STABILITY IN INVERTED COMMAS

The city of Zaporizhzhya in Central Ukraine is filled with election billboards of the Russian presidential candidate Vladimir Putin. Earlier Zaporizhzhya hit the headlines with the erection of the monument to Joseph Stalin. The advertisement on billboards is far from being cheap either, but the undersigned (and little-known) “Slavonic Guard” seems to be not particularly poor. Only they know where the money comes from – the rest may only guess.

The motto on the billboard “Stability in Russia Means Stability in Ukraine” exploits the key word of Putin’s election campaign “stability.” However, it looks like Putin’s “stability” and stability in Ukraine exclude each other. On the one hand Putin’s presidential campaign on the territory of Ukraine is a sign of the  Ukrainian government’s servile mentality. Next could be their helping to re-elect the Byelorussian dictator Lukashenka or a bunch of khans from Central Asia, or Fidel Castro from Cuba… On the other hand, the election of Putin for Russian presidency means the election of the person who, addressing George Bush at a NATO meeting in Bucharest in 2008, said “”You don’t understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territories is Eastern Europe, but the greater part is a gift from us.” Putin sympathetically quoted diaries of Anton Denikin, a bitter enemy of independent Ukraine  and a commander of the White Army which fought the Bolsheviks after the revolution in 1917: “”He (Denikin) has a discussion there about Big Russia and Little Russia — Ukraine…He says that no one should be allowed to interfere in relations between us; they have always been the business of Russia itself.” The name “Little Russia” is a chauvinist-speak, which only a hardcore anti-Ukrainian can use. Putin considers the country firmly within the Russian sphere of interests.

A couple of years ago, while answering a question asked by one of Ukrainian sycophants, whether he really thought that ‘if we were divided, then we wouldn’t have won the war’ , Putin said “No.” “We would have won either way… That’s because we’re a country of winners,” he said in a lecturing tone. I just imagine how diehard proponents of closer ties  with Russia (usually, communists and war veterans) might have felt after the words of their idol.

As for political advertisement on the territory of a foreign country, I suggest that billboards with the text “YES” TO UKRAINE’S NATO MEMBERSHIP be put up all over Moscow. A kind of balanced response, so to speak…

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