An open letter,
My students often ask me, “Why should we, Americans, care about Ukraine and the Ukrainians? We have the serious political problems in other parts of the world. What is special about this Ukrainian situation?”
My first reaction to these questions was, “because the Ukrainian events now are the real revolution of the Ukrainian youth, people of the same age as you, my students.” In fact, in February, the overwhelming majority of participants of this revolution on Maidan square in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities and villages were either college students or high school students.
Another reason why should Americans care about Ukraine is the position of my country in the geopolitical world. It is a large European country with nearly 45.4 million citizens of multiple nations and is the cultural bridge between Western Europe and a huge post-Soviet space. In the Soviet time, the Ukraine was the most important and conservative, loyal to Moscow, republic of the Soviet Union. And now this symbol of conservatism and stability is gone.
Now Ukraine is a location of the first democratic revolution in post-Soviet space after 1991, which challenged the major negative leftovers of the Soviet “communist” system — the corrupt state capitalism of former Communist and KGB apparatchiks, which still exists and flourishes in all post-Soviet states. Moreover, this “Euro Maidan Revolution” in Kiev united the representatives of various ethnic and religious groups in their struggle against corruption, oppression and humiliation by the criminal oligarchy, led by Viktor Yanukovych, the ex-president.
Unfortunately, the Russian mass media, controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin, keeps presenting Maidan Revolution as the “Western, American conspiracy” against the legitimate government, and the participants as “terrorists, extremists” and even as “fascists.” Rumors about the “Nazi threat from the West” are spreading among the Russian speaking population in the East and the South of Ukraine, feeding the separatist intentions among the local ethnic Russians.
Meanwhile, after the violence of last week, the young activists of Maidan face the real threat to the Revolution: the economic and financial catastrophe. Since 2010, Yanukovych and his clan of oligarchs had been privatizing the land and industrial enterprises, killing the Ukrainian economy, enriching themselves and impoverishing the population.
As a result of this rule, Ukraine is on the brink of the complete economic and financial collapse. This threat of the pending financial catastrophe only exacerbates the controversial political situation in the East and in Crimea, where Russian-speaking population called the government of the Russian Federation for help.
My relatives, who live in eastern Ukraine, said they already have the serious problems with a lack of cash in ATMs and the empty shelves in food stores. This difficult economic situation could contribute to the growing separatism in Crimea and in the East and threaten the very survival of the revolution.
That is why Ukraine and its revolution urgently need the financial help from the international community. If the world and the United States want to have the new democratic Ukraine survive, and the democratic ideals win in Eastern Europe, the Ukrainian people need not just words, but the real help from democratic America. Therefore, I appeal to all my American friends, my students and my colleagues, please, help my Ukraine, do not leave this newly born democratic nation alone.
I remind all my American friends, that you also can help the families of those who died during the revolution. Please follow these links and you can send money to these families:
facebook.com/helpthefamiliesmaidan and euromaidansos.org/uk/node/39
With love and hope for democratic Ukraine,
Dr. Sergei Zhuk, an associate professor of history