This article will have two different sources of opinion because the situation in Ukraine requires a couple of different perspectives. The first one will be my own, which treats the situation as a geopolitical situation. It is an occurrence that is going on hundreds of miles away in a country to which I have no ties. I read the news and ponder how the US may react, if it reacts at all. I hear the stories, see the photographs, and stand in awe at the courage of the priests who are seen standing between the lines in Kiev, trying to promote peace, or the churches which have been made into impromptu hospitals to treat the wounded.
But my opinion, my outlook is one of a person who has no direct connection with the events, and that opinion is incredibly limited. I think that my view, and many others, is one that doesn’t fully understand the issue, and doesn’t understand how deeply uprisings of this sort affect people. We see the riots, which have left over 100 people dead, and think of it as a situation. We ignore the fact that 100 people, who were recently alive and had families and loved ones, are now dead because of the violence. So this is why I’ve asked for a second source of this article.
The second source is one of the professors: Dr. Surzhko-Harned of the Political Science Department, a professor of Comparative Politics, and a Ukrainian citizen. I recently interviewed her to gain her opinion, particularly in light of the Ukrainian president’s recent reappearance, pronouncing that he is still the legitimate president and asking for protection from the Russian Federation, asking for protection of his physical security. There was much to the interview which I cannot include due to the word limits of the article, but I’ve included a couple of key points.
I asked about the situation in the Crimea, which was referenced earlier, and how the Ukraine will affect it: “I’m very concerned about the situation. Many political analysts have said that it’s a logical progression of this revolution. The Crimea, which is an autonomous republic, has the capacity to secede. And the scary part is that not everyone shares those views. Of course there is a percentage of the population who would like to secede, who would like to see the Crimea as part of Russia, perhaps. There are also those who don’t want this; who would like to preserve Ukrainian unity. And that’s what worries me. It must be done democratically. You cannot go about the secession process in a violent way.”
And the critical takeaway for all of Mercyhurst: “The Ukrainian protestors who’ve been in Maidan, in the Main Square for the last three months were not there merely for geopolitical reasons; for being pro-Russia, or against Russia; or pro-EU, against EU. Rather this protest was about a corrupt regime, a kleptomatic regime. And Ukraine is often portrayed as a country split, ideologically, regionally, linguistically, ethnically. And while there may be some merit, I think it’s a simplified view. Very simplified view. I don’t believe that there is true hatred of Russia in the Ukraine.
The hatred is not of Russia, the hatred is of dictatorship. And the current administration of Russia and the way that it deals with its neighbors unfortunately does not warm other people to it. It’s not particularly democratic. Its repertoire has not been particularly warming or inviting. I suppose that’s it. It’s not about hatred towards Russia; it’s hatred towards dictatorship; it’s hatred towards the lack of freedom.”