Ukraine: The Ice Age

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Dec 31 14:44:15 UTC 2006

The Ice Age
translated by Irena Yakovina, 29.12.2006, 13:50
Original article in Ukrainian by Arthur Manukyan

Bulgaria and Rumania will join the European Union on January 1, 2007. The
officials at EU headquarters in Brussels celebrated this event by creating
a large banner with an inscription: Welcome Bulgaria and Romania to the
European family! The author has nothing against these countries. They are
surely a deserving ones as the EU will not admit anybody. It just hurts me
to perceive that Rumania is welcome, but Ukraine is not. Ukraine is
probably worse than Romania and Bulgaria. The one who has never visited
these small poor countries will be fully satisfied with such an answer.
But the author can authoritatively claim that Ukraine is much richer in
natural recourses, infrastructure, economics, and human potential.

So, why it has not been accepted to the European family yet? Why Ukraine
is still in the wild 15 years after the breakdown of Soviet Union? Why
living in Ukraine proved to be more difficult after the independence? Why
have politicians been telling tales of Ukraines poverty, transition
period, hardships and obstacles that hindered to make our life better and
richer for all these 15 years? Pardon, but Akhmetov's life has improved by
a dozen of billions. And nobody holds referendums on expediency of
Akhmetov;s and Yanukovych's visits to the US. Yet the nation is fed up
with prospective referendums on the Russian language, friendship with
brotherly Slavic nations and NATO which should not set its foot on the
holy (why holy?) Slavic land!

The Ukrainian pensioners may be blessed by UAH 20 closer to the coming
elections (the price for the cheapest lighter of the poorest Ukrainian
MP). And good bye till the next elections! Keep your ears open the tale is
running on and on! The author voted in favor of Yushchenko is 2004, hoping
he is a guide to Europe and NATO. I remember I was shivering with fear in
the very first day of the Orange Revolution. The camera of the Russian
First Channel targeted me at the central square of the city of Donetsk.
The crowd celebrated Yanukovych's victory under fluttering blue flags. I
told biased Russian TV about forged elections and my adherence to
Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution.

As it happened in Yanukovych-leaning Donetsk, I ran the risk of being
punished for my true words. But I, as the President used to say, strangled
a slave within myself. When long after President Yushchenko arrived to
Donetsk, I was happy to scramble through the crowd to shake hands with
him. I was so proud of that until this August. Until Yanukovych has made a
comeback as PM by connivance of his former rivals and without any
referendums. It became clear that ever since we believe nobody,
politicians in particular. This is the wrong country, or we are wrong. So
wrong that we are easily cheated and betrayed. Millions of people managed
to stand up from their knees, but they are forced to kneel down over and
over again.

It could be that nobody had stood up. It was just a dream, a vision.
Ukraine is standing a one of the Cama Sutra positions since the Communist
regime unfurled its bloody banners. Partners are passing by but Ukraine is
still in the same position. And its partners are the same: drinkers,
robbers and assaulters. But they are ours, own, in spite of their criminal
or communist past. Be sure they will abide by you! Oh, dear Ukraine! You
deserve a better fate. However, while other countries are already married
to the European Union, you only dream about that but fail. Watch out or
you will get nothing but partners

It doesn't matter how you voted at the elections. But it is evident,
Ukraine has made no progress during the last 15 years. Its leaders have
neither set a coherent foreign policy, nor produced a viable roadmap for
entering the EU. They would not enrich the country, nor organize a
sufficient information campaign for accession into the EU or NATO this is
nothing else than a diagnosis. Ukrainian politicians are well aware that
the EU and NATO are good places for Ukraine to be a part of. After
integrating there Ukraine may have prosperous today and not a yet-to-come
tomorrow. By the politicians are afraid that open frontiers will entice
young people and intelligentsia into a better life and they are unlikely
to vote for them, to tolerate their lie and to support their Russian
language. Freedom means not only expressing your thoughts. It is a free
traveling via Europe, speaking any language, living in any country of the
world and having a choice.

Each life is unique. This world is beautiful. Many light and kind people
live here. So why to close the door into this world? Why feed up Ukrainian
people with those nightmares about NATO boots? The author does not believe
in these tales. Only those who visited no other countries but the
post-soviet ones and know no language but Russian believe in them. By the
way, the author had been not only in Romania and Bulgaria, but in Poland
and Germany as well. But Ive never heard the words there similar to what I
often heard from my compatriots: Yankees go home or Orangists, pack your
bags and go to America!. Are these words a sign of traditional Ukrainian
hospitality, wisdom, and kindness?

The author does not believe in tales about crafty hostile West and its
dream to enslave Slavic civilization. There is no civilization, just
isolation from the whole world, phobias and stupidity. I want to live in
Sweden, because I like Swedish blondes! But why should I wait my life long
until our lawmakers decide pending issues on accession to the Euro
Atlantic structures? Or until they sign another Charter (Universal) of the
nonexistent Unity? Or until ardent opponents of NATO from the eastern
Ukraine will lose their courage? None prohibits from leaving to Russia for
the permanent residence. Why shall we continue traveling to Europe in the
freight cars as illegal immigrants?

I love Ukraine, but I do not want to live in a country where people are
cheated, robbed and disregarded. In a country where we have no choice.
Lawmakers do nothing for their country and do not let others change their
lives. And they call this patriotism. Should not one be a patriot of
Ukraine and of European values at once?  Should not he know several
foreign languages in addition to the Russian?  Should not he study in the
US, work in Sweden or Germany, spend a holiday in Spain and Christmas in
Denmark, and be a citizen of Ukraine loving his country? You make like it
or not, but you should love your country. And you cannot hide. And you
will vote for these very MPs as there are no others. No doubt, Ukraine
will once enter into the EU and Ukrainians will freely travel around the
world. And nobody will call them traitors or orangists.  It will be
another country, but we shall hardly live that long.

Thank you, Viktor Fedorovych and Viktor Andriyovych, for the national
unity of poverty, for your patriotism, for standing up for Slavic
civilization, for protecting us from the NATO boots, for Ukraine's
independence from the West and dependence upon native manipulators and a
special thanks for the Russian language! Ukraine may lag far behind
Germany, Japan, United States of America and Estonia after all, but it's a
shame to lag behind a small poor Romania. It is nonsense to lag behind
tiny poor Bulgaria. I could not bring myself to call it a transition
period. It is rather an ice age.


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