Sunday, 23 February 2014

Don't be fooled by Ukraine

With no apologies for another post on Ukraine - a large country just three hours away by aircraft. Times and technology have changed beyond understanding the distance to eastern Europe as Chamberlain saw it. And contrary to expectations, it's the Mail that carries the most prominent narrative counter to the fairy-tale being told by the BBC.

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


Span Ows said...

Good post: I am also concerned with the way all this is being portrayed/reported and also by HMG actions. much like how they nearly did (and wanted to do) in Syria; I know the situations are very different but the firsts sentence of your second paragraph could have been written about what BBC/HMG wanted (and what they were telling us) re Syria.

Mike Spilligan said...

Top-class post (as ever) but you'll know that this is more complicated than you can put into a few paragraphs.
Anti-Semitism is the big stumbling block but there are the other threads running through this - Catholic vs. Orthodox; agricultural vs. industrial; Russia wanting the return of Krimea - and so on.
Then there's the question of the current purpose of and intentions for Russia's obsolescent Black Sea Fleet.
Above all - and ignored by Ashton - is the economics of the EU covering Ukraine's vast debts.
There's no doubt that the "ideal" solution (for some) of its "joining the EU" is a non-starter, and fatuous statements by Hague are just that.

G. Tingey said...

Wat's the least-worst solution?
That is the best we can hope for.
Please, though, don't forget that Putin is a pretty nasty piece of work ... though not as bas as Lukashenko, of course.
What will happen in "White Russia" when Lukashenko loses his grip - the trouble is, that he is quite young, only 54 .....