So may I ask you dear readers, if there are any, what your day comprised of twenty years ago today? Well let me just start with the following: I had spent a month in a van with four student leaders from Ukraine. I may have very well mentioned that month-long journey here earlier.
We had arrived at my home in Lachine at about four in the morning. The five of us were all tired, to say the least from such a sojourn. Students from Ukraine had a unique opportunity to understand the vastness of Canada. Between Toronto and Montreal we stopped to visit an old high school friend of mine who managed the local Howard Johnson’s in Kingston Ontario. He remarked on the condition of our Chevy Lumina – primarily the broken back window. “Oh that happened when we stayed at Jeff’s in Greek-town in T.O. I said. His free fill ups of coffee were welcome by the entire group.
I had to return the rental vehicle for ten in the morning, so I did get to manage a few hours sleep. When I did awake I knew I had to run around he corner to the convenience store to pick up some “super glue” the three dollar expense would probably save me the additional cost of a seventy to one-hundred dollar fee for the broken ashtray in the said vehicle.
As I headed out, as my guests still slept, I was greeted by my neighbor, Mark, holding the morning copy of the local daily newspaper.
He says to me, “Bill, do you see what is going on in Russia?”
I grabbed the paper from him, it was still early, I read the headline. I some way the following days were simply but dramatically changed due to the events in Moscow. There had been an attempted coup.
“Mark, let me take this, I’ll give it back to you later,” I said. And ran the twenty meters or so to tell my fellow student friends of the events that were transpiring.
Just remember, all of them: Andriy Vynnychuk, Orest Vasyltsiv, Yuriy Zubko and Oleh Khavych were citizens of the Soviet Union; and all of a sudden that international entity was crumbling.
With the news of the events “at home” they all wanted to be able to talk to family members as well as members of their student organizations to understand the complexity of the problem.
For any of you that remember what the Soviet Union was, making a call to Kyiv, Chernivtsi or L’viv meant going through an international operator and dealing with an international operator in Moscow, who may not be totally in favour of your call. In this political situation, no one or his dog had any luck getting through to Moscow. So we had to take a decision, which was extremely simple and facilitated by the people at Immigration Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs of Canada that was having just as difficult of a time in understanding what was really going on USSR.
My first task after revealing the global news to my friend was to do some paint touch up, and fix the broken ashtray in the Lumina, hoping that “Rent a Wreck”, which it was not, would not charge me for the ashtray… Thank goodness the insurance stuff on the smashed rear window was accepted.
So twenty years ago today after retuning rented vehicle I had to run to extend the visa’s of friends.
They all agreed that they had to extend their visa’s but for how long was the question?
Clearly that was a history that only those close to could understand, but now I want to put forward a closer history. Where is Ukraine now and why?
While many followers of Ukraine like to consider matters that are going on in a a contemporary setting I think they should not. Why? For the very simple factor that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. The environment that it created for close connections amongst the young elite. This was very well illustrated in Chrystia Freeland‘s book called the “Sale of the Century” .
At the current time, twenty years after its declared independence, it sits at a very deep precipice. Clearly those how follow the “Rule of Law” and democratic issues will recognize this. However; the Ukrainian situation stems much deeper than many Westerner’s think. It stems from the organizational structure that existed during the Soviet Union, and that there is no way of denying that such a structure still exists today. It would be much too simple to say that the whole of Ukrainian society was ready to embrace new democratic principles once they were out from under the yoke of the Soviet Union – they were part of a system, a system that they understood and would use to their full advantage.
Without understanding all these nuances, it is difficult to discern who is naughty or nice. Many individuals look at the events of Ukraine in a vacuum, it is not! All the political players at the current moment have some type of ties to a not so honest past, just as Yulia Tymoshenko, who has become the the target of the current regime.
If we were to be totally honest about the “rule of law” and individuals within the structures of control in Ukraine today, I could with quite a bit of confidence say that everyone one who is an owner of some type of business or institutional organization today, should be tried by the people.
Clearly, to anyone who follows matters, it was usurpation of power due to political prowess. Now if the Yanukovych regime wants to show that it is not being politically inclined, how about it goes after those who made money in the early to mid-nineties. There are probably very few public officials, who have been somehow elected, that were not involved in some type of illegal schemes as they rose to power. Encircling them like vultures, at least another twenty to thirty other individuals.
And now unfortunately, even when we have people like Stepan Khmara who spent a good period of his life in Soviet labour camps for the cause of Ukraine though why I wonder sometimes why he even gives interviews with local media that only use his words for the current regime.
You may wonder why I would say such a thing about Stepan Ilkovych, but it has become extremely clear to me over the last twenty years, that no one in power gives a rats ass about Ukraine. “Society is sick”, if were are to think about the future of Ukraine. I don’t know how sick Stepan Ilkovych realizes they are? They use his words of those who were once politically repressed such as Stepan Khmara and Viacheslav Chornovil who they killed, as mouth pieces for the greater world. If there are patriotic Ukrainians out there it is better that you keep your mouth’s shut, or really know what to F* you are talking about. Because, my feeling is, is that you playing into the hands of the enemy.
The fact that the Gongadze murder trial was announced to be held in camera, is just another example of how those who are the Soviet ilk care about democracy and the Rule of Law.
It is a great deal more complicated than many think. I know the people, and I have dealt with one of those who know them at such a level as a friend and business partner.
While, Yulia Tymoshenko may have been guilty for a few infractions… Let’s think about it. In all honesty.. Lustration to the full degree. We are probably talking about at lease half a million people here, and I would have no qualms about having them executed. They only have thought about themselves. Every single high level civil servant, every business person and all of their employees should be seeing their day in court. And I will not exclude the folks from those from Donetsk, Kyiv or Cyprus. Maybe the international community that cares about issues such as political capture and democracy should be targeting those off shore zones of the traitors of Ukraine.
I think Yulia has a mission, and while I only spoke to her once in my life. When I she seemed more sincere than most other political individuals I had spoken to.
While we must defend the rule of law… Let’s put everything into context. For even the best analysts it is not easy to understand why we are where we are. But damn it. It is time for the common people to at least understand the historical context of why things are transpiring as they are.
Yulia Tymoshenko, may at one point have been part of the system, but I think there is a something a lot deeper than many have to understand.