Letter: Ukraine – what can be done?
To the editor;
One can hardly escape hearing about the dramatic events that have been taking place in Ukraine in the past few months.
Having spent half of my life in the Soviet Ukraine and having observed Independent Ukraine for the past 20 years, I can't escape being asked time and again to explain the current events that are gripping not only Ukraine but influence world politics.
On the one hand, a chance to comprehensively address many issues that tear Ukraine apart in the short term appear to be an impossibility. On the other hand, certain issues are clearly more important than others and they deserve to be discussed first and foremost.
One such issue is inability of the Ukrainian political establishment to recognize that Ukraine is not a country of one language and of one people but rather a multinational country with a perennial split along Ukrainian West and Russian East fault lines. Unless this issue is not formally recognized and dealt with, the Ukrainian political debate will be forever poisoned in detriment to all, save for a small body of oligarchs who always find another way to squeeze another drop out of an already impoverished Ukrainian populace. What can be done?
In my mind the answer is not that far from our own Canadian sensibilities. Ukraine should be structured along similar federal outlines with recognition of two official languages, Ukrainian and Russian, and guarantees of shared power between Western and Eastern regions of the country. Unless this takes place, the political discourse in Ukraine would proceed mainly along an anti-Moscow-rigid and Moscow-flexible corridor with no possible long-term unity. If this state of affairs continues, all other important issues to people's daily lives, like the rule of law, sensible economic and social policies will always be on the backburner. The only winners of this untenable political morass are sleazy economic/political elites who can always find a new way to profit from either a Europe or Russia-induced policy. These elites have and will continue to do so while the already suffering population will experience ever heavier bouts of what some call Soviet nostalgia.
Unfortunately, Soviet nostalgia will not feed today's hungry. Ukraine's ability to find its true independent path in the shadow of its complex history might. Ukraine needs to chart its destiny to ensure that the future Ukraine won't descend to the level of geopolitical discourse equal to that of our presumed "benefactors": Russia, USA and some of its allies. Long live democracy!