Ukraine, Venezuela, and why it’s Sad but Totally Unsurprising

Updated: February 26, 2014


By RU Twisted

As the world watches with awe, riots in both the Ukraine and Venezuela this past week have cost numerous lives, millions of dollars in damage, and shown a near chaos-like state in these countries. Protesters clashing with police in both places continue to result in a rising body count as things get more and more sideways.

These are tragic events to be sure. Police snipers shooting civilians in Kiev and military personnel in the streets of Caracas should give everyone pause for concern and make us all realize how relatively safe our lives are here in America. It is incredibly sad to see these events unfold. Ukraine2

But it should be in no way surprising to anyone. Though this may sound crass, it is a cold, hard reality that these events should have been seen coming years ago.

Let’s start with the Ukraine. The varied demographics of the country—many of whom see themselves as “European” while a great number of others identify as “Russian” and even some as both—make for a somewhat volatile dynamic to begin with. Many believe the differences between these groups are too deep-seated for there to be any real reconciliation.

The recent election of a president whom identifies as a Russian has only added fuel to this fire as many believe that he will hand the Ukraine back to the country it gained its independence from in 1991. That independence has been eroding ever since and the perceived Russian influence may have just been the final straw in what was already inevitable.

Consider that ethnic and nationality differences pale in comparison to the economic repression faced by the Ukrainian people. Despite having a wealth of resources in a geographically large country, the Ukraine’s GDP equals that of the state of Utah and ranks as one of the lowest in terms of economic freedom in the entire world.

Similarly, the violence in Venezuela has followed a laundry list of economic and civil liberty abuses by the government there. Under the guise of “democracy,” now-deceased President Hugo Chavez for years used the ignorance of several world leaders and popular media to obscure the fact that his was an incredibly oppressive regime in any area even remotely related to personal freedom. This has not changed since his passing.

Both countries enjoy remarkable natural resources and are similarly micromanaged by tremendous levels of bureaucracy and central planning. And it is for this reason that these events are completely unsurprising.

Ukraine1Please don’t misunderstand me—I find it tragic and sad to see violence erupt in cases like these. But I find it most disturbing that we as a race seem to never learn from these examples and take them as the lessons that they should be.

This is where expansion of the state leads. This is where socialism ends up, and no one should be caught off guard when it plays out in real time on live television.

Time and again throughout history we chronicle the progression of states as they gain more and more control of their people and every time the result is the same. We look in horror at the tremendous abuses of human rights and the oppression of people by regimes that obfuscate their inner workings all in the name of progress.

The media response to events such as these is either surprise out of sheer ignorance or relative silence as the narrative refuses to comply with the agenda previously embraced. The former shows demonstrative stupidity while the latter is an egregious display of ideologically motivated journalism.

Events in Venezuela are a prime example of a mainstream media that has turned a blind eye to the realities of the government Chavez helped create. Multi-million dollar news sources blatantly ignore the events there as it may contradict the decades-long fawning by Hollywood “elites” like Sean Penn and Oliver Stone.

Perhaps that is why the protests and violence in the Ukraine have received more coverage—no blockbuster celebrities have ever endorsed the government there or offered apologies for their leadership. This is probably not due to a disagreement with agenda but rather an ignorance regarding Eastern European politics.

Again, the sadness here is not lessened due to a lack of surprise on behalf of educated people. In fact, it is made all the greater because of the large number of influential people who refuse to learn from the multitude of lessons history has provided. Those who hold prominent positions in both government and media alike cry foul at the violence occurring in places that ironically reflect the logical conclusions of similar policies they regularly advocate for.

Revolutions, protests, civil unrest, or whatever name these events are given continue to occur in places with histories of government excess, lack of transparency, and economic repression. An expansive state restricts the freedoms of its people and the world views it as “shocking” when those same people collectively stand together and say “enough.”

As the state—any state—gains power, those under it lose freedom. This has always been the case and always will be. Pay attention to these events as they unfold and compare them with even the basics of historical study and this will easily be seen.

May we be a people who see it before it progresses to the level of violence.




  1. leftoftheboom

    February 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

    More and more it is the hopelessness and rage at a system that spends more time oppressing than helping the people it ostensibly serves. Arab Spring was the result of similar attitudes. Governments are finding that there is a limit to just how much their people will take when they respond to anxiety about economic and other problems with more oppression. Interestingly, a common feature is the use of the internet to spread the word locally and world wide. Dictators rule by fear and silence. Imagine the history book that points to how facebook changed the world.

  2. Andrew

    February 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

    The events in Ukraine are a bit more complex than they are presented here in the article. I can speak with at least marginal authority here as I am in the process of writing a masters on the subject and actually went to the protest. The country may have a GDP the size of Utah, but the vast majority of that wealth is consolidated in the hands of a few oligarchs whose holdings account for 85% of the GDP in the whole country. No politician who isn’t affiliated with the oligarchs has any chance of getting elected in Ukraine in the current system. While the amount of power consolidated in the hands of the President since the change to the 2004 constitution is deplorable, changing the government won’t do anything as long as the oligarchs are allowed to keep buying elections and marginalizing those who are unfavorable to their interests. This is Ukraine’s second revolution in 10 years, and unless there is a reorientation towards more democratic institutions (as in not Russian ones) the same thing is just going to happen another 10-20 years down the line. Put Ukraine on a European track and stop allowing these oligarchs make billions off of screwing over Ukraine.

    • Doc D

      February 27, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Yes it is the second in 10 years but just barely since the previous was in 2004. In November 2012 it was the same situation in government and economy. Most of the people now who were at Maidan were very anti- protests then. In my experience living all over the country for years, I found that people thought it was idiotic to have revolution. They still remembered the failure of the Orange Revolution. The start of this revolution started in November 2012 after wide spread corruption cost many obelisks (regions) of Ukraine to lose Rada (parliament) elections to Party of Regions (Yanukovich’s party). People started to see just how obvious corruption was. One year later, November 2013 President Yanukovich declined signing documents for preliminary process of integration to Europe. A group of mainly students stood at maidan and there was no problem for them until after several days government wanted to “put up the New Years tree”. This gave the Berkut a “reason” to “remove” the people from the area. Watching people that you know being beaten on YouTube is [email protected]$&’d up. This is the moment that it was no longer about EU integration but about getting rid of government.
      As for oligarchs, Ukraine corruption makes USA politicians look like alter boys. The opposition is just marginally better than current group. The answer lies in Ukraine electing people mainly from the working class and not put opposition leaders in key leadership roles.
      Slava Ukraini, geroyam slava.
      Glory to Ukraine, glory to Her heroes

  3. B

    February 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    So socialism is the problem? No the problem in ukraine was that their current president was corrupt and was already ousted in 04. How in the hell did he win another presidency ever? Did he happen to grow a mustache or goatee? I am not going to pretend to be a eastern european expert or a south american one either. I am not. I only offer questions and possible answers. I dont see a problem with a country telling an american company that they are going to get a fair deal. The ukraines i guess are upset because a better economic deal with the eu was passed over by its president for a deal with russia, which lead people to rightfully so believe that the money was going into his personal bank account. In Venezuela they are apparently upset about inflation and explosion in crime and gross mismanagement in protection and prosecution from its police force. Sean penn is a douche, oliver stone has alot of douche qualities. Being a socialist isnt one of them. Maybe if they werent corrupt in the ukraine there wouldnt be an uprising. If there wasnt massive inflation and gross mismanagement from the venezuelan police force then they might not havea uprising either. Maybe if governments werent stealing money for pirate boat themed restaurants, top shelf hookers, ignoring massive inflation , and enforce that law enforcement does its job then these uprisings wouldnt be happening.

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