Yesterday there was a glimmer of hope in Ukraine when Putin asked separatists in Donetsk to delay their vote so that more dialog could start. Putin also claims to have pulled troops back from the border, but as with everything in Ukraine, that claim is disputed.

Today, Pro-Russia Separatists Defy Putin on Independence Vote.

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk said they would press on with their referendum on autonomy from Ukraine, defying a call from President Vladimir Putin to delay the vote.

Denis Pushilin, co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said the separatists were expressing the popular will. “We are the mouthpiece of the people,” he said. “We simply articulate what [they] want.”

He said the rebel “people’s council” had considered Mr Putin’s proposal and voted 78-0 against it.

The vote, held in the regional government building in Donetsk that the separatists have been occupying for more than a month, removes the last remaining obstacles to a referendum that could hasten the break-up of Ukraine and plunge the country into civil war.

The events early on Thursday have led many in Donetsk to question the sincerity of Mr Putin’s intervention. Some believe it was a stratagem designed to show that the rebels do not take orders from the Kremlin, despite the claims of officials in Kiev and the west.

“It was supposed to prove that Russia is not completely running the show in Donetsk, that the separatists are an independent force,” said Sergei Tkachenko of the voters’ committee, a grassroots organisation that monitors elections. “It also allowed Putin to present himself as a peacemaker.”

No Civil War “Threat”

For starters there is no “threat” of civil war. There is civil war. The carnage in Odessa proves as much. The actual threat is that the civil war widens or that Russia intervenes in it.

Points of View

  1. Putin is in control
  2. Putin is a peacemaker
  3. Putin pretends to be a peacemaker but is not
  4. Kiev is in control
  5. Kiev was justified in Odessa
  6. Kiev is to blame for Odessa
  7. No one is in control of the separatists

Some of the above are mutually exclusive, others aren’t. But if no one is in control of the separatists, and I believe it’s obvious that is the case, then options number 1 and number 4 go out the window. By implication, numerous US allegations fly out the window as well.

The US and Kiev are busy spreading propaganda points 3 and 5. While Russia would have you believe points 2 and 6.

Does propaganda on both sides overplay reality? I suggest that is undoubtedly the case, this time as always.

But given numerous videos floating around on Odessa, I will take door number 6 over door number 5 especially given the methods used. If you believe US propaganda, you pick door number 5.

Regardless of what you believe, if you do not realize the overwhelming Western media bias in favor of Kiev, and the Putin bias from Russia, then you are not thinking clearly. Both sides engage in extreme propaganda campaigns and it is best to question both.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock