The (White) House Always Wins

Where It Started

  1. Population decline from 52 million to 45 million in 2014, largely due to economic emigration in the fallout from independence from the USSR which had been supporting Ukraine after being the battleground and entry point for Germany in WWII and falling birth rates (typical to struggling economies). Separatism (more on this later) after the 2014 political coup backed by the US government saw the population drop further to 41.5 million in 2021.
  2. The number of children in 2021 was almost halved since 1991.
  3. From 1989 (market reforms began a few years before the official USSR dissolution), to 1998, life expectancy fell to a new low in 1998. In this same period, the US and Europe saw increases of 8–10 years. It has since returned to around 73 years, after a early 2000s period of stability, again typical of the post-Soviet states and prior to the 2008 economic crash that most of the world is still recovering from in many ways.
  4. A decrease in the number of citizens receiving pensions, from 13 to 11 million (1991–2021), with an increase in retirement age during this time form 56 to 60. This indicates the need for a longer lifetime workforce participation rate, and can be seen as a response to declining birth rates mentioned previously.
  5. Pensioners have an average monthly pension of only around 101 euros, with 65% only receiving 79 euros a month. Approximately 80% of single pensioners lie below the poverty line.
  6. Privatization of healthcare after 1991 contributed to around 80k excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.
  1. Electoral fraud was a regular part of the 1990s election after independence from the USSR. The Communist Party of Ukraine nearly won in the late 1990s, but due to some state bureaucrat meddling, the capitalists remained in power. In 2015, the Party’s representation in parliamentary and electoral matters was ended, and they were effectively driven underground. Communist parties are currently banned in Ukraine, although they have remained at a low level of activity.
  2. Stephen Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist was awarded the highest title of “Hero of Ukraine”, along with a law to make it illegal to deny this fact in 2010.
  3. Azov Battalion and the Right Sector were brought into military and political life*. Also notable is the rise in power and legitimacy of the Ukrainian ultranationalist party Svododa, formed directly after the 1991 USSR dissolution. Since 2014 this party hasn’t been nearly as popular, having played a direct part in the protests surrounding that years elections. All of these represent extremist, nationalist sentiment that have been legitimized and normalized in Ukraine.
  4. Ukrainian language is given special status, with Russian language being phased out in a series of laws (2016 law required that radio feature a certain quota of Ukrainian songs, while in 2017 an educational law began requiring a shift to Ukrainian dominant language education by 2023). This represents a textbook example of ethnic discrimination, and heightened tensions in a country where the two languages used to exist in relative peace. From 2018–2019 this situation escalated, and the state language of Ukraine was changed to Ukrainian, in a “law [that] regulates the Ukrainian language ‘in the media, education, and business. It aims to strengthen the language’s role in a country where much of the public still speaks Russian.’ For example, it requires films produced in Ukraine to be in Ukrainian and foreign films to be dubbed.” Considering the Russian language is native for around 30% of the country, it is easy to see how this can and did cause additional tension.
  5. After the 2014 election, two sections of western Ukraine declared independence and broke away from Ukraine proper, forming what is now recognized as the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. Ukraine has been shelling and bombing these areas (collectively referred to as Donbass) ever since, killing at least 14,000 between 2014 and today. Nowhere to be found in Western media are claims of an attack in the DPR even after Putin recognized both states, signaling a break in the momentary peace after Russia’s announcement of recognition.
  6. In 2020, the UN held a vote on condemning Nazism, and the only two countries to vote No? Ukraine and the United States. If this isn’t a clear indicator of the issues, I don’t know what is. Notable absentees included the regular suspects of US allies: Australia, UK, New Zealand, and several others. Russia voted yes to condemning Nazis.
  1. 1994 and 1995: NATO bombs Bosnia and Herzegonia (Operation Deny Flight and Operation Deliberate Force)
  2. 1999: NATO bombs Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force or Operation Noble Anvil)
  3. 2007 and 2010: NATO bombing in Afghanistan (considered part of Operation Enduring Freedom aka War on Terrorism)
  4. 2011: NATO bombing in Libya (Operations Harmattan, Ellamy, Mobile, and Odyssey Dawn)
  5. 2014-today: NATO (as well as US, UK and France independently) bombing campaigns in Syria

Where It Might Be Going

  1. Sanctions regime established
  2. Nord Stream 2 paused
  3. NATO expansion looking more likely than ever (in other areas)

Russia’s Selective Anti-Fascism and Other Factors

What is to be done?

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Rough Notes.

It Could Happen Here

1.06.21 — Why?

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Mitch Schiller

Mitch Schiller

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