Selbstschutz

“Self protection,” i.e. self-policing groups that the Ukrainian opposition organized in multiple cities to “arrest” plunderers and actual and accidental provocateurs during the protests.

In the town of Lviv this week, in western Ukraine, police and military buildings and barracks were occupied and then guarded by Selbstschutz volunteers, said ZDF heute journal. “Anyone whose blood is boiling can go to Kiev,” said one such guard, speaking into a megaphone.

After protesters stormed President Janukovytsch’s huge country residence at Mezhyhirya on 22 Feb 2014, the paramilitary Selbstschutz found themselves guarding it as well. “Why should we plunder what belongs to us?” At first they tried to admit only small groups of people but, when the students and families with children massed outside threatened to tear the gates off the hinges, they let everyone in after asking them not to trample the lawns. Amazing photos resulted of Ukrainians wandering bemused around the giant hunting lodges, zoos and one fake 16th-century? Spanish galleon.

(ZELBST shətz.)

Bliff

What the Ukrainian word for “bluffed” sounded like in the commentary of protesters behind frozen snow walls in Kiev’s icy Maidan square last week. They were analyzing Viktor Janukovytsch’s offer of cabinet posts to two of the three opposition leaders, with himself remaining at the helm and no early elections before the scheduled one in 2015.

The offer was made on 25 Jan 2014 and the Ukrainian opposition turned it down on 26 Jan 2014.

Führerkrankenhausbesuch als Unschuldstarnung

Leader’s hospital visit as innocence camouflage.

After last week’s compromises in the Ukrainian Rada, which Mr. Janukovytsch did not sign into law, Mr. Janukovytsch announced he was ill and disappeared into a hospital. Vitali Klitschko said that tended to be a bad sign in the Soviet era, when leaders would pretend to be sick and out of the loop when their people were getting ready to visit some atrocities on a population.

Update on 26 Jan 2014: Protests have spread beyond Kiev to many other regions of the country. The head of the military said his organization would not act against protesters.

Update on 31 Jan 2014: Army leadership spoke up “for the first time” and said the country was threatening to split apart and Mr. Janukovytsch must take steps to achieve stability and harmony in Ukrainian society. The Ukrainian opposition complained that activists were being systematically kidnapped and tortured; the United Nations called for an independent investigation of those allegations. At least 30 people are missing. One of the missing was recently found dead in the woods.

Though post-Soviet leaders may still be able to hide in hospitals, injured protesters in Ukraine cannot. Ukrainian police have also been accused of going through hospitals to menace people beaten by Ukrainian police. On 30 Jan 2014, after disappearing for nine days, activist Dmitro Bulatow turned up again with wounds all over his swollen body. It looks like they hammered nails through his hands, and cut off an ear. His spokespeople said during his ordeal he was interrogated every day by men asking, “Where is the money?” and “Who and what countries are behind the demonstrators?” After his return, the government first declared Mr. Bulatow under house arrest, because he was too injured for prison, for “organization of massive disturbances.” This prevented him from being able to seek safer medical treatment in a foreign country—reporters showed footage of police who turned up to interrogate Mr. Bulatow at the clinic where he was receiving treatment.

Germany’s foreign minister announced on Saturday, 01 Feb 2014, that he’d heard Mr. Bulatow will be permitted to leave Ukraine on Sunday. Also, Mr. Janukovytsch reportedly did finally sign the repeals of the new anti-demonstration laws.

(Führer CRONK en house be ZOO chh   ollss   OON shooldz tah noong.)

Veteranen wissen um den Wert des Lebens

Veterans know how valuable life is.

Military veterans among the protesters in Ukraine have been quietly doing excellent work. They help calm down the angriest protesters. They started cleaning up Kiev’s convention center the day after protesters stormed it. The night protesters took over the convention center, veterans organized the peaceful retreat of a hundred police who had been assigned to defend it.

The very well-spoken Ukrainian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who said soldiers know life’s value also told reporters, “There were some who said let’s beat the police, take their clothes away, humiliate them. But I said let’s not be like they are. Let’s set our own example.”

(Vet tare ON en   VISS en   oom   dane   VAIR t   dess   LAY benz.)

“Verhandlungen alle zwei Monaten”

“Negotiations recurring every two months.”

“What Putin is offering is to renegotiate the [price] every two months, to exert new pressure, and that’s the case for energy prices. The first billion Russia delivered, they fulfilled maybe 750 million of that, to pay old Ukrainian debts. That means, and Janukovytsch knows this, that if he continues to go with Russia based on prior experience he’ll get more and more knotted up in it, and that’s when he’ll really lose his power. To Moscow this time.”
—Elmar Brok (C.D.U.), chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, speaking briskly but interestingly in an interview from Kiev.

(Fair HOND loong en   oll ah   tsvy   moan AH ten.)

Vermummungsverbot

Mummery ban.

On 17 Jan 2014, Ukrainian president Viktor Janukovytsch signed into law bills “limiting freedom to demonstrate and freedom of opinion” passed quickly in parliament by a show of hands from his affiliated M.P.’s. Newly forbidden: setting up tents, stages or loudspeakers in public without a permit, “slandering” government officials (now punishable by a year of “corrective labor”), blocking public buildings (up to five years in prison), car protests involving more than five cars (“Automaidan”!). The ruling coalition also harshened punishments for the crime of mummery.

Apparently the Ukrainian parliament usually votes electronically, leaving the government parties open to accusations that they knew they didn’t have the votes to pass this.

After the new legislation, and after a court arbitrarily banned protests in downtown Kiev until 08 Mar 2014 without citing grounds for the decision, opposition leaders said a Staatsstreich, coup d’état, had occurred. Protests quickly got more violent.

One wonderful bright aspect was the costumes protesters wore to make fun of the “mummery” ban. German news showed an elegant red construction helmet decorated with black feathers and a black velvet Venetian carnival mask trimmed in gold. A lady was interviewed who wore a black-brimmed winter hat wreathed in colorful plastic flowers and berries, and long silk ribbons, with a large fur hood. Beautifully painted flames on an army helmet. One Spiegel.de photo showed even rugose mummery, with what looked like ceratopsian dinosaur horns.

Opposition protesters took to the freezing streets wearing cooking pots, metal colanders, kitchen sieves and cardboard boxes on their heads, “to make the new sanctions laughable” said Spiegel.de.

Update on 23 Jan 2014: The U.S.A. threatened Mr. Janukovytsch’s government with sanctions if the new antidemocratic laws aren’t recalled. Chancellor Merkel’s government told reporters she too phoned the Ukraine to urge the government to enter into dialog with protesters: “That includes examining and recalling quickly-passed laws used to restrict burgher rights.”

Update on 28 Jan 2014: Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarow resigned, and Ukraine’s Rada parliament rescinded the anti-demonstration laws. In post-WWII Germany’s version of parliamentary democracy, a prime minister would be more powerful than a president. But throughout these protests Mr. Janukovytsch has seemed to have more power than Mr. Azarow.

(Fair MOOM oongs fair BOAT.)

Mezhyhirya

The name of Ukrainian President Viktor Janukovytsch’s “residential compound” along the Dnieper river, which apparently features 345 acres of park land, a golf course, fancy buildings, helipads, pet ostriches, a gold-plated “large barge,” other sports facilities, fruit and vegetable greenhouses and serious government security guarding both the property and a nearby village. Mr. Janukovytsch has been accused of illegally privatizing the manse via the two companies that were granted a 49-year lease on the park and have been tearing down Soviet-era C.P. buildings and doing a lot of new construction.

Journalist Tetyana Chernovil climbed the wall and wandered around the inside of the park taking photographs for about three hours in 2012 before getting caught by guards and dogs. She questioned how Mr. Janukoyvch was able to afford what she saw on his annual government salary of about $115,000.

Update on 22 Feb 2014: Unbelievable photos from inside Mezhyhirya after protesters stormed it today, despite warnings of booby traps and sharpshooters. Spiegel.de said Mr. Janukovytsch first built up the park and then privatized it by selling it off to companies based in London and Vienna, companies that he presumably controls.

Innenminister Vitaliy Zakharchenko

Minister of Internal Affairs Vitaliy Yuriyovych Zakharchenko, responsible for security forces in the Ukrainian government headed by President Viktor Janukovytsch (Independent Party) and Prime Minister Mikola Asarow (Party of Regions).

Journalist Tetyana Chernovil wrote about police brutality and corruption among government officials, including Mr. Zakharchenko, questioning among other things where the head of Ukraine’s police forces got the money to pay for his luxurious estate, a “country manor” in the village of Pidhirtsi. “Mr. Zakharchenko is the most senior government official with direct authority over the police units involved in the [violent crackdown on protesters in Maidan square on 30 Nov 2013], and there have been repeated calls by the opposition for his dismissal,” wrote NYTimes.com.

In the middle of the night on Christmas, several men in a black Porsche S.U.V. chased Ms. Chernovil down, rammed her car, pulled her from it and beat her terribly. The Guardian said she was in intensive care where doctors were going to try to rebuild her face. But it’s hard to get it bilateral again after the cheekbones get crunched.

Bloomberg.com said Mr. Zakharchenko has been tasked with investigating this beating that might have been carried out on behalf of Mr. Zakharchenko. On 27 Dec 2013, the FinancialTimes.com reported, Mr. Janukovytsch’s government said Mr. Zakharchenko’s police found “strong” evidence linking protest leaders to the suspects the police were investigating for the crime.

Sowohl… als auch…

“Both… and…”

The Ukrainian government’s decision at the E.U.’s recent Eastern Partnership conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, to decline to strengthen economic ties with the European Union in order to strengthen economic ties with Russia made very little sense because given an either-or choice the country would have become more prosperous by partnering with Europe. That made it appear that Russia had to have been threatening the country, in addition to carroting it, while possibly also bribing individual politicians.

FAZ.net reporting about ship-like natural gas processing and delivery harbors that can replace pipelines has indicated post-Soviet Russian “gas wars” against Ukraine. On 21 Nov 2013 ZDF heute journal reported that Moscow had been waging a bitter trade war with Ukraine for weeks before the decision, with threats to stop investments and throttle back natural gas deliveries just as winter was starting.

Update on 29 Nov 2013: Angela Merkel told reporters at the summit it wasn’t even an either-or decision. Ukraine could have strengthened economic ties with the E.U. and with Russia. And the decision remains open; Ukraine can decide to join the E.U.’s Eastern European trade partnership program at any time. And the E.U. has few enemies in the world that might sanction Ukraine for being friendly with it: North Korea? Syria?

Meanwhile, Georgia and Moldavia did sign the E.U. trade partnership agreements, as a result of which they will enjoy fewer visa limits and lower customs charges.

Update on 02 Dec 2013: Amid fierce protesting, half a million people in the streets, terrible violence in Maidan Square, followed by the resignation of the chief of police in apology for official brutality, President Janukovytsch announced his government might be willing to talk talk about E.U. trade partnership association agreements again. He flew to China to be seen talking talk about non-E.U. trade there.

Update on 03 Dec 2013: Three opposition parties formed an alliance in Ukraine on 02 Dec 2013. The next day, “all” the parliamentary opposition parties brought a no-confidence vote that failed to oust Prime Minister Mykola Asarow’s government, getting only 186 of the 226 votes needed. Apparently Mr. Janukovytsch represents while Mr. Azarov governs.

ZDF heute journal reported that the no-confidence vote’s arguments had been: “the disastrous economic situation,” burgeoning governmental corruption and, last but not least, the decision to turn down an E.U. association agreement. Followed by the new arguments of the terrible police brutality against protesters. It’s too bad press cameras love following ex-boxer Vitali Klitschko, because there are other opposition leaders in Ukraine. ZDF’s correspondent said they mangled, mauled and lacerated each other last year, resulting in Mr. Janukovytsch’s majority.

(Zoh VOLE   …   alss   OW! chh.)

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