Paul Goble, originally on Window on Eurasia
Staunton, May 9 – Moscow commentators have been denouncing the West for launching “a new cold war” against Russia, and a large share of Western commentators have assumed that this is because the Russian leadership doesn’t want one. In fact, Moscow is desperate to have that the new-old paradigm be restored at least at the level of rhetoric for at least three reasons. Continue reading
Today’s world politics are largely dominated by Vladimir Putin, the authoritarian leader of a country with nuclear weapons and a tremendous amount of energy resources, and his desire to stay in power forever. Putin sees two forces endangering his ability to remain in power – the West and the Russian masses. Continue reading
Photo from Euromaidan Art & Graphics
By Robert van Voren
He was tense, and rightly so. A few days ago Lev Shlozberg, member of the council of the Pskov region, stood up and addressed a silent audience. They all listened in awe. He attacked the prevailing mood in Russia, comparing the attacks on “people’s traitors” and the mass patriotic hysteria with the atmosphere in the 1930s under Stalin. And if that was not enough, he continued to expose the corruption in the governor’s office, the deal and tricks that allowed the ruling class to enrich itself and keep the rest of the population in poverty. “These are the real people’s traitors,” he said, “these are the people that ruin our country.”
By Robert van Voren, Feb. 16, 2014
A recent cover of a main Dutch newspaper said it all: on top of a photo of a street demonstration the word “Ukraine” had been crossed out and next to it was written “Bosnia!!” The message was clear: Bosnia was where the real action was, where the real demonstrations against the government took place, in Ukraine things were slowly withering away.
However wrong that impression might be, many people in the West indeed think that only little has been left of the force of the opposition against Yanukovych and his regime. And it is a stiff competition: Putin is having his Sochi-show in full galore, Britain is under water, and then there are the occasional other mishaps on the international scene. And thus Ukraine is sharing the position of Syria, where barrel bombs keep on falling from the air creating immeasurable destruction and human misery, but where the eyes of the West have turned away because it is ‘old news’ and the international community does not know what to do or how to behave. Continue reading
Robert van Voren, Feb. 23, 2014
Watching the news programs in The Netherlands during a short stopover I am amazed at the low quality. Not only is a lot of the news old, lagging considerably behind the changed reality, it is also limited both in depth and in scope. A few days ago, while a battle raged in Kyiv and some one hundred activists had been shot dead, the Dutch radio canceled a radio interview with me “from the front” because of “more important news”: the country had won a gold medal in Sochi. And not the first! No, it was the 19th or 20th, but still this was considered more important than the war right on the doorstep of the European Union. Continue reading
March 3, 2014
Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andrei Deshchytsa, has announced that Ukraine considers Russian actions to constitute aggression and that it intends to seek military assistance from the West if Russian troops begin using their weapons.
“I maintain the position that any conflict must be resolved peacefully through diplomatic means. That said, if Russia resorts to open aggression through an overt use of weapons, it will of course be necessary to seek assistance,” the Minister said, as reported by Kommersant-Ukraina. Continue reading
The new Ukrainian government that took the scene after Yanukovych fled repealed the controversial language law adopted on July 3, 2012 (adopted with multiple violations of the voting procedure). The law granted the Russian language the de-facto status of a second state language on a backdrop of withering opportunities for the Ukrainian language, oppressed througout the long history of Ukraine’s russification in the times of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. This was a cause for unrest in the predominantly Russian-speaking Eastern and Southern regions, where calls for separatism have not been uncommon recently, not without the help of Russian propaganda and specific politicians. Speculating on the issue of language is an old trick that the Ukrainian authorities have learned to raise around the time of elections. It seems Ukrainians have finally recognised the true reasons for “language games”. The more the different regions hate one another and the more they are afraid of each other, the less unified they are against their common enemy – corrupt officials and oligarchs that steal money. On February 26, the Ukrainian-speaking Western city of Lviv declared that its residents would be speaking Russian in solidarity with the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine’s Eastern and Southern regions.
Now, language should not be the issue of the day!
Lviv wants reelections to the Parliament, and not speculating on language and nationality!
On February 26, I will speak Russian at home, at work, with my friends – everywhere, in solidarity with the residents of Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine.
15 February 2014 – “Who are the protesters in Ukraine?” – a response from someone who has actually been (t)here.
Just as I was beginning to believe that the western press may have finally understood that Ukraine’s current street protests have little to do with so-called “radical-right-nationalism”, on 12 Feb. 2014, the Washington Post published an “authoritative” answer to the question “Who are the protesters in Ukraine” by two North American academics, Keith Darden and Lucan Way. Not surprisingly, given that their standpoint is 5000 miles away from Kyiv, the answer Darden and Way give to their own question is (mostly) wrong. The authors are careful to veil their skepticism of the real democratic substance of Ukraine’s protest movement with academically appropriate genuflections towards those who present evidence that contradicts their conclusions, but they nevertheless advance the following highly controversial points: Continue reading
What continues to amaze me is the lack of understanding among the general public and even politicians in the West that we are watching historical events evolve before our eyes.
A country of 53 million and the size of France is going through a sort of “re-birth”, confirming its national identity. This sounds paradoxical when the threat of the country falling apart in two parts is not unreal; however, in fact this is part of the same process.