Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Russian aggressiveness is radicalizing Ukrainians

Most Ukrainians still have latent friendly feelings toward Russians. But I think the more aggressive Russia and Russians become toward Ukraine, the less complexes of any kind Ukraine and Ukrainians will have left over. Anti-Ukrainian propaganda is the norm in Russian media, and Russian government officials are making increasingly more aggressive comments about Ukraine.

And Ukrainians are expressing their frustration in the chat rooms and message boards on Ukrainian websites. Ukrainians are increasingly upset by these serious developments, including Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

In the recent mayoral election in Kyiv, the candidate of the nationalist party "Svoboda" had gotten more votes than the NU-NSU (Nasha Ukraina, Viktor Yushchenko's Party) block candidate. While neither of them was even close to winning, this is a new development for Ukraine. The Russians (along with Ukraine's communists) are calling center-right Orange Ukrainians fascists and are acting as if they were. What these stupid actions do is radicalize Ukrainians and drive them further away from Russia. That may not be a bad development for Ukraine internally, as it does need a bit more self-respect in general in standing up to bullying. And the Russian government also seems to have internal goals in mind in doing this. They are spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda as far and wide in the Russian society as they can, because they want to avoid any Russian attraction to the democratic ideals of the Orange Revolution. However, in a mid-term perspective, while the Russian government officials are threatening to split Ukraine, they are uniting it instead.

Even Crimea is seeing a resurgence of Ukrainian nationalism today, typically non-existent there, as it is heavily ethnically Russian. The Ukrainians of Crimea are uniting and have called for the end of anti-Ukrainian propaganda by various Crimean officials and their removal by the central government and for stripping Crimea of an autonomous republic status. I think both actions would be desirable if Ukraine is to quell the Russian irredentism and maintain full control of its territory. The united Crimean Ukrainian organization has also conducted a number of recent pro-NATO demonstration in Crimea, which resulted in fights with the pro-Russian forces who refuse to allow them to demonstrate freely.

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