Paris, March 5, 2014 -- What did Washington expect to gain from a successful coup d’état in Ukraine? It gained little enough from the “Orange Revolution” in 2005 that first put Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia Tymoshenko into power in independent Ukraine. Their power produced rivalry, as well as a return of corruption to national government (the Orange Revolution, so-called, was itself inspired by popular protests against corruption in the preceding government of Viktor Yanukovych, causing his ouster). Yanukovych, of course, returned to power in 2010 (with 48% of the vote), after which Yulia Tymoshenko was conveniently charged and imprisoned on corruption charges.
Yanukovych has now again been toppled from power by popular protest and violence, after refusing to sign an association agreement with the European Union, choosing instead to agree to Vladimir Putin’s urging (and monetary inducements) to join the Eurasian economic bloc, centered on Russia, which the Russian president is forming as a rival to the EU.
The Congressionally-funded American NGOs which promoted the Orange Revolution a decade ago, and its counterpart “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, cannot be said to have gained much from their efforts. They got Victor Yanukovych and still another corrupt government back in power in Kiev in 2006, with Yulia Tymoshenko still in jail, and in Georgia they got a three-day war of territorial revindication between Georgia and Russia in 2008, when former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili decided to seize from Russia Georgia’s allegedly “lost” land of South Ossetia – and spectacularly lost. Nikolas Sarkozy was president of the European Union at the time, and intervened with Moscow to get a settlement that left the disputed (and Russian-speaking) territory in Russia’s control.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin insists that what happened in Kiev last week was another foreign-sponsored coup d’état. Whatever his other reasons for saying that, (and plenty of evidence exists concerning the American role in promoting the 2004-2005 Ukrainian “Revolution”), he has confirmation this time from American Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (she of the unseemly vocabulary), Victoria Nuland, provided in the course of her telephone conversation (recorded and replayed on YouTube) with American Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, saying of the revolt in Kiev “Yats is the guy…he’s the guy you know [and he will] need all the help he can get ….” “Yats” is Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the 39 year old central banker and ex-foreign minister who ended up (surprise!) as the pro-tem prime minister of the Ukrainian government which emerged from last week’s upheaval in Kiev.