The World & Ukraine

February 3rd, 2015 11:48 am

War in Ukraine: what are prospects of peaceful future?

Now the world is glancing at Ukraine – and from the abroad sometimes it is very difficult to understand what is going in my country. It happened so that writing of this article coincided with my press trip to the Western Ukraine. This time I paid much attention to different regional feelings – yes, it is different area with different culture, geography and history.

Anyway, I remember a similar observation in my early childhood in the time of Soviet Union or in the first years post-independence when regional differences were not perceived as problems. Rather these were peculiarities which made Ukraine as a country richer and more interesting for each resident. And then “something” happened in 2004 while a peaceful up-rising and meetings during presidential election campaign of the Orange revolution when then Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich, representative of Eastern, Donetsk region, and former National Bank Governor and patriotic candidate Victor Yushchenko were in clash for presidential position. It was like a form of political technology to divide East and West into different worlds and fix these into people’s mentality. In 2014 it was used for the “separatist” war.

How it can be overcome – this is a difficult question. First of all, it depends on local residents – to what degree they can forget and live further with painful memories and experience. Secondly, eastern towns and cities are badly destroyed now and need substantial renovations. Ukraine has had experience of replacing people after disaster – with the Chernobyl catastrophe. Also we have veterans of Afghanistan who can share how to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. It will be a long story working out how to live with this, anyway. Now some rely on oligarchs who can allocate some money to renovate destroyed lands – previous years they robbed these regions and the state budget, making their own wealth enormous.

What policy should the current president implement? Federalization with vast cultural and autonomy? Leave everything like it had been previously? The best model for modern Ukraine in my opinion surprisingly seems to be Soviet model when all regions live with one ideology – basic Ukrainian language, traditions, where regional difference was taken for granted. For me it is obvious that the war conflict in Ukraine was artificial – there was no need to resolve the issues of “separation” by military aggression. There are political methods for resolving this situation such as negotiations, referendums, polls ect. Moreover, new states or “republics” are not approved internationally if they have been created by illegal methods.

The position of the church is not clear in terms of whether the top church authorities are powerful to such a degree to punish those who implement fighting. Even though both Russia and Ukraine are predominantly Orthodox countries this didn’t stop the conflict or political situation. For many Ukrainians it is logical that the Ukrainian army protects legal borders and lands of the country so it may sound cruel but many of my compatriots had no compassion for the dead and wounded on “other side” – this is war and human compassion is not on time because next time somebody can come to your house and if you are not strong enough, you will lose everything – that is the basis of this.

The events of the East of Ukraine proved once again that material world is very fragile. We all are human beings with basic needs – basic eating, lodging, clothes. Many of my compatriots in the East lost everything – families, houses, literally their whole life. I think they will re-estimate their life values and visions. And in this connection Christianity and different churches can contribute enormously to restoring peace in my country.

Natalia Rudnichenko

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