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September 8, 2014 / Congau

Ukraine – A Value Neutral East-West Conflict

Who started the current conflict in Ukraine? Well, any such question may potentially lead back to the dawn of history, and such a scope of course greatly exceeds our ability. But even when taking our short memory into account, we should be able to remember beyond this year.

We still remember that the first occupation of public buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk and the secession of Crimea were reactions to the ouster of President Yanukovych. That was the eastern reaction to events in the western Ukraine. (That much must be acknowledged; nothing in the world happens in a vacuum, it is always a reaction to preceding events.) The fallen president had been the leader of the eastern party, and his removal meant that the west had now gained the upper hand.

Of course the events that led to his ouster were a western reaction to an eastern advantage. Yanukovych had scrapped a deal with the EU and instead signed an agreement with Russia, thereby pulling the country in his direction – the east.

Was this then the beginning of the conflict? Of course not. The east – west game of chess goes way beyond last year.

Yanukovych was elected president in 2010 when the eastern party received the majority of the votes in a democratic election. The result was accepted by international observers and it’s interesting to notice that the protesters who caused his removal are continuously called “democrats” in the European press. There may or may not be good reasons for demanding his ouster, but how can the forced removal of a democratically elected president be called democratic? It was simply the west taking to the streets against the east.

The election of 2010 was an eastern reaction to six years of western rule, but by mentioning that we may be stepping out of the boundaries of our active memory. Nevertheless it must be done, for history didn’t start last year. The years 2004 – 2010, when the western leaning party of the Orange revolution was in power, were signified by bitter in-fighting and rampant corruption. It was a far cry from the noble standards of Western democracy, but that is also conveniently disregarded now that the same group of people are back in power and hailed as democrats.

The struggle for Ukraine is little less than a continuous fight between east and west that has been shifting back and forth for the past years and beyond, and whoever insists on one side or the other being inspired by noble ideal and values, is bound to be disappointed.

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