Wicked, cruel and corrupt President outed by righteous populace and beautiful princess rescued from prison; democracy reigns, prosperity arrives, the Sun shines and all the people are happy runs the myth. The truth is rather more grey, much murkier and full of those inconvenient moral dichotomies that intrude into real life. Yulia Tymoshenko is is no Madonna; Viktor Yushchenko felt so betrayed by her that he was the star witness in her conviction for corruption. Rather than uniting the opposition, she is more likely to divide it. And the opposition itself is united only in its hatred of Russia. They don't love the West any more than they loved Himmler's SS - but as with their enthusiastic alliance with the Third Reich, they value us as allies to achieve their own ends. As Mark Almond writes in the Mail "Many Ukrainians want to join the EU and Nato – not for reconciliation but to recruit allies against their old enemy".
Later this year the BBC will show Unsere Mütter Unsere Väter, retitled as Generation War. The anti-semitism that led many Ukrainians to become Nazi Germany's most willing Auxillary Police and Extermination Camp guards has not gone from many of the most extreme - read loudest and best armed - members of the opposition on the Maidan. Unlike Polish protests about Polish anti-semitism in the series, I have heard none from the Ukraine about the way they are depicted - as in the scene in which the AP round up a Jewish family for the camps.
I've no doubt that there are many people of sense and goodwill in the Ukraine - academics, merchants, doctors, scientists - whose desire for an open Ukraine at the junction of east and west is sincere. However, the lesson from every revolution every time is that such people are trampled in the rush of the fanatics, the militants and the zealots to take control.
European states must work closely with Russia in securing a peaceful and prosperous future for Ukraine. This will not satisfy the hatred that still seeks revenge for Stalin's Holodomor, but they will have to pick the bones out of it.
|Scene from Generation War as Jewish child is captured|