Tagged: Майдан

My 2 cents (пять копеек) about Ukraine

This has come up as a question, and I’ve found myself reading a lot about it and wanting to write about it as well. Here’s my two cents:

I myself am for the protesters, taking a stance opposed to some vulgar leftists in my country who toe the Russian line and refer to all of them as fascists.

That said, however, I believe there is a significant contingent of them who are ultra-right nationalists, and one of the leaders, Oleh Tyahnybok, is certainly such as the leader of the Svoboda (Freedom) Party.

The squeaky wheel gets the most oil seems to apply here, since Svoboda has been a significant presence. I think this has to do with skinheads’ attraction to conflict. They see this as the beginning of the war they want, and the resulting violence has been extreme on both sides.

Another factor is US involvement, which has been leaked, likely by Russians.

Timothy Snyder’s article in the NYRB overlooks these significant points and focuses instead on the ideology of Russia, which it rightly criticizes. He does not mention that there is a leftist contingent to the opposition, one that–for whatever reason–no government seems to be supporting. It was very difficult for me to find an English translation of this. Here’s the Russian with a link to the smallest matryoshka, the Ukrainian document.

Why I like the movement, despite its contingent of ultra-right nationalist participants, is that it’s ultimately standing up for Ukraine. My hope is that it won’t be necessarily nationalist, but that they would take on some of the reforms that Iceland did (and they use Iceland as a model in the theses above) and get rid of the deep-seated corruption that is destroying the country. A broken economy is a recipe for fascism, or at least for xenophobia, and this goes all the way back to Keynes’ prediction about Germany after WWI to modern-day Greece and the Golden Dawn Party there (Greek ultra-right).

Maybe this ex-boxer Klitschko will be able to help. But those theses above ought to be followed, imho. I see this as a Ukrainian Spring. Hopefully, this election will lead to something better. But one who signed the truce was Tyahnybok, and he is an ultra-right nationalist. He has a lot of support, though, so democracy has to give him a place at the table. The US getting involved, especially under cover, only exacerbates polarization, and I don’t think that’s ever a good idea. Today, people are burying the dead, I believe the count was at 70 yesterday, and unfortunately this number may not be a full count. It’s very sad, and whatever happens, those people will still be gone, so there’s no victory anywhere.