Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ukraine: the News is Not Good

The Ukraine is an embattled country now and each day the news is worse as Putin masterminds the takeover of the whole country bit by bit.

I learned recently that my father was born in what used to be the capitol of the Ukraine, Kharkiv.  And as many emigres to the United States in the 1920's who endured many hardships in Europe with the end of World War I, he never talked about his past, or we would get little snippets of information in which, being young, we never were that interested. He changed his name which even made the getting the facts harder.  But as we grow older we are now more curious about our parents and their stories.

Although my grandparents were Estonian, our father was born in the Ukraine when it was part of the the Russian Empire, so the old maps of the Ukraine do not show the borders of Ukraine which was an independent country following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Ukraine has endured untold hardships including the "Holodomor" 1932-1933, the systematic starvation by Stalin to erase the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, when 7 million people died of starvation.  And many in the United States during those years, denied what was occurring.

Now as our world leaders are debating what to do, how to help, actual help is not forthcoming. Words will not do it, force will.  Notice what Jordan, Egypt and Turkey did in the last few weeks to mitigate threats to their countries.

I know the situation is complicated, but I wanted to write a few lines about my support for my father's birthplace.

February 28

In the Wall Street Journal today is a photo of a bridge near Red Square where opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov was gunned down which  authorities say was a contract killing.  One day before his planned march in opposition to Vladimir Putin's government. In the background, you can see Red Square all lit up with outlined lights.

The cruelty and oppression learned during the 70 years of Communist Rule has not been forgotten.

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev is a book about "the surreal heart of the new Russia," a superb description of the Jekyll and Hyde of Russia today.