WHAT KIND OF NATION ARE WE?

Today I went through the center of Kyiv. It looked as if martial law was imposed there. Institutska Street which goes up from Khreshchatyk to Pechersk was blocked for traffic.  The police were standing all along the street: one policeman after every ten meters. They were facing the pedestrians – with their backs turned to the roadway. I counted my steps when I was walking along the sidewalk: eighteen steps from a policeman to a policeman. Bankova Street, where the presidential building is situated, was cleared of cars and people. A huge notice was set up on the pavement: No Passage in View of Protective Measures. And, of course, dozens of the police everywhere.

Siding with the regime, the former president Yushchenko treacherously supported the decision to get Yulia Tymoshenko imprisoned. He said there was no politics in the decision. My question: can you imagine Angela Merkel settling accounts with Gerhard Schroeder, her political opponent, by jailing him for his part in the Nord Stream pipeline project or for signing the Stability and Growth Pact with 17 European nations? In Ukraine it is possible.

My feeling when I see the Ukrainian police is that of hatred and contempt. I see no difference between them and those “Polizei” who served German fascists in the wartime. That’s the tragedy of Ukraine: there was always a good part of the nation who were traitors and henchmen. Starting from the times of Kyiv Rus. Maybe even earlier.

A question arises: what kind of country are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? That’s what I once asked a mother of two kids, a lawyer by profession, whose attitude towards such problems as corruption was rather conciliatory (to say the least of it). “How do you think your son will live in such society?” I asked. “As any other person lives”, she answered. That’s the tragedy of Ukraine… henchmen, “smooth operators”— willing to turn a blind eye to injustice and implementing it that way.

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