Ukraine’s Hidden Hand

As I write this, Ukraine’s crisis continues to worsen, with the threat of serious violence rising, and today the justice minister hinted that martial law may be imminent. If the Yanukovych regime attempts such a decree, it will divide the police and the army and may quickly cause a bona fide civil war. My hope for a peaceful resolution of this crisis is dwindling. Europe is facing its most serious crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.

One of the big issues among Ukraine’s opposition has been the nefarious role played by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin in this sad affair. It’s universally assumed by oppositionists that Moscow’s encouragement, at the least, led to the latest round of repression in Kyiv, which has stoked the fires of resistance to their current burning point.

Evidence is generally lacking, since such matters are conducted in secret, but enough has already appeared in the Russian media to indicate Putin is backing Yanukovych’s repression to the hilt. Rumors abound that Russians are involved in the violence in Ukraine, with special operators – what they call SPETSNAZ – from the Russian military or paramilitary police doing dirty work undercover for Yanukovych. Such claims are plausible but yet unsubstantiated.

This touchy subject was recently addressed in an analysis by Lyubko Petrenko in the Western Ukrainian pro-opposition website – which, perhaps not coincidentally, was down much of this morning – that lays out what Moscow may be up to. Entitled “The Kremlin Scenario: Arguments and Counterarguments,” the piece runs through the allegations that Russian special operators are responsible for killings and abductions in Ukraine on behalf of the Yanuvoych regime. Comparing these “death squads” to Latin American state crimes of the Cold War, Petrenko denounces the “brutal sadism” of the riot police in public, noting that the regime’s thugs don’t seem to treat Ukrainians as their own people, adding, “The last time there was anything of this kind in Ukraine was probably during the Nazi occupation.”

None of this is hard evidence of Russian involvement, of course, but more revealing are comments made by a former officer of the SBU, Ukraine’s Security Service, comparable to Russia’s FSB, with whom the SBU has enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship since Yanukovych came to power. Stanislav Rechynskyy, the former head of the SBU’s public affairs office, stated: “It seems to me that this is no longer a matter of civil war but a matter of invasion. A Russian invasion.” Rechynskyy continued, “More than one source has already reported that there are FSB ‘professionals’ sitting in SBU offices, that there are Russians in Berkut [regime special police] uniforms, who are killing people. (I do not exculpate our Berkut, they are also scum.) Sources also link the kidnapping of [Ihor] Lutsenko and the confirmed murder of [Yuri] Verbytskyy to Russia. If only because everything was done far too cleanly. No traces. The stereoplate greatly resembles the Russian stereotype. Only in miniature so far.” He added that large-scale provocations by the FSB, perhaps in a joint operation with the SBU, such as bombings to discredit the opposition, were increasingly likely.

To anyone familiar with the FSB playbook of violent provocation this seems tragically plausible. Today, opposition politicians have denied any involvement in the seizure of the Justice Ministry, which they claim is – you guessed it – a provocation. Hold on tight, stormy seas ahead …


32 comments on “Ukraine’s Hidden Hand”
  1. the Fourth says:

    when the US gets involved in other countries internal affairs, it’s just another day on the calendar. When Russia gets involved in Ukraine–a country with a significant ethnic population and shared border with Russia–then it’s shady. The Cold War is long over, how about accepting that the US is not the “chosen” land and other countries are sovereign.

    1. 20committee says:

      I’m not a neocon, try being less illiterate.

      1. the Fourth says:

        are u kidding? how about you try being less neocon. Fact of the matter is, your opinion and the USA’s opinion is irrelevant, just like Russia’s opinion would be irrelevant re: Occupy Wall Street. Maybe your neocon brain can’t handle the fact that Uncle Sam’s involvement is not 100% necessary to sort out every geopolitical conflict on this planet.

      2. 20committee says:

        Does your mom know you’re on the Internet?

      3. the fourth says:

        You’re an idiot. I am a not a punk teenager. I grew up in east Europe and am married to someone who grew up in Ukraine. But sure, keep hurling insults you dimwit. Easier to do that and bring up the big scary KGB than to actually know what you’re talking about.

      4. 20committee says:

        If you actually grew up in Eastern Europe you will be aware that the “big scary KGB” is no myth. PS IP address noted, watch your mouth.

    2. me says:

      @the Fourth: When the US gets involved in other countries internal affairs with healthy partnership they become economical powers like Japan, Germany and South Korea. Maybe that’s why it’s just another day on the calendar. And the case that you’re trying to make about ethnic population is only a front for nashism (

      1. fnn says:

        There is more to life than eating.

  2. Steve says:

    Is there any possibility the Poles (very wary of Russia for historical reasons) Baltic states (ditto), or those linked to the “color revolutions” (whether true or not, the alternative media bubbles with claims the US state dept is behind them) are helping the “opposition” in this showdown?

    If yes, why is Russia not within it’s rights to also be involved?

    1. 20committee says:

      With FSB death squads? Seriously?

      1. the Fourth says:

        FSB death squads must be pretty pathetic, considering less than a handful of people have actually died. You should look for job openings at the Onion.

    2. me says:

      I guess the bigger the lie, the better. Every Russian knows that the ‘prison of nations’, i.e. RF in it’s current state has the best net of operatives in the region. Very loyal (or scared), some trained back in the KGB facilities and still influential. But, hey, you forgot to mention Finland to make the list of “aggressors” complete. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Wouldn’t you agree with that, “Steve”? 🙂

  3. mrmeangenes says:

    Use of the military seems off the table at the moment (“unconstitutional”).

    I imagine the Cossacks, who have been in evidence to an increasing degree,may come in as para-military forces—but hope not !

  4. mrmeangenes says:

    Reblogged this on mrmeangenes and commented:
    Too important to ignore—AND better informed than I could hope to be !

  5. Natalie says:

    I didn’t know you spoke Ukrainian! Seriously, how many languages do you speak? 🙂

  6. Svend says:

    I believe the hidden hand is the alphabet soup of Yankee and EU NGO’s and, of course, Soros.

  7. Phineas Fahrquar says:

    Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    What was Sidney Greenstreet’s line from “Casablanca?” “It’s the Russian’s hand, no doubt!”

  8. me says:

    I hope that soon the whole region with some support from the USA will counter FSB terror throughout the world. It’s institutionalized, but it doesn’t change that it is terrorist in it’s means and goals. Getting hands on any proof of their actions would be a good start though. 🙂

    In Poland there are some news regarding Smolenk crash – a report of Polish archeologists’ group about their expedition to the crash site in October 2010. And it surfaces only now! They claimed that they have found about 20k of plane pieces. I don’t really know whether it is statistically significant difference from the mean number of pieces in surface-hit crashes, because I don’t have any DB on it – Scholar gives some bogus results – but it sure sounds a lot compared to the 10k found in Lockerbie investigation. The case is so big that it’s a radical game-changer in the international politics.

    And also from Ukraine, an appeal for help:

    1. wildninja says:

      That’s a very interesting video. Well done. As someone who majored in forensic psychology, I find many parallels between Russia’s tactics and how abusers manipulate and gaslight their victims.

      1. me says:

        @wildninja: In Poland we know this by the term ‘katynism’, sadly we see it’s instance in the Smolensk case. It also applies to what RF is doing to their citizens that want to live in a more righteous state. So when I see Ukrainians fighting for their future and maybe just for hope for their future, freedom of Russian nation itself seems more possible.

        As for the video, the request is to send it to Your friends and I just had to paste it, because the girl in 00:18 just melted my heart. 🙂

        With kind regards!

      2. wildninja says:

        Thank you for this insight. I enjoy listening to perspectives from people in other countries who are much closer to the action. It’s fantastic to hear a strong voice coming out of Poland given the oppression your country has faced historically. You guys are fighters and I respect that.

        As a Christian I see Russia starting to fit into the whole Gog/Magog scenario the prophets outlined for us in the Manufacturer’s Handbook thousands of years ago. (Author Joel Rosenberg does a good job of explaining that.) All the more reason to speak out on behalf of liberty and justice for all.

  9. Peter Batty says:

    Have you seen this video? Apparently “CCO” operatives, who refuse to answer when asked where they’re from, filmed in Nikolaev, in southern Ukraine, two days ago.

  10. Mike Lee says:

    My question is: what is Putin’s end game here? If the opposition claims are true, he’s pretty well compromised the current government in the eyes of its people, ensuring continued resistance to the regime and a violent downward spiral of repression and unrest. The next step seems to be overt Russian military intervention, and ultimately another brutal, expensive occupation that could blow back disastrously on Moscow.

    1. 20committee says:

      Endgame: control. A pliant Ukraine.

      1. Yuriy says:

        the same aims are pursued by EU

    2. me says:

      @Mike Lee: “compromised the current government in the eyes of its people”

      That’s the case – I think that Ukrainians knew that the government wasn’t so good for them for a while now. But there are two main stimuli that drives Ukrainians: hopelessness of present – deep frustration – and hope for tomorrow – anticipation of means rather than something to be handled to them.

      Some protesters say that now they can’t go back, because they know that their life will end in one or the other way (e.g. they will loose their job or their business will have 12 fiscal controls/year and absolutely no orders from public sector, they also fear jail, beating or being murdered) and it will all happen with ‘cameras of the world’ turned the other way. So if you can’t flight, you have to fight. They feel that it may be personally their last chance, because they feel that system is inevitable.

      RF will not invade Ukraine: they fought 12 (?) years with Chechenya which is incomparably smaller than Ukraine and during the conflict with Georgia they had plenty organizational problems (such as bombs not going off). They couldn’t afford war in the Ukraine and if they did the next thing would be territorial disintegration of Russia. Considering LNG market will inflate due to shale gas technology expansion in the West, I think it’s improbable that Russia does anything conventional in this conflict.

  11. me says:

    They left Dimitrij Bulatov to die (WARNING, some drastic wound footage):

  12. mrmeangenes says:

    I saw this article today – no author’s name;no other sourcing – pointing out the existence of a coalition of right wing groups -some merely nationalist-others neo-fascist ; all not bashful about violence.

    I wonder how important these groups are to the discussion ?

  13. Yuriy says:

    John R. Schindler, if you if you continue to extend false information about Russia, I will be compelled to address in Embassy of Russia in the USA with the complaint to you

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