Sunday, July 12, 2015

Not All of Ukraine’s Problems are Result of the War or Moscow’s Actions, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 12 – Given how many problems Russia’s invasion has caused and how often Moscow has covertly undermined Ukraine in other ways, it is perhaps not surprising that many Ukrainians are inclined to blame everything that has gone wrong on Moscow, Kseniya Kirillova says.

            But that is dangerous not only because it allows some Ukrainians to evade responsibility but also because it provides an excuse for many not to face up to them, the US-based commentator writes in a Novy Region-2 post today (

            Kirillova, whose work has focused primarily on the international context of Ukraine’s situation, says she has been compelled to focus on the nature of problems of this kind as a result of the Mukachevo tragedy and the all too real possibility that “banditism could lead to anarchy and terror throughout the entire country.”

            First of all, she points to the enormous corruption in Ukraine. Some of it has Russian roots but not all of it. And Kyiv has not yet taken even some of the steps that others have against corruption on its own territory. Thus, the West has imposed sanctions against some of the Russians involve but Ukraine itself hasn’t.

            Not surprisingly, Ukrainians are angry about corruption, and ever more of them are dissatisfied with the answer of some in power that this problem is entirely the result of the Russians, Kirillova says. Ukrainians who use or accept that action are “no better than those in the Kremlin which see in any manifestation of popular anger ‘the machinations of the CIA.’”

            Second, Ukraine finds itself in a unique situation: Since the fall of Yanukovich, it has glasnost about all kinds of crimes.  The media reports them extensively and people know more about them than ever before. But “the tragedy of Ukraine is that while there is glasnost, there is no fear” of such media exposes among the elites because the media has not become “the fourth power.”

            Third, and in part because of the war but again not entirely because of it, the Ukrainian state has lost the monopoly on force.  There are too many weapons in the population, and too many groups, as Mukachevo shows, ready to use them for personal gain or under nominally patriotic slogans. This is “the biggest problem” the country faces now, because if left unchecked, no one will be safe.

            Fourth, and arising from this, Ukraine is at risk of descending into “archaic times” when “in place of law comes ‘the law of the jungle.’” If that happens, Ukraine can say goodbye to any chance to join the European Union or get lethal weaponry from the US. What government would give another country weapons that might fall into the hands of bandits?

            And fifth, the spread of such banditry would have another consequence: it would be used by Moscow to create the image of Ukraine as “a bandit country” and isolate it from that world which Ukrainians have shown they very much want to be a part.

            Obviously, Moscow will do all it can to exploit Ukrainian problems, but Ukrainians need to face up to the fact that such exploitation does not in every case mean that Moscow has created them. Many of the problems have Ukrainian roots, and they certainly have Ukrainian solutions, Kirillova says.

            And there is real hope in that fact. After all, she says, Ukraine has shown itself capable of living more peacefully and honorably even during a time of war than the Russian Federation of Vladimir Putin and even Boris Yeltsin has in times of nominal peace.

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