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Off to an Unquiet Eastern Front

By William Risch On June 23, Kyiv sent over 500 men off to the battlefields of eastern Ukraine.  Outside the city well over 400 soldiers, including at least one woman, swore solemn oaths to the Donbas Battalion, a paramilitary unit led by Donbas native Semen Semenchenko.  On Sofia Square...

Ukraine’s Refugees

One of the hidden aspects of the crisis in Ukraine is the growing number of refugees internally displaced and fleeing to Russia. This is a growing crisis that has mostly been ignored by the western press besides a few notable exceptions. Fighting and lawlessness in the Donetsk and Lugansk...

Those Alleged Three Russian Tanks

The media is abuzz with claims that Russia has sent three T-64 tanks over the border in Ukraine. Reports the Wall Street Journal: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization provided satellite imagery Saturday that appeared to reinforce Ukrainian and U.S. claims that Russian tanks had crossed into Ukraine in recent...

“This is Not My War” – A Voice From Slavyansk

Translation and introduction by William Risch. A friend of the Facebook group, Euromaidan News in English, sent this report from Sloviansk, Ukraine, the scene of fierce fighting between pro-Ukrainian and pro-separatist forces. As with this person’s previous report, posted in May, I have withheld the names of the author...

Israelis in the Donetsk People’s Republic?

“For weeks,” a recent New York Times article begins, “rumors have flown about the foreign fighters involved in the deepening conflict in Ukraine’s troubled east, each one stranger than the last: mercenaries from an American company, Blackwater; Russian special forces; and even Chechen soldiers of fortune.” You might be able...

Donetsk Republic Executes Its Own

While the battle between Kyiv and separatists intensifies, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is helping stack the bodies via revolutionary justice. The DNR may be adopting Russian laws, but one practice it’s exercising not found in the Russia codex is the death penalty. Several Russian news outlets reported that an...

Ukraine’s Presidential Election Won’t Mend Fences

Ukrainians have elected Petro Poroshenko as their next president with 56% of the vote according to exit polls. The West quickly recognized his victory, but Moscow remains cautious. Today Russian Duma members were hesitant to recognize the vote opting to wait for the official results. Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister...

Ukraine Slipping into Paramilitary Arms Race

New Russia! Magazine column, “Ukraine Slipping into Paramilitary Arms Race.” Here’s the opening paragraph: Max Weber defined a state by its power to uphold its “claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” The fledgling Ukrainian state’s ability to maintain its monopoly on violence is quickly...

Russia’s Traumatic Politics

My article in The New Republic, “Is Russia Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?” In Collapse of an Empire, Yegor Gaidar, the Russian economist and 1990s shock therapist, wrote that “the identification of state grandeur with being an empire makes the adaptation to the loss of status of superpower a difficult...

Graffiti for Crimea

There’s a new campaign in Moscow: “Two Thousand Russian Buildings.” The campaign seeks to paint two thousand buildings in the two capitals with patriotic graffiti. One such facade has already gone up in the Tagansk district of Moscow. Last week, the entire side of the Solzhenitsyn building was covered...