The media is extensively covering events in the Ukraine and columnists have varying interpretations of the serious situation that exists there.
This is, however, important for our understanding of the reality.
Greg Neiman (Red Deer Advocate, May 21, 2014) writes: “But once again the world is dealing with an aggressive, expansionist Russia. Armed Russian insurgents stage-managed the annexation of Crimea and others created unrest in eastern sections of the country to destabilize Ukraine’s elections coming this weekend.”
Gwynne Dyer (Red Deer Advocate, April 30, 2014) writes: “The collapse of the status quo is partly the European Union’s fault, for demanding that Ukraine choose between closer trade and travel ties with the EU and full membership in Russia’s ‘Eurasian Union.’ It is even more the fault of Moscow: President Vladimir Putin has been both emotional and opportunistic. He’s scaring people, which is never a good idea.”
Seumas Milne (The Guardian, April 30, 2014) writes: “The reality is that after two decades of NATO expansion, this crises was triggered by the west’s attempt to pull Ukraine decisively into its orbit.
The threat of war in the Ukraine is growing. As the unelected government in Kiev declares itself unable to control the rebellion in the country’s east, John Kerry brands Russia a rogue state. The U.S. and the European Union step up sanctions against the Kremlin, accusing it of de-stabilizing Ukraine.”
Whether you take the position that the blame rests with Russia or with the United States and the European Union it is the Kiev government, including the fascist groups that are integrated into it, who are responsible for acts of repression and murder.
Those in east Ukraine, who are rebelling against the government in Kiev, have good reason to be afraid that they may share the fate of the opposition in the west where workers have been beaten, tortured and burned alive trapped in trade union offices.
It is clear that Ukrainians cannot trust the Kiev government.
It is equally clear that they cannot trust Vladimir Putin and the financial oligarchs in Moscow.
The Ukraine is between a rock and a hard place. The interests of the Russian finance are on one side and the interests of western finance on the other.
The crises are not of the making of ordinary Ukrainians but it is they who are paying the price as the Ukraine faces the threat of civil war.
There is a distinct possibility of a break-up of the Ukraine with the danger of ethnic cleansing. This is exactly what occurred in the Balkans after western economic intervention and the disintegration of the former Yugoslavian state.
There is also the possibility of another outcome, although it may be remote at this stage; workers in the highly industrial east of the Ukraine may declare their own socialist republic based on democracy and the interests of the majority of the population.
It would be an outcome that would dismay all the protagonists of this particular conflagration.
For now Russia has drawn a line in the sand and despite the fact that it no longer controls the Ukraine, control has not yet passed to anyone else.
After a period of military skirmishes the most likely outcome will be a fudged peace deal that will satisfy no one.
The Ukrainian pot will continue to simmer with the discontent of deep economic problems and the possibility of a social revolution that could spill over into Russia.
Keith Norman Wyatt