Recently, an article was published on The Despatch Box regarding the wider context of the West vs. Russia series which has unfortunately been renewed for another season on the world stage. Like the writer of this article, the idea of making Russia angry is not one that appeals to me, but the article had another dimension connected to the events unfolding in Ukraine over the last year. It is this element of the article that left me troubled, and writing as I do now.
The most obvious thing of note when reading the article in question is how unashamedly loathsome the writer finds the EU to be. It actually becomes amusing at a point, particularly given how large of an effort it requires to make the EU look like the bad guys of the Ukrainian Revolution, but he finds a way.
After making some amusingly ludicrous comments regarding Russian foreign policy, “Russia is a power that is actively opposed to the principle of interventionism…” we get into one of the more hurtful and serious elements of the article, which I feel needs to be addressed and corrected.
When entering the topic of Ukraine at the beginning of the article, the writer makes clear his belief that “In [his] view the EU is the aggressor in the Ukraine affair,” and goes on to accuse the EU of funding the Euromaidan protests. Something which neither makes sense nor has any evidence backing it up.
That’s right, the group that was building barricades out of snow and using wooden shields to try and stop bullets must have been so grateful for all that EU funding they got. You can really see where it went when you watch the footage of Ukrainian security forces gunning down citizens as they attempt to carry their dying comrades down the Maidan Nezalezhnosti.
This is where I got angry, and where I feel some corrections are necessary. The idea that the brave souls who stood up for what they believed in and were killed and wounded for it were an “EU funded mob” overthrowing a democratically elected President is an outright lie, and as such a blatant and horrendous insult to those who died standing against the tyranny of their apparently democratic leader.
If a leader cannot see the need to take action when there are 800,000 of their citizens marching in their nation’s capital demanding action, then I do not see what right they have to call themselves a democratic leader. Let’s not even get into the use of violence during these protests, which alone I would dare say could be a legitimacy destroying act for the Yanukovich government if I even believed that there was no foul play during the election that made that government, which I don’t.
Now, I will concede that the Euromaidan’s movements could themselves be considered undemocratic. The rebels of Donetsk and other critics of the movement have frequently described them as a junta which would be accurate if the Euromaidan protesters had ever even attempted to take control of the Ukrainian government, but they didn’t. Instead, they set up democratic elections and elected a new leader as fairly and democratically as they could manage. If you’re still arguing that this new government is somehow illegitimate, then I’d question whether you’re paying attention.
But of course, the author of this piece is not concerned with what actually caused and sustained the revolution, he is instead at this point in his article waxing poetic on how bloody awful the EU is for democracy, because, as we have seen, he is an expert on the matter of democratic mandates.
My issues with this blog run much deeper than what I’ve stated here, but that is not why I wrote this article, I wrote it to clear up a central lie pertaining to an issue which I am very attached to and hopefully I have been successful.
Ultimately, the thought that I would like us all to go away with is that the events happening around us affect real people, they may seem distant and unreal but for a lot of people they are not. With this in mind I’d like to propose that we do our very best to understand our fellow humans’ actions, be informed on their reasons, and not allow bullshit to propagate for the sake of our partisan ideals.
By Greg Harrison
[Image Credit: Ivan Bandura]