Staunton, Aug. 14 – Many Western experts and politicians were against the disintegration of the USSR, just as many are again against the disintegration of the Russian Federation, Volodymyr Tilishchak says; but just as in 1991, the future will be defined not by these experts and politicians but by the peoples of the region.
That is why, the director of the Kyiv Institute of National Memory says, his agency has been reaching out in the first instance to these peoples, including a joint conference with the League of Free Nations, rather than focusing on talks with Western experts or Moscow liberal activists (idelreal.org/a/32542324.html)
Tilishchak recalls that “at the beginning of the 1990s, there was no unity in the West about the future of the USSR. Many of the experts and politicians then did not see its disintegration as advisable … But what was decisive then was not the opinion of Western experts but the position of societies, including the Ukrainian, which were decisively for independence.”
An example of this Western opposition to the disintegration of the USSR was President George Bush’s August 1st speech to the Verkhovna Rada in which he called the pursuit of independence a form of “suicidal nationalism.” Twenty-three days later, Ukraine proclaimed its independence, and four months later, the world recognized that as an accomplished fact.
“The speech was prepared by Condoleeza Rice, the US National Security Council’s office for USSR and East European Affairs, who later served as secretary of state,” Tilishchak says. It infuriated many Ukrainians and many Americans, and US commentator William Safire christened Bush’s remarks “the Chicken Kyiv speech.”
Obviously, Kyiv will be attentive to what others say, Tilishchak continues; but at the same time it recognizes that the fate of the Russian Federation and the nations within its borders will be decided by the peoples there and not by Western analysts or politicians. Ukraine will support their aspirations because it is right and because it will remove a threat to Ukraine itself.