The Ukrainian Demonstrations
I want to recommend a post by Timothy Snyder at the blog of the New York Review of Books. The post considers the propaganda aspects of the demonstrations and killings in Ukraine that lead to the present circumstances there. It deserves to be read in its entirety but here’s a telling paragraph:
Who was killed? Dozens of people, in all about a hundred, most of them young men. Bohdan Solchanyk was a young lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University, a Ukrainian speaker from western Ukraine. He was shot and killed. Yevhen Kotlyov was an environmentalist from Kharkiv, a Russian speaker from eastern Ukraine. He was shot and killed. One of the people killed was a Russian citizen; a number of Russians had come to fight—most of them anarchists who had come to aid their Ukrainian anarchist comrades. At least two of those killed by the regime, and perhaps more, were Jews. One of those “Afghans,” Ukrainian veterans of the Red Army’s war in Afghanistan, was Jewish: Alexander Scherbatyuk. He was shot and killed by a sniper. Another of those killed was a Pole, a member of Ukraine’s Polish minority.
Although his point is the diversity of the demonstrators, what struck me is the prominence of anarchists in the demonstrations. Clearly, these were not demonstrations by liberal democrats. I strongly suspect that those demonstrating held a great diversity of political views and that just as the Russian characterization of them as a “fascist coup” is propaganda so is any other simple description.
I think we need to maintain some caution in taking up anyone’s side in what’s going on in Ukraine. As Sam Clemens said, the difference between a man and a dog is that, if you feed a dog and make him prosperous, he won’t bite you.