Sunday, August 24, 2014
It is almost a year since Ukraine entered a very turbulent and critical stage in its history. From protests and demonstrations, to edging very closely to a civil war.
The country is in a critical stage, that could destabilize the whole region, Europe's relationship with Russia and the continent itself.
The European and Russian elites have been engaging in a ridiculous tug-of-war over the country. The two regions are close partners and rely on each other, never mind the close historic ties that binds them. Russia was always an integral part of Europe and its history. But ever since the cold war, both sides are wary and critical of each other.
Europe's suffocatingly close alliance with America and the megalomania of the Russian leadership, with the vision of restoring Russia's former"glory" and pride, is tearing Ukraine apart. It is no secret that both sides have interests in the region and they are trying to promote them. But the Ukrainian people must have the final say themselves, about the future of their country.
Personally I do not see why the Western powers are still feuding with Russia and vice versa. Europe, America and Russia would be better off as close partners, but the remnants of the cold war are still a thorn in their potential deeper partnership.
The European elites imposed sanctions on Russia, by ending its exports of oil equipment, placing an embargo on Russia's arms trade and cutting off Russian bank finance, as well as placing sanctions on individual Russian elites. Russia in return, placed a ban on EU fruit, food and agricultural products.
This is the silliest trade war there has been for a while. By placing sanctions on each other, the two sides are not only harming the other's economy, but also their own. They are behaving like children that are angry with each other and so they are destroying whatever good they have built together!
Can these elites be trusted? No! In the past it was the same attitude of Europe's political elites that led to two world wars that killed millions of Europeans. Interestingly enough, this summer we commemorated the 100 years since the beginning of the First World War, in which millions of young European perished.
Are we people, going to allow them to do the same on European soil once more? Will hundreds or thousands of young Ukrainians, Russians and other Europeans have to die, over the future of Ukraine? A country that should after all decide its future on its own, by all democratic means.
I do not understand why the Russians are so afraid of "losing" Ukraine. The Russian minority in the eastern part of the country, will always remain ethnic Russian, with the only difference that they will be also EU citizens if the country joins the EU.
Russia will have a direct influence and a say in the EU, if MEPs and other politicians from the Russian speaking regions of the expanded EU, enter the Brussels institutions. Provided of course that the Russian minority is treated with respect by the Ukrainian and European authorities.
But the attitude of Europe is also wrong towards Russia and Ukraine. The American influence in their relations is obvious, and it is not helping. The only way to encourage the integration of the few remaining nations in the eastern region of Europe to join the EU, is what Europe does best: trade!
We should be engaging with trade and bilateral agreements, with all former USSR democracies. If Europe offer "funds" in order to gain control over these nations, it then corrupts these countries. We give money in one pro-democracy party, that in the end becomes addicted to foreign money and uses all means to stay in power, by keep twisting the arm of their donors for more funds, in exchange for more democratic reforms and keeping the status quo.
These money are being misused and they corrupt the "democratic" elites which eventually they become gangrenous both to the country and the donors. It would be better to engage with them with trade, and bit by bit via investments and continuous cooperation, change will come naturally, as well as their entry in the European institutions.
It will be the people themselves who will initiate it, after seeing how we in the rest of Europe live, come in contact with our values and way of thinking, once they come over here to work, study or do business. And vice versa, when European tradesmen go over there to start businesses and invest in their countries, they can become beacons of European values.
The exact same attitude Europe must have towards Russia. The more we criticize the country for the bad decisions and practices that their corrupt elite is doing, the more we help nationalism rise among the population and support these elites, as they are viewing them as heroes and protectors of their nation and values. This is going nowhere and Russia should become a key ally of Europe and even America itself.
In other words, the wrong attitude and grave mistakes of the Russian and European elites, could cost the lives in a great number of Europeans once again (I include the potential Russian victims, as they are Europeans after all). We should not allow them to bring disaster in our continent again.
The Ukrainian people have nothing to separate with the Russians, the Russian with the Europeans and so on. We are all striving for a better future and living standards, our goals and interests are in fact uniting us. If our elites want to play games with our welfare, over power, land and dominance over another then they are not representing our interests and we should show them the way out!
If there is any chance for peace in Europe, it is obvious that is lies in the hands of the ordinary Europeans, Ukrainians and Russians. Do not fall for your government's propaganda, for blinded nationalism and the promise that your interests lie in a nation state, a national government or on constant power games between your nation's and other neighboring ones.
Refuse to be part of your political elite's mistakes and wrong doings, or it will be you and your children that will pay the price once again.