Posted on February 15, 2015
by Jerry Alatalo
hile Ukrainians pray that the recent Minsk ceasefire agreement holds and finally ends the war in their country, economist Michael Hudson feels that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), not Russia, may entail Ukrainians’ greatest threat.
In the days, weeks and months ahead, people will wonder how long before the anti-austerity movement lit by Greece after electing Syriza and new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to power will reach the men and women of Ukraine. One can only feel compassion for Ukraine’s 40 million ordinary people who have had to endure the unnecessary stress, violence and hardship in their country since the violent coup of February 2014.
An agreement was arrived at and signed by ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, leaders of the Maidan opposition and European Union representatives for power sharing, amendments to the constitution, and a nationwide election only days before sniper fire killed dozens of citizen-protesters and Ukraine police officers. It was that extreme violence, where even today the murderers have yet to become found, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned, which led to Yanukovych fleeing for his life to Russia, a new administration, and multi-billion euro loan contracts between the Ukrainian government and the IMF.
The residents of Crimea voted to leave Ukraine to become part of Russia, and people in the south and east of the country raised strong opposition to the new Kiev government, held referendums for more autonomy and independence, received the label of “terrorists”; civil war in Ukraine since then has resulted in over 5,000 people perishing, over one million Ukrainians becoming internally displaced or leaving the country for sanctuary from the war to Russia, and, besides the highly stressful events experienced by average Ukrainian people, become the concern of world leaders, experts and academicians worldwide.
Given the record-setting amount of media propaganda related to Ukraine’s crisis since February 2014’s coup, one can be reasonably certain that new journalism textbooks will include the reporting on Ukraine over the past year as a major case study – of journalistic failure. Fortunately, people around the world have access to independent alternative media on the internet to cut past corporate mainstream media lies, obfuscation, and false narratives about the Ukraine crisis.
Because of that access to the truth, one can predict that Ukrainians will be showing up on the Maidan in Kiev very soon, and perhaps in even greater numbers than February 2014, calling for an end to harsh austerity measures enforced by the IMF, European Union and others who’ve arranged for Ukraine’s government to sign on to multi-billion euro loans with legalese changing the political, economic and social conditions of the country in a big way.
Professor of economics Michael Hudson views the austerity framework Ukrainians are facing as a “1-2 punch” to them by the IMF neoliberalism-producing loans, which, in the eyes of Mr. Hudson, can never be repaid. Regulations which prohibited the sale of Ukraine’s vast, rich farmland to foreign interests have been changed to allow multinational agribusiness giants like Monsanto to buy large tracts of farm acreage. Professor Hudson sees the austerity-inducing changes mandated by loan legal language – including the selloff of public assets by the government to repay debt, cuts to pensions, public sector jobs, etc. – as “financial warfare”.
He talks about how 38% of Ukraine’s exports were purchased/going to Russia, and how the Kiev-directed military assault on eastern Ukraine bombed coal-producing plants and electricity-producing plants “out of existence”. He questions the IMF loans, referring to the financial institution’s rules against loaning to countries involved in a war and/or insolvent. He notes that billionaire George Soros has suggested the west arrange for $50 billion for Ukraine.
What has occurred in the last year in Ukraine can only be described as horrific, on many levels. May the peace agreement work for the sake of all the men, women and children of Ukraine. Tremendous, unnecessary damage has been unleashed in that country; the road to recovery is going to be long and difficult, and the least world leaders can do is try their best to stop the violence.
War is the last thing the Ukrainian people need with all the extreme difficulties they are facing.
Living in Ukraine, the “breadbasket of Europe”, people there have an undeniably very “long row to hoe”.
(Thank you to TheRealNews at YouTube)