A Divided Ukraine

Nations divided are stories of misunderstandings and pain. The Ukraine is another example.

Supported by Putin, separatists in the Eastern section have chosen violence to settle their differences and the Russian dictator has been very glad to encourage them.

It fits well with his plan to rebuild the Soviet Union.

But Ukraine should be left for Ukrainians to manage.

The previous Russian leaning president, Viktor Yanukovych, was deposed by popular protests in 2014 and fled to Russia. Now Putin has been amassing troops in the Eastern border and threatens to invade and take over the entire nation. He speaks of common historical bonds between the two countries going back centuries.

That may be so but for one reason or another, the Ukraine constituted itself as a nation and that needs to be respected. Their future should be decided by Ukrainians, not by Russians or Americans.

During the American Civil War there was a huge cost in lives (estimated to have been approximately 1.5 million, a figure that combines casualties from combat and from diseases). Lamentably, there was no effective dialogue between the contending parties to prevent that war.

Does the world need to see another country hemorrhaging its resources? Do we not have enough today with Yemen and Somalia and Syria and Myanmar, Cuba and Venezuela?

Can the world not press hard for a dialogue between feuding Ukrainians, without outside interference from any nation?

How come the Russian people remain in the grip of a man like Putin? Yes, there is a budding internal opposition, but it has yet to gather enough force because the majority are unwilling to openly dissent and choose freedom instead. Today, when it is clear to all the importance of interaction and freedom of thought for individuals to realize their potential, Russians are still choosing to not openly challenge their oppressive government, thus allowing themselves to be misled by a tyrant.

Russians have enormous possibilities as a people, but they have not been willing to claim them. And until they do, they will remain a lesser nation. Regardless of the 4000 nuclear warheads they keep and their capacity to set off a war that would do untold damage to the world.

Russia, with a population of 144 million compared to Germany’s 84 million, falls far below the German economy which has a GDP approximately 2 trillion greater. Even though Russia is far richer in oil and gas. The difference is clearly attributable to the stymying of the people’s opportunities by their political system. 

With that history, what kind of example is Russia to Ukraine?

And yet, Putin now wants to invade the nation. He speaks of fearing an attack from the West. But it’s all fiction. The West has no interest in invading Russia. What for?

The talk that he needs to strengthen his borders is talk of a calculating and paranoid man justifying his oppressive hold on his people. He’s been in power since 1999 and a recent referendum makes it possible for him to remain in his post until 2036.

It is up to the Russian people to challenge Putin for he is preventing their full development.

The conquest of Ukraine, his clear intention, counts as another stop in his dream of rebuilding the Soviet Union, an example of economic backwardness.

But the world should say no. Russians should say no.

The world should speak strongly in favor of letting Ukraine’s fate be decided by Ukrainians.

If they are left alone, they may well come to some kind of agreement. Maybe they’ll want to partition the country to avoid bloodshed. Maybe not. But they are entitled to decide their fate without external interference from anyone, Russia or America.

If they choose to partition, this much will be clear with the passing of time. A Ukraine divided into two sections, the Western and the Eastern, will soon enough replicate what happened in Germany at the end of WWII. The Western side will blossom and the Eastern one will atrophy.

Democracy in the West will stir in the people a desire for accomplishment that will be lacking in the East. And soon enough, those in the East, will choose to vote with their feet – as my dear father and namesake used to say – risking their lives to migrate to the West in search of a better life.

Putin, with his grandiosity and deception, has no interest in leaving the fate of Ukraine to their people.

So this is the time for the rest of the world to speak up forcibly.

Oscar Valdes.    Oscarvaldes.net.     also available in anchor.fm, apple and google podcasts and buzzsprout.