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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

No path through fire

On the preconditions of the Ukrainian tragedy
24 February, 2014 - 17:51

The course of events in Ukraine is rapidly becoming bloody and dramatic, following the worst-case scenario. It is obvious. At this most tragic moment of recent decades of national history, the author of these lines sees the preservation of lives and stopping the bloodshed as the real priority. Ukrainian politicians on both sides of the divide, the public at large and global authorities including the Pope all agree in principle with my choice of priorities. After all, it is necessary to extinguish the flames of civil war which is already flaring up.

So, saving lives is the main task. However, we as responsible adults, standing now at the beginning of a real, brutal, horrible revolution, totally unlike the declarative Orange Revolution of 2004, truly ought to at least try to give honest answers to a few basic questions, not burying our heads in the sand, for we already have witnessed dozens of deaths! These questions are:

1. Is it possible to save lives and avoid an all-Ukrainian slaughterhouse provided that the power stays with the current president’s team? We must, first of all, give a courageous answer to this fundamental question. The best way to find this answer is through analyzing facts, without complacent illusions and our characteristic Ukrainian, childishly naive wishful thinking.

2. Are the three opposition leaders able of effective politics, again based on the real facts which seem to be quite well-known?

3. Can we expect a real, strong, substantial help from the EU and the US authorities, i.e., a switch from the 150th expression of Baroness Catherine Ashton and Stefan Fuele’s “deep concern” to action? This is also a key issue. It is clear that the leaders of European institutions see the situation in Ukraine with horror (how can living next to a minefield produce pleasant feelings?). But what about European values, for which people in Kyiv, not Brussels, Paris or Strasbourg are dying now? And what about the Munich tradition of 1938, the tradition of collusion with dictator and betrayal of freedom-loving Czechoslovakia. Was it an episode in the history of European diplomacy or manifestation of its deep essence?

4. How to overcome deep divisions in society, as part of Ukraine aggressively (amazingly aggressively and angrily, in fact) rejects universal (not strictly “European”) values, with this attitude exemplified by various Strongholds, Mykhailo Dobkin’s Ukrainian Front, Russian Fronts and so on. They are our fellow citizens (by the way, what about the riot police?). If so, then how are we to find a compromise? If not, then how are we to treat them?

These are just some of the gloomy thoughts which I would like to share with readers. One cannot help but recall the name of one of the best films by the outstanding Soviet filmmaker Gleb Panfilov, devoted to the tragedy of 1919 in Russia and starring Inna Churikova in the main role. The name is No Path through Fire. This phrase is the best description of our drama.