Our man Yats telling Ukrainians that IMF 'conditionality' is the 'Price of Independence'
Language is a fault line but since Russian and Ukrainian are so similar they are mutually understandable by almost all the population, it's more of mosquito bite than a snake bite. Culturally, Ukraine in its current form is something of an anomaly, its eastern borders drawn in the early Soviet period, and the western ones during and after World War II. Religiously the west is predominately Catholic the east Russian Orthodox, but this divide, with much intermingling and intermarriage, has existed for centuries so is hardly the wedge issue it might appear. Even the WWII German supporting west vs. the east supporting Russian split with it's attendant Fascist/Communist name calling had been mostly overcome by time and generational change until this recent firestorm. Taken together they do create an environment of antipathy, but one that was diminishing.
Both sides struggled to articulate any specific distinguishing values before a couple of months ago except the mainly agricultural vs. mainly industrial economic divide. In fact, down through history the boundaries between the empires of the Eastern and Central European territories have shifted so often that, other than the Mongol invaders, even genetically, they are all one people.
The recent overthrow of what was widely agreed by both east-west as a totally corrupt regime during the Maiden Revolution had participants from both east-west early on. It was only the usurping of the mostly peaceful protests by the U.S. funded ultra-rightwing nationalists from western Ukraine that threw a monkey wrench into what had been a broad coalition against the corrupt Viktor Yanukovich presidency.
Then, as the news spread of the leaked Victoria Nuland phone call and the implications of it became clear the situation changed and the old divisions resurfaced. In that call Nuland made it clear that Yats was the puppet the U.S.-IMF wanted put in place because he'd play ball with the IMF and agree to the austerity package that entailed.
The IMF is dominated by the U.S. who, as the main stockholder, has veto power over its actions. The IMF is a tool of the Empire generally and of U.S. foreign policy particularly. Ukraine has a public banking system and before the Orange Revolution in 2004 had little foreign debt. From that point on, exactly as the Shock Doctrine strategy predicts, the IMF gladly lent money to Ukraine, knowing that at some point they'd need more loans which would be only granted if Ukraine accepted the terms of 'conditionality', the IMF noose that has bankrupted countries around the world for decades.
In Kiev now Yats is busy telling Ukrainians that gutting pensions, doubling gas prices and the rest of the crushing IMF austerity package they must agree to is the 'Price of Independence'. As these conditions inevitably cause Ukraine to become another Greece where 27.5 percent are unemployed, with 57 percent of people between 15 and 24 out of work, where wages and pensions have been slashed, public services gutted, and inequality and poverty continue to climb, the debt will be used to put their water, electricity, public transportation, vast agricultural lands and other public infrastructure on the block.
As the international study 'Conditionally yours An analysis of the policy conditions attached to IMF loans' states, "If countries are genuinely facing protracted and serious debt problems, then IMF lending only makes the situation worse." Examples given in the report of the crippling austerity measures Ukraine will face include restructuring of tax codes, cutting spending, freezing or cutting public sector wages, shrinking public welfare programs - including pensions - reducing minimum wage levels. sales taxes and privatizing public resources.
All Ukrainians will lose under the U.S.-EU-IMF deal. The difference, the east-west fault line difference, is that the vast majority of the loses will fall upon Eastern Ukraine because of it's predominately industrial economic base. The easterners jobs will disappear as the previously Russian subsidized gas prices skyrocket and their exports become to expensive. The easterners pensions, earned from lifelong work in those profit earning, tax paying, factories and mines will evaporate. The fault line in Ukraine exploded when the U.S.-EU-IMF 'loans' and the repercussions of 'conditionality' became apparent. All Ukrainians will lose if Yats is allowed to push through the IMF deal. All Ukrainians know this. IMO Yats can't possibly win in the upcoming May elections but as it stands right now only the Eastern Ukrainians are in a position to stop him and the Empire.