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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

Where are you, Ukrainian patriots?

24 June, 2010 - 00:00

Let’s imagine that the new ambassador from Sweden came to Norway and during the first conference stated that, in his personal opinion, Norwegians and Swedes are the same nation, and they differ from each other just a little. I imagine the reaction of Norwegians, who got independence from Sweden not so long ago, by historical standards. It would be a big scandal: a statement of the ministry of foreign affairs would be made; the opposition and all parliamentary parties would lodge a protest; regular citizens would be indignant. Entire Europe would laugh at the Swedes – what tactlessness and impudence: Swedes deny the Norwegian nation their right for existence!

By the way, the Swedish and Norwegian languages are related and are rather similar, and both nations are predominantly Lutherans.

And the Swedish government would recall their ambassador right away, it would be the end of his diplomatic career. 

There would be even a bigger scandal if the ambassador of Germany to Austria (not even at a press-conference, but in his kitchen) stated that Germans and Austrians are one nation with a common history. The Austrians would go even further than the Norwegians, holding rallies and demonstrations in front of the German embassy.

By the way, Germans and Austrians use a common language which only slightly differs in pronunciation and some words. Those who understand Germans, understand Austrians as well. Only during the Bismarck-era was Austria excluded from the German union; before that it competed for hegemony in the German lands with Prussia.

The Serbian ambassador to Croatia stated that he supposed Serbians and Croatians to be one nation, since they understand each other without a dictionary and very much united while struggling against the Nazi Germany in the partisan army headed by the Croatian Josip Tito. Did this happen? No. If it did, the Serbian ambassador would be at risk, despite his diplomatic immunity. For reference – Serbians and Croatians do very well without an interpreter and are closely related nations.

The new ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov stated at a press conference that he didn’t consider Ukrainians as a separate nation. And... silence! Only some newspapers made careful remarks regarding this allegedly ambiguous statement, though they were very explicit.

A scandal should have broken out at once, for Zurabov’s statement is a veiled attempt to undermine Ukrainian statehood, and in any country of the world his words would be treated exactly this way.

It is also a test to see how Ukraine reacts to impudence of this kind. The trial showed: Ukraine’s reaction is wonderful! The Ministry of Foreign Affairs remained silent. The members of Ukrainian national-democratic opposition, who pretend to be the chief patriots, said nothing. The ardent patriot Yulia Tymoshenko kept silent as well, though between the two rounds of the elections she was about to join the Sich Riflemen, who fought against imperial Russia. Svoboda, usually the first to bawl, also remained quiet. 

The recently established committee for Ukraine’s protection is also silent, though it should have been the first to be indignant: intimidations of the Ukrainian language and Ukraine always started after another refusal to recognize Ukrainians as a separate nation.

What are the reasons for this silence?

The highest state officials have no time, they are busy selling our enterprises to Russia for peanuts. 

Of course, it’s absurd to wait for a negative reaction from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ukrainian diplomats were given a lesson they will remember for many years.

How did it happen? Chernomyrdin, a predecessor of the current ambassador, showed outspoken caddishness from the perspective of diplomatic rules and traditions, interfering with the internal affairs of the country he stayed in.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs roughly condemned it. The guilty person was punished – no, not Chernomyrdin, but Ohryzko, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. He was removed by the three factions ruled by Yanukovych, Symonenko, and Tymoshenko. Is it clear now why in Ukraine there is no reaction either from the government, or the opposition’s leaders? Everything is clear with the committee for Ukraine’s protection too – its main task must be the struggle with internal, not external enemies.

The silence of Svoboda and other “patriotic” organizations with resonant names can also be easily explained. These guys come out to light only when their actions can both attract publicity and spoil Ukraine’s image in civilized countries.

The silence of all these Ukrainian “patriots” is understandable. Therefore, only we regular citizens of Ukraine, who don’t take official posts and are not a part of any patriotic organizations, are left. 

We don’t have the right to silence.

Volodymyr LIESNOI, Dnipropetrovsk