Ukraine: Exploding the Myths, Outlining Solutions

For Immediate Release

Ukraine: Exploding the Myths, Outlining Solutions

WASHINGTON - The following may be available for comment regarding the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

STEPHEN COHEN, sfc1 at nyu.edu
Available for a very limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His books include Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. He recently wrote the piece “Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine” for The Nation.

Cohen said on CNN this weekend: “That so-called economic partnership that Yanukovych, the elected president of Ukraine did not sign, and that set off the streets — the protests in the streets in November, which led to this violence … that so-called economic agreement included military clauses which said that Ukraine, by signing this so-called civilization agreement had to abide by NATO military policy. This is what this is about from the Russian point of view, the ongoing western march towards post Soviet Russia. Putin had no choice, and he has no choice, and if you put him in the corner, you are going to see worse.” Also see second interview.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press: 1999). He said today: “John Kerry is claiming to stand for international law and invokes the 1994 Budapest Agreement. Of course the U.S. has repeatedly violated international law, with the Iraq invasion (which Kerry voted for) and numerous other instances. But even in this case, if you examine the Victoria Nuland [assistant secretary of state] tape, it’s clear that the U.S. was plotting a coup in the Ukraine and a coup is what happened. So Russia is only the second country guilty of violating Ukrainian sovereignty and the Budapest Agreement in response to the previous violations by the Obama administration.”

[Audio on YouTube of Nuland with Geoffrey R. Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, determining which Ukrainian politicians should and should not be in government. At one point, Nuland talks about using UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for her purposes rather than the EU, saying "fuck the EU." Transcript.]

JOHN QUIGLEY, Quigley.2 at osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley dealt with conflicts between Ukraine and Russia arising from the breakup of the USSR on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He recently wrote the piece “Let Ukrainians Determine Their Own Fate.” He said today: “Crimea has a plausible claim to self-determination. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power has suggested that the OSCE might play a monitoring role in Crimea. The OSCE, which is presently holding consultations about the situation in Ukraine, might be able to play a role in convincing the domestic parties at odds within Ukraine to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution of their differences. In particular, the OSCE might be able to oversee a process whereby Crimea’s status can be resolved.”

MIKHAIL BEZNOSOV, [in Kharkiv, Ukraine] mikhailb at email.arizona.edu
Beznosov received his PhD in political science from the University of Arizona, where he is an adjunct professor. Head of the governing board of the East-Ukrainian Society for International Studies, Beznosov is now an associate professor in sociology at Kharkiv National University. On an IPA news release last week, he raised concerns about Kiev revoking a language law and other moves seen as threatening to Russian speakers in the Ukraine.

NICOLAI PETRO, [in Ukraine] nnpetro at gmail.com, Skype: nicolaipetro
Professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island, Petro is currently a Fulbright research scholar in Ukraine. He recently wrote the piece “Ukraine’s Culture War” for the National Interest. Petro pointed to two additional myths: “Myth #1 — The East and South of Ukraine want to secede: The regions in the South and East that oppose the Maidan are not demanding to leave Ukraine. Faced with turmoil in Kiev, they seek a more formal recognition of their rights. A popular slogan at a recent anti-Maidan meeting in Kharkiv was ‘We are not separatists. We are federalists.’

“Even in Crimea, the government recently put in place by local ‘self-defense forces’ has asked only for a referendum, citing the need to guarantee its autonomy ‘under any changes in central authority or the Constitution of Ukraine.’ The referendum question in fact stipulates that Crimea ‘is part of Ukraine on the basis of agreements and accords.’

“In this context being ‘pro-Russian’ does not mean joining Russia. It means speaking, worshiping, and going to school in your own language, in your own country — Ukraine.

“Myth # 2 — Key posts in the new government have gone to pro-Western liberals and moderates: The new government does indeed contain several ministers without party affiliation. Of nineteen ministerial appointments, however, only two hail from the East and none from the South. This severely limits the government’s geographic appeal.

“A key ally of the government is the Svoboda party which the European Parliament condemned for its ‘racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views’ (resolution of 13 December 2012). Today Svoboda holds key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government, and several appointed governorships.”

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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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