Again, we have the Post stating as flat-fact what is really slanted propaganda. Though "blame-Putin" has been at the center of Official Washington's false narrative on Ukraine from the beginning, the reality was always that the West -- the United States and the European Union -- provoked this crisis, not Putin and Russia.
The crisis emanated from the EU's reckless offer of an economic association agreement to Ukraine that President Yanukovych weighed but ultimately rejected because it came with a draconian International Monetary Fund austerity package attached. The Russians offered a more generous $15 billion loan and also provided energy subsidies for Ukrainians.
Yanukovych's decision to opt for what he considered a better deal for Ukraine was well within his rights as the elected president, but his choice touched off furious demonstrations led by western Ukrainians and openly encouraged by senior U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland.
When Yanukovych refused to reverse his decision, the protests turned violent with well-trained neo-Nazi militias, organized in groups of one-hundred fighters each, moving to the fore to battle police. In the violence, both protesters and police were killed, though the typical treatment in the New York Times and much of the U.S. press was to simply report falsely that all the victims were protesters. [See Consortiumnews.com's "The Danger of False Narrative."]
On Feb. 21, seeking to stanch the violence, Yanukovych signed an agreement guaranteed by three European countries -- Germany, France and Poland -- to surrender many of his powers and accept early elections so he could be voted out of office. The elections would have tested popular opinion on the EU's package while maintaining the Ukrainian constitutional structure.
Yanukovych also agreed to pull back the police, a move that opened the way for the neo-Nazi militias to seize government buildings and force pro-Yanukovych officials to run for their lives. With these storm troopers patrolling government buildings, the remnants of the shaken parliament cobbled together a new regime led by Assistant Secretary Nuland's personal choice, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became prime minister.
The neo-Nazis got a share of ministries -- with their top commander Andriy Parubiy made chief of Ukraine's national security -- to reward them for their service to the coup and in recognition that these militias might otherwise turn on the fragile new regime and seize power for themselves. Reflecting Western Ukraine's hostility toward Eastern Ukraine, the parliament took actions offensive to ethnic Russians including a vote to ban Russian as an official language throughout the country (though that plan was later rescinded).
Resistance to the Coup
The stunning developments in Kiev led Crimea's local government to organize a hasty referendum on leaving Ukraine and rejoining Russia, a choice approved by more than 90 percent of voters. Putin and the Russian government agreed.
Though the U.S. media carried lurid headlines about a Russian "invasion," the articles strangely lacked any photographs of tanks crossing borders, paratroopers jumping from planes or an amphibious landing. The reason for the absence of these photos was that thousands of Russian troops were already stationed in Crimea (under an agreement with Ukraine giving Russia access to its historic naval base at Sevastopol). The Russian troops simply left their bases and engineered a largely peaceful transfer of power.
The political resistance in the East and South -- and the unwillingness of Ukrainian soldiers to fire on fellow Ukrainians -- also led the new national security chief Parubiy to incorporate the neo-Nazi militias into National Guard units and dispatch them to the front lines.
The value of the neo-Nazis was that they shared the vision of World War II-era Nazi collaborator Bandera who viewed Ukrainians as a superior race threatened by inferior ones -- Poles, Jews and Russians. Bandera's radical paramilitary force, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B, sought to transform Ukraine into a racially pure state.
The OUN-B assisted the Nazis in their expulsion and extermination of thousands of Jews and Poles. Other Ukrainians joined in Germany's war against Russia on the Eastern Front, including the "Galician SS" which also was implicated in crimes against humanity.
A modern version of this Nazi brutality surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters, driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten to death.
Those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons. "Burn, Colorado, burn" went the chant.
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