Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Post-Soviet States Split on Flight from Soviet Past Rather than Flight from Russia, Zubov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 13 – “Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia are fleeing not from Russia,” Andrey Zubov says; “they are fleeting from their own totalitarian past in which unfortunately Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the former Central Asian republics remain stuck.”

            The Russian historian’s words are quoted with approval today by commentator Yury Khristenzen who points out that Moscow and its supporters – and sometimes their opponents – confuse these two things even though it is critical to keep these very different motivations in mind (

            “As an ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking citizen of Ukraine,” Khristenzen says, “I confirm the words of Andrey Zubov. Ukraine is interested in a flourishing, free, and democratic Russia,” one that is ready to be a partner, respects international law and relates to other countries “as an equal among equals.”

            According to the Odessa commentator, “Ukraine is not interested in a totalitarian and aggressive country which with tanks, lies and denials attempts to force its neighbors back into a totalitarian past, which violates obligations it has assumes, unleashes wars, and creates separatist enclaves in all countries seeking to break free from totalitarianism.”

            “Those Russians who really want to see Ukraine as a friend must understand that this is impossible to do via war and occupation. It is impossible to force someone to be friends by force … and those who view Ukraine as a partner and not a vassal must understand that it is necessary to change not Ukraine which is exporting lies and denials but rather change Russia itself.”

            Since becoming independent, Khristenzen says, Ukraine has never engaged in a single application of massive force “while during that period Russia has fought all the time to drive other countries into a totalitarian box. And today people in Ukraine are dying there and only there where the propaganda, military logistics and ‘we’re not here’ people of the Kremlin are.”

            If anyone has any doubts about what is going on and what is really at stake, the Kasparov portal commentator says, a recent photograph of a Russian tank in the Donbass should dispel such doubts. The tank, without any other identifying marks, bears the slogan “For Stalin,” hardly an indication of a desire to escape a totalitarian past or allow others to do so.

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