Feature

Ukraine: Torn between Europe and Russia

Ukraine’s revolution may not be over— many in Crimea are waving Russian flags and refusing to recognize the provisional government in Kiev.

Ukraine’s revolution may not be over yet, said The Independent(U.K.) in an editorial. President Viktor Yanukovych has fled, apparently to Crimea, and many in that region of Ukraine are now waving Russian flags and refusing to recognize the new provisional government in Kiev. Crimea, long part of Russia, was transferred to Ukrainian control by diktat only in the 1950s, and it still has strong pro-Russian sentiment. “There is a real danger of the country splitting”—perhaps helped along by Russian force. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice even went on American television this week to warn Russia against sending tanks to Ukraine.

That’s a ridiculous concern, said RT.com. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has fought “just one war with a foreign power,” and that was the 2008 conflict that Georgia started when the former Soviet republic invaded its breakaway province of South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers who were there under U.N. mandate. Over the same two decades, by contrast, the U.S. has started four major wars against foreign nations: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Who’s the warmonger? “It’s true that, hypothetically, the Russians would like to regain Crimea,” said Gazeta.ru. But Russia has done far too much to win respect as an international player to risk “becoming a pariah, the usurper, and the instigator of war.” It’s even unlikely that Moscow would allow Crimea to split off voluntarily. Those Russian lawmakers who are spreading rumors that Russian passports will be given to Crimeans are giving the Crimean people “false hope.”

Russia has already done its worst, said Oleksandr Prylypko in Den (Ukraine). The violence in Kiev “erupted due to the passivity of the EU and the excessive activity of Russia’s emissaries.” Moscow supported Yanukovych with money, weapons, and international protection “according to the Syrian plan.” Still, we can’t blame our tragedy entirely on others. The murderous Yanukovych regime was “established collectively.” Many of us were involved—“judges, legislators, administrators, oligarchs, officials, the military and civilians, spinmasters, and musicians”-— while the rest of society “agreed to passively ride along.” Sure, give some blame to Russia and some to the EU. But most of it belongs here at home.

That’s why it is we who must birth a new Ukraine, said Roman Ilyk in Ukrainska Pravda (Ukraine). “There is not a single politician in Ukraine who alone is worthy to lead the revolution, who deserves its unquestioning respect and trust.” It’s up to all of us to find the criminals who “stole our crippled activists from hospitals and threw them in jail,” to identify the thugs who tortured and abused us. The oligarchs, who doubled their fortunes under Yanukovych, must be deprived of their illegally gotten property. We need an era of cleansing and a new start. Only those with no political past should be the leaders of the future. “Ukraine needs a complete reboot.”

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