News Release

Ukraine: Critical and on the Ground Analysis

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, rdambrose at thenation.com, @KatrinaNation
Available for a limited number of interviews, Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of The Nation and just wrote the piece “The Ukraine crisis calls for less bluster, more common sense” in the Washington Post.

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 has written on Ukraine for the National Interest and other outlets. See his writings here. He just wrote the piece “Threat of Military Confrontation Grows in Ukraine: Unless the Country Embraces the Ideal of Cultural Pluralism within one Nation, Crises Like this one Will Continue to Erupt,” for The Nation.

MIKHAIL BEZNOSOV, [in Kharkiv, Ukraine], mikhail at email.arizona.edu, Skype: mikhaillb1966. Head of the governing board of the East-Ukrainian Society for International Studies, Beznosov is now an associate professor in sociology at Kharkiv National University. He received his PhD in political science from the University of Arizona, where he continues to be an adjunct professor.

He said today: “The situation in Ukraine is highly uncertain. The alternative media are now virtually non-existent here. The level of censorship and self-censorship is incredible. People that try to come with an alternative point of view are intimidated and silenced.

“I am sure that if the government in Kiev started doing something about federalization of the country, it would bring the tensions down. But instead, it is playing nationalistic messages, and has issued a call for total mobilization. All media are waiving flags now and are in war time mode with constant anti-Russian propaganda. These messages receive very little positive response in eastern and southern Ukraine. The call for mobilization was also not actively responded to in those regions. In general, on the first day of mobilization, only 1.5 percent of men of military age responded to the call. But on Monday there was apparently a larger response in western and central Ukraine, and in Kiev, although still very limited in other regions.

“In the south and in the east the concern is that the mobilization can be used to arm forces with heavy weapons and send them to ‘pacify’ the rebellious regions in the south and east. The general attitude here is favorable towards Russia, although people hope that it would not get to actual war.

“Also, there was a new development on Monday related to the appointments of new regional governors in several regions in the east and the south. Those new governors are either from the ten richest people on Ukraine’s Forbes list, or local ‘oligarchs’ also with substantial personal fortunes. This is an interesting development taking into account that just several days ago the jubilant people at ‘Maidan’ protests in Kiev demanded that the oligarchs and former government officials should not be allowed to hold government positions. Many explain this move as an attempt of the government in Kiev, that is unable to control the regions, to use the power and the money of the ‘oligarchs’ to calm down their regions.”