Can Ukraine’s Two Nations Stay Under One Roof?

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 8:03 pm (UTC+0)

KYIV — To understand what is happening in Kyiv today, remember that Ukraine has a larger landmass in Europe than France, the largest nation of the European Union.

Geographiically, Ukraine is entirely in Europe. Polls indicate that Ukrainians prefer a Western direction over an Eastern one by a two to one margin. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Geographiically, Ukraine is entirely in Europe. Polls indicate that Ukrainians prefer a Western direction over an Eastern one by a a two to one margin. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

From East to West, Ukraine is longer than Italy, from the Alps to the heel of the boot.

In Northern Italy, people look to Switzerland and Germany. In Southern Italy, people look to Greece, Malta and Libya.

Similarly, Western Ukrainians look to Poland, Austria and Germany. People consider themselves European to the core. City halls in Western Ukraine now fly European Union flags. In schools, children study German and Polish. This new post-Soviet generation speaks Russian poorly, if at all.

Travel 1,200 kilometers to the East, and Ukrainians look to Russia. They produce goods that are exported to Russia. They speak Russian. The Soviet generation often has a hard time speaking Ukrainian, the national language.

For three years as President, Viktor Yanukovch has tried to balance these two sides, roughly comparable to the way pre-Civil War U.S. presidents tried to keep America’s house together by waffling on slavery.

Now, the European Union and the Kremlin are telling Ukraine: make your choice!gleb garanich lenin
This winter, in the biggest political crisis since Ukraine won independence in 1991, foot soldiers for both sides are on the march.

At Kyiv’s pro-government camp, Grisha, a 30-year-old tattooed construction worker, from the Russian-speaking city of Nikolaev, says his opposition to the European Union is a no brainer. Reeling off the names of his city’s three remaining factories, all from the Soviet era, he says: “If Russia refuses to buy, the factories simply shut down.”

A few steps away, near an olive green army tent, the same fear comes from Ruslan, a fur-hatted businessman from Kremenchuk, another Eastern city.

“If we join the EU, there will be no work,” he says with conviction “All the factories will stop. Production will collapse. The EU does not need our products.”

But one kilometer down a cobblestone street, views are diametrically opposed.

In normal times, Oleg works in a pharmaceutical warehouse in Lviv, the Western Ukrainian city near Poland. But now, he mans a 3-meter high barrier that faces Kyiv’s government quarter.

Defenses start with steel cables strung across the street, move to welded metal anti-tank barriers, backed up with steel barrels. Finally, there is a high wall of sandbags filled with snow and reinforced with steel. Overhead, a banner addressed to Ukraine’s Berkut, or “Eagle” riot police reads: “Berkut, Welcome to Hell.”

The pro-Europe Maidan has become a huge magnet for Kyiv residents. Here a man poses on barricade that blocks Kreschatyk,  the capital's central avenue. VOA Photo: James Brooke

The pro-Europe Maidan has become a huge magnet for Kyiv residents. Here a man poses on barricade that blocks Kreschatyk, the capital’s central avenue. VOA Photo: James Brooke

Taking a break from scrutinizing a constant flow of pedestrians entering the pro-Western camp, Oleg says that entering the European Union is a no brainer.

“Look how Poland lived, and how Poland lives now,” Oleg, 45 years old, says, recalling Poland when the economy was communist and the security services answered to Moscow. “You have to go and look at the world. You can’t hide in the attic and be afraid.”

He is confident that by orienting his country toward the European Union, Ukraine can be Europe’s next Poland. He says: “The country will be more open, and investment will come, and factories will work again.”

Pressure is mounting on President Yanukovych to take make the choice for Europe.

In Kyiv, the capital, people are responding overwhelmingly in favor of the “Euromaidan.” Specialized Facebook groups channel a steady flow of warm clothing, tents, firewood and food to Kyiv’s Independence Square. Some of Ukraine’s best pop groups sing nightly on the stage. After three weeks of police attacks and freezing temperatures, the Euromaidan keeps bouncing back, always larger than before.

Volunteers feed hot tea and sandwiches to thousands every day. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Volunteers in the pro-European camp feed hot tea and sandwiches to thousands every day. There is a total alcohol ban in the camp. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

The Interior Ministry no longer views Kyiv police as politically reliable. Repressive actions are carried out by riot police trucked in from Russian speaking areas of Ukraine. But, in general, policemen are known to be fans of Vitaly Klitschko, the 2-meter tall boxing prize fighter who is the opposition’s rising star.

Ukraine’s Army leadership has publicly stated that the Army is politically neutral.

Ukraine’s financial oligarchs now are covering their bets.

Graphic TV coverage of the protests has moved out of the ghetto of one small commercial channel to national channels owned by wealthy Ukrainians.

Two of the nation’s richest oligarchs, Victor Pinchuk and Rinat Akhmetov, have broken their silence and called on the President to start serious talks with the opposition.

On Friday, Yanukovych’s government release all jailed protesters. On Saturday, the government fired Kyiv’s City Administrator, the City Police Chief, and a National Security Council official. At the same time, the President has mobilized his supporters, bringing tens of thousands to Kyiv by bus and train from Eastern Ukraine.

Food donations flow steadily into the Maidan protest city, enough to feed the thousands who come and go daily. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Food donations flow steadily into the Maidan protest city, enough to feed the thousands who come and go daily. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Ducking responsibility, the President blames the police violence on rogue policemen and the fact that he did not sign a EU trade and political association on his own negotiators. The policemen should be tried and the negotiators fired, the President said Friday.

On Monday, he travels to Moscow to sign economic agreements in Moscow.

Although Ukraine’s battle lines are hardening, mainstream analysts do not see secession on the horizon.

But while in the Kremlin, Ukraine’s President might want to closely inspect maps on the walls. On some maps, Ukraine’s Russian-speaking Crimea is said to be marked “Temporarily Occupied Territory.”

For three centuries, much of what is modern day Ukraine was ruled from the Kremlin. Under the Czars, it was called “Little Russia.”
In 2008, at a NATO meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Bush: “Ukraine is not a real country.”

Time will tell if President Yanukovych can keep Ukraine’s two nations under one roof.

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

43 responses to “Can Ukraine’s Two Nations Stay Under One Roof?”

  1. Michael Brytan says:

    Only 7% of Ukrainians wish that their country merges with Russia. I would bet my lunch money that only a small fraction of these would be willing to have a war over the issue. Further, Russia would not win a war with Ukraine. The end result would be that both sides would be battered and this would not help either Putin or Yanukovych stay in power.

    The majority of Ukrainians want Euro integration. A relatively small minority want Ukraine to join the Russian lead Customs Union. Yanukovych’s small inner “family” of ‘lesser’ oligarchs has been promised cheap gas by Putin for their loyalty and bringing Ukraine closer to Russia. They will become fabulously wealthy and do not care what happens to Ukraine or Ukrainians.

    Democracy no longer exists in Ukraine. A small mafia has taken control of the country and they are being handsomely paid by Putin to do his bidding.

    Yanukovych’s days in power are over.

  2. Maria Ashot says:

    According to this analysis, the USA is also multiple nations. How many? Nine? Eleven? 50? Your article plays straight into Kremlin’s hands. When backed into a corner, they will attempt to salvage what they can by splitting Ukraine into Righ-shore & Left-shore (of the Dnieper). This won’t work. In the US, as in Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, Kazakhstan, China, Pakistan, numerous languages are spoken. Why is no one suggesting we split Kazakhstan, or Mainland China? Because Human Rights transcend language. So does the principle of Accountability to voters & taxpayers. The protests in Ukraine are ultimately about Putin’s failure to deliver to his constituents Anywhere. He has had enough time. Ukrainians have never been a priority for Putin. Buying off “leaders” as if he is a feudal despot & they vassal warlords is NOT a substitute for actual Good Government. Barely 17% of direct Kremlin orders are ever carried out! Ukraine will join EU. Russian Fed MUST reform or die of methane fumes from melting Permafrost.

  3. Leonila says:

    I believe it is finally time to go beyond the usual stereotypical statements about Ukraine’s split into two nations, two languages, etc (which, incidentally, also happens to be the usual tale of the pro-Kremlin propaganda) and make an attempt to understand what is happening in the country. For example, why not take into account the fact that the demonstrators in the recent pro-government (and anti-EU) rally were mobilized by the government through threatening public sector employees with dismissals and bribing homeless and unemployed. There is not much ideology behind, just fear or opportunism in making some extra cash. Similarly, there are plenty of Russian and Ukrainian speakers in both pro- and anti-EU “camps”, so the language is hardly an issue. The only clear difference between the pro-EU and anti-EU is the standard of living, the level of education and mobility: usually those portrayed as pro-Russian and anti-EU live in misery and have hardly seen anything beyond their village. What’s worse, they are brainwashed by the Russian media into believing that the world is full of enemies and that Putin is there to save them. With a certain effort, they can be manipulated into being anti-anything or pro-anything. As such, they can hardly be presented as a real political force, let alone a separate “nation”.

  4. Jerry Kocijowsky says:

    So the Kremlin has Crimea marked as “occupied territory” – interesting. That implies that this land was forcibly incorporated into the state of Ukraine. Interesting. Who gifted Crimea to Ukraine? Hardly a territory conquered by Ukraine. Everyone knows the FSU did this and that means the kremlin and now they are talking occupied? What nonsense. Putin is a real piece of work.

  5. Ilia S. says:

    That last statement about maps is pure unsubstantiated rubbish. “Is said to be” hardly qualifies as proof, so it’s just another attempt to whip up hate. Shame on whoever wrote this – in your attempt to slam Russia you’re becoming no better that Kremlin’s propagandists.

    • Kolinski says:

      Indeed, this reference to maps showing Crimea as ‘occupied’ is so much BS it stinks. There are all sorts of idiots among Putin’s ‘NASHI’ and the Zhirinovsky’s Guard.
      The VOA reporter should have taken time to look at the maps showing vast Siberian territories north of the Amur river as part of the “Chinese Federal Co-prosperity Region” and other maps showing “The Caucasian Moslem Republic’ just west and north-west of the CASPIAN Sea. All that and much more makes Putin’s friends nervous.

  6. Prevent Conflict says:

    The unexpected benefit of this conflict is that the world has woken up to a Ukraine and issues that it’s 46 million people face with the (hopefully) last vestiges of the soviet era (with dinosaurs as leaders) and a realization that non-participation – non advocacy – and without activism by Ukrainians for Ukrainians – outsiders will continue to dictate and even try and impose their agenda. Both sides sing Slava Ukraini – Slava Heroyam – and hopefully the same national anthem in the same language – and mean it – they all want to be part of a new Ukraine – sovereign – free – rule of law for all (not as tools of oppression or regression) – and transparency in government – with a good set of checks and balances – executive – legislative – judiciary – dedicated to the future generations. They have to forge a way to work together to come up with a common vision – collaborate (work together not the other type of collaboration) – and problem solve. The world has seen they can gather together as one people – do do peacefully – now its time for more than hope – time for action – political, economic, and peaceful avoiding, preventing, resolving conflict. Leave the “svarky” and “obrazy” for later – after the current poitical/economic crises are solved.

  7. Alex M says:

    This article is complete rubbish, not only does it selectively choose quotations that somehow justify their claim the Ukraine is a divided nation, it has no substantial research or information on the actual status of the country. I cannot see how being called “Little Russia” while under the rule of the czars in anyway validates the claim, the fact actually points to the oppressive russification, which was often brutal for many, of the nation, in no way showing that public opinion considers themselves “little Russians.” The idea that Crimea is an “occupied territory” is absurd, as your wonderful, beatiful Soviet Union formally ceded the region to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (historically, the region belongs to neither Ukrainians nor Russians, but rather the Crimean Tatars, and presently the autonomous state has no desire or intentions of joining the Russian Federation, which has iften been referred to by American politicians and journalists as a “repressive dictatorship”). The idea that understanding Ukraine is as simple as East vs West, Europe vs Russia is absurd, and to come from a journalist, embarressing (as are the gramatical errors present). To equate the differences between the East and West, a very rudimetary distinction in and of itself, to the house divided against itself before the Civil War over the issue of slavery is silly, shallow, and also lacking particular insight into both antebellum America and the current status of Ukraine. I also do not see how Putin’s statement, that “Ukraine is not a real country,” is at all relevant or applicable to this article. Are you not arguing that there is a divide in the national sentiment of Eastern and Western Ukraine? In what way does Putin’s absurd and offensive statement have anything at all to do with the sentiment of Ukrainians and how they percieve their country. Not only does the article fail to discuss the relatively strong support for the Euromaidan in the Eastern part of Ukraine, it also does not address the number of people present at both the Euromaidan and Anti-Euromaidan rallies (the anti-Euromaidan having tremendously less people and less dedication; while the Euromaidan revolution goes on at all hours of the day, Anti-Euromaidan protesters abandoned their rally when it got dark- if not made clear enough: the few people that do support the government, who were also offered money, clothing, food, stay, and free transportation by the government, did not even have the motivation to stay long enough to show their support for their supposed cause. I am deeply disapointed in the narrowness of this article and the way it ignores important information, ultimately making illegitimate claims about the state of Ukraine with little, and often irrelevant, “information” to back the absurd claim. Thank You.

  8. Kolinski says:

    I agree, its time for the VOA to replace its Moscow correspondent and assign a new one located in Kyiv (not Kiev) , Ukraine.

    • Victor says:

      Why stop at Kyiv? Call it Ukrayina, not Ukraine.

      • JLNancy says:

        Kiev = Russian transliteration of the city name

        Kyiv (or Kyyiv) = Ukrainian transliteration of the city name

        The city is capital of Ukraine (Ukraina), so Kyiv it should be 🙂

  9. JLNancy says:

    Unfortunately, overall, it appears your article’s shadow-view is of looking at Ukraine through the eyes of a Russian nationalist mindset; a case of an observer/journalist a bit innocently having been marinated in Russian-stewed informational aggression. LOL. However, since this same Russian mindset is not only governmental but institutional and societal, and that there is no escaping it if one resides in Russia, I suppose it’s just endemic for one to wind up giving it logistic credence (given the hundreds of years of Russian propaganda and skewed historiography re Ukraine.) . .

    “Ukraine is not a real country* per Putin (Oh my, how dare some western Ukrainian Galician aggressors instigated by Polish and Austro-German enemies, deliberately change *Little Russia* into *Ukraine*.[Huh?]) or as notorious xenophobe Vladimir Zhirinovsky once said “”You know this Ukrainian independence is only temporary”. Oh, yes, Russian nationalists do tend to deny the very existence of a Ukrainian nation, Ukrainian language and Ukrainian culture.

    Ukrainian President Yanukovych, though not a Russian nationalist, belongs to a group of Ukrainians (Russophone Ukrainians) who were raised and educated to believe that anything Ukrainian was *second-class* and not as “prestigious as *Russian*, who would rather speak Russian than Ukrainian, and pull for closer ties with Russia.

    Instead of President Yanukovych curing a Big Disconnect between:
    *west* Ukraine (Ukrainophone Ukrainians – 39%) and *east* Ukraine (Russophone Russians – 20%), and IMO a THIRD group consisting of Russophone Ukrainians (supportive of Ukr. state independence, Ukr. territorial integrity, but is quite *Russian* in nature i.e. unsympathetic to Ukrainophones’ *alleged western Ukrainian nationalistic obsession* and are strongly biased against Ukrainian language and culture – 30%), AND a FOURTH group comprised of other ethnic groups (mostly Russian-speaking as well – 5%), he does not even know how to lead the government as a major designer and coordinator of a national *affirmative action* on behalf of the Ukrainophone population to promote their true, not token equality. Nor is he capable of appropriate national market reform policies that are clear, transparent and unambiguous. AND Russia takes advantage of all of this.–
    > Civil War drooling – East Ukraine vs. West Ukraine > discredit nationhood > slam embargo on agro food, pipes, machinery > military fly-by-through Ukraine’s air space > state-controlled media outlets calling Ukraine a “traitor* for leaning towards Europe > Russian emissaries take liberties in traveling throughout Ukraine without invitation – as if they were on home turf > stirring inter-ethnic tensions in Crimea on the eve of anticipated signing of assoc. Agreement between Ukraine & European Union, etc

    Thanks for your article. Always interested in your perspective.

  10. Andrii says:

    James Brooke: Ukraine’s Two Nations

    Till up to 2004 I never heard such devision of Ukrainian’s citizens. But this dividing technology was brought to Ukraine by the polittechnologist G.Pavlovsky, the electing consultant of the candidate to presidency Yanukovich in 2004. Since then this opinion supported by some political forces from abroad, I mean from Russia, which do all efforts to destroy sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

    Thus this opinion about two nations is wrong.

    James should live in Ukraine, or at least to be tripping some time in Ukraine before making such statement about two nations.

  11. Kenneth Roby says:

    Ukraine has been the womb of Russia. The Russian State was founded by people moving north from the Ukraine during the middle ages after a terrible invasion of the Ukraine. The language of the Ukraine is Slavic and is very close to Russian. If Russia has has ruled sometimes unjustly over the Ukraine, so has Poland and Germany . Recall the motion picture Taras Bulba. where Poland ruled over much to the Ukraine and much of Russia as a tyrant. Germany raped Ukraine and Russia during World War II. It was unfortunate that some people
    formed a Ukraine German Legion in concert with Hitler because of their hatred of Russia. and Stalin. It is a wonder why some younger people in western Ukraine want to forget completely
    recent history and rush into the hands of a German dominated union. Russia and Ukraine belong together. As Paul Johnson, the historian said, some Ukrainian patriots try to make differences in language etc that really aren’t really there. Paul Johnson was also critical of the view that people can be happy only outside of multinational empires such as Austria-Hungary and Russia. The Soviet Union could had been democratized and been a very wonderful country. However, Germany has quietly pushed it aims of breaking up of the Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union and is still plotting to to regain loss land in Poland and in the former the former in East Prussia by buying up land in Poland etc.It is unfortunate that the United States has been duped into following German aims in its old foreign policy of not seeing any combination of power being built up in Europe and Asia. I hope that the foolish aims of of western Ukrainians to join the EU will not breakup the Ukraine. However, a would rather see eastern Ukraine join Russia than seeing all of Ukraine fall into the hands of
    some people in Germany dominating all of Europe. I’m not anti German for I’m of German descent myself and Germany is a great nation. However, there have been certain people that certain people in Germany that are still aiming to dominate all of Europe under cloak of democracy and offering prosperity. Wake up people

    • JLNancy says:

      Being Slavic does not preclude someone from being European, Europe is made up of many various distinct cultural and ethnic groups.

      This is not about genetics but about civility towards one another, individual freedom and government that works for the good of its people rather than stealing from the very people it is supposed to represent.

      However, keep in mind that Russia, descended from the principality of Muscovy LONG AFTER the establishment of the Kyivan Rus’ (wherein Ukrainians formed their first state centuries before the “Russians” established theirs.)

      By the the 10th century the democratically evolved system in Ukraine had already reached its peak in the establishment of the state of Kyivan-Rus. Russia did not yet even exist!

      The Muscovy Duchy (Russia) founded in 1147, was little more than “a christianized Tatar kingdom”. The Muscovy that emerged from fragments of old Rus’ bore hardly any resemblance to the free society of Kyiv, which had been founded in the 5th century. (Christianity had already been brought to the Kyivan-Rus’ capital city of Kyiv in 988.)

      Nevertheless, Russian history properly begins with the Grand Duchy of Moscovy in the late 13th century.

      Then, Russia started calling itself Rus’ only AFTER its conquest and enslavement of the true Rus’-Ukraine in 1713 – taking arrogantly to itself Ukraine’s name and subsequently altering it from Rus’ to Russia (Rossiya)

      Russia stole a history because it had none of it’s own that it could be proud of. Being raided by Mongol hordes doesn’t exactly inspire national pride nor look good in text books. LOL!

    • Matija says:

      Appsolutli correct,i am Yugoslavian minority mother Hungarian,father Bulgarian,right now I,am homles, thank you worold wide smart politician, thenk youa again

    • Mykola Potytorsky says:

      It is not the Ukraine, it is Ukraine just like it is bad form to call Russia, The Russia. Everyone knows this fact

  12. Valery says:

    The author is right. There are two areas in Ukraine – the East and the West.
    Historically, the East always won. In WWII, in the Civil War, in medieval wars.
    Because the East was much more stronger than the West in economic sense and backed by Moscow..
    So the Western Ukrainians always felt themselves oppressed.
    Now the West has a chance, but it seems they loosing again. Their violence and using Nazi legacy make their chances poor.

    • Jerry Kocijowsky says:

      What nazi legacy are talking about, I follow this crisis very closely and do not see anything like you mention, please provide proof to support your position.

      • Valery says:

        “Slava Ukraini – Heroyam Slava!” (Glory to Ukraine – Glory to Heroes!) is slogan of Ukrainian SS. Like “Deutschland uber alles” for German SS.
        They wear symbolics of Ukrainian SS and don’t hide they think that SS division “Galichina” is their ideal. For you, may be, its nothing, may be, you think that the swastika is just Hindi symbol of solar energy with 4000-year history, but for Ukrainians the swastika is definitely Nazi symbol and “Slava Ukraini” is Nazi slogan.

      • Kenneth Roby says:

        Subtle political moves from abroad are hard to detect. However, Germany has taken more than a casual interest in events in the Ukraine. A German government minster spoke in support of the protesters a few days ago. It is unethical for outside governments especially
        democratic ones like Germany to support violent protester against another democratically elected government like Ukraine’s. The protester are using Nazi skinhead tactics of trashing,
        buildings and trying to terrorize the Ukrainian president into resigning. If a I recall correctly one
        newscast did mention that a few neo Nazis were in the crowd. This is mob rule not
        democratic protesting. Of course western media is not going to dwell on this.for they blind themselves to anything like this as they have done in the Syrian Civil war by not seeing
        Islamic extremist elements in the so called democratic movement. Ken Roby

    • JLNancy says:

      The author is NOT right; HE is still *just-learning*. As he states in his January 2014 blog-article that he “…ASSUMED…(alot IMO) re Ukraine.

      The rest of your post is untruthful, uninformed, fragmented and lame logic.
      And BTW
      The ‘earth is not flat’.

      • JLNancy says:

        EDITED TO ADD just a wee bit of another scholar’s opinions as well …

        Yanukovych INVITED the violence >

        “……It was all quite predictable. How could the gangster regime of an avaricious sultan [Yanukowych] not provoke an uprising by a population tired of being systematically and relentlessly plundered and abused? You don’t have to be an expert on revolutions and rebellions to know that, at some point, all decent people will say to their oppressors: enough is enough.

        The only question now is: Is sporadic violence enough for the regime? Disappearances, beatings, and even killings have become more common. Will the regime now go into full occupation mode and employ mass violence against the protestors in Kyiv and elsewhere?…..”

        Read more here >>>

        And then check this out re just SOME WWII background >

        “…….is WRONG to say that “To those who fought World War II, it was plain enough that … the bulk of the dying in Europe was being done by the Red Army at the service of Stalin.”

        In reality, American GIs had little knowledge of the eastern front and saw the war through the lens of their own experiences. It didn’t help that the wartime American media lionized “Uncle Joe” and called every resident of the Soviet Union Russian.

        Nor did the Cold War contribute to understanding of Eastern Europe: after 1947, the wartime Soviet-American alliance became an embarrassment, Soviet pronouncements on the war were viewed with suspicion, and Americans celebrated their contribution to the liberation of Western Europe.

        It was only after the collapse of the USSR, the emergence of independent Eastern European states committed to pursuing anti-Stalinist identities and anti-Soviet historical narratives, and the opening of Communist archives that Snyder’s book became possible.

        The irony is that its basic thesis—that Eastern Europe was victimized by both Hitler and Stalin—has been the conventional wisdom among refugees from the “bloodlands” for decades.

        They knew better, because they had lived through the horrors of both totalitarian empires. Westerners knew worse, but that didn’t matter, since they were the ones who wrote the English-language histories and could dismiss their Eastern European critics as anti-Communist loons…..” [nee collaborators]

        Read more from >>>

        Or this re the notion of the “splitting-in-two” of Ukraine >

        “….Imagine for a moment that, miraculously, Ukraine wakes up one day and finds itself divided in two halves. Would they be worse off? The East could join Russia. The West could join Europe. And everyone would live happily ever after.

        Except that it WOULD NEVER work. The European Union and NATO just might take a democratic, stable, and poor western Ukraine under their wing. But no semi-rational Russian state would ever voluntarily annex a rust belt seething with anger and doomed to underdevelopment.

        One final point: whatever the solution to Ukraine’s ills—decentralization, separatism, democracy, rule of law, market relations—the single most important obstacle to any kind of CHANGE is the PARTY OF THE REGIONS..

        If the Regionnaires SECEDE, Ukraine has a chance. If they stick around for long, the country is pretty much doomed to, at best, permanent stagnation…….”

        Read more from >>>

        • Kenneth Roby says:

          Which would you rather the outcome of World war II be. Would you have wanted Hitler to have won.
          a man who commented at a Nazi rally”now you see man becoming God” This was seen on a History Channel program. I thank the True God in Heaven that the western allies such as Franklin Roosevelt and the English Prime Minister chose at the time to ally with Stalin. They chose the lesser
          of the two evils. We have seen the results of man trying to become God by the horrors of the gas ovens. Of course if Hitler had been victorious over Uncle Joe, the United States would have virtually stood alone. It would have been a much harder task trying fight Germany, Russia and Japan at the same time. Hitler was a spiritually corrupting man and much more dangerous. The Red Army would not have advanced beyond eastern Poland, if Hitler had not attacked Uncle Joe..Stalin was only following traditional Russian foreign policy building buffer states around Russia
          up to the time of the Hitler attack.There is much to suggest that Hitler was the First Beast of
          Revelation for he died of a head as the First Beast of Revelation is said to have died of.
          No other man took his life. Hitler took a symbol of God and corrupted it. The swastika had been used by Christians and even ancient Jews and many other cultures. There was a swastika in the church where Hitler sang as choir boy. This was seen on the History Channel. There was another story also seen on the History Channel. This concerned Hitler’s reaction when the the agreement between Russia and Germany to invade and divide up Poland. was signed while at the eagles nest. At the moment when the agreement was signed in Russia, the sky changed colors. A Hungarian woman visiting Hitler is said to have rushed forward crying this means blood and death. Hitler is said to have shook his fist at the sky .
          This was a man in full rebellion against God in Heaven. In the book the Fall of the Third
          Republic, Hitler assembled an invasion force of thousands from nations across Europe in addition to the regular German army and the Waffen or armed SS. Hitler had quite a following in the Middle East also. Hitler united millions under his banner as anti christ is said to do. He was seen by millions as the Bible stated antichrist would do. This was done through film at the time. Still want to beat up on Russia? It is far better that a politically corrupt man allied with the west such as Stalin to win than a spiritually corrupt and politically corrupt man such as Hitler to win who was responsible for the most part for the deaths in Europe. K Roby

          • JLNancy says:

            Yep, Roby, that’s similar to the extent of your limited knowledge re Ukraine. That’s what the DARK FORCES of Russian-Propoganda-Mind-Control-Legacy does to some people.

            Furthermore, as to WWII — “Because the United States acting through President Franklin Roosevelt, either a Stalin dupe or a Soviet “quisling” influenced by Soviet agents in the U.S. Department of State such as Alger Hiss, at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 SOLD OUT to Stalin and the Soviets, AGREEING TO ENSLAVE Eastern Europe and to send its refugees to their death through repatriation. This policy resulted in the murder of millions innocent men, women and children. The criminality is [ ] Americans. This criminality even today merits attention, condemnation, remorse and an apology…”
            — Askold S. Lozynskyj (attorney, former president of the Ukrainian World Congress and has served as an international election observer in Ukraine since 1990, including the Oct 28 parliamentary election)

    • Jerry Potytorsky says:

      I feel sorry for you in that you do know of what you speak, you are sinking in communist era bullshit and propaganda, thinking and living in the past. Too bad, learn history before you drown in himno

      • Kenneth Roby says:

        Mr. Potytorsky. I don’t live in the past. Neo Nazi influence in Ukraine is very much a thing of the present. The actions of Obeb Tiahybok of few weeks ago before thousands of followers
        are very Neo Nazi and look like Rudolf Hess’s building up the Nazi’s to receive Hitler at Nazi
        party rally. As reported by the New York Times, when Tiahybok took the stage at a rally
        at Independence on December 16, 2013 he shouted Glory to Ukraine and threw his arm up in a Nazi salute. Tiahybok is a major leader of part the Ukraine independence movement and his picture was shown next to Senator John McCain. Senator is a smart man but he has used poor judgement in recent years for he has had his picture taken next to Islamic terrorist last year.
        I’m sorry the Ukraine independence movement has been hijacked by Neo Nazi’s. The same hatred of Jews and Russians are present today as they were 70 years ago in the original Nazi movement. Tiahnybok and others of the Ukraine Independence are very self centered . They care not what pro Russian economic interests are and how some might be thrown into poverty if Ukraine joined the European Union. A democracy is built on compromise. As I understand it, the present president of Ukraine won by a wide margin this time around. It is up to the Ukraine protesters to convince their fellow countrymen to elect a president that supports their views. It seems that many of the protesters and their supporters are living the past for they speak of what the NKVD did to their grandfather. They see what has happened in the past to be a justification for violence they commit now now!
        Ghandi freed a whole sub continent by not using violence. Another communist.I suppose.
        If the western Ukraine people try to force their ways on all Ukraine,it will result in civil war just as when the south in the United States try force enforcement of their corrupt institution on all of the north resulted in a civil war. Jesus once said ” a corrupt tree can’t bear good fruit” You judge a tree by the fruit it bears. Oleb Tiahybok movement and the protesters have only created desolation. At some point you must forgive the Russians and other past oppressors. Jesus also said don’t return evil for evil Ken Roby

  13. Kenneth Roby says:

    It is unfortunate that people only look at the news reporting on the Ukraine of the past several
    months and not look at the whole picture of Europe, in which Ukraine is a part for the past 30 years. Of course Germany does not control by its armies Europe as in World War II. However, aside from this, the map of Europe looks a lot like what Nazi Germany wanted.
    Today there are two nations in the Czeck area, the Czeck Republic and Slolvakia a similar
    division to what existed under the Nazis. There is an independent Croatia just as existed under the Nazis. Some of the Croatian rebels fought under the Croatian fascist flag during the
    Yugoslavian civil war. The Germans conducted their first military operations outside of
    Germany since World War II during the Yugoslavian civil war. Ground troops were sent to Albania during this crisis. ( NBC nightly News at the time.) Chancellor Kohl did everything
    to make legitimate the Nazi past by insisting that Ronald Reagan visit the Bitburg burial grounds where SS solders were buried. Could Kohl had asked that Reagan to visit the grave of the founder of Democratic Germany, Adenauer instead. Jim Marr mentions other
    efforts of Kohl to make legitimate Nazi past. Of course this would be subtle moves by some people in Germany trying to achieve in Europe by democratic means what they didn’t achieve in World War II. On the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting network reported a story
    about German attempts to place a Rocket program in nations such as Syria in the 1970s
    that were known to to be hostile to Israel. This story to my knowledge wasn’t carried by American networks. The program was overseen by a German general. It was forced to be located to the Congo after it was discovered. The inclusion of the Ukraine in the European
    Union would be crown jewel in a Neo Nazi plan. A nation of 50 million would brought into a
    German dominated Union with its steel resources etc. There was the Egyptian rocket program of the early 1960s reported in Parade Magazine that was developed by German scientists but was stopped before the rockets received their guidance systems. If the
    Ukrainian protesters were true democrats, they would wait for the next presidential election
    after peacefully protesting. Putin even put a three way deal forward where the Ukraine could be part of The Russian customs union and associate with the European Union.
    However, the Ukraine street want no comprise but their way or the highway. We as Americans and westerners should be more mature and not give heed to every voice
    that shouts democracy and freedom. The street protesters have turned into a mob
    and no solid Ukraine democracy can be built on this. This group of people very well may
    be used by certain groups in Germany to achieve their aims. The western media always flies to the defense of every protest group that shouts freedom and democracy. The leader
    of the Iranian Revolution, while sitting in France often spoke of Freedom and Democracy.
    The western media shouted for joy but their joy for this false voice of freedom saw this turn
    into freedumb

  14. Olexandr Shepel says:

    I am personally from the East of Ukraine .My mother tongue is Ukrainian. The Russian speaking population of the East is result of extremal russifification. The urban population in the Eeast is Russian speaking, the rural people are Ukrainian speaking. Not only in Ukraine. In neighbouring to Ukraine, and not only neighbouring Bryank, Voronezh,Belgorod, Oryol and other regions, in Krasnodar, Stavropol another territories. Prorussian moods are result of people`s ignorancy. As far back as in 1929, according to a census, in my native Luhansk there were 32 school, where subject were taught in Ukrainian (the total number of schools was 35). The majority of Ukrainian teaching schools was in the post II World War period. And at the moment of the Ukrainian Independence proclamation there were none of them. I am from the East of Ukraine. My granddads served in the Red Army who fought against German nazi invaders. I am proud of this fact. And I would be proud too if they served in Ukrainian Isurgent Army. Those people were not German lap-dogs, but fought against Soviet (NKVD troops, not Red Army ), Polish, and German invaders. Glory to Heroes, glory to Ukraine. Olexandr Shepel, Luhansk, Ukraine. Contact phones: +38 099 1536410, +38 096756 93 59.

    • Lesya Savka says:

      Olexandr, I grew up in the “West” & also learned true Ukrainian history from our family personal history. Yes, we had uncles & aunts who were in UPA: young, well educated, idealistic, who had chosen death ( tortuous death in the hands of NKVD), then life under oppression. They knew they had little chance to defeat a monstrous armada, but the dream was too bright: Ukraine as civilized, democratic, unified European country.
      Thank you for your insightful comment

    • JLNancy says:

      @ Olexandr — Such a valuable story. Thanks for sharing!

  15. James Brooke James Brooke says:

    A reality check for Russian media seeking to whip up hysteria over political events in Ukraine: WWII ended in Ukraine 70 years ago.
    In July 1944, Soviet soldiers expelled Nazi soldiers from Lviv.
    After that, fighting continued for a decade between Ukrainian nationalists and Soviet security forces.
    Instead of falling back on old labels and name calling, Russia should calmly assess the mood and wishes of Ukrainian people today, and then build on that for a healthy Russia-Ukraine relationship in the 21st Century.

    • Valery says:

      Therefore, instead “falling back on old labels and name calling” we may use swastika and Nazi slogans again, because now is “21st Century” and 70 years passed??? Hm, it is interesting point.
      Actually it is Western mainstream now to apologize German Nazism and blame Hitler for the holocaust only, but nobody cares now that many more Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Belarusians were killed than Jews. They say like “the war is war”, so other nations are considering like collateral damage.

      • JLNancy says:

        @Valery —–Brings to mind these questions –and answers – posted by Roman Zacharkiw in the Kyiv Post.

        “How many people have been arrested, investigated or convicted for war crimes against the people of Ukraine? Answer — a big fat ZERO.

        “How many people have been arrested, investigated or convicted for crimes against Ukrainian people under the Soviet rule? Answer — a big fat ZERO.”

        “How many have been convicted for the biggest genocide in world history against Ukraine by creating the famine of 1923/1933. Yes, we know the answer — a big fat ZERO……..”

        “…… Russia has the bare face insult still not to recognize it as genocide. Why? 3 big fat ZERO’s.

        And ask the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine. Why have they not pursued justice for the Ukrainians who perished and were slaughtered, prior, during and after the Second World War.? Millions of Ukrainian lives were taken, not in acts of war but in acts of Soviet barbarism……”

        THEN, Valery, please DO CHECK Wikipedia for a bit of historical background, which quotes Yale historian Timothy Snyder and other authoritative sources:


        ”Wächter approached the Ukrainian Central Committee, a nonpolitical social welfare organization headed by Volodymyr Kubiyovych which supported the idea of the formation of the division[10] The Ukrainian Catholic Church demanded the presence of its chaplains in the division, which was usually NOT permitted by Germans. THUS the Ukrainian division, along with the Bosnian one, became notable exceptions.

        Germans made 2 political concessions: It was stipulated that the division shall NOT be used to fight Western Allies and would be used EXCLUSIVELY to “fight Bolsheviks.”

        The creation of foreign units had been carried out previously IN THE NAME OF fighting against communism with French, Dutch, Latvian, Estonian, Croatian and Byelorussian units among others, had been created.

        The creation of the Ukrainian division was perceived by many on Ukraine as a step towards the attainment of Ukrainian independence.


        (END QUOTE)

        and “Slava Ukraini” > from Works of Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) eminent Ukrainian poet, artist, humanist

  16. Kenneth Roby says:

    Mr Nancy doesn’t seem to face up to fact that the Hitler was the greater of two evils. Many people know that the Red army did some killings that were not right. Some of this was for revenge which was not right. Hitler though was an aspect of the abomination desolation. The Bible in the Book of Revelation speaks of two beasts. The first beast , which probably was Hitler for he died of a head wound, which the Book of Revelation says the first beast would die of. What is the abomination of desolation? It is man trying to become God, which I said in my earlier comment Hitler had said at a rally “now you see man becoming God. This is something that Jesus said to flee from. Everyone has seen what desolation Hitler had wrought by the miles of bomb out buildings and millions of dead in Europe and Russia both Jews and other Gentile Europeans. It is largely Hitler’s fault alone that this happened. Stalin shared in some of the blame by sharing in the invasion of Poland but
    both he and his country paid for this dearly. Stalin was a man of many sins but Hitler’s sin wasn’t among them . It would be more tolerable to live under a man such as Stalin than a man such as Hitler that was trying to become God, who injured both the souls and bodies of men, As for the Ukrainian SS not being indoctrinated by Nazi doctrine, it is not a valid argument. They wanted Ukrainian independence so bad that they joined in Hitler’s evil.
    They sold their birth right for a mess of pottage. They made Ukrainian independence into a false god. Freedom as good as it is can become a false god and you can end up with a statement made by an unnamed American serviceman in the Vietnam war”I will these people free or kill them. It makes no difference whether the Ukraine SS had Catholic priests among their ranks or made a pledge not to fight against the west, they failed because the false god Hitler couldn’t deliver Ukraine. As for my limited knowledge I have a masters degree of science in library science and a history degree and a certification in communications engineering. As far as freedom, many early Christians gave up some freedom to not worship false gods. The True God in heaven delivered both America and the Soviet Union but not Nazi Germany and those that worked with it
    Neo Nazis are still making their influence felt in the Ukrainian independence movement
    The American government is foolishly working with one chief neo Nazi setting him up as an
    adviser. The protesters have given themselves over to mob rule and skin head tactics of burning buildings and killing policemen. They refused to obey the lawful directive and reasonable directive to clear independence square. Ken Roby

  17. Scott says:

    It would seem to me that the USA and its NATO European allies are pushing further into the former Soviet sphere and trying to box in the former superpower. Russia is a country that has been on the rise again for some years and along with some of its former Soviet Neighbours, Belarus and Khazahkstan, it is establishing something along the lines of the old Soviet federation and NATO does not want that. The EU will not touch a volatile country like the Ukraine regarding membership so I would not be surprised if the Ukraine becomes two countries. Best of luck to the Kremlin I say and NATO needs to respect Russia and her allies.

    • Kenneth Roby says:

      Scott You are exactly on target with your comments of what is happening in Europe. I wish more people people in the general population and the media could see this boxing in of Russia. Things have changed since the time of Ronald Reagan. Instead of Yeltsin acting
      like a door mat, there is a very strong leader in Russia that sees what is happening. Putin will probably act to come to the aide of the pro Russian Ukrainians and if necessary in his eyes
      will will intervene to save this population from being terrorized by the Kiev mob government
      into submitting to their will. The European Union probably will be reluctant to have an direct armed intervention to stop this or even attempt to bring the Kiev Government into full European association. The mob action in Kiev supported by some in the west will poison the atmosphere between Russia and the west even more than it is already..
      While you did not comment directly on the fall of the elected government in Kiev, what happened over the weekend was bad for a united Ukraine and has reveled how dishonorable some in the Ukraine opposition are and even some members of the disposed
      president’s own party are. Instead of honoring the agreement, signed, they gave into the street mob. The Polish foreign minister that helped bring about the agreement stated on Fareed Zakaria’s Sunday talk show, Global Public Square, that the president’s security
      need not had disappeared. When the president fled, they said that president fled his post and removed him from office. What was he to do with no security. What a sham. It is plain that there are very sinister forces in the Ukraine opposition that will not miss an opportunity to try to ruin Russia. Some of the leadership of the opposition is Neo Nazi. The EU shouldn’t deal with the coup government until they honor the agreement. Ken Roby.

    • Mykola Potytorsky says:

      There is no place called The Ukraine, dude, check an atlas and let me know where this place is, please. Secondly, the Russia needs to respect its neighbours and Ukraine is one such neighbour that they up to now just cannot respect. Thirdly, there is no such thing as a Soviet neighbour, for your information the fsu was an empire of captive nations who were terrorized and butchered into becoming part of this most evil and banal empire called the ussr. Thank God this entity is gone

  18. Scott says:

    And the USA respects Cuba and Venezuala along with other Latin American countries, many of whom have suffered at the hands of US sponsored right wing Juntas Mr. Potyotorsky? Are you FSB or CIA trying to find out who this western Russian supporter is? You will find the country currently in meltdown on the Black Sea and Western Ukrananians should take a look at Greece and Spain if they think the EU model is so great. I’m not against the EU in principle but it is an exclusive capitalist club and its austerity policies have been borne by many of its member state citizens simply to save a bank note. The US and NATO are pushing against Russia and her allies and they should step back and respect Russia and Belarus which they will not do. Sadly I think the Ukraine may well become two states like Germany was and Korea still is. Many Ukranians preferred the USSR and I work with a few of them so for all its ills, it can’t have been that bad.

  19. Kenneth Roby says:

    Mykola Potytorsky. Hello I know you are upset by the use of the article” the” before the name of Ukraine as this denotes it is merely a region. However, there is no offense is intended. This is how I’ve heard it spoken in the news over the years. You should be more tolerant of expression for I’ve heard many speakers in my life where English wasn’t their first language use the’the”article in front of words where it shouldn’t be used. However, I wouldn’t think of correcting them. I’ve have had a course in eastern European history and have done my own reading out of general interest in how the situation in World War II developed and general interest in the history of the region including interwar history and earlier history.. The history of Ukraine is so bound up with Russia that neither can walk away from that matter how hard they would try. Russia didn’t really conquer Ukraine, Ukraine people help found Russia by many of them moving north after the destruction of Kiev in the middle ages. Ukraine has never been an Independent nation. except the Kiev State of the middle ages and in modern times when they tried to separate in the chaos of the Russian revolution and the aftermath of World War I. During the Kiev state there no Russia to be independent from. Of course they are independent now. There were groups of people conquered by the Czars that were only semi feudal entities in central Asia and areas of held by Turkey Two of the Baltic states have never been anything like an independent nations except between World War I and World War II when they were freed by right wing German Free Corps troops. Up to that time they had either been controlled by German Nobility of Teutonic Knight descent, Sweden and finally
    Russia. When the Czarist Empire fell it is only natural that any government that followed be it either White Russian(conservative anti communists) or Communist would try regain control
    of all the former territories held by the Czar. Often these so called captive nations have not been good neighbors of Russia either. During the interwar years Poland conducted a little known war in the 1920s against Russia. That innocent lamb Finland while not a captive nation,conducted hostile warlike actions against the Soviet Union before the 1939 Russo Finland conflict. Finland is seen in the west as picked on by Russia. If it hadn’t been for that evil Russian Bear defeating Hitler neither of us would be speaking our thoughts freely. Thank God there was a Soviet Union at that time. If you would had gotten independence from Russia through Hitler’s assistance you can be sure he would in time had turned against Ukraine as he also as turned against Russia and finally the German people themselves.when he drowned many people in the Berlin subways at the end of the war. He declared the German people were unworthy him. If you want a united Ukraine you will have
    to get along with people in eastern Ukraine that are pro Russian and Russia itself. Even if western Ukraine separated and joined the European Union there will always be friction unless you forgive Russia and compromise. Ukraine will have to become a true democracy and not govern by coup and overthrow of a democratic President ,which I understand was elected by sizable margin. The rebels opposition will not honor agreements unless it is entirely favorable to them. You will have to remove neo Nazi’s from among your ranks also. Ken Roby

  20. Scott says:

    We do tend to think of Ukraine as a region or state of the former USSR so we put the article in front of it in the same way as we state ‘the Republic of Belarus’. It appears to have been taken over by bandits and some of them are Nazis who are hanging posters of their late WWII Nazi confederate leader up on public buildings. Is it any wonder that the Russian Federation is getting the jitters and feels the need to act, particularly for the Eastern Ukranians who were supportive of the exiled or missing president. Best of luck to Russia if they act and the west should mind its own business including my own country, the UK.



James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.



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