Dear Ukraine, we can only help you help yourself

Prior to Euromaidan even starting, I kept a close eye on Ukraine, weeks before refusing to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, having doubts about the independence of Ukraine regarding its national affairs, being absolutely sure that Putin would, somehow, turn dismissed-president Yanucovich from associating with the continental block.

As someone born and raised in a formerly communist republic, Romania, I deeply care about the well-being and freedom of fellow neighbors, if only because unrest in the vicinity poses risks to my country, but not only because of this.

In 1990, I was barely eight years old and started to learn about democracy, about the West, about the principles of peace and common prosperity and the effort it takes to get there where Romania is now, a leap no shorter than blindfoldedly jumping across the canyon of frustrations, distrust and realigning oneself to a long-lost set of values, lost because Bolshevism killed each and every manifestation of these universal principles of love, trust and peace, lost because Homo sovieticus was incubated into having a different set of rules, principles and a different manifestation with regards to state and politics.

As one can deduce, I am passionately interested in Ukraine because I can totally relate to it.

  1. I can relate to the tens of millions of Ukrainians betrayed by Yanucovich the same way I felt betrayed when, upon gaining some form of independence, Moldova – de facto, a Romanian territory and population, ripped away from Romania by the Ribbentrop-Molotov Act – has been first recognized as a state by our very own president of the tine, one Russian-backed Ion Iliescu of sad present remembrance.
  2. I can relate to the victims of Euromaidan, as Ion Iliescu of Romania used miners from my hometown to bloodily repress the first democratic protests on 1990 and 1991, the death toll being in the hundreds.
  3. I can relate to the desperate fellas of Eastern Ukraine, I myself am from a mining region and I know all bout what poverty means, all about what desperation means, all about frustration and anger and lacking the vision of a better future. I see their partial disbelief. But I wish they also saw that they – Donetsk, Donbas etc – were betrayed by their local politicians, by the very own people they elected, by their mayors and policemen.
  4. I can relate to the Ukrainian intellectuals bursting in a desire to join the EU. We both have the same understanding that our countries can only progress by becoming part of something larger, in the same fashion an individual grows upon becoming part of a family, we share the understanding that the European Union is a construct meant for peace and prosperity – not a country-engulfing empire that consumes on its citizens.
  5. I can relate to the euro-skeptics of Ukraine as – for people that once lived deep within the Soviet Union – it’s hard to grasp that there is an Union built not on military might and corrupt officials. I understand that, to them, we – the EU, that is – are just another form of Soviet Union, but worse, with homosexuals parading around and drugs and whatnot, even though this is not who we are. I understand we are some form of chaotic Soviet Union that scares them…
  6. I can relate to elderly people that are enthusiastic to Soviet Union and not us. It is with my deepest sympathy that I understand their regrets towards their lost youth and prosperity and long-lost friends. But nothing we or USSR does can bring time back. What we can offer is respect, dignity and increasing pensions, as states joining the EU gradually heal from corruption so less gets stolen and, thus, more gets shared…
  7. I can relate to folks that don’t want to have any partnership with the EU. I understand that they don’t want to be joining an “empire” they din not create and that they would only join an empire they own, like the New Soviet Union (still called The Russian Federation). However misguided their principles may be, we share the common ground of wanting to belong to something that we can relate to. I just wished they would allow us explain how being part of something greater that is actually pretty good, does not make one less significant, but more prosperous.
  8. I can even relate to Russian militias and pro-Russian terrorists. The first are under orders they must obey, the second are there for the money – easy money – for their needs, be it bread, borsch ingredients (I love it, by the way!) or taxes. Under the pressure of extreme poverty, we all make mistakes and we all lose our compass. Under normal circumstances, I am confident these people would be quite kind and decent and caring and that they were brought in these conditions by corrupt politicians like Yanucovich because poverty yields left-wing voters in need of continuous social assistance and, to extremes, right-wing voters risen from unfair social policies and corrupt spending of public money.

It is my strongest belief that, ultimately, we all want the same thing: prosperity, respect, and the fulfillment of our dreams, so in this terms – I think – we must present each other.

Now, regarding present times and the Geneva convention, I saw a growing number of articles stating that Ukraine has been betrayed by the West, in any imaginable form, like:

  1. Ukraine can’t use its military to stop the Russian aggression.
  2. USA and the EU have given up on Crimea.
  3. The West didn’t want to send weapons to Ukraine.

And many, many more.

Friends, neighbors, the West can’t do more for you, than you are willing to do for yourself. Tell friends, tell family, tell everyone that we can’t do for you more than you are willing to do yourselves.

Considering the above, how can the West help?, if Crimeans did not massively and openly oppose the Russian invasion. Of course the annexation is illegal, of course the so-called referendum was just theatrical play of the likes we had in 1947, when people were forced to vote at gunpoint, of course we see beyond the Russian lies.

We can’t have a world war with weapons, Russia is a nuclear power ran by a psychopath that is willing to wage war, especially since most Ukrainians in the annexed area(s) don’t seem to care who controls what. So, if you want more help, you need to help yourselves more. If you want to be free from Russia, you need to free yourself from inaction.

Ukraine, please understand that your government is frail and that it needs the help of millions. Yanucovich stole most of the money and weakened the army, the secret service and the police.  It’s up to you and only you to make them powerful again. So, next time the police betrays you, bring them under civilian arrest until help from Kiev arrives.

Next time someone decides not to allow for progress in Ukraine, bring forth some progress.

Next time armed men ask for democracy, understand they are warmongers of tyranny and remove them from occupying symbols of public power.

I don’t think more than 20% of Ukrainians want back the USSR or into the Eurasian Union. Will you let them run you country back into the desperate ages of Bolshevism, when eight million Ukrainians died of hunger and many more millions were deported to the far-reaches of the Bolshevik Empire?

Dear Ukraine, we can only help you help yourself.

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