Photograph: Bart Maat/EPA
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
People, stop cringing. We are changing our country for ourselves, not for the Gouda voter. And if we change, he himself will want to be in an alliance with us.
The reaction of Ukrainians to the Dutch referendum gives me the strong impression that many of my compatriots have transferred to Europe and the West the attitude that we previously had toward Russia.
We were always interested in how Russians would react to our actions, how they would view them, how they would discuss them on their TV shows. The master from Moscow was always a welcome guest on Ukrainian television, and when he became the anchor on a particular channel, he was welcomed with swoons of delight.
Because we can’t do anything as well, because we’re inferior, that’s why! This is the instinct of a serf, which we began to shed only after Maidan and the Russian attack on our country. And now we finally know the price of the Russian state and the Russian government. And we also know the price of Russian TV. And when we discover supporters of all this rubbish among us, we understand that these people are collaborators and slaves. And we are free.
But, it turns out, that free people also need a master. He could be Jean-Claude Juncker (president of the European Commission — Ed.). And if Juncker is not interested, then it could be the Gouda voter, who looked at us with disapproval. Because we carried out reforms poorly, because we have corruption, because our president has offshore accounts. Forgive us, master!
People, enough cringing. We are changing our country for ourselves, not for the Gouda voter. And if we change, he will want to be in an association with us. And we might not even be interested then.
Norway, Switzerland, Iceland are European countries as much as the Netherlands or Ukraine. But somehow they are in no hurry to join the EU. In two months Great Britain will decide whether to remain in the EU. Would it then stop being one of the landmarks of European civilization? What nonsense!
Our task — in case someone has failed to understand — is not to please the master, but to become a free human being, someone who matters.
Make your way to a monument of Taras Shevchenko — fortunately, they’re everywhere. The man who is a symbol of the Ukrainian national spirit did not attempt to please the tyrant Engelhardt — incidentally a Swiss, a real European (Taras Shevchenko was born a serf on the estate of Baron Vasili Engelhardt — Ed.). He became a scholar, an artist, a poet. He became somebody. And what his former master thought about it was the master’s problem. And those of you who are whining are somehow not real Ukrainians. Besides, this was something that Shevchenko noticed even then. And he urged us to stop groveling. I have no right to exhort. I am simply asking.
And finally. There are idiots everywhere and always. There are more of them in Europe, incidentally, than in Russia, simply because the EU population exceeds that of the Russian Federation several times over. And if we really want to join the European Union, we need to learn to respect all its residents — including the populists and the idiots. We need to learn to coexist with these people. But first we need to learn to respect ourselves.