Rostislav Ishchenko: Ukraine’s Upcoming “Harvest 2018” – Separating the Wheat From the Chaff

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


If to take a detached view of Ukraine and to perceive local events through the prism of the Russian media, there will be the impression that besides the visa-free regime and Saakashvili, nothing in general happened in 2017 in the country. Moreover, the influence of both the visa-free regime with the EU and the vigorous emigration on the general situation also isn’t externally noticeable at all.

If to read the western media, there will be the impression that recently in Kiev the authorities were completely replaced. The EU noticed not only the corrupt character of the regime, but even saw separate manifestations of Nazism. However, even this didn’t lead to essential movement in relations in the triangle West-Russia-EU. The sanctions of Brussels and the counter-sanctions of Moscow, to the great pleasure of Russian agricultural producers, remained intact, and the West stopped financing for Kiev already at the beginning of 2016.

But, if to read the Ukrainian media, it will appear that life in the country is in full swing, but the State disappears in front of the eyes. Quotes from “great” Gordon or “great” Karasev can be put uncensored in the mouths of deputies of the State Duma and Federation Council (the executive power connected to diplomatic conventions simply can’t afford itself such sharp expressions concerning Ukraine).

And such “greats” now become more and more in Kiev. Everyone who didn’t stupidly irreversibly bind themselves to the regime, having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, start to observably see the light. Unlike the West, which criticises the regime only for corruption, their own side don’t leave a stone unturned. “Suddenly” it became clear that the war in Donbass was criminal and promoted the disintegration of Ukraine. Also, Ukrainian “experts” “unexpectedly” realised the inadmissibility of the rupture of economic ties with Russia, because such a disruption destroyed the Ukrainian economy. In 2017, in Kiev encroachment on what is sacred took place, patent supporters of Maidan on the air of servile local TV channels started doubting the European integration bliss.

In general, four years didn’t even pass before the local “enlightened” minds realised those simple things that were explained to them already before Maidan, and for which they were ready to put in prison, kill, or expel from the country. Tomorrow they will start to shame us because we insufficiently convincingly propagandised the Customs Union. They already take a place in the queue outside the Kremlin in order to offer their services in “creating a pro-Russian Ukraine”.

It is necessary to say that a feature of the Ukrainian expert community is “understanding” obvious things only when they are a local political trend and when you aren’t beaten up, but paid for them. Thus, we can ascertain: by the end of 2017 the people who control the Ukrainian information space and still define the political orientation of Kiev reflected on their prospects after the failure of another Maidan experiment.

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In this regard emigres in Moscow (those who dream of returning to power in Ukraine) and politicians in Kiev are absolutely united. They are always guided by previous experiences and consider that events will surely repeat themselves precisely in the format that they took place last time according to their memories. If the end of the first Maidan marked the return to power of Yanukovych and the “Party of Regions”, which successfully utilised the pro-Russian mood of their voters, then now (according to the Ukrainian politicians) a force (consisting of these same former regionals) must come to power, who will reach an agreement with the Kremlin on support, stabilisation of the situation in the country, and will relaunch “European integration” on Russian money on the next cycle. It is a high time to join the winner.

What can be said about these plans?

Observations of Ukrainian politicians and experts are absolutely correct. Ukraine is not even on its last legs. Its statehood simply doesn’t exist. What remains in the country can be called a State only conditionally. Even in the first centuries of our era such structures were called “chiefdom”, “unions of tribes”, “pre-State” formations. But those (ancient) structures progressed, developing towards a modern regular State, while Ukraine regressed, having turning into a gang.

The laws and constitution have regulated nothing on the Ukrainian territory for a long time. Only the desires of financial-political groups, powerful enough to force society to obey, matter. State resources (finances, taxes, the economy) are considered by leaders as personal property that goes hand in hand with their position. Having such a job, they try to transform the personal property under their control into private property. At the same time, the opponents who gain strength try to take away their position in order to acquire the right to control property.

However, the political style of a disintegrator-gang gains more and more popularity in Ukraine. It differs from a stable gang in the fact that leader (ataman) enjoys indisputable authority. There are no laws in such a gang, but there are customs, while the ataman is the main keeper of customs and the arbitration judge in difficult questions. The disintegrator-gang considers the ataman to be only an interim leader (for the duration of military clashes). Otherwise all are equal, and only those whose sword is sharper, tip is longer, pistol is loaded in time, and knife is always ready are right. In the disintegrator-gang, those who managed to take something for themselves do so, before it’s taken back again. That’s why it is necessary to eat quickly or to somehow use what was acquired. Anyway, it will be taken away or stolen, so it is necessary to manage to receive some profits for themselves.

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It is clear that such a structure is extremely unstable and can’t exist for a long time. Gangs can appear and disappear, and divide up territory again in a different way, to wring out something from each other, but having once turned into a gang, the State can’t restore itself and return to normal constitutional life by its own efforts. Moreover, the gang isn’t able to keep even territorial unity. The territories of the former State interest it only as a feeding zone. If the maintenance of infrastructure and the remains of the people demand more expenses than profits brings, then control over this part of the territory is also uninteresting.

The State can consider its investments as the creation of a reserve for future profit. But the gang (especially the disintegrator-gang) needs to receive its wealth here and now. It has no time to create. It is necessary to take away everything that can be taken. It follows that if existing things aren’t enough or resistance is too strong, then the gang simply changes its region of deployment, sometimes entering the conflict with other gangs over a feeding zone.

We observe all of this in Kiev now. Gangs are still under the cover of party names. They still speak about State interests, but their actions have long had nothing in common with regular statehood.

If in 2014 we ascertained a paralysis of the main systems of the State organism and the inability of interested politicians to restore their normal work due to a sharp intellectual insufficiency in the Ukrainian political elite and expert community, then today we must ascertain that even the time when physical recovery of the Ukrainian State system was possible, at least theoretically, already passed. Now all present political forces act only for disintegration.

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They don’t exclude or even desire someone “coming and bringing order” after final disintegration. But they themselves seek only disintegration, because only the process of disintegration still allows them to be enriched. It is precisely for this reason that outside interference aimed at stabilising the Ukrainian political system is impossible. This system seeks disintegration, it is pushed towards this by the main beneficiaries of this system – Ukrainian politicians. That’s why the system recovery is impossible until the political class changes (including the media and expert service staff). But the political class can’t be replaced while this system exists.

The circle became closed. In order for it to be possible to create something intelligent where Ukraine once stood, the system itself (it isn’t a State system anymore – but, like a gang, it all the same is simplified to the extreme – but it’s still a system) must disappear.

And it precisely this that Ukrainian politicians who are anxious about the search for a new suzerain – who will construct factories; restore transport infrastructure; recreate cities (which are gradually turning into a stopping place for modern nomads); create State apparatus for them to use to govern and then leave, having given them all of this to plunder for the next 20 years – don’t understand. But whilst they (Ukrainian politicians) exist, no philanthropist will be able to create anything on this unfortunate territory.

That’s why if 2017 became the year of the definitive annihilation of Ukrainian statehood, then in 2018 politicians should also follow the State into non-existence. After the termination of the existence of Ukraine as a physical reality, it must also stop existing as idea. Only after this will the chance appear – with international help – for this half-fled and partially extinct people to start everything anew.

In 2017 we passed the boundary after which the survival of the citizens of the former Ukraine directly depends on how fast they will be able to separate themselves from the late Ukrainian statehood. Strictly speaking, it is a division into those who refused their Ukrainism (and therefore survived) and those who remained in Ukrainism (and went together with it into the abyss) that must become the main trend of 2018 on the territories that were recently the Ukrainian State.

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