"What we see from Russia is an illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state and create a contrived crisis with paid operatives across an international boundary," Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee . . . . Kerry called the demonstrations in eastern Ukraine a "contrived pretext for military intervention just as we saw in Crimea."
|Jud's sunflower weeping|
This is why the Yanokovich government in Kyiv was toppled.
|New York Times|
The Ukrainians are a patient people pushed over the top.
Putin is using the same strategies out of the same playbook in the rest of Ukraine, taking a bite out of the country bit by bit, as John Kerry and the Obama administration now realize.
Sure there are some people born when Ukraine was a Soviet Socialist Republic, who might prefer the old days and the old ways. Babushkas. Grandparents and great-grandparents. There is a generational divide, but it's not consistent. Mayden was full of older Ukrainians, people of all ages. But those with a nostalgic inclination toward returning to Russia are not the majority. Many of them remember the Holodomor, an enforced starvation, and the Stalin purges. Many have relatives or know of people sent to the gulags--writers, artists and intellectuals.
Ukraine is not a backwater, although it would certainly benefit by putting thousands of people to work building roads and strengthening infrastructure. The money for these projects went into the pockets of the few, like Yanokovitch. Stolen.
Most of the country is wired. Everyone has cell phones. More and more people have access to the internet, access to knowledge, access to what’s happening in the world. Even in small towns and villages. They google and research, read international news and newspapers. The people are educated, talented, thoughtful, contemporary in their outlook. They are not stupid puppets; they know about censorship; they are aware of media accessibility issues; they communicate online and are good at using social media.
The majority of Russian-speaking Ukrainians understand that they are citizens of an evolving independent country with great potential. They are aware of its problems, and gripe about it, but they are also aware of the possibilities. The people born in Ukraine since 1991, and 10-20 years before that, are emerging leaders in local communities across the country, and so are many of their parents. They lead NGOS, a new sector in post-Soviet societies. The NGOs are serving the public interests and addressing many urgent social needs: poverty, HIV/Aids education and prevention, human rights abuses, elders and orphans, transparency in local government. These are the NGOs that Putin has attacked as being "the shock troops" of fascist protests in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine. Many friends in Lugansk and in eastern Ukraine are in danger because of this. I worry about stunning Odessa and the southern regions nearer Crimea, too.
|The Amerikanka with friends on the street, in Starobelsk.|
Maybe if the world saw Ukraine through a different lens, not defined by Putin or those he thrusts before cameras, but by the people themselves, there would be more interest in its well-being. I lived in Ukraine for two years, in the east, near Lugansk, not far from Donetsk and Khargiv. I know something of its greatness, its indigenous culture (always under attack), its complexity, its kind and generous people most of all. That’s why I’ve been ranting about what’s happening in Ukraine since Mayden. If only my brother Loren were here now, he would urge me on, rant with me.
It was heartbreaking to watch the Russian takeover of Crimea.
It is heartbreaking to learn what is happening there now, thousands of people leaving everything behind and moving North. My friend Serdar left to finish medical school in Lviv. Crimean Tatars are leaving in fear, remembering their expulsion by Stalin, their shattered dream of returning to their homeland. Others are leaving because they want "to live as Ukrainians, in peace." This in itself is becoming a huge problem, a refugee problem, and it is slowly making the news, making the headlines.
It's frustrating, because it takes a while for the media to catch up with the realities on the ground, realities which friends share everyday on facebook and emails, social media and skype. We know, some of us, and can do nothing.
So I will continue to rant because it's all I can do.