Vienna, June 22, 2017
The situation in Ukraine continues to arouse grave concern. Kiev’s militant nationalist agenda is undermining the chances of a peaceful settlement of the internal conflict in Donbass and plaguing the economic, cultural and family ties between Ukraine and Russia, which the organisers and instigators of the Maidan coup in Kiev, both Ukrainian and foreign, would be eager to break off once and for all. The split in Ukrainian society is growing deeper.
Contrary to the Ukrainian representatives’ propaganda-laden assertions, Russia is not punishing Ukraine for its so-called “European choice.” The nationalists are doing a better job destabilising their country than any invented Russian “aggression” or “invasion.” It makes no sense to deny that there is an internal civil conflict: it is Ukrainian citizens that are manning both sides of the divide. It is shortsighted to close our eyes to this and think that a solution could be found outside of Kiev’s direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russian spoken by a considerable part of the population is being ousted from all spheres of public life, the media and government agencies. There are many bilingual and multilingual countries among the OSCE member-states, and these countries know well how different languages can coexist within a single state.
The historical memory related, among other things, to the victory over Nazism is being distorted. Present-day Ukraine’s heroes are the henchmen and followers of the Nazis guilty of massive extermination of civilians in Ukraine and some neighbouring countries. The attempt to destroy our common history, the thoughtless and wholesale “decommunisation” is extremely dangerous. The official nonfeasance in relation to the armed neo-Nazis from the Azov regiment, who, for example, attacked a peaceful protest against the renaming of Prospekt Vatutina in Kiev on June 16, is fraught with sinister consequences. The neo-Nazi leaders, including some deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, are looking forward to what they call the Night of the Long Knives. The historical connotations are clear.