This story is nuts:
The authorities in Ukraine have been sharply criticised for faking the murder of a Russian dissident journalist in Kiev.
An official from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said Ukraine was spreading “false information”.
Reporters Without Borders said it was “part of an information war”.
Babchenko’s wife said on Tuesday she had found her husband at the entrance to their apartment block with bullet wounds in his back, and he was reported to have died in an ambulance later.
But on Wednesday there were gasps at a Kiev press conference when Babchenko entered the room.
“There was no other way,” he said.
I don’t know whether this course of action was essential to keep Babchenko from being killed; if so, then it was worth it. If it was just to catch the bloke who ordered the hit, then I’m a little more skeptical. Whatever the case, it is appalling PR.
It is quite reasonable to blame much of the chaos in Ukraine on Russian interference, not least the low-level war going on in the east of the country. But nobody can deny that Ukraine is a dysfunctional mess regardless of their meddlesome next door neighbour. The most damning thing about Russia’s annexation of Crimea was how easy it all was. I understand the Ukrainians didn’t want to risk mass bloodshed and a full-scale Russian invasion by fighting back, but the fact remains the place was completely undefended in the first place. A half-competent military could defend Crimea from a few dozen little green men flown or shipped in, but Ukraine fell far short of even that and lost the whole peninsula within hours. For all the outrage about what Russia did, few seem concerned that it was Ukrainian complacency, corruption, and incompetence that allowed it to happen.
The other undeniable fact is Ukraine has been independent for for 27 years and hasn’t shown the slightest sign of being anything other than a dysfunctional, heinously corrupt state mismanaged by squabbling factions each looking to further their own ambitions and enrich themselves. I remember the hope at the time of the Orange Revolution in late 2004; what followed was years of bickering and backstabbing and a confusing merry-go-round of leaders, one of whom ended up in jail. Things were also hopeful when Ukraine hosted the 2012 UEFA European Championship jointly with Poland, but things appear to have only gone backwards. It would be almost unthinkable to hold a major tournament in Ukraine now.
It’s a shame because the Ukrainians I know seem okay, and they obviously have competence at the individual and company level, but on a national scale they seem to be a perpetual basket case. Even their ability to resurrect dead Russian journalists isn’t going to help them with that.