Russian Ukrainian Aid v. US/EU Neoliberal Harshness

On December 17, Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met in Moscow. Russia offered generous aid.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said providing it helped prevent serious economic trouble. “What would have awaited Ukraine” without it, he asked?

“The answer is clear – bankruptcy and social collapse.” He defended Kiev’s decision to establish closer ties with Moscow.

Yanukovych called Tuesday’s discussion with Putin “fruitful.” It “resulted in the signing of documents thanks to (Putin’s) political will.”

“(T)alks were constructive and content-intensive.” He and Putin focused on “practical work in all spheres.”

“Today’s meeting confirmed that the interaction between (both countries) stands on a powerful basis and enjoys good prospects for further development,” Yanukovych added.

“Our negotiations culminated in us signing a very substantial and broad package of agreements.” They’re mutually beneficial.

More on agreed on terms below. They’re polar opposite harsh US/EU demands. They’re exploitive. They assure harder than ever hard times.

They guarantee longterm debt bondage. They assure wrecking Ukraine’s economy for profit.

They mandate neoliberal harshness. They assure the worst of all possible worlds. They reflect neo-Malthusianism writ large.

Its holy trinity mandates unrestrained corporate empowerment, eliminating social justice, and using state resources for bottom line profits, national security and internal control.

Doing so requires selling off state assets to Western interests at fire sale prices. It demands granting them open Ukrainian market access on their terms.

It mandates mass layoffs and deep social spending cuts. It demands crushing or marginalizing trade unionism.

It means transforming ordinary Ukrainians into serfs. It assures harsh repression against nonbelievers.

US/EU terms are one-way. They’re all take and no give. They’re incompatible with democratic values. They spurn fundamental human and civil rights.

They assure nothing whatever beneficial. Pie-in-the-sky illusions substitute. Promises remain distant dreams. You have to be sleeping to believe them.

US/EU leaders want Ukraine strip-mined for profit. They want its material wealth and resources exploited. They want them stolen.

They want Ukraine hollowed out entirely. They want it transformed into another European backwater. They want what remains of its middle class society destroyed.

They want perpetual debt bondage imposed. They want Ukraine co-opted geopolitically. They want all former Soviet Republics turning West, not East.

They want them becoming NATO members or partners. They want Russia increasingly isolated. They want it weakened.

They want its influence entirely destroyed. They want it exploited like other US/Brussels-controlled nations. They want what no responsible leaders would accept.

Ukraine is heavily dependent on Russia for energy. Putin guaranteed natural gas at well below fair market price.

He offered a near one-third discount. He granted terms Yanukovych couldn’t refuse. They’re effective January 1. They’ll continue through 2018. They’re vital for Ukraine’s troubled economy.

Ukraine will pay $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas. Currently it’s priced at $400. Putin offered more. He did so free from harsh US/EU terms. Oil shipments will resume after suspending them in 2010.

Russia will invest billions of dollars in Ukrainian bonds. Doing so will afford Kiev a lifeline. It’ll provide vitally needed emergency funding.

“The Russian government has made the decision to invest part of the National Welfare fund, to the sum of $15 billion, in Ukrainian government securities,” said Putin.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov explained:

“This can be not only the resources from the National Welfare Fund. We will consider other resources, proceeding from the variability of our resources in the next year.”

Putin’s going all out to save Ukraine from economic collapse. Restrictions on bilateral trade were eased.

Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy finalized four-year contractual terms. They include price, delivery, quantity, and transit arrangements.

Russian and Ukrainian industry ministers agreed on government support for resuming Antonov An-124 planes production.

Trade protocol terms were consummated. Goods will be shipped under a 2014 industrial cooperation arrangement.

Construction of a Kerch Strait transport link will proceed. Yanukovych wants both countries cooperating in producing aircraft, ships, nuclear and other projects.

He called for finishing construction of Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant. Its Generating Units 3 and 4 are incomplete.

“(A) minor amount of work remains to be done” on developing Antonov An-70 aircraft design before An-70s can be built, said Yanukovych.

Russia and Ukraine finalized arrangements for mutual border crossings.

Yanukovych intends focusing on “remov(ing) trade barriers and signing an agreement on pipelines and on the cancellation of transportation duties.”

Russia is Ukraine’s main economic partner. In 2012, bilateral trade fell 11% to $45 billion.

Through September 2013, it declined another 15%. Both leaders want trade problems resolved. Putin called less trade “alarming.”

He wants whatever is needed done “to reverse this negative trend, and not only reach the previous benchmarks, but also provide conditions for moving ahead.”

He mentioned mutual grain trade cooperation. Historically, Ukraine’s been called Europe’s “bread basket.” Its rich dark soil is valued. Its grain producing area is huge. It matches Texas in size.

It produces 25% of former Soviet republics’ agricultural output. Its exports include wheat, corn, barley, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, meat and milk.

Russia is Ukraine’s largest market. The Russian/Ukrainian grain pool nears operational status.

Putin urged humanitarian cooperation between both countries. Taras Hyryhorovich was a famous 19th century Ukrainian poet.

He remained devoted to his birth country. “Body and soul I am the son and brother of our unfortunate nation,” he said.

He was born on March 14, 1814. “We will celebrate the 200th anniversary” of his birth, said Putin.

On May 9, 1944, Russia’s Red Army liberated Sevastopol, Ukraine. It did so from Hitler’s once invincible Wehrmacht. Next year, both countries will commemorate its 70th anniversary, said Putin.

He stressed agreed on terms have no “preconditions, nor the increasing, or reducing, or freezing any social standards, pensions, allowances or costs.”

“Ukraine is our strategic partner and ally in every sense of the word,” he added.

“And I’d like to calm everyone down,” he stressed. “(W)e didn’t even discuss Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union today.”

Mutually beneficial terms were agreed on. Putin/Yanukovych bashing followed. The New York Times called agreed on terms “bold but risky.”

Wall Street Journal editors headlined “The Putin Crony Rescue Fund,” saying:

“Russia raises the bidding to keep Ukraine in the Kremlin maw.”

“Empire rebuilding isn’t cheap.” Washington could respond by imposing sanctions. Doing so “could be as powerful as the Kremlin’s checkbook,” they said.

Score one for Putin and Yanukovych. Imperial supporters don’t like being outfoxed, outmaneuvered, or outmatched. Journal editorial remarks sound like sour grapes.

Putin’s terms are important carrots. Washington and Brussels offer sticks and harsh threats.

Ukrainian opposition elements reacted with “fury and dismay.” They chanted “Out with the crook!”

Fatherland parliamentary coalition leader/former economy minister Arseniy Yatsenhuk said “(f)ree cheese is only found in a mousetrap.”

He vowed to block Ukrainian/Russian agreed on terms. He said they won’t get parliament’s approval.

“Not a single document which contradicts European integration will pass the procedure of voting,” he said.

Parliament can’t do much. It can’t block cheap Russian gas. It can’t stop Moscow from buying Ukrainian bonds.

It can’t subvert other proposed mutually agreed on terms. It can denounce them. Perhaps it can slow things down. It can appeal to public opinion. Little else.

Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform leader/parliamentarian/former WBC heavyweight boxing champion/sports science PhD holder Vitali Klitschko denounced Yanukovych, saying:

“He has given up Ukraine’s national interests, given up independence and prospects for a better life for every Ukrainian.”

He called him his “personal opponent. I am challenging him in the ring,” he added.

Ultranationist Svoboda (Freedom) party leader Oleh Tyahnybok said Yanukovych “wants to surrender to serfdom, to eternal slavery under Moscow. (He) betrayed Ukrainians.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said:

“Any agreements concluded between Kiev and Moscow will not address the concerns of those who have gathered in public protest across Ukraine.”

“We urge the Ukrainian government to listen to its people.” Internal sentiment is very much divided. Carney didn’t explain.

Nor about Western enlisted street thugs inciting things. Doing so is longstanding US policy. Washington rules apply. Fair-minded treatment is verboten.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced what he called “attempts to put blatant pressure on the Ukrainian government, which continue despite the decisions taken in Moscow.”

“Kiev is demanded to make its ‘free’ choice in favor of Europe,” he added.

“Our position is based on respect for the sovereign choice made by the Ukrainian people.”

Putin pledged earlier to respect whatever decision Ukraine choose. He respects the sovereignty of all nations. He refrains from interfering in their affairs.

Washington and Brussels prioritize it. The battle for Ukraine continues. It’s future remains very much up for grabs.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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