Beast of the Month - January 2005
- From the vault:
Beast of the Month - January 2005
Yulia Tymoshenko, Billionaire Oligarch & Ukrainian "Democracy"
"I yam an anti-Christ... "
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the
"Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard is a
geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent
country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases
to be a Eurasian empire... However, if Moscow regains control over
Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as
access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the
wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and
Asia... Neither the West nor Russia can afford to lose Ukraine to
its geostrategic and geoeconomic adversary."
Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its
After a dubious November presidential election, where the supposed
winner of the battle had lost in highly accurate exit polling, both
the American korporate media and US political establishment joined
forces with mass public protests to demand a revote, and after the
Supreme Court declared the election invalid, a second election
produced a brand new winner. The reaction to the electoral fraud is
truly an inspiring story. Unfortunately, it happened in Ukraine.
Still, it's time for The Konformist to celebrate the Ukrainian
people, for doing what should be a given when there's even an
appearance of election fraud in a nation's presidential election.
And indeed, there was a lot of suspicious activity leading up to the
Ukrainian presidential election. One exit poll (normally the most
reliable form of polling) showed that Viktor Yushchenko (the pro-
Western opposition candidate of the "Our Ukraine" coalition) had won
54 percent of the vote compared to Viktor Yanukovych (a former
communist official tied to Russia) with 43 percent. Another showed
Yushchenko victorious 49.4 to 45.9 percent. Yet the official
results had Yanukovych with 49.42 percent and Yushchenko with
46.69. Beyond the exit polls, is there evidence of voter fraud in
the Ukrainian election? How about the voter turnout in pro-
Yushchenko areas, which in one district reached an impossible 127
percent rate? Meanwhile, in September, Yushchenko became violently
ill after a dinner with high-ranking Ukrainian officials, including
SBU Chief Ihor Smeshko (the Ukraine remnant of the Soviet KGB.) He
was found to be a victim of serious food poisoning, and
toxicological tests conclusively showed high concentration of
dioxin, to a tune of over 6,000 times the normal level.
(Yushchenko's chief of staff Oleg Ribachuk fingers the culprit as a
mycotoxin called T-2, known as "Yellow Rain" during its use in the
Soviet War on Afghanistan as a chemical weapon.) Though he
survived, Yushchenko face has become heavily disfigured, bloated,
and pockmarked. With this as the background, the mass rebellion
against the results was understandable, and the handling of the
crisis by the Ukraine government was a model of proper conduct. If
only the United States people and establishment could have behaved
so ethically and courageously the last two elections.
That said, is the Ukraine election crisis the simple tale the
mainstream media presents it as, merely a battle between blushingly
innocent pro-democracy forces behind Yushchenko's Orange Revolution,
and godless communists backing Yanukovych? As much as establishment
pundits would like to spin this as a real-life Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan
Drago battle, the truth is a little messier.
To begin with, though the tad high 127 percent turnout rate in a pro-
Yanukovych region was indeed slightly suspicious, so was the 90
percent plus turnouts found in pro-Yushchenko areas, indicating that
fraud was prevalent on both sides. Likewise, the exit poll giving
Yushchenko an eleven point victory was organized by the right-wing
US think-tank Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute, a
Democratic Party-linked (and thus supposedly "liberal") organization
funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States
Agency for International Development. All of these organizations,
unsurprisingly, proclaim to be about promoting democracy around the
world, but in practice support foreign political organs based almost
solely on American establishment interests. In August 2004, the
same usage of a supposed "independent" exit poll was tried in
Venezuela, when a US-backed survey declared Chavez lost in a recall
by eighteen points: by official count, he won by sixteen, a rather
large 34-point swing in accuracy. Who was telling the truth?
Former US-prez Jimmy Carter (no enemy of the American establishment)
bluntly concluded that "any allegations of fraud are completely
unwarranted" in the official results. While there is no evidence
linking election manipulation to the other exit poll giving
Yushchenko a 3.5 percent victory (and there is reason to suspect
that one was indeed legitimate) the usage of blatantly
biased "independent" polls discredits claims of concern over clean
elections in Ukraine by US officials.
But perhaps even more telling about the true nature of the Ukraine
election can be found by looking closer at the voter results. While
there are legitimate issues surrounding the twin election results,
the general regional voting demographics in the following two images
(the first from the November election, the section from the December
showdown) show a rather consistent picture:
What these two election results reveal is not a tale of good guy vs.
bad buy, but rather a red state versus blue state battle on more
steroids than a Rocky IV-era Sly Stallone and Dolph Lundgren
combined. In short, the Western regions of Ukraine were
overwhelmingly in support of Yushchenko, while the Eastern regions
were just as overwhelmingly in favor of Yanukovych. This shouldn't
be too surprising: each region would likely favor a candidate
pushing for ties with the neighbor it feels a stronger cultural bond
with, either Western Europe or Eastern Europe.
That said, perhaps even more important than why Ukraine voters voted
as they did is why the US, Western Europe or Russia would even
care. The answer, unsurprisingly, is oil. (Didn't see that one
coming, did you?) In November 23, the German financial newspaper
Handelsblatt went so far as to bluntly declare that "Ukraine is much
too important as a transportation route for sources of energy, both
Russian oil and gas and the reserves in the Caspian Sea, to allow
the country to become the play thing of the Kremlin."
Ah, yes, the Caspian Sea. For those suffering deja vu here and not
sure why, the Caspian is home to what is believed to be the world's
largest oil reserve. Three key nations for any pipeline involving
the Caspian oil are Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, the three
nations that, coincidentally, have been involved in three of the
four major battles waged either by the US and Russia over the past
decade. (Of course, there is also the US war in Iraq, but some
conspiracy theorists allege that one has something to do with oil as
Besides the Chechnya-Kosovo-Afghan trinity, valuable real estate to
the Caspian reserves comes in the form of Georgia (Russia's
neighbor, not the home of Ray Charles.) Coincidentally, in November
2003, a political rebellion, dubbed the Rose Revolution, ousted
president Eduard Shevardnadze (like Yanukovych, a man with strong
ties to Russia) and installed the pro-Western Mikheil Saakashvili
following claims of fraudulent elections in favor of Shevardnadze.
Backing claims of election fraud were supposed "independent" exit
polls by a US-based polling company. Deja vu, indeed.
Of course, the Caspian is merely the covert link between oil and the
Ukraine election. The overt one is Yulia Tymoshenko, Yushchenko's
most powerful political ally and The Konformist Beast of the Month.
While her icy blonde looks (which have earned her the nickname
the "Joan of Arc of the Orange Revolution") may be more associated
with Russian tennis stars than a would-be Machiavelli, her shrewdly
efficient political opportunism is more powerful than a Sharapova or
Kournikova serve. Her exploits earned her an entire chapter in the
book Casino Moscow, an expose of the criminal capitalism that
flourished in post-Soviet Eastern Europe by Matthew Brzezinski (the
nephew of Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew, for those
keeping score.) Tymoshenko first rose to prominence during this
era, directing several energy companies, culminating in her founding
United Energy Systems in 1995. It soon became the main importer of
Russian natural gas. Meanwhile, in 1996, she began her political
career while still on the job, winning a seat in parliament,
chairing the Budget Committee in 1998 and, from 1999 to 2001,
becoming deputy prime minister for fuel in the energy sector. She
has been charged with numerous crimes (among them bribery,
embezzlement, money-laundering, forgery, smuggling natural gas, tax
evasion and abuse of power) mainly involving a scheme to trade
Russian fuels for Ukrainian goods, but thus far has evaded all
convictions (though those surrounding her have taken the fall.) She
is described in Casino Moscow as an "eleven-billion-dollar-woman"
guarded by a platoon of ex-Soviet special forces, and the book notes
that "Tymoshenko gained control over nearly 20% of Ukraine's gross
national product, an enviable position that probably no other
private company in the world could boast."
Besides a notorious member of the Eastern Europe oligarchy serving
as right-hand woman to Yushchenko, there is an even uglier side to
the Orange Revolution. Supporters of the Our Ukraine coalition
* Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (KUN) - a group following the
philosophy of noted WWII Nazi-sympathizer Stepan Bandera.
* All-Ukrainian Party of Liberty (Svoboda) - until 2004, it was
called the Ukrainian National Socialist Party, and used a
combination trident and swastika as its party symbol. Its leader,
Oleh Tyahnybok, praised Ukrainian nationalists for having "cleansed
the country of Russians and Jews" during WWII last July, and the
controversy forced his group from Our Ukraine (at least, officially.)
* Ukrainian National Assembly - led by Andrei Shkil, editor-in-chief
of the magazine Nationalist. Shkil sometimes wears the emblem of
the Ukrainian division of the Nazi SS Galicia, and in print has
praised racist ideologies and the book Mein Kampf (though he avoids
mentioning the name of Hitler in his gushing review.)
* The ultra-right wing Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party,
founded in 1992 by the former dissident Stepan Khmara.
Of course, it shouldn't be surprising that opponents of Russia would
have some ugly nationalist and pro-Nazi sympathies in Ukraine, as
Hitler had been the only successful opponent of the USSR in the
Ukraine until the commies went kaput. So it would be unfair to
smear the whole Our Ukraine movement on these links. Likewise its
even greater links to Tymoshenko shouldn't invalidate the legitimate
widespread support for the Orange Revolution. But that said, it is
intentionally dishonest of the korporate media to pretend the battle
in Ukraine is merely about democracy and freedom, when it really
appears to be just another cutthroat game of power politics.
In any case, we salute Yulia Tymoshenko as Beast of the Month.
Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Yulia!!!
Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its
Geostrategic Imperatives. New York: Basic Books, 1998
Brzezinski, Matthew. Casino Moscow: A Tale of Greed and Adventure on
Capitalism's Wildest Frontier. New York: Free Press, 2002.
Chin, Larry. "Cold War crisis in Ukraine." Online Journal 26
Keefer, Michael. "The Stolen U.S. Presidential Election: A
Comparative Analysis." IndyBay 3 December 2004
Meek, James. "The Millionaire Revolutionary." The Guardian 26
"News & Analysis: Russia & the former USSR." World Socialist Web
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