Despite all the historical, cultural, linguistic and other differences, the Dutch and Ukrainians have one thing in common, which is determination. The Dutch had won their land from the sea, and Ukrainians are now fighting for their freedom. Freedom from the centuries-long domination of Moscow and from oppression of Russia, which has been doing everything possible to save its domination, even after the collapse of the USSR.
To struggle for freedom is extremely difficult. I know it from my own experience, from the time of Gorbachev’s democratic reforms. Every step towards the destruction of totalitarianism required a lot of time and effort. However, at that time we had the support of the West. And it is our fault, the fault of the Russian citizens, that Russian foreign and domestic policy under Putin turned back to the pre-perestroika times. As usual we trusted our rulers and stopped to control them. Because we, unlike Ukrainians, did not have the Revolution of Dignity, because we did not remove those who brought our country to disaster, who are now threatening the very foundations of the world order and international security, and who are breaching all the norms of international law.
Let us ask a simple question. Why does the EU, to put it mildly, adopt half-hearted approach towards Ukraine and de facto largely supports criminal Russian policy towards this country? Because of the corruption in Ukraine? The corruption in Russia is disproportionately bigger, and it permeates the entire society. Because of the problems with young democracy? No, the answer is hidden somewhere else. The EU does not understand the essence of what is happening.
Actually it is very simple. As a former diplomat and a former employee of the administrations of former president Yeltsin and of president Putin, I can testify that politics for them and their teams is a dirty business. Therefore they use their entire arsenal of political and economic opportunities, propaganda and espionage in order to put pressure on Western countries, including manipulating public opinion in those countries. Unfortunately, many people in the West succumb to these unscrupulous manipulations.
Based on my experience in the corridors of the Russian power I can say that Putin’s regime does not tolerate freedom and democracy. That is why it does not stand a democratic European choice of the Ukrainian people. That is why putinocracy sees threat for itself in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Moreover, it considers the EU a hostile organization. Which is better to destroy. Preferably in connection with its intention to establish cooperation with Ukraine and, thereby, to punish both the EU and Ukraine.
I am sure that the freedom-loving Dutch will support the desire of Ukrainians to make the first move towards joining the European family of nations, that the Dutch will not choose the way of appeasement of the Russian aggressor, and that their vote will not allow a new Munich to happen.
Andrey Kovalev PhD.
Former member of the Secretariat of President Gorbachev,
Former member of Administrations of presidents B. Yeltsin and V. Putin,