Archive for January, 2010


January 27, 2010

Geopolitics is back again in full force. The rise of the new competitors in Asia, India and China, has fueled the revival of the new-old geostrategic thinking. Much of it is, as before, great power competition. Robert Kagan has once more provided an elegant argument for the rise of geopolitics (The Return of History and the End of Dreams, 2008). Western opinion after the collapse of the Soviet Union thought Russia and China would soon converge with the United States around democratic norms. That was of course mostly leftist thinkers who in the 1980s believed in a slow change in the Soviet Union into a democratic system. Now it seems to be, according similar so called experts, time for China to change slowly, politically that is. Instead there has been a revival of nationalism on mainland China. The Communist regime in Peking is today actually more nationalistic than communist.

The United States differs widely from the other powers of significance. It has a classical liberal view of believing in spreading democracy. There is however also the view that America is exceptional. The rise of the United States has indeed been exceptional from a small assembly of colonies on the American east coast to perhaps the strongest hegemon world history has ever seen.

Kagan argues that it is time for the large democracies of the West to form a league against the group of autocratic and totalitarian regimes that is forming. One of the main purposes of the league would be to join the United States in promoting democracy world wide.

Important is also the just claim of Kagan that the United States is a guarantor of the present international order: political, military, and economic. If Kagan is right we seem to be heading once more for the great game of the past turn of the century. There is one great difference, however. At that time the players were mainly the great European powers. They are all now on the side of the United States (although sometimes there is a bit of anti-American rhetoric).

There remain three dangerous players on the autocratic side: Iran, China and Russia. Iran is under challenge by the democracies. The regime in Teheran seems presently weak. A change of regime might mean a fast reduction of the threat to the West. A democratic Iran would after regime change rather be on the side of the West. China might not be as formidable a regime as commonly believed. Many predict a slowdown of the Chinese economy in 2010. A collapse of China further on is not impossible. Remains Russia, which is not a very strong country economically and demographically. The only greater problem could be a possible Eurasian alliance between Russia and China. This seems however to be prevented by an age old rivalry in Eurasia and a downtward trend of both regimes.

Based on such an optimistic interpretation it seems to be time for American conservatives with their European partners to create a tough new strategy. There is a new (but old) type of international conflict out there that needs to be addressed: great power rivalry. So in addition to the onslaught of Islamism in primarily the Middle East there is the autocratic group to contend with. Fortunately the democracies have several powerful friends in Asia: Japan and India to mention two of them.

It seems the recession will go away in the West during 2010. The U.S. remains the science and technology leader of the world although other nations are gaining ground. American lead in innovative activity is clear. In spite of the Chinese forward move researchers in China accounted for only 1 % of U.S. patents granted in 2008.

In a recent book, Sonic Boom, Globalization at Mach Speed (2009) Gregg Easterbrook is arguing that despite the recession, world economy is going forward like never before. Worldwide prosperity and innovation cannot be brought to a halt,

the larger global economic trend for three decades was rising prosperity for almost everyone, accelerating growth, higher living standards for average people, better education, increased ease of communication, low inflation, few shortages, and more personal freedom across most of the family of nations.

The last generation has seen the greatest advances in the human condition, ever. We are richer, we live longer, we are smarter, we are safer, we are more productive, and we are freer. The recession was bad but it will come to an end.

No doubt the West will benefit most in the new economic upturn. Combined with the upper hand the democracies of the West have with their great power allies in Asia the new great game is bound to lead to a bright future for freedom.


January 27, 2010

The coming weeks will be crucial for Ukraine. Russia seeks to return control over one of Europe’s largest countries. In the Bendery Constitution of 1710 Ukraine showed that it did not belong to the autocratic Russian sphere but was a Western country intent on creating a balance of power between hetman, parliament and judiciary. Now 300 years later the independent Ukraine is depending on the West to help withstand the efforts of Russia to once more control what was finally lost in 1991.

In April 1710 Orlyk and the Cossack Starshyna signed the document written in Latin. According to one authority, Orest Subtelny, the document consisted of 16 articles. The four categories of this first Ukrainian constitution were

-issues concerning Ukraine in general
-issues of concern to the Zaporozhians
-issues concerned with the Hetman’s authority, and
-social economic abuses in the Hetmanate

Thus Orlyk’s Cossack state as viewed in the constitution was moving away from the original role of the Cossacks as the bulwark of the Orthodox faith to the idea of a secular state in which the Cossacks would defend the rights of a free people against the tyranny of absolute tsardom (Ukrainian historian Omelian Pritsak). In the spring of 1711 Hetman Orlyk with the support of the Tatar khan moved his Cossack army into Right-Bank Ukraine in an effort to reconquer what was his country. It was only after failing at this he moved into exile. For decades after 1711 he led an active opposition to Russian rule over Ukraine. Orlyk with his son Hryhor, who was a French diplomat and general, continued in exile to promote the idea of an independent Ukraine.

Mr. Yanukovych, a monosyllabic and gruff oligarch politician from the Sovietized industrial east of the Ukraine would bring back the country to “the Stone Age” if he managed to capture the majority of votes in the second round of presidential election on February 7, 2010.

In Wall Street Journal (January 27, 2010) Matthew Kaminski on the Journal’s editorial board, wrote that Ukraine is not Russia:

Ukraine also isn’t Poland, the other former sovereign in these lands. For centuries, though, Poland was the bridge to the West, helping explain why Ukraine’s political culture resembles Europe more than Eurasia, inclined to compromise and defend its freedoms…
The message of this election is that Ukrainians – like their immediate western neighbors before them – want their politicians to stop their bickering and build a properly functioning democratic state integrated with the West. We should be there to help them.

One can only agree with WSJ. It is time for the West to push the reset button for Ukraine. American and European support for Ukraine is needed. Western assurance is vital for the voters in Ukraine. They must feel that a vote against Mr.Yanukovych is worth their effort. It is time for the United States and the European Union to open wide the doors for Ukraine. After a clear victory of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on February 7 the time has come to make Ukraine a central issue in Western policy toward Eastern Europe, to make 2010, the year of celebration of the Tercentenary of the Bendery Constitution, a year of Ukraine.


January 26, 2010

Although Mr. Yanukovich received around 35 percent of the votes in Ukraine’s presidential election on January 17 a large majority opted for a more liberal, politically and economically, candidate. The 40 percent that went to other non-socialist voters are now available to the leading pro-Western candidate, Prime Minister Yulia Tymashenko.

It is important to note that Mr. Yanokovich favors a customs union with Russia. It is important that Ukraine in the future does not only look to the east. It is more important for a stable Ukraine to seek partnership with the West, and that should mean not only a coming membership in the European Union.

The pro-Russian candidate has a criminal background and is still under suspicion of having tried to steal the 2004 election.

Current President Viktor Yushchenko has worked tirelessly since 2005 to establish Ukraine’s tradition as an independent nation: he has honoured those in the past who led the often hard struggle for Ukrainian independence since the 17th century. An important aspect of his work has been to firmly establish that the Stalinist mass starvation in 1932-33 was a hunger genocide perpetrated by the Soviet leadership. No doubt the President will in due time be remembered for his firm stand to remember the three hundred year struggle for Ukrainian nationhood. Understandably some of the Ukrainian voters would have liked him to focus more on the daily needs of the population.

One should remember that Ukraine during the past five years has been firmly established as a democracy moving towards a much freer society than Russia. There has been much progress in all fields.

If Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is elected President in February it will secure further development of Ukraine into a prospering Western-style economy and democracy. An election of Mr. Yanukovich will result in stagnation for Ukraine.


January 24, 2010

At a Kyiv ceremony in January 2010 marking Ukrainian Unity Day President Viktor Yushchenko declared Ukrainian World War II fighter for independence, Stepan Bandera, a Hero of Ukraine. He did so because Bandera had defended national ideas and had been fighting for an independent Ukraine.

Bandera was political leader of patriotic Ukrainians against both German troops and Soviet forces in World War II . The struggle against Soviet forces reoccupying Ukraine continued after 1945 well into the 1950s.

Bandera’s grandson, also named Stepan, received the award for his grandfather. The grandson declared that it was a good timing for the award. “He (President Yuschenko) could have done it earlier, but that would have been perceived as an attempt to win votes” (in the January 2010 presidential election). The young Stepan Bandera also said that some political leaders in Ukraine use Soviet myths and false information on his grandfather.

The liberation hero was born in western Ukraine in 1909 and the 100th anniversary of his birth was celebrated in 2009 by for instance the issue of a postage stamp in his memory. Statues were also erected in western Ukraine and Kyiv. In 1941 he was arrested by the Nazis and confined to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. In 1959 after his release he was in 1959 assassinated by a Soviet KGB agent, so 2009 was also the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) conducted hundreds of raids on police stations and military convoys. In some regions of Ukraine UPA was estimated to have controlled between 60 and 80 percent of the countryside. From July through September 1943, 74 clashes between German forces and the UPA took place and the Germans lost over 3,000 men killed or wounded compared to 1,237 UPA killed or wounded.

The Encyclopedia of Ukraine describes the anti-Soviet struggle of UPA from 1944/1945 to 1954 in the following way:

In the winter of 1944 and spring of 1945 numerous ambushes, skirmishes, and large-scale battles occurred between NKVD forces and the zahony of the UPA-North and UPA-South. In February Gen N. Vatutin, Soviet commander of the First Ukrainian Front, was mortally wounded in an ambush. On 24 April 30,000 NKVD troops encircled and fought 5,000 soldiers of the UPA-South at the Battle of Hurby… The first large-scale NKVD offensive against the UPA was conducted in the winter of 1944–5 in the Carpathian Mountains region. The UPA managed to preserve its control of the countryside and scored successful attacks against Soviet administrative centers and garrisons. With the ending of the war the returning Red Army divisions were turned against the UPA in the summer of 1945. The results were disappointing to the Soviet regime, but its offer of amnesty to soldiers surrendering by 20 July 1945 appeared more successful. Many men evading induction into the Red Army gave themselves up. The UPA used this opportunity to send home some discouraged or disabled soldiers. By 1949 there were at least four more amnesty calls.

The ‘Great Blockade’ in the Carpathian Mountains from January to April 1946 was the only successful Soviet offensive against the UPA. Special contingents of NKVD security troops were stationed in all the towns and villages, and mobile combat units scoured the forests. Denied food and shelter, and forced to fight on the march at extremely low temperatures, the UPA experienced casualties of 40 percent. The Supreme Command decided to demobilize most combat units and ordered their surviving members to continue the struggle underground. The UPA command structure (krai, military district, and tactical-sector headquarters), however, continued to function.

The demobilization order did not apply to the forces of the Sixth Military District—the Sian Division of the UPA-West—which operated in Ukrainian ethnic territories that were annexed by Poland after 1944. The division defended the Ukrainian population from forced deportations to the USSR in 1945 and 1946. UPA battle losses went up sharply, and the surviving units were ordered either to cross into the USSR or to march across Czechoslovakia to West Germany. Remnants of Company 95, led by Lt M. Duda (‘Hromenko’), reached West Germany on 11 September 1947.

Some UPA units continued to operate in 1948 and 1949 in the Carpathian Hoverlia Military District. They were usually composed of two platoons of two squads each, and had a total strength of 30 to 50 veteran noncommissioned officers. Except for two units, they were demobilized at the end of the summer of 1948. On 3 September 1949 the commander of UPA, Roman Shukhevych ordered the command structure and the remaining combat units to be deactivated, and their members to be transferred to the underground network. After Shukhevych’s death (5 March 1950) the underground continued the armed struggle under Vasyl Kuk’s (‘Koval’s’) leadership until 1954.

Bandera was elected a member of the patriotic OUN movement leadership in 1945 and head of the organization in 1947. In May 1953 he was also made head the sections of the OUN abroad. He was killed by the Soviet agent B. Stashynsky in Munich in Germany. At Stashynsky’s trial in the Federal Republic of Germany (8–19 October 1962), it was established that the assassination had been directed personally by the head of the KGB, A. Shelepin.


January 16, 2010

I ett arkiv i Tyskland finns en till tyska översatt utvärdering av 1968 års Östersjövecka som organiserades årligen av regimen i Östberlin för att öka kontakterna med främst de nordiska länderna. År 1968 sammanföll veckan (7 – 14 juli) med firandet av 750-årsminnet av grundläggandet av staden Rostock vid Östersjökusten.

I samband med veckan anordnades en parlamentarikerträff. Ett uttalande gjordes då om vikten av att det fanns två erkända stater i Tyskland, Förbundsrepubliken Tyskland och Tyska demokratiska republiken. Tio svenska riksdagsledamöter deltog bland annat Gunvor Ryding (kommunist) Lena Renström-Ingenäs (s), Eric Carlsson (s), Annie Jäderberg (s) och Bror Eric Karlsson (s). Från medlöparkommittén i Stockholm fanns på plats: Henry Peter Matthis, Fritjof Lager, Tore Svensson, Gustav Klackenberg och Nils Bengtsson, Stockholm, Clary Jansson, Göteborg, Bertil Johansson , Borås och Gunnar Pettersson, Karlskoga.

Stor förtjusning hos kommittén väckte östtyske diktatorn Walter Ulbrichts öppningsanförande den 7 juli 1968:

Det gäller att i förtroendefullt samarbete mellan alla folk och stater skapa garantier för en varaktig fred, för säkerhet och lycka för människorna på vår kontinent. Östersjön får aldrig bli utgångspunkt för ett krig. Östersjön måste för evig tid förbli ett fredens hav.

Här följde Ulbricht den sovjetiska linjen om Östersjön ett fredens hav, underförstått ett hav som kontrollerades av Sovjetunionen och de förtryckta staterna i Östeuropa som med våld tvingats in i den sovjetiska sfären.

Utvärderingen är undertecknad av den Svenska kommittén för Östersjöveckan.

Kritiken mot regimen i Östberlin var inte särskilt stark i det (s)-styrda Sverige. När en lundensisk studentorganisation i början av 1960-talet sökte upplysa deltagare i Östersjöveckan i Trelleborg om den östtyska regimens syfte med veckorna registrerades studenterna av SÄPO. Statens Järnvägar försökte också avlägsna studenterna från stationsområdet i Trelleborg. Försök gjordes också att förhindra att studenterna lade ner en krans till minne av en östtysk busschaufför, som dött vid ett försök att fly från en östtysk färja i hamnen. Han skadades till döds vid ett hopp ner på kajen.


January 16, 2010

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko believes that the decision made by the Kyiv Court of Appeals in the case involving the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine will be a precedent for changing the approaches to the definition of genocide in international law.

The President is therefore on January 14, 2010, called for the creation of an international tribunal for Communist crimes.

Yushchenko made a proposal to the leaders of the countries of Eastern Europe which have been subjugated Communist regimes (Russia, Poland, Georgia, the Baltic states and others) to sign an international agreement on the creation of such a tribunal outlining the principles of its creation and activities, and charter.

Yushchenko recalled that the Kyiv Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 ruled in the criminal case investigated by the Ukrainian Security Service involving the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine, which is believed to have killed millions of Ukrainian peasants.

“The decision made by the Ukrainian court takes the debate on the Holodomor from a political to a legal realm. Now the only argument in this debate can be facts, not political or historical stereotypes and myths,” the President said.


January 16, 2010

The Sunday January 17, 2010, election in Ukraine is important for the future of the nation. Since 2005 President Yushchenko has strived to move Ukraine closer to the West preparing it for the European Union and NATO. Some of his most important achievements are creating a historical base for the nation. Crucial is his work to hold up the two hetmans Ivan Mazepa and Pylyp Orlyk as models. Later this year Ukraine will celebrate the 300th anniversary of Ukraine’s first constitution of April 5, 1710. It was a significantly democratic constitution.

Other threats come from energy dependance and another grave problem is that some of the presidential candidates are willing to set aside and reconsider Ukraine’s European course:

On the scales are we, each of us, our people, and very dangerous risks, which are becoming critically important for Ukraine.

It is the threat of energy dependence and loss of property of gas transportation system. This will lead to loss of economic independence.

It is the debt hole of tens of billions of dollars of credit addiction. It is selling the future of our children.

It is the threat to our integrity and our sovereignty.

It is the intention to reconsider and set aside our European course. Because this course means our statehood, our democracy and security, your prosperous and healthy life. Outside the united Europe Ukraine is vulnerable to any interference.

In his speech the president pointed out:

We have freed ourselves from fear before authorities for our opinion, words, deeds and civil stance.

We have defended and got used to the fact that it is the people, who elect the government.

We have liberated and cleared our national memory, and therefore began to realize and ourselves.

We have encouraged our churches to dialogue to spiritually unite.

And we stopped being the lost in the desert and went home to Europe, to our common humane and safe home.

The choíce, so Mr. Yushchenko, should be in favor of:

Ukrainian, democratic, European values. In favor of the values of normal and free life.

Against all fears. Against those, who don’t care about you or Ukraine. Against the chains.

For the sake of your children. For your families. For yourselves.

For our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to not begin all over again.

I urge you to refuse yielding to any political influence. On your fair decisions may depend the hope for normal life of millions of people. Be with your home country. Be faithful to only and exclusively the law.

I believe in reaffirmation of values of democracy, our national and European goal on January 17, 2010.

I believe in the victory of Ukrainian freedom, our hopes, dreams, good future of our state.


January 16, 2010

Den 23 januari 1989 skrev Stasigeneralen Böhme till sina medarbetare i en genomgång inför statsminister Carlssons besök i Dresden i dåvarande Östtyskland. In i det sista höll svenska (s)-regeringen på kontakter med kommunistregimen i Östberlin. Berlinmuren skulle falla i november 1989.

”Fientligt-negativa krafter” försökte enligt Stasigeneralen utöva tryck på parti- och statsapparaten i Östtyskland. Dessa personer kom från många kretsar: de fanns bland annat inom konst och kultur, framför allt teater och karnevalklubbar men kunde också vara enskilda personer.

Särskilt irriterad var Stasi över ett teaterstycke: ”Revisorn eller katten ur säcken” som visats på Bautzens Deutsch-Sorbisches Volkstheater, som var fyllt med angrepp på ”samhällsförhållandena i DDR” enligt Böhme. En pastor i den evangeliska kyrkan i Pirna hade också gjort sig omöjlig genom att kräva förbättringar inom miljövården.

Skrivelsen slutar med uppmaningen:

Kamrater !

Vi måste göra allt för att förhindra fientligt-negativa aktiviteter för att utesluta varje överraskning.

En sak är nog tämligen säker. Någon kritik riktade säkert inte statsminister Carlsson (s) mot regimen i det då sönderfallande Östtyskland under besöket.


January 15, 2010

The Court of Appeal of the City of Kyiv on January 13, 2010, named the leaders of the Bolshevik regime guilty of genocide in Ukraine in 1932-33.

These are further details on the verdict of the court:

The regime organized genocide of the Ukrainian ethnic group, i.e. an artificial creation of life conditions aimed at its partial physical elimination, in the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1932-1933. The leadership of the Bolshevik totalitarian rule were guilty: Secretary General of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (VKP(b) CC) Joseph Stalin (Jugashvili); VKP(b) CC member, Chair of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Viacheslav Molotov (Skriabin); VKP(b) CC secretaries Lazar Kaganovich and Pavel Postyshev; VKP(b) CC member, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bolsheviks of Ukraine (KP(b)U) Stanislav Kosior; VKP(b) CC member, Chair of the Union of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Vlas Chubar, and VKP(b) CC member, Second Secretary of the KP(b)U CC Mendel Chatayevich.

The demographical forensic examination conducted in the course of the pretrial investigation by the Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, concluded that as a result of the genocide, 3.941 million people had died in Ukraine.

The Court established that Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Postyshev, Kosior, Chubar and Khatayevich committed the crime of genocide pursuant to Part 1, Article 442 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, and closed the criminal proceedings on the basis of Item 8, Part 1, Article 6 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, because all of them are dead.


January 14, 2010

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) in December 2009 had almost completed its investigation on the Holodomor famine resulting in the death of about 4 million Ukrainian men, women and children under the regime of Josef Stalin. The files are in January 2010 in the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Ukrainian parliament in 2006 recognized the famine cause by the Soviet regime in 1932-1933 as an act of genocide. The Ukrainian view s that Russia, as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, should bear responsibility for the famine.

A court in Kyiv in the beginning of January 2010 found Bolshevik leaders guilty of genocide against Ukrainians during the Holodomor famine. Dictator Joseph Stalin and several other senior Soviet officials were found guilty. Criminal proceedings against them have been dropped over the suspect’s deaths.

The court decided “that the leaders of the totalitarian Bolshevik regime organized…the genocide against the Ukrainian ethnic group intentionally creating conditions aimed at its partial physical elimination”.

In a statement on January 14, 2010, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko praised the landmark court decision:

This decision puts the historical record straight and provides an opportunity to build Ukraine on principles of justice and democracy.