‘What can Ukraine expect from the West now?’ – former GULAG inmate asks bitterly

Myroslav Marynovych

Myroslav Marynovych 

Featured, Op-ed

Myroslav Marynovich, a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group who spent a decade in the Soviet GULAG and currently vice rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, has issued the statement below about how Ukrainians feel about what is happening to them now. It deserves to be read in full and is given as such below.


What can Ukraine expect from the West now?

I write to you as a former prisoner of conscience of the Brezhnev era. All other titles are rapidly losing sense in the light of the bleeding Ukrainian Maidan.

All my life I admired Western civilization as the realm of values. Now I am close to rephrasing Byron’s words: “Frailty, thy name is Europe!” The strength of bitterness here is matched by the strength of our love for Europe.

If it still concerns anybody in decision-making circles, I may answer the question in the title.

First and foremost, stop “expressing deep concern”. All protestors on the Maidan have an allergy to this by now in these circumstances senseless phrase, while all gangsters in the Ukrainian governmental gang enjoy mocking the helplessness of the EU.

Take sanctions. Don’t waste time in searching for their Achilles’ heel: it is the money deposited in your banks. Execute your own laws and stop money laundering. The Europe we want to be part of can never degrade the absolute value of human lives in favor of an absolute importance of money.

Also cancel Western visas for all governmental gangsters and their families. It is a scandal that ordinary Ukrainians living their simple lives have to provide their ancestors’ family trees to obtain a visa while ruling criminals guilty of murder, “disappearances,” and fraud in the eyes of the whole world enjoy virtually free-entry status in Europe.

Do not listen to Yanukovych’s and Putin’s propagandistic sirens. Just put cotton in your ears. Be able to decode their lie; otherwise they will decode your ability to defend yourself.

Instead, listen to Ukrainian media sacrificing their journalists’ lives to get truthful information.


Do not rely so much upon the information provided by your special correspondents in other countries who come to Ukraine for a day or two. Hire Ukrainians who live in this country to translate the Ukrainian cry of pain. Secure money for that right now instead of waiting for funds from next year’s budget.

Come to Ukrainian hospitals and talk to so-called “extremists” who want to “subvert the legitimately elected government,” those who have “cruelly beaten” policemen and “deliberately” blasted explosives to wound themselves.

Yes, the face of war is cruel. But, arriving at the Maidan, these people repeated almost literally what King George VI said to his people on the 3 September 1939: “We have been forced into a conflict, for we are called… to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world.”

Go out of your zone of comfort! Just recall the coddled ancient Romans who refused to do that in time. Cajoling Putin won’t bring you security. Letting him take control over Ukraine could make the world peace even more vulnerable. A Ukraine divided by force won’t bring the world peace, just as a Poland and Germany divided by force didn’t bring peace to the world.

Let us conclude in solidarity with the King and the Ukrainian people: “The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then with God’s help, we shall prevail.”


Myroslav Marynovych is the Vice Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University based in Lviv, founder of Amnesty International Ukraine, a founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, and President of the Ukrainian PEN Club.

Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar garrett says:

    Great statement. Western people don’t understand how the situation is serious. Russia is not less dangerous than IS in this moment for the European peace.

  2. Avatar Czech Friend says:

    “The Europe we want to be part of can never degrade the absolute value
    of human lives in favor of an absolute importance of money.”

    Amen, Mr Marynovych.

    I feel ashamed that West my country is now part of is afraid of a Russian bully. We too have been betrayed by the West when Hitler stole our lands just like Putin stole Crimea. But we know our place is among civilized nations and not a backwards agressor. I call on all decent freedom loving people to take action and help Ukraine any way they can. We don’t need our cowardly politicians to do that.

  3. Avatar Mazepa says:


    1. Avatar evanlarkspur says:

      Da. Ya seglasen.

      It is as if our “leaders” are asleep at the wheel, or perhaps Putin has something “on” each of them, which he threatened them with at the secret meeting on that island Bosto off Finland. Did he say “let me do what I want in Ukraine, and do nothing but express ‘deep concern,’ or I will reveal these secrets about you and you will all be impeached?” Its hard to imagine a worse political move that to make the first words out of your mouth, “there will be no military response.” Even if you were privately determined of that, allowing Putin to be uncertain about how the West would respond would have been a very powerful deterent. Yet it was taken off the table immediately, emboldening Putin (how not?).

      Our “leaders” are deeply dishonoring us, as we promised to preserve Ukraine when she gave up her nukes. We are not foolish, craven oath-breakers, except that our leaders make us so. How long will this continue?

  4. Avatar Joanna Agnuscovicz says:

    Oh, there are pretty much people in the West who perfectly sympathize with Ukraine and wish their governments would do more for her! I suppose it is very hard for your country to keep on suffering under the aggressor while waiting for urgent help. In fact this help needs time (we probably do not have with new facts being created all the time at the frontline). There are diplomats who pledge for more ‘negotiations’ and politicians who made a career in soft-pink circumstances where they learned above all – to act not promptly but with persistence on the long run. As the character trait of caution and cowardice are required for advancing in party structures, the better personalities unfortunately do not reach top positions. But altogether, the public opinion will gradually force our politicians to help Ukraine more directly – and I call for weapons now! – as it happened in the issue of Mistral assaultships for Russia. I just hope it will not be too late.

  5. Avatar Daniel Raymond says:

    I can only hope that very soon the US administration comes through with the already legislated military aid for Ukraine

  6. Avatar disqus60 says: