March 21, 2022

A short history of Ukraine from both before & after Nuland screwed the pooch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jane Stillwater @ 7:39 pm


       I was hanging out in Maidan Square back in 2009, feeding pigeons and playing the tourist, when a local history professor struck up a conversation with me.  “There are three facts that have had a huge impact on modern Ukrainians,” he said.  “First, you need to understand that Ukraine is very old, having first appeared in the seventh century.  Back then it was called Ki-Rus, and it was the birthplace of modern Russia as well.  In 988 AD, Christianity was introduced, as a political decision, because it would served to unite the various tribes here.”
      Then the Mongolians arrived in the thirteenth century.  “Ki-Rus was the last country the Mongols conquered on their way to Europe.  Everything was devastated and it all had to be rebuilt.  Then Lithuanians and Poles took over one-third of Ukraine.
      “Cossacks were men of the borderland and had an ancient democratic tradition, fighting against the Polish empire.  So the second factor here was that the western part of Ukraine was controlled by Poland — and the eastern part was controlled by Russia.  Westerners were Catholics under the Pope.  In the central and eastern parts, the main language was Russian.”  There were a lot of internecine wars after that.

     “The third big factor is the political aspect, the split between pro-European alliances and pro-Russian affinities.  This split has been going on for centuries.  In 1917, the nationalists came to power and declared the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the first time that the word Ukraine was used.  Even though the Republic only lasted a year, it was a beginning.”  Then, as late as 1991, Ukraine actually became independent.

     “After 1991, nothing was working properly, inflation was rampant and many people committed suicide in the face of such uncertainty.  We only got our currency and constitution in 1996.  But in the past 18 years, we have achieved a lot.”
     Given this excellent opportunity, I started grilling the professor further.  “What about economic, political and social issues?”
     “Politicians decide everything here.  From being under only one party during the Communist era, we now have five parties.  But even though they now call themselves democrats, they are the same people who used to be Communists.  Also, as long as you are a member of Parliament, no one can put you in prison.  This sometimes comes in quite handy.  And also you don’t elect members, you only elect parties.  And how you get on the ballot is by buying your slot.”  Same way as in America, especially after that crappy Citizens United verdict.
     “We elect the Parliament for four years and elect the President for five years.  The 2004 Orange Revolution involved a Presidential election.  It had three outcomes.”  With a little help from Victoria Nuland — who cleverly co-opted Ukrainians’ unhappiness with their government and turned it into a pro-NATO coup.
     “Before 2004, all media channels were the same.”  Also just like in America today.  “But now they are more diverse.  Protests were not natural in Ukraine because protestors were sent to Siberia under the old USSR regime.  But ten million people protested in Kiev in 2004.  The old corrupt mindset had been above the rule of law.  We actually thought that the new government would be different.  It wasn’t.”
      People were deeply encouraged by the Orange Revolution — just like Americans were all hopeful that Obama would be different from Bush.  “It’s more interesting now than the old USSR way of life.  It’s almost like going to the circus.”
      “Help me out here,” I said.  “I’m all confused.  Tell me how the Orange Revolution affected the common Ukrainian.”
     “Salaries have dropped 40%.  Less than 1.5% are extremely rich.  12% are middle class.  Over 80% are below the poverty level.  Don’t judge Ukraine by the high standards of Kiev.  Not all of Ukraine looks like this.”  Sounds like America too, especially after the past 735 days of being helplessly locked down.
     “Not everyone here adheres to the rule of law now either.  A city council member got drunk and killed people last year.  The newspapers say that the investigation is ongoing….  Which means that nothing will happen to the corrupt ones.  Some politicians feel that they are un-punishable.”  Sounds like Gates, Schwab, Big Pharma, Trump, Biden and Fauci in 2022.
     “Ukraine also has a central bank.  It’s supposed to have a free market as well but there is much regulation.  The income tax is now 15%.  We also import more than we export and buy more than we sell.”  Sounds like America today too.  “Most people here also go into debt.  The interest rate is 13%.  Metallurgy, chemistry and agriculture are the main industries here now.  Hopefully, Ukraine will start to be the breadbasket of Europe again.”
     “What about social issues?”
      “We have great educational facilities but not any meaningful jobs are available after you get out of school.  And sometimes the knowledge we gain there is not relevant, didn’t give me the job know-how that I needed.”  Ivory tower problems.  Sounds familiar.
     “Education and healthcare are the two excellent services that we inherited from the Soviet Union — but they still work only according to the national budget.  Doctors and teachers are two of the lowest-paying jobs in Ukraine.  Every five years doctors have to prove their qualifications.  It is not a very desirable profession.”  And the doctors in Ukraine also make house calls!  “Hospitals are free but patients may be asked to buy their own medical supplies — and hospital food is terrible.
     “Unemployment is low, 5% approximately, but most jobs are low quality and offer low pay.”  Sound like where the United States is headed too, lucky if you can get a job at McDonalds.  “But the crime rate is also low.  Most victims are non-Ukrainian.”

       I shook the professor’s hand and offered to buy him dinner.  The food at a nearby restaurant was crappy but the professor made for good company and I learned much more about Ukraine, Babi Yar, Chernobyl, the legendary Rabbi Nachman, Hasidic Jews’ annual pilgrimage to the Baal Shem Tov’s grave, local wedding customs, the infamous WW II Nazi occupation and other interesting stuff.

PS:  Here’s a fun trivia fact for next time you’re on Jeopardy.  Because The Ukraine literally means The Borderland, it’s grammatically okay to still call it that just as The Russia means The Oarsmen — so you can call it The Russia too. 


In 2022, Americans should be far more sophisticated than they are.
And Whitney Webb nails it again.  Beware the technocrats who plan to gobble us up.
A Chernobyl firefighter speaks about his experiences there.
And here’s my Web Log report from that time:

Stop Wall Street, War Street, Big Pharma and Big Tech from destroying our world.   And while you’re at it, please buy my books.

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