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Riot Porn (Again): Ukraine Version

Anti-government protesters protect themselves behind shields as they clash with the police on Independence Square in Kiev early on Wednesday. (Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)Holy (bleep)! What the hell is going on over in the Ukraine:

KIEV, Ukraine — Mayhem gripped the center of the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday evening as riot police officers moved on protesters massed behind barriers raised throughout Independence Square, the focal point of more than two months of protests against President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

As the attack began just before 8 p.m. local time, the police tried to drive two armored personnel carriers through stone-reinforced barriers outside the Khreschatyk Hotel in the square. But they became bogged down and, set upon by protesters wielding rocks and fireworks, burst into flames, apparently trapping the security officers inside and prompting desperate rescue efforts from their colleagues.

In a wild day of parries and thrusts by the protesters and the police, the authorities in Kiev reported 13 people killed, including two police officers, while protesters accused the police of using live ammunition. It was the bloodiest day of violence since President Yanukovych spurned a trade deal with Europe in November and set of protests that began peacefully but have since involved occasional outbursts of deadly violence.

I've been trying to get other things done tonight and not watch the live webcam of the riots, (at the bottom of this post) but it's hard to stop watching's like someone took a GoPro camera and lowered it through the gates of Hell. In other words, that dystopian future that you saw in "Mad Max" when you were's heeeeere, or over there, in Kiev, anyway.

So who are the "good guys"/ There may not be any. Read this perspective, which you rarely see in the U.S. media:

You'd never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings. One of the three main opposition parties heading the campaign is the hard-right antisemitic Svoboda, whose leader Oleh Tyahnybok claims that a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" controls Ukraine. But US senator John McCain was happy to share a platform with him in Kiev last month. The party, now running the city of Lviv, led a 15,000-strong torchlit march earlier this month in memory of the Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose forces fought with the Nazis in the second world war and took part in massacres of Jews.

So in the week that the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army was commemorated as Holocaust Memorial Day, supporters of those who helped carry out the genocide are hailed by western politicians on the streets of Ukraine. But Svoboda has now been outflanked in the protests by even more extreme groups, such as "Right Sector", who demand a "national revolution" and threaten "prolonged guerrilla warfare".

We all know that John "Today we are all Georgians" McCain never met a near-Russia uprising he didn't like; God only knows what buttons he'd be pushing if he were in the Oval Office instead of President Obama. The broader point is that Americans like to "anthropomorphize" our foreign revolutions like some kind of Disney movie. All I can say for sure about what's happening in the streets of Kiev is that when there's this much bloodshed, no one is the winner.