Dateline, Ukraine: How the State Department ‘midwives’ democracy

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US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (L) and US ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette (C) walk on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013. (Photo: AFP/ SERGEY GAPON)
US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (L) and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (C) walk on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013. (Photo: AFP/ SERGEY GAPON)

Detail 1: Excerpt from transcript of Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs  “Remarks at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference,” 16 December 2013:

Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.

Detail 2: Excerpt from transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt Call:

Voice thought to be Geoffrey Pyatt’s: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.

Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work. . . .

Detail 3: Excerpt from Strange Accusations by Vladimir Putin, in Time Magazine 2007 “Person of the Year” Interview:

Putin: I believe that this [suggestion that Russia sell gas to Ukraine at a discount] is a violation of the market principles, damaging the economies in question. Within Russia, we’ve adopted a program of reaching the world price levels for domestic consumption. Any other approach would distort economic indicators and economies, making one sector dependent on other sectors, leading to cross-subsidies and destroying the economy. We do understand the difficulties of our partners. For 15 years, we were selling them energy resources way below the market prices subsidized to the tune of $3 billion to $5 billion a year for Ukraine. This cannot last forever. The Europeans are always criticizing us. They want us to introduce international pricing standards. Otherwise, they say, our enterprises would enjoy an unfair advantage over European enterprises. So within the country we should sell at world prices while to our neighbors we should sell below the world prices? This is discrimination. Let’s be frank and speak directly and call a spade a spade. What I’m about to say is not aggressive in any way, but I urge you to be frank. The United States somehow decided that part of the political elite in Ukraine is pro-American and part is pro-Russian, and they decided to support the ones they consider pro-American, the so-called orange coalition. Well, O.K., you decided to support them. Do as you please, although we don’t believe it’s right. Of course, they have people with different outlooks there and with different political tastes, but as I’ve already mentioned, if a politician wants to be popular, he or she must protect the national interests first of all, be Ukrainian nationalists in the good sense of this word. And they are. They are not pro-Russians. They are not pro-Europeans. They are not pro-Americans. They are all pro-Ukrainians, but somehow Americans divided them all into pro- this or that. We believe that is a mistake. Let them settle their issues themselves. Everything that’s been done there is unconstitutional, which has created distrust among various political groups and citizens, thus undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and economy. That’s what the United States has done and is doing in Ukraine and in Georgia. What we say is, leave them alone, without choosing sides. When everyone saw that destabilization was under way in Ukraine, they tried to force Russia to subsidize the Ukrainian economy at our expense. Why? If you want to support someone, you pay for it. Nobody wants to pay.

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What was the date of this State Department presser?

Thanks, David, for your principles and for your great work here and always.

Thank you for bringing up this topic again. I believe the situation in Ukraine has a lot to do with the interests of extreme right wing neocon zionists. Putin in his presser two days ago asked: First of all, my assessment of what happened in Kiev and in Ukraine in general. There can only be one assessment: this was an anti-constitutional takeover, an armed seizure of power. Does anyone question this? Nobody does. There is… Read more »

This was on Veterans Today. See minute 8:00.

I had to read to the end of Bandolero’s comment, with Kiracofe’s dot-connecting, to see how this report was on topic for Mondoweiss. Are Russia and the US really such pawns in neocon games?