Lucky Ukraine had its first-ever successful gay pride parade back in early June. More than a thousand “LGBT marchers” were joined by Western diplomats and politicians – including Britain’s lesbian Ambassador to Ukraine – protected by a regiment of 5,500 Ukrainian police officers. Every gay demonstrator, local and foreign, was protected by five policemen.
Reuters assures us that Ukrainian counter-protesters were quickly bundled away.
“EuroMaidan was not only against [former President Viktor] Yanukovich, it was against corruption and for human rights as well,” said Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko. Good to know! This, by the way, is Leshchenko:
He is a journalist by profession, who completed a fellowship on “democracy” at Stanford University in 2013, a few months before the start of the Ukrainian Euromaidan protests, and writes for openDemocracy.net, a web publication that has featured contributions by George Soros and Kofi Annan, and is funded by numerous American foundations.
He was elected to the Ukrainian parliament in 2014, following the Euromaidan riots and the coup that ousted democratically-elected President Yanukovych. Jewish Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who was also elected to the parliament following the coup, assured Ukrainians that Ukraine would never support gay marriage.
Do I really have to spell it out?
My dear Ukrainians: you’ve been had. You’ve been had badly. Though Ukraine was no paradise under Yanukovych, it is even worse now, with the added humiliations of lost territories, ongoing war, economic collapse, and foreign conquerors gleefully parading your deviants through the streets under armed guard.
If it makes you feel any better, we here in the West were had too. We believed our Prime Ministers — or their equivalents — in the United States and in France. We thought the same things you did about democracy, corruption, and human rights. By the looks of things on this side of the Oder, your country will be the last one to make the mistakes that we did in a long time. That, at least, is worth something.
As far as I remember, there were more than a few Ukrainians with — unlike Mr. Leshchenko — a jawline who participated in the Euromaidan revolt. Where are they now? According to the papers, more than 3000 of them are dead somewhere in Donbass.
I remember one particularly hot-blooded fellow, who declared he would fight “communists, Jews, and Russians for as long as blood flows in my veins.” He was shot to death by the police — Ukrainian, not Russian — in western Ukraine shortly after Yanukovych was ousted. The police promptly declared he committed suicide by shooting himself in the heart as they tried to restrain him. Back of the heart, presumably. A real contortionist, that Muzychko.
His friend, the leader of far-right party Right Sector Dmytro Yarosh, called for the arrest of the police officers that killed Muzychko and the resignation of the Interior Minister. Didn’t happen. Yarosh did end up going to fight Russians in Donbass, where he got injured by an exploding Grad rocket. His Right Sector group was subsumed into the Armed Forces of Ukraine and he stepped down from his position as leader.
I paid close attention to the goings-on in Kiev in late 2013 and the first half of 2014. I had to cancel travel plans to Ukraine because of the overthrow of the government, so I was a little more than personally curious about the situation. I remember watching soaring propaganda clips of nationalist heroes, valiant street warriors, and cheerful blonde couples with cheerful blonde children. I imagine the Ukrainians, much like I am, are a little miffed at the actual outcome of the Euromaidan movement. Promised glory, freedom, and prosperity, they got war and poverty instead. Oh, and a gay parade. Strict adherence to norms de la gay parade will begin generating bread and gold any day now, I am sure.
Look, Ukraine: Vladimir Putin isn’t anybody’s savior. He’s not a golden knight in shining armor. Nor was Yanukovych. Russia isn’t a paradise, and Ukraine was just Russia without the sweet, sweet oil money. But life isn’t, never was, and never will be about what kind of paradise you can secure for yourself on Earth, but what kind of hell you can avoid while you’re here. I’m afraid you will soon discover, if you haven’t already, you’ve picked a worse hell than Putin’s.
Another way to put that is that you, Ukraine, were loudly torn from a nearby, imposing empire and surreptitiously absorbed into a distant, foreign one. Calls for sovereignty, independence, and a Third Way are excellent rhetoric, but the reality is that, overnight, you went from being Little Russia to being the 241st state of the United States of America. And here, friend, gay marriage is the law of the land. You even got American rulers, straight outta Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
But did this help with Ukraine’s economy, national pride, or corruption problems? Clearly not; and if you were expecting to learn something about good economics, national pride, and resistance to corruption, you definitely should not have looked to the lands of Bernie Sanders, Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton. Our shiny golden capitalist supports Putin. Oops!
The thing is, Ukraine, you never really had a platter of options to choose from in this matter. Taras Shevchenko was a great poet, but he couldn’t move mountains. If he could have, I would have recommended he find some high ones, and move them into a circle around the whole of Ukraine. That might have made things easier, but the real Ukraine is not encircled by natural borders, but is a flat highway between Russia and Germany. And Germany has long been an American gas station.
You never really had a long history as a strong, sovereign state, either. And long and strong the history would need to be, if you were planning on simultaneously giving two continent-sized nuclear powers the finger. Your Cossack Hetmanate of the 17th century was a vassal state, first to Turkey, and then to Russia. The history of the region since then has been much along the same lines — an autonomous region within a Greater Russia of some kind. Despite your de jure independence in 1991, we all know that that subordinate status remained de facto, behind the scenes. That’s what bothered you so much in 2013, after all. I think your mistake was demanding the abolishment of subordination, rather than the formalization of it, and therefore the stabilization of it.
Putin the foreign President has no responsibility for your well-being, but he would have had a little more as your very own President, and a lot more as your Monarch. Czarist Russia was no paradise either, don’t get me wrong, but when was Russia ever a paradise? Frankly, when was any place? I guarantee you, we who live in the West are just as fooled by the television as you are that we are the greatest and happiest people ever to have waddled the Earth. We are nevertheless doing our damned best to replace our democracies and elections with a God-Emperor. Ukraine: go with the God-Emperor you know!
A big difference is that our promised authoritarian strongman is not guaranteed to rule us by the end of the year, though yours was, and remains, reasonably certain to be in power for a long while yet. It’s too bad you threw him out on the command of George Soros. Soros, as you surely know, is not a saint. He is as connected to the CIA and Western oligarchs, Jewish and gentile, as Vladimir Putin is connected to the former KGB and Russian oligarchs, Jewish and gentile. He is also a few orders of magnitude crazier than Putin — Putin isn’t funding #BlackLivesMatter — and has a few orders of magnitude of reasons less to care about you and your dear Ukrainian family.
This is a risk that should have been thought through in 2013!
You see, sovereignty is not just a condition that can be voted on and enacted. Nor is independence. There is no number of parliamentary votes that will guarantee independence, nor share of the popular vote that will bring about sovereignty. Sovereignty and independence are vast, intricate, difficult projects.
- You need intellectual sovereignty: did your whole government study Ukrainian ways of governing based on Ukrainian ideas in Ukrainian universities under Ukrainian professors?
- You need status sovereignty: does your whole government read only Ukrainian-based newspapers written by Ukrainians, repeating Ukrainian ideas developed by Ukrainian professors in Ukrainian universities?
- You need some measure of economic and financial sovereignty: does your country have a reserve of national “fuck you” money? Is it impoverished? Is it deeply in debt? To whom?
- You need some measure of intelligence sovereignty: is your national intelligence agency well-staffed, well-trained, composed of loyal Ukrainians raised in Ukrainian households and schools, who can beat the KGB and the CIA at their own tradecraft? If they can’t do it at least half of the time, you are scarcely going to be sovereign for long.
- You need, finally, some measure of physical and military sovereignty: do you have nuclear weapons? Do you have treacherous mountains and deep rivers separating you from your enemies? Is your army experienced, valorous, and well-equipped?
Of course, the answers to most of the above questions will be lackluster at best. Your previous government was financially and economically beholden to Russia. It was not going toe-to-toe with the Russian intelligence services, but was more like being puppeteered by them. Yet at the same time, your citizens looked to the glitter and gold of the West for status. You lacked nuclear weapons and you lacked a powerful military. There is not so much as a steep climb between Ukraine and Russia, or Ukraine and the West.
Now, after the coup, your government is financially beholden to George Soros, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. State Department. It is being puppeteered by American agents who studied in Boston and Washington, D.C., and their Ukrainian pals who completed approved courses on “democracy” and “gay rights” at Stanford and Harvard, like Serhiy Leshchenko. You merely switched a nearby, well-known master for a far-away, unknown one. And you know what they say: better the Devil you know.
You should have said “Nyet!” to the West in 2013 and instead worked on extracting concessions from your Yanukovych. With one half or more of the population unsympathetic towards Russia, Yanukovych hardly could have afforded to blow them off forever, on every issue. You could have anchored your Yanukovych to a tolerable compromise and slowly begun the Belarus/Kazakhstan treatment, maintaining autonomy while further integrating with the Russian state. Not a paradise, but not worse than where you are now. I’ve read a little bit about Belarus — doesn’t sound so bad! And a lot of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Belarus seem to agree with me.
If the Russian situation was truly intolerable, your best bet would have been to smile, stockpile weapons, build connections, pillarize your portion of Ukrainian society, and eventually revolt and submit to the emergent Polish-Austrian Reich of the Visegrad Four of 2036. That, at least, would have been a strategically sound decision with historical precedent, farfetched as it may be.
But a sovereign, independent Ukraine? Free from Russian influence and all other foreign influence? That was a pipe dream, a fever dream produced by 19th century liberalism — a French idea, not a Ukrainian one. And how well is France doing these days?
Ukraine was put in a subordinate position by geography and a particular history of institutions, or lack thereof. To build those institutions, or overcome that geography, requires either a whole new way of thinking, or material and human resources that observably do not physically exist in Ukraine. With the riots, the coup, and the war, what little of those resources that existed has been significantly depleted.
The slowly collapsing U.S. government will loot and abuse Ukraine for all the country is worth in its fight against Russia. Russia will weather such a war of attrition. Ukraine, when the West is done with her, will be poorer and sadder than it was in 2013. At that point, Putin’s Russia will find that conquering it outright will be a walk in the park.
Your boys had hard fists and fiery hearts, Ukraine, but they didn’t have strategy. They were no match for the Russian FSB, let alone the CIA. And they made a big, wrong move. It’s unclear that anything substantial can be done today to fix this situation, except lay down arms, return home, and let the U.S.-installed gay parade government exhaust itself.
In the meantime, you will have to listen to Serhiy Leshchenko. At least you can laugh at his silly face while you’re at it.