A brief history of post-coup Ukraine
“People are machines of forgetfulness.”
— Henri Barbusse
After the last two years of dystopia, people can be categorized, roughly, into three groups: those who understood the point, those who missed the point, and those who understood the wrong point. Sadly, many of the people that were deeply scrutinous of the pandemic dysphoria are falling into the latter category these days. I am talking about the Russia-Ukraine war, and more specifically, the response to that war in the skeptic community. There are many that are eating up the media coverage of this war and some like Alex Bereson have even called his followers “useful idiots” for questioning the official narrative. Obviously, I do not want to live in an echo chamber, so normally I would say differing views are important. But I have been following the situation in Ukraine closely for the last eight years, and I have come to the conclusion that there is only one proper stance on the war: Ukraine is not a country worth fighting a thermonuclear war over.
And yes, when people say we should support Ukraine with weapons and sanctions, their position is that we should be prepared to escalate this conflict to the brink of Armageddon because Putin would be within his rights to say the west has declared war on Russia at this point. Hell, Biden even said “we are in a war right now” a few days ago — are we? To be fair, most of the situation in the Ukraine is the fault of the military and intelligence industrial complexes destabilizing the region and financing dangerous groups (who far too often happen to be neo-nazis), but it would be nice to not continue the escalation. You do not have to be pro-Russia to see NATO fingerprints all over this situation.
Before I go into the timeline of events in Ukraine that resulted in destabilizing the country, I want to make it clear that both sides are individually at fault as well. Torture, murder, and general human rights violations have not been uncommon on either side of the Donbas border. Though the Separatists, generally, got the worst of the shelling. Ukrainian forces were financed and trained by NATO, and Separatist forces financed and trained by Russia.
Individual Ukrainians were the victims, but I want to be clear: there is no solution to the Donbas situation where they stay in Ukraine. Neo-nazis hold too much sway in the country and there is no ceasefire they will not breach. The government has not only lacked the ability to contain them, but they have incorporated them into the system in order to gain the only kind of advantage that matters in a pseudo-democratic state like Ukraine: an advantage in the propensity to commit violence. Hatred is now entrenched on both sides and the demilitarization of Donbas would result in nothing short of an ethnic cleansing. I do not say that lightly.
When this conflict first occurred, I hoped for a swift surrender by Ukraine to preserve the lives of civilians, because there is no democracy in the country left to preserve. Despite what the western media tells you, this is not a peaceful democratic nation being invaded by the next Hitler. It is a violent, corrupt place that has been purposefully tailored that way by foreign influence. I do not say that lightly either.
In any case, here is a timeline that will help you get a flavor of what has been occurring in that country. Think of this list as an iceberg; there is far more below the surface than what meets the eye. Even some events which would be noteworthy events in a western country, ie., the annual January 1st torch-light march to celebrate the birthday of Nazi Stepan Bandera, have been, largely, left off this list for the sake of brevity.
Here we go…
21 November 2013 — President Yanukovych abruptly changes Ukrainian stance on an Association Agreement with the European Union
21 November 2013 — Large protests begin in Independence Square in Kyiv.
29 November 2013 — A formal resolution by protest organizers made the following demands:
The formation of a coordinating committee to communicate with the European community.
A statement indicating that the president, parliament, and the Cabinet of Ministers aren't capable of carrying out a geopolitically strategic course of development for the state and demanding Yanukovych's resignation.
The cessation of political repressions against EuroMaidan activists, students, civic activists and opposition leaders.
1 December 2013 — Protesters storm the presidential administration building in defiance of a government ban on protests.
2 December 2013 — Protesters occupy city council building in Kyiv.
27 January 2014 — Phone-conversation between Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, Jeffrey Pyatt. She instructed Pyatt to begin grooming Arseniy Yatsenyuk to take over as President of Ukraine.
18 February 2014 — The neo-nazi group C-14 takes refuge in a Canadian embassy.
20 February 2014 — Sniper fire in Maiden square leads to a massacre. More than 50 anti-government protesters killed. Interesting to note, wounded individuals would later allege that sniper fire came from protester controlled buildings and there have been allegations that the snipers were foreign provocateurs.
21 February 2014 — President Yanukovych flees Kyiv for Kharkiv assisted by Russian Spetsnaz. He said that an armed coup had taken place and he is still the legitimate president as there has been no impeachment, resignation, or death.
22–23 February 2014 — Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with security service chiefs to discuss the extrication of Yanukovych. At the end of the meeting, Putin remarks "we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia”.
11 March 2014 — Yanukovych wants to return to Ukraine as soon as possible.
16 March 2014 — Crimea declares independence after a referendum. There are international questions about the legitimacy of the referendum, but a later Pew poll suggested that Crimean residents overwhelming felt the vote was fair.
18 March 2014 — Russia formally annexes Crimea. Early thought is that this is to secure Russian access to the Black Sea.
22 March 2014 — The neo-nazi group “Right Sector” becomes a political party.
4 April 2014 — Separatist activities begin in Donetsk and Luhansk.
25 April 2014 — Ukraine begins to cut water supply to Crimea. 85% of Crimea’s water supply comes from the North Crimean Canal located in Ukraine.
2 May 2014 — Clashes between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian activists break out in the streets of Odessa. There is a large skirmish at the Trade Unions House. The pro-Russian activists are locked inside and the building is set on fire resulting in 42 deaths.
5 May 5 2014 — The neo-nazi group “Azov Battalion” is formed.
11 May 2014 — Referendums on secession from Ukraine held in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The votes overwhelming support secession. Ukraine and most of the international community do not recognize the votes as legitimate.
25 May 2014 — Petro Poroshenko wins the Ukrainian election. Separatist regions do not participate.
5 September 2014 — Minsk agreement signed which leads to a ceasefire.
12 November 2014 — The neo-nazi Azov Battalion officially incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard.
31 December 2014 — 2084 civilians killed in 2014.
5 January 2015 — Ceasefire broken.
21 January 2015 — United Nations estimates 5,086 killed and some 10,948 people have been wounded between mid-April last year and 21 January 2015. Numbers include both civilians and combatants.
12 February 2015 — Second Minsk agreement. Another ceasefire enacted.
5 May 2015 — Alley of Angels plaque installed to commemorate children that died due to the shelling in Donbas.
14 December 2015 — Ukrainian military, National Guard and SBU servicemen conduct a raid in the Government-controlled town of Krasnohorivka. 85 residents are arrested for their alleged affiliation with the Separatists.
20 December 2015 — Raid undertaken in the Government-controlled town of Avdiivka. Up to 100 residents were arrested on the same grounds. Most people were released after questioning in both raids.
31 December 2015 — 954 civilians killed in 2015.
8 February 2016 — United Nations reports the SBU provided a list of 136 people who may be in the custody of Separatists. Correspondingly, the United Nations reports 1,110 persons have been detained by the Government of Ukraine, including 363
members of the Separatist groups. Including 577 people arrested for “their political views” and 170 civilians “who have nothing to do with the conflict”.
14 October 2016 — Andriy Biletsky, white supremacist and neo-nazi, founder of Azov Batallion is elected to parliament. He ran as an independent in Kyiv.
16 October 2016 — Arsen Pavlov known under the nickname “Motorola”, a popular Donetsk commander is assassinated by an Improvised Explosive Device in his apartment elevator. He had previously dodged assassination attempts including a car bomb.
16 December 2016 — Ukraine demands Separatists release all hostages. Separatists refuse.
31 December 2016 — 112 civilians killed in 2016.
25 January 2017 — In response to the refusal to release hostages, Ukraine begins blockading Donbas. Items not allowed to enter the territory include metal, wood, cigarettes and alcohol.
8 February 17 — Popular separatist commander Mikhail Tolstykh, known as “Givi” is assassinated in rocket attack.
10 February 17 — Givi’s funeral is held in the Leninsky District of Donetsk. Tens of thousands of people attend. He is buried in the same cemetery as Arsen Pavlov.
1 March 2017 — As an additional blockade measure, Ukrainian government issues decree further limiting the goods that can enter or leave Donbas.
2 March 2017 — In response to the blockade, Separatists “nationalize” businesses which were previously paying Ukrainian taxes.
15 March 2017 — The blockade is formalized until the Separatist controlled territories return to Ukrainian control.
1 June 2017 — A new monument by the Alley of Angels is unveiled. It commemorates Kirill Sidoryuk, a 13 year old boy who died protecting his sister from shelling.
31 December 2017 — 117 civilians killed in 2017.
20 April 2018 — The neo-nazi group C-14 (14 stands for the “fourteen words”) attack a Romani settlement to commemorate Hitler's birthday.
23-24 April 2018 — In a copycat attack, the neo-nazi Nemezyda group sets fire to multiple Romani houses. Over the next several months, neo-nazi groups attack Romani people and settlements frequently including on May 9th and 22nd; and June 7th, 11th, and 23rd.
31 December 2018 — 55 civilians killed in 2018.
14 May 2019 — Ukraine signs a bill into law that prevents the use of Russian and Hungarian language in most public spaces. Russian is the first language for most in Donbas.
27 May 2019 — Dmytro Yarosh, co-founder of a neo-nazi group Right Sector, says “[Zelensky] will hang on some tree on Khreshchatyk” if he makes peace in Donbas after he is elected.
28 June 2019 — Zelensky signs a decree granting citizenship to foreigners that participated in fighting Separatists in Donbas.
21 July 2019 — Zelensky becomes president; he ran on a mandate of withdrawing from the contact line in Eastern Ukraine.
6 August 2019 — Ukrainian courts declare it no longer legal to call C-14 neo-nazis. International watchdogs are baffled by the ruling.
1 October 2019 — Ukraine and Russian agree to Steinmeier Formula. This formula would provide a referendum/mechanism for Donbas to separate from Ukraine or remain in Ukraine with special status. The agreement sparks massive “no to capitulation!” protests. The referendum will never be held.
3 October 2019 — In response to protests, Zelensky says there will be no capitulation on Donbas.
26 October 2019 — Zelensky travels to Zolote in order to prevent further shelling by Ukrainian forces. Neo-nazi groups threaten him. Little in the way of tangible progress is accomplished and this move sparks a more aggressive stance by neo-nazi groups in the region.
9 December 2019 — Zelensky meets with Putin to discuss peace in Donbas.
31 December 2019 — 27 civilians killed in 2019
21-25 February 2020 — Poll reports 70% of residents in Ukraine believe Zelensky’s attempts to find peace in Donbas are not working.
27 August 2020 — Azov’s National Corps fire rubber bullets on a bus containing members of the opposition party in Ukraine, injuring 4.
31 December 2020 — 26 civilians killed in 2020.
5 February 2021 — “Pro-Russian” media banned in Ukraine.
23 February 2021 — Serhiy Sternenko, head of the Nemezyda group and former board member of Right Sector, is found guilty of kidnapping a local Odessa politician. He is sentenced to 7 years 3 months in prison. Thousands of people show up outside the Zelensky’s office to protest the decision. Shortly after, he is released on house arrest due to public pressure.
24 March 2021 — Zelensky signs a decree to “de-occupy” Crimea and “re-integrate” Donbas to Ukraine.
6 April 2021 — Zelensky says Minsk has failed and joining NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbas noting the membership action plan will be a real signal for Russia.
22 April 2021 — Zelensky says Ukraine is ready for war with Russia.
30 April 2021 — Rumors surface that Zelensky offered to appoint Serhiy Sternenko to the head of the SBU.
13 May 2021 — Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk is put under house arrest on suspicion of “high treason”.
31 May 2021 — Ukrainian court commutes the sentence of Serhiy Sternenko.
14 July 2021 — The language law essentially banning the use of Russian in Ukraine is ruled as constitutional by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
5 August 2021 — Zelenksy tells ethnic Russians in Donbas to “go to Russia”, further inflaming tensions.
23 August 2021 — Crimean platform set-up with the goal of returning Crimea to Ukrainian control.
3 October 2021 — The Pandora Papers are released. Both Putin and Zelensky are named in the papers.
November 2021 — Russia begins amassing troops on the border to Ukraine; Ukraine begins amassing troops on the border to Donbas.
9 December 2021 — Putin states that what is happening in Donbas is akin to genocide.
16 December 2021 — Zelensky seeks NATO assurances in case of invasion.
17 December 2021 — Putin asks NATO for assurance that Ukraine will never be able to join.
31 December 2021 — 25 civilians killed in 2021.
24 January 2022 — Zelensky says the time has come to take “offensive actions” to re-take Donbas and Crimea. Interestingly, classified documents from Ukraine released by Russia after the beginning of the war show that Ukraine planned offensive action to re-take Donbas in March. The date these documents were signed was January 24.
7 February 2022 — Separatist Denis Pushilin says full scale war can break out at any time.
14 February 2022 — Zelensky re-iterates that he wants Ukraine to join NATO.
19 February 2022 — Zelensky suggests the Budapest Memorandum is no longer working. The implication is that Ukraine should get nuclear weapons.
24 February 2022 — Russia invades Ukraine. Estimates are over 3,000 civilians and over 15,000 total people have died in the conflict up until this point. The world finally notices.
"Ukraine is not a country worth fighting a thermonuclear war over."
This. Times one thousand.
I'll also say that the least bloody and destructive thing to do, when a region of a country overwhelmingly no longer wishes to be part of that country, is to let them go. It seems quite clear that Crimea and Donbas do not wish to be part of Ukraine, particularly not an anti-Russian Ukraine. Sadly, a peaceful divorce is something that rarely happens.
So which country is worth getting into a thermonuclear war over?