Slava Ukraine! Zhyve Belarus!
12:35, Andrei Sannikov — Opinion
Liberating struggle is ongoing in our countries today.
I am very glad that Catherine Ashton is going to Kiev. I strongly hope that she will not try and talk the opposition and the people of Ukraine into helping the European Union come back to negotiating with Yanukovich.
I really fear that European leaders would prefer not to notice that the people of Ukraine have already spoken by all the rules of the European Union. The people of Ukraine expressed their will and Europe’s responsibility is to hear that voice and help to implement that will. Such a loud voice of the people have not been heard in a former Soviet republic since the time of the collapse of the totalitarian USSR. European politicians, who offered us to advance to Europe with the help of dictators and autocrats, should understand what is really going on now in Ukraine.
Not so long ago, in the times of the Cold War, the UN recognized the right of national liberation movements for armed struggle. This has become a norm of international law. The right for armed resistance to terrorists, who take hostages, also is not questioned.
That is exactly what is taking place in the post-Soviet space: struggle for national liberation and fight on terrorists, who have taken whole nations as hostages, for the right of people for freedom and independence.
It is just that all of us, all the democratic movements in the former USSR republics, consciously refused from using violence for standing for our rights and base our activities on the principle of non-violent resistance. Please, note that we have refused from violence, but those, who illegally hold to power, like in Belarus, rely exactly on violence and produce more and more punitive institutions and draconian laws for implementing violence.
Once, millions of people in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia etc. rose against the totalitarian state, fought for your and our freedom. These peaceful uprisings in the countries of Eastern Europe have led to the liberation of whole countries and nations. Thanks to that the European Union was established, the only union of states in the world based on the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The Baltic States joined it.
It is bitter to hear today when some politicians from the EU’s new member states, especially the young ones, pat us condescendingly on the shoulder and teach us how to fight for freedom. They say: it all depends on you, you have to fight and meanwhile we will deal with your dictators, trade with them, negotiate with them, ensure our security with their help.
We fought for your freedom. We helped you become Europe. And we helped Germany unite. Today we want to live with Yanukovich, Lukashenka and Putin just like you wanted to live with Kadar, Zhivkov, Honecker, Jaruzelski, Gusak and Ceausescu.
We are no idiots.
When Eastern Europe was fighting for freedom not everyone in the West supported this struggle, but there were leaders like US president Reagan, who cast away all the doubts, all the matters of economic and practical reasoning and focused on freedom, democracy and human rights. They used all their authority, economic, financial, intellectual resources to liberate the countries of the Eastern Europe. They won.
Now Europe must do that same for Ukraine, which means for all of us. It has all the capabilities for that. It should not try to buy Yanukovich, offering him more money than the Kremlin does. He counts on that. For that purpose did he undertake all the recent somersaults not signing the Association Agreement. This was not the reason for mass uprisings of Ukrainians, not the integration with the EU. It was a catalyst but not the reason.
Ukrainian people are fighting today for their freedom, for the right to elect and change their public officers via elections, for the dignity and rights of every person, for the values that Europe is based on. Ukraine today is fighting against the recreation of the Soviet Empire that threatens not only to destroy us, but Europe itself. It is not so difficult to understand and to direct European policy at supporting basic values, protecting freedom and democracy. As well as at adopting the toughest measures against those, who encroach on these values.
I am very glad that Catherine Ashton is going to Kiev. Starting from 2006 I have been convincing all my interlocutors among European politicians, analysts, diplomats, members of parliaments that the leaders of the European Union must be on site of events during mass protests against the falsification of elections in Belarus. May be in Ukraine – Europe deems Ukraine more important than Belarus – the European Union will help the people to defend their choice.
I am convinced that without the protests in Belarus in 2010 there would not have been protests in Russia in 2011 against the rigged parliamentary elections and Bolotnaya Square protest in 2012, there would not have been Euromaidan in Ukraine in 2013. This is a liberation struggle, which will go on and end up in victory, and Europe can either support this struggle or pretend that it is accidental and is just the fight for power in the country.
Andrei Sannikov, leader of the European Belarus civic campaign, specially for charter97.org.
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