Sunday, September 14, 2014
Yatseniuk: Russia’s Goal to Restore Prison of Nations
The younger generation of Ukrainian political leaders that has come to power after the ouster of Moscow flunky Viktor Yanukovych understands the nature of Russian aggression and imperialism. These young men and women recognize that Russia’s goal is to repair the torn curtain, restore the iron curtain, and rebuild the Russian prison of nations that for centuries subjugated peoples near and far.
Arseniy Yatseniuk, 40, the current prime minister, belongs to that leadership group.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and temporary occupation of Crimea and regions of eastern Ukraine fulfill a long-standing expectation of Russian intentions. Its inherent aggression has been played out for the world to grasp – if it has the stomach to do so.
For centuries, every time Ukraine attempted to assert itself and escape Russia’s bondage, Moscow pounced on Ukraine and dragged it back into the prison of nations. Ukraine wasn’t the only nation to face such brutality. The other near and far nations – Poland and the Baltic States on one side and Georgia on the other side – were also subjected to this mistreatment.
In the inaugural issue of The Torn Curtain on February 6, 2012, we wrote: “Russia is unabashedly endeavoring to re-establish the historical glory of its past and continues to stretch its tentacles to its ‘near abroad.’ The peoples of Ukraine and Belarus are earnestly establishing democratic institutions and lifestyles even though their governments are restricting freedoms and succumbing to Moscow’s gravitational pull. Poland and the other Eastern European countries have progressed beyond the threat zone but are careful enough to understand that they are still within earshot of Russia and therefore must seek comfort at the side of the United States.”
Due to Russia’s overt belligerence, the situation in Eastern Europe has indeed taken a turn for the worse. Russia, the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin are intent on rebuilding the empire – tsarist, communist or federal. Yatseniuk and other leaders of Ukraine realize that Putin or whoever occupies the Kremlin will never allow Ukraine to be sovereign.
At a press conference in Kyiv on September 12 he declared categorically: “Putin cannot cope with the idea that Ukraine will be part of the European family. I clearly understand the final goal of Putin. We are still in a stage of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation. He doesn’t want to take just Donetsk and Luhansk. He is trying to take all of Ukraine. He wants to restore the Soviet Union.”
Yatseniuk on September 3 had denounced Russia a “terrorist state” for its wanton invasion of eastern Ukraine and reaffirmed Kyiv’s desire to join the NATO alliance as the only strategic step to protect the country from Russian aggression.
“Russia is a terrorist state, it is an aggressor state and will bear responsibility under international law,” Yatseniuk declared. “Concerning NATO, I consider the most correct decision would be one to accept Ukraine as a member of NATO.”
Yatseniuk also pointed out during a televised cabinet meeting that pro-Russian separatists, in addition to waging a ground war to conquer Ukraine, were also deliberately targeting energy infrastructure in eastern Ukraine to re-subjugate Ukraine by turning off the energy spigot.
“The Russian bandits and terrorists are deliberately destroying the energy system of Ukraine, knowing that restoring it will cost billions,” he said.
These observations are not those of post-World War II captive nations’ leaders but the warnings of today’s generation of Ukrainian leaders who were born, raised and educated in the time of the USSR – the evil empire as the late President Ronald Reagan had said. Russian history and behavior – and russification in general – taught them that relations with Moscow are dangerous and it is best to steer an independent, sovereign course to Europe.
Western leaders would do well for Ukraine, themselves and the world to heed their cautions.