There should be no surprise that Steve Pifer’s credentials are revelatory of his Russian antipathy, that translates into his latest Pro-Coup apologetics. That the fascists are a permanent part of the Coup government is not all surprising. Right Sector and Svoboda were part of the ‘Revolution Cadre’ that overthrew the ‘Russian Puppet’ ! This Reuters commentary, while framed in the New Cold War dogmas, none the less provides part of a necessary antidote to this Brookings intervention written by Mr. Pifer.
Headline: Commentary: Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem
According to Freedom House’s Ukraine project director Matthew Schaaf, “numerous organized radical right-wing groups exist in Ukraine, and while the volunteer battalions may have been officially integrated into state structures, some of them have since spun off political and non-profit structures to implement their vision.” Schaaf noted that “an increase in patriotic discourse supporting Ukraine in its conflict with Russia has coincided with an apparent increase in both public hate speech, sometimes by public officials and magnified by the media, as well as violence towards vulnerable groups such as the LGBT community,” an observation that is supported by a recent Council of Europe study.
In an ideal world, President Petro Poroshenko would purge the police and the interior ministry of far-right sympathizers, including Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who has close ties to Azov leader Andriy Biletsky, as well as Sergei Korotkykh, an Azov veteran who is now a high-ranking police official. But Poroshenko would risk major repercussions if he did so; Avakov is his chief political rival, and the ministry he runs controls the police, the National Guard and several former militias.
As one Ukrainian analyst noted in December, control of these forces make Avakov extremely powerful and Poroshenko’s presidency might not be strong enough to withstand the kind of direct confrontation with Avakov that an attempt to oust him or to strike at his power base could well produce. Poroshenko has endured frequent verbal threats, including calls for revolution, from ultranationalist groups, so he may believe that he needs Avakov to keep them in check.
Freedom House, like The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies are funded by the US government masquerading as NGO’s. The 2014 Coup was the collaborative work of NATO, the EU, The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, not to speak of the very visible Victoria Nuland handing out chocolate chip cookies to the agitators, not to speak of the paid and unpaid demonstrators.
For some necessary background see this James Carden essay from March 8,2016 issue of The Nation:
Headline: The New Cold Warriors Bare Their Fangs Ahead of the Next Round of Syria Peace Talks
Sub-headline: They praise anyone thought to be standing up to Russia, no matter how noxious.
On March 1, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and testified: “The US and NATO face two primary threats to our security interests: Russian aggression and growing instability on our southern flank.” “Russia,” according to Breedlove, “continues to foment security concerns in multiple locations” around Europe. After launching into a brief and largely inaccurate history of US-Russian relations in the post-Cold War era, Breedlove flatly stated that “Russia does not share common security objectives with the West.” This, perhaps, would come as news to Kerry and Lavrov, who have successfully worked together to solve several “common security objectives,” like getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles and reaching a nuclear accord with Iran. As ever, the point of Breedlove’s show-testimony before the committee was to convince Congress and the administration that Russia—despite its oft-stated willingness to work with the United States on equal terms—remains the primary threat to European and American security.
At the US-Ukrainian Security Dialogue held in Washington in late February, the charge that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a revanchist power was repeated again and again. One participant, the American Foreign Policy Council’s Stephen Blank, told the gathering that “Putin cannot and will not stop,” therefore “we have to stop Putin, because nothing else will.” Indeed, “there is no basis” for dialogue with Russia.
And the where of the funding for ‘Center for Strategic and International Studies’ ? and that its Chairman of the Board is Thomas J. Pritzker? Or that Brookings publishes his propaganda broadside. The veneer of bourgeois political respectability for this ‘Think Tank’ has long been exposed, as just another propaganda outlet for the bankrupt apologists for the American National Security State! Its board of trustees speaks louder that any argument I can use: Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, William Cohen, George Argyros and Brent Scowcroft.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Thomas J. Pritzker, chairman and CEO of The Pritzker Organization, the family’s historical merchant bank. He is also executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and serves on the board of directors of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense John J. Hamre has been the president and chief executive officer of CSIS since April 2000.
The board of trustees includes many former senior government officials including Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, William Cohen, George Argyros and Brent Scowcroft. 
For fiscal year 2013, CSIS had an operating revenue of US $32.3 million. The sources were 32% corporate, 29% foundation, 19% government, 9% individuals, 5% endowment, and 6% other. CSIS had operating expenses of US $32.2 million for 2013 — 78% for programs, 16% for administration, and 6% for development.
In September 2014, The New York Times reported that the United Arab Emirates had donated a sum greater than $1 million to the organization. Additionally, CSIS has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Japan through the government-funded Japan External Trade Organization, as well as from Norway. After being contacted by the Times, CSIS released a list of foreign state donors, listing 13 governments including those of Germany and China.
Mr. Pifer begins his essay with what reads like premature triumphalism. Should the reader label it dogma, or just the old fashioned magical thinking of an apologist for the American Empire, as he and his fellow technocrats or policy metaphysicians face the daunting reality of a resurgent Russia, China as better Capitalists that any in ‘The West’?
The aggression that Russia unleashed against Ukraine in 2014 is now well into its fifth year. Unfortunately, Moscow has shown no readiness to end the conflict it keeps simmering in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, let alone address the status of Crimea. Hopes of a year ago that a U.N. peacekeeping force might offer a path out of the Donbas morass have dimmed. It appears the Kremlin will wait another year, until after the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine, to reconsider its policy.
In the meantime, attitudes among Ukrainians toward Russia continue to harden. The country is deepening its links to Europe while severing ties to its eastern neighbor. The longer that Moscow holds off on changing its policy, the more the already wide gulf between Ukraine and Russia will grow.
Not speak of the the rise of the regional power of Iran, in the wake of the catastrophic Iraq War, that brought these two counties together! Those Neo-Cons and their New Democratic allies could not have been wrong? ‘The Surge’, a massive bribery program produced stalemate and permanent Occupation! We have just past the 17th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan.
I printed Mr. Pifer essay, and after I simplified the document, it was two and quarter pages long. It was ,for the most part, a repetition of the same Anti-Putin propaganda that American Think Tank hacks have been writing since 2014. But with the added ‘revelation’ that the Ukrainians are turning away from Russia influence and business dealings like purchasing of natural gas. Hardly a surprise! Would one of the conditions of the IMF loan be that gas must be purchased from European providers?
Headline: World Bank Says Preparing $650 Million Loan Guarantee For Ukraine
The World Bank says it is preparing a $650 million guarantee to help Ukraine obtain funding in global-debt markets, but Kyiv must first comply with economic reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund.
The World Bank’s Country Office for Ukraine said in a Facebook posting on August 16 that, at the request of Ukrainian authorities, it will provide Kyiv with an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development guarantee so it can raise about $800 million in funding, once the IMF’s demands are met.
“Once appraised and approved, the proposed operation would provide a $650 million IBRD guarantee that is expected to help Ukraine raise about $800 million through a private transaction in the lending market,” the global development lender said.
For Ukraine to obtain the guarantee, the IMF must first “confirm the completion of all reform actions and the adequacy of the macroeconomic framework” established by Kyiv, it said.
Especially “critical” will be the enactment of banking and credit-reform laws passed in July by Ukraine’s legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, the World Bank said.
Ukrainian authorities must also reach agreement with the IMF on a fourth review of its program in Ukraine, “without which the proposed operation will be unable to proceed,” the bank said.
Satu Kahkonen, the World Bank’s country director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, recently said that the bank has invested about $5.5 billion in Ukraine since 2014, including $2.5 billion allocated for various investment projects, $2 billion to support regional budgets and pursue reforms, and $500 million for purchases of natural gas.
An IMF mission is planning to visit Ukraine from September 6-19.