IMF “Shock Treatment” for Ukraine: Collapse of the Standard of Living

Michel Chossudovsky

Into the blue (i.e. into Europe): "Welcome..." (to Paradise)

On March 27, Ukraine’s interim coalition government announced concrete policy measures as part of its agreement with the IMF: a 50 percent increase of the retail price of gas coupled with the deregulation of the foreign exchange market.

The hike in gas prices is required by the IMF as part of an 18 Billion dollar pledge, which was approved on March 27. The IMF has demanded that retail gas and heating tariffs be raised “to full cost recovery.”

It is worth recalling that following the instatement of a coalition government on February 23, the interim (puppet) prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk casually dismissed the need to negotiate with the IMF.

Yatsenyk intimated that Ukraine will “accept whatever offer the IMF and the EU made” (VoR, March 21, 2014)

Prior to the conduct of negotiations pertaining to a draft agreement, Yatsenyuk had already called for an unconditional acceptance of the IMF package: “We have no other choice but to accept the IMF offer”.

In surrendering to the IMF, Yatsenyuk was fully aware that the proposed reforms would brutally impoverish millions of people, including those who protested in Maidan.

In an address to Parliament on March 27, following the confirmation of the IMF’s pledged $18 billion loan, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that Ukraine was “on the brink of the economic and financial bankruptcy”.

The proposed “‘solution” includes a significant increase in income taxes, a freeze on wages, curtailment of old age pensions and higher energy prices. “We have no choice but to tell Ukraine the truth,” said Yatsenyuk.

Obama Sells Confrontation with Russia

Stephen Lendman

On Wednesday, Barack Obama spoke at Brussels' Palais des Beaux-Arts (Palace of Fine Arts). Lies, damn lies, and demagogic Russia bashing were featured. He duplicitously hailed Western "ideals." They're being "tested," he said. US policy is polar opposite deceptive rhetoric. His address was a beginning-to-end litany of lies.

[He outrageously said America] "believe(s) in democracy, with elections that are free and fair, and independent judiciaries and opposition parties, civil society and uncensored information so that individuals can make their own choices."

"Yes, we believe in open economies based on free markets and innovation and individual initiative and entrepreneurship and trade and investment that creates a broader prosperity."

"And yes, we believe in human dignity, that every person is created equal - no matter who you are or what you look like or who you love or where you come from."

"That is what we believe. That's what makes us strong. And our enduring strength is also reflected in our respect for an international system that protects the rights of both nations and people - a United Nations and a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international law and the means to enforce those laws."

US policy is do what we say, not what we do. Washington rules are enforced. We're boss, they reflect. What we say goes. Nonbelievers face harsh crackdowns. War is America's bottom line option.

Obama’s speech on Ukraine: Propaganda and lies

Patrick Martin

The speech delivered by President Barack Obama in Brussels Wednesday was a call to arms for a US-NATO confrontation against Russia. With a series of lies and evasions, Obama presented a world turned upside down in which the US and European imperialists, who backed the coup in Ukraine spearheaded by fascistic forces, are the defenders of democracy and peace.

US President Obama at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

There was little in the speech that could convince working people, either in Europe or the United States, that a policy of open-ended conflict with Russia was in their interests. That was not the purpose of the speech, which consisted of one propaganda lie after another, uttered with the assurance that there would be no serious criticism, let alone opposition, within the ruling elites of the US and Europe or from their media mouthpieces.

Obama sought to elaborate the basis for a major turn in US foreign policy—what one of his foreign policy advisers called a “strategic pivot” towards confronting Russia, deliberately employing the same term that the White House has used to describe its systematic anti-China policy in the Far East.

One aim of this strategy of confrontation is to provide a new political axis for the US-dominated NATO military structure, which has visibly frayed in the absence of the old Cold War framework.

Much of the speech was devoted to rehashing long-discredited claims that American imperialism and its European allies represent democracy, freedom and the popular will. Obama invoked the conflict between democratic ideals and the authoritarian view that “order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”

But the words rang rather hollow coming from a president who has claimed absolute and unreviewable power to order the drone-missile assassination of anyone he chooses, anywhere in the world, and whose government asserts the right to collect and store the e-mails, text messages and telephone calls of the entire human race.

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