It seems to me that the Ukrainian nation is sick. Though not only is the nation sick but its people are sick as well. What is the sickness they are all suffering from? Do I have a name for it? I can’t say that I do, but the core of this sickness goes back to some time during Stalinist times, and unfortunately it has permeated the hearts and minds of Ukrainians who still live on the territory of contemporary Ukraine, and to a lesser extent to those who live beyond its borders.
The great proletarian revolution had nothing to do with the proletariat nor did it have anything to do with human life or individuals, because everyone had to become a Soviet person. During the creation of this Homo Soveticus, life became cheap; millions were killed during the Holodomor and millions more in the labor camps of the gulag. People were belittled, and if not destroyed psychologically they were destroyed physically. Somehow, that trend continues to this day in a contemporary Ukraine.
Surely I must be kidding? No I kid you not! There is quite a bit of evidence that makes me believe that this is the case. Let’s start with the number of fatal traffic accidents that have taken place on Ukraine’s roads since 1991, can anyone give me figure? In monitoring the just in the last few days there were four accidents resulting in the deaths of two individuals. In two of the cases the drivers left the scene of the accidents. So what is the safety and life of others worth in Ukraine? How many of these incidents happen on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. Has anyone ever kept count? If my memory doesn’t fail me, close to 17,000 individuals die every year in Ukraine vehicular related accidents.
Now what about industrial accidents? Particularly in the coal mining industry that has long been privatized, and still to this day the slum lords of that industry, make the families of the victims believe that it should be the state which pays them compensation for the death of their loved ones. The richest SOB’s of the nation want to carry no responsibility for the death of their employees, upon whose sweat, blood and lives, they make their riches.
Eleven years ago on September 16, 2000, Georgiy Gongadze disappeared, and we all know the result of his disappearance. The incumbent President is even trying to get some political mileage out of the anniversary of his disappearance. This goes beyond the grotesque! How many others before him disappeared or were eliminated? Do we know? I know of at least of one person that was poisoned in December of 1994; his name was Orest Vasyltsiv, he was in his late twenties. He was charismatic, a leader and a friend to many, but clearly he must have had some enemies. The investigation to find the perpetrators of that crime was conveniently closed. How many more were there like him, before a relatively unknown journalist became a symbol, though only a symbol after he was no longer amongst the living?
Just over three years ago the body of a young woman was found near her home, she was twenty six years old. She was beautiful when she lived. She was talented as a writer, a painter and a designer, her name was Yulia Pihel’. In artistic circles she was better known by her pseudonym Ruta Viter. Shortly after her body was discovered law enforcement officials were not certain if she was killed on the spot or whether her body was simply dumped near her home. The rumor mill was running full steam ahead with some stating she had fallen out the window, while others suggested that someone helped her fall out the window, while still others were certain she had been hit by a car. She was put to rest on September 17, 2008. To this day Georgiy Gongadze has not been put to rest, and how many others are there?
There seems to be a tendency for Ukrainians to not value what they have. This is even more the case in official circles, as the nation can neither provide a true market economy where talent would flourish and be rewarded, nor provide the services for those who have grown less fortunate as a select few plunder the nation. Those who felt stifled by the post-Soviet mentality have left the country and many of them have achieved success in their adoptive countries. While there are many others who are making plans to leave as I write this. How many more individuals will die, or be morally degraded to a point where they can no longer function in their native land? There are many cancers growing in Ukraine with one of them being corruption, but there is also one which is not so evident to the naked or untrained eye, it’s the cancer which finds its roots in the evil of Stalinist times. Where anyone who wasn’t with the system was an enemy and therefore destroyed by any means possible.
For Ukraine to become a strong and prosperous European nation it has to start from the bottom up. Every individual has to value the talents of their family, friends, and coworkers while they are still either in Ukraine or among the living. The psyche of the Ukrainian people must change from one of simply surviving to one of thriving, developing and growing! We all know Ukraine has talent, and it’s not just that which is demonstrated on a licensed television program. Talent must be fostered and promoted – it must live and maybe someday Ukrainians will stop saying “I remember when so and so was still with us!” and will have their friends and colleagues by their sides building a new and prosperous nation. I am sure that Orest, Georgiy and Yulia would want it to be that way if they were still with us!