Monday, November 09, 2009

And the wall came tumbling down ...

This process has not been without its painful moments, and there will be more to come. But the enlargement of Europe remains the most obvious consequence of the fall in November 1989. Looked at from the point of view of those former Soviet states that still yearn to breathe free of Russian hegemony, such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, this enlargement is both seductive and incomplete.
Click here to read full article.

Source: FT

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh god, "russian hegemony". have you seen the opinion polls in respect to the publics opinion towards russia in your own country? 60-70% claim to have a very positive of russia and according to gallup.com the majority prefer closer relations to russia than to EU/USA. i'd imagine moldova and belarus would have even higher levels of satisfaction towards russia given that there is less conflict between them compared to ukraine

Ukemonde said...

Depends on what polls one tends to believe in. If you enjoy russified opinion polls then definitely you will side to a more pro-russian opinion. But one must not walk in life led and told what to believe, but come to some sensible understanding. And if you feel this way, more power you, and I do not mean this in a literal way, sometimes communist fanatics would take this the wrong way.

Pawlina said...

Interesting how your pro-communist commentor decided to hide behind the cloak of anonymity... and declined to provide credible evidence to back up his claims.

A person can't help suspecting a hidden agenda behind such anti-social behaviour.

Maybe Mr. or Ms. Anonymous is sincere, but I can't imagine how a compassionate person who is knowledgeable about the communist era could be so cold and calculated towards those who survived it, or are close to someone who did.

Ukemonde said...

It is always easier to hide behind anonymity, a very popular communist habit as being a stuchach.

From the common slang word stukachestvo, stukach was widely used in the Soviet period to describe "squealing," or informing on people to the government authorities. The word is evidently derived from stuk, Russian for the sound of a hammer blow.

The government, and especially the security police, in all communist-ruled or authoritarian countries, depended on informers in order to keep tabs on the loyalty of the populace.

I guess old habits die hard, such as communist sympathisers.

Gorbachev said...

I like the ending of the article where - “The west”, concludes Sarotte, “should have thought harder ... about how it felt, longer term, to live in a once-great country [Russia] that had to bring its soldiers home for lack of money.” Those of us who live in the once-great imperial power Great Britain, which faced something of the same quandary – though over a much longer time frame – might say: get over it. And Russia may, but only with time, and certainly with difficulty, which it will make sure is widely shared.

John said...

It is obvious that aggravated anti-Ukrainian moods in Russia in recent years were dictated by the information campaign that is consistently being waged by Russian media against our country, forming a negative image of Ukraine in the minds of a great number of Russians. Especially destructive are the biased interpretation of historical events and the distorted portrayal of Ukrainian society's attempts sincerely and openly to evaluate the past of its nation.

Anonymous said...

anonymous here. where's all this talk of 'communism' coming from? i don't seem to remember mentioning or implying anything to do with it. unless you're ignorant and associate over a thousand years of russian history with a few decades of communism? as for opinion polls and their credibility, i don't think they come any more credible than gallup.com - which is american. type ukraine in the search function and looks at the various polls pertaining to relations with russia.

pawlina: cold and calculated by saying that the majority of Ukrainians have a more positive attitude towrards russia than they do to the EU or USA? you're delirious.

here are some polls (in case you're too lazy):

http://www.gallup.com/poll/104356/Ukrainians-See-More-Value-Ties-Russia-Than-US.aspx

http://www.gallup.com/poll/110848/Ukrainians-May-Oppose-Presidents-ProWestern-Goals.aspx

http://www.gallup.com/poll/27175/Ukrainians-Highly-Doubtful-Countrys-Leadership.aspx

http://www.gallup.com/poll/109894/Support-CIS-Partnerships-Strong-Even-Georgia.aspx

the attitude towards russia is no surprise, as most people - especially in the central asian republics - enjoyed a far greater standard of living and employment levels than they do now.

i don't have an account on this site so you'll have to deal with anonymous

Ukemonde said...

Thank you for the lesson in american polling system - anonomous. Polls that are released and are credible do help in certain measures, but taking a poll in ukraine, with it's corrup system, no matter what polling company you are, is very hard for any inteligent person to even want to believe these are true facts. But if you are such one "intelligent" person to believe these numbers, keep living in you glass house.
As for the 80 so years of communism in Ukraine, this despotic system cause millions of innocent deaths, through man made famine to cruel bloodless killing to sensorship and no free speech to be had. And we are not even talking about 100% accurate commie polls that were fed to the public in their time and everybody believed in :-))

Pawlina said...

Well, your anonymous commentator clearly finds it easier to make an ad hominum attack than a convincing argument. So typical of troll behaviour.

If anyone is delirious it certainly is not me.

The "Ukrainians" that Mr. or Ms. Anonymous refers to are primarily ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. They became Ukrainian citizens in 1991 by default rather than by choice and never considered themselves Ukrainian. Many if not most are descendants of Russians sent to resettle areas where the Ukrainian population was wiped out by genocidal famines and other human rights atrocities by the bloodthirsty Russian communists. (Which is not to say the imperialists (of all stripes) that came before them were any less barbaric.)

If Mr. or Ms Anonymous really wanted an honest dialogue about Russian history, s/he would display a genuine and respecful interest in differing viewpoints.

One such viewpoint is that for centuries Russia has been trying to wipe out all vestiges of the Ukrainian language and culture. I won't take the lazy route and bog down your readers with a list of sites, but will remind any readers who doubt the existence of Russian hegemony of the Ems Ukaz from the 19th century in which the Russian Tsar declared "that there isn't, never was, and never will be a Ukrainian language."

A good student of Russian history would be aware of that ukaz, and if sincere, would not pretend it didn't exist.

Likewise, a sincere person (as opposed to a troll) would not cast aspersions on the characters of those with the balls to sign their names to what they write.

It is not hard and costs nothing to create a google account. Nor is there anything (aside from cowardice) that prevents anyone from signing off with their name at the end of a comment.

What a lame excuse by your anonymous troll.

Ukemonde said...

And many anonymous trolls do come in to blog their so called knowledge, giving statistical data that certainly does not even require looking at, let alone waste one's time. A glass might seem half full to us while half empty for the anonymous commentator. And what a sad excuse for not signing off with their name. Slava Ukrayini.... Heroyam Slava!!! POMAH

Ghenkis said...

Here is a site showing central asian republics - enjoying a far greater standard of living.

http://www.chinahush.com/2009/10/21/amazing-pictures-pollution-in-china/

Hat tip to Cyber Cossack - http://cybercossack.com/

Anonymous said...

anonymous here. i'll agree to disagree with you ukemonde/pawline. we'll see which direction ukraine's people want her to go next year - via the presidential election.

Ukemonde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ukemonde said...

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and yours has “anonymous”. You had a chance to reveal yourself but the going back and forth is not contributing to the dialogue on this page, and by simply being provocative, and this is evident by your attacks from behind the cloak of anonymity. So any further anonymous comments will not be allowed on my UKEMONDE blog without a name at the bottom. I will simply delete them because they waste everyone’s time and do nothing to enhance the discussion.

Pawlina said...

And who can blame you? It's always a few bad actors that spoil things for the rest of us. But you're right, tangling with trolls is a waste of time. And anyway, sincere people interested in genuine dialogue won't mind revealing their name.

Back on topic, I was in Berlin just a few years before the fall, and saw the wall and Check Point Charlie. Even from the safety of a tour bus it was butt-ugly. I'm glad it came down.

Interesting, tho, that the author of the article contends that Maggie Thatcher was "horrified" when the wall came down because she (and other European leaders) feared a resurgent Germany. I saw an old news clip from that time and in it she was absolutely gushing about how the wall's collapse symbolized the enduring human desire for freedom and how wonderful it all was!

But I agree with the overall premise that emerging democracies from the FSU still have their work cut out for them.

Vasyl said...

Regarding the whole lot of things going on here regarding a number of things.

Anonymous - polls are only polls they can be manipulated, and one also has to understand the design of the questions asked and how they were asked in order to evoke a particular answer.

No need to imagine about Belarus and Moldova... they are both criminal regimes with such a lack of trust of any government, there is no reason why the people there would any trust towards the brothers Bonaparte up in jolly good Russia.

Regarding stukachi - they still exist as does the Piata Kolona, the Fifth Column, which continues to interfere in Ukraine's internal matters.

Regarding reliability of even Gallup, just because they are American, doesn't make them reliable! I took a look at the first poll hermaphrodite Anonymous sent links to... Did you see the figures regarding people who didn't know or did not want to say? Over 20% with a possibility of error of plus or minus 3%..

Elections in Ukraine are never a good indication of what the people want... Most people in Ukraine are still sheep and vote with no logical process behind their casting ballots... Elections in Ukraine unfortunately are still a populist game, and I would not be surprised if the population is thinking and is fed up with all the cronies up at the top will cast their ballot "Against All" - as is allowed under Ukraine's Electoral Legislation - however, on January 17, 2010 if many actually and I don't mean against all as one of the possibilities and primarily used as a way of spoiling one's ballot, but for Presidential Candidate Vasyl Protyvsikh who was officially registered in the Presidential Race... Wouldn't mind seeing my old boss Oleh Riabokon also make some head way.. Very bright intelligent lawyer...