Ukrainian armed forces are women, Klympush-Tsintsadze noted, nearly identical to the NATO average (10.9 percent). Verveer echoed the optimism around Ukraines ability to make strides, noting that there has been a lot of progress on womens participation in local governments and on reporting of violence against women.

                              While Kyiv has taken significant strides, Kempe said, the international community must continue to coordinate efforts to support Ukraines development, setting a path towards security and prosperity.https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...ian-aggression






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                              • 12 facts about the Donbas that you should know
                                EUROMAIDAN PRESS RFE/RL Olha Stryzhova 2019/01/16 - 14:17

                                The Donbas has never been Ukrainian!, Eastern Ukraine always bowed down low before the Soviet authorities!, Russian ideology continues to thrive in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts!

                                How many other stereotypes have we heard about these eastern regions of Ukraine?! This vision of the Donbas has been imposed throughout the country for years on end. Few people know that the OUN, the UNR army and local guerrilla groups opposed the Soviet regime and fought for the independence of Ukraine, that the Donbas rose up against collectivization, and dozens of Donbas farmers were labeled as kulaks and had their property confiscated.
                                -----------------------------
                                Fact 1. Strikes and protests against Soviet authorities in Donetsk Oblast
                                An active anti-Soviet underground flourished in the Donbas. For example, the regional KGB was constantly on the look-out for anti-Soviet elements and activities, mentioned at secret meetings of the Donetsk regional committee of the communist party. In 1957, a miner was killed at a komsomol construction site in Khrestivka (now occupied by Russian-backed mercenaries, it used to be called Kirovske from 1956-2016, enemy militants still use this name). Soviet special services threw his unwashed body into a coffin that was too much too small and buried him hastily. As the mine administration had squandered the money for burial on liquor, so the miners revolted and called on the town inhabitants to protest. To suppress the strike and protests, Soviet troops were quickly deployed to the town and its surroundings.

                                Fact 2. Home of the Sixtiers (Shistdesiatnyky)*, dissidents and founders of UNSO
                                ¦ , ¦ (Love Ukraine, like the sun do love her). The poem was written by Volodymyr Sosiura, who was born in Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast. Sosiura was forced to undergo reeducation at a factory in 1930-1931 and after WW2 he was labeled a nationalist and an enemy banderite. Many of Sosiuras poems were not published.

                                *(The Shistdesiatnyky (Sixties) movement was a literary generation that began publishing in the second half of the 1950s, and played an important role in popularizing samvydav (samizdat) literature and, most of all, in strengthening the opposition movement against Russian state chauvinism and Russification. The members were completely silenced by mass arrests from 196572, and the movement died out at the beginning of the 1970s.-Ed.)

                                Mykola Rudenko, co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, was arrested twice for his dissident activities. Author of the poem called æ צ (The immortality of the nation lies in the Word), Rudenko was originally from Luhansk Oblast.

                                Dissident Anatoliy Lupynis was born in Novooleksandrivka, Donetsk Oblast and spent his entire childhood in the region. He helped found the Ukrainian Human Rights Group Memorial and the Ukrainian Interparliamentary Assembly (UMA), which eventually became the Ukrainian National Assembly and the Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization (UNSO).

                                Vasyl Stus, Ukrainian poet, translator, literary critic, journalist, and active member of the Ukrainian dissident movement, spent most of his life in Donetsk. He refused Soviet citizenship because he did not want to be a slave, twice received harsh sentences for anti-Soviet propaganda, and died after a hunger strike on September 4, 1985 in a Soviet forced labour camp for political prisoners Perm-36.

                                Contemporary blue-and-yellow Donbas has found its place in poetry, in the unforgettable verses of Serhiy Zhadan (born in Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast), Oleksiy Chupa (born in Makiyivka, Donetsk Oblast) and Liubov Yakymchuk (born in Pervomaysk, Luhansk Oblast.

                                Fact 3. Donbas women did not wear Russian-style sarafans (jumper dresses) and kokoshniki (head-dresses)
                                https://i2.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...ize=646%2C1024
                                Young ladies in national costumes in Yenakiyeve, Donetsk Oblast, 1924

                                https://i1.wp.com/euromaidanpress.co...ize=710%2C1024
                                Young ladies in national costumes in Luhansk Oblast, 1900

                                Today, Russian mercenaries occupying some territories of the Donbas continue saying that the region is basically Russian, referring even to traditional costumes and claiming that sarafans and kokoshniki have always been part of the Donetsk and Luhansk landscape.

                                Definitely not! Donbas women used to wear different head-dresses such as headbands, ribbons, wreaths and scarves; they dressed in uniquely patterned embroidered shirts and dresses. Many photos from the beginning of the 20th century, and even several Soviet films testify to the fact that traditional Ukrainian costumes were widely popular in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.


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