A rent-seeking, feckless, corrupt & predatory State – but terrorist tactics? Ukraine

December 27, 2013

When it comes to the State and its institutions, Ukraine is often a multi-labeled entity.  Rent-seeking, feckless, corrupt and predatory – to name some of those most commonly used.

All are quite accurate and vary only in degree at any time – regardless of which government or president you care to put under the microscope since independence rudely fell into the laps of the Ukrainian elite in 1991.

To say that elite has been very slow to relax its grasp on the nation and allow a genuine democratic space to expand in the controlled manner expected within a textbook transition to a consolidated democracy would be something of an understatement.  It has been positively glacial, and as a result the Ukrainian society has outgrown the political class.

No administration or president has been able to find the will to release the judiciary from its influence.  None have managed to repel the desire to curtail and intimidate the media.  All have gorged themselves at the public trough.  Each and every one has misused their office and immunity with impunity.  Selective justice has been a constant – as has selective lack of justice.  Corruption has not only be tolerated but willfully ignored (and participated in) despite the myriad of laws created by numerous administrations.

Murder, rape and pillage – though not every day events by any means – have literally occurred amongst the elite themselves, of the nation, of Ukrainian citizens and of businesses under (and by some) within every administration with little consequence as a result.

I could go on and on, but suffice to say, trust in the political class is almost non-existent.  Likewise the institutions of State.  Accountability and responsibility are words that exist only in the dictionary for the political class – unless pointing fingers at others of course.

However, “terrorist” is not a label that is associated with the Ukrainian State or its institutions – and rightly so in its academic and/or political sense when it comes to generally accepted definitions – though scholars are divided over precise definitions with regard the “terrorist State”.  Much dependent on the use of State or non-State actors to achieve desired results.

Nevertheless, of late the tactics of the terrorist seem to be a guide to some within “the State” that they are increasingly prepared to employ.

By way of simple analogy, let us consider the following:

Why do terrorists strike at embassies and consulates in foreign lands?

(There are several reasons of course, but this entry is not going to turn into a short essay on terrorism.)

One reason is of accessibility.  It is there, exposed and a physical representation of what has offended them in some way that they are able to target relatively easily.  In attacking it – or threatening to – the message is to the core which is not easily accessible to them, that it is unable to protect itself on the periphery.

It is – and will always be – vulnerable at its edges.

How is the core going to protect its periphery without great expense?  How will it reassure its people they are safe when the periphery is attacked and damage sustained?  How does it respond without being seen as “disproportionate” in its response?

We need only look to yesterday’s entry and the incidents with Tatyana Chernovil and Dmytro Pylypets to see a clear parallel – if we are to decide to connect them to each other and to Євромайдан .

Having tried and failed via the Berkut to end Євромайдан at its core – with very counterproductive results – the obvious strategy is to then look to its periphery and high profile targets.  Especially those making life uncomfortable if they are easily accessible.

In this case Євромайдан coordinator in the PoR heartland of Kharkiv, Dmytro Pylypets, and journalist/ Євромайдан supporter Tatyana Chornivil, were certainly offending for some – and accessible.

Two attacks on 24th December in two separate places of two fairly high profile Євромайдан supporters occurred within only a few hours of each other.

If we consider them connected – even if not coordinated – the clear messages are that safety ends when you leave the  Євромайдан throng.  Євромайдан has no method of protecting you when you step out from behind its barricades.  There is no great financial resource to provide security to protect you when outside – and who knows who is next, so how to protect them?

Євромайдан cannot respond by arming everyone for that is firstly disproportionate, and secondly depending upon how and with what, it pushes the borders of legality to its limits.  Acting legally has been a critical and integral part of the movement, in no small part instrumental in garnering considerable international support and respect.  That cannot and should not be abandoned.

Simplistic analogy complete – How wide is the gap between examples or the mens rea that drives them?

Statements such as this are not scarce on social media:

Evgen Vorobiov @vorobyov 3h

Tetiana Chornovol’s beating sends clear message: “no one is safe”. Contracted violence vs journalists in #Ukraine may become the new norm
Reply Retweet Favorite More Expand

A statement that would please any terrorist – the psychological effect deemed to be successful, regardless of the actual  success of any attack – and sadly both incidents of 24th December were successful in delivering physically damaging messages as well.

However, I suspect it will strengthen, rather than weaken, the resolve of most – similar to the counterproductive attempts via the Berkut.

It may also bring about reprisals and a the worry escalation by some parties.

In the case of Tatyana Chornovil, there are at least clues.  It takes no effort to see the registration number of this Porsche Cayenne.

In fact 2 men have been arrested and a third is sought in relation to her assault – but a Porsche Cayenne is not a vehicle minor thugs drive – or one minor thugs would use for a “hard stop”.  It belongs to somebody with connections – and the money to repair a Porsche Cayenne.

Has it come to the point where to fight the Євромайдан/democratic ideology, terrorist tactics – disguised and seen by most as nothing more than violent crimes – have become the method of choice when it comes to dealing with the Євромайдан issues by some within the State apparatus?

Perhaps these actions and identifying the tactics as those of terrorism – rather than separate or coordinate acts of criminal violence – would be no bad thing.  It would possibly open up additional (terrorism led) legal levers within the EU and USA to pursue – or at least threaten to pursue – the assets of certain figures of interest within and associated with those in power deemed to have sway over the use – or not – of such tactics.

It would take some very creative thinkers in the diplomatic boilers rooms to make these incidents fit far reaching laws based on terrorism – but there are indeed creative thinkers in the diplomatic boiler rooms of many a nation.

It is also not difficult to frame the current tactics recently displayed as those of the terrorist either by employing numerous recent instances to make a more compelling case – far more robustly than I have above using a single example.

It’s all about deciding to make the picture fit the frame or the frame fit (possibly part) of the picture when it comes to desired outcomes after all.

You can imagine the conversation behind closed diplomatic doors now can’t you – even if simply a veiled threat.

“Hello again (insert name), you’re looking well.  Tea?  Coffee?  Please, take a seat.  

Not seen you here at the Embassy for a while.  You’ve been busy I hear.  Glad you could make time to call in.

To matters of import.  Unfortunately it seems those within (Whitehall/Washington/Berlin/Paris/Brussels/delete as appropriate) maybe looking at the recent violent incidents towards (individuals/organisation insert names) as a coordinated and organised act using tactics not dissimilar to those employed in terrorism.

It opens up all kinds of cans of worms for those believed associated directly or indirectly as you can imagine, if that terrorism tinted lens is the lens they decide to view things through in (insert capital city) – I’m sure you can see that.

Of the names floating around, it would appear you have not been spared.  Now of course I hear what you say regarding your lack of involvement and will be glad to convey your assurances of such sentiment.  Hopefully that will be enough to insure travel restrictions, persona non grata, asset freezing etc are avoided as far as you are concerned.  We can but try eh?

As you know it becomes terribly complicated and long-winded to remove people from a list associated with,  of  all things terrorism, once they are placed on it.  Damned bureaucracy eh?  Will take us all to an early grave ha ha!

Thought I would make you aware in the spirit of fair play given our personal relationship.  Give you a chance to truly distance yourself from such a carry-on before decisions are made by those above my pay grade.

Perhaps it won’t come to all that if incidents of such a nature cease.  You know how these things concentrate minds in far off capitals one moment, and are then put on the back-burner when something else comes up.

Anyway, how’s the wife?  How is (insert name)?  The children?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: