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Current Concerns  >  2013  >  No 39, 27 December 2013  >  “Shadow CIA” Stratfor on Ukraine: drive back Russia and look on Germany [printversion]

“Shadow CIA” Stratfor on Ukraine: drive back Russia and look on Germany

km. On 10 December, one of the leading private US intelligence agencies, Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), posted a short report on the events in Ukraine on his website. The text entitled “Ukraine’s Demonstrations Heat Up” portrays the events and influences in Ukraine, commenting them and giving recommendations for US politics.
Stratfor is an agency purporting to provide analyses and forecasts on geopolitics and international conflicts. According to a benevolent commentary, the reports are “concise and precise, getting quickly to the point”. It goes on: “Stratfor analyses are popular as profound and quick information on conflict situations, regional and country developments, not only among journalists but also with government institutions, companies and scientific institutes.” Referring to its function as a secret service, the US magazine Barron’s labeled Stratfor a “Shadow CIA” in 2010.
Strafor was founded in 1996 by George Friedman. He is president and CEO of the company. In Germany he is also known as an author of books. He has written “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” which appeared in 2009 also in German language. The main proposition is that, in spite of some setbacks, the 21st century will be the US-American century, that Russia (as well as Germany) are on the decline and that a new World War is unavoidable en route towards a “new world order”. Critics of the book say that the forecasts presented there were not so much a reliable view into the future – this is hardly possible anyway – but rather the wishful thinking of the author. Equally, the so-called analyses, the so-called prognoses rather represent the plans of certain US circles than logical developments: After all, it is eventually the people who decide how the world is going to develop – and not Stratfor. And they are very well able to decide deviating from what Stratfor prefers.
A view into the Stratfor analyses can, however, provide interesting insights into US American ways of thinking. They are indeed revealing also in view of the current events in Ukraine. Below we are citing the main paragraphs:
“Outside Ukraine, there is substantial interest in what will happen in future. For Russia, Ukraine’s future is closely connected with its own future. Ukraine is an area reaching deeply into Russia’s heartland. If it lost Ukraine from its sphere of influence, Russia could no longer be defended. The main transit route for Russian energy carriers towards the West, the basis of Russian economy, runs through Ukraine. This implies that Russia will fight bitterly for keeping the greatest influence in Ukraine.
For the United States, the support of certain Ukrainian political forces is the most efficient means to push Russia back. Recently, Moscow has  repeatedly outmaneuvered Washington, most prominently with respect to Syria and the Edward Snowdon affair. US support for the protest movements in Ukraine are a means to restrict Russia’s attentions to its own region and to keep it from an offensive against the United States.
The dominant actor in this game is Germany which in the past has strived to keep a balance within Ukraine – e.g. by declining a NATO membership of Ukraine – in order to maintain relations to Russia, Berlin’s most important partner in the energy issue. The reportedly tight relationships with one of the most important opposition protesters in Kiev, however, raise the question: What  will be Germany’s position regarding Ukraine’s future? And: What really is Germany’s position regarding its relationship with Russia?
This is why the protests mark a turning point not only regarding Ukraine’s future but also regarding one of the most important aspects of the future relationships between the West and Russia and regarding the direction that Central Europe will take.”

Indeed, German politics  massively supports the Ukrainian opposition and, most prominently, the possible candidate for presidency Vitali Klitschko and his UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform) party. And this has been going on for a few years. The party was founded in April 2010 and was built up with help from the German Konrad-Adenauer Foundation which is related to the CDU. Until just a few days ago, the internet page of the German CDU politician Werner Jostmeier posted a text dated 12 December 2011 containing the statement that Klitschko “had been commissioned by the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation to establish a Christian-Conservative party in Ukraine.” Around the beginning of 2012 the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation published a 40-page comprehensive “analysis” of possibilities of military cooperation between the EU and Ukraine: “Potentials for the cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union in the sphere of security”. Currently the foundation’s website is posting a note that a party delegation invited by the foundation has been visiting Berlin during the last week of November 2013. The foundation itself has also commented the visit with the sentence: “It is an important concern of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation to consult the party also in its parliamentary work.” Why? “Until end of this year, important taxation regarding the EU integration of the country is to be initiated.” Party foundations in Germany are mainly financed by taxpayer money. In 2011, the party foundations received more than 400 million Euro of tax money.
Finally we would like to draw your attention to a press release by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 26 November (see box below) which presents a view of the events different from what is generally reported in the ”West”. We should at least take note of it to fulfill our “audiatur et altera pars” duty and we should take it serious. It raises questions which have not been discussed sufficiently.    •

Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regarding the European Union’s statement about Ukraine on the 25 November 2013

Moscow noted the joint statement of the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso about Ukraine on the 25 November 2013, which “strongly disapproves of the Russian position and actions” in the context of the Ukrainian decision to temporarily suspend preparations for signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement with the EU.
This and other statements made by European politicians and EU leaders of late, leave us puzzled and disappointed. We call it “unfairly shifting the blame” in Russian. They are evidently caused by an aspiration to make Russia responsible for the problems in Ukrainian society due to the policy of explicit pressure used by the European Union against Ukraine and other countries, within the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative.
Russia has talked about the harmfulness of such an attitude many times, including at the level of its President Vladimir Putin. We have always highlighted that the choice of economic unions is a sovereign affair of our neighbours and we will respect it. Russia only proposed counting the economic consequences of the EU Association Agreement for our trade and economic relations, taking into account that the European Union openly warned Ukraine about the impossibility of its existence in two customs unions with different levels of customs regulation at the same time. Many experts drew attention to the fact that the dividends from the promoted European Union Association Agreements are evident for the European Union only. For Ukraine and our other neighbours the entry into force of trade and economic sections of association agreements would lead to many years of economic disarray, de-industrialisation, the ruining of farms and, as a consequence, the growth of unemployment and a reduction in the level of life of the population. [...]
To that end, we understand the causes which have motived the Ukrainian government “to take a break” in the process of European integration, to think over the mechanisms of compensation of losses for the Ukrainian economy as a consequence of entry of the EUAA into force. A proposition to study this issue jointly was addressed to the European Union and Russia. However, in response to this step by Kiev, Brussels started to press the Ukrainian government even harder, trying to convince it to agree to sign this agreement by any means. At the same time, it is impossible that the EU could not understand that such interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country provokes the opposition part of Ukrainian society to protest and wrongful actions against the lawful Ukrainian authorities.
We are convinced that we all need to try to avoid the creation of new dividing lines in Europe, and to build the European economic space on an equal basis, with predictable rules, which are understandable to all our countries, and which correspond to the task of modernisation of our economies, implementation of advanced technologies and innovations in them, and support of mutually beneficial industrial cooperation.

26 November 2013