Today, Farah Stockman, an editorial writer for the Boston Globe, decided to throw her two cents into the Ukrainian situation. You can read what she had to say here.
I felt compelled to respond to her. I sent the following letter to her email:
You either have a lack of knowledge about the Ukrainian situation or you have written for the purpose of deceiving people. Your article on Ukraine was a lopsided presentation full of half-truths. Reading it, I wondered whether that is your stock in trade.
You wrote that the Ukrainian government: “swiftly alienated Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population by abolishing a law that allowed Russian to be considered a second official language.”
You know, or should know, that the legislation that sought to do that was vetoed by the interim Ukrainian president. The law was never enacted. Why tell half a story?
You wrote as if these matters followed one upon another: “Europe offered a fast-track to increased trade. Then Mother Russia opened her wallet and offered a $15 billion bailout, plus big discounts on Russian gas.” You left out all of the intervening happenings or posited them in such a way as to confuse your readers.
As you said, Yanukovych abruptly turned to Russia after a year of negotiations with Ukraine. You then say “[p]rotestors egged on by the West, made Yanukovych pay for his decision. They chased him from power.” Such a presentation presents the Russian line which you seemed to have swallowed along with the hook and sinker.
The truth is that when Yanukovych rebuffed the EU and suddenly turned to Russia, a small group of Ukrainians, with no assistance or prompting from the West, started to demonstrate against his actions. This demonstration which lasted through the cold Ukrainian winter nights started small. It grew, not because of any Western actions, but because Yanukovych unleashed his police forces against them causing the deaths of three young persons. This outraged the Ukrainian people who flocked into Kiev in support of that small original number. The numbers grew to the hundreds of thousands without any encouragement from the West and it continued for over three months. You completely ignore all of this in your facile presentation.
It was only in the face of the rising fury of the Ukrainian people that Putin made his offer of 15 billion dollars assistance to Yanukovych. Whether there had been behind the scene deals prior to that is not known. Even that did not assuage the people in Maidan because their fight had become one for freedom which the West offered.
You presented the matter as an economic matter. It was far from that. It was a striving of a people who had been enslaved under the tsars and Soviets to be free and not to again return to servitude. Freedom was in the West, the loss of freedom, such as the Russian people now experience, of which the Ukrainians are well aware, was with Russia.
You also present the matter as a tale from the Bible of splitting the baby. Ukraine is no baby. It is a nation of courageous people who were willing to fight to prevent their nation from going back under the control of a man who as Secretary Kerry aptly noted has a 19th Century view of the world. You suggest the West cared less for Ukraine than Russia because the West was willing to divide it up. That’s a total misstatement. The West sought to keep it as one nation. It was Russia that feigned a reason to seize Crimea, a part of Ukraine, alleging Russians were in danger which all agree was a complete falsehood.
Finally you suggest it would have been better to vote Yanukovych out of office next year. How absurd a suggestion after that man had ordered snipers to fire on demonstrators murdering over 80 of them! By the way you conveniently failed to mention that. How could the nation have functioned under him after such brutality? He drove himself out of Ukraine as the rest of the free world seems to understand.
As I said, you presented a false story of the situation. It is sad when someone in your position does that. I can only hope it was through ignorance rather than as a willful falsification of the present Ukrainian situation.