Whenever you read anything about what is going on in Ukraine understand that there are many in the media who have Russophilia. These people usually have spent time in Moscow and have come under the spell of its leader, Vladimir Putin, and willingly give his view to the Americans who they hope are naive about Russian doings. They have access to the N.Y. Times, like Walter Duranty, another one with Russophilia, or to PBS, the Nation magazine, and other cable channels. Their view of the situation will be highly skewed in Russia’s favor.
Recall Walter Duranty wrote in the N.Y. Times in the 1930s with great fervor about the advances the Soviet Union was making under Stalin. In the face of the Holodomor, the forced starvation of between 8 to 12 million Ukrainians by Stalin and his henchman Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria, he denied there was a famine and painted a rosy picture of Soviet industrial might. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his lies.
When you hear of the Russians considering Ukrainians as part of their family, think of the Holodomor. Do you starve your family and send those who don’t die off to Siberia? Suggesting Russians and the Ukrainians are the same people is like saying the Irish and British are the same. That Britain ruled the Irish for centuries, including using the tactic of starvation, did not result in people suggesting that Britain must thereafter have a say in Ireland’s future although to get some of its freedom from Britain the Irish had to give up part of its land.
Yet we hear the people in the media intent on justifying Russia’s ongoing attempt to rule the Ukrainians suggesting that their long relationship gives Russia such a right. These were arguments we heard in the 1850s about the slave owners. When one people dominates another for lengthy periods it does not give them the right to continues to dominate them.
The Nation, known as a progressive magazine, (why are the progressives and others on the far left so enamored of the Soviets and now the Russians?) had an pro-Russian article by Nicolai Petro who suggested the opposition forces were “openly neo-Nazi” and the “average Ukrainians, . . . are fed up with the current violence.” He went on to talk about the Maidan demonstrators suggesting that this was like the time “fascism rose to power in the heart of Western Europe, . . .”
He also noted falsely, “the Russian cultural component of Ukrainian national identity, to which more than half the population give some allegiance, can only lead to more political conflict.” The population breakdown in Ukraine according to the CIA is: “Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8%. The great majority are Ukrainians with allegiance to Ukraine but the Russians want you to believe otherwise. That many speak Russian, like many in the U.S. speak Spanish or Ireland speak English, does not mean their allegiance lies outside their homeland.
Petro never met a Russian action he did not immediately defend and last September wrote and adulatory article starting off with “Vladimir Putin is on top of his game.” An apt comment to his article in the Nation was: “When is the Lenin going to topple at the Nation?”:
Stephen Cohen who is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, also gave us the full Russian point of view even to the point of saying: “we also don’t like the people who are writing on buildings ‘Jews live here,’” because these forces, these quasi-fascist forces—let’s address this issue, . . .” The Russian line is the Ukrainian freedom fighters are fascists. However this suggestion that there is an anti-Semitic aspect to the acts of the demonstrators seems to fall apart when we see that former Israeli Defense Force troops are fighting alongside them.
PBS had on Dimitri Simes who said: “Ukraine, of course, was a part of Russia for more than 300 years.” Simes was born in Moscow and graduated from Moscow State University. He perpetuates the myth that a country that has been invaded by others. like Ireland, becomes part of the invader. A look at Ukraine’s history shows the Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Germans, Turks and others have ruled the Ukrainians who have always strived to have their own nation. Right after WWI the Ukrainians tried to set up their own nation and for three or so years succeeded until crushed by the Soviets. Hardly does that make Ukraine part of Russia anymore than Korea was part of Japan.
I ask you just to be alert to what you read. Russia has its allies in America willing to promote its line. It has had them from the time of the rise of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainians have suffered and died to hang on to the freedoms they have gained since the fall of the Soviet Union. They no more want to be part of Russia than a slave wants to stay in bondage. It will be shameful if we let others fool us into thinking otherwise.