poslushnik (poslushnik) wrote,
poslushnik
poslushnik

FAQ on Ukraine

After participating for a while in online discussions about Ukraine, I noticed that the same few arguments appear in those discussions. Here is what I consider to be best responses to them. I welcome feedback.

- Yanukovich government was democratically elected, the current government came to power as a result of a coup.

Strictly speaking, true. However, as an example of Hitler shows, a democratically elected ruler should be able to loose his or her legitimacy due to actions committed. The best relevant material to read is
"The Crisis in Ukraine: Its Legal Dimensions"
http://razomforukraine.org/report

- the new government is fascist.

The only kernel of truth in this is that the nationalist party "Svoboda" has 3 out of 20 seats in the current government. Its support among population is very small however, about 2%. If presidential elections proceed as planned on May 25th, it will clearly show the unpopularity and weakness of the Ukrainian far right. Russia on the other hand, even though it claims anti-fascism as its main ideology, is building a coalition with the European far right. European extremist, populist, and neo-Nazi party members went to Crimea and praised the electoral farce. The best reading on this topic, which also goes into who was Bandera and if he is relevant, is
"The Battle in Ukraine Means Everything"
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117692/fascism-returns-ukraine

- snipers on Maidan were working for opposition, Catherine Ashton confirmed it.

The investigation of sniper shooting was conducted and the results are well-known. Ashton responded to her intercepted conversation with a clarification. The best place to read in English is
"New Evidence: Russian Spies Backed Kiev's Killers"
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/03/ukraine-fingers-russian-advisors-and-ex-president-yanukovych-in-february-massacre.html

- people in Crimea were genuinely pro-Russian, Putin just took what was his.

I will leave aside the legitimacy of the idea that in modern Europe it is ok to use military to annex territory after holding a "referendum" while voters are surrounded by heavily armed troops. I will respond only to the claim that Crimea is genuinely pro-Russian. The Ukrainian polls conducted before the current events gave 40% of responses "yes" in Crimea to the the question "Should Ukraine and Russia be the same state?" We do have however a fresher information, as Putin's Human Rights Council accidentally has put the true referendum results online. The true numbers are 30% voter turnout, 50% vote for separation from Ukraine. Thus, only 15% voted for independence. The best reading is
"Putin's 'Human Rights Council' Accidentally Posts Real Crimean Election Results"
http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2014/05/05/putins-human-rights-council-accidentally-posts-real-crimean-election-results-only-15-voted-for-annexation/

- Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine.

Machiavelli would no doubt be amused with the number of followers he has in the modern civilized world. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, would no doubt be appalled. The United States became the great country it is today by proclaiming God-given right of humans to determine their own destiny. The Americans did not want to take their orders from London, why should Ukrainians take their orders from Moscow? The best reading is
"Declaration of independence"
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

- this is not our fight, we cannot fix everything.

True. There are two responses that come to mind. The first is called Golden Rule, it was given centuries ago by Confucius, Pythagoras, Buddha, Hillel and Jesus. It suggests one should do onto others what he or she would like them to do onto him or her. Abraham Lincoln proved to the world that decisions based on this rule can make world a better place, despite all odds. The second response should make sense however even for a cynic. If evil is not stopped, it grows. "Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry." The recommended reading is any history of World War 2, but perhaps the following can point to relevance of the history to current events:
"Fighting Words: Schäuble Says Putin's Crimea Plans Reminiscent of Hitler"
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/schaeuble-compares-putin-moves-in-crimea-to-policies-of-hitler-a-961696.html
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