Great Article If You Want to Understand Ukraine & Russia Situation
Understanding what is really going on in Ukraine is not easy for most Americans and people living in the west due to constant corporate media trashing of Putin and the Russian government. Below are a few excerpts from one of the best articles yet on this important subject. It is written by James Petras retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. You can read the entire article entitled Russia’s Vulnerability to EU – US Sanctions and Military Encroachments here
From 1990 to 1999, over 6 million Russian citizens died prematurely as a result of the catastrophic collapse of the economy; life expectancy for males declined from 67 years during the Soviet era to 55 year during the Yeltsin period. Russia’s GNP declined sixty percent – a historic first for a country not at war. Following Yeltsin’s violent seizure of power and his bombing of the Russian parliament, the regime proceeded to ‘prioritize’ the privatization of the economy, selling off the energy, natural resources, banking, transport and communication sectors at one-tenth or less of their real value to well-connected cronies and foreign entities.
Of course, the respectable western media celebrated the pillage of Russia as the transition to “free elections and a free market economy”. They wrote glowing articles describing the political power and dominance of gangster oligarchs as the reflection of a rising “liberal democracy”. The Russian state was thus converted from a global superpower into an abject client regime penetrated by western intelligence agencies and unable to govern and enforce its treaties and agreements with Western powers. The US and EU rapidly displaced Russian influence in Eastern Europe and quickly snapped up former state-owned industries, the mass media and financial institutions. Communist and leftist and even nationalist officials were ousted and replaced by pliant and subservient ‘free market’ pro-NATO politicians. The US and EU violated every single agreement signed by Gorbachev and the West: Eastern European regimes became NATO members; West Germany annexed the East and military bases were expanded right up to Russia’s borders. Pro-NATO “think tanks” were established and supplied intelligence and anti-Russian propaganda. Hundreds of NGOs, funded by the US, operated within Russia as propaganda and organizing instruments for “subservient” neo-liberal politicians. In the former Soviet Caucuses and Far East, the West fomented separatist sectarian movements and armed uprisings, especially in Chechnya; the US sponsored dictators in the Caucuses and corrupt neo-liberal puppets in Georgia. The Russian state was colonized and its putative ruler, Boris Yeltsin, often in a drunken stupor, was propped up and manipulated to scratch out executive fiats . . . further disintegrating the state and society.
In 2014, the Western offensive to isolate, encircle and eventually undermine any possibility of an independent Russian state went into high gear. The US financed a civil-military coup ousting the elected regime of [Ukraine's] President Viktor Yanukovytch, who had opposed EU annexation and NATO affiliation. Washington imposed a puppet regime deeply hostile to Russia and ethnic Russian-Ukrainian citizens in the southeast and Crimea. Russian opposition to the coup and support for pro-democracy federalists in the south-east and Crimea served as a pretext for Western sanctions in an effort to undermine Russia’s oil, banking and manufacturing sectors and to cripple its economy.
Despite the short-term successes of the US-EU war against the Russian economy, the Putin Administration has remained extremely popular among the Russian electorate, with approval ratings exceeding 80%. This has relegated Putin’s pro-Western opposition to the dust bin of history. Nevertheless the Western sanctions policy and the aggressive political – NATO military encirclement of Russia, has exposed the vulnerabilities of Moscow.