by James Corbett
March 5, 2014
In late 2004, protests erupted after Viktor Yanukovych won the 2004 Ukrainian Presidential election, with protestors claiming that the vote had been rigged. The protests forced a revote, in which Yanukovych’s rival, Viktor Yuschenko, was elected president. This movement, dubbed the Orange Revolution for the orange ribbons and clothing sported by its members, was one of a series of so-called colour revolutions which swept the former Soviet Republics in the last decade.
The two events are not unrelated. As The Guardian noted at the time of the protests:
“[…]the campaign [Orange Revolution] is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.[…]The Democratic parrty’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns.”
So it is not without reason that seasoned political observers looked for outside connections to the recent protests in Ukraine that has, in an almost exact repeat of the 2004 protests, sought to overthrow the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in order to install Viktor Yuschenko’s political allies. Those connections have not been difficult to find.
Audio of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland apparently dictating who the US wanted “in” and “out” of the supposedly grassroots-supported interim government only came as a surprise to those who did not believe Washington or its allies in the Washington Consensus were actively involved with the ongoing protests in the country. As did the revelation of her admission last December that the US had already pumped $5 billion into the funding of the Ukrainian opposition.
As did the appearance of confirmed terrorist supporter John McCain at a rally with the leader of the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader. As did the appointment of a central banker as the interim Prime Minister and his immediate announcement that the country was in talks with the US, EU, and IMF for emergency loans. As did the appearance of a slick new viral propaganda video in English promoting the supposedly grassroots uprising which was immediately exposed as finding its “inspiration” in Council on Foreign Relations member Larry Diamond, who has worked closely with the same N.E.D. and USAid that were linked to the 2004 Orange Revolution.
In the latest startling revelation, Pando.com has published documents implicating the Omidyar Network in the funding of the current Ukrainian protest movement. The Omidyar Network is the NGO of billionaire Ebay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, who recently set up “First Look” as an outlet for (among others) Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras to selectively publish some of the Snowden document archive, 99% of which continues to be withheld from the public.
Perhaps more worrying than the interference itself are its potential implications. As Russia’s every move is now being scrutinized for a possible military response to the ongoing crisis, the specter of a larger military operation now hangs over Eastern Europe. Part of the decade-long encirclement of Russia by NATO and deliberate provocations on Russia’s doorstep, this process of brinksmanship now threatens to plunge the region into a war the consequences of which cannot be foreseen, let alone contained.
As supposedly “progressive” outlets once again scramble to throw their support behind the billionaire oligarchs and NGOs that have helped to destabilize the country, and as neocons unite with neoliberals in their agenda to carve up Ukraine for western interests, it remains to be seen what genuine alternative outlets will stand up against this blatant interference and stand up for the principle that it is up to the Ukrainian people, and no one else, to decide what happens in their country.