By Eric Zuesse
26 March, 2015
To understand the recent signs that are pointing toward a final settlement of Ukraine’s civil war, this war’s background must first be summarized:
Petro Poroshenko became elected as Ukraine’s President on 25 May 2014, in an election that was held virtually only in the anti-Russian northwestern half of Ukraine. That’s the area which had not voted for his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, in Ukraine’s last, 2010, election — the man who was violently overthrown on 22 February 2014, in what the head of Stratfor, the ‘private CIA’ firm, has called “the most blatant coup in history.” Before Poroshenko became elected, however, the region in the far east bordering Russia, Donbass, had broken away from Ukraine, and its residents were dubbed by the post-coup government as ‘terrorists,’ for rejecting their rule. That region had voted 90% for Yanukovych, the man who had been overthrown in the coup. This new Ukrainian government invaded Donbass, using bombers, tanks, rocket-launchers, and everything it had; and, when Poroshenko gave his victory speech on May 25th, he promised, and it was very clear from him, that: “The anti-terrorist operation cannot and should not last two or three months. It should and will last hours.” (Another translation of it was “Antiterrorist operation can not and will not continue for 2-3 months. It must and will last hours.”) But it did last months — Poroshenko’s prediction was certainly false; and, moreover, he lost first one round of the war, and then another — his prediction of its outcome was likewise false.
Quickly, the hard-line anti-Russian leaders in Ukraine started talking about overthrowing Poroshenko. One of them was Ihor Kolomoysky, a billionaire governor of one of Ukraine’s regions, who had been appointed by Oleksandr Turchynov, who had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had been appointed by Victoria Nuland, who had been appointed by Barack Obama. Kolomoysky also had hired Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to the board of one of his companies. So, Kolomoysky was connected directly to Obama. By contrast, Poroshenko was not, at all — he had been elected, by the residents in the now-rump Ukraine. Poroshenko wasn’t appointed by anybody. Kolomoysky said, as early as 21 June 2014 (when the first round of Poroshenko’s war was lost), “I’ll never obey Poroshenko,” and “My private army will finish off the separatists.” He was saying that he would achieve what Poroshenko and Ukraine’s regular army could not. Kolomoysky’s faction in Ukraine’s parliament is almost as influential as is Poroshenko’s. Moreover, on December 2nd, all three of the far-right parliamentary factions (including Kolomoysky’s) joined together in an alliance whose aim was specifically to remove Poroshenko.
By this time, Poroshenko, now the loser of two rounds of this war, was the leader of the Ukrainian government’s moderate or peace faction. The leader of the war faction is still Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the man who had been appointed on 4 February 2014 (18 days before the coup) by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department. Whereas Yatsenyuk was directly beholden to Obama, Poroshenko was not.
Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande, as well as several other EU leaders, wanted the war to end at this point, but America’s Barack Obama still did not; he wanted yet another, third, round of the war, just as did Yatsenyuk and the other hard-line anti-Russians. So: Merkel and Hollande decided to fly to Moscow and negotiate on their own with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; and, on February 7th, they announced agreement on a plan, with or without the U.S. President. Though Obama had previously said that he would send weapons to Ukraine, he now said that he would place on hold his decision about sending weapons, so as not to obstruct the efforts of those EU leaders — not embarrass and antagonize leaders whose cooperation he was seeking.
A peace-summit was then held at Minsk on February 11th, attended by Merkel, Hollande, Putin, and Poroshenko; and it resulted in the signing of a new package of peacemaking measures, called Minsk II, on February 12th.
The big question, since then, has been whether the United States would press on with its arming of Ukraine. Would Obama support Yatsenyuk, whom his own person Victoria Nuland had selected to run the country? Or would he instead switch now to support Poroshenko — whom he had never chosen?
The first big shoe to fall was on March 19th, when Poroshenko removed Kolomoysky from control of a company whose majority owner is the Ukrainian government, and when Kolomoysky sent some of his toughs into its headquarters in order to seize back control of it, and when the American Ambassador to Ukraine — the very same person who had carried out Victoria Nuland’s appointment of Yatsenyuk to become Ukraine’s Prime Minister — publicly reprimanded Kolomoysky for that action. The U.S. White House, which had selected Yatsenyuk, who then indirectly selected Kolomoysky, was now publicly renouncing Kolomoysky. This was huge. (Subsequently, on March 25th, Poroshenko removed Kolomoysky from the governorship to which Yatsenyuk — via Turchynov — had originally appointed him.)
The second big shoe to drop was on March 23rd, when, as announced in a headline,“Ukrainian Parliament May Check Yatsenyuk for Corruption.” It reported: “MP Sergei Kaplin, a member of the largest faction in the Ukrainian parliament — ‘Petro Poroshenko Bloc’ — suggested creating a special commission in Verkhovna Rada – Ukraine’s Parliament – to investigate the activities of the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was accused of concealing corruption schemes.” In other words: Poroshenko has Obama’s approval to get rid of Yatsenyuk — who had previously been Obama’s man. Poroshenko is now free to follow through with the Merkel-Hollande peace-plan.
Apparently, Obama, who had started this war, has finally given up on pursuing it any further, because doing so would split the Western alliance.
Obama has other fish to fry with them — such as his proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), to grant international corporations effective control over the environmental, labor, and product-safety regulations of participating countries. He seems to have decided (at least for the time being) to pursue — via other routes than Ukraine — his war against Russia.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.