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Ukraine: Kindling an ethnic conflict as the last resort

Crimean Tatars “self-determining” in Kherson Region of Ukraine. Photo: ru.krymr.com

When President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko proudly announced the end to the parliamentary-governmental crisis in his country, nobody could expect that the new no-crisis times would be so short-lived. Just two days later, Alexander Danilyuk, formerly deputy head of Poroshenko’s administration and now finance minister, warned about a new impeding financial-economic crisis: in the next three years, Ukraine is obliged to repay as much as $18bn, but since it has no money, it will have to borrow more.

Kaleidoscope of crises in Ukraine

Today crises in Ukraine are something permanent. The first one occurred in Feb-Mar 2014, when right after the Maidan victory, UAH slumped. This crisis was followed by fuel, food, price, parliamentary, military, anti-terror and many other crises. We can hardly remember all of them, so, we can just say that crises have become a key feature of the new most-Maidan regime.

There are at least two reasons for this. The first one is that the regime ruling in Ukraine today is not a regime as such. The real organizers of Maidan placed those people in power with the only aim to cover their key task: to weaken the occupied territory, Ukraine, and its people. So, the crises will not end. The second reason is that the people ruling in Kiev are incompetent and ignorant, so, crises help them to go on. They need crises, so, they won’t and can’t settle them. Even if they try to, they won’t be allowed to do it. So, those saying that one more crisis has been overcome are lying.

Ukraine has gone through several crises already, but the only reason why it has not collapsed is that its real owners want to earn some more money on it. And crises help them to do it.

Ethnic conflict is also an artificially organized crisis.

One of the best instruments for creating a crisis is to organize an ethnic conflict. The very “revolution of dignity” was based on nationalist and racist slogans, which later affected even Petro Poroshenko. Everything started in Donbass in the spring 2014. And now this process has embraced several Ukrainian regions.

One of them is multi-ethnic Dnipropetrovsk. Until recently, that city has been peaceful. The only thing the nationalists have managed to do there so far is to destroy a couple of monuments and to rename a number of streets. But what Dnipropetrovsk really cares for is its industrial-economic problems. Today it has so many of them that it may explode at any moment. So, in order to avoid a social unrest, they in Kiev have decided to kindle an ethnic conflict. Their attempt to create a new “nation of masters” has faced protests by locals. But whatever consequences this may have, they have managed to distract their people from economic problems.

In Western Ukraine, things are no better. Most of the Maidan fighters were from that region. It was there that future Maidan rebels first learned how to seize public offices and arms from military units. And all this is based on nationalistic slogans. As a result, the region is facing a growing outflow of young able-bodied people and a deepening economic crisis and is therefore becoming more and more attractive for Poland, Hungary and Romania, who would not mind regaining their “lost territories” – Zakarpattia, Eastern Galicia and Bukovina. The only thing that keeps them from doing this is the veto of their European and American masters – for this would mean an end to Ukraine.

But the most dangerous things are going on in the south of Ukraine, in Odessa and Kherson.

The former faced pogroms by a group of nationalists in May 2014. Those “revolutionaries” burned people alive in the local house of trade unions. And many Ukrainian mass media still call this a victory over hostile external forces. The protracted trial proves that they in Kiev are not interested in punishing those guilty as those guilty may give the names of the real organizers. Even more, there are still people who are ready to do such things again. On Apr 28, Svoboda and Sokol groups were going to march in honor of the 73rd birthday of the 1st Galician (the 14th Waffen Grenadier) Division of the SS. The march has been banned, but nobody can guarantee that no such things will recur.

In Kherson, things are the worst. Here aggressive nationalists are given free hand. In 2013-2014, they recruited Tatars against Crimea and Tavria. That campaign failed when Crimea decided to join Russia. Now those wishing to establish an Islamic state in Crimea have no more access to that region. But this does not mean that they have stopped their activities. Actively sponsored by Turkey, who seeks to restore the Ottoman Empire, those forces are headquartered in Kherson as the closest region to Crimea.

And they are very close to their goal – to establish a Tatar autonomy in Crimea. This is, perhaps, why the Tatar leaders in exile, Mustafa Cemilev, Refat Chubarov and Lenur Islyamov, are acting so self-confidently. Due to the so-called trade and energy blockades of Crimea, they have improved their financial well-being. And their Asker, Krym and other armed groups can well serve as a basis for a new state covering at least three districts of Kherson Oblast – Genichesk, Kalanchak and Chaplynka. A car from Odessa was blown up in the village of Novoalexeyevka of Genichesk district on Apr 14. One person was killed, several people were wounded. And even though the police have not yet finished their investigation, Islyamov has already said that this is a pretext for his Asker fighters to patrol the area jointly with Ukrainian interior officers.

The protests of the locals have faced resistance from those who are supposed to protect them, the selfsame Asker group. Even more, these Tatar forces are already dictating terms to other ethnic groups, particularly, the Russians and the Armenians. Their plan now is to form own authorities, to build mosques and schools, to organize own enterprises. The Ukrainian Constitution says that Kherson is an inalienable part of Ukraine, but they in Kiev seem to have forgotten this.

A few days ago, some in Genichesk people used a bomb-thrower – something you would have not seen there even in the uneasy 1990s... More and more ethnic conflicts are breaking out in Ukraine today. It seems that somebody needs this. That somebody will certainly gain something, but what Ukraine will gain from this is a big question...

Andrey Chesnokov, specially for EADaily

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