I didn’t want to write about the current wave of protests in Ukraine because the subject is upsetting but everybody keeps asking, so here is what I have to say.
Ukrainians have been protesting massively in the past couple of days against the decision of the country’s pro-Russian government to reject a free trade agreement with the EU in favor of strengthening economic ties with Russia. In my opinion, both the protesters and the government are in the wrong. My poor, miserable country is squeezed between these two exploitative giants and it doesn’t stand a chance against either of them.
A free trade agreement with EU will demolish what is left of Ukraine’s economy. Closer ties with Russia will stamp out its culture, language and self-esteem that are beginning to be reborn in a slow and painful process. And they will demolish what’s left of its economy. Both choices suck something fierce. To rephrase a famous Mexican adage, poor Ukraine, so far from heaven and so close to Russia. And now, to the EU as well.
Ukraine is now experiencing what every post-colonial country has been through. It is weakened by centuries of colonial exploitation and cannot develop a robust and even remotely independent economy. As a result, vultures circle it and try to devour what’s left of it. The choice is between vultures from the West and vultures from the East. Moving in the direction of either of them will be disastrous. Tragically, in the years of independence, all Ukrainians have done is rob the state without even trying to produce anything.
I passionately wish for my country of origin to get better. I welcome any positive developments that might occur. As hard as I try, though, I’m not seeing anything even remotely hopeful in the current situation. And that’s very sad.