This is where I was born

For the past few months, I’ve been watching the events in Ukraine with interest and growing horror. What started out as fairly tame set of demonstrators, protesting President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to abandon an Association Agreement with the European Union and move closer to Moscow, grew into violent suppression by the police against protesters, progressed into shooting of demonstrators after the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) passed a law banning most forms of protest, making thousands into criminals overnight, and culminated with more than 100 dead over the past few days.

Kyiv burns.

Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally near the building of Ukraine's house of parliament in Kiev

It looks like a war zone, even though most still describe the events there as mass protests and demonstrations.

UKRAINE-UNREST-EU-RUSSIA

And now, the rest of the nation mourns the events in Kyiv… the deaths… the blood… the corruption.

This is the city in which I was born. Lviv.

lviv

The situation in Ukraine is complicated. It isn’t as easy as Yanukovych is a thug. He is a corrupt goon, as is most of his administration and his inner circle. He saw his authority swirling the drain, and instead of displaying some accountability to the will of the people who put him in office, this dumb bastard decided to outlaw dissent.

In an era of the 24 hour news cycle and social media, this douchetard thought the news about his tyrannical oppression wouldn’t get out? He thought bloody suppression of dissent would somehow allow him to hold on to his power – power he would probably not have gotten without the support of the Russians.

Yanukovych was indebted to and feared Moscow. Not only did the Russian support help his Party of Regions win elections, but the Russians hinted they would cut prices on natural gas – prices that Kyiv complained were exorbitant – and would help Ukraine service its debt. Additionally, Moscow screwed with Ukraine (and other former Soviet states that were considering closer relations with the European Union). Last August, Russia blocked nearly all imports from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Kyiv into rejecting an association agreement. Plus, the Russians and Ukrainians share historical, cultural and religious roots.

It’s a complicated relationship, and one I somewhat understand. During the Cold War, no one differentiated between Ukraine and Russia. They were both part of the USSR. I spoke Russian at home. I spoke Russian in school. I was considered Russian.

Cultural and religious ties aside, Ukraine is economically dependent on Russia. Russia is Ukraine’s largest trade partner. Loads of Russian tourists visit Ukraine every year. Ukraine buys its natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom, and Russia has been holding gas prices over Kyiv’s head for years.

Additionally, even though an association agreement with the EU would have helped the Ukrainian economy, the EU was demanding reforms, to include the release of imprisoned former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. And Yanukovych, being the tyrant and coward that he is, was afraid to release her for fear that she would run against him, AND win, especially as unpopular as he is.

Yanukovych doesn’t care about the welfare of his country. Yanukovych cares about Yanukovych. He tried to suppress the very people who elected him to office, to keep his competition locked up and to cozy up to the very nation that manipulated him into turning away from an agreement that could have improved and modernized his nation’s economy.

But I guess he didn’t exactly count predict the insanity that ensued. Bloody suppression during the Olympic Games. Hundreds of people dead or wounded. Yanukovych forced to sign an agreement with the opposition that vastly dilutes his powers, as well as institutes a caretaker government until a special election can be held. The Rada passed a law that would free Timoshenko, and the Minister of the Interior has been booted for ordering his thugs to fire live rounds at protesters.

In other words, everything Yanukovych was trying to do to avoid losing his power has happened…

…but only after a lot of bloodshed, trauma and heartache.

Yeah. This is where I come from.

Is it any wonder I love this country as much as I do?

8 responses

  1. You’ve much to be proud of Miss Nicki. At least enough of your former countrymen have a collective set of balls to confront the SOBs in power that notice is taken – very much unlike what we’d see here if the sheeple were put to the test.

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  2. I’m sorry to see the crud that’s been going on in Kiev, Nicki. Since Ukraine is the virtual bread basket of Eastern Asia, it seems to me that they should be able to tell Russia, “Sell us your natural gas at a reasonable price and we’ll sell YOU our wheat at a reasonable price. Tit for tat.”

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  3. Unfortunately, yet predictably, this is what happens when the people are outgunned by the government by an almost 3-to-1 ratio, where they do not possess the right to keep and bear arms. In this country, thankfully, we outgun the government by roughly a 100-to-1 ratio, except in such cesspools as New York City, the District of Columbia and New Jersey.

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    1. Actually, I would submit that this is an example of a people outgunned by the government still achieving their aim. Determination. Yanukovych lost. Big time. Embarrassingly.

      Now, whether or not the special election will yield a better, more responsive government remains to be seen. In my experience, a people who are used to oppression and corruption will not easily transition to a more moral, ethical free society. That requires hard work.

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  4. Too many people don’t understand the hardships and turmoil that unbridled governments inflict. That’s why people such as you are so important. Your voice is one of experience and much needed during the mess caused by our current administration.

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  5. The Soviets have always used economics as a truncheon with which to subjugate the Ukraine and other nations under its dominion by restricting and manipulating the flow of commodities and their prices (can you say “Kaganovich”?).

    The question for us in America is now to what extent analogous tactics might be employed upon us with regard to fuel, food and/or healthcare.

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  6. And now, because of what the police did, with rubber bullets and snipers, in Kiev, Ukranians are demanding their own Second Amendment:
    http://bearingarms.com/ukrainians-demand-their-own-second-amendment-after-government-massacre-in-kiev/

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  7. […] not going to get into it here. You can certainly read what I’ve written on the topic here and here. But what I haven’t done is write down my theories on the Russian reaction to the […]

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