Sunday, May 26, 2019

Celebrating Ukrainian Soldiers’ Skills & Spirit
Today’s Ukrainian solider is accumulating unique battlefield experience that should make him and her the envy of any country’s armed forces. It should also make their skills a desirable commodity for American and NATO armies.
Ukrainian soldiers are the only ones in history to have learned on the battlefield not classroom how to engage invading Russian troops in battle and succeed.
For five years, Ukrainian soldiers have been fighting against the biggest war machine in history. Russia invaded eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the spring of 2014 and in the first days of the war a ragtag Ukrainian army confronted a well-financed, trained and equipped Russian military corps of murderers.
In time and patiently, former President Petro Poroshenko, Minister of Defense Gen. Stepan Poltorak and the field commanders built a mighty, well-trained, well-armed and dedicated army of fighting men and women. Yes, they suffered combat losses but they also managed to stop the Russian invaders and their secessionist lackeys from advancing beyond the eastern oblasts. Today, they deserve complete victory against Russia; they should be given the opportunity to expel Russian invaders back to Russia – not an endless, deadly truce.
It has been observed that Ukrainians are very good soldiers and even those who served in the Soviet Army were very good soldiers. I heard this observation enough times not to overlook it. Why were they thought of as very good soldiers even in the Soviet Army?
I turned to a friend in Ukraine for an explanation. He hails from a typical Ukrainian village in the Ternopil region, a veteran, an airborne officer of the rank of colonel who completed the USSR’s top airborne school in Ryazan – Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Command School.
“As for the Soviet Army, I will say the following: from my own experience, almost half of the students of the military schools were from Ukraine (then still part of the USSR). They studied well, and then served appropriately well. And not only the junior officers but also those in the highest ranks. Personally, I reached the rank of commander of battalion headquarters – 420 personnel, plus 66 officers, NCOs with more than 30 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles. The reason why it was like that was quite simple. A Ukrainian, by nature, and according to a warrior's genes, fought his whole life and history. He wasn’t a stupid soldier. We did not crawl out of Muscovite swamps. This is to say that a real Muscovite is a moron and a predator. Yes, throughout their lives, from the Middle Ages and perhaps earlier, they liquidated the intelligent and smart, because it is easier to control halfwits. They managed to destroy the officer elite after the October revolution, civil war and red terror. Those who managed, escaped to diaspora, that the educated ones, officers, were quietly destroyed the Cheka, as our Petliura, Konovalets, Bandera, Rebet, and many others.”
Hopefully, the President Zelensky, Defense Minister Poltorak and Chief of Staff Gen. Ruslan Khomchak – as well as US and NATO allies – will give Ukrainian soldiers the moral and materiel support to expel Russian invaders from Donbas and Crimea.

Monday, May 20, 2019

With ‘Glory to Ukraine,’ President Zelensky Alludes to 2 US Presidents
The sixth President of independent Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, with the bulava – Ukraine’s symbol of presidential authority securely in his fist – didn’t shun the heroic “Glory to Ukraine” as he summoned the nation to do its utmost so that the words of the message are heard around the world and not just in Ukraine.
Calling on Ukrainians from east to west to join him in making it a better Ukraine, Zelensky in his inaugural today cited two American presidents without referring to them by name: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
“Now, imagine the headlines: ‘The President Does Not Pay Taxes,’ ‘The Intoxicated President Ran the Red Light’ or ‘The President Is Quietly Stealing Because Everyone Does.’ Would you agree that it’s shameful? This is what I mean when I say that each of us is the President. From now on, each of us is responsible for the country that we leave to our children. Each of us, in his place, can do everything for the prosperity of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a speech that began in Ukrainian and concluded in Russian.
Pointing out the commonality of today’s Ukrainian national mission, Zelensky harkened back to Kennedy’s famous inaugural remark that still rings true today: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
Toward the end of his speech, Zelensky also said “Allow me to quote one American actor who has become a great American president: ‘The government does not solve our problems. The government is our problem.’” Though slightly different from Ronald Reagan’s inaugural observation that “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem,” the message is well taken.
Zelensky’s version of national cohesion also applies to the defenders of the nation. He observed: “I know that from the soldiers who are now defending Ukraine, our heroes, some of whom are Ukrainian-speakers, while others — Russian-speakers. There, in the frontline, there is no strife and discord, there is only courage and honor.” Indeed, Ukrainian and Russian-speaking Ukrainians, Christians and non-Christians, adults and students, and men and women defended Ukraine in the Revolution of Dignity.
In a quirky appeal to the nation, Zelensky told all Ukrainians that each one of them is president and shares the responsibility for the future of the country and nation. “Because each of us is the President. Not just the 73% who voted for me, but all 100% of Ukrainians. This is not just mine, this is our common victory. And this is our common chance that we are responsible for together. It hasn’t been only me who has just taken the oath. Each of us has just put his hand on the Constitution and swore allegiance to Ukraine.”
That statement alone should remind Ukrainians today and tomorrow to stop squawking when things go wrong but get up and do something about it. The buck doesn’t stop in the President’s Office.
He emphasized inclusivity of the country and equality of all regions that will help the nation overcome current and future adversity. “Because each of us is a Ukrainian. We are all Ukrainians: there are no bigger or lesser, or correct or incorrect Ukrainians. From Uzhhorod to Luhansk, from Chernihiv to Simferopol, in Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipro and Odesa — we are Ukrainians. And we have to be one.  After all, only then we are strong.”
Turning to Ukrainians scattered to the four corners of the world, he beseeched them to return to their homeland and work for its betterment, while offering all of them Ukrainian citizenship. “Today I appeal to all Ukrainians in the world. There are 65 millions of us. Yes, don’t be surprised: there are 65 million of us — those born on the Ukrainian soil. Ukrainians in Europe and Asia, in North and South America, Australia and Africa — I appeal to all Ukrainians on the planet.
“We really need you. To all who are ready to build a new, strong and successful Ukraine, I will gladly grant Ukrainian citizenship. You must come to Ukraine not to visit, but to return home. We are waiting for you. There is no need to bring souvenirs from abroad, but please, bring your knowledge, experience and values.”
Quite dramatically, he said that being a Ukrainian is not a line in a passport but it’s a feeling and belief in the heart. This concept has served as the foundation of all Ukrainians, those in the diaspora and in the native land since, since the earliest days of Ukraine’s subjugation.
Zelensky expressed hope about ending the war with Russia but, obviously he didn’t say how he would accomplish that goal that has eluded not only his predecessor but also other world leaders for five years due to Moscow’s ongoing belligerence.
“But we also share a common pain. Each of us has died in the Donbas,” he said.
Zelensky praised the heroic soldiers defending the country against foreign aggressors, noting that he is ready to do everything in his power to bring a ceasefire to Donbas.
“History is unfair. We are not the ones who have started this war. But we are the ones who have to finish it. And we are ready for dialogue. I believe that the perfect first step in this dialogue will be the return of all Ukrainian prisoners,” Zelensky said. The new President of Ukraine must be made to understand that any form of dialogue cannot mean surrendering one hectare of land or one POW to Russia.
However, he said he is aware that the end of the war cannot happen without returning occupied regions of Ukraine.
“Our next challenge is returning the lost territories. In all honesty, this wording does not seem entirely correct to me because it is impossible to return what has always been ours. Both Crimea and Donbas have been our Ukrainian land, but the land where we have lost the most important thing — the people,” he said.
Zelensky committed himself to improving the livelihood of Ukrainian soldiers which includes decent, and most importantly, secure salaries, living conditions, vacation leaves after the combat missions and family holidays. “We must not just talk about NATO standards — we must create those standards,” he declared, implying that he hasn’t rejected the Atlantic alliance.
Turning to Ukraine’s internal problems, Zelensky listed dealing with shocking utility tariffs, humiliating wages and pensions, painful prices and non-existent jobs. “There is also the health care that is seen as improving mostly by those who have never been to a regular hospital with their child. And then, there are also the mythical Ukrainian roads that are being built and repaired only in someone’s prolific imagination,” he said.
Shunning an actor’s fondness for publicity, in his inaugural address he demonstrated modesty by imploring the people not to display the president’s photograph. “This is why I really do not want my pictures in your offices, for the President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait. Hang your kids’ photos instead, and look at them each time you are making a decision,” he said.
Zelensky stated he is disbanding the Verkhovna Rada, but gave the parliamentarians a two-month reprieve to approve the following:
1. The law on removing parliamentary immunity.
2. The law establishing criminal liability for illegal enrichment.
3. The long-awaited Electoral Code and open-lists.
Also, please dismiss:
1. Head of the Security Service of Ukraine.
2. Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
3. Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
I wasn’t a fan of Zelensky during the presidential campaign but his inaugural address is better than expected. He still has a lot to learn but actors, after all, are trained to read a script.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Final Thoughts about the Poroshenko Presidency
The Presidency of Petro Poroshenko served a significant purpose in Ukrainian history. It served as a transition from hopefully the last vestiges of Russian domination of Ukraine exemplified by the criminal Viktor Yanukovych to the leadership of a younger generation of Ukrainians – unknown and untested.
On Monday, May 20, a new President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, will be sworn in as the sixth president of Ukraine in a peaceful transition equal to that of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Poroshenko was not blessed with an easy period or task in Ukraine’s evolution from a captive nation to a powerful, self-confident independent European country. Corruption strangled Ukraine and the people while perennial enemy Russia launched an all-out war against the nation in a major push to re-subjugate it. He had to fulfill his mission while keeping peace among the people inside the country’s borders.
Change of power is a sign of our belonging to European civilization. We have kept democracy even in the face of Russian aggression,” President Poroshenko in his farewell message to the nation this weekend.
Despite cynical observations by friends and foes about Ukraine, the nation demonstrated civic and political maturity in its peaceful change of power. An enviable trait at any time by a country that has been independent for only 28 years.
Poroshenko continued: “The country did not just survive. It is in a better condition today than five years ago, and this is evidenced by the main statistical indicators. This was achieved only by joint efforts, thanks to the support of the active part of society and the understanding of the majority.
He bowed to Ukrainian soldiers defending the country against Russian invaders saying “We saved Ukraine, Novorossiia was buried. The aggressor, much stronger than us, stopped. They created an army that became one of the strongest on the continent. Relying on an international pro-Ukrainian coalition, it reliably holds the defense in the East.
Indeed. The Ukrainian army’s combat skill sets cannot be denied. Friends and foes alike must take note of the Ukrainian military in time of peace and war.
Diplomatically, Poroshenko pointed out that Ukraine won the diplomatic battle for ratification of the Association Agreement and reoriented the economy to the European Union. The turnover between Ukraine and the EU has more than doubled. And in general, we have never been so close to NATO and the European Union. Including through the absence of a visa, which operates on June 11, 2017.
He expressed his hope that the Zelensky Administration will continue following this course. The Ukrainian nation, regardless of electing him president, declared in a recent poll that it overwhelmingly favors the NATO and EU courses for its homeland.
“In parallel with the movement towards Europe, we also strengthened our Ukrainian identity. This is his own policy of historical memory, and de-communism. This is Tomos (Ukrainian Orthodox independence), which we received at the beginning of the year. This is the law on the Ukrainian language, as soon as I signed it,” he said.
Acknowledging his shortcomings and failures, Poroshenko gallantly stated “In fact, once again I apologize to everyone whose hopes did not come true; for whom reforms were particularly painful; who in those years, met with untruth, did not find justice. Already explained: even if one believes that the President can do everything, he cannot all at once.”
Turning to tomorrow, the current President of Ukraine told the incoming President of Ukraine: “Volodymyr Zelensky, I wish a successful presidency. A month ago, we were protesters in the election. But tomorrow, it happened, he will be the president of my native country. The countries that I love and whose faith in Europe is firmly believed. So let the Lord take care of Ukraine, and its new leader - helps in work.”
President Poroshenko also left the nation his thoughts about future generations of Ukrainians and their education. In an separate edict about On the Strategy of National-Patriotic Education, he emphasized the importance “of further development in the society of national consciousness, the formation of a sense of patriotism on the principles of spirituality and morality, popularization of the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people, as well as the enhancement of interaction between state authorities, local self-government bodies and public associations in matters of national-patriotic education.”
Without trivializing corruption, the world should look at Ukraine as a totality of Ukrainian patriots building a democratic nation that will be at least equal if not better than others in the global community. Ukraine should be reckoned with by friends and foes.
No small shoes for Zelensky to fill.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ukraine at UN Warns against Russian Nuclearization of Occupied Crimea
Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko of Ukraine warned the international community of the growing global danger of Russia’s deployment of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in occupied Crimea.

Speaking at the United Nations today, Yelchenko, the permanent representative of Ukraine, cited violations of international accords in denouncing what Ukraine considers destabilizing moves by Moscow.
However, Yelchenko noted that Ukraine continues to support the establishment of Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones worldwide.
Pointing out the direct threat to Ukraine of Russia’s militarization of the Crimean peninsula, Yelchenko said the state-signatories to the memorandum regarding Ukraine’s denuclearization “reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine”, as well as “reaffirmed their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.”
He said in an era of looming proliferation threats as well as efforts to quell security concerns of states seeking nuclear deterrent capabilities, the validity of the Budapest Memorandum is especially vital.
Yelchenko declared that the brutal violation of the international obligations, including under the Budapest Memorandum, by Russia, a nuclear-weapon state and a permanent UN Security Council member, has undermined the whole UN-based security system.
“We are deeply concerned with this situation given the fact of increasing militarization of the occupied Crimea by the occupying state, including developing Russian nuclear capabilities in this area,” he said.
Citing UN resolution 73/194, Yelchenko said “I would like to recall, in particular, para 1 of this resolution which stresses that ‘the presence of Russian troops in Crimea is contrary to the national sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and undermines the security and stability of neighboring countries and the European region.’
“In para 2 of the same resolution the GA expressed ‘its grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea by the Russian Federation as the occupying Power, and also expressed concern over reports of the continuing destabilization of Crimea owing to transfers by the Russian Federation of weapon systems, including nuclear-capable aircraft and missiles, weapons, ammunition and military personnel to the territory of Ukraine, and urges the Russian Federation to stop such activity.’”
In addition to Russia’s global aggression, imperial “passportization” of citizens, unrestrained adventurism and militaristic hooliganism, the free world has to deal with Moscow’s nuclear expansion in occupied Crimea and the Black Sea. Will it grant Russia a free pass on this crime as well?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Russia Intensifies War against Ukraine
Russia yesterday intensified its imperialistic assault against Ukraine by raising the hostile specter of granting citizenship to all Ukrainians in Ukraine. News of this absurd, unlawful proposal prompted indignant free world countries and x-captive nations to rise shoulder-to-shoulder with Kyiv, championing its sovereignty and territorial integrity and denouncing Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
In fact, offering Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in Ukraine sounded very much like Hitler’s plan to protect Germans in Nazi-occupied countries of Europe by designating them “volks deutsch” or Soviet Russia’s declaration of support for Russians in the near abroad.
This latest Kremlin gambit further threatened to destabilize the region and torpedo peace efforts by offering simplified Russian citizenship to all Ukrainians, as expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin three days after first offering Ukrainian citizens in war-torn Donbas Russian passports and citizenship.
Ukrainian law currently doesn’t recognize dual citizenship however there are citizens of Ukraine who do have two citizenships. According to Ukrainian law, if a citizen of Ukraine acquires citizenship of another state or states, in legal relations with Ukraine, the person is recognized only as a citizen of Ukraine.
“We are actually thinking about providing citizenship in a simplified order to all citizens of Ukraine,” Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Saturday during his visit to Beijing.
This subversive step would create thousands of dangerous fifth-column Russian sympathizers living across Ukraine, fulfilling Moscow’s orders ahead of a full-scale invasion.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that with this decree “Russia is torpedoing the peace process in the Donbas.”
Poroshenko condemned Putin’s offer as yet “another interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of an independent state. A brutal violation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Ukraine. It is also a complete trampling by Russia on its obligations in the framework of the Minsk Agreements.”
Russia’s latest attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty comes six days after the national presidential elections that saw political newcomer and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky defeat incumbent Petro Poroshenko. While Poroshenko and the incoming untested head of state have denounced this Russian ploy, observers see this is a test of Zelensky, who will be inaugurated in early June, and wonder who will blink first. reported that for his part, Zelensky, in a sort of comical tit-for-tat response to Putin, has promised Ukrainian citizenship to all those “suffering from authoritarian and corrupt regimes," specifically Russian citizens.
“We can even provide Vladimir Putin with the list of Ukrainian citizens who will soon feel uncomfortable living in the country they have been cynically robbing by abusing their power,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook.
Addressing Putin directly, Zelensky warned “Don’t you dare to speak with Ukraine and Ukrainians using the language of threats, military or economic pressure. That’s not the best way to stop fire or unblock the Minsk processes.”
However, Zelensky said he did not believe many Ukrainians would accept Putin’s offer, noting “Ukrainians are free people in a free country.”
Russia’s ludicrous and undermining invitation that is without historical precedent has shaken observers, as free world leaders and organizations such as the OSCE deplored Putin’s decrees. The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe said in a statement on April 25 that it “believes that this unilateral measure could undermine the efforts for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine.”
It reiterated its “call for a sustainable, full and permanent cease-fire and its firm support for the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which plays an essential role in reducing tensions on the ground, and in fostering peace, stability and security.”
Ukraine on Thursday appealed to the UN Security Council to take action to oppose this move. Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko told the council that the decree was “simply illegal” and called for “real action,” even if Russia would likely veto or block a measure opposing the decree.
Yelchenko called Moscow’s proposition typical “Russian-style subversive diplomacy” – “namely - cynical misinterpretation, manipulation, lies and disinformation.”
“On 26 November 2018, speaking before this Council, I compared the Russian aggression in Ukraine to the Soviet dirty war against its neighbor in 1939. Unfortunately, history seems to be repeating itself. Russian Federation is steadily embarking on the same road that led to the expulsion of the USSR from the League of Nations,” Yelchenko said.
He accused Moscow of launching another “appalling episode in a chain of events to tear away the Russia occupied territories from Ukraine.” He listed other steps as the fake elections, organized by the Kremlin in breach of its obligations under the Minsk agreements in 2014 and 2018, the introduction of the ruble zone, the expropriation of Ukrainian enterprises, the official recognition of documents issued by illegal bodies, piracy and capturing Ukrainian sailors in the Ukrainian territorial waters and now this decree.”
He said all of these are parts of one puzzle: “the Russian crawling occupation of Ukraine.” Its goal is to consolidate total Russian control of the occupied territories – and since that day control of all of Ukraine.
“I call on this Council to prevent the worst scenario, to condemn resolutely the destructive and illegal actions of the Russian authorities and to restore the respect for the UN charter,” Yelchenko said.
Turning to individual Security Council member-states, the Ukrainian official noted that normal UN condemnations against Russia will not be effective. Yelchenko said: “You have a single choice around this table – to wrap-up this meeting without any decisions or you can turn once again to ‘expressing serious concerns’ and to calling on both sides to respect the Minsk Agreements. But let’s be honest – unless the majority of this Council is ready to come up with the real action – even if it is to be challenged by Russia – the aggressive behavior of our neighbor will never be stopped. History knows that appeasement of aggressor never stops him.”
Washington said it was “unacceptable” for Russia to decide to extend citizenship rights to Ukrainians and accused Moscow of fueling the conflict in the region.
“The United States condemns today’s decision by President Putin to provide expedited Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the State Department said. “President Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region. The Minsk agreements, signed by Russia, call for the full restoration of Ukrainian government control over eastern Ukraine.”
Russia’s solicitation to Ukrainians in the occupied regions of Ukraine not only challenges Kyiv and the region but also President Trump. Tom Rogan wrote in The Washington Examiner that it offers Putin a pretext to use greater force “to protect Russian citizens.” He emphatically replied that Washington shouldn’t accept it.
Rogan continued that while President Trump has done more than President Barack Obama in resisting Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, this latest act should meet tightened US sanctions on Moscow. In addition, commensurate with Zelensky’s commitment to anti-corruption efforts, the US should sell Kyiv more military equipment. That response will strengthen Zelensky’s negotiating hand and make it clear to Putin that he cannot alone dictate the future, Rogan said.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre asserted that “the solution to this crisis is not to hand out Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens” but to respect commitments made to end the conflict.
German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen told reporters after the meeting that “we think right now the emphasis should be on a renewed effort to implement the Minsk Agreement and to bring peace to the people that are suffering under this crisis.”
France and Germany, the European guarantors of the Minsk Accords, said earlier on April 25 that the decree “goes against the spirit and aims” of the Minsk process. The OSCE monitors the cease-fires.
Following the publication of the Russian decree, Ukraine’s Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin called it “aggression and interference” in Kyiv’s affairs and allied diplomats told RFE/RL that it was a “highly provocative step” which would undermine the situation in the war-ravaged occupied region.
Kyiv’s x-captive nations ally Lithuania, a stalwart supporter of Ukraine, joined the chorus of countries that condemned Russia’s decree. Lithuania said it maintains that such a move is an illegal interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs and a violation of its territorial integrity.
Lithuania called on the international community to strongly condemn the unjustifiable actions by Russia, not to recognize the illegally issued documents by the Russian Federation and consistently strengthen sanctions on Russia for persistently violating Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Lithuanian parliament, in a statement last week, said in its resolution of April 24, 2014, about Ukraine, that it considers the continued presence of Russian armed forces and its armed formations in the territory of Ukraine as the occupation of Ukrainian territory.
“Facilitating the procedure for issuance of Russian passports is yet another step towards incorporation of the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine into the Russian jurisdiction, which constitutes a gross violation of the Minsk Agreements and poses a threat of continued political and military escalation. Russia’s decision adopted so soon after the end of the presidential elections in Ukraine, should be considered as a deliberate pressure on Ukraine and its president-elect.”
Russia’s imperialist course against Ukraine will continue unrelentingly. Now it also challenges the integrity of the free world. Is it prepared to back up its words with actions? Whether by outright military aggression, economic pressure, human rights violations, socio-political criminality, or diplomatic shenanigans, Moscow will persist unless and until, as Ambassador Yelchenko stated, the free world comes up with real, forceful solutions to stem Russia’s global extremism.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Invasion of the Mind Snatchers
Perhaps as others, I’m still struggling to explain to myself the shocking results of the 2019 Presidential Elections in Ukraine. How could Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political nobody win three-quarters of Ukrainian electorate’s votes?
Searching high and low for an answer, I came across a persuasive observation by Oksana Zabuzhko, a noted contemporary Ukrainians writer, novelist and philosopher. But I’ll get to that at the end of this blogpost.
Except for the Lviv oblast, all others registered overwhelming support for Zelensky, who was regarded by some as a candidate whose support from Ukraine was tepid to say the most. He won the votes of people whose grandparents served in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and earlier military formations against Russia, Nazi Germany and other invaders. He won among those whose ancestors were killed in the Russian-made famine. He won among people who witnessed the Revolution of Dignity. He won among those whose relatives were killed in today’s Russian war against Ukraine.
What lead to such a dreadful transformation?
Movie buffs may recall the 1956 sci-fi thriller called “Invasion of Body Snatchers,” which was about extraterrestrials that landed in a fictional California town. Alien plant spores fell from space and grew into large seed pods, each one capable of reproducing a duplicate replacement copy of each human. As each pod reached full development, it assimilated the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of each sleeping person placed near it; however, these duplicates were devoid of all human emotion.
I’m not making light of the elections but I’m proposing that reality has suggested an invasion of mind snatchers.
As I had written, this successful transformation should not startle anyone who is familiar with the book “The Selling of the President, 1968,” which revealed the influence that image making can have on political campaigning. It showed that voters are bored with issues while being influenced with images that can alter their thinking.
Thanks to Ihor Kolomoisky, the gray cardinal and oligarch who reportedly transferred $5.5 billion from Ukraine via Cyprus, 41-year-old Zelensky was polished and shined and to his supporters he epitomized the new, younger generation of Ukraine that could lead the country out of its abyss. He was trained how to perform during a debate and what to say or not say during a political campaign.
And Ukrainian voters took this bait hook, line and sinker.
Their behavior reminds me of a biting observation by American author Orson Scott Card: “If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.”
Throughout Ukrainian history and especially leading up to the elections, Russia’s cyber and psy-ops specialists sabotaged elections in Ukraine as they have been doing around the world. The techniques were both sophisticated and down to earth, complete with lies and fabrications.
For example, two websites reported that Lithuanian President Dalia GrybauskaitÄ—, a staunch supporter and defender of Ukraine in its war with Russia, allegedly remarked that corruption, not Russia, is Ukraine’s greatest enemy. I inquired with Ukrainian diplomats and learned that the comment is not true and the websites are known for posting fabrications.
Ukrainian voters demonstrated that they weren’t able or didn’t want to recognize that they were targeted in this latest Russian brainwashing assault. Consequently, they voted against their own best interests, as well as the interests of people who need them most like their neighbors near and far.
And now for Oksana Zabuzhko’s analysis. She believes what happened wasn’t launched today but rather it is the consequence of a diabolical campaign initiated long ago by the Soviet KGB.
Zabuzhko wrote in her recent post: “By way of penetrating education and the mass media, Russian special services are conducting demoralization of the invaded country – this is the first stage of its seizing from the inside – this goal was cited by Bezmenov in the KGB handbook of the 1970s: “We should change the map of the world to such an extent whereby regardless of the mountains of information, you wouldn’t be able to make a smart decision in the interest of your own security and your country’s security” – this is exactly what happened in these elections.”
In other words, the minds of many Ukrainians were snatched and replaced while the bodies remained the same.
Not Indifferent Minority – 25%

Monday, April 22, 2019

And the winner is – Ukraine
As the partying ends on one side and PTDS subsides on the other, beyond politics and partisanship, and winners and losers, the biggest winner of the 2019 presidential elections campaign in Ukraine is – Ukraine.
If you’ve followed the campaign over the past couple of months, listened to the debates last Friday, and then watched the voting returns, you’d see that Ukraine – i.e. the Ukrainian people – have contributed to an enviously high degree of democratic development.
The election campaign was appropriately a political donnybrook between two diametrically opposed candidates: President Petro Poroshenko – representing freedom – and leading candidate Volodymyr Zelensky – representing renewed Russian domination. Regardless of what you thought of the debates, its format was an image of democratic sophistication right down to Poroshenko’s gesture of walking from his side of the Olympic Stadium’s end zone to join Zelensky on his side.
Finally, perhaps the crowning moment, while votes were still being counted but the damning results were quite visible on the wall, Poroshenko graciously conceded to Zelensky and called on the Ukrainian nation to unite for the good of Ukraine.
All countries in the region should learn well this democratic lesson.
Now to the outcome and the short-term future. Yes, Poroshenko was a misfortune and Zelensky was considered a catastrophe but the losing side that must now keep the hypothetical consequences from becoming a real catastrophe for Ukraine.
With three-quarters of the electorate supporting the untested, unknown non-Ukrainian speaking television comedian who referred to Ukraine as a porno star rather than the incumbent Poroshenko, the question arises how could Ukrainians resoundingly reject the latter in favor of the former?
Zelensky had the image of being the darling of Russian President Putin because he repeatedly stated that he could tolerate anyone but Poroshenko as president of Ukraine. Not surprising because Poroshenko has managed to stymie Moscow’s obvious and bloody intentions to re-subjugate Ukraine.
Poroshenko’s major global success was that he succeeded in mobilizing the free world in a noble anti-Russian crusade to save Ukraine while ironically Ukrainian voters apparently rejected that accomplishment. Poroshenko is an experienced Ukrainian politician who asked rhetorically Ukrainian voters: would you board a plane whose pilot is still learning how to fly? Seemingly they would.
Ukrainian voters themselves are faced with strong ingrained feelings of disdain, jealousy and vengeance which contributed to their support for Zelensky.
Perhaps this blinded them from seeing the full picture of Poroshenko’s noteworthy accomplishments for the good of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and shielded them from Zelensky’s inadequacies.
Another reason often cited for Zelensky’s victory is that the people are fed up with corruption. Poroshenko, an affluent businessman and candy maker who is regarded as an oligarch by some, is seen as a politician who closed his eyes to corruption.
However, Ukraine, 28 years after declaring its independence from the USSR, which was fraught with corruption, has not yet shed that larcenous albatross. Consequently, Ukrainians are hypocritical about that crime. They are against corruption in Kyiv, the Presidential Administration, and parliament, but not in their backyards. Do not dare touch what they have acquired by petty corruption, they would scream when challenged. Some would say “What do you mean I can’t pay off a principal or rector so he or she admits my child or allows my son or daughter to graduate?” Ukrainians demand change elsewhere but won’t change for the better by themselves.
The Ukrainian voters’ behavior reminds me of a biting observation by American author Orson Scott Card: “If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.”
Why weren’t Zelensky supporters mindful of the Russia’s ongoing war against their homeland? Why didn’t eastern Ukrainians remember Russia’s famine murders of their ancestors? Why did everyone forget the Revolution of Dignity and the Heavenly Hundred, and centuries-long independence struggles?
One reason is that Zelensky underwent a metamorphosis courtesy of his patron Ihor Kolomoisky, an oligarch himself who stole $5.5 billion from Ukraine by transferring funds via Cyprus. Zelensky even learned to speak Ukrainian and sing the Ukrainian national anthem along with his wife at the end of the debates.
This successful transformation should not startle anyone who is familiar with the book “The Selling of the President, 1968,” which revealed the influence that image making can have on political campaigning. It showed that voters are bored with issues while being influenced with images.
Thanks to Kolomoisky, 41-year-old Zelensky was polished and shined and to his supporters he epitomized the new, younger generation of Ukraine that could lead the country out of its abyss. He was trained how to perform during a debate and what to say or not say during a political campaign.
In the wake of Zelensky’s victory, two picturesque mottos surfaced to soothe the wounds of the losers. One was “25%,” which signifies the amount of voters that didn’t vote for Zelensky and the other was “Not Indifferent Minority.”
Indeed, these maxims should rally that segment of the Ukrainian population into monitoring Zelensky’s every step. They don’t have to express support for him or join his administration or become his groupies, only scrutinize him and raise bloody hell if deviates from pro-Ukrainian policies or seeks to negotiate Ukraine out of the war with Russia thereby leaving occupied territories permanently occupied.
Will Zelensky curry favor in Moscow by flying there before the transition of power? Apparently, Moscow is waiting for him to come groveling. Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent figure in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning opposition, observed that Zelensky could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he repairs ties with Moscow. We don’t yet know how many silver pieces this will cost.
What will be the fate of Crimea and the Ukrainian POWs and other prisoners of conscience in Russian imprisonment?
Since his victory, Zelensky said he would favor the Ukrainian language, support Ukraine and fight corruption. He pledged to be a one-term president. He also thanked law enforcement officers “for their honest service” and Ukrainian soldiers “for guarding Ukraine.” He pledged that he would never deceive the Ukrainian people.
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group pointed out that Zelensky’s consistent lack of detail regarding what he stands for and what policies he will introduce was almost certainly meant to significantly broaden his electorate. At the outset Zelensky dangerously seems to want to change the attitudes of the people as he ignores reality including that Moscow launched and is financing what has become the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014-19.
As for corruption, it’s curious what will be the visible and invisible roles of gray cardinal Kolomoisky? Will Zelensky be beholden to him? To be sure, Zelensky’s presidency will quickly implode if Kolomoisky and other oligarchs aren’t put behind bars.
For Zelensky, his showman’s life of leisure, parties and fun is over. To protect Ukraine against a revanche, the nation – in Ukraine and the diaspora – must keep up its pressure on him, scrutinize every action and slice and dice every statement.
In the meantime, back to reality. News reports state that Russia has moved another battalion group to the Ukrainian border while fighting has ramped up in Donbas. One military pundit has already predicted that a Zelensky victory will invite a full-fledged Russian invasion of all of Ukraine.