The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia

Exclusive: Congress has voted to up the ante in the showdown with Russia over Ukraine, embracing a new Cold War and the neocon scheme for “regime change” in Moscow. But amid the tough-guy-ism there was little consideration of the risks from destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Has anyone in Official Washington thought through the latest foreign policy “group think,” the plan to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia? All the “smart” people, including the New York Times editors, are rubbing their hands with glee over the financial crisis being imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine crisis, but no one, it seems, is looking down the road.

This reckless strategy appears to be another neocon-driven “regime change” scheme, this time focused on Moscow with the goal to take down Russian President Vladimir Putin and presumably replace him with some U.S. puppet, a Russian-speaking Ahmed Chalabi perhaps. Since the neocons have never faced accountability for the Iraq disaster when the conniving Chalabi was their man they are still free to dream about a replay in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laying a wreath at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on May 8, 2014, as part of the observance of the World War II Victory over Germany.

However, as catastrophic as the Iraq War was especially for Iraqis, the new neocon goal of Russian “regime change” is far more dangerous. If one looks at the chaos that has followed neocon (and “liberal interventionist”) schemes to overthrow governments in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine and elsewhere, what might the risks be if such political disorder was created in Russia?

Since the neocon plans don’t always work out precisely as they dream them up at Washington think tanks or at the Washington Post’s editorial board, what are the chances that some radical Russian nationalist might emerge from the chaos and take command of the nuclear launch codes? As much fun as the Washington tough guys and gals are having today, the prospects for thermo-nuclear war might not be as pleasing.

And, does anyone really think that cooler heads in Official Washington would prevail in such a crisis? From what we have seen over the past year regarding Ukraine not to mention other international hot spots it seems that the only game in town is to swagger around, as pumped up as Hans and Franz, just not as amusing.

You see, the Russians have already experienced what it is like to comply with U.S. economic edicts. That was tried during the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union when experts from Harvard University descended on Moscow with “shock therapy” for the post-communist society. What happened was that a handful of well-connected thieves plundered the nation’s resources, making themselves into billionaire oligarchs while President Boris Yeltsin stayed drunk much of the time and many average Russians faced starvation.

A key reason why Putin and his autocratic style have such a strong political base is that he took on some of the oligarchs and restructured the economy to improve the lives of many Russians. The neocons may think that they can oust Putin through a combination of economic pain and information warfare but there is a deep understanding among many Russians what a repeat of the Yeltsin years would mean.

So, even a “successful regime change” could end up with a more radical figure in charge of Russia and its nuclear arsenal than Putin. But that is the course that Official Washington has chosen to take, with Congress almost unanimously approving a package of harsher sanctions and $350 million in arms and military equipment for Ukraine to wage its “anti-terrorism operation” against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Cuba Example

There is some irony here in that just as President Barack Obama finally begins to lift the ineffective, half-century-old U.S. embargo against Cuba, the U.S. Congress and the entire mainstream U.S. news media have jumped on another high horse to charge off against Russia, imposing new economic sanctions and dreaming of another “regime change.”

The promiscuous use of sanctions as part of “regime change” strategies has become almost an addiction in Washington. One can envision some tough-talking U.S. diplomat confronting the leaders of a troublesome nation by going around the room and saying, “we sanction you, we sanction you, we sanction you.”

Beyond the trouble that this pathology creates for American businesses, not sure whether they’re stumbling over one of these sanctions, there is the backlash among countries increasingly trying to circumvent the United States in order to deny Washington that leverage over them. The long-run effect is surely to be a weakening of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. economy.

However, in the meantime, U.S. politicians can’t seem to get enough of this feel-good approach to foreign disputes. They can act like they’re “doing something” by punishing the people of some wayward country, but sanctions are still short of outright war, so the politicians don’t have to attend funerals and face distraught mothers and fathers, at least not the mothers and fathers of American soldiers.

In the past, sanctions, such as those imposed on Iraq in the 1990s, took a fearsome toll, killing some half million Iraqi children, according to United Nations estimates.

Another example of how the sanctioning impulse can run amok has been U.S. policy toward Sudan, where leaders were sanctioned over the violence in Darfur. The United States also supported the secession of oil-rich South Sudan as a further penalty to Sudan.

But the U.S. sanctions on Sudan prevented South Sudan from shipping its oil through pipelines that ran through Sudan, creating a political crisis in South Sudan, which led to tribal violence. The U.S. government responded with, you guessed it, sanctions against leaders of South Sudan.

So, now, the U.S. government is back on that high horse and charging off to sanction Russia and its leaders over Ukraine, a crisis that has been thoroughly misrepresented in the mainstream U.S. news media and in the halls of government.

A False Narrative

Official Washington’s “group think” on the crisis has been driven by a completely phony narrative of what has happened in Ukraine over the past year. It has become the near-monolithic view of insiders that the crisis was instigated by Putin as part of some diabolical scheme to recreate the Russian Empire by seizing Ukraine, the Baltic states and maybe Poland.

But the reality is that the crisis was initiated by the West, particularly by Official Washington’s neocons, to pry Ukraine away from the Russian sphere of influence and into Europe’s, a ploy that was outlined by a leading neocon paymaster, Carl Gershman, the longtime president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy.

On Sept. 26, 2013, Gershman took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post and pronounced Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward toppling Putin and putting down the resurgent and willful Russia that he represents.

Gershman, whose NED is financed by the U.S. Congress to the tune of about $100 million a year, wrote: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.   Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In other words, from the start, Putin was the target of the Ukraine initiative, not the instigator. Beyond Gershman’s rhetoric was the fact that NED was funding scores of projects inside Ukraine, training activists, supporting “journalists,” funding business groups.

Then, in November 2013, Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych balked at an association agreement with the European Union after learning that it would cost Ukraine some $160 billion to separate from Russia. Plus, the International Monetary Fund was demanding economic “reforms” that would hurt average Ukrainians.

Yanukovych’s decision touched off mass demonstrations from western Ukrainians who favored closer ties to Europe. That, in turn, opened the way for the machinations by neocons inside the U.S. government, particularly the scheming of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan.

Before long, Nuland was handpicking the new leadership for Ukraine that would be in charge once Yanukovych was out of the way, a process that was ultimately executed by tightly organized 100-man units of neo-Nazi storm troopers bused in from the western city of Lviv. [See’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Worsening Crisis

The violent overthrow of President Yanukovych led to resistance from south and east Ukraine where Yanukovych got most of his votes. Crimea, a largely ethnic Russian province, voted overwhelmingly to secede from the failed Ukrainian state and rejoin Russia, which had been Crimea’s home since the 1700s.

When Putin accepted Crimea back into Russia recognizing its historical connections and its strategic importance he was excoriated by Western leaders and the mainstream U.S. media. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likened him to Hitler, as the narrative took shape that Putin was on a premeditated mission to conquer states of the former Soviet Union.

That narrative was always fake but it became Official Washington’s conventional wisdom, much like the existence of Iraq’s WMD became what “everyone knew to be true.” The “group think” was again so strong that not even someone as important to the establishment as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger could shake it.

In an interview last month with Der Spiegel magazine, Kissinger said that “The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.”

The 91-year-old Kissinger added that President Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

Instead Kissinger argued that the West with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue.

Kissinger’s remarks though undeniably true were largely ignored by the mainstream U.S. media and had little or no impact on the U.S. Congress which pressed ahead with its legislation to expand the anti-Russia sanctions, which  along with declining energy prices were contributing to a severe economic downturn in Russia.

The New York Times’ editors spoke for many in their celebration over the pain being inflicted on Russia. In an editorial entitled “The Ruble’s Fall and Mr. Putin’s Reckoning,” the Times wrote:

“The blame for this [economic calamity] rests largely with the disastrous policies of President Vladimir Putin, who has consistently put his ego, his territorial ambitions and the financial interests of his cronies ahead of the needs of his country. The ruble fell as much as 19 percent on Monday after the Central Bank of Russia sharply raised its benchmark interest rate to 17 percent in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to keep capital from fleeing the country.

“Since June, the Russian currency has fallen about 50 percent against the dollar. Because Russia relies heavily on imported food and other goods, the decline in its currency is fueling inflation. Consumer prices jumped 9.1 percent last month compared with a year earlier and also increased 8.3 percent in October.

“Russia’s immediate problems were caused by the recent collapse of global crude oil prices and the financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe in an effort to get Mr. Putin to stop stirring conflict in Ukraine. But the rot goes far deeper.

“Mr. Putin has taken great relish in poking the West. Now that he is in trouble, the rest of the world is unlikely to rush to his aid. On Tuesday, a White House spokesman said that President Obama intends to sign a bill that would authorize additional sanctions on Russia’s energy and defense industries. That bill would also authorize the administration to supply arms to Ukraine’s government.

“The sensible thing for Mr. Putin to do would be to withdraw from Ukraine. This would bring immediate relief from sanctions, and that would ease the current crisis and give officials room to start fixing the country’s economic problems. The question is whether this reckless leader has been sufficiently chastened to change course.”

But the reality has been that Putin has tried to keep his distance from the ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, even urging them to postpone a referendum that revealed strong support for the region’s secession from Ukraine. But he has faced a hard choice because the Kiev regime launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against the eastern region, an offensive that took on the look of ethnic cleansing.

The Ukrainian government’s strategy was to pound eastern cities and towns with artillery fire and then dispatch neo-Nazi and other extremist “volunteer battalions” to do the dirty work of street-to-street fighting. Amnesty International and other human rights groups took note of the brutality inflicted by these anti-Russian extremists. [See’s “Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]

Faced with thousands of ethnic Russians being killed and hundreds of thousands fleeing into Russia, Putin had little political choice but to provide help to the embattled people of Donetsk and Luhansk. But Official Washington’s narrative holds that all the trouble in Ukraine is simply the result of Putin’s “aggression” and that everything would be just peachy if Putin let the Kiev regime and its neo-Nazi affiliates do whatever they wanted to the ethnic Russians.

But that’s not something Putin can really do politically. So, what we’re seeing here is the usual step-by-step progress toward a neocon “regime change” scenario, as the targeted foreign demon fails to take the “reasonable” steps dictated by Washington and thus must be confronted with endless escalations, all the more severe to force the demon to submit or until ultimately the suffering of his people creates openings for “regime change.”

We have seen this pattern with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, for instance, and even with Ukraine’s Yanukovych, but the risks in this new neocon game are much greater the future of the planet is being put into play.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

31 comments for “The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia

  1. December 27, 2014 at 23:18

    I am one of the persons sent by Harvard to Russia in the 1990s to assist with transition to a market economy, remained there with the Wrld Bank when Harvard lost its contract. I agree totally with Parry. We had good intentions, but no one understood the difficulties of making the transition from Communism, since it had never been done before. Naturally, the entrepreneurs and those with money and the right contacts were those who benefitted most. Putin has tried to establish a government that works, not just one that supports the oligarchs.
    The mystery is who is behind the approach being taken by the U.S. to put the blame on Putin and essentially restart the Cold War, what could they possibly have to gain, and don’t they realize the risks? The fact that almost our entire Congress and Obama would support these stupid and insane actions is difficult to understand, especially when the majority of the people in the U.S. are against it. How can we bring them to their senses?

  2. December 27, 2014 at 21:54

    I am one of the persons sent by Harvard to Russia in the 1990s to assist with transition to a market economy, and the one picked up by the World Bank to remain there when Harvard lost its contract. I agree totally with Parry. We had good intentions, but no one understood the difficulties of making the transition from Communism, since it had never been done before. Naturally, the entrepreneurs and those with money and the right contacts were those who benefitted most. Putin has tried to establish a government that works, not just one that supports the oligarchs.
    The mystery is who is behind the approach being taken by the U.S. to demonize Putin and essentially restart the Cold War, what could they possibly have to gain, and don’t they realize the risks? The fact that almost our entire Congress and Obama would support these stupid and insane actions is difficult to understand, especially when the majority of the people in the U.S. are against it. How can we bring them to their senses?

  3. mind
    December 20, 2014 at 23:11

    Great article. Im ukrainian who is now living in Russia and it hurts to see how delusional are western people about Ukrainian crisis. People who came to power in Kiev after Maidan destroyed the country in less then a year. People blinded by anti-russian hysteria while noone except Russia cares about Donbass citizens who dying there daily under ukrainian soldiers shelling.
    Fucking US and its fucking political games

    • Lucy
      December 23, 2014 at 14:05

      I am Russian whose relatives refuse to leave their home in Donbas (in Novorossia now, and fortunately in a currently safe area) and I fully agree with what you say.
      Although it is amazing to see how many people in different countries fully realize where it all goes and who are the real criminals, I am still wondering why can’t we, some sane “billion” all over the world, unite our collective efforts and bring this relatively small group of war mongers to the International Court?..I know, I am being too idealistic or even too naive, perhaps…but still. I just don’t see how else we can stop them to push our lovely beautiful planet along with all of us to the point of no return…Really…what should be done by any of us, ordinary people? I am still sure that worldwide collective resistance is the only solution, if we don’t want those mad dogs to rule any longer. We simply cannot let them sacrifice the entire mankind into the cosmic dust, simply because they are absolutely and hopelessly insane and must be neutralized, before it is too late.

  4. Kim Dixon
    December 19, 2014 at 18:06

    Thanks, Robert, for another important column highlighting the Neocons’ suicidal plans, and the Neocons’ repulsive enablers in the White House, Congress, and the MSM.

    As someone who remembers the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the subsequent nuclear nightmares of the 70s and 80s, I’m in a fair degree of despair over this. Because, not only is there no one with sense and vision leading the USA, there is no awareness of where this is leading (millions of immediate dead, followed by nuclear winter, and the end of life as we know it on earth).

    For there is no kickback from European and Asian leaders this time, and no demonstrations by the People of significance, anywhere in the world. It’s as if folks no longer understand what nuclear weapons will do, and that thousands are still on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch.

    I’m afraid that the realization will only come after the first detonation – but the end of all we know will be only hours or days away from that fateful event.

  5. Lisa FOS
    December 19, 2014 at 16:08

    No surprises here. I have long predicted that the world is in a race between WW3 and US collapse. In a very real sense the US cannot stop itself going to war with Russia (and later China…if there is anything left that is). The internal dynamics within the political/foreign affairs/etc elite and their near total domination by the neo-cons guarantees it.

    When your stated policy is ‘full spectrum dominance” and “…no peer competitor being allowed” and “…smash shitty countries up against the wall ever 10 years or so”, then eventually the nukes are going to fly.

    Add in that US elite being totally out of touch with reality (they “make their own because they an empire”), isolated from any real objective facts then you get absurdities like some of the elite actually believing their own propaganda. Classic examples being a fair few actually believe their AMD systems will work (they wont) and that the US can actually provide the EU with gas (reality hint: the US is still a huge importer of gas and oil).

    The US elites will not go quietly into the night like the UK and USSR ones did, they will take everything down with them first.

    So we are in a race right now, tic, tic, tic.

    • GusFarmer
      December 19, 2014 at 19:36

      And when such an ideology runs into a leader who bluntly states, “…it is not about Crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. That is what we should all realize” — as Putin did recently — a sane person would step back and take a look at what they’re doing. Of course, the neocons/neoliberals are too deluded by their belief in their own greatness and capitalism’s “invisible hand” to do that. Getting rid of such ideologues is a necessity for the survival of ALL of us.

  6. Abe
    December 19, 2014 at 15:56

    Washington takes over the Ukrainian economy in order to pursue a Total War agenda:

    The Feeding Begins: Foreign Bankers Descend on Ukraine
    By William Engdahl

    If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet.

    The US-picked Ukraine President, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko called “snap” elections at the end of August for October 26. He did so to make sure his regime of murderers, gangsters and in some cases outright Nazis would be able to push an unprepared genuine opposition out of the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament. Because the parliament had significant opposition parties to the US-engineered February 22 coup d’etat, they had blocked many key pieces of legislation that the Western vultures were demanding, from changing key land ownership laws to privatization of precious state assets. By law, the old parliament would have sat until its five year term ended in October, 2017. That was clearly too long for State Department neo-con Ukraine puppet-mistress Victoria Nuland and her backers in Washington.

    Now, with a new parliament that is controlled by the Petro Poroshenko bloc as largest party and the boyish-looking former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is also new Prime Minister as head of the second largest party, the way was clear to get on with the rape of Ukraine. What shocked some is the blatant foreign takeover that followed, like a Wall Street vulture fund raid on a distressed debtor country of the Third World.

  7. Abe
    December 19, 2014 at 14:28

    Washington has decided to arm Ukraine for renewed military assault on Russian ethnics in Donetsk and Luhansk.

    The US Senate approved the first reading of the draft law according to which henceforth Ukraine has the status of an American ally, without holding membership in NATO. This bill requires that the US, in the case of direct military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, will put its troops into action in the territory of an allied country in order to fight against the Russian enemy.

    As a consequence, we have a situation in which Ukrainian troops can join the storming of the Donbas. In the event of a failure, they can accuse Russia of aggression and then America will have the full right to start a war in Ukraine.

    As Poroshenko said he is ready for ‘total war’.

    Ukraine’s Poroshenko Prepared for ‘Total War’?
    By Konrad Stachnio

    • Abe
      December 19, 2014 at 14:40

      “I ask you: Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?”
      – Joseph Goebbels

      1943 started inauspiciously for Germany, with major military problems on all fronts. On 18 February 1943, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels delivered a speech at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large but carefully selected audience under a big banner bearing the all-capitals words “TOTALER KRIEG — KÃœRZESTER KRIEG” (“total war — briefest war”).

      Total war is defined as a war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded.

    • Abe
      December 19, 2014 at 15:38

      Total war in eastern Ukraine has already included ethnic cleansing, actions that parallel the purging of civilians from western Ukraine during the Second World War.

      Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D. was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. His research focused on comparative politics in post-Communist countries.

      In “Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and the UPA in Ukraine” (2010) Katchanovski concluded the following:

      “The issue of political rehabilitation and heroization of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army became one of the central political issues in Ukraine after the “Orange Revolution.” It provoked major political controversies and debates among historians in Ukraine and other countries. President Yushchenko, nationalist parties, and many Ukrainian historians attempted to recast the OUN and the UPA as a popular national liberation movement, which fought both against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and to present OUN and UPA leaders as national heroes. They either denied or justified by its pro- independence struggle, the involvement of the OUN and the UPA in terrorism, the Nazi genocide, and the ethnic cleansing.

      “However, historical studies and archival documents show that the OUN relied on terrorism and collaborated with Nazi Germany in the beginning of World War II. The OUN-B (Stepan Bandera faction) by means of its control over the UPA masterminded a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia during the war and mounted an anti-Soviet terror campaign in Western Ukraine after the war. These nationalist organizations, based mostly in Western Ukraine, primarily, in Galicia, were also involved in mass murder of Jews during World War II.”

      The massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia (Polish: rzeź woÅ‚yÅ„ska, literally: Volhynian slaughter; Ukrainian: Волинська трагедія, Volyn tragedy) were part of an ethnic cleansing operation carried out in Nazi German-occupied Poland by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)’s North Command in the regions of Volhynia (Reichskommissariat Ukraine) and their South Command in Eastern Galicia (General Government) beginning in March 1943 and lasting until the end of 1944.

      The peak of the massacres took place in July and August 1943. Most of the victims were women and children. The actions of the UPA resulted in 35,000-60,000 Polish deaths in Volhynia and 25,000-40,000 in Eastern Galicia.

      The killings were directly linked with the policies of the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military arm, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, whose goal specified at the Second Conference of the Stepan Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) during 17–23 February 1943 (or March 1943) was to purge all non-Ukrainians from the future Ukrainian state. Not limiting their activities to the purging of Polish civilians, the UPA also wanted to erase all traces of the Polish presence in the area.

      There is a general consensus among Western and Polish historians that Polish civilian casualties from the UPA in Volhynia range from 35,000 to 60,000.

      According to Katchanovski, “the lower bound of these estimates [35,000] is more reliable than higher estimates which are based on an assumption that the Polish population in the region was several times less likely to perish as a result of Nazi genocidal policies compared to other regions of Poland and compared to the Ukrainian population of Volhynia.”

  8. Abe
    December 19, 2014 at 12:44

    The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine

    Professor Ivan Katchanovski, PhD is the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada

    The snipers’ massacre question

    The massacre of several dozen Maidan protesters on February 20, 2014 was a turning point in Ukrainian politics and a tipping point in the escalating conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The mass killing of the protesters and the mass shooting of the police that preceded it led to the overthrow of the highly corrupt and pro-Russian but democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych and gave a start to a large-scale violent conflict that continues now in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. A conclusion promoted by the post-Yanukovych governments and the media in Ukraine that the massacre was perpetrated by government snipers on a Yanukovych order has been nearly universally accepted by the Western governments and the media, at least publicly, without concluding an investigation and without all evidence considered. For instance, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in his speech to the US Congress on September 18, 2014 again claimed that the Yanukovych government overthrow resulted from mass peaceful protests against police violence, in particular, killings of more than 100 protesters by snipers on February 20, 2014.

    The question is which side organized the “snipers’ massacre.” This paper is the first academic study of this crucial case of the mass killing. Analysis of a large amount of evidence in this study suggests that certain elements of the Maidan opposition, including its extremist far right wing, were involved in this massacre in order to seize power and that the government investigation was falsified for this reason.

    Evidence (presented in the 8,100 word paper)

    Academic investigation (presented in the 8,100 word paper)


    The analysis and the evidence presented in this academic investigation put the Euromaidan and the conflict in Ukraine into a new perspective. The seemingly irrational mass shooting and killing of the protesters and the police on February 20 appear to be rational from self-interest based perspectives of rational choice and Weberian theories of instrumentally-rational action. This includes the following: the Maidan leaders gaining power as a result of the massacre, President Yanukovych and his other top government officials fleeing on February 21, 2014 from Kyiv and then from Ukraine, and the retreat by the police. The same concerns Maidan protesters being sent under deadly fire into positions of no important value and then being killed wave by wave from unexpected directions. Similarly, snipers killing unarmed protesters and targeting foreign journalists but not Maidan leaders, the Maidan Self-Defense and the Right Sector headquarters, the Maidan stage, and pro-Maidan photographs become rational. While such actions are rational from a rational choice or instrumentally-rational theoretical perspective, the massacre not only ended many human lives but also undermined democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Ukraine.

    The massacre of the protesters and the police represented a violent overthrow of the government in Ukraine and a major human rights crime. This violent overthrow constituted an undemocratic change of government. It gave start to a large-scale violent conflict that turned into a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, to a Russian military intervention in support of separatists in Crimea and Donbas, and to a de-facto break-up of Ukraine. It also escalated an international conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The evidence indicates that an alliance of elements of the Maidan opposition and the far right was involved in the mass killing of both protesters and the police, while the involvement of the special police units in killings of some of the protesters cannot be entirely ruled out based on publicly available evidence. The new government that came to power largely as a result of the massacre falsified its investigation, while the Ukrainian media helped to misrepresent the mass killing of the protesters and the police. The evidence indicates that the far right played a key role in the violent overthrow of the government in Ukraine. This academic investigation also brings new important questions that need to be addressed.

  9. Joe
    December 19, 2014 at 11:24

    Thank you again, Mr. Parry, for the level headed article. I find the times that we are living in today seem almost upside down – Orwellian. The Ukraine situation is truly tragic since I believe that none of it needed to happen. If the “joint” EU/Russia suggestion by Moscow would have been agreed upon in November 2013 then Ukraine would have been helped by both sides which probably would have appeased the vast majority of Ukrainians on both sides. Even if the February 21st agreement had been respected then Yanukovych would have been “democratically” voted out of power, Crimea would still be a part of Ukraine, there would be no unrest in Eastern Ukraine, and no loggerhead between the west and Russia. To me, all of this was avoidable. But now, sadly, we see a resurgence of NATO and I think it will play a major role when in the next decade or so that Northern countries are fighting over oil rights in the Arctic.

    My hope, though, is that Russia will make major in-roads into Asia and recoup what it has lost. I am also hopeful for the BRICS to reset the economics of the world along with rebalancing the power structure of the world where hopefully these idiotic wars end. I am hoping in the future that with institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank, an alternate SWIFT system etc. that sanctions will no longer work since it would only drive countries into the alternative system. Well we still have a long way to go but I think that in Russia’s time of strife that it still has friends and I cannot think that China will let Russia fall especially with the US aggressively pivoting to Asia. We will have to see how this all plays out but hopefully it does not end with us in WW3.

  10. Lutz Barz
    December 19, 2014 at 05:36

    Actually the area around Crimea predates Russia by aeons.

    • Yuri
      December 19, 2014 at 11:13

      And so does the rest of the planet. What’s your point?!

    • Abe
      December 19, 2014 at 12:23

      In 1783, the war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America ended.

      In 1783, the Crimean Khanate, which had existed since 1441 and was the last remnant of the Mongol Golden Horde, was annexed by the Russian Empire of Catherine the Great.

      Actually the area around the former British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America predates the United States by aeons.

      Your point?

  11. John
    December 18, 2014 at 22:14

    The groupthink is a totalitarian doctrine manufactured by the oligarchy, that must be accepted to gain office or promotion, and is dictated to politicians by campaign financiers, and to the organization man by his corporate overlords; that is by the oligarchy of economic powers which has displaced democracy. The doctrine is dictated to the upwardly mobile citizen by the internal propaganda warfare machine of mass media, also directly controlled by the oligarchy. We all know what we must say about politics and foreign policy to be promoted or elected, or even accorded our rights in court. The insanity of the groupthink is that it deliberately sabotages democracy, promotes war as personal entertainment for the rich, deliberately deceives the public with not an ounce of decency, devotes itself to personal gain at the expense of the common good, and considers its propaganda and lies to be productivity.

    I would not call this neo-conservative, because it conserves nothing but personal wealth and power, and constitutes a right-wing revolution against democracy. To be conservative in the US one must be liberal in valuing government by the people, not government by economic concentrations, for it is a liberal Constitution that we would conserve. The obstinacy of pathological liars and opportunists, and of religious fundamentalists, is not conservatism in any meaningful sense, and they should be deprived of that respectable designation. The “neo-cons” and militarists are traitors wrapped in the flag, nothing more.

    I doubt that the US attacks on the USSR would result in nuclear war, although destabilization is foolish. The problem is that the oligarchy does not care in the least for Truth and Justice, either for foreign nationals or US citizens.

    • December 19, 2014 at 02:37

      Well said. The sad thing is that a peaceful gradual reform is unlikely to work because of the total control of the mass media by the top 1% and the CIA. On the other hand, shock therapy and destabilization of the nuclear-armed US government would be as perilous for the world as destabilization of Russia.

    • Abe
      December 19, 2014 at 15:02

      US politicians in the twenty-first century are attempting to attack an entity that no longer exists. This madness very well could result in a nuclear war.

      The Russian Federation is seen as the legal continuator state and is for most purposes the heir to the USSR. It retained ownership of all former Soviet embassy properties, as well as the old Soviet UN membership and permanent membership on the Security Council.

      The Baltic states are not successor states to the Soviet Union; they are instead considered to have de jure continuity with their pre-World War II governments through the non-recognition of the original Soviet incorporation in 1940.

      The other 11 post-Soviet states are considered newly-independent successor states to the Soviet Union.

      On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (formerly Byelorussia), signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place. While doubts remained over the authority of the accords to do this, on 21 December 1991, the representatives of all Soviet republics except Georgia signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the accords. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to Yeltsin. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time, and the Russian tricolor was raised in its place.

      The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991.

      Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union’s rights and obligations.

      • John
        December 19, 2014 at 15:50

        Yes, “USSR” meant “former USSR” and should be “Russia.”

      • Abe
        December 19, 2014 at 16:01

        And yes, nuclear war by miscalculation is a distinct possibility.

  12. Travis
    December 18, 2014 at 20:51

    Great reporting as always Mr. Parry. As someone who is young and has only been following politics closely for a few years this type of propaganda campaign is something I never really witnessed before. It’s easy to spot the Pro-Israeli or Anti-Assad/Libya or any number of other propaganda campaigns perpetuated by the US or Corporations, but usually you will get a few dissent voices in some of the MSM, in regards to Russia they are no where to be found. Thanks for actually covering these topics with some reason.

  13. Brendan
    December 18, 2014 at 20:12

    The pretext for the western-supported overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych was the massacre of more than a hundred protestors in Kiev in February 2014, which Yanukovych allegedly ordered his forces to carry out. Doubts have been expressed about the evidence for this allegation, but they have been almost entirely ignored by the western media and politicians.

    Ukrainian-Canadian professor Ivan Katchanovski has carried out a detailed study of the evidence of those events, including videos and radio intercepts made publicly available by pro-Maidan sources, and eye witness accounts. His findings point to the involvement of far-right militias in the massacre and a cover-up afterwards:

    – The trajectories of many of the shots indicate that they were fired from buildings that were then occupied by Maidan forces.
    – Many warnings were given by announcers on the Maidan stage about snipers firing from those buildings.
    – Several leaders of the then opposition felt secure enough to give speeches on the Maidan around the time that gunmen in nearby buildings were shooting protestors dead, and those leaders were not targeted by the gunmen .
    – Many of the protesters were shot with an outdated type of firearm that was not used by professional snipers but was available in Ukraine as a hunting weapon.
    – Recordings of all live TV and Internet broadcasts of the massacre by five different TV channels were either removed from their websites
    immediately after the massacre or not made publicly available.
    – Official results of ballistic, weapons, and medical examinations and other evidence collected during the investigations have not been made public, while crucial evidence, including bullets and weapons, has disappeared.
    – No evidence has been given that links the then security forces’ weapons to the killings of the protesters.
    – No evidence has been given of orders to shoot unarmed protestors even though the new government claimed that Yanukovych issued those orders personally.
    – So far the only three people have been charged with the massacre, one of whom has disappeared from house arrest.

    Part 1 (more yet to come) of Snipers’ Massacre on the Maidan Video:

  14. Steve
    December 18, 2014 at 18:55

    I don’t know why people call them Neo-Cons they have proven to be worse than the extremists they purport to be after I would call them Supremists and history will judge them to be worse than the Nazi’s they model themselves after and who ever the leader turns out to be worse than Hitler thus fulfilling Nostradamus’s predictions.

  15. Mark
    December 18, 2014 at 17:06

    Much of the credit for our arrogance has to be blamed on the mass media playing along with these mind games – which are mostly being perpetrated against the American and European public. It’s certain Putin is not fooled and the Russian public must have more of the truth than the average misinformed American.

  16. Bruce
    December 18, 2014 at 16:56

    They’re Nuking FUT$!

  17. Shaun P
    December 18, 2014 at 16:31

    Interestingly OSCE have praised Russia (and Ukraine) for their efforts in encouraging the local fighters to stop, through the joint command center, resulting in the recent lull in violence.

    Yet the US will press on with their weapons and sanctions, and sadly a lot of people will continue to view Russia as the aggressor despite an internationally recognised organisation stating that Russia are helping to end the violence, while the US send guns.

    OCSE Press Relese 13th December 2014

  18. December 18, 2014 at 16:17

    Apparently, A (mild) thaw in US-Russia ties.
    Reports on the meeting between the US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the American Embassy Residence in Rome suggest that an urgent need has arisen for the Obama administration to seek the Kremlin’s cooperation in the Middle East crisis.

  19. Abe
    December 18, 2014 at 16:10

    Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking
    By Dennis Kucinich

    Each Western incitement creates a Russian response, which is then given as further proof that the West must prepare for the very conflict it has created, war as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    That the recent Russia sanctions bill was advanced, “unanimously,” without debate in the House, portends that our nation is sleepwalking through the graveyards of history, toward an abyss where controlling factors reside in the realm of chance, what Thomas Hardy termed “crass casualty.” Such are the perils of unanimity.

  20. December 18, 2014 at 16:06

    Superb reporting, Mr. Parry, for which many thanks. Too bad the moronic leaders of Moron Nation won’t heed its terrifying warning. (But then, under capitalism, what else is the Ruling Class to do with all us surplus workers save kill us off in [another] war?)
    And if it goes nuclear? The aristocrats don’t care. Not only have they got impregnable shelters. They’re also looking forward to the deaths of all of us millions of “unprofitable” women, men and children.

    • Kim Dixon
      December 19, 2014 at 18:10

      And indeed, the crowd of Neocons leading this aggression is too young, too stupid, too uneducated in the ways of nuclear arms to realize that this time, they will not escape the holocaust they have unleashed.

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