Sunday, November 22, 2020

Day of Dignity and Freedom 2020 – Recalling 93 Days that Changed Ukraine

Thomas Jefferson poignantly reminded that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots.”

Yesterday, Ukrainians around the world commemorated the Day of Dignity and Freedom, which recalled and paid tribute to the hopeful and inspiring days in late November 2013 that set in motion the long sought after ouster of Russian gauleiters from Ukraine. The Revolution of Dignity as it became known became another tree of liberty for Ukrainians as they struggled to cement their independence proclaimed in 1991 and on numerous earlier occasions.

The visions of the multitude of Ukrainians standing in the cold on Maidan, the feelings of hope and anger, anticipation and desperation reverberated deep in the hearts, minds and spirits of Ukrainians. Twenty-two years after the latest Declaration of Independence of their Ukraine, the latest generation of Ukrainians was called upon to fight. The nation was not to be deprived of its dream of living in a country of their choice, free of Russian imperialism and subjugation and heading toward Europe, not back into the Russian prison of nations.

They were not to be stopped, not by their corrupt, treacherous President Viktor Yanukovych and by his mentor Russian fuhrer Vladimir Putin.

In the fall of 2013, when Yanukovych began to exhibit his true turncoat colors and reject the aspirations of the nation to join Europe, Ukrainians from every corner of their country embarked on their trek to the capital, determined to strike their chord for Ukraine’s freedom.

The chapters quickly unfolded: Ukraine’s subjugation by Russia, the nation’s desire for accession to the European Union, Yanukovych’s acquiescence, Putin’s opposition and finally Yanukovych’s last-minute reversal. The nation couldn’t stand the government’s duplicity and subservience to Moscow. The people demanded that the accession process go forward and that ex-convicts like Yanukovych be removed from power.

The masses of humanity, the killing of patriots, the cold, the acrid smoke of burning tires, the speeches, passion, songs, imagery, signs reading “Resign,” anger and hope summoned Ukrainians to declare that they are Ukrainian; they are responsible for the future of their country and people. And the nation came together. Ukrainians of all walks of life, from the four corners of the country, those who speak Ukrainian regularly and those who don’t, young and old, male and female, professionals and laborers, Orthodox, Catholics, Jews and Muslims stood on the Maidan in Kyiv to resoundingly declare their irrepressible allegiance to Ukraine.

Collapse Seen Round the World

While the throng had already been massing on the streets of the capital for several days, the truly unbelievable and stunning genesis came with the crashing sound heard round the world. In the end the Lenin monument was a pile of shattered bronze, marble and mortar that littered the sidewalk. But while it stood, it represented Russia’s subjugation of Ukraine, millions of Holodomor deaths, repression, persecution, denial of human and religious rights, political prisoners, and russification.

For Ukrainians who came to Kyiv to vent their rejection of President Yanukovych’s refusal to align Ukraine with the European Union but rather to return to Russia’s prison of nations, the Lenin monument in the center of the capital represented foreign occupation and imperialism at its worse.

As evening fell on December 8, 2013, the people took their frustration out on the statue of the Russian and toppled it to the ground in a symbolic gesture of destroying Russian occupation, breaking Russia’s shackles around Ukraine, and allowing Ukraine to forge its own independent future by aligning itself with Europe. According to a Reuters reporter, the protesters broke up the statue with hammers after toppling it with the help of metal bars and rope.

Ironically, they knocked over the statue without the presence of police or the threat of immediate retribution. A few days earlier the statue was photographed with cordons of police protecting it.

The pedestal of the demolished statue was replaced by flags of Ukraine, the European Union and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

A sea of Ukrainians estimated at nearly 2 million and confirmed by satellite photos flooded the capital to protest against President Yanukovych as authorities opened a criminal probe into attempts to seize power in an increasingly tense standoff with the opposition, according to Ukrainian and foreign news agencies.

Waving EU and Ukrainian flags and red-and-black revolutionary OUN banners, the protesters filled Kyiv’s iconic Independence Square renamed Euromaidan and surrounding streets to a bursting point to denounce Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU pact under Kremlin pressure.

Significantly upping the stakes in the confrontation, demonstrators marched on the government headquarters and erected one-and-a-half meter (five feet) high barricades outside which would make it impossible for ministers to go to their offices.

Yuriy Lutsenko, ex- interior minister, realistically declared: “Our plan is clear: It is no longer a rally, or action. It is a revolution.”

Violence gradually unfolded as police provoked fisticuffs with protestors. Skirmishes were visible in many cities beyond the capital but finally the riot police – Berkut – unleashed its fury and truncheons against young and old demonstrators as well as journalists, leaving all who came in contact with its power bloodied for all the world the see. Moscow’s response was evident.

“By my count we are talking of tens of cruelly beaten people, perhaps hundreds,” Andriy Shevchenko, an opposition deputy, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. “It was absolute savagery.”

The violence was deemed unacceptable, leaving even Yanukovych government officials to express their disdain for his presidency.

At one point, demonstrators were seen chasing away police escorted by a bulldozer, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square. The event was live streamed on the Internet for the entire world to experience this biggest contemporary demonstration of Ukrainians’ anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union since the popular uprising called the Orange Revolution of 2005.

Thousands of demonstrators tried to storm the nearby presidential administration building, but were driven back by riot police using tear gas and flash grenades, which produce a loud bang but are not intended to cause injury. The standoff continued, with more demonstrators arriving.

Opposition leaders called a national strike, with schools, universities and businesses announcing their intention to close in support of Euromaidan. Popular support for the Maidan protesters was great. Food and solace poured into their encampment.

But Moscow continued to play its historical card. Russian troops clandestinely entered the capital and positioned themselves on rooftops in a scene reminiscent of the culmination of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and shot indiscriminately into the crowd, killing anyone – young or old, man or woman – who stood in the way of the bullets.

Ultimately, 125 were killed; 125 Ukrainian patriots whose blood refreshed the Ukrainian tree of liberty. Serhiy Nigoyan, an Armenian, was the first to shed his blood for Ukraine’s freedom.

American Lawmakers Attend

The images of unarmed Ukrainians defying Russian and Ukrainian stormtroopers captured the imagination of the international community. And it replied with expressions of strong support uttered even in person. In words that harkened back to Ronald Reagan’s famous, bold assurance that Ukrainians’ fight for freedom is America’s fight, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) arrived on the scene and told the million-strong multitude on EuroMaidan that America stands with them in their struggle.

Indeed, those words proved that in the face of adversity, oppression and invasion, Ukraine is unbeatable, it will not perish. Ukraine will prevail.

Gesturing at his colleague on the grand stage, the late Senator McCain inspired the throng saying through simultaneous translations that he is a Republican and Murphy is a Democrat and they represent US solidarity with Ukrainians who seek to align with the European Union and not Russia with international media reported their every word.

McCain went on to say that Ukrainians’ nationwide peaceful protests have inspired the world and their sovereign right is to decide their own future. Ukraine’s destiny is with Europe and Europe will be better with Ukraine and Ukraine will be better with Europe, he said.

McCain concluded by imploring the patriotic throng to heed Taras Shevchenko’s plea: “Love Ukraine for the times are evil.”

“You are making history,” Murphy told the crowd. “If you are successful, the United States will stand with you every step of the way.”

The two senators’ personal support for EuroMaidan was part of a growing international wave of backing for the protesters. Governments around the world have announced that they are considering imposing a range of sanctions against President Yanukovych and his regime for unprovoked acts of violence committed against peaceful protesters by Berkut militia officers. McCain and Murphy were part of a larger, unprecedented US intervention on the side of Ukrainian protesters.

Then Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Yanukovych and according to the official readout of the conversation, the vice president “expressed his deep concern about the situation in Ukraine and the growing potential for violence. The Vice President underscored the need to immediately de-escalate the situation and begin a dialogue with opposition leaders on developing a consensus way forward for Ukraine.  He noted that violence has no place in a democratic society and is incompatible with our strategic relationship.  The Vice President reaffirmed the strong support of the United States for Ukraine’s European aspirations and welcomed President Yanukovych’s commitment to maintaining this path.  He underscored the close alignment of the United States and the European Union, and welcomed the upcoming visits of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland to Kyiv.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and others last week in introducing a Senate Resolution urging the government of Ukraine and members of the opposition to find a peaceful and democratic resolution to the country’s current political crisis.

“The mounting political impasse in Ukraine is deeply troubling,” Durbin said. “Ukraine is an important friend and ally of the United States that I believe has a promising future with the West.  Such decisions should be made without coercion from other nations and through a peaceful and democratic process.  I urge all parties to this current political challenge to refrain from violence, adhere to democratic norms, and strive to focus on long term solutions to the country’s economic challenges.”

US Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement: “I am deeply dismayed by yesterday’s decision by Ukrainian authorities to use Interior Ministry troops against peaceful protests in central Kyiv, coming after the already brutal dispersal of protestors last week. There is no justification for these actions, which, along with other human rights violations, are grossly at odds with Ukraine’s Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments and a serious blot on Ukraine’s OSCE Chairmanship. I call upon the Ukrainian authorities to take immediate, resolute steps to ensure that freedom of assembly and expression are respected.”

Rep. William Keating (D-MA), ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, sent a letter to Yanukovych condemning Ukrainian authorities’ use of force against peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv’s Independence Square. He was joined on the letter by House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and the co-chairs of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told Yanukovych that police action against encamped protesters calling for his resignation was “absolutely impermissible in a democratic society.”

Nuland had met with Yanukovych in Kyiv, where thousands of protesters have been occupying Independence Square. “I made it absolutely clear to him that what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state,” she told reporters.

In the wake of the killings and brutal dispersal of peaceful protesters in Kyiv by the Ukrainian riot police, government leaders and institutions issued statements condemning such officially sanctioned violence. While Yanukovych himself also facetiously condemned such ruthlessness, in today’s Ukraine the killings and beatings would be impossible without his even implicit approval.

The US Embassy in Ukraine stated: “The United States condemns the violence against protesters on Independence Square early this morning.  We urge the government of Ukraine to respect the rights of civil society and the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, which are fundamental to the democratic values that are the bedrock of our strategic partnership. 

“We support the rights of citizens to air their views through an open and free media and through non-violent rallies. 

“In the spirit of the principles embodied by the OSCE, we urge the Government of Ukraine to foster a positive atmosphere for civil society and for the free exchange and expression of opinions among the citizens of Ukraine.”

Eternal Shame on Russia

The Ukrainian nation’s latest revolution against Russian oppression caught cinematographers’ imaginations.

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” the 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary movie about Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, depicted the wide range of passion of the Maidan. The historic images of the Ukrainian nation arising against foreign and domestic tyrants two years earlier and the accompanying emotions reminded viewers that the Ukrainian nation will not be vanquished; it will prevail.

The momentous events on Maidan in Ukraine’s capital in 2013-14 that attracted more than a few million Ukrainians from around the country kept the world glued to live web streams of what was quickly evolving into the nation’s latest manifestation of its invincible will to live free, without foreign domination.

The movie brought back memories of parades, speeches, rallies, fires, dedication, police depravity and barbarism, beatings, bravery, heroism, patriotism, gunshots, and blood that ultimately reasserted the nation’s dominance and forced Russian flunky Yanukovych to flee from Kyiv into the arms of his benefactor and Ukraine’s latest oppressor Russian president Putin.

The 1-hour and 42-minute film that covered 93 days in the life of the Ukrainian nation will contribute to Russia’s eternal shame. Subsequent generations of Russians will have to answer a host of muted questions about their country’s role in trying to quash liberty in Ukraine just like today’s Germans are attempting to cope with Nazism. Likewise, future generations will have a glimpse of one episode from a millennium of examples of Ukrainians’ unconquerable, freedom-loving spirit to live in their own independent, sovereign, democratic and indivisible Ukraine.

The film conveys the background and reasons for the Revolution of Dignity, including Ukraine’s subjugation by Russia, the nation’s desire for accession to the European Union, Yanukovych’s acquiescence, Putin’s opposition and finally Yanukovych’s last-minute turnaround. The nation wouldn’t tolerate any longer the government’s duplicity and subservience to Moscow. The people demanded that the EU accession process go forward and that ex-convicts like Yanukovych by removed from power.

Social media was the instrument for capacity building in Kyiv. It summoned Ukrainians of all walks of life to Kyiv to voice their disgust and opposition to Russia’s corrupt, anti-Ukrainian colonial administrators in Ukraine. National opposition grew from a few hundred protesters in the center of the capital to several thousand to more than a million, testifying that this was, in fact, a popular, national movement for freedom.

The nation again awakened to stop those who sought to subvert Ukraine’s fate. The marchers emphasized that Ukraine, as a European nation, is part of the European Union and the nation’s youngest generation demands that Ukraine finds its rightful place among European countries and not in the Russian prison of nations.

The protestors, whose numbers swelled from grassroots levels, were emboldened into believing that they could fight and change the country and national destiny. It taught them and future generations that Ukraine can only be pried from their lifeless hands. Fed up with Yanukovych’s corruption and submission to Moscow, their movement evolved into a revolution whose goal was to depose the government and liberate Ukraine from Russia’s bonds. Their daring and strength grew from their unwavering beliefs and expanding numbers. They were determined to fight for Ukraine and that victory would be theirs.

Those who were interviewed and appeared in the movie underscored that the Revolution of Dignity was popular and national. Busloads of demonstrators from across Ukraine participated. Doctors from around the country came to Kyiv to treat the wounded and dying. Young and old helped with food and other provisions. Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian speakers, including Russian speakers, were equally vocal in their disdain for Moscow’s subjugation of Ukraine. Among the Maidan Defense Units were Jewish Maidan Defense Unit and Women’s Maidan Defense Unit. All religious hierarchs, representing the broad swath of faiths of Ukraine, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Moslem, Buddhist and others prayed in unison for the nation’s salvation.

Teenagers and even younger Ukrainians were involved in the movement. One seemingly pre-teen spoke of helping with medical supplies and provisions. Another boy, a teenager, wearing a t-shirt of Stepan Bandera, leader of OUN assassinated by the Kremlin, was seen speaking with his mother on his cell phone. Not knowing what will be his destiny, he ended the call by saying “Mamtsiu, I love you.”

The documentary did not show the involvement of civic leaders except for boxer Klychko and pop singer Ruslana, which further confirmed the people’s mass dedication to the cause of Maidan.

It was pointed out by many that the participants maintained the highest level of moral behavior during the revolution. Drugs and alcohol were not seen in their encampments. The participants were peaceful and unarmed as they faced the depraved barbarism of the Berkut security officers, whose brutality was clearly visible throughout the documentary. They repeatedly charged into the nonviolent protesters wildly swinging their truncheons without regard for life or limb. They beat and kicked defenseless, cowering protesters on the ground. Army veterans observed that the Berkut officers “didn’t act like human beings” even destroying makeshift red cross stations. For the first time since 1240, the bells of the St. Michael Sobor tolled anxiously, summoning more and more people to join the protests on Maidan.

Despite repeated waves of baton-wielding officers, none of the protesters broke rank and fled. They were committed to their mission, realistically noting that even if they abandon their cause now, eventually they would be hunted down and eliminated. In a comical, futile effort to protect themselves against the police, protestors covered their heads with kitchen utensils, pots, pans and colanders.

The documentary offered many insights about the Ukrainian nation for all viewers but one, in particular, was clearly, warmly perceptible by Ukrainians. Repeatedly throughout the documentary individuals or mass throngs chanted “Glory to Ukraine,” and “Glory to the Heroes,” an old Ukrainian mantra that was adopted by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and was banned by Soviet Ukraine and Russia and ridiculed by some others.

In time, truncheons were exchanged for rubber bullets and then for live ammunition and Putin/Yanukovych’s organized killers began shooting unarmed demonstrators from rooftops like fish in a barrel. The Revolution of Dignity lasted 93 days during which 125 innocent, peaceful citizens of Ukraine were murdered on the orders of officials in the Kremlin and Kyiv. They indisputably earned the sanctified moniker “Heavenly Hundred.”

Push came to shove after the timid members of the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law outlawing demonstrations and Klychko’s ineffective attempt to convince the lawmakers to rescind the vote. I recalled watching this live two years ago. His effort was rejected by the crowd on Maidan. Infuriated by the slow evolution of events, Volodymyr Parasiuk, a young defense unit commander, seized a historic moment, jumped on the stage and grabbed the microphone from the Ukrainian boxer. He declared that Yanukovych must present himself to the crowd on Maidan and resign by 10 am the next day or else he would lead the nation in storming his multi-million dollar estate and removing him by force.

 “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” fulfilled its mission of telling the world of Ukrainians’ indomitable spirit to fight for their freedom and that the generation that stood on Maidan for three months and faced the enemy without weapons is the latest, greatest generation of Ukrainian patriots to refresh the tree of liberty with their blood.

When all was said and done, Yanukovych, like a thief, secretly fled to Russia on February 22, 2014. Shortly thereafter, as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games – which together with the Summer Olympics comprise humanity’s celebrated quadrennial exhibition of peace and fraternity – were winding down, the host country Russia abruptly shattered global peace and stability. Moscow launched its blitzkrieg to re-subjugate Ukraine and the other x-captive nations and restore the iron curtain. The Russian army invaded the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine and then regions in eastern Ukraine.

The fight for Ukraine’s freedom continues.

The free world was staggered by Russia’s invasion of an independent European country. But all along Moscow has been forthright with its imperial and aggressive intentions regarding what it perceives as its sphere of influence. The Kremlin habitually asserts its authority on its so-called near abroad and warns that the countries will face dire consequences if they violate its directives or seek to accede to EuroAtlantic political, military or economic pacts.

Both events – Maidan and the Russian invasion of Ukraine – are connected. They show that Russia’s eternal mission that transcends the occupants of the Kremlin is to subjugate Ukraine at all costs while the Ukrainian nation – alone or in concert with the international community – will fight. And Ukraine will prevail.

Nelson Mandela said: “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” This lesson is not lost on today’s and future generations of Ukrainians.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Holodomor 2020

The global Ukrainian community, consisting of those in Ukraine and the diaspora, are commemorating the anniversary of Russia’s mass murder by starvation of at least 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children. Imagine, mass murder by starvation. How? Moscow simply confiscated all food resources and products, and exported them to Russia, leaving the people to die at home or on the streets. This act of genocide ranks among the greatest crimes against humanity. Not only did the Ukrainian nation lose millions of men, women and children, but the world lost their contributions in all segments of endeavor.

In tribute to the victims, I’m repeating some thoughts from previous blogposts.

Holocaust & Holodomor – Similar Conclusions

I came across an interesting article about the Holocaust in the April 20th edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. In it the reporter makes salient points that duplicate statements that Ukrainians make about the Holodomor – the murder by famine of at least 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children by the Russians in 1932-33.

For example:

“After reading hundreds of books and articles about the Holocaust, and even perusing many documents that have never been published as part of his work as the director of the Elie Wiesel Archive at Boston University, Rappel (Jewish archivist – ID) realized that despite the research controversy regarding the precise number of victims, ‘in our consciousness the number remains 6 million.’ …

“About 15 years later, during Eichmann’s trial, chief prosecutor Gideon Hausner said that ‘In the consciousness of the nation the number 6 million has become sanctified.’ But he added: ‘It’s not so simple to prove that. We did not use this number in any official document, but it became sanctified.’ Now, thanks to Rappel, historical research had added another layer for understanding the context for the number.”

Indeed the number of Holocaust victims became “sanctified” in Jewish and everyone’s minds. Regardless of what was, is or will be said, that’s the number of killed Jews. Question it and you become an evil denier. So why are we, Ukrainians, allowing a discussion about the number of Holodomor victims? Why are some Ukrainian and non-Ukrainians discounting the number of dead to a mere 4 million? My generation of baby boomers grew up with the figure of 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children starved to death by Russia in 1932-33 just because they were Ukrainian. That figure must be sanctified against all others in our and everyone’s minds.

Another dramatic point made in the story concerns the word “nation.” Many scholars, pundits, writers and readers identify nation as a country and vice versa, rarely stating or implying that a nation does not necessarily exist only within the boundaries of a country or state. Oftentimes a nation exists or has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years without the formal boundaries of a country.

The Haaretz story points out:  “‘Polish Jewry is extinct and no longer exists. Polish soil is a sacred grave of Polish and European Jewry. I could have brought you a sacred gift: a clod of earth from Polish soil suffused with the blood of a nation, which has died a martyr’s death,’ was how Unger began.”

The blood of a Jewish nation, which had lived in Europe not merely beyond the borders of a Jewish state, Israel, which didn’t yet exist during World War II.

The Haaretz reporter correctly used the word nation, meaning a group of people with a shared language, history, culture, religion, tradition and experience of persecution – just like the Ukrainian nation which lost 7 million people to forced famine created by Russia.

Include Holocaust in the Dictionary

While many people around the world have heard of the famine deaths in Ukraine, the word Holodomor, Russia’s premeditated murder by hunger of at least 7 million Ukrainian men, women and children in 1932-33, they may not be as familiar. Yes, 7 million killed. That number has been sanctified in the minds of generations of Ukrainians.


Planned, deliberate death by hunger. Moscow sought to deprive Ukrainian peasants or farmers of food to eliminate this excess population so it decided to seize wheat and other foodstuffs from them. Simple starve every one of them. It was the first time that food was used as a weapon. It was a genocide according to the United Nations. In the past eight decades many national parliaments as well as America states and municipalities have adopted resolutions denouncing the Holodomor as genocide.

However, sadly, if you were to open the latest edition of the classic Merriam-Webster dictionary you wouldn’t find any reference to the Holodomor. You wouldn’t learn how to spell it and you wouldn’t find even a cursory reference to what it was and why it should be remembered.

However, it you looked under “H” for Holocaust, you would rightly find a succinct, accurate definition:

Definition of holocaust

1: a sacrifice (see SACRIFICE entry 1 sense 2) consumed by fire

2: a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire a nuclear holocaust

3a usually the Holocaust: the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II. Several members of her family died in the Holocaust. a Holocaust survivor

b: a mass slaughter of people especially GENOCIDEholocaust in Rwanda

Examples of holocaust in a Sentence

 The museum is devoted to the Holocaust. There were fears of a nuclear holocaust.

You would also find a definition of the Hebrew word Shoah:

Sho·​ah | \ ˈshō-ə  -ˌä \

Definition of Shoah

HOLOCAUST sense 3a

First Known Use of Shoah

1967, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Shoah

Modern Hebrew shō'āh, literally, catastrophe, from Hebrew

But you wouldn’t find a definition for the world Holodomor. Instead you’d find:

“holodomor” – The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.

It’s not that Merriam-Webster doesn’t include foreign words in its dictionary. Here’s what they say about blitzkrieg, Nazi Germany’s lightning fast invasion of Europe:

Definition of blitzkrieg

1: war conducted with great speed and force specifically: a violent surprise offensive by massed air forces and mechanized ground forces in close coordination

2: BLITZ sense 2a

Examples of blitzkrieg in a Sentence

The stunned survivors of the crash were then confronted with a blitzkrieg of in sensitive questions from the media

The war began with a blitzkrieg that was designed to shock the enemy into submission

A global campaign, launched by Bohdan Onyschuk, chair, Canada-Ukraine Foundation, and Chair, Holodomor National Awareness Tour, is currently underway by the Ukrainian World Congress, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and others to rectify this hopefully mere oversight and not premeditated expurgation of the word Holodomor. They are asking the global community to view a video and then sign a petition in support of this effort.

You can access the petition on the website, where you can also view the “deep fake” video of Stalin finally telling the truth about the Holodomor, and the posters for the campaign which will be carried out on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, other social media, and hopefully press stories and morning show interviews.

Using rare color film footage of Stalin, the Soviet dictator’s features have been painstakingly mapped onto the face of a modern-day actor, effectively bringing Stalin back to life. In the video, Stalin lays claim to his right to be credited as the true originator of “Fake News” by denying the Holodomor and successfully concealing from the world how he engineered the famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, killing millions of innocent men, women and children.

The campaign needs support by: (a) adding your name to the petition, which you can find on the website, or directly here:

(b) sharing this information, and the website with your organizations and your own personal contacts (including politicians at all levels), and

(c) offering any advice in areas where you could be helpful in expanding the campaign.

History and contemporary references to the Holodomor must be rectified for the sake of the innocent victims.

From Twitter: Watching the outstanding movie MR. JONES about heroic journalist Gareth Jones who uncovered Russia’s murder by hunger of 7 million Ukrainians, I wondered if Hollywood’s Putin lackeys like Oliver Stone, Steven Seagal et al are aware of Stalin’s lackey Walter Duranty. Sleazy characters will disrupt global peace, security & development.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Helsinki Monitoring Group in Kyiv: The Struggle and the Ordeal 

When Leonid Brezhnev agreed to Western countries’ requests for the inclusion of human rights provisions into what has become known as the Helsinki Accords, little did he realize how much trouble that would cause him later. This fateful decision could very well have contributed to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Dissidents in the evil empire’s captive nations and Russia began forming public groups to monitor Moscow’s compliance with the Helsinki Accords. The Ukrainian Public Group to Monitor Compliance with the Helsinki Accords was organized in Kyiv on November 9, 1976. Next year will be its 45th anniversary. This is the story of members, their struggle and ordeal written by me and published in the 1979 edition of The Almanac of the Ukrainian National Association.

The full article appears in the attached PDF.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Russia’s Expansionism Threatens Global Peace – Then and Now

Presidential elections come and go but Russia with its adventurism, aggression and subversion certainly remains the same.

Preparing the December 2020 edition of The Ukrainian Quarterly, I came across another salient article from the inaugural edition of 1944 about the detrimental absence of an understanding of the essential mutual relationship between global peace and security and Ukraine. That gap existed then and sadly it still does today.

The Ukrainian Quarterly was launched by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America toward the end of World War II, at a fateful time when the allies, confident in their victory over Nazi Germany, were wrestling over plans about a post-war global arrangement that would ensure peace.

Roman Olesnicki, a member of the executive committee of the Western Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance, in his article titled “The Problem of Ukraine in Recent American Peace-Planning Literature,” correctly opined that future peace would be assured if Ukraine and its national interests were taken into consideration by the Western allies.

“The real avalanche of peace-planning literature came only recently, as an apparent result of the Moscow and Teheran conferences. Each work on the future peace endeavors naturally to sell to the American public a plan for a better and more permanent peace. The approaches to the problem are manifold: some are motivated by a desire rather to achieve a social revolution than a lasting peace, some display a partiality for certain nations or forms of government, but all fail in one respect, and that is in overlooking or underestimating Ukraine, as a major factor in the problem of peace in Eastern Europe,” Olesnicki wrote.

Indeed, if the free world would have comprehended Russia’s aggressiveness as the singular reason for international conflagrations and the foolhardiness of ignoring Ukraine’s role in regional and global affairs then future small and large, cold and hot wars could have been avoided. There is still time to earnestly admit this danger.

Olesnicki further said in his research for his article he did not find one acknowledgement of the existence of a separate and distinct problem of Ukraine. However, he found that in many instances the problems of Soviet-Polish boundaries, of Poland, of Czechoslovakia and of other countries discussed by the respective authors were in reality and unbeknownst to them discussions of the Ukrainian problem.

“The denial of the existence of a Ukrainian problem, or at least its concealment have been common practice for such a long time that it is not the least surprising to find as little direct discussion of and reference to the Ukrainians and their country as possible, even in works, which purport to picture all problems of Europe with impartiality,” Olesnicki wrote.

In addition to battlefield achievements against the Nazis featured in American newspapers, Russia also cleverly used its “Ukrainian card” to demonstrate the existence of Ukraine with an army that contributed to its propaganda that gullible Western leaders swallowed hook, line and sinker. Consequently, as Olesnicki pointed out, Moscow has been ceaselessly pursuing its usurped freedom to willfully subjugate Ukraine.

“Russia’s everyday dispatches on the valor of her Ukrainian Armies, on the liberation of all Ukrainians to join one big happy family, appear too plausible for Americans to detect anything suspicious behind them,” he noted.

Olesnicki argued correctly that hidden beneath Moscow’s disinformation was a campaign to subjugate Ukraine and other nations by Russia and only Russia, which rules the Soviet Union as a cover through the Communist Party – yes, there has been and is only one Russia for centuries. And despite constitutional guarantees to the opposite, the brutal reality of the evil empire or prison of nations is that Ukraine and the others have been subjugated.

Olesnicki recounted Russia’s nefarious achievements and the West’s naïveté in this passage: “Immediately after the beginning of the liquidation of the hetmans of Ukraine (18th century – id.), Russia gave Ukraine the name of ‘Malorosseya’ or Little Russia, and the Russians began to assume the role of the elder brethren of the Ukrainians. Through the centuries the Anglo-Saxon world came to believe that this is as it should be, and started to regard the Ukrainians in Russia as they did the Bavarians in Germany. This attitude is clearly revealed when Dr. Shotwell (Dr. James T. Shotwell, author of “The Great Decision”) simplifies the whole problem of Ukraine by making his readers believe that Ukraine is a province of the vastly preponderating unity of Great Russia. This is precisely what the Russians have been trying to achieve through centuries of brutal extermination of Ukrainians, culminating in the greatest ruthlessness during the recent times of Stalin’s empire, when Ukraine was deliberately starved to death (with the applause of Mr. Walter Duranty) (Olesnicki’s parenthetical remark. They knew about it then.) and untold millions were deported to Siberia, until now there are probably as many Ukrainians in Siberia as there are in Ukraine proper.”

He bemoaned that certain American scholars advocate self-government and freedom from exploitation for some Asiatic peoples while denying that right to Ukrainians in the Russian empire.

Olesnicki emphasized that Ukrainians did not in the slightest degree contribute to starting World War II.

“It was their subjugation under four foreign yokes which made Hitler scheme to bring them under his fifth yoke. The Ukrainians wish to live their own free life, and will not start wars, as they have never in their history waged any, except the struggle for liberation. But as long as they remain enslaved, someone will covet them and their natural riches, and for that purpose will wage war,” he wrote.

To paraphrase Olesnicki’s conclusion, a subjugated Ukraine or one that is under constant threat of Russian aggression and war creates a regional and global political vacuum that will invite Moscow or others to fill it. The only guaranteed way to remove this vacuum is to permit Ukraine to develop along the lines of its national wish: away from Russia, and toward freedom, independence and respect deserving of a country among equals. And not only on paper.

Today Ukraine is again shedding its blood on a battlefield against Russian invaders in order to secure its freedom and sovereign independence. We, Ukrainians in the diaspora, also have a role in that campaign and outcome. Olesnicki mentioned it twice in his article: “It remains for us, who either came from Ukraine, or have strong ties with Ukraine, to point out to the various authors of peace plans when and where they have erred, so as to forestall in time, if at all possible, the creation of a new boiling cauldron in Eastern Europe, which would be incompatible with a durable peace … It is therefore a duty for all those of us, who through birth or descent have roots in Ukraine, to warn that no durable peace can come out of another injustice committed on Ukraine.”

The free world and the United States also share this responsibility, as eloquently stated by President Franklin Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor: “There is no such thing as security for any nation—or any individual—in a world ruled by the principles of gangsterism…We are now in the midst of a war, not for conquest, not for vengeance, but for a world in which this nation, and all that this nation represents, will be safe for our children. We expect to eliminate the danger from Japan, but it would serve us ill if we accomplished that and found that the rest of the world was dominated by Hitler and Mussolini.”

It should be recalled that the United States and Great Britain mobilized the free world to fight and defeat Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II in hopes of a better future for their children.

Friday, October 30, 2020

 Russia’s War against Ukraine, US Elections and More

Russia’s invasion and occupation of eastern Ukraine have caused a great deal of civilian death and destruction. Not only have residential buildings and churches been targeted by Russian artillery, but intense collateral damage has been experienced by the civilian population. This has only been exacerbated by covid-19.

UN Human Rights Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani earlier this month drew attention to the problems of 1.2 million vulnerable residents of Donbas who have been facing a lot of adversity due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

On International Day of Peace, Lubrani said in a statement: “I want to draw attention to the unnoticed suffering of 1.2 million vulnerable residents of Donbas who cannot get their pension payments, travel in order to take care of sick relatives, or reunite with their loved ones. How will they, those who have almost exhausted their resources, survive the seventh winter of the conflict if there are severe restrictions on movement across the demarcation line? Many of us find it challenging to adapt to the covid-19 pandemic. But its heaviest burden, which is further complicated by the armed conflict, is borne by the most vulnerable people in eastern Ukraine who do not have enough resources to adapt to this new reality.”

Despite ersatz peace negotiations, Ukrainian armed forces continue to face attacks every day due to Moscow’s deceitful participation in the talks. On September 30, 11 hostile shellings were recorded in Donbas, one Ukrainian serviceman was wounded. Since the beginning of the current day, the enemy has opened fire once, according to the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) HQ.

“Yesterday, on September 30, 11 violations of the ceasefire by the armed forces of the Russian Federation were observed in the areas of responsibility of Ukrainian brigades,” the statement said.

As the news media reported earlier, according to Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak, “There is a full and comprehensive ceasefire on the demarcation line in Donbas. Its introduction has significantly reduced the enemy’s fire activity, but a possibility of the resumption of local hostilities still remains.”

Fortunately, due to enhanced intelligence gathering, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine does not consider the threat of large-scale offensive actions by illegal armed groups in Donbas likely, said Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Serhii Korniychuk.

Korniychuk explained that in order to carry out any offensive operations, the enemy has to form a strike group, deploy artillery at the positions, and create a stockpile of ammunition and fuel. “Today, with the means of intelligence that we have, it is impossible to hide anything like it. Besides that, we have information that the enemy at the frontline is understaffed,” he said, according to

The Russo-Ukraine War has been waging since 2014, with the invasion and annexation of Crimea and then the invasion of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Much to the chagrin of Moscow and the surprise of the free world, Ukrainian soldiers have been able to hold their own. In many cases, thanks to military support from the United States and others, Ukrainian armed forces are containing the Russian invaders. While materiel support is boosted by allied training, by now Ukrainian soldiers can provide a high level of combat training to their free world counterparts being the only standing army to engage the Russian army in a full-scale war.

Indeed, there are obvious achievements except for the talking part. Kyiv tends to shoot itself in the foot by making detrimental agreements at the negotiating table or delegating Ukrainian representatives of dubious character. Vitold Fokin comes to mind. A remnant of the old guard that ran Moscow’s office in Ukraine, he and the likes of Leonid Kuchma and others should not be called upon to negotiate on behalf of Ukraine. They should cower in the shadows and count themselves fortunate that Ukraine does not practice lustration.

Fortunately, Fokin was fired. According to the Office of the President of Ukraine, Fokin “deviated from a fair assessment of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.” Apparently he expressed opinions that were not part of official policy. “Representing the state at any level is not a chance for personal views and ambitions, it is an unconditional obligation to implement the position of the state and the interests of Ukrainian people,” the President’s office said.

• With four days left before the US Presidential Elections, the Democratic hopeful Joe Biden made a few heads turn by saying that Russia is America’s greatest threat. Biden said in an interview last Sunday that in terms of countries presenting a threat to the US, Russia tops the list. “Well, I think the biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our – our security and our alliances, is Russia,” the former Vice-President told “60 Minutes” correspondent Norah O'Donnell, according to FoxBusiness. Biden added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been doing his utmost to spread disinformation about him, DW reported.

We absolutely agree with Biden’s assessment but sadly the entire campaign has been devoid of a discussion about Russian imperialism, aggression and threat.

Moscow, on the other hand, did not take lightly to Biden’s observation. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he regrets that attempts are being made in the US to spread hatred against Russia.

“It’s not right, we strongly disagree with that assertion,” Peskov noted. “We can only regret that hatred against Russia is being spread this way and our country is depicted as an adversary,” Peskov noted.

• For balance and fairness, during the last presidential debate on October 22, President Trump accused the Obama-Biden Administration of not actually helping Ukraine fight Russian aggression. Trump said: “Because there has been nobody tougher to Russia. Between the sanctions, nobody tougher than me on Russia. Between the sanctions between all of what I’ve done with NATO. You know, I’ve got the NATO countries to put up an extra 130 billion, going to $420 billion a year, that's to guard against Russia. I sold — while he was selling pillows and sheets — I sold tank busters to Ukraine. There has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump. And I'll tell you, they were so bad. They took over the, the submarine port. You remember that very well during your term, during you and Barack Obama. They took over a big part of what should have been Ukraine. You handed it to them.”

• Earlier this month, a rhetorical question was raised about Lithuania’s steadfast support for Belarus’ opposition movement. Apparently, Belarus’ dictator Alexander Lukashenko and others have been offended by this so-called foreign intrusion into the internal affairs of a neighboring country. Linas Jegelevicius in EuroNews explained there are historical reasons for such a sign of support. He quoted Petras Austrevicius, a Lithuanian MEP, the bond between Lithuania and Belarus is linked to both having been under Soviet control. “We are well above the EU average in that (supporting Belarus' opposition movement),” said Austrevicius. “But our exuberance and involvement do not surprise me, as both Belarus and Lithuania have always been very close – in terms of history, culture and the economy.”

Jegelevicius added that another historical dimension to the Belarus-Lithuania relationship is the link between national movements in both countries around the time of independence from the Soviet Union.

Indeed, the former captive nations of the Russian subjugation have a responsibility for each other. In order to safeguard their nations for Moscow’s aggression, they not only have to be vigilant but also stand up and defend their kindred nations. One noteworthy example of this is former Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s staunch advocacy of Ukraine’s independence.

This kind of mutual defense is the only protection against Russian invasion.

History Today earlier this month posed an interesting question on its website: Could the Soviet Union Have Survived? Without delving into its replies, the writers believe there is a difference between the Soviet Union with its capital in Moscow and today’s Russia with its capital in Moscow.

Simply stated, if the USSR had survived or collapsed and given birth to the Russian Federation, everything would remain the same. Moscow would still be spreading war throughout the four corners of the world, it would still seek to re-subjugated Ukraine as it is doing, it would still be subverting free world countries, and it would still be violating the human rights of its citizens.

The simple truth is that Russia and Moscow are one and the same since tsarist times through the Soviet Communist regime until now. That’s the nature of the Russian beast – or bear.

• Russia is not only threating to re-subjugate the former captive nations but it has also targeted other nearby countries. And they’re feeling the menace.

Sweden announced it will increase military spending by about 40% in the next five years and double the number of people conscripted into its armed forces as it aims to strengthen its defense amid growing tensions with Russia, the government has said, according to Reuters.

The country, which is not a member of NATO but enjoys close ties with the alliance, ran down its military forces after the cold war to save money. “We have a situation where the Russian side is willing to use military means to achieve political goals,” the Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told reporters on Thursday. “Based on that, we have a new geopolitical security situation to deal with.” He said the new proposals would mean an increase in the military budget of 27.5bn Swedish kronor ($3.10 billion) by 2025.

Our hope for a strong military-political bloc of former captive nations and those feeling the threat today is growing in credibility.

Latvia is also not standing down with its defensive intentions. Its defense sector’s objectives for 2021 will be modernization of the country’s army and enhancement of its cybersecurity, according to the legislative draft on the 2021 state budget, reported BNN news.

Defense Ministry’s main activities for 2021 include sustainable development of the country’s armed forces in accordance with the standing development plan and available funding. The ministry also plans to secure necessary infrastructure solutions to ensure comprehensive development for the armed forces by the continuing development of combat and support capabilities and construction of related infrastructure.

Latvia’s Defense Ministry also plans to enhance the country’s cybersecurity and national cyber protection capabilities to improve protection against cyber attacks and reduce risks to digital security.

• A recent poll in Ukraine should make Moscow think twice about continuing its war against Ukraine. The survey shows that 85% of Ukrainians feel themselves to be patriots and 60% said they’re ready to take up arms to defend their country. This is a slight increase from 2019 when the percentage was 56%.

• Ukraine declared its independence some 30 years and in that time a new generation was born and grew into maturity. This demographic cohort never new Russian oppression and subjugation except from books and the stories of their parents and grandparents. Yet those men and women are proud to take arms to defend the only native country that they know.

An article in EuroMaidan Press highlights their deep commitment to Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression. The article was written by Dariya Bezruchenko and translated by Christine Chraibi. “In their fight for freedom and dignity, these once-carefree young people have become mature men and women who clearly understand why they’re fighting against Russian aggression. For them, it’s a truly patriotic war of liberation,” Bezruchenko wrote.

Another soldier poignantly recalled: “One day in 2016, a 40-year-old soldier told me this: ‘We must defend our country and let the young people stay home. They must be protected; they are the future of the country!’  However, I’ve met many young people on the front line. They’re in their twenties, but they’re defending Ukraine’s right to choose its own path without asking permission from its so-called ‘older brother.’”

God bless Ukraine’s fighting men and women in this latest war against Russian aggression.

• Ukraine has been reelected to the UN Human Rights Council – not that you’ve read about it. Strangely reports in the news media about the latest composition of the council focused on countries that were not elected such as Saudi Arabia and the dregs that were elected Russia, China and Cuba. Ukraine, if at all mentioned, was written about in the second half of the article.

“As in the previous three years, we will work together with our partners to ensure that human rights take their rightful place. To remind about the highest value of human life. To show that there are no ‘politicized’ and so-called ‘real’ topics. To reaffirm that New York and the Security Council cannot be self-sufficient without Geneva and the Human Rights Council. Accordingly, the security agenda is inseparable from the human rights agenda as lasting peace, peaceful coexistence, and common prosperity is impossible without real steps to strengthen human rights and the rule of law. It is especially true against the background of how fundamental freedoms are violated in different parts of the world,” First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar posted on Facebook.

At the same time, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that Russia, “a prominent human rights violator,” had also made its way to the UN Human Rights Council due to lack of competition in the East Europe group.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the UN, and his team. This posting will surely go far in defending the rights of Ukrainians in Ukraine as well as Russian-occupied Crimea.

• Russian President Putin has called for an immediate, unconditional renewal of the last nuclear arms treaty between Moscow and Washington, pointing out or threatening that his own country has developed new strategic weapons that the United States does not have. Today’s unstable global climate does not have to be further muddied by the Kremlin’s menacing behavior.

Reportedly Russian leader met virtually on Friday with members of his security council and placed arms control high on his agenda. After calling first on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to report on the progress of talks to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) before it expires on February 4, Putin weighed in with his point of view on the failing non-proliferation pact.

“It would be extremely sad if the treaty ceased to exist altogether and were not replaced by another fundamental document of this kind,” he said. Putin touted the success of the treaty and its 2010 and 1991 predecessors in preventing an all-out arms race between the top two nuclear powers, but also took the opportunity to claim that the Russian arsenal has in some ways surpassed that of the U.S.—something he was willing to address in a new agreement.

“It is clear that we have new weapons systems that the American side does not have, at least not yet,” Putin said, “but we do not refuse to discuss this side of the issue.”

Whether Putin is bluffing or not, the US cannot be pushed into a position of accepting his terms for a nuclear arms treaty. Verification before, during and after is needed.

• Sorry to hear that Linas Linkevičius, Foreign Minister of Lithuania, lost his mandate in the parliament after eight years. He has been a faithful friend of Ukraine, a dynamic voice in defense of Ukraine and the other former captive nations vs. Russian aggression. Wherever he goes in the future, we’re sure he’ll remain just supportive. Three cheers and thank you.