One shall tell the whole truth

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One shall tell the whole truth

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Konstantin Vnukov

I will be honest - I didn’t want to engage in polemics about the tragic events in Ukraine here, in the Republic of Korea, which is quite remote and where I have been working as the Russian ambassador for four years. We know our Korean friends quite well - they are well-educated and guided by their own independent opinions - and in regards to the crisis in our neighboring and closely tied state of Ukraine, we preferred to provide them with regularly updated information for their unbiased and impartial analysis by the means of the Internet source of the Russian Embassy in Seoul (russian-embassy.org).

Nevertheless, the interview with Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Marmazov, which was published in this respected newspaper, and more importantly, its nature and spirit made me take up my own pen.

I’ll make it brief. The dramatic events in Kiev originated from a deep social and political crisis and was not created by Russia.

We fully understand the urges of the Ukrainian people to protest. They gathered at Maidan with slogans to fight against corruption and restore order in the country. We greatly regret that under crowd influence, which was directed by the engineers of “color revolutions,” the forced change of the legitimate government and its bodies took place, including the most notorious dispersal of the Constitutional Court.

And I don’t even want to mention the procedure of the formation of the new cabinet of ministers on the square of Maidan, which was organized like this: “We pay you for shouting loudly and we appoint the ministers we need.” In the result there is so-called government of victory and its representatives in the region, some of them being oligarchs, who quickly left their Swiss residences in the pursuit of power and new profits.

Unfortunately, the coalition government, the formation of which was specified by the Feb. 21 agreement with the ministers of foreign affairs of Germany, France and Poland as its guarantees - a coalition government that could represent the interests of all the sides and all the regions - was not created.

There is one very specific issue that Mr. Marmazov diligently conceals - the reason behind the mass disturbances in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, where hundreds of thousands of Russians and millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians have lived for a very, very long time. One of the first decisions, which was hastily adopted by the new power in Kiev, was about a revision of the democratic law, which allowed the official use of the Russian language, as well as other languages by the people of Ukraine. In my opinion, no one can argue that it resulted in mass protests in Kharkov, Donets Basin, Lugansk, Odessa and many other cities.

I know the history of Korea and I am convinced that the fair calls of Russia to respect the rights of the multimillion population of Ukraine to use their native language in everyday life will be fully understood by our Korean friends, who remember well the inhuman aggressions of Japan, who tried to forbid the use of the Korean language and even Korean names in the early 1940s. There is one important thing that I, someone who was born in the former Soviet Union, which paid the terrible price of 28 millions of lives battling against fascism during World War II, can’t ignore. Why in 2014 in the center of Europe on Maidan in Kiev are there armed neo-Nazi groups walking around? There are people calling themselves the “Ukrainian Taliban” and proclaiming slogans for the removal from Ukraine of all “moskali” (that is, Russians by blood and language), for ethnic cleansing and for a “war of terror” on Russia.

By the way, the “spiritual fathers” of today’s right-wingers in Ukraine, Stepan Bandera and other accomplices of Hitler, stained their names during the years of World War II by committing atrocities and mass murders of not only Russians but also hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Poles, Belarusians, Jews and other people of “unclean nationality.”

The Ukrainian ambassador’s thesis about the so-called aggression of Russia cannot answer the simple question of why Eastern Ukrainians, who are disturbed by the mayhem in Kiev, Kharkov and all of Ukraine, who truly fear for their lives, decided to ask Russia for help and why many Ukrainians prefer to flee from their homeland and move to neighboring regions of Russia, where everything is being done to receive them out of fully understandable humanitarian reasons.

In his interview, the ambassador of Ukraine deliberately ignores the principal questions I just mentioned and, with unasked pathos, discusses only the question of Crimea. I don’t want to get into the polemics about the historical status of this peninsula now. I want to mention one obvious fact: In the context of the mass violations of human rights and liberties on the Ukrainian people, the unanimous decision of the legislative body of the autonomous Republic of Crimea to hold a nation-wide referendum (this being the highest form of democracy) on March 16 looks absolutely logical and justified. Let the people decide their own faith!

*The author is the Russian ambassador to South Korea.

By Konstantin Vnukov


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