Aren’t so good 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Despite what Russian president Putin contends, it was pro-Russian gunmen who took control of government buildings in Crimea, just as it was armed protesters in Kiev doing the same.

We break down Putin’s March press conference, in which he rightly describes the events in Kiev as accomplished by armed protesters. But he neglects to mention the violence, and the significant threat thereof, in Crimea at the hands of pro-Russian (and straight up Russian) gunmen.

Below: Pro-Russian protesters in Crimea attack anti-secessionists. [From Vice’s excellent on-the-ground reporting]
http://youtu.be/ffYW3nlBwZk?t=3m48s

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Not Yet 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Two choices face referendum voters on March 16, 2014 in Crimea: 1) Join the Russian Federation, or 2) Return to the 1992 Constitution, which would establish Crimea as an independent republic within Ukraine. That course would allow Crimea to engage in relations with Moscow without the interference of the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

The Kiev Post calls the choices “yes, now” and “yes, later.”

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Nyet 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Russian for ‘no.’

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Strategically valuable to Russia 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Crimea is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The base at Sevastopol provides Russia its largest year-round ice-free port from which to access the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Moscow has the base leased from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea through 2042, and Crimea has been home to the fleet since the reign of Catherine the Great in the late 18th century.

The base assisted in the war with Georgia in 2008 and again during the international saber-rattling in Syria last year, when the fleet’s flagship was sent to prowl the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Weren’t so good 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Turns out, the snipers that everyone thought were government forces acting on command from then-President Yanukovych were actually armed opposition protesters. Protesters fire-bombed government buildings and appeared willing to torch government forces and employees. A right-wing, anti-Semitic, nationalist faction of the protesters was reported by some to be at the center of the violence.

Below: In an occupied government building, pro-Western protesters hang a Celtic Cross flag to join a Confederate flag already hoisted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-dHVZTtTxQ

This is not to say that the government forces practiced commendable restraint, but one should not confuse the protesters' tactics in Kiev with the sort of nonviolent means we saw during much of the Arab Spring and Occupy movements.

Below: Protesters assail a government vehicle with a shower of Molotov cocktails:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWJ6CK5t_BM

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Moscow 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

In a leaked phone conversation, the State Department’s Victoria Nuland and Ukraine Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussed the imperative of quick behind-the-scenes action to put Moscow on their heels.

In December 2013, as the protests against President Yanukovych were beginning to build, Nuland spoke to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, expressing Washington’s commitment to ensuring that Ukraine fully join the US/EU sphere and deny partnership with Moscow:

Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the United States has supported Ukrainians as they build democratic skills and institutions, as they promote civic participation and good governance, all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.

Many have made the connection between U.S.-funded NGO’s and the “Color” Revolutions which occurred in many of the former Soviet-bloc countries in the early 2000’s.

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Out in front of the European Union 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

"Fuck the EU"

Such was the delicate way that State Department official Victoria Nuland expressed her desire to box out the European Union and determine the future leadership of Ukraine to Washington’s liking.

We break down the “Fuck the EU” leaked phone conversation here.

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Obama’s team 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

Principally Victoria Nuland, a true-blue neocon who served as deputy national security advisor to Dick Cheney during the invasion of Iraq, and who now serves as the State Department’s top official in Europe.

Read more about Nuland here.

Read our annotated breakdown of Obama’s address on Ukraine here.

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“midwife” 5 Things to Know About Ukraine by News Genius

We break down a leaked phone conversation between a top U.S. State Department official in Europe and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discuss plans to “midwife” a new government in Kiev, just a few weeks before the elected president would abdicate office.

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, understood the phone conversation as nothing less than the plotting of a coup:

The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.

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Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform Statement on Privacy Concerns by Mark Zuckerberg (Ft. Jay Z, Lil Wayne & T.I.)

This isn’t hopeful. Zuckerberg offers nothing to suggest that he found a sympathetic ear with the president. He simply expressed his “frustration” and was left with the understanding that Obama had little or no intention of relaxing the surveillance and spying tactics.

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