Report from the Dumbass Peoples Republic

professor rat pro2rat at
Tue May 3 15:25:25 PDT 2022

"To describe the Donbas revolt as "coup d'etats" by "Russian proxy militias" is simplistic, just like the description of the Maidan revolt as a fascist coup backed by the US. Both the Maidan revolt and the anti-Maidan Donbas revolt were complex. ... After a while the Russian state got full control of the situation in the Donbas and repressed dissent. But this does not mean we should dismiss the whole thing as a Russian plot. Russia took advantage of the alienation of many people in the Donbas from the post-Maidan regime."

I think this is a good summary. But, as Chris says, Russia soon got full control of the anti-Maiden. It got this through sending in troops, paramilitaries, tanks and other heavy weapons, political operatives and opportunists and Russian fascists etc, and conquered arbitrary territory with guns. Therefore, I think Anthony is completely correct to describe this as "Russian proxy militias, not-very covertly trained, armed, funded, and led by Russia, staging armed coup d'etats in eastern Donbass."

Unfortunately, many see this military conquest as simply an extension of whatever original civil movement was just beginning, among many Russian-speakers and peoples in Donbas alienated by the new Ukraine regime. I think this is a completely wrong way to look at it. By militarising a movement which was not under military attack, where Russians were not oppressed (despite common misconceptions, the Ukrainian language law changed in 2019), by seizing territory by force of arms, Russia completely changed both the very nature of the "anti-Maiden", and the nature of Ukrainian politics (this conquest took place straight after the Crimea conquest - ie, the immediate result of the popular uprising that overthrew Yanukovych was the carve-up of Ukraine by a neighbouring superpower, with a resulting hardening of right-wing Ukrainian nationalism).
Whatever original support the civil anti-Maiden may have had, it is hard to know what survived the Russian-led military intervention and coups. We know that 3.3 million people (!) have fled Donbass since then, the majority into other areas of Ukraine. We also know that many of the irregular Ukrainian militia on the frontlines in the Ukraine-government controlled two-thirds of Donbas are residents who were uprooted as a result of the conflict and blame the Russian intervention.  
It must emphasised - facts continually ignored by those here more supportive of the Russian position on the Donbas - that Donbas is ethnically mixed with a Russian *minority*; that opinions, not only on incorporation into Russia but even on autonomy; are just as mixed; that therefore the seizure of particular territory and town halls with guns, but a foreign-led force, was entirely arbitrary with little or no relation to any "self-determination" (I know this will be ignored and we will tomorrow see the ritual stuff on this).
That doesn't mean a blank cheque for the Ukrainian military of course, in its attempt to re-take its territory. Understanding the political role of the new Ukrainian government, with its virulent version of Ukrainian nationalism - means it was in no position to politically appeal, and so relied on a purely military response - an inappropriate response given the complex ethnic/regional issues in the east (with the proviso of what I said above about militia made up of dispossessed people). And in this subsequent conflict in Donbas, *both sides* committed war crimes; of the 14,000 killed in the last 8 years, 10,000 were troops from *both sides*; the 4000 civilians killed by *both sides* or by landmines laid by both sides. It is one thing to condemn the Ukrainian military for its own role, but quite another to only do this and not condemn the Russian and Russian-owned troops who arbitrarily carved out territory first, and who also fired guns and tanks. It would be unusual for a state to not try to regain territory militarily seized.

"In regards to Barry's arguments, the Minsk Agreements were literally extracted from Ukraine at gunpoint. If somebody had robbed you at gunpoint, and you promised to never, never try to get what was taken back, would you keep your promise?"

I'm not sure why Anthony's obvious point is routinely ignored on Minsk. However, I don’t exactly agree with the continuous assertion that it is only Ukraine allegedly blocking the Minsk agreement, with Russia supposedly pushing for it. The agreement demands “The withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE. Disarmament of all illegal groups.” This is not conditional on anything Ukraine does first. This has not happened. Ukraine’s reason/excuse (take your pick) has always been that this has not happened. You can decide this is not genuine, but it is hard to argue it is not valid. Russia is blocking Minsk. . . "

Michael K

Repost not endorsement

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