Levko Lukyanenko, former Soviet dissident, Verkhovna Rada deputy, author of Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence, and a Hero of Ukraine (Image: UNIAN)
By attacking Ukraine, Moscow has set in train the second phase of the disintegration of the post-Soviet Russian empire, a process that will end with the independence of the autonomous republics, krays, and oblasts of the Russian Federation and the formation of a smaller Russian nation state. According to Levko Lukyanenko.
And history teaches, he says, that “empires either grow or fall apart. [They] cannot live peacefully because [their] goals are to grow.” That is what has been happening in Russia. The first phase of its disintegration happened in 1991, but some in Moscow did not and do not accept that and are trying to reverse it by seeking to reclaim Ukraine.
Indeed, “already in 1991, they began to plan” how to do that. They developed expertise on Ukraine, they conducted an information war against it. They formed “a fifth column” within it. And when none of that proved to be sufficient, Lukyanenko continues, they decided to use military force.
The war between Russia and Ukraine was inevitable because it is a clash of civilizations. “Russia is an Asiatic country” in which the state is everything and the individual is nothing and it which “’Great Muscovy’” is the only goal. Ukraine in contrast is “populated by Ukrainians, European tribes” whose democratic political traditions go back to the Kyiv viche.
When Vladimir Putin’s agent Viktor Yanukovych failed in his task of subverting Ukraine and even flirted with approaching Europe, the Kremlin pulled his chain and forced him to turn back toward Moscow. The Ukrainian people “couldn’t put up with this and after it took place the events which then became down as the Revolution of Dignity.”
Putin thought he could provoke a civil war, but the Ukrainian people resisted and he failed. Then he used military force to seize Crimea. He could have been blocked if the Ukrainian authorities had not been in disorder and had acted as Leonid Kuchma did when Russia tried to take Tuzla Island.
Now, Lukyanenko says, Ukraine must declare the existence of “a state of war in Crimea and also in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.” And it must convert the Minsk group into “an international organ for bringing accusations against Russia for its seizure of part of our territory, its violation of international law” and gaining reparations from Moscow as well.
As things go forward, the former dissident says, Ukrainians “must be prepared for anything. They must defend freedom at the price of their lives if need be. And there is nothing to fear from this: they should take as their example the Finns” who in 1939 fought off the Russians. At the very least, “it is better to die in battle than to be returned to Muscovite colonial slavery.”
The West will come to Ukraine’s aid if Ukrainian diplomacy is effective and if Ukrainians demonstrate that they are prepared to overcome the Soviet inheritance and defend their country, Lukyanenko says. The US and the UK may even feel compelled to live up to their responsibilities under the Budapest Memorandum.
Putin began his war against Ukraine because he views it as “a continuation of his war for extending or restoring the empire, and the ethnic Russian population supports its president because it thinks in the same imperialist manner. But there also are in Russia many in the intelligentsia with a European orientation, and they understand that Ukraine is not Chechnya.”
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