Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Window on Eurasia: ‘Where is the West?’ Ukrainians Ask

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 19 – Like Hungarians in 1956 and Lithuanians in 1991, Ukrainians, who have suffered from a murderous Kremlin-backed attack by the Yanukovich regime, are increasingly asking why the West has done nothing to stop the violation of their rights and their efforts to have their country join Europe.

            Among the most plaintive of these calls for the West to change course, to remember its values and to stand with the people of Ukraine rather than the occupants of the Kremlin is a blog post by Volodimir Ogryzko, who served as Ukraine’s foreign minister from 2007 to 2009. Because it captures how many Ukrainians feel, it is reproduced below with only small corrections in usage (

            Headlined “Appeal to those EU and US leaders who can still act!” and dated February 18, it reads:

“Over the course of almost three months, the Ukrainian people have been defending their right for freedom, democracy and dignity. Today, this fight has resulted in the shedding of blood. The ruling regime is incresing repression. Tensions have reached their limits. A new, more powerful explosion of people's anger is possible. The consequences are unpredictable.

“Under these circumstances ‘the policy of non-interference’ of the EU and the US feels like an clear betrayal, especially in the light of Russia's political pressure, economic blackmail and direct involvement through mercenaries in fight against the Ukrainian people.

“Your governments adopt all the right declarations. Your politicians make nice statements. But for our authorities and for the Kremlin,  these are only empty words. They only understand the language of power and real actions.

“Your inaction under these circumstances unties their hands. They are not going to compromise. They will continue to torture Ukrainians.

“Or do you maybe follow this goal?

“Why don't you impose, at least, targeted sanctions against those who gave orders to beat students, to aoapt dictatorial laws, to shoot peaceful demonstrators, to chase and torture those who stand for European values in Ukraine?

“Or do you maybe have already other values?

“Or have you perhaps reached secret agreements with Moscow about its protectorate over Ukraine? If so, you should know: that will not happen. Instead you will get a new source of danger in Europe against which the former Yugoslavia was a minor problem. You cannot imagine what Ukrainians are capable of!

“And the results will be a real collapse of the European dream and a new terrifying East Asian Empire that will eventually swallow you.

“Wake up! Think about your moral commitments to the Ukrainian people during the Russian Genocide – Holodomor of 1932 – 1933, when your predecessors although fully aware of what was going on kept silent. [Think about] the millions of Ukrainian victims of the World War II when two despots burned the Ukrainian land twice, but "somehow" your politicians forgot to convict and punish communism. [And remember] the appeals of your politicians in the late 1980s that Ukraine remain in the new Russian Empire and your reluctance to act against current threats from the East.

“Does all this make you comfortable?

“Ukrainians will not remain silent anymore. We will tell the truth no matter how bitter it might sound to you. Maybe this will wake up your sleeping conscience.

“Your actions or lack of action will show whether you have values you are willing to fight for or whether [your words are] just bluff and immorality.

“What is now the price of the ‘European dream’? Or should one ask Kremlin?

“Maybe now you will understand that it is time to act!”

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