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▶ Protesters clash with police in Ukraine – YouTube – Posted 12/13/2013.

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▶ Ukraine: opposition leaders attend talks with president – YouTube – Posted 12/13/2013.

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European officials are in discussion with the IMF, the World Bank and other major financial bodies on ways of helping the ex-Soviet republic should it decide to sign the free-trade agreement with the EU after all.

Putin had threatened to respond to such a deal with economic sanctions against Ukraine, which has huge debts and unpaid gas bills outstanding with Moscow. Ukraine’s ultimate decision could be decisive to Putin’s Eurasian Union plan.

Kiev protesters gather, EU and Putin joust | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT – 12/13/2013.

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Putin’s comments made clear his continued designs on Ukraine and that “by hook or by crook” he will seek to try and drag it into the so-called Eurasian Union, his long-cherished idea “of reincarnating some semblance of the Soviet Union,” said Boris Tarasyuk, Ukraine’s ex-foreign minister.

Putin speaks on Ukraine; protesters rebuild barricades – latimes.com – 12/13/2013.

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The agreement could have clinched a tumultuous shift by the strategic former Soviet republic in the past decade toward embracing Western economic and political values. Mr. Yanukovych’s sudden decision to turn his back on the deal late last month infuriated the nation’s opposition parties and sent millions of pro-Western, pro-democracy demonstrators into the streets of Kiev.

Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia tries to rein in former Soviet satellites – Washington Times – 12/13/2013.

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Cultural, political, and social values matter.

Of course, energy supply and security matter too.

Ukrainians today find themselves in a bind between alliance with the developing pseudo-democratic, post-Soviet, Putinist state developing in Russia, or radiating from Moscow as much of Russia has been left to suffer as well, and their humanist drift toward the compassionate and inclusive values of the open democracies of the European Union.

In rhetoric on the Russian side, readers here will recognize an instance of the “paranoid delusional narcissistic reflection of motivation.”  Although Russian spokesmen score “the west” on its struggles within the Islamic Small Wars (never mind what President Kadyrov has been up to in Chechnya as regards shepherding Islamic or barbarous values — in some places, it’s hard separating the two — within his sphere), the political outsiders in Russia’s intelligentsia and in the satellites have a fair sense of what’s what in Russia’s “power-of-vertical” state revolving around President Putin.

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President Vladimir Putin has declared that Russia has a morally superior worldview to that of the West.

Vladimir Putin: Russia is Morally Superior to the West – IBTimes UK – 12/12/2013.

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Stefan Meister, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Mr Putin had lost room for political maneourve as he entered his presidential third term since 2000. “He has isolated himself from the proactive part of society and the elite,” he said. “He has surrounded himself with hardliners from the security service who promote Russia’s “modernisation” through the country’s military-industrial complex.”

Vladimir Putin claims Russia is moral compass of the world – Telegraph – 12/12/2013.

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“The EU offers a token package, which is not of any interest to the Ukrainian government,” Alexei Pushkov, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s Parliament, told CNN’s Hala Gorani, who was sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

“That’s why Mister Yanukovych has initially rejected it,” he said. “Then all these demonstrations started with the participation of the European ministers…who were speaking on the Maidan [Kiev’s Independence Square], joining the protesters, and so on.”

Russia: EU, not Moscow, is bullying Ukraine – Amanpour – CNN.com Blogs – CNN video plus accompanying article – 12/12/2013.

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No state in the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence needs reminding who has the energy supply plus a massive and vulgar army (presented in the video at the base of this post and represented by memories of its appearance in Georgia a few years ago).

The challenge in the post-Soviet era for former Soviet satellites uncomfortable with Moscow is how to navigate with and around what The Guardian‘s journalist Luke Harding has called the “mafia state”.

In Russia, power hasn’t to do with the liberation of independent spirits and the productive energies of a people: as with its superficially mirror opposite in Islam’s mix of military and theocratic dictatorships, “political power” refers to absolute control.

In essence, the causes and the talk may be wildly different, but similar personalities construct their societies in response to their own internal needs.

Putin’s claim to moral superiority as regards the west would seem well demonstrated by Russia’s continuing and supportive relationships with both the Bashar Assad’s bomb-happy reign of terror in Syria and Ayatollah Khamenei’s iron grip (not to mention about $90 billion in personal accumulation) on Iran.  Those three plus President Kadyrov would seem to be “in it” — the money, at least — together.

As much may be known to educated and web-enabled and still recently politically liberated Ukrainians who have taken to the streets braving bone-chilling cold and potentially bone-breaking state paramilitary to make their views count.

Related Reference

Podcast: ‘EuroMaidan’ And The Russian Street – 12/13/2013.

BBC News – Ukraine protesters rebuild barricades in centre of Kiev – 12/12/2013.

Best pictures from the past 24 hours – The Globe and Mail – 12/12/2013.

Ukrainian riot police surround Kiev protesters | World news | theguardian.com – 12/10/2013.

Ukraine Opposition: No Talks Unless Govt Fired – ABC News – 12/7/2013.

Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovich meets with Putin to map out partnership – World – CBC News – 12/6/2013.

How Ukraine can someday join the EU – CSMonitor.com – 12/3/2013.

Ukraine halts Russian gas imports; transit to Europe intact – sources | Reuters – 11/11/2013.

New Eastern Europe – Russians Love Georgia, But They Don’t Love Independent Georgia – 10/08/2013.

The Putin Doctrine – Los Angeles Times – 9/12/2013.

Wikipedia

Arseniy Yatsenyuk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Russia–Georgia war – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2008 Georgia–Russia crisis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Putinism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Georgia

A day after a face-to-face meeting with President George W. Bush in Beijing who expressed ‘grave concern’, Mr Putin accused the U.S. of siding with Georgia by ferrying Georgian troops from Iraq to the battle zone.

‘It is a shame that some of our partners are not helping us but, essentially, are hindering us,’ said Mr Putin. ‘The very scale of this cynicism is astonishing.’

Georgia ‘overrun’ by Russian troops as full-scale ground invasion begins | Mail Online – n.d.

They have frequently shifted the boundary south of the previously accepted course – Mr Makhachashvili says Russian troops around Dvani were using maps dated 1921 – in effect grabbing hectares of extra land.

Moscow has said South Ossetian authorities were merely demarcating its true boundary, using Soviet-era maps.

Tbilisi nervously eyes Russia’s border barricade of South Ossetia – FT.com – 11/6/2013.

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Russian Army Soldiers in South Ossetia(Georgia) Burn American Flag – YouTube – Posted 8/5/2013.

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Live Streaming the Ukrainian Revolt: http://www.vice.com/read/live-streaming-the-ukrainian-revolt – encountered 12/13/2013.

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