Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Thursday, November 25, 2004

Since you asked
Written by: Beck

There's basically a revolution going on in Ukraine. Government officials, law enforcement, military groups, industries, schools, and everyone else are all taking sides. So far there hasn't been any shooting... but the rumors of Russian special forces soldiers dressed in Ukrainian security forces uniforms don't do much to reassure.

Anyway, the best source out there for updates on events as they unfold is Maidan. They have new stories, headlines, and details coming out several times an hour. The English translations can be a bit rough around the edges, but it leaves few doubts about just how desperate the situation has become. An example from one of their articles (posted less than an hour ago):
Divisions of the Western Regional Headquarter of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not fight against their own people,declared officer-in-chief of the Western Regional Headquarter lieutenant-general Mykhaylo Kutsyn.

"My actions are directed towards unquestioning fulfillment of the law and Constitution of Ukraine and I officially declare that divisions of the Western Regional Headquarter will not fight their own people", said M. Kutsyn during briefing in Lviv.

According to his words, the command of the Western Regional Headquarter ask political and social leaders not to pull armed forces of the Western Regional Headquarter into the social confrontation.
Update: Le Sabot Post-Moderne has an excellent post on Ukrainian style kleptocracy tailored to Western readers.
You have to understand the situation in Ukraine. The country is run by a series of oligarchic clans that actually found their beginnings in the Soviet Union, and then grew fabulously rich during the early days of "privatization".

Compare the situation to Russia, where an authoritarian Putin faced off against corrupt oligarchs. In Ukraine, authoritarianism and oligarchy are fused. Yanukovych isn't just another unscrupulous candidate, he's the main man of Akhmetov -- the duke of Donetsk and the richest man in Ukraine. The current president, Kuchma, is the head of a different clan, Dnepropetrovsk. The presidential administrator is Medvedchuk, who happens to run the Kiev-based Medvedchuk-Surkis clan. He also owns the two biggest Ukrainian TV stations, which is awfully convenient.

While there is jockeying for control among these clans, the overall effect is for them to sustain one another in power. They all depend on the same system for survival, and actively collaborate to keep it in place.

A good example of the clan system in action was the recent privatization of the Kryvorizhstal factory. Western firms offered 2.1 billion dollars. It was sold to the presidents son-in-law for 800 million. His son-in-law is Pinchuk, the head of the Pinchuk-Derkach clan.
Le Sabot is a great source for updates of the ongoing struggles in the Ukraine. The author is right there on the ground in Kiev.

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John Beck

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