Tuesday, October 21, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

 

  Print this article Print this article

Kiev Must Show Compassion to Eastern Ukraine

Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)


Its acliche topoint out that objectivity andcommon sense are among thefirst casualties ofarmed conflict but its important tonote that compassion often follows suit as well.

Today, thelack ofcompassion exemplified byresidents ofboth Moscow andKiev over theconflict ineastern Ukraine andthe future ofUkraine as awhole ought togive us serious pause.

Far beyond abstract politics, theissue ofvery real, very serious hatred between two brotherly nations should concern everyone today, particularly those who dont want tosee further instability onEuropean soil.

InMoscow, Ive grown tired ofexplaining that just because Im critical ofcurrent Russian policy onUkraine doesnt mean Im into Nazism. Ive similarly grown tired ofpointing out that backing separatists inUkraine whether unofficially or officially may backfire onRussia inthe worst possible way, as regional destabilization triggers greater destabilization over time.

But ina similar vein, pointing out thehorror ofcivilian casualties ineastern Ukraine toKiev residents often results inderision anddownright hostility. Maybe these people should have thought about theconsequences before siding with Russian-backed terrorists, is arefrain one hears too often inKiev these days.

Tobe certain, it makes sense forKievans tobe angry. While theWest andRussia continue their stand off over Ukraine, thecountry itself faces anincreasingly uncertain future.

Thestate ofthe economy is dire. Ukraines already unstable social andpolitical environment may worsen when thearmys battle with theseparatists is over andthe boys come home fromwar. It certainly doesnt help that thefar-right volunteer battalions fighting ineastern Ukraine may want toplay apart inpostwar politics.

Meanwhile, awar still rages ineastern Ukraine.Among Maidan supporters inKiev, plenty have friends who are now inthe armed forces deployed ineastern Ukraine. Some talk about friends they have lost inbattle. It makes sense tobe angry when some 19-year-old kid you knew will never come home again.

It equally makes sense tobe angry that, inaddition toviolence inKiev last winter, locals had todeal with everything fromthe humiliating loss ofCrimea toincreasingly desperate-seeming brawls inthe parliament.

Tobe fair, theparliament did manage topass animportant lustration bill inits first reading last week, although one has towonder whether theeventual law will be properly enforced.

Yet despite thepain ofKievs residents, civilians ineastern Ukraine have emerged as themost vulnerable parties inthe entire horrid mess that is theUkraine crisis so far.

It is sad andtelling that thenew Ukrainian government was said tohave put together anaid convoy forthe Donbass region only after theRussians had done thesame. It makes Kievs move seem like aPR stunt andbrings home thefact that civilians ineastern Ukraine have apparently been largely off-the-radar as far as theauthorities are concerned.

Thebickering over theconvoy drives home thepoint, though, that what were seeing inUkraine right now is not just alocal conflict involving some international players. It is also avicious cycle being simultaneously experienced bytwo societies both Russian andUkrainian that are growing inured tothe idea ofdestruction anddeath ontheir doorstep.

Andthe less sympathy andsupport that eastern residents get fromKiev, theless they are going tocare about thewhole notion ofa sovereign Ukraine.

Natalia Antonova is anAmerican playwright andjournalist.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphotos exhibition On Both Sides, chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organizations office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Centers series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this months lessons being visual arts.



Times Talk