UKRAINE, RUSSIA, NATO: Recognizing the facts, the only way to peace (part 2/3)

PART 2/3

After having examined, in the first part of the article, the relationship between Russia and NATO, we will now consider the conflict in Ukraine as such. As indicated in the first part, all the following data are based on the most classical media, where a good part of the significant information is present, but far too rarely, so that it is far too little visible. 

Historical backgrounds and Édeep state

Let’s go back first to 2014 and the overthrow of the government of Viktor Yanukovych (who had come to power following elections), and then its replacement by a government aimed at rapprochement with the West exclusively. Let us remember that Yanukovych had tried to cooperate with Russia as well as with the West (and was therefore not qualified as « pro-Russian ». His relations with Russia were not easy)(1). In 2013, it planned to sign an association treaty with the European Union, as well as join a customs union proposed by Russia. However (which is not much talked about), the EU had refused to sign the treaty if, at the same time, Ukraine entered the customs union in question. Yanukovych was thus forced to choose. He finally opted for the agreement with Russia(2). This choice provoked, in early 2014, a popular protest that turned into a confrontation, all of which led to the aforementioned coup.

But there are still other historical details to be given. In 2013, a U.S. Secretary of State said that her country had invested $5 billion in Ukraine since 1991(3). Officially, it was mainly to promote democracy. But it should be noted that this money was distributed and used by organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)(4) and the Open Society Foundation (OSF) of billionaire George Soros(5). However, the first director of the NED has stated bluntly that the role of this foundation is to take over the CIA’s clandestine actions abroad(6). And regarding the OSF, Soros himself boasted on CNN that this organization contributed in 2014 to the events that led to the change in government just described(7). Let’s read again this excerpt from an article in Le Soir, on a first attempt at destabilization:  » Ukraine — International activists have contributed to the ‘orange revolution’ ( …) [Ils sont] all the more skilful and effective because they are well supervised. In Ukraine, they received financial support from an organization based in Washington and very close to the American government. (…) Foreign aid ( …) also extends to training.(8)  »

The change of regime in question was therefore clearly intended and planned. Regarding the fact that the protests turned into a confrontation, it is necessary to focus on the killing of several dozen demonstrators and policemen by snipers on Maidan Square (the triggering event of the clashes). Indeed, this killing is most likely to be blamed on the new power’s supporters or their allies, as a study by a political scientist at the University of Ottawa has shown. This study is based on the analysis of Ukrainian doctors on the victims, the bullets and their impacts, as well as on video recordings, all of which allowed to determine that the shots came from a building held by the opponents of the government(9). It should also be noted that these analyses were taken very seriously in a conversation between Catherine Ashton(10) and the Estonian Foreign Minister(11).

US interference is also very clear from another recorded conversation, where the US Secretary of State mentioned above makes it known who has been chosen by the US to be the head of the new Ukrainian government(12).

Remember that it was these events and the subsequent regime change that triggered the war in eastern Ukraine. Indeed, the majority of the inhabitants of this region (mainly Russian-speaking) refused this coup d’état, as well as a policy of the new power tending to impose the Ukrainian language(13). They then declared their independence, whereupon the new government started the war against them, while Russia supported these autonomists. This war caused at least 13,000 deaths(14).

Let us also note that a historical heritage favors the divisions and the violence of this war: a part of Ukraine had fought against the Russian-Soviet domination of the Stalinist regime, another part against Nazi Germany. The country has suffered greatly from the exactions of these two powers. And unfortunately, those who resisted the Stalinists allied themselves with the Nazis, while those who fought the Nazis were on the side of the Russian-Soviets. This history helps to explain the presence in Ukraine, even today, of neo-Nazi and anti-Russian movements(15), as well as a particular fear and hostility, in the east of the country, towards such movements.

« It is only by contemplating humanity in its totality that one becomes human ( …). Without this, individuals remain children, peoples and communities barbarians.  »

Ján Kollár

Very little visible suffering and injustice

Let’s take a closer look at this war that lasted for 8 years in eastern Ukraine. The history mentioned may imply extenuating circumstances for Ukrainians joining Nazism. However, we have gone far beyond extenuating circumstances: the neo-Nazi and anti-Russian movements mentioned have been integrated into the army and the new Ukrainian government(16). Thus, one should not be surprised by reports of serious abuses committed against those who challenge this power. Il Manifesto speaks of a series of massacres or assaults perpetrated on these people in eastern Ukraine:  » Villages set on fire, militants burned alive in the Odessa House of Trade Unions, unarmed civilians massacred in Mariupol, bombed with white phosphorus in Donetsk and Lugansk.(17)« These descriptions overlap in particular with what emerges from the work of the journalist Anne-Laure Bonnelle, who spent several stays in the Donbass, after the change of power in 2014(18). It is very regrettable that the documentary she made on this region(19), which complements very well the dominant discourse, is not broadcast on public channels. However, his most recent previous achievement, on a less sensitive subject, was well received by the more mainstream media(20).

Of course, since conflicts generate hatred, there are often exactions on the part of the various protagonists. But the inequalities in the media treatments concerned can only be revolting.

In 2019, a new Ukrainian government was elected, but it shows the same hostility as its predecessor towards Russia, as well as towards Russian-speaking Ukrainians demanding more autonomy and respect for their language. In particular, the new president has supported the adoption of a law in 2021 to impose the Ukrainian language(21). Even more serious: he did not exclude neo-Nazis from the Ukrainian forces.

This government and the previous one also bear a decisive responsibility for the non-compliance with the Minsk peace agreements. These included giving more autonomy to the country’s eastern provinces, as well as local elections(22). Despite the fact that it had signed the agreements in question, the Ukrainian government made it known that it did not intend to accede to these demands for greater autonomy in any case(23).

Building a ÉState for all

However, satisfying such demands is an elementary condition if we wish to overcome tensions and conflicts with important community and historical dimensions. These dimensions interact with geopolitical problems and are often instrumentalized by hegemonic powers. This is particularly true in the regions of Eastern Europe, where so many communities live together, communities whose settlement areas do not usually coincide with borders, but form real mosaics. Thus, in these regions, freeing the state domain from the ethnic dimension is even more important than elsewhere.

In this respect, it is worth rereading a thinker and poet such as Ján Kollár, who came from these very regions and who wrote, among other things, these beautiful and famous lines:  » The individual within his four walls, the community within its borders cannot awaken; it is only by contemplating humanity in its totality that one becomes human or a people in the most beautiful sense of these words; without this, individuals remain children, peoples and communities barbarians. Communities and peoples who close themselves to the influences of others and to contact with them are like dwellings where no fresh air enters.(24)  »

Daniel Zink former coordinator of the asbl Carrefour des Cultures

With the collaboration of Alain Adriaens

Notes et références
  2. Ibid.
  6. (pour un commentaire en français :
  10. Jusque 2014 Haute représentante de l’Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité.
  15.–4‑page-292.htm ;–4‑page-59.htm
  16.–20140226ARTFIG00463-l-opposition-ukrainienne-presente-son-gouvernement-de-transition.php ;–03-09/le-bataillon-azov-ou-la-face-sombre-dune-certaine-ukraine
  17. Traduction en français :
  18. Ukraine – Ceux qui appellent à la guerre ne la connaissent pas,, 08/03/2022 (sur Youtube notamment).
  24. Kollár, J., Über die literarische Wechselseitigkeit zwischen den verschiedenen Stämmen und Mundarten der slawischen Nation, Weingart , 1837 (version allemande écrite par l’auteur peu après la rédaction de la version tchèque – de 1836), p. 48. (en anglais, sous le titre Reciprocity Between the Various Tribes and Dialects of the Slavic Nation, Slavica Publishers, 2008).
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