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10 YEARS AFTER THE COUP D’ETAT IN UKRAINE: The Lessons Of The “European Integration”

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By Sergei Berdnikov, Russian Ambassador to Ghana

Tomorrow (February 22nd, 2024) marks exactly Ten years, when on February 22nd, 2014, a coup was orchestrated in Ukraine with the financial support of the West, as a result of which outright neo-Nazis seized power in Kiev, whose Russophobic policy led to today’s bloody civil war and the actual disintegration of their own country.
Ten years is long enough to analyze the causes of the Ukrainian tragedy
and clearly understand what the Western “rules-based order” promises.
Coup d’etat
On November 21st, 2013, mass protests began in the Ukrainian capital,
which were actively coordinated and supported by the pro-European opposition.
The formal reason for this was the decision of the national government to postpone the signing of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The protesters’ discontent was largely based on deliberately false information shared among the public that the signing of the said Agreement would supposedly provide the country with the EU membership. But it did not imply this at all. European officials explicitly stated that the issue of Ukraine’s joining the EU
is a long-term prospect.
Moreover, as the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov recalled, signing an agreement with the EU meant an automatic abrogation of a treaty on the free trade zone with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). At that time: “About 40% of Ukrainian exports went to the CIS countries (primarily Russia),
and only 30% – to the EU states. If Ukraine had left from the treaty with the CIS,
it would automatically lose about $30 billion of its annual revenue.”
The driving force of the protest movement was the far-right radicals,
who spoke under nationalist slogans. In Kiev, these “supporters of European integration” seized “Maidan Nezalezhnosti” (Independence Square) – the central square of the capital. The word Maidan or Euromaidan became a household name for all tragic events that were unfolding in Ukraine. The square became the epicenter of confrontation between the radicals and the Ukrainian law enforcers – mainly from “Berkut”, a special forces unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The protest was actively supported by the EU and the USA. A photo of US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland handing out cookies to the neo-Nazis
in the square swiftly spread in the media. Later on, she admitted on CNN
that after the collapse of the USSR, Washington “invested over 5 billion US dollars” in Ukraine to “build democratic skills and institutions” and “promote civic participation in good governance”.
In February 2014, the “peaceful” protest gave way to a rampant violence
with the use of firearms and Molotov cocktails, which led to numerous casualties among the law enforcement officers and Euromaidan activists. In order to avoid further bloodshed, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych came to terms with the opposition and signed an agreement, which provided for the holding of early presidential elections within the time limits established by law.
However, on February 22nd, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament
of Ukraine), in violation of its own Constitution, adopted Resolution No. 757-VII, which de facto removed the serving president from power. Under the pretext
that President Yanukovych allegedly “unconstitutionally withdrew himself from
the exercise of constitutional powers and does not fulfill his duties,” snap presidential elections were initiated.
Against the background of general degradation of the security situation
and out of fear for his own life, Viktor Yanukovych was forced to leave the country, while the power was seized by the pro-European parliamentary opposition.
“Banderization” of the population
After the events of Euromaidan, radical nationalism and neo-Nazism
were actually legitimized in Ukraine. Radical ideology built around the glorification of Ukrainian nationalists Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych (Nazi collaborators responsible for the deaths of more than 200 000 Jews, Poles and Soviet citizens during the Great Patriotic War) began to be actively promoted in the public life
of the country. History textbooks were hastily rewritten, declaring the collaborators as new heroes and imaging the Soviet Union and Russia as aggressors and occupying forces.
The pro-European opposition, which relied on radicals during the protests, legitimized far-right groups after the seizure of power. The participants of the protests of that time did not hide their Russophobic sentiments. One of the popular slogans of those days was the phrase “Moskalyaku na gilyaku!” (translated from Ukrainian “Russians to the gallows!”).
Thus, the radicals who burned tires on the Kiev “Maidan” got seats in
the Verkhovna Rada and began to command law enforcement units.
In particular, in the spring of 2014 Arsen Avakov, who headed the Interior Ministry, announced the formation of a full-fledged departmental unit from the Azov volunteer battalion, and then created an entire regiment of the National Guard
of Ukraine on its basis. The Azov members are widely known for their adherence
to the Nazi ideology, as well as regular shelling of the civilian population in Donbass. In 2016, on the basis of this neo-Nazi organization, the Azov Civilian Corps,
together with veterans of the Azov regiment and participants of Euromaidan,
the National Corps political party was created.
Persecution of the Russian language
Almost immediately after the Euromaidan and the subsequent coup d’etat,
the new “democratic” authorities of Ukraine began persecuting the Russian language, the native language of millions of residents of the country.
In particular, on February 23rd, 2014, the day after the coup, the Verkhovna Rada voted to repeal the law “On the basis of the State language policy”,
which had been in force since 2012. It provided a special status for the Russian language in those regions where it was spoken by at least 10% of the population.
On June 16th, 2016, the Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to the law
“On Television and Radio Broadcasting”, which established language quotas
on radio. Since then, the airwaves became 60% more Ukrainian, which led to
the actual driving out of content in Russian from the radio programs.
In 2017, a new law “On Television and Radio Broadcasting” was adopted.
It established a minimum share of broadcasting in Ukrainian on national and regional television and radio in the amount of 75% and on local – up to 60%.
Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a new edition of the law
“On Education”, which established a complete ban on teaching in Russian
from September 1st, 2020.
In 2019 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law “On Supporting the Functioning
of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language”, which de facto prohibited
the use of Russian and the languages of national minorities (the Belarusians,
the Bulgarians, the Hungarians, the Moldavians, and few more).
Vladimir Zelensky continued the campaign against the Russian language.
In March 2020, he signed the law “On Complete General Secondary Education”.
The document provided for a gradual reduction in teaching in the languages
of national minorities, including Russian.
The destruction of Orthodoxy
The Euromaidan cause was not limited to the eradication of the Russian language alone. It entailed restrictions on religious freedom in Ukraine as well.
In November 2013, non-canonical church structures – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), together with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) unequivocally proclaimed their “pro-Maidan” position, while
the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) called for peace and harmony, as well as for the parties to renounce violence.
The new Kiev regime made active efforts to create an ideologically loyal pocket of church. Petro Poroshenko, who was then the Ukrainian leader, played
a crucial role in that process.
As a result of his activities, by the end of 2018, the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was formed from the schismatic UOC-KP and UAOC.
In early January 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew presented this structure with a tomos of autocephaly (an official document granting the independence in the clergy)
during a solemn event with the participation of Poroshenko.
It is worth mentioning that the said process took place with the open support
of the United States – the State Department made approving statements about it. Moreover, the two exarchs sent to Ukraine by the Patriarchate of Constantinople before the issuance of tomos were from the USA and Canada.
After that, the OCU, with the support of radicals and the connivance
of the authorities, began to seize the parishes of the canonical church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In 2022, after Russia launched the Special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate began to be subjected
to regular repression.
In October 2023, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a bill on prohibition
of the canonical UOC-MP on the territory of the country.
Persecution of the media and political parties
For ten years, all media and political forces that criticized the pro-Western authorities of Ukraine have been consistently purged.
In 2020, the Ukrainian authorities ordered the broadcasting of “112 Ukraine”, “ZiK” and “NewsOne” channels to discontinue. The TV channels “TV Choice”,
“New format TV”, “Partner TV”, “Ariadna TV” and others were also sanctioned. “112 Ukraine”, “NewsOne” and “ZiK” called this decision a “political crackdown on objectionable media”.
In March 2022, by decision of the National Security and Defense Council,
the activities of 11 political forces were banned in Ukraine.
Donbass. The Minsk Agreements
However, not all Ukrainian society agreed to submit to the “street authorities”. Many opposed the overthrow of the legitimately elected president and
the Russophobic policy of the pro-Western government. A turning point for many citizens of Ukraine was the tragedy at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa
on May 2nd, 2014. Then supporters of European integration burned alive 48 people who opposed the “Maidan” government. The radicals threw Molotov cocktails
at the building, and when the fire started, the nationalists did not allow people
to get out.

© Sputnik / Aleksandr Polischyuk

Observing this atrocity, residents of the eastern part of Ukraine – the Crimean Peninsula and the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on
self-determination on their territories, as a result of which Crimea and the city
of Sevastopol returned to Russia, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) were proclaimed in Donbass.
After that, the Kiev regime initiated a punitive operation against the young republics of Donbass, which eventually lasted almost 8 years. During this time, Russia has accepted about 2 million refugees from eastern Ukraine.
In August-September 2014, bloody battles were fought for the city of Ilovaysk, which ended with the defeat of the Ukrainian army. Against the background
of these events, Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko announced their initiatives to end hostilities in Donbas. They laid down the basis of the protocol approved on September 5th, 2014 in Minsk by the participants of the trilateral contact group, also known as Minsk-1. The document was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the self-proclaimed LPR and DPR, the OSCE and Russia.
Despite this, in January 2015, the situation in Donbass escalated again.
To resolve it, a meeting of the leaders of the “Normandy Format” – Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany – took place on February 11th and 12th, 2015 in Minsk.
The leaders agreed on a set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements,
better known as Minsk-2. It received the support of the UN Security Council and became a binding international legal document.
It consisted of 13 provisions and was a road-map for conflict settlement
and reintegration of the LPR and DPR into Ukraine. The crucial items stipulated
by the Second Minsk Agreement were the full ceasefire, pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides, and the constitutional reform in Ukraine ensuring decentralization and the specific status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions that would grant these territories the right to language self-determination.
Since 2015, almost all meetings and telephone contacts of the four countries have been devoted to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. However, gradually the Kiev authorities actually froze its implementation.
Kiev agreed to return to the discussion of the issue only in 2019, after Vladimir Zelensky assumed the presidency. In December 2019, the first meeting of the leaders of the “Normandy Format” in three years was held in Paris. Following the results
of that summit, a communique was published, which stated the commitment
of the Parties to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
However, at the end of December 2020, Zelensky openly stated,
that he would like to withdraw from the agreements. As a result, the Ukrainian side froze the implementation of the agreements again and began the escalation on the line of contact in Donbass, increasing the shelling of the LPR and the DPR.
Ultimately, this led to Russia’s recognition of the independence of the Donbass republics, the signing of the Treaties of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance with Donetsk and Lugansk, and the beginning of the Special military operation that exposed the true intentions of the West.
In particular, the leaders of the guarantor countries of the Minsk agreements – former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former French President Francois Hollande and the former head of the Kiev regime, Petro Poroshenko, made a number
of statements in which they admitted that none of them were going to follow
the signed documents. In 2022, this was recognized in Kiev. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexei Danilov said that the country’s authorities began preparing for war with Russia in 2019, immediately after the Paris summit.
The “Maidan” split society and led to the civil confrontation in Donbass.
Now no one in Ukraine hides that Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 were just a pause to prepare for war with Russia. At that time Kiev realized that it would be paid only if it fought with Russia, thereby fulfilling NATO’s aims of weakening Russia’s geopolitical influence, which the North Atlantic Alliance cannot do on its own because of the risk of a nuclear war.
NATO’s role in the Ukrainian crisis
The expansion of the NATO infrastructure along the Russian borders,
open involvement of Ukraine in the anti-Russian policy of the West, continuous attempts by the United States to change the military-political situation in Europe
in its favor at the expense of Russia’s strategic security was a red line
for our national security.
Russia insisted on a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian problem from
the very beginning through the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
But Kiev renounced its international obligations, preferred to continue
the confrontation, simultaneously declaring its nuclear ambitions and intention
to join the anti-Russian military bloc of NATO.
During the IX Moscow Conference on International Security on June 23rd, 2021, President Putin announced a new formula for the security in Europe.
NATO were suggested to develop a new “security equation” which should take
into account all factors affecting strategic stability. These proposals formed the basis for the two draft agreements on security guarantees between Russia and the United States, and Russia and NATO. However, the Alliance refused to consider our proposals for de-escalation, leaving Russia no other option to defend itself except for launching a military operation.
But even after the start of the Special military operation a diplomatic option has always remained “on the table”.
The economic crisis
What is the outcome of the “Maidan” after ten years of “European integration”? A huge number of enterprises and companies operating on the Russian market have ceased their activities.
First of all, that process affected the Ukrainian engineering industry,
many of whose enterprises were integrated into the production chains with Russian factories and companies.
The Nikolaev Shipbuilding Plant, where the largest warships of the USSR were created; the State Concern “Antonov” – until 2014, thanks to Russian orders, it was the best enterprise in the Ukrainian aviation industry in all respects; the Kremenchug Steel Plant – these and other enterprises actually stopped working.
The closure of enterprises and the decline of the economy after Euromaidan led to a massive outflow of the population from Ukraine and widespread labor migration. According to various sources, up to 8 million people left Ukraine
in search of work and a better life after Euromaidan. The total population of Ukraine has decreased from 45 to about 30 million people.
Against the background of the consistently deteriorating economic situation, loans from international financial institutions have become the main source of “income” for the Ukrainian government.
Thus, in 2023, Ukraine took the third place among the largest borrowers
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Kiev’s total debt to the IMF as of September 2023 reached $11.5 billion. Whilst, one of the IMF key requirements
to continue issuing new loans to Kiev was the opening of the land market.
In November 2019, on the instructions of Zelensky, Ukraine allowed the sale of state and agricultural lands.
In addition, during the Special Military Operation, Western countries provided Ukraine with assistance in the amount of almost $ 200 billion, which sooner or later will have to be returned.
Does the current leadership of Ukraine think about this? Obviously not. Instead, Ukrainian political “guest performers” are happy to fulfill a role assigned to them by the Western curators to “fight to the last Ukrainian” – it is the only fate which a “Rules-Based Order” has prepared for a once economically developed country, because the rules are not written by Ukrainians, but – for them.
One can speculate for a long time about the causes of the Ukrainian tragedy, but it is enough to see them once with your own eyes to understand it clearly.
Scan the QR-code and watch yourself!

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