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Ukraine’s ‘forgotten history’ sowed seeds of bitter division

World War Two didn’t end in Ukraine in 1945. After the devastation of German occupation, which left the country in ruins and millions dead, Ukrainian nationalists continued to murder thousands of Jews…

A poster in Kiev’s Independence Square voices fears of another war between Ukrainians and Russians. EPA/Robert Ghement

World War Two didn’t end in Ukraine in 1945. After the devastation of German occupation, which left the country in ruins and millions dead, Ukrainian nationalists continued to murder thousands of Jews, Poles, Russians and, mostly, Ukrainians. They were murdered less because of what they had done and more because of who they were, or who the nationalists thought they were – traitors or racial enemies who must have been Bolsheviks anyway. The response of the Soviet state and its supporters seeking to re-establish control over Ukraine was no less brutal.

The counterinsurgency raged until the early 1950s, redoubling the violence and leaving thousands more dead or imprisoned. This war burnt another scar in the memory of its victims, alongside collectivisation, famine, the purges, German occupation and myriad other historic wounds.

More than the others, though, this war could not be discussed publicly with any historical accuracy. Thus it was supposed to be “forgotten” in its remembrance. One can be forgiven for thinking that this attempt had been successful, given the western media’s largely ahistorical reporting of the current crisis in Crimea.

Spreading the nationalist virus

Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and Poles haven’t forgotten this war. Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the remnants of Ukraine’s nationalist groups have sought to boost their political power. They have misrepresented this history to sow further divisions between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians living in Ukraine.

The nationalists have had only limited success, even during Ukraine’s previous pro-European, anti-Russian Orange Revolution in 2004. That revolution too promised greater Western integration and a new, less corrupt political class.

With a decade passed and none of these promises realised, the real danger in this revolution may not just be that the nationalists will become a powerful force. Their marginal and divisive understanding of Russian-Ukrainian history and contemporary identity threatens to infect the mainstream.

That would mean more and more people accept that Ukrainian nationalists were all heroes who did nothing other than defend the motherland from the Russians in the war. They would accept the definition of “Ukrainians” as ethnically pure (not Russian) speakers of Ukrainian (not Russian). What happens then to the millions of Ukrainians who don’t fit this mould?

With Russia annexing Crimea and the interim government in Kiev attempting to match Russia’s nationalist propaganda war to dehumanise its enemies, the pieces are in place for this infection to go viral. If it does, the Kremlin’s line about invading Crimea to protect the lives of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine begins to sound convincing. The Kremlin might just be able to help create the reality of its propaganda.

Rhetoric takes an ominous turn

Interim leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s warning to ‘traitors’ stirred old memories of the ‘bloodlands’. EPA/Andrew Kravchenko

For the sake of my Ukrainian friends and this incredible country where pluralistic national and ethnic identities abound, I hope none of this happens. But I couldn’t have been the only historian of these “bloodlands” whose ears pricked up when Ukraine’s interim prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, an avowed democrat, promised to hunt down pro-Russian politicians (traitors) who backed the Crimean referendum on joining Russia. He said:

The ground will burn under their feet.

Coming from overly dramatic Ukrainian politicians who are well versed in the ridiculous soap opera that is Ukrainian politics, these are probably empty threats. But maybe not.

The language of civil war is beginning to take root. Once it does, moderate Ukrainian politicians will no longer be heard. We know of other times when “traitors” were threatened during the mobilisation of civil militias to defend the motherland from the Soviets/Russians.

In the insurgency against the Soviets, this usually meant that nationalist forces killed Russian speakers, Jews and Poles by default. But they also killed poor west Ukrainian farmers – their supposed ethnic brethren. From 1944 onward most of these “traitors to the nationalist cause” gave up their grain to the gun-wielding Soviet requisitioning teams instead of the gun-wielding Ukrainian ones, or submitted to the Red Army’s threats to join them instead of the nationalists.

Either way, the farmers or, in their absence, their wives and children, ended up drowned below the ice of frozen rivers or were left hanging above them by their feet after being tortured to death. No burnt ground in either case, just burning memories.

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120 Comments sorted by

  1. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    From a Polish perspective Ukrianian units were operating as collaborators of the German occupiers and fought Polish resistance and partisan groups. They did so most notably during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and also during the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising of 1943. They also served as Guards in the extermination camps for Jews.

    The massacre of Polish minorities in the Ukarinian Volhynia Region was met with brutal reprisals by Poles against Ukrainians. In this reprisal upon reprisal many…

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    1. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Thank you Ronald - very helpful additions to the OP. When people can look past oppression and embrace their former captor as their brother, real healing can begin.

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    2. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to David Stein

      I'd be looking on past oppressors wth a history of attrocities with aprehension I'm afraid and as for embracing a former captor as a brother.....
      It would take a huge leap of faith regardless of what pursuasion or country they're from, religion always comes into it somewhere.

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    3. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Hi Lynne, yikes, I agree it's not looking good. Am I too optimistic to think the example of Mandela's forgiveness of past sins can end the cycle of retribution? It would take those who happen to have power at a particular point in time to forgive their past oppressors for their oppression.
      Perhaps the world is not comprised of Mandela's...

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    4. Lynne Newington

      Researcher

      In reply to David Stein

      I don't know about Mandela's forgiveness, but using Argentina during military rule the church's role and the Jews on a world wide basis as example [if not my own when it comes to children]......
      I think it's over rated and only those on the winning end of the stick would harp on it with emotion and tears freely flowing, unless your Cardinal Pell with his heart felt apology from the pulpit read off a piece of paper, probably written by someone else.

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    5. Paul Prociv

      ex medical academic; botanical engineer at University of Queensland

      In reply to David Stein

      I agree with you, David, but there's not much political mileage in advocating forgiveness, acceptance and unity, especially in that part of the world. The demagogue thrives on promoting hatred and tribal grievances, while identifying common enemies of convenience. The debris of the collapsed USSR offers limitless material. Any potential leader who advocates a conciliatory path through it is unlikely to survive for long.

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    6. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Well, yes, Lynne. Especially when the religions are a mixture of Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic, Roman Catholic and all with a sprinkling of Judaism, Islam (Crimean Tatars), Baptist, recently-arrived Pentacostal and Heaven knows what else., Add to that old-fashioned Soviet- style Atheism .... and you have a really flammable mixture where the borders between each sect are very distinct but the borders between religion and tribalism are dangerously indistinct.

      I hope and pray that the various peoples of the region enjoy peace, prosperity and mutual benefit .... but history, oversimplified and unexamined, has a bad habit of causing the spark that ignites that flammable mixture.

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  2. David Stein

    Businessman

    Thank you Filip for this historical discussion which is illuminating, but also very depressing. Ethnocentric tribalism at its most bloody. It's almost overwhelming just to read - I can perhaps understand the appeal that joining Russia has for the Russian minority. This, of course simply creates a Ukrainian minority in Russia, and the wheel of victor and vanquished bent on revenge turns yet again...

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    1. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Thanks - simply because Russia has a bunch of minorities, it doesn't necessarily imply they are happy to be denied self-determination. I'm sure many are perfectly happy, but you might get a different answer in Chechnya or Ingushetia.
      I also read the article, lots of terrible things listed about America, but almost nothing on Russia or the Ukraine. Written by a Finnish guy - not exactly a Russian perspective on anything except a rehash of reflexive anti-Americanism.

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    2. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to David Stein

      Have a look at this map of ethnic groups in the Caucasus http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/Caucasus_ethnic.jpg and explain just how you're going to arrange "self-determination" without discriminating against other minorities. This same scatter-gun spread of ethnicity is found throughout the Russian Federation. Look at the demographics for Sverdlovskaya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverdlovsk_Oblast#Demographics and the Chuvash Republic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuvash_Republic#Ethnic_groups

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to David Stein

      David, why would Ukranian-speaking Russians be expecting "self-determination"?

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    4. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to David Stein

      I also read the article David and can agree to some extent with your comment, but it cannot be dismissed as easily as you suggest.

      Much of what the man from Tromso says is historically correct. And it comes from someone who lives close to where the action is in that part of the world. How close are Tromso and Finland to Russia?

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    5. ERIC KELLY

      retired

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Thank you, Peter, for this illuminating article by Professor Rudmin. I think the following excerpt is of particular relevance to the present state of affairs:

      "President Gorbachev allowed the re-unification of Germany based on promises from President Bush and Chancellor Kohl that NATO would not expand eastwards, and then NATO did exactly that, even inviting Ukraine and Georgia to prepare for membership.  Georgia is closer to India than it is to the North Atlantic. The US has been determined to…

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    6. Paul Prociv

      ex medical academic; botanical engineer at University of Queensland

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Thanks for all those fascinating links, Peter, especially by the Norwegian bloke, who sums it up very astutely and sympathetically. I suppose, from history, that most Russians have a large heritage of Norwegian genes. As I've already stated elsewhere, I'm pretty confused just about myself, having a Russian father and Ukrainian mother. Talk about multiculturalism - we in Australia have a long way to go!

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    7. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to ERIC KELLY

      The expansion of NATO eastwards was an idiocy that could only have been dreamed up ultra-right-wing extremists in the USA; dumb-bunnies who still can't tell Russian from Soviet. - and behave in accord with their ignorance and their delusions. There must be millions of American citizens of Russian, Belorus, Polish, Ukrainian and other Slavic descent every time some loony in New York or Washington rabbits on about affairs in the homelands of their ancestors.

      Why on earth NATO didn't reach some sort of a long-term mutually-beneficial compact with the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Moldavia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan after "9-11" is inexplicable. (No, I hadn't forgotten Transdneistr nor Belorrus). Expanding NATO eastwards was a deliberately provocative move that should have been left on someone's ultraviolent games disk and not allowed out into the physical world..

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    8. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham: NATO is an organisation which has changed quite dramatically over the years, particularly as a consequence of acquiring new members in central and eastern Europe. Arguably it is now as much a political organisation as a military alliance.
      All of those countries who joined NATO campaigned to join, as they wanted protection from a revanchist Russia. NATO didn't campaign for more members. It accepted those who wanted to become members.
      Ukraine in 1995 also wanted to join, in fact it was the first former USSR state to join NATO's 'partners for peace' program. But to appease the Kremlin, the Ukraine's membership application was rejected. (Negotiations did begin again in 2008.)
      The revanchist Russia that so many countries feared, is now with us, as we have all witnessed. Those countries within NATO are safe. Those outside, not so safe.

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    9. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Well if NATO is more political and less a military organisation why the push to site US missiles in Poland?

      "Revanchist Russia" sounds so intellectual .....are you saying that Russia is aiming to reconquer the old Soviet states? If so what is the evidence? Crimea and Georgia came after serious disruption in their local politics. Maybe "revanchist Russia" is more "defensive Russia".

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    10. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to wilma western

      Wilma: NATO countries undertake a variety of non-military activities, ranging from specialist training (related to, but not necessarily military) and work to combat natural emergencies: for example the first major NATO activity in the Ukraine was the provision of water trucks to help deal with a drought there in 1995.
      Russia is today certainly a revanchist power. It has launched a series of wars and military actions to regain control in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Georgia, Moldova and now the…

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    11. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Ethnic minorities are oppressed throughout the "great European Democracy" the EU. Try being a Roma in France, or a Russian in Latvia! Or perhaps a Hungarian in Romania. Look at the list of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_separatist_movements_in_Europe

      Gagauzia, a turkic (Tatar) group in Moldova have already held a referendum to join Russia if Moldova tries to join the EU.

      Like it or not, Putin is supported by an overwhelming majority of Russian citizens - of all 180 or so nationalities.

      Crimea was conquered by Russia because it was the centre of slavery in the Black Sea. It also made a great naval base.

      As to human rights in the Russian Federation, just which rights is Putin suppressing? Now that answer WILL be interesting.

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    12. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Peter: Retailing Kremlin agitprop more than 24 hours after it has been on RT should be outlawed. Too, too boring.
      Of course there are minorities in the EU but they have rights. To say they are oppressed - thus comparing their treatment to the brutal oppression in Russia - is farcical.
      Why has the opposition been so quiescent in Russia? Because the Kremlin has thrown them in jail. They arrested 400 on Sunday alone. That is human rights suppression. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny is under house…

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    13. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Good to see that you favour censorship against opposing views - outlawing opposing views - very fascist of you.

      Can you perhaps explain the rights of Russians, born in Latvia, but denied citizenship, language rights and voting rights?

      I've actually lived in Russia and have never seen minorities "oppressed" brutally or otherwise. Anecdotal evidence of course, but you know far more of approximately 1/6th of the world's landmass than anyone else.

      Navalny is indeed under house arrest, but not…

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    14. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Peter: I certainly don't favor any form of censorhip. I was simply pointing out that you are typically retailing RT agitprop about 24 hours after it is initially broadcast.
      Game theory analysts correctly predicted weeks ago that Putin would try to alter the thrust of his attacks to the Baltics - as you are dutifully doing in your Latvia comment. Simply more Putin propaganda manipulation - once more taking his playbook from Hitler.
      The really interesting issue is that Putin's power base in Russia is proving to be much more fragile than was once thought. Despite his oppression and jailing of the opposition, the majority of Russians do not want armed aggression.
      The overwhelming weight of the wave of Kremlin propaganda doesn't seem to be doing its job. While gullible fellow travelers in the West have fallen for it, the mass of Russians appear resistant. Not surprising really, they've suffered under some of the worst totalitarian propaganda for nearly a century.

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  3. Elena Berwick

    Accountant

    The Ukrainian nationalist organization under the leadership of Stepan Bandera actively cooperated with Hitler's troops during the WW2, fighting against Jews, Russians and Poles. The Red Army was fighting with the remains of Bandera's army till late 1950s.

    This army of Bandera committed a lot of horrible things, among them killing up to 100,000 Poles in Volyn and eastern Galicia
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2013/07/polish-ukrainian-relations

    Quote: "The butchery reached…

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    1. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena, is it really helpful to use WW2 as a justification for current behavior?
      As Gerard points out below, there are many more recent examples of rather barbaric treatment of ethnic Crimeans by Stalin.
      When you can forgive your captor, true peace can begin. Russians and Ukrainians need to learn to live together.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Stein

      Quote: "When you can forgive your captor, true peace can begin. Russians and Ukrainians need to learn to live together." - I fully agree with that David and never said otherwise.

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to David Stein

      David, in an article about the region's recent events and history, yes it is "helpful". Very.

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    4. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      No, Elena, we were treated to your contribution above. I ask fair-minded readers to draw their own conclusions.

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    5. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy, you are perhaps misunderstanding - my point was more about the inflexion point where digging up old bones is no longer helpful in resolving current tribal conflicts.
      Of course historical understanding is helpful in understanding how the hatreds arise. Unfortunately such understanding does not necessarily lead to successful resolution. I would like to think you are not so focused on point scoring to ignore the key point in my contribution.

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    6. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to David Stein

      David, in the context of the Crimea (indeed the Caucusus and Black Sea area generally), 1945 is current affairs. It is not even modern history, let alone "old bones"; and the conflicts are far more than merely "tribal".

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    7. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to David Stein

      The need to learn, to not listen to politicians who want to exploit nationalism to win votes. However the past decade is all too obvious proof they are only too willing to listen to them.
      Politicians will exploit nationalism for personal advantage because it works in those locations, if wishes were horses beggars would ride, and in this case only generations of repeated suffering will teach them the listen of not listening to politicians who tell each selectively group that they are special and superior to the rest, no matter how much anyone wishes for the opposite.
      The big concern is that neo-nazism in the Ukraine remains confined to the Ukraine and does not spread. However actions seem louder than words http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03/25/355978/nuke-8-million-russians-in-ukraine/ as the chaos has a long way to go.

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    8. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Robert Tony Brkjie: Neo-nazism has spread: it is rooted in the Kremlin. Haven't you noticed how all the far-right groups in Europe have come out in support of Putin? Everyone from UKIP's Nigel Farage to Maine Le Pen in France. Geert Wilders would have backed him except he is so much legal difficulty now he probably doesn't have the time.
      Putin is now the leader of the new right in Europe.The poor old rightists in Kiev - there are some but their numbers have been vastly exaggerated - must be in a quandary. Normally they'd be in Putin's bandwagon, except on the issue of independence for Ukraine. Now they're kinda lost.

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    9. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Nazism is really the far right but also includes the use of Nazis symbolism and the use of conflict for personal advantage. So not really popular in Russia except with the typical global average minority in some regions higher and in some lower.
      Reality is Putin is no further right that the US government, what is different is that politicians are in control of the government in Russia and in the US corporate executives are in control of government. This is the real current cause for the conflict…

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    10. Paul Prociv

      ex medical academic; botanical engineer at University of Queensland

      In reply to David Stein

      David, you are asking for the impossible. All national identity is rooted squarely in history, often extending back millennia. At the end of the day, there's no difference between Ukrainians and Russians. Remove the history, you remove the nation - you just end up with unaligned people, who will then rapidly coalesce into tribes of convenience. .

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    11. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Robert Tony Brklje: If you want far right symbolism, take a look at the symbol used by Nashi - the main Putin youth movement. It is a white cross on a red background. Not the crooked cross of Nazism but a distinctly fascist symbol. He also has other youth groups with a distinctly militaristic character, including the Young Guard. He used Nashi and the Young Guard to quell street protests after the corrupt elections in 2011.
      Putin maintains control through a variety of place men (and a few women…

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    12. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Russia has universal health care, the US does not, who is right of whom. PS the left right paradigm has shifted to a reality based system left is caring and sharing and right is selfishness and greed, that is the reality. The old model was buried in propaganda about empty political 'styles' and 'dress codes', to hide a selfish and greedy autocracy a both ends of the scale.
      The old political scale was subject to the exact same influence, psychopathic control distorting social political structures…

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    13. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      I'm not sure about the quality of the "universal health care" Robert. When I was there about eight years ago a common message was that if you had a serious illness and didn't have significant funds/assets you might as well go somewhere and die.
      I could be wrong, or things may have changed, but at the time a common excuse for begging was to pay for medical treatment.
      I'd be interested in up to date info on the matter.

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    14. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to john davies

      Begging is a business in the major cities in Russia and most beggars can spot a westerner a mile off and play the heartstrings perfectly. Funny enough, if you look and dress like a Russian, they leave you alone.

      Have you ever tried to get "elective" (but life saving) surgery in Australia if you don't have top-of-the-line private insurance? You might as well go somewhere and die.

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    15. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Peter Williams

      I know begging is a business in major Russian cities, and westerners aren't hard to pick.

      But my view on the availability of health care there, which may be incorrect, was also formed on the basis of comments from Russian guides and academics. And it was about eight years ago.

      Re your last point, I do know of people here who have received life saving surgery despite not having the means to pay or "top of the line private insurance" (not sure what you mean by "elective" in that context). They certainly didn't have to go somewhere and die.

      Having said that, I'm still interested in my more up to date info on the matter.

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    16. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to john davies

      Well, in December my daughter ( technically step-daughter) gave birth three months prem to my second grand-daughter with major complications for mother and child. The local hospital said they were out of their depth and immediately had them flown by chopper 250 km to a specialised paediatric hospital in Yekaterinburg.

      Both the flight and hospital stays were covered by the medical policy from my son-in-law's job. The peculiar thing about the policy is that medical supplies and medicines are not…

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    17. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Robert: the old left-right spectrum was always inadequate. I prefer a circle - or even better a sphere. At the bottom are those countries ruled by one person or by a tiny minority - the Third Reich, the USSR, Mao's China. Today's Russia, since Putin started turning the screws in about 2003, is well down the sphere. It isn't at the bottom, but it is headed that way.
      The crucial determinant is the percentage of the population that has a realistic opportunity to exercise any sort of power i.e. what part of the population has the freedom to choose. The larger the percentage, the further up the sphere.
      Professed ideology, whether it be capitalist, fascist, communist or socialist, is largely irrelevant.
      Under that

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    18. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Actually three separate scales make the most sense, you can then combine the outcome;
      Caring and sharing vs selfishness and greed,
      Democracy vs autocracy,
      Truth and openness vs lies and secrets.
      This gives a real indication of the nature of that government and the left vs right as indicated is correct as measured against current governments. Current Australian government is most definitely on the right in all three categories, whilst by far the majority of Australians are on the left on all three categories, why the divergence, easy mass deceit in Australian mass media.

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    19. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      Robert: now we have three different scales - it's getting complicated. 1. Caring and sharing? How on earth would you measure 'caring'. There are lots of 'caring' people who can't do one practical thing. I'd opt for competence over caring. Sharing? Well, our free market system has resulted in a more equitable distribution of goods and services than other, supposedly more socialist, systems. We are certainly far more 'sharing' than the Russians.
      2. Democracy v autocracy: Good, easily measured by…

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    20. Lucy Johnstone

      Student

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      I honestly worry.... If what you are saying will spill all over Europe!? It would be very scary! I never liked Russia anyways but now I really got concerned... What if Putin and his thugs keep on pushing further into Ukraine with NATO not being able to stop them !? I wish something gets done about this aggression already! I tried to speak to my Russian friend about it but he just seems to ignore me, saying that I don't know anything. He just keeps ranting about all the anti-Russian propaganda worldwide. This is nonsense! Just shows you how easy it is to control narrow minded people.

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    21. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Lucy: always good to see another migrant commenting - even though you joined on April Fool's day. There is no worldwide anti-Russian propaganda - although there is vicious, misleading propaganda from the Russian outlets.
      Keep working at English grammar. Enjoy.

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    22. Lucy Johnstone

      Student

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Michael: I'm sure my grammar is good enough for an online forum, thank you. At least back in my home country, people are much more aware of Russia's ways to deal with things! This is why i feel concerned. Living here now and still worrying about my family back home is something locals don't necessarily understand or wish to even care about.

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    23. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Lucy: sorry, my comment about grammar was meant to be positive, a compliment in fact. I'm always amazed at the English language skills of eastern Europeans.

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    24. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Hi Lucy,

      Since you are by your own statements, a narrow-minded, easily controlled person who never liked Russia, perhaps you can explain why you never liked Russia? Are you an ethnic member of one the many "western European tribes" that have invaded Russia unsuccessfully for centuries? Do you support one of the many "western NGOs" (non-Government Organisations) that get most of their money from the US State Department? Do you support NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in Afghanistan (about as far from the Atlantic as you can get)?

      I see where your Russian friend is coming from - you are proof that it is easy to indoctrinate and control narrow-minded people!

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    25. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to David Stein

      Fair enough David but if this is only about local bitterness and rivalries , what's the US getting involved for?

      One important thing about reminders of the dreadful deeds during and after WW2 is that many citizens of 2014 know very little about the gruesome facts, especially for instance the approx 18 million Russians who died either from the battles or from starvation. Max Hastings the British historian states that the deaths in "blockaded" Leningrad (now St Petersburg) alone, from starvation, wounds or disease were greater in number than all UK , Commonwealth and US deaths.

      As for the Chinese - they also died in their millions during Japanese occupation. We're told about starvation caused by Mao's policies but the WW2 toll few Oz citizens would know about.

      And the ignorance will no doubt continue to be reinforced by pageantry and self-congratulation during Anzac remembrances.

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    26. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      How about including the Arab states, present Egypt, various African states "at the bottom"?? As for Syria ...???

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    27. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Cheer up Lucy - all those harsh words and a few bank accounts blocked. it amounts to whipping with a feather......your Russian friend is right that many Oz people have little knowledge and are in fact strongly influenced by anti- Russian ( and other) propaganda.

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    28. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Steady on....Peter , this harshness somewhat discounts your earlier interesting and informative post.

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  4. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Finally an article that explains the Ukraine's tragic history, although describing its prewar history in the three words famine, collectivisation and purges goes nowhere near illustrating the level of systematic murder, starvation and dislocation visited on the Ukrainians by Stalin.

    Other than that small quibble, the article illustrates why naive westerners who believe that international law, human rights charters and sanctions will force Putin to give back Crimea are dreaming mate.

    And speaking…

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    1. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Excellent thoughts Gerard. Georgia should have been a lesson to the Ukraine - they let nationalistic fervor get the better of them and as you say, there are now large chunks of Georgia under effective Russian control. Putin seems to be someone who can be flattered - he appears to enjoy the trappings of office and all the imperial ridiculousness that goes along with it. A pragmatic leader of a former Soviet state would avoid shaking the nationalistic cage and simply bow down as low as needed, roll out the red carpet for state occasions and treat Putin as we treat Queen Elizabeth. Benjamin Disraeli said - 'Everyone like flattery, and when it comes to Royalty, lay it on with a trowel'.

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    2. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to David Stein

      Those "chunks of Georgia" hadn't been under Georgian control since the early '90's.

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Oh, the horror! The horror! Communism is the nightmare that just won't die.

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    4. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Just a remark on you mentioning Georgia. The events in Abkhazia started much earlier- in 1993 there was a full-scale war between Abkhazia and Georgia (also with Chechens on Abkhazian side). There were Georgian's bombings of Sukhumi with many civilian casualties. etc.
      The university in Sukhumi was closed and Georgian language was declared the only state language in Abkhazia. Saakashvili introduced in a sense, 'cultural revolution' on the territory. No wonder it all ended bad for Georgia. When Georgian forces started shooting at UN peacekeepers- of course, Putin had every right to intervene.

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    5. David Stein

      Businessman

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Peter, I'm struggling to understand the point you are attempting to make. Can you please set it out in a way that is easily understandable. Thank you.

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    6. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Gerard: there seems to be a misunderstanding about the reach of the original association agreement with the EU. There was no question of 'cosying up' - nor was it in any way exclusive. Its provisions covered little more than trade and security issues.
      The agreement with the Ukraine was similar to those the EU has made with a range of other countries, everywhere from the former Yugo states in the Balkans (including Russian aligned countries such as Serbia), North African states including Egypt…

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    7. Georg Antony

      analyst

      In reply to Alex Peace

      " in 1993 there was a full-scale war between Abkhazia and Georgia (also with Chechens on Abkhazian side). There were Georgian's bombings of Sukhumi with many civilian casualties. etc.
      The university in Sukhumi was closed and Georgian language was declared the only state language in Abkhazia. Saakashvili introduced in a sense, 'cultural revolution' on the territory."

      Fact: Saakashvili became president in 2004.

      "When Georgian forces started shooting at UN peacekeepers- of course, Putin had every right to intervene."

      Fact: there were no UN peacekeepers anywhere in the Caucasus in recent history, if ever.

      It shows what a backwater Australia is considered by the FSB: we get the dregs of their propagandists.

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    8. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Georg Antony

      No they weren't UN Peacekeepers, they were Peacekeepers organised by the Joint Control Commission http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Control_Commission_for_Georgian–Ossetian_Conflict_Resolution and recognised by the OSCE. And when they were attacked by Georgian forces, the Russian Federation had every right to protect them and South Ossetia.

      To correct your final sentence - It shows what a backwater Australia is considered by the CIA: we get the dregs of their propagandists.

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  5. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    One other small quibble on an otherwise informative article. The use of the cliche 'forgotten history'.

    Far from being forgotten, modern Russian history is the most studied history on the planet. From the abortive 1905 revolution through to Putin and all of the cataclysmic intervening events such as collectivisation, famine, genocide, the battles of Stalingrad, Kursk, Leningrad and Berlin and then Sputnik and Gorbachev there are millions of books and hundreds of millions of students.

    A real forgotten history is that of New Zealand which is human history's first true democracy. Virtually nobody outside of the land of the long white cloud studies this small, fair nations past.

    It is time for the 'forgotten history' cliche to be, well, forgotten.

    Gerard Dean

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  6. Brandon Young

    Retired

    The horrors of history determine the mix of irrational mindsets in the population of Ukraine - the hatred, fear and sense of ethnic or political identity - and these will certainly shape the way that the horrors of the building civil war play out.

    But these are just the local forces that are manipulated and exploited by players on both sides in the broader conflict. The West, in its omnicidal quest for ever expanding consumer capitalism to feed the US debt empire, wants to annex as much of Ukraine as it can. Russia, with the obstinate will to maintain sovereignty and control over its own destiny, wants as much of a buffer as it can secure in Ukraine.

    Peace between the people is impossible without peace between these powers.

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  7. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    Thank goodness this whole range of important topics is now being discussed in English in Australia. The only other time there was spirited discussion was when Helen Demedenko (Dale) had her book "The Hand That Signed The Paper" published. These topics are certainly more interesting and far more worthy of discussion than is gossip about the comings and goings of airhead "celebrities(??)".

    " .... in recent years Poles and Ukrainians have come to terms with their mutual ethnic cleansing pasts and are attempting to move forward as co-operative brother nations". That's good. Let's hope the young descendants of those who were betrayed by Churchill and expelled by Stalin from their homelands will find the time to visit the villages and cities of their ancestors, walk the streets, take photos and bring happy memories back with them..

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  8. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Excellent article Filip - real history and real tragedy here.

    I used to play chess with an old Russian emigre who after two thirds of the bottle would begin to wax lyrical then philosophical ... pictured this with a heavy, slurred Russian accent: "You know Pyotr the great thing about this Australia of yours - it has no history ... in my country history kills people... we are prisoners of history.... we can never escape ... only here. Don't be in too much hurry to get a history."

    Not exactly right of course about the lack of history but you can see what he meant. A never ending bloody tragedy this.

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  9. Comment removed by moderator.

  10. Lucy Johnstone

    Student

    I just think that Putin needs to learn the hard way! Can anyone explain to me how this is even being allowed by NATO? Obama really needs to take this game to another level. Not many of my Australian friends actually understand much about the political game being played by Putin and his gang of "oligarchs" here.

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    1. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Lucy: ah, nothing like an agent provocateur to keep the ball rolling.
      That said, you do touch on some very serious issues.
      The Russian agitprop machine is now accusing NATO of up tensions. What NATO is doing in reality is reassuring its nervous members in Central and Eastern Europe that their borders will be protected.
      This, sadly, is how we have, so often, drifted into war.
      In foreign relations nations do not have friends or allies, only interests. I don't know who said that but I believe it…

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    2. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      I love people like you Lucy, that talk about learning the "hard way". A 7.62mm or 5.56mm round to the head means that there is nothing left to learn - there's no head left. But feel free to rave on about how Putin needs to learn the hard way!

      I sincerely doubt that you'll ever have the intestinal fortitude to teach him - in the mean time someone else will have spread your brains all over the place.

      NATO should have folded when the Warsaw Pact did - but Generals never retire peacefully - unless they've seen battle. NATO's Generals have never seen battle and still think it's a game - much like you Lucy.

      Do you walk the walk - or just talk the talk? Are you a member of the ADF? Or the Reserves? The local SES? Or VBF Brigade? Or do you expect other people to look after you while you just mouth off?

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    3. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Lucy Johnstone

      Allowed by NATO :)

      Lovely, you bought that one whole sale I would say.. NATO as the new world police. And country's shrinking their defense budget drastically, spending what's left primary on well trained relatively small 'police forces' joining in the NATO actions.

      You're not the only one thinking that way though. And some seem to think that Russia is just another African state, you know, what they call a 'banana republic' with a few planes, some rusty rifles and a lot of empty talk.

      That's…

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    4. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Yoron Hamber

      Ahh, had to look that one up. Not 'common military duty' but 'compulsory military service'. Sorry about that, not a term I usually have use of in English. We're not in Nato officially, but we're acting as if we were. And the funniest thing about this whole mess is that we have thank the conservative party here in Sweden for the last decades of it. Those that speaks about 'national values' and a 'good defence'. A bunch of jokers in my eyes, out to get as much as they can, and destroy as much of the common good they can too, before they get kicked out.

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  11. Olga Fogel

    logged in via Facebook

    Great article Filip, it is quite refreshing to see someone who actually understands the underlying issues of the conflict.

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  12. Yoron Hamber

    Thinking

    You know, I see it as a terrible historical mess. Stalin was in a class by himself, or maybe just aside Hitler? But the way people got moved around, Stalin trying to break national identities, and his killing of all opposition is still almost impossible to believe. http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/stalin.htm

    That's not Putin though, although he do seem to dream about a eastern empire. We either fall back to times passed, making the same mistakes,, this time adding nuclear, or we find a way to co exist. Democracy isn't something you 'export' by guns, no matter what some people think. Where it exist best are in those country's where it came out of its own populations aspirations.

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  13. Grant Duncan

    Associate Professor for the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University

    Filip, this is interesting. Can you please recommend a good one-volume history for beginners like myself? Thanks
    Grant

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  14. Peter Williams

    Retired and still kicking

    The author states that he has no relevant affiliations with this topic and yet his biography shows that he is the co-founder of the Australian Russianist Study Group (ARSG), established in 2013 as a regular forum for the discussion of Russian history and contemporary Russian politics in Australia. Isn't there a slight connection? Just who are members of ARSG? Is this yet another NGO funded by the US State Department or a group of genuine academics?

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    1. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Peter Williams

      Based on what you have said Peter I'd say the author is an expert in Ukraine and its past. We saw articles about Ukraine in here put by people sitting in England having absolutely no links to Ukraine and no relevant knowledge or expertise. We also saw articles about Ukraine put by academics who live in Australia with no knowledge of the Ukrainian or Russian history whatsoever.

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  15. Michael Ekin Smyth

    Investor

    And now the war begins. The apologists for Putin's aggression must now ask themselves: how much of the guilt for these dead to I carry?
    You carry a lot.
    You can partially expiate your guilt by gaining a clearer view of the danger presented by Putin's mafia state.

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    1. Tatiana Pech

      logged in via email @mail.ru

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      I am writing from Ukraine as I live in eastern Ukraine. There is no war here as you said and no Putin and no Putin's army. Many people of eastern Ukraine can not live anymore listening to what fascists from Pravyj Sector, Svoboda party, Splikna Sprava fascist men from West Ukraine.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Michael, I believe the latest OSCE report confirmed for people like you that Putin is not in Ukraine and is still in the Moscow Kremlin.

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    3. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena: welcome back! I thought you'd got so depressed by having your posts removed that you'd given up.
      The OSCE publications I have seen confirm a pattern of Kremlin dishonesty and failure to live up to its commitments to the OSCE, NATO and the EU.
      The Kremlin deliberately, and contrary to its OSCE commitments, mislead the OSCE about its recent military manoeuvres in which it exceed the permitted troop levels (15,000) by a massive 45,000. In addition a battlefield nuclear missile was fired (thankfully…

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    4. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      It seems as always Michael you provide incorrect information. No surprise looking at your biased views and pro-American position with their motto “Do as I say, not as I do”.

      OSCE reports do not confirm that Russian military reps or Spetsnaz are on the ground in Eastern Ukraine.
      The latest
      http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/117859
      http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/117844

      Moreover, in contrast to what you say, the OSCE reports that the media freedom is under siege in Ukraine
      http://www.osce.org/fom/117693

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    5. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Thanks for that Andrew, I'd just started a reply to Michael's misinformation and you saved me the trouble of finishing it.

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    6. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Depressed? I don’t know this word Michael.

      I’ll use Mr Putin’s words to answer to your message. He said them here
      http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_04/Yanukovych-is-safe-and-sounf-and-will-catch-a-cold-at-funerals-of-those-who-are-now-burying-him-Putin-4562/
      Quote: “He will catch a cold at the funeral of those who are now spreading those rumors”

      I am sure you are smart enough to understand what I mean.
      P.S. Your posts also could not survive all.

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    7. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena: I am glad that your psychological state is so robust. My experience of you easterners is that your default state is depressive. You must be the exception.
      You are correct, some of my posts did not survive. Unfortunately I sometimes lost control and slipped into ad hominem attacks. Not as often as you but I did. Silly of me.
      As you note, Putin is now issuing clearly fascist threats of violence. And, for whatever reason, you think this is good?
      My observation of the last few days is that…

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    8. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      I am glad Michael that you are in the same state of anti-Putin propaganda. This means you still live in fear expecting the Kremlin in front of your door. In this instance it would definitely come.

      I’d like to emphasise, however, some fundamental errors in you last message and it seems I am not alone doing this today :)
      1. I am not Russian and your linguistic abilities failed this time.
      2. I have not heard that the Russians are more depressive. That’s a furphy message of yours. You want them…

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    9. Peter Williams

      Retired and still kicking

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Michael, you do realise that the US broke the Montreux Convention with the USS Taylor over staying its 21 day period by 11 days. Just who is threatening who? US and French warships in the Black Sea are a provocation - not the Russian Federation.

      You are right about Euripides, he has made the Western Ukrainians and their Western allies and sycophants quite mad.

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    10. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena: Putin is a fool who, through his mindless aggression and fascist worldview, is not just isolating Russia, he is destroying it.
      Wait and watch: every little authoritarian like him over-estimates his power and under-estimates the forces of civilization and decency.
      He may make gains for a short while - Hitler did OK up to about '42 - but his end, and Russia's collapse, is foretold.
      The only hope the Russian people now have is to overthrow this idiot and kill of his mafia oligarchs. But, after centuries of slavery and oppression, will they be able to forge a genuine revolution?

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    11. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      It is funny to read that Putin is destroying Russia when practically Russia is the only country in Europe which can effectively give money to Ukraine. Russian economy is having no issues and steadily grows.

      Unlike Russia, it is actually the US is approaching a deep s%$t and if China today goes to the US asking to give the Chinese money back, the US would cease to exist. With such huge state debts this country will soon lose its economic steam. Also, the US is trying to compete with Russia but the real danger for the US is somewhere else.

      When you talk about Russian oligarchs, just look at our Western economy and how people are divided. Twenty-thirty years ago our middle class was stable, where is it going now? Unlike Russia, where their middle class is growing, our oligarchs are growing here and the middle class steadily goes down.

      So, it is all "good" here, we are steadily sinking.

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    12. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena: you are living in a fantasy world. Russia, with a 2 trillion dollar oil and gas dominated economy could possibly compete with Australia, (1.5t) or Canada (2t), or even the state of Texas (2t). But it cannot compete with the US (16t), or even California (3t+), in any way.
      Actually Oz was ahead of Russia between 1998 and 2008. It was the rise in the barrel price in 2007-08 which pushed the Russkies past us. And, it is only that.
      To try to compare the 'middle class' in the grossly unequal…

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    13. Tatiana Pech

      logged in via email @mail.ru

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Fascists are in Kiev and they use army againts peaceful people in east Ukraine. Army doesnt want to go, only selected army units go. This Kiev hunta will not live long.

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    14. Tatiana Pech

      logged in via email @mail.ru

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      i see some people in Australia dont know whats happening in Russia or Ukraine. There is no HIV in Ukraine or Russia and it was never epidemic of HIV. I live 40km from Russian border and often go to Russia and know. This is your fantasy Michael.
      Russia population is growing. See graph from here
      http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2013/0541/barom01.php
      From 1995 to 2005 was a drop because of Yeltsin was bad president. Then it goes up and wil go up because of insentives provided for young mothers: up to 2 years paid maternity leave, huge bonuses for children, help to buy apartments.

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    15. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Michael, you talk like a tape with the same record. Please be more creative. We all heard this stuff already about population declining when in fact it is growing, about alcoholism when in fact Aussies drink almost equally to Russia and the list from the top looks like Ireland, Finland, England, Russia, Australia, Denmark, Germany, etc. So, we are side by side with Russia and still alive.

      Just get your stats right or get a new brochure from your US headquarters with updated numbers, even people from Ukraine are not taking you seriously it seems.

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  16. Tatiana Pech

    logged in via email @mail.ru

    Our past split our Ukraine now and the problem is our internal but not because of Russia. I hope we will live in one Ukraine (east and west Ukraine) if we solve our internal problem by themselves. If we do not, our east part will be independent or join Russia. Outcome depends on what our Kiev government will do and if they agree to negotiate instead of fight. If they do not agree, we will resist and do referendum in east part of Ukraine. We are staying here in east Ukraine for our language rights and we do not want fascists from Pravy Sector, Spilna Sprava and Svoboda from west Ukraine to dictate to us their views.

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    1. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Tatiana Pech

      Hey, Tatiana, it is good to meet people from the Ukraine. When you wake up :), it would be interesting to have some updates and understand what’s happening on the ground.

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    2. Tatiana Pech

      logged in via email @mail.ru

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Pro-fascist Ukrainian government in Kiev started to use army against peaceful people in East Ukraine. Tanks and BTRs are in Slovyansk and attack peaceful people. I hope this hunta in Kiev will not live long.
      Not many army units follow orders from Kiev. Here are two videos with reservists who do not want to go against peaceful people. They want to go home to their families and work.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TtEbld10YLw
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mCA5I0QhHPo
      Army officers loyal to Kiev fascists threaten them with guns but they do not want to go.

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  17. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    Spreading the nationalist virus!

    "Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and Poles haven't forgotten this war. Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the remnants of Ukraine's nationalist groups have sought to boost their political power. They have misrepresented this history to sow further divisions between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians living in Ukraine"!

    • Ten years ago SBS reported about the controversial regulations that came into force in Ukraine in 2004, banning the broadcast of national radio…

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    1. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Leo Braun

      Re: Was it because nobody give a damn?

      I think it is possible to answer your question Leo. The Russians living in Australia do not watch RT or SBS and watch the Russian Internet TV instead. It is free, it is not censored and goes 24/7 without any Abbott involvement. The same is done by the Chinese, Filipino or any other people around me. All are saying that the Internet TV is a way to go now.

      Our stupid government thinks that TV signals are transmitted via RF, including satellites. Not anymore…

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    2. Leo Braun

      Conscientious Objector

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      • Much appreciated info, Andrew. Concerned SBS-TV viewers should take notice! In the meantime Russian TV News replay by SBS seems to be reinstated, after vocal protests apropos!

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  18. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    "Crimea was conquered by Russia because it was the centre of slavery in the Black Sea"... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism_and_slavery

    • Peter, they were herded together by decree, as blue-blooded Jewess Catherine the Great of Russia created gigantic internment in 1791 to horde six million casteless Jews within the area extending from Baltic to the Black Sea. Astonishingly, diabolical apartheid covered 20% of the European Russia as segregated territories grew to include 15 Russian provinces…

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    1. Leo Braun

      Conscientious Objector

      In reply to Leo Braun

      • Once it became apparent that Napoleon couldn't establish national home for the escaping Jewish tyranny casteless Jews ... France was declared as their homeland. Where granted full citizenship Jews could involve in business and political life to the disgust of the Jew peers of the realm ... http://originofnations.org/Royals/queens%20descent/The%20Queen's%20Royal%20Descent%20from%20King%20David%20of%20Judah.htm

      Metternich Winneburg, Austrian consul in Paris lamented in Sept 1806, in his letter to…

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  19. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    "Poland talks hysterically because Poland wants to emphasise its importance and get additional weapons from the USA for free"!

    Poland wants to emphasise its importance?

    • Elena, where we lived ... I didn't hear one word of Polish. I didn't know such a language existed (to the extent it existed, I knew it was language of goyim). Poland? I had no idea about. Our language of instruction was Yiddish. We wrote in Yiddish, learned history in Yiddish ... and studied maths in Yiddish.

    I first encountered…

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    1. Leo Braun

      Conscientious Objector

      In reply to Leo Braun

      • Religious freedom and the self-governance assurance were strong incentives for the ambitious Jews to move into Polish territories in 1264 as King Boleslav (Boleslaw/Boleslaus) issued a charter, giving capitalist Jews complete freedom under the privilege known as Kalisz Statute (regulating Jewish legal and social status in Poland until the 18th century). Contributing to founding of the Kehila/Kahal institutions and the Va'ad Arba Artzot, allowing entrepreneurial Jews to engage in trade and the money-lending…

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  20. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    "Interim leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk's warning to 'traitors' stirred old memories of the 'blood-lands'. For the sake of my Ukrainian friends and this incredible country where pluralistic national and ethnic identities abound, I hope none of this happens. But I couldn't have been the only historian of these 'bloodlands' whose ears pricked up when Ukraine's interim prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, an avowed democrat, promised to hunt down pro-Russian politicians (traitors) who backed the Crimean referendum…

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  21. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    "President Gorbachev allowed the re-unification of Germany based on promises from President Bush and Chancellor Kohl that NATO would not expand eastwards, and then NATO did exactly that, even inviting Ukraine and Georgia to prepare for membership"!

    • Eric Kelly of course, there were reprisals, communal violence and atrocities, once Georgians attacked sleeping South Ossetians while invading the breakaway region. Viewing pictures of the devastation in Tskhinvali, unbiased observer to realise that…

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    1. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Leo Braun

      Leo: you have your facts wrong. Gorbachev did not 'allow' the re-unification of Germany. He publicly supported it after the fact, as he had no way of stopping it.
      There was no agreement that NATO would not expand eastwards, just some vaguely worded assurances provided by second level officials at a conference in Germany.
      The Eastern European countries had other ideas. They wanted protection from the Kremlin and they all sought membership. Sadly, the Ukrainian application was rejected due to western…

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Michael, your arguments are all wrong.

      Gorbachyov allowed the re-unification of Germany as he was listening to mantra from the US and Europe that he was so good and democratic. If Putin was in charge at that time, he would at least be much more pragmatic signing an agreement to unite Germany in return to lots of things provided by the West. Instead, Gorbachyov just followed to what the US told him to do, i.e. withdraw Soviet troops without places for them in Russia and expand NATO to the East…

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    3. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena: you are extraordinarily confused. You express fascist views - yet you call others fascists.
      You think homosexuals will destroy Holland within 50 years. What fascist claptrap!
      The homosexuals are always among the first victims of the fascists oppressors you so love.
      You think you can throw dissidents into jail and murder millions by allowing AIDS to spread.
      You think you can invade other countries and annex territories like Crimea and then suppress the native populations.
      You think you can fund terrrorism and destroy the European Union. You about to learn a lesson about us feeble democracies: we are slow to anger but, when we do, watch out.

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    4. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      It is enough to look at the map of the world to see where the US military bases are vs the Russian and Chinese. After that a smart person would realize who is invading and who is defending themselves.

      In terms of funding terrrrrrrrrrorism (you started making spelling errors, not a good sign for you Michael...) – thanks for reminding who is funding terrorism in Syria now against the government, who funded a coup in Ukraine and who funded Al-Kaida in Afghanistan in the first place. It is the US…

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  22. Leo Braun

    Conscientious Objector

    "It is evident that the pro-Nazi govt in Kiev banned all media reporting balanced views or views opposing the regime in Kiev. They only want their pro-Nazi views to be heard"!

    • Putin remembers Yugoslavia, what he remembers Andrew, should bring shame to America and Germany. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has some deeply emotional views about the recent history of Yugoslavia, and on this subject, his words are very compelling. Yugoslavia was aligned with the Soviet Union for a time after World…

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    1. Michael Ekin Smyth

      Investor

      In reply to Leo Braun

      Leo: far from being pro-Nazi, the new Kiev government reflects the popular will of the people. The far-right only got two per cent of the vote - one per cent for Svoboda and one for the Right Sector.
      Poroshenko got 55 per cent.
      This is a great victory for democracy, showing up, and over-riding the shameful results of the EU elections.
      It is time for people like you and other Putin apologists to stop regurgitating Kremlin propaganda and start recognizing the reality of the democratic will.
      Putin's aggression against the Ukraine has failed. Chaos in the Crimea, despite the vicious crack down on the Tartars, indicates the failure of the Kremlin's bureaucracy.
      The murders and infiltration in the East and the South must now stop. We all know why Putin and his mafia regime started all this - to grab the oil and gas reserves off the southern coast. Two trillion dollars of reserves now in Putin's hands. But, now the people have spoken, let's see how long they stay there.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      Wrong again.

      Mr Lyashko got so far 8.48% and he is far right. Mr Tyagnybok and Mr Yarosh got 2% combined. In total pro-Nazi got 10% already. However, it was expected anyway that far right candidates can’t win. Their task is no winning, their task is supporting this regime with illegal troops fighting in East Ukraine now. People who know what's happening there understand that but not you. Oh, well, your also understand but prefer to say otherwise.

      In terms of recognizing a democratic will…

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    3. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Michael Ekin Smyth

      As always, you Michael demonstrate a propaganda view with no real facts and no knowledge.

      Going back to the Ukrainian recent history, your pro-American president of Ukraine Yushhenko was elected in 2004 and then thrown away. During his campaign for the presidency in 2004, Yushchenko pretended to be seriously ill from dioxin poisoning in a so called assassination attempt, which was a fake, otherwise he would be dead already a while ago. However, your American friends organised a revolution back…

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  23. Michael K-n

    logged in via Facebook

    To my modest understanding and vast acquaintance with issues, in a place where The Adelaide Institute & likes is a part of a local science and public education, Dr. Filip Slavinski’s article is a rare welcome departure from the traditional barking towards Russia, “Bolsheviks” and everything associated with not-ethnic-charged hatred wrapped with a London-invented post-official-empire mantra of “multiculturalism” and history of others for others.

    The fight for “own home” where neighboring folks, either…

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