Boris Klymenko, Kyiv
A French public figure, philosopher and publicist visited Kyiv to support the Ukrainian protest movement. In his interview with RFI, Bernard-Henri Lévy explained that Europe’s official position disappoints him while Russian authorities invoke a feeling of “disgust.”
RFI: You’ve visited many of the world’s hot spots in your life. Does your arrival in Ukraine mean that our country is becoming a hot spot?
Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL): No, this is rather a statement of recognition that the current developments here in Ukraine are of paramount importance for Europe, for France and for the whole world. Because the heart of Ukraine now beats in Kyiv, because today Ukrainians are the best Europeans, because the European spirit now lives in Ukraine.
RFI: Do the Ukrainian protests follow the logic of the Arab Spring protests? Or are they on a different level? Indeed, the Ukrainian people already had their own “color revolution” long before the Arab Spring.
BHL: This is Ukraine’s second revolution, which makes for the first major difference between it and the Arab Spring. Second, this is a European revolution, which is an entirely different story.
RFI: As an advisor of one president and a good acquaintance of another, you were able to influence France’s involvement in defusing crises in those countries where the French are traditionally engaged. After briefly examining the political situation in Ukraine, do you think you can persuade the French government to take a harsher position vis-a-vis the current Ukrainian government?
BHL: First of all, I hope to be able to express to my compatriots my impressions and my indignation. I am indignant because Europe committed an act of cowardice. At the same time, I would like to share my impressions about the Maidan protesters with my fellow citizens, both with the French people and the authorities.
RFI: Isn’t the Arab Spring phenomenon a well-orchestrated project aimed to localize Islam within its natural boundaries? Keeping people busy with fighting ‘oppressors,’ diverts the energies of pro-Islamic forces in Europe and the West, particularly the jihadists, toward their own problems, particularly the separation of state and religion.
BHL: I think we need to be cautious about any conspiracy theories. The Arab revolutions came from the people themselves, they were internal movements. Nobody orchestrated them, nobody staged any actions instead of people. They have their own logic.
RFI: What do you know about the reception of your ideas in Russian and the countries of former Soviet Union?
BHL: I don’t know if any of my ideas are known in Russia. I have great respect for Russian culture but great contempt for the current Russian authorities.
Translated by Irina Kostyshina
Edited by Mariana Budjeryn
Link to the original text on Radio France International Russia:
Французский философ Бернар-Анри Леви: «Сердце Европы бьется в Киеве»