Ukraine is no laughing matter.
A former university professor taught this truism: There is truth in humour.
At some point the dust and soot will clear from the fighting in Ukraine and the finger-pointing that has already begun will intensify. Cartoons from social media are already making this point as Russia blames the USA and the EU and the West points the blame at Russia. One cartoon suggests that the three primary leaders of the Kyiv protests are nothing more than American puppets.
Another cartoon, hinting at Russia’s behind the scenes efforts to prop up Ukrainian President Yanukovich, shows two lions, one large with a faint Russian flag and the other small with faint Ukrainian flag while the caption reads “Don’t fear little one, I’m with you.”
Russia typically sees Ukraine as a “little brother” who can’t quite function in life without the help of big brother next door. The two countries have a very complicated relationship: Kyiv is the historical birthplace of modern Russia and the bloodlines of these primarily Slavic peoples are nearly the same and often intermingled. The easy way to make a Ukrainian mad however is to tell him that he is the “little brother” to the guy next door.
We’ve written in various media that what has really defined this protest in contrast with others is what on might call the “middle age Red Army advantage.” Previous protests have been overcome quickly because the participants were young and inexperienced. This time however the protest has been a textbook lesson in veterans of previous Russian and Ukrainian armies, guys who are now in their 40s and 50s, who have given on-the-job training to the youth who were there first.
We cannot discount the idea that outside help may have been given but we have seen middle age veterans teach the art of building effective barricades that have kept the professionals in uniform at bay; show the younger protesters how to make those homemade rocket launchers that sent bricks, glass, rocks and fiery cocktails into the ranks of the professionals; it was the middle age veterans who taught how to storm and take over a building; it was those middle age former Ukrainian and Russian army veterans who taught guerrilla warfare tactics and how to make the professionals understand that this was serious and very deadly for both sides and not just about beating up the kids.
If you walk thru the area very quickly you come to recognize efficient organization and structure and we’re told that it was those middle age veterans who organized the front. If you walk from sector to sector you sense incredible organization and chain of command and all these factors have set the professional fighters, and the professional politicians that sent them, back on their heels.
The USA often gets the blame but frequently her “European partners” enlist American help to do their dirty work so we don’t necessary blame the United States as the sole entity under suspicion. Just yesterday protest leader Dmytro Bulatov was found alive after being kidnapped. He had nail holes thru the palms of his hands and one ear had been cut off. His captors were supposedly Russian speakers who tortured him in an attempt to make him reveal the sources of funding for the protests.
Even Israel is being blamed as if the Jewish people are fomenting turmoil from far away and speaking of funding by outside sources, Russia’s President Putin has announced that Russia will wait until Ukraine forms a new government before fully implementing a $15 billion bailout deal that Kiev had been counting on urgently.
What should be obvious is that no matter who has or has not agitated, we should not excuse a corrupt government that has trampled on individual rights and ignored the Ukrainian Constitution while pushing the population over the edge of a cliff. No outside influence could have triggered such a response had there not been a burning volcano underneath, just waiting to erupt.