News Release

Threats in Ukraine: Coup, Fascism and War — And Western Culpability

STEPHEN COHEN, sfc1 at nyu.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. He recently wrote the piece “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine” for The Nation.

This morning on Democracy Now! [video], Cohen cited “credible reports” that opposition forces are seizing weapons, raising the “possibility of civil war.” He warned of a new Cold War divided “right through the heart of Slavic civilization” with the prospect of war “for decades to come.” Cohen warns of the rise of fascist forces as “so-called moderates” lose control of the situation. He also argued that Western authorities bear real responsibility for events. He said President Obama has in effect rationalized the violence of the protesters. Cohen questioned what the U.S. government’s reaction would be to violent protests with molotov cocktails closing in on the Congress. He stated that many NGOs operating in Ukraine and elsewhere are actually political action groups. He also responded to the audio [on YouTube] of State Department official Victoria Nuland with Geoffrey R. Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, determining which Ukrainian politicians should and should not be in government. Cohen criticized the U.S. media for focusing on Nuland’s use of the word “fuck” while ignoring that top U.S. government officials were “to put it in blunt terms: plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.”

JOHN QUIGLEY, Quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley dealt with conflicts between Ukraine and Russia arising from the breakup of the USSR on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

NICOLAI PETRO, [in Ukraine] nnpetro at gmail.com, Skype: nicolaipetro
Professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island, Petro is currently a Fulbright research scholar in Ukraine. He recently wrote the piece “Ukraine’s Culture War” for the National Interest. Petro has also written a series of articles for OpEdnews.com, including “How the EU Can Bring Ukraine Into Europe.” He was just interviewed by The Real News. Petro made the following points today:

(1) “The political opposition … does not control the radicals in the street, so they are marginal interlocutors at best.

(2) “The radicals want a “new social order,” not just a new constitution or new parliament. They will continue violence against the ‘internal occupiers’ regardless of what the politicians agree to.

(3) “Martial law will lead to more deaths and violence, but it is hard to imagine how law and order can be restored without it. The radicals will just continue shooting.

(4) “EU and U.S. threats of sanctions are tantamount to demanding the government surrender to the radicals.

(5) “The best way out is for all parliamentary forces to unite to isolate the radicals (as per EU Parliament resolution of Nov, 13 2012). The parliamentary opposition, however, is afraid of the radicals, and still hopes to ride to power on their coat tails. If the government falls because of street protests, however, it is the nationalists, not the political opposition, who will dominate.

(6) “To force the political opposition to join with the government to suppress the radical nationalists, the EU and Russia must present a united front and insist on this together.”

BEN ARIS, editor at bne.eu, Skype: bpnaris
Based in Moscow, Aris is editor of Business New Europe. He said today: “It’s critical to understand the economics of the situation. Ukrainian hard currency reserves have dwindled from $35 to $17 billion — not enough to ensure the stability of the government. Ukraine is bankrupt. Under the terms of the EU offer of last year — which virtually nobody in the Western media seriously examined, the EU was offering $160 million per year for the next five years while just the bond repayments to IMF were greater than that. In contrast, Russia offered $15 billion in cash and immediately paid $3 billion. Another $3 billion was to be paid today but that was just suspended. Now [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych is indeed very corrupt, but it’s being reported as if he is some sort of Putin puppet — and somehow Putin ends up demonized on the cover of the Economist. Had Yanukovych accepted the EU deal, the country would have collapsed. The EU proposal also did things like limit Ukraine trade. Ukraine is becoming a larger exporter of eggs — one of its few successes — but the EU deal would have limited Ukraine’s export of eggs while allowing EU goods into

“Culturally, bear in mind that Kiev is where Slavs come from.

“I’m very sympathetic to the protesters. Yanukovych is corrupt and should be voted out in 2015. But we can’t just ignore the democratic process. U.S. officials were on the streets of Kiev handing out cookies to the demonstrators. Imagine if the Russian foreign minister was on the streets with Occupy Wall Street handing out cookies at Zuccotti Park.”