Why Everything You've Read About Ukraine Is Wrong

Again, media spin deters truth on Ukraine. What is the reality?



Forbes
19 May 2014

This article is by Vladimir Golstein, a professor of Slavic studies at Brown University. He was born in Moscow and emigrated to the United States in 1979.

The mainstream American media has taken a nearsighted view of the Ukrainian crisis by following a script laid out by the State Department. Most reports have either ignored the truth or spun it in a way that paints only a partial picture. Here are seven things you should know about Ukraine.

1. Regardless of claims by some commentators like Forbes contributor Greg Sattell, the divisions in Ukraine are real, and violence unleashed by the Kiev regime is polarizing the nation further. While the differences between the Ukrainian west and the more Russian-facing rest of the country are widely acknowledged, what tends to be overlooked is that the culture, language, and political thinking of western Ukraine have been imposed upon the rest of Ukraine. Ostensibly this is for the sake of “unifying the country,” but in fact the objective has been to put down and humiliate Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population. The radical nationalists of western Ukraine, for whom the rejection of Russia and its culture is an article of faith, intend to force the rest of the country to fit their narrow vision. Western and eastern Ukraine do not understand each other’s preoccupations, just as Cubans in Miami and Cubans in Havana would not understand each other. Ukrainian conflict is not the conflict between the “pro-Russian separatists” and “pro-Ukrainians,” but rather between two Ukrainian groups who do not share each other’s vision of an independent Ukraine.

Western Ukraine was joined to Russia only during Stalin’s era. For centuries it was under the cultural, religious, and/or political control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Poland. Hating Soviet occupation, western Ukrainian nationalists viewed Stalin as a much greater villain than Hitler, so that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists aligned themselves with Nazis and, led by their radical leader Stepan Bandera, proceeded to rid their land of other ethnic groups, including Poles and Jews.

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