Thursday, June 30, 2016


Commentary

Turning Ukraine Into A ‘Nation Without Identity’

Reference to the Orange Revolution is just one of the casualties in a newly revised Ukrainian history book aimed at fifth-graders.
Reference to the Orange Revolution is just one of the casualties in a newly revised Ukrainian history book aimed at fifth-graders.
By Alexa Chopivsky
"One Ukraine, One History" -- reads the text of billboards splashed across downtown Kyiv last month.

But just what does that history encompass? Less than a year into office, the government of President Viktor Yanukovych revised fifth-grade history textbooks to delete certain key events from Ukrainian history, including the 2004-05 Orange Revolution.

The selective teaching of Ukraine's history and the government's moves to curb university autonomy are reinforcing concern that the country is moving away from the West and becoming more synchronized with Russia, and in some cases, even endorsing Moscow’s take on Ukrainian history.

The fifth-grade textbook under the previous administration referred to the Orange Revolution as the "Orange miracle," according to Vakhtang Kipiani, the editor-in-chief of “Istorichna Pravda.” It was an interpretation he says that lacked objectivity, "but simply to throw out the Orange Revolution, that's not right,” Kipiani said.

A lawmaker with the ruling Party of Regions and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science, Maksym Lutsky, defended the change: "The Orange Revolution needs to be burned out of history because of what its instigators did to the country."

No Reference To Kruty

The revised textbooks suffer from other important deletions, including a reference to the Battle of Kruty. Former President Viktor Yushchenko called the 1918 battle, in which around 200 Ukrainians were massacred trying to stave off 4,000 Bolsheviks advancing on Kyiv, "the symbol of the liberating struggles of Ukrainians for freedom in the 20th century." In Soviet times, the Kruty victims were considered traitors or simply ignored.

A description of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as Ukrainian patriots fighting for the country's independence from both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was dropped from the text, as was a passage about UPA veterans and their families being subsequently sent to the gulag by Soviet authorities and called “enemies of the people.”

A section about Soviets persecuting Ukrainian patriots was also deleted.

Yanukovych, for his part, said in an interview last month: "We will not eliminate anything from Ukrainian history."

Deleting ‘Man-Made’ From Holodomor

Some events have been rewritten to correspond to Moscow's version of history. The man-made famine, or Holodomor, engineered by Joseph Stalin in 1932-33, which starved millions of Ukrainians to death, was revised to delete the word "man-made."

This contradicts Ukraine's official view established by law that the Holodomor was a deliberate act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Russia does not recognize the Holodomor as ethnic genocide, but rather the result of the disastrous agricultural policies of the period. Moscow believes the famine was a common tragedy of the peoples of the Soviet Union, a point of view Yanukovych last year endorsed before the Council of Europe.

Russia in its so-called near abroad is actively propagating its viewpoint regarding the Holodomor.

According to documents released by Wikileaks, Britain’s Prince Andrew, a frequent visitor to the region, said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received a letter from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “telling him that if Azerbaijan supported the designation of the Bolshevik artificial famine in Ukraine as ‘genocide’ at the United Nations, ‘then you can forget about seeing [disputed territory] Nagorno-Karabakh ever again.'”

Prince Andrew said that every single other regional president, except one, had told him of receiving similar “directive” letters from Medvedev.

Viktor Musan, the author of one of the fifth-grade textbooks, said he got close to 20 recommendations regarding the rewrite, according to “Ukrainska Pravda,” many of them related to Russian politics in Ukraine

The ministry, for its part, has denied any involvement in rewriting the book. “The text is up to the authors,” Oleksandr Udod, an Education Ministry official responsible for textbooks, told “Ukrainska Pravda.” He also said the changes will help "avoid excessive politicization."

But academics are skeptical, calling out politicians' "meddling" in the historical sphere. "Intellectuals need to have freedom to pursue their research and to look critically and freshly at the past," says Father Borys Gudziak, the Harvard-trained rector of Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. "The ministry is proposing that history textbooks in Ukraine be aligned with the Russian version of history, in which Stalinism is viewed less critically -- and sometimes even positively as a time of great development of the Soviet Union."

‘Umbilical Cord’ To Russia

"Minister [of Education, Science, Sport, and Youth Dmytro] Tabachnyk and the leaders of the ministry are anti-Orange, anti-democratic, anti-West people,” Kipiani said. “That's why correspondingly at their level, as much as they can, they are trying to clean out the heritage of the Orange Revolution. Some in the current leadership are connected by an umbilical cord to Russia; some in financial ways and some morally."

Last year, Tabachnyk and his Russian counterpart, Andrei Fursenko, announced their intention to create a Ukrainian-Russian working group for the purpose of creating a joint textbook guide for history teachers in the two countries.

Tabachnyk also cancelled the 12th year of secondary school, bringing it into line with Russia's 11-year system and making it more difficult, according to critics, for Ukrainian students to qualify to study at Western institutions, which typically are premised on 12 grades of schooling.

"That is something Russia wants from [Ukraine]," says Kipiani. "They want to build a common informational, cultural, and educational space."

A recent controversial Russian teaching manual claims that Stalin acted "entirely rationally" in executing and imprisoning millions of people in the gulag. Another manual calls Stalin an "effective manager."

Russian officials support Ukraine's revision of history textbooks. Lawmaker Sergei Markov of the ruling United Russia party said it's "an important task to immediately and radically change history textbooks of modern Ukraine" because, in his view, "they are falsified."

Last year, the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, famously announced that Russians and Ukrainians are a single nation: "I am sure that we are not just brotherly people -- we are a single nation. With some nuances, peculiarities, but a single nation.”

Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk said recently in an interview: "We do not impose on Russia how to interpret its own history. Why do Russians want to make us forget our own history and our heroes? Ukrainians must know their history and live accordingly, instead of living by the stereotypes spun by tsarist and Soviet ideologists."

Clamping Down On Ukrainian Institutions In Russia

While Russia is advocating certain changes in Ukraine's educational sphere, it is clamping down on Ukrainian institutions on its own turf. Last month, Moscow disbanded an important Ukrainian cultural organization, the Federation of National Cultural Autonomy of Ukrainians of Russia.

Russian Interior Ministry troops from the "anti-extremism" section have raided Moscow's Library of Ukrainian Literature three times since the end of December, seizing computer hard drives and servers as well as more than 50 books suspected to be "extremist literature." Library director Natalia Sharina was beaten and reportedly suffered a concussion.

The Ukrainian and Russian education ministers last year signed an accord declaring 2011 the Year of Ukrainian Education in the Russian Federation and 2012 the Year of Russian Education in Ukraine.

While history textbooks are getting a makeover in Ukraine, higher-education institutions are coming under pressure from the government. The ministry's proposed draft law on higher education aims to unify the life of all universities, say observers, demanding the exact same statutes and entry requirements for all universities and prohibiting students the freedom to select their own courses in their chosen programs of study, a common Western liberal arts tradition. It also restricts the use of English, making it impossible, say critics, for higher education institutions to be competitive in the global arena.

"The proposed new law on higher education is a return to Soviet times," said Serhiy Kvit, president of the respected Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine's oldest university and the only higher education institution in Ukraine officially to require bilingual -- Ukrainian and English – classes. "Although rhetorically Ukraine takes part in the Bologna Process, saying that it wants to participate in the Western world of education, in reality Tabachnyk, with this new law, wants to lower the Ukrainian educational system from the Western system and bring it closer to the Russian system."

The ministry, with its pending draft law, is trying to liquidate Kyiv Mohyla's English-language requirement and does not want to recognize the Western doctorate, says Kvit.

Civil society in Ukraine may or may not be strong enough to withstand the government-led politicization of education. Last month, Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) hosted a conference of experts on the creation of a new Ukrainian history textbook, an idea supported by the Council of Europe.

“The authorities cannot lead a monopoly on historical memory," said UCU professor Yaroslav Hrytsak in an interview. "What’s needed is civil society initiatives, which can protest this type of monopolization and suggest smart alternatives.”

UCU President Gudziak said the changes are an assault on the Ukrainian people and, ultimately, the country: "Russian versions of history generally negate much of Ukrainian historical development, subsuming it into one great Russian narrative. In other words, it's a history that negates Ukrainian identity. A state and a people, a nation without its historical identity, is not viable."

Alexa Chopivsky is a journalist based in Kyiv. The views expressed in this commentary are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of RFE/RL.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack from: US
February 25, 2011 15:22
Shouldn't author recognize that the recent development on the Ukraine could only be the result of total incompetence, corruption, and insanity of orange revolution leaders whose only priority was to bow to US and sell out interests of Ukrainian people. The people of the Ukraine learnt that it makes more sense to have better relation with its closest neighbor than with Washington whose only interest is to turn Ukraine into a client satellite state like infamous "republic of georgia"
In Response

by: Andrew from: Tbilisi
February 26, 2011 06:55
Jack, are you really so poorly informed as to think that having "good relations" with Russia, whether for Ukraine or Georgia, means anything other than being ruled by the fascists in Moscow?

BTW, if you really are from the USA, I would suggest remedial English classes old boy.

Why do Russian trolls always try and claim they are from western countries?
In Response

by: maxim_gorky from: magadan
February 26, 2011 17:33
hey,jack from the US, but more realistically ivan from Lubyanskaya ploschad', how much is the kgb, i mean fsb paying you to post this mindless drivel?
In Response

by: UKR FAN from: Canada
February 28, 2011 20:08
Are you sure your name is 't Jack a_ _?
In Response

by: sabres fan from: toronto
March 04, 2011 00:10
By the way comrade Jack, it's not "the Ukraine", it's just Ukraine.

by: Gregorio Baggiani from: Rome
February 25, 2011 21:05
Yulia Timoshenko, although certainly not a saint herself, in my opinion was a better option than Yanukovich.....but things are as they are.....
In Response

by: Pedro from: Mexico
March 01, 2011 21:33
Things are as they are because Moscow spent billions to make sure this happened. On the other hand, Obama and his blind 'reset' with Russia only helped Moscow's centuries old ambitions.

by: Konstantin Victorovich from: London
February 26, 2011 02:27
Well said Jack. One must remember that Ukraine has a milllennia worth of shared history with the Russians and Belarusians. I doubt the majority of Ukrainians would want to throw that bond away. For example; how would it seem if Britain wanted to abandon all ties with the Americans? Preposterous of course! This principle applies with the Ukrainians and Russians, which in this case, have had a much longer and closer past.

Ukraine is an anomaly. The region's longing for identity could be attributed to the fact that it has been subjugated to the rule of greater powers for centuries. Western Ukraine has been part of Poland, Austro-Hungary and even Romania at some point in its history. It is only within the 20th century that the Ukrainians were unified under one country. Their search for identity therefor shifts back and forth from East and West, it is a natural phenomenon for a country split by an ideological fault line.

After the 2010 elections, Ukraine has now declared itself in a non-aligned position and NATO should not interfere with their intentions of neutrality. It is a wise choice for the country as the population is poor and after the humiliating poverty of the 90s, it is time for economic and social stability. A conflict with the West or Russia would only hamper the nation's efforts.

I feel strongly about how Ukrainian ultra-nationalists tend to use the Holodomor to incite anti-Russian sentiments and further their nationalistic agendas. The Holodomor was in fact an extension of suffering from the first 'Five Year Plan' of Stalin when grain was forcefully requisitioned from kulaks. These famines did not just affect the Ukrainians but also many millions in Western Russia and other primary agricultural zones (look up the Soviet famine of 1932-1933). Calling it a 'holocaust' is rather distasteful as it fails to recognise the millions of other non-Ukrainians who starved to death under these shameful conditions.
In Response

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
February 26, 2011 10:38
I am of Russian/Ukrainian background myself. I strongly believe that Russia and Ukraine (and all the rest of the former Soviet Union) need to have a good, productive and cordial relations. However, in order for this relations to be genuinely productive, historical truth is essential. Attempts to rehabilitate Stalin in any way is a self-destructive and morally indefensible. Holodomor was a horrific crime against Ukrainian people and against humanity. Certainly, I am aware that millions of non-Ukrainians (Russians, Kazakhs, etc.) were murdered through starvation and other campaigns by Stalin against peasantry of fmr. USSR between 1929 and 1937. What makes the horrors in Ukraine (and in certain parts of Southern Russia, like Don, Kuban and North Caucasus region) unique is the fact that people had no way to escape the artificial hunger and were forced to die from hunger where they live. Crimes of Communism deserve no less condemnation than crimes of Nazism (aka National Socialism). When Russian text books clearly and unequivocally call Stalin for who he really was--THE MASS MURDERER of Russian and other Soviet People--then all these talks of "Russifying" of Ukrainian history will be pointless because all decent people will be on the same page.

The same goes for Ukrainian nationalist side. Replacing one mythology with another won't do good to anyone. For instance, attempt to gloss over or deny the horrible crimes of Ukrainian Insurgency Army during WWII in Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland (brutal genocidal war against ethnic Poles and murder of Jews) in 1942-1943 campaign creates bad atmosphere between Ukraine, Poland and Russia. Murder of indefensible people, especially kids are horrible crimes REGARDLESS OF HISTORICAL CONTEXT and they should never be condoned. When people look at facts, no matter how hard are they, they become better as individuals and as society.
In Response

by: Konstantin Victorovich from: London
February 26, 2011 21:40
Thank you. I whole heartedly agree with what you wrote. The Russian government should not sugar coat a mass starvation, it is a deplorable action on their part. Stalin has had more blood on his hands than Hitler himself! It is time for the Russians to accept that as fact. As you've said, once we acknowledge fact, that is when we become better individuals.
In Response

by: UKR FAN from: Canada
February 28, 2011 20:17
NIce response. Everyone should read Timothy Snyder's book "Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin." This book took him 20 years to write and provides detail as I have never seen before on that period.
In Response

by: Myron from: US
March 01, 2011 21:52
"Proposterous, of course!"

Oh, really?! I guess the US did not fight for its' independence against England? Or what about (closer still) Scotland or Ireland? I just visited these countries and, believe me, there is no love lost for the Engand and its empire. How about India? How many more countries should I mention? Ukraine is no different; they want no part of an empire that has controlled them for centuries. From the Emsky Ukaze to the Holodomor---it has been nothing but one-sided, pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian. Enough of your 'brotherly love' nonsense. Ukraine needs to be free, separate and equal.

by: Alex Antirussian from: USA
February 26, 2011 05:11
This is why there is nationalism in Ukraine and this is why so much hatred of russians, because they are senseless assholes.
In Response

by: Taras Bulba from: Australia
February 26, 2011 11:07
Alex, you can see our learned friend Konstantin is merely regurgitating his indoctrination and is merely a victim of his upbringing. All ruskiess are taught from the cradle that Ukraine never was and never will be; the fact that 90% of voters at the referendum following the collapse of USSR voted for a free and independent Ukraine (as opposed to becoming russians) is considered by his ilk as an anomoly and should clearly be disregarded. There seems to be no way of convincing these free thinking liberals that 40 - 50 million people consider themselves Ukrainian and clearly not russians which is merely an anomoly. If these people have declared a unique separate identity for themselves then you would think they are entitled to write their own history and make their own political decisions.
Amongst many other examples Germany and Austria share common roots, common evolution, speak the same language yet each values their own identity and neither wants to be confused sa the other.
Even in the good old UK, despite centuries of "incorporation" into the mother kingdom, the separate component states have now all chosen devolution to establish their own identity that was denied them through past history.

You would think that a lberally educated person from London would realise by now that all people yearn for their own identity and want to be respected for it. As it happened elsewhere it will eventually happen in Ukraine.

Slava Ukraiini, Slava heroyam!
In Response

by: Konstantin V from: London
February 26, 2011 21:31
I am no victim. I have had a rather wondeful upbringing, thank you very much.
When the USSR broke up, I was merely a child and my parents moved from Belarossiya to the United Kingdom. I am more or less an Islington lad!! Therefor your claim on my so-called Russkiy 'indoctrination' is just as unfounded as George Bush's claims of WMDs stashed away in pre-invasion Iraq!

My thoughts did not express any sentiment that Ukraine should be under any Russian authority. I was merely making a point on Ukraine's neutrality and how some people tend to blame Russia for the crimes of the (long dead) Soviet Union. The Ukrainians voted for a president who pledged to make the nation neutral, Russia and NATO should respect that pledge.

Your generalisation of all Russians says a lot about you and your agenda, to be honest. Have a nice day.


by: Taras from: Sydney
February 26, 2011 11:41
You know, I am continually surpised at how many russophiles eagerly read the Ukrainian section of RFE to find fault and criticise all articles about Ukraine. There is obviously some deep resentment that national/nationalist matters should be openly and critically discussed. I guess they can't find anything to criticise in the Russian section because everything works perfectly over there.

by: Stephan from: New Jersey
February 26, 2011 17:25
Well written. Ukraine truly is undergoing an identity crisis as it's leadership today is doing everything possible to once again rewrite history..the country is divided into three groups.. Ukrainian speaking Ukrainians who are proud of their heritage.. Russian speaking Ukrainians who are divided into two groups.. one that is concious of it's Ukrainian heritage and the other that is russophile and ukrainophobic, and the third group are Russian speaking Russians who are divided into two groups.. Ukrainophobes and Russian Ukrainians who want a free and independent Ukraine free of dictatorship and corruption..Yanuk and his band of strange misfits and friends.. are trying to Russify and remold Ukraine into a police state/a managed democracy.. because that is all they know and understand.. they resent having to learn Ukrainian.. they are post soviet neo stalinist pro russian anti ukrainian misanthropes.. who will eventually cause a lot of harm in Ukraine and that part of the world..unless democratic forces rise to the occasion and vote him and his cohorts out of office...

by: vityku from: NYC
February 27, 2011 21:18
Sometimes thieves take advantage of somebody's identity to use in their swindling schemes. Ukraine's history is a story of stolen identity. Khmelnytskyi's poor leadership led then Rus' -Ukraine into the arms of Moscow swindler who ripped her off from identity and power. Moscow took advantage of Ukraine's weakness, ideological and geopolitical benefits to turn a marginal principality of Kyivan Rus without any historic heritage into superpower. But it failed to assimilate the nation of Ukrainians, something they succeeded to do with Finnish tribes. Without force, money, manipulation and consent of indifferent people and nations, it is unlikely they will succeed in the future. The true history of Ukraine is their Achilles foot. So, let the truth be with you Moscowites, and let it free Ukrainians.
In Response

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
March 01, 2011 06:15
Vituku, as far as I remember, Kievan Rus was the predominantly East Slavic state between 10-12 Centuries on territories of present day Ukraine, Belarus and Northwest Russia. Kievan Rus disintegrated in 12th century into at least 12 principalities that fought brutally against each other and eventually Kievan Rus was divided between Golden Horde (Mongol-Tatar) and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth throughout 13th and 14th centuries. Moscow Principality which itself was founded on one of the Kievan Rus successor principalities (Vladimir-Suzdal) grew in strength under Golden Horde in 14 Century and after challenging the rule of weakened Golden Horde in 15th century, became a major superpower through conquest of Novgorod republic in 1471 and numerous other lands, including the lands of old Kievan Rus.

Great powers are never born bloodlessly. However, the problem of Moscow rule was its insistence on a complete centralization of power and absence of any checks and balances on power. Moscow could have become a great center of Eurasia not just through conquest but although through policies of building a good relations with peripheries to make sure everyone has a stake in the well being of the great empire. Instead, Moscow rulers usually chose hyper-centralized and hyper-autocratic state. Otherwise, things might have gone quite differently and there wouldn't be much problem between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus--people with otherwise very close cultures, languages, traditions, etc.

by: Valerie from: Ivano-Frankivsk
February 28, 2011 08:50
1. Eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea coast have been under Russian domination for centuries. It is highly Russified in terms of language and culture, but does not share the Russian Zeitgeist that Ukrainians are little Russians that can’t survive without papa bear. (Of course the people of Russia are diverse in opinion, but a loud minority supports the political narrative of Russian chauvinistic imperialism as demonstrated aptly by commenters in this forum.) In fact, it can be proven that pro-Russia sentiment is correlated to economic fluctuations.

Russia is busy exerting political and economic influence in the Russian language regions of Ukraine, using a controlled message to scare a conservative, defensive populace into believing democracy + western vector = doom. Because these regions are by far the most densely populated, their conservative and limited body politic is dominant at the moment.

2. Central Ukraine was gradually taken over by Russia in the 18th-19th centuries and is mixed politically and culturally. As it is mainly agricultural, it was the focus of agricultural collectivization. Unfortunately, as agriculture has purposefully not been liberalized, the region is held hostage to current political demands.

3. Western Ukraine was forced into the Russian sphere only during WW II. It has a separate history and values that are expressed in the goal of European integration. If not for the west, the idea of Ukraine would have long since vanished. The west is a world apart from the east and the two will never be integrated.

4. Yanukovych uses a play book developed in the 1990s in the Kuchma era, of gradual encroachment on civil rights - eg, free press, free speech, opposition political forces, judicial independence - to institutionalize consolidated power. He and his generation are soviets that disregard individual rights for the “collective good” – the collective now comprised of oligarchs and political elites.

5. Yanu’s popularity in the east and south has fallen dramatically since elections and relations with Russia are not good. He is fighting to maintain power to carry out his agenda. Yanu is not as blatantly pro-Russian unification as, for example, Ministers Tabachnyk and Azarov who consider themselves Russian and gain vast personal wealth by appeasing Russia.

However, a product of gritty blue collar gangsta culture of Donbass, the country’s deepest blue region, Yanu’s version of history aligns with the Russian agenda and his ethics easily accept historical revisionism for political ends. He expects such moves to improve his tenuous Russian relations and raise approval ratings within his base.

6. It is a matter of time. Like liberals everywhere, Ukraine struggles to unify progressive political forces and suffers from lack of charismatic leaders in the center left. People born since independence are just reaching adulthood and are mobilizing to be a potent political force across the country. The current curtailment of rights strengthens their cause. Even with foreign travel restrictions, enough people are going abroad to develop an alternate vision to a Russian dominated future. As one pundit aptly put it, Ukraine is a county with an unpredictable past.

In Response

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
February 28, 2011 21:48
Valerie, while you have very thorough analysis of Ukrainian history in a context of Russian Empire, there are a few things I think you left out when you look at a present time or the most recent history.

Specifically, let's not forget that both Yushenko and Tymoshenko when they come to power back in 2004 after "Orange Revolution", squandered every opportunity to develop a comprehensive economic strategy for Ukraine. Can you name a single real economic achievement of Yushenko and Tymoshenko of more than 5 years when they were in power ? The answer is practically none. For most Ukrainians whether they are Russian-Speaking or Russian Ukrainians or "real" (schiryx -:) Ukrainians who need to put the food on the table and feed their children, changes from Yushenko to Janukovich is merely a change of one mafia to another who does not give a sh...t regarding the life of ordinary Ukrainians. If I were in Ukraine, I would hardly know who is better and who is worse because each new clique that comes to power is obsessed first and foremost with self-enrichment at the expense of the public.

Moreover, well being of Ukraine and well being of Russia are very strongly interconnected, whether someone likes to admit it or not. Even more, well-being of the entire Eurasian continent hinges on the genuine stability in Russia. I think that eventually Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and pretty much the rest of Europe need to develop pragmatic and neighborly partnership based on mutual respect of each other economic and political interests. Certainly, much of it depends on Russia and whether Russia can reject the dangerous and self-destructive aspects of Soviet and to some extent, Russian Imperial policies of dominating rather than cooperating on important issues. However, Ukraine and the rest of E. Europe also need to be more pragmatic toward Russia and not to support forces, such as Chechen/North Caucasus Islamic terror groups seeking to export Islamic revolution in Russia. Islamic terror is a threat to all--Ukraine, Russia, and the rest of Europe (especially in light of Arab/Middle East uprisings), so if Europe and Russia do not want to end up under Islamic or Chinese Communist domination, they need to cooperate economically, politically and militarily. Alternative--the slow and gradual economic, social and political degradation and death.
In Response

by: Valerie from: Ivano-Frankivsk
March 01, 2011 06:54
Sergey - there is a difference between the Yu-Yu and Yanu administrations. Yu-Yu had good intentions for building a sovereign nation, I am sure of that, but were not politically competent. The democratic political class is still in nursery school. (I have been told by people who worked with Yushchenko that the poisoning seemed to effect his judgment, which seems plausible.) Yanu came in with a Russian agenda, the transformed USSR political machine and a philosophy that the means justify the ends.

by: Brazilian Man from: São Paulo - Brazil
March 15, 2011 05:09
Sadly, Joseph Stalin is still the major hero of the Russian elites, even after Khrushchev and Gorbachev denounced his crimes.