The departing year has opened Ukraine’s chest cavity and forced it to feel the world with an open heart. We have no energy left for half-feelings and halftones. We only have the energy for love and hate. But both the one and the other are piercingly sincere.
The bad news:
1. The fall of the Yanukovych dictatorship last winter did not cause a complete overhaul of the country.
The persons in power, the corruption schemes, and in many ways the consciousness of our ordinary fellow compatriots – are very much the same as they were. We were finally born as a nation, but the roots of this nation haven’t disposed of the parasites from the past.
The worst consequences are that many Ukrainians do not feel that the new government represents the people, the government which they themselves have chosen after Maidan. The result is a lack of confidence [in these people], and it’s clear to anyone that only through trust is it possible to ask people to “tighten their belts” and live through the difficult but necessary reforms.
There is no doubt that if the current executive branch from its very first days had demonstrated an uncompromising fight against corruption and other dirty “legacies of the past,” if it had thrown all the hidden agendas and intrigues away, if it had acted decisively in Donbas rather than constantly chewing on its own snot – ordinary Ukrainians would have given the government the desired level of confidence in reforms. But this did not happen. And that’s too bad.
2. We have temporarily lost Crimea.
We now say that in March of this year it was impossible to organize resistance and to prevent the occupation of the peninsula in a post-revolutionary Ukraine. That’s true. But we must also remember that the annexation of the ARC [Autonomous Republic of Crimea] began long before Maidan.
And the Kremlin’s main advantage was in information influence, in the formation of public opinion in Crimea, in propaganda and agitation. Without the euphoria of propaganda and the complete inaction of Kyiv on the information front [for] all these years of Ukrainian independence, Moscow would have had no chance to get Crimea.
This is a very hard lesson to us for the future. And [we] should have already made our conclusions from this lesson yesterday.
I have no doubt that the peninsula will be back under Ukraine’s control. But, as they say in our army, cogniac doesn’t flow under a lying Lieutenant. To do this, [we] need to act – on the same information front, while simultaneously preparing resources for the military option of the return of the occupied territory.
3. Hostilities in Donbas.
We have seen the true face of our “friend” – Russia, who drowned our own land in the blood of our fellow countrymen in the name of the unhealthy ambitions of its Kremlin master. But the tragedy is not only in the fact that Putin is a murderous maniac. It’s also in the fact that the vast majority of Russians greet this slaughter with cries of jubilation and pray to their lunatic Führer. Now this is a nation of madmen drugged with the same propaganda, who must anticipate a very difficult sobering, and amongst whom only a handful of individuals can be called human beings today.
In saying this, I don’t feel like a Russophobe, not for a moment. I have every right to give such characterizations. Since I was born in Russia, I sincerely feel pain and despair from this apotheosis of insane bloodlust and suicidal blindness of my motherland. (I don’t capitalize the word “motherland” when I talk about Russia because I proudly refer to the land of my freedom-loving ancestors – Ukraine – as my true Motherland).
It’s also bad that there is not a hint of a [real] solution to events in Donbas – Putin won’t retreat. All the “peace talks” are an illusion. By pretending to create a certain stabilization of the situation in Donbas (only as an attempt to weaken Western sanctions against Russia), the Kremlin moves its bloody show to the other regions of Ukraine. In the near future, the threat of terrorist and sabotage acts by Moscow’s mongrels will increase in all corners of our country. And, unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect a prompt conclusion to this vile war of Russia’s against us.
This is the hour when the front line runs not just through Donbas. When the front is the whole country. And every Ukrainian is a soldier of this front. And this means, no matter how pompous it might sound, that victory depends on every one of us.
The good news:
1. Maidan has won.
We could glorify the independence of Ukraine for many years, [we could] rant about self-identity, [we could] argue about our country’s place in the world, but without Maidan, we remained a sad fragment of the “Sovok,” a stillborn offspring of the USSR. Maidan gave Ukraine its soul.
They say: Maidan showed something to the whole world. I think it’s not about the world, it’s about us. Ukrainians have answered their most important “post-Soviet” question: whether they are slaves or whether they are ready to build a free country as free men. The answer turned out [to be] proud, convincing, and impressive. With this answer, the road leads only forward. If only for the sake of the immortal Heavenly Hundred.
2. For all of its tragedy, the war in Donbas, just like Maidan, brought out the best qualities in Ukrainians.
The first of these qualities – is the inexhaustible and boundless love for their country. Volunteer soldiers, volunteers, heroes wearing the uniforms of the Armed Forces and the National Guard – are all members of one legion, whose name is – Patriots. I don’t know whether Ukraine can survive without oil and gas, but without patriotism it just would not be. This country and her sons and daughters – whom we can and should be proud of.
Can a single schizophrenic, even if he is the face of a huge state power, albeit with an innumerable army and a nuclear club by his bosom, bring this country to its knees? The question is rhetorical.
3. We survived.
Not only militarily, but also economically. All the conditions for a full economic collapse, for default – were there. But Ukraine, having lost its footing considerably, could nevertheless hang on and not fall below the line. And, although we haven’t yet pulled back from the edge of the abyss, there lives hope in the hearts of Ukrainians that tomorrow will be a better day than the day before. And this is important.
4. There is a blessing in disguise. Russia’s aggression has forced us to do what should have been done many years ago.
This is the diversification of energy supplies and a rapid development of energy efficiency, this is, a decline of economic dependence on the Russian Federation, this is, damn it, learning to act independently, without regard to the opinion of the [so-called] “big brother.”
Throughout the world, this is called “protecting the interests of national security.” With a huge delay, and not without tragic occasion, we have finally started to defend our interests.
5. We understood that we are not alone.
After a long oscillation, Europe and the United States in their disguise as Pelevin’s good in red underpants gave such a rocking to the Russian economy, that it nearly gave way. [Editor’s note: almost direct quote from Pelevin’s book Generation П: “…and here comes the good in red underpants and gives such a rocking to evil, evil becomes piteous”]. We should not underestimate these steps by the West. [Especially] given how closely the European economy and energy industry are intertwined with Russia, and considering how powerful a lobby Moscow has in the West. Given that Ukraine itself, by urging the world to “punish” Russia for its aggression, has showed no eagerness to do so itself (we still continue to trade extensively with Russia, Kyiv still hasn’t produced a UN document accusing Russia of its aggression [in Ukraine] – there is only a “verbal notice” by our permanent representative at the United Nations).
Therefore, we must appreciate all the steps our foreign partners have taken towards us. This – is the shoulder we so badly need today …
… My friends, my brothers, and sisters! I wish you a Happy New Year! Let it bring us that which we hope for, and in which we believe, today. Wishing you and your families well-being, good luck to everyone and justice for all, and a long-awaited peace and prosperity – to our land!
Happy New Year! And glory to Ukraine!
Dmitry Tymchuk, Head of the Center of Military-Political Studies, Coordinator of the Information Resistance group, Member of Parliament (People’s Front)
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine