Almost 12 months on from Maidan… Destruction of Ukraine – 1
rt.com bssb.be 21.11.2014
Following the violent coup/revolution and Europe’s most destructive war for two decades, what’s been lost in the fog of information and disinformation are the reasons Ukraine fell apart.
Rarely has the international press been more polarized than it is currently over Ukraine. Sadly, an “us or them” narrative emerged almost instantly and hasn’t shown any signs of abating.
The US media is selling a menace of unreality to its readers and its Russian counterpart is little better. Regrettably, in a time of almost unlimited information, the general public understands less than ever as spin replaces truth.
Another worrying development has been the emergence of shady US PR activists, masquerading as journalists, which dupe traditional media with tactics tested in the Middle East. Unable to counter with facts, they resort to personal attacks – if they find time after one-sided “nod-fests” purporting to be debates on Ukraine.
While it’s clear that US politics features only two parties, which are different sides of the same coin, classic European debate is more varied and nuanced than the US-style “with us or against us” narrative. Even Russia, a nascent democracy, has a healthier culture of debate than the American mainstream.
If you get your news from Moscow, a group of fascist, Russia-haters overthrew Ukraine’s elected government earlier this year. According to the Western corporate media, President Yanukovich fled in terror after his security services murdered innocent civilians in Kiev.
If you watched CNN this summer, freedom-loving hipsters were fighting a war with dangerous terrorists in East Ukraine. In Moscow, the government forces were terrorists and the rebels were the freedom fighters. Confused?
In the words of James Joyce: “It made him very tired to think that way. It made him feel his head very big.”
Who shot the protestors?
The fact is that nobody knows who shot the protestors in Kiev, the US line is Yanukovich’s forces, and German media blames pro-Maidan. Also, the proportion of neo-Nazis at Maidan – a bête noir for Russian TV – was small, though noisy and highly visible.
That is not to make light of their extremism, just to point out that the vast majority of, initial, protestors were campaigning for a better life, not the far-right. How horribly ironic that their, genuine, activism has actually helped to make life in Ukraine even worse than it was pre-Maidan.
As for who are the terrorists? That’s best left to Gerard Seymour: “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
Which media is 100 percent truthful in coverage of Ukraine? Probably none of them. In a 24-hour broadcasting age, the facts are often the first casualty of the race to be first with the news. Not to mention that no pretense of balance exists.
Why did Ukraine’s fractious unity finally fall apart and why did an already impoverished state finally hit the bottom of the barrel? I think the answers to the death can be found in the birth. Birth, it turns out, was the death of Ukraine.
Ukraine is not a nation in the sense that most of Europe is. It doesn’t have a common language or shared history, nor does it have a fixed historical territory. In this sense it is analogous to Yugoslavia or the United Kingdom.
The separatist areas are akin to the Irish situation in the 1920’s, despite being part of the UK for a considerable length of time, the Irish would no longer accept London rule.
This was because they didn’t feel British and had another culture and language. People in Crimea and Eastern and Southern Ukraine feel the same towards Kiev.
While it may work as a federation – which the UK has moved towards – it doesn’t work as a linear state. Present-day Ukraine was assembled by the USSR for logistical reasons. Moscow wanted to link the industrial east with the southern ports and the agrarian west. To facilitate this, huge movements of people took place.
For example, in Lviv, the western nationalist stronghold, a Polish majority were scattered to make way for rural Ukrainian peasants. Only 70 years ago, Lviv (or Lvov) was the 3rd largest city in Poland and its second largest cultural and academic center, after Warsaw.
Conversely, the southern port of Odessa was, until a few generations ago, a city of the Jewish and Russian elite. They dispersed to Israel, Moscow, America and provincial cities of the USSR.
* Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster. He wrote for Irish Independent and Daily Mail. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland.
* The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of bssb.be.
* To be continued.