Thoughts on the Russia/Ukraine crisis & politicians in general

It’s always interesting to read Westerners perspective on the Russian state of affaires but I can honestly say that I am deeply disappointed that western politicians, notably President Obama, Hilary Clinton, David Cameron and Angela Merkel, to name a few, chose to  lambast President Putin in the worst possible way, while pursuing their own agendas and political goals and not those of the Ukrainian people, when the conflict within Ukraine started to escalate and Russia chose to support the results of the referendum in Crimea. Sadly for many high-profile politicians such position is short-sited and will ultimately lose, not win them elections.

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It is hard for me to understand David Cameron’s position after he halted
UK’s political delegation trip, along with Prince Edward’s, to Sochi
Paralympics. He had a son with a disability and his family went through horrific heart-break, so I thought that having that experience, that no parent deserves to go through, he would understand that people with disabilities need all the support they can get on a daily
basis. Instead, he chose to take the spotlight off them & their problems and put forward his disdain for President Putin. Did he punish Putin by this? I think it’s safe to assume that Putin didn’t care at all. 

Someone said recently on one of Russia’s TV channels that President Putin is a 
very lucky politician that can currently afford himself a human and very 
real rhetoric, unlike most of his counterparts, who might want to say what 
they truly think of the Russia-Ukraine situation, but can’t or won’t. There 
are also, sadly, plenty of journalists who forgot that their job is to report the 
facts and tell stories, as opposed to offering us their own opinions or 
opinions that suit the networks that they work for.

United States, yet again, might I add ( the most recent example before Ukraine was Syria ) – is supporting not the legally elected government ( President Yushenko discredited 
himself as a man, as well as a politician – but that’s another story-he was a 
President Elect ) but the rebels who came into power de-facto but not 
de-juro and who kick, fight, shoot and abuse their own people. Ukraine has had historically a strong nationalistic undercurrent that has reared its ugly head yet again and if Western news channels did adequate, factual reporting, people might view the situation differently.

I feel immensely grateful for honest views & reasoning on this delicate subject, especially from people and professionals who actually know what they are talking about, notably Jack Matlock Jnr, former US ambassador to Russia ( he was the man who warned Mikhail Gorbachev about the possibility of a coup and who, as a career diplomat, have worked in Russia for many years, as opposed to many politicians 
who fail to take into account the historical/geographical and human 
connections that have existed for centuries between Russia and the 
Ukraine ).

Putin’s recent televised speech was not only honest but based on legal facts. He addressed 
nations around the world and said again and again that Russians didn’t want war. Russia, after all, suffered one of the biggest human losses, amounting to millions of lives, during the Second World War and people who go through such horror will hardly be blood-thirsty or willing to go to war for no obvious reason. I personally don’t know any Russians who feel gleeful about the state of things, instead people shake their heads and wish that peace comes back to Ukraine. A couple of weeks ago CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Swedish Minister of Interiors who said that next Putin is going to conquer Kiev – it made me wonder what world this man lives in, as I think one has to be outworldly to know what goes on in another man’s head. My sincere hope is that Russians will be united by this unexpected and tragic state of events and will come out 
wiser, with no military action. Threatening or imposing sanctions against 
Russia won’t help politicians to score their long-term goals and if 
anything, will jeopardize any recovery in the economic sector. The world is much more connected in our day and age, and when something bad happens in one country it ricochets around the world like a domino effect. Can we stop for a minute and think whether the sanctions imposed against supposed President Putin’s allies but not against him, are hypocritical in their nature?

I tend to express my views honestly and have never been a gusher when it 
comes to President Putin, however in this circumstances, thus far, I am 
proud to be Russian, even though I didn’t wave my hands or felt celebratory when Crimea was accepted into the Russian fold. TV reports talk of low-priced plane tickets, to support the tourist industry and financial support for the region, while an average Russian in the street is already bemoaning the rising bills and cost of food in the supermarkets and terrible level of bureaucracy that people continue to experience in Russia. Does an average Russian benefit from the situation? The answer is quite the opposite actually, even though Crimea was part of Russia for a very long time in the past but was given away as a playing card by Nikita Hrushev in order to gain him political votes.   

Truth be told, Russians haven’t done enough on the information front around the world – ambassadors,  economists etc remain tight-lipped or worse, absent, from TV or newspaper reporting and the only vocal and convincing diplomats on the scene are Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affaires Sergei Lavrov and Vitalyi Churkin, Russia’s representative to the UN since 2006, who try very hard but can’t physically be everywhere 24/7.

It’s very heart-warming to see many of my friends and acquaintances in London come out 
strongly in defense of Russia, while trying to gather a full set of facts 
and form their own opinions, as opposed to meekly accepting one-sided ones 
presented by news channels. ITN’s James Mates implied that Putin was 
boasting in his speech about conquering Crimea and when I twitted him that 
he didn’t boast at all, in fact Putin was very measured in his speech and 
choice of words ( not always the case when he is terribly annoyed ) Mr 
Mates implied that he knew better-forgive me but I beg to differ here, being a native 
Russian speaker, while he isn’t. I don’t have an agenda, I just want Russia’s 
position to be heard and understood, as there are two sides to every story.

Forgive me for a long rumble but watching news channels since this conflict began has been truly frustrating. It is a simple fact that current Ukrainian politicians don’t care about their own people, like most politicians they care about the power for themselves. Sadly many politicians around the world choose to be associated with them, while trying to drown Russia’s voice and condemn President Putin. It makes me terribly sad to watch daily reports from the Ukraine and think how horrendous the situation is for normal people and families, who struggle to support themselves with the rising prices, food and medicine shortages and constant sense of danger and despair for the future of their country. Normal people want peace, an opportunity to work and raise their children healthy and happy. Instead Ukraine is facing uncertainty, mounting debt and top politicians who have complete disregard to their people’s plight – and please consider the fact that there are lots of Ukrainians living and working in Russia and plenty of Russians who live, love and work in Ukraine. Ukraine should stay whole but changes are needed and people deserve to be heard and supported. Americans won’t come to the rescue, for one they are far away and sadly have a history of getting involved in other countries inner politics and then leaving it in shambles – Iraq comes to mind very vividly as an example.

Yes, it is impossible to know all the facts unless you are on the ground and reporting the facts without bias – does such reporting exist? And yes, President Putin had to act and do something, if he didn’t who knows how it would have affected his own political standing – Russians won’t stand for weak leadership but so far he has kept wise counsel and his response has been measured. We can’t have duality of standards, they should be the same everywhere on fundamental things that affect lives of people, irrespective of their nationality.

Several high standing members of Russian intelligentsia have written open
letters to the Ukrainians, saying ‘let go of Crimea and let’s talk, only an
open dialogue where sides make an effort to listen to each others positions
can lead to a mutually satisfactory resolution of a peaceful kind’. My fear
is that Ukraine will end up in a much worse place politically and
economically then it is in now, and US & Europe won’t offer them the
solutions needed to help the population ( they have plenty of their own
problems to address, not least US’s ever rising debt ceiling ). 

I sincerely hope that wise voices of reason will be heard and
diplomacy of the old-fashioned-the best kind, as far as I am concerned, will
prevail, leading to a satisfactory resolution and election of the new
Ukrainian president and RADA that will unite Ukraine. With the latest
rhetoric from Julia Timoschenko and Arsenyi Yatsenuk and counter-terrorist activities authorised by RADA and Ukraine’s acting President Turchynov and supported by the US, this sadly doesn’t seem likely in the foreseeable future.

It is now spring-time, the busiest time of the year for the Ukrainian farmers, many of whom are giving up their work, as they can hardly afford to sow the seeds when the price of petrol is rising daily. Do many Europeans or Americans know of the actual daily struggles of Dontesk miners, who say goodbye to their loved ones every morning, before going to work?

In all the honesty, it’s bad karma to accuse Russians of all the sins under the sun, while pretending to be white and innocent. Russia didn’t start this conflict but it is certainly paying the price and so are the simple Ukrainians who didn’t choose to be in this political and economical mess, so let’s consider for the moment if the current state of things deserved to be viewed not through the rose-tinted glasses but with honest objectivity.

Categories: Politics

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