Donetsk: A Defiant and Besieged City

Donetsk: A Defiant and Besieged City

Monday, 18 May 2015 11:31By Joshua Tartakovsky, Truthout | Op-Ed   Downtown Donetsk. Despite the ongoing war the city has made an extra effort keeping the streets clean. Residents of Donetsk have been demonized and castigated by the Ukrainian government and media. President Poroshenko famously said “their children will be holed up in basements.” (Photo: Joshua Tartakovsky) A visit to Donetsk reveals that unlike Western media portrayals, the city stands behind the rebels and refuses to accept the authority or legitimacy of the Kiev government which openly stated its admiration for Ukrainian fascist leaders. Donetsk is keen on resisting attempts at subjugation by Kiev. Its population continues to struggle to go on with its daily life as residential neighborhoods are frequently shelled. While Russia undoubtedly lends its support to the self-proclaimed republic via various means, it would be incorrect to say that the local population does not stand behind the republic. In a recent visit to the Donbass in East Ukraine, a group of journalists including myself visited Donetsk in order to better understand its reality for ourselves. The trip was organized by Europa Objektiv, a German-Russian NGO whose mission is to provide journalists with a tour of the frequently misrepresented region. We had many questions on our mind with respect to the situation in Donetsk. The image many of us had was that of acity whose streets were vacant of people and that was ruled by rebels through the use of force. Would we encounter Russian forces? Was there fighting in every area and would we be shelled? These were some of the questions. We left Rostov for Donetsk by car. Vietnamese journalists, two Englishmen from a Conservative think-tank and myself. On our way...
The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia:   Which Side Will Win?

The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia: Which Side Will Win?

  Children of the Donbass Donetsk Petrovsky district and Gorlovka, they sit in the cellars of many days, when the Ukrainian army shells the area, the children cannot leave or get fresh air. There is a constant shelling of these areas. Photo via Olga Solnishko The Battle of Wills between the West and Russia:  Which Side Will Win?   Fort Rus February 13, 2015 By: Joshua Tartakovsky From the very beginning or emergence of the Ukraine crisis, as details of the coup emerged and Crimea was, in the eyes of the west – annexed by Russia – it became clear that we are heading to a prolonged battle.  This is one that is not just a physical war which entails much destruction but a war of wills in a conflict over the question of which side has the moral upper hand. From the very beginning, the West and Russia were speaking in opposite languages and had opposing mindsets. While the West, led by the US, accused Russia of aggression in Ukraine and pointed a finger at it for violating international law, Russia was speaking about fascists in Kiev and about an illegal coup. It became clear from the very beginning that the issue was not merely one of disagreement or division, but of a cultural war with the West attempting to prove its superiority, vis-à-vis Russia. While US support for the coup in Kiev could be analyzed from the perspective of traditional imperialism with the US seeking to impose its will and ensure that its will overrides others, even that of regional powers, the way it has managed to convince...
Is Poroshenko Preparing for Peace or War?

Is Poroshenko Preparing for Peace or War?

Fort Russ January 2, 2014 By Joshua Tartakovsky, Independent Researcher What is one to make of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s recent statement that violence and force have failed in suppressing the Donbass and that negotiations must be carried out? Poroshenko said that there is no military solution to the war in Donetsk and Lugansk while qualifying his statement by saying that if Russia will launch an intervention, Ukraine will introduce martial law. Poroshenko’s statement that “we haven’t got the resources for an offensive today” can be interpreted to mean that either he is planning to get the resources in the future or attempting to appear pragmatic so as to deflect accusations from ultra-nationalists that he betrayed their cause.  Poroshenko also said that he would meet the leaders of Russia, Germany and France in Kazakhstan on January 15 (incidentally the same day in which anti-Russian government protests are expected to be held in Moscow and around the world) to discuss a settlement.   Did the Ukrainian President finally realize the futility of bombing civilians in his own country who dared to protest the illegal coup that took place in February 2014 and do not feel represented by Western Ukrainian ultra-nationalists? Is the fact that many in the Ukrainian Army oppose the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ and even deserted, mean that he realized that a full conquest will not be possible, or that he must salvage Ukraine’s economy with Russia’s support before the already-dire economic situation deteriorates further? Did Poroshenko have a change of heart (or mind), possibly despite American full support for the military actions he has been taking against Donetsk...
Press TV: Ukraine’s Economy is Going Down

Press TV: Ukraine’s Economy is Going Down

On Press TV discussing Ukraine’s economic state of affairs: hyrvna down by 50% to the dollar, inflation up by 21% in November, new budget means major cuts for social programs but 5% of GDP will go to arms, cost of living is going up. Hard cash reserves and gold were embezzled or disappeared. Next year Ukraine’s economy will continue to go down the drain, making more war more likely, as the government will blame Russia for the troubles and people will radicalize due to their low...
Here’s Why The Kiev Sniper Massacre Was a False Flag

Here’s Why The Kiev Sniper Massacre Was a False Flag

Russia-Insider.com Joshua Tartakovsky, December 7, 2014   In 1 October 2014, Ivan Katchanovski, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa  and formerly a visiting scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, presented the first academic paper to deal comprehensively with bloody day of February 20, 2014. The paper, titled “The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine”, was presented at the Chair of Ukrainian Studies Seminar at the University of Ottawa. In his paper Professor Katchanovski produces solid evidence for the argument that hired snipers were involved in shootings of protesters on Maidan, even if police forces are not to be absolved from blame for firing on protesters. Indeed, a EU High Representative Catherine Ashton was caught on tape discussing with the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet serious allegations that those who fired on the protesters in fact came from the opposition. However,  a full investigation has not been followed, nor has any Western government publicly called for such an investigation. The new Kiev government’s investigation resulted in the arrest of three members of the Ukrainian riot police “Berkut”  who were held accountable for the killings. One of the three disappeared, with the possibility that he was either killed or fled equally probable at this point.   Professor Katchanovski’s full paper can be found here and deserves to be studied and analyzed in great detail. Only several key arguments will be provided in this article while those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of what took place are highly encouraged to read the report in full and view its...