Independence carries a high cost
They didn’t mean much because they were quite artificial holidays created on the wave of the collapse of the old Soviet Empire and democratic processes of the 1990s. They lacked clear meaning and purpose for many people, as the declaration of independence from the USSR led to many years of chaos and uncertainty in both Ukraine and Russia.
Maidan has filled this holiday with the meaning. The war has filled this holiday with the meaning. Blood and tears have filled this holiday with the meaning.
What is going on in the East of Ukraine is not an anti-terrorist operation (ATO), but the War for Independence. Each step will show if the country will withstand and get rid of simulacra and inertia of the Soviet Union or not.
Maidan and then the war in Eastern Ukraine have changed the world forever, just like the American Revolution and the American revolutionary war did it once. The birth of a young American Union in the 18th century was the beginning of the fall of the colonial world order. The rebirth of a young Ukrainian nation has changed the contemporary world order.
Ukrainian independence is a bone in the Kremlin’s throat usurping the power on the post-Soviet space. But it’s not only that. The Ukrainian crisis has destroyed the international status quo, the world order where the Kremlin used to be a power pole and a “handshakable” member of G8 while putting pressure on any dissenter since gas and oil would regularly go along pipes to Germany and other European countries. It is not going to continue like that.
What Ukrainian people have been able to do will save all of us as a result. But Ukraine should overcome all hardships first. All of us, both Ukrainians, and pro-democracy Russians, should contribute to the defense of a young Republic.
The struggle is still under way, but we can all see that Ukrainians are ready to fight for their independence. This is the most important thing. The will to fight is more important than a common language or cultural and territorial integrity. The ability to withstand against the enemy as a united nation is the defining feature of a nation, which shows it will win, even if the main enemy is your own past.
Ukrainians still have fraternal people, even if there is a war. Nobody says it’s easy to have a family. It’s a hard labor. Ukrainians as a nation should get more mature since now the responsibility of the future of the entire region is on their shoulders. Hundreds of Russians were standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians during Maidan. Hundreds of thousands of Russians were watching at night Hromadske TV and other broadcasts from Kiev and were praying for the fortitude of the spirit of Maidan’s defense and for perished heroes. I know that – I was among those people praying for Ukraine.
Now, floods of lies and propaganda, of mutual media battles, make people forget about that unity, that extreme energetic rise that we all had during Maidan.
And we shouldn’t forget it. We all want this Independence, both Ukrainians, and pro-democracy Russians. Not all of us are ready to pay a great price, though. But we have to make this choice.
Independence carries a high cost.
by Grigory Frolov
Development Director of the Free Russia Foundation