A house divided

One section of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s briefing for the media with George Bush today amply reveals the fissures in his country; are there other examples where the issue of NATO membership, even in a long time horizon, cuts to the core of competing national identities in the way he describes?

And I want to firmly state that I’m only governed by a single issue. I want to bring calmness, stability, and security stability in particular, to this state. We want to be speaking about the Ukrainian presence in the world. We want to speak about the internal country. That’s why only through these motives shall we want to have that dialogue, the talks.

And what we have in our society, I mean part of the political forces do not share this opinion. I think that this is all natural, because it’s quite natural that today, like some hundreds of people with red flags were in the square — this is remarkable because the Ukrainian famine was built under the same flags as the Ukrainian oppression. These were the flags that caused totalitarianism and suffering that caused many deaths of millions of people. And I’m sure that the Ukrainian communist party may also appear one day in Ukraine that will be standing under the flags of the nation. But apparently we still need to have another Moses to bring people over the desert for 40 years, for those who lost national interest and forgot about it and continue living in the past. I don’t want this personality, in person, and I just want to show my vision and the ideology.

So he’s acting in the national interest but this other group, he says, has allegiance to a past entity, the USSR, and now wanders like the Israelites before they found the promised land. It’s a bit like the antics that Doug describes for (FYR) Macedonia, but on a very large scale. No wonder other NATO countries are balking.

4 thoughts on “A house divided

  1. I wonder if Yushchenko’s delicately bushified syntax is meant to show compliance with NATO standards. Or was it just the US President’s personal aura permeating the atmosphere? Or was Yushchenko desperately trying not to offend his famously articulate guest?

  2. But this isn’t about a national identity. It’s about a national versus a supranational identity. It’s about whether a Ukrainian nation and language exists or whether it is a fallacy and Ukranians should join with Russia as a (junior) partner and speak Russian in public, confining their funny dialect to the home.

    The choice has always been about whether Ukraine joins the Western club as an equal (more or less) or whether it is reabsorbed into a Russian state/empire in a subservient position. Those are the choices. People I talk to on both sides are pretty clear on this point.

  3. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Ukraine: “No Go from NATO”

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