ACTION UKRAINE REPORT (AUR)           
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion, Economics,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
RUSSIA'S BATTLE WITH HISTORY #2
Kremlin Wants to 'Correct' The Record, Reset History
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT (AUR), Number 937
Mr. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer Emerging
Markets Private Equity Investment Group, www.SigmaBleyzer.com
WASHINGTON, D.C., SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2009
 
Russia's Battle With History #1, AUR#935, May 25
Link: http://www.usubc.org/AUR/aur935.php
 
INDEX OF ARTICLES  ------
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1.  RUSSIA: WHEN INTERPRETING HISTORY BECOMES A CRIME
"The worst 'falsifier of history, of course, has been the Kremlin."
Op-Ed: By Yevgeny Kiselyov, Political Analyst, 
Host, political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.
Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Wed, June 3, 2009
 
2KREMLIN'S CRIMES
Is Russia determined to repeat its history?
Op-Ed: by Janusz Bugajski, Director, New European Democracies program
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington D.C. 
The Wall Street Journal Europe, London, UK, Thursday, June 11, 2009

3UKRAINE AS A FAILED STATE: MYTHS AND REALITY
Russia's number one target is to destroy the Ukrainain statehood
Analysis & Commentary: By Ambassador Yurii Shcherbak, Former
Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Israel 
The Day Weekly Digest #15, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 26 May 2009

4RUSSIA'S IDEOLOGICAL CRUSADE AGAINST UKRAINE
Russian intelligence intensifies its activities in Ukraine
Analysis & Commentary: By Taras Kuzio
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol 6, Issue 113
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Fri, June 12, 2009

5RUSSIA, AGAIN EVADING HISTORY
Op-Ed: By Masha Lipman, Editor, Carnegie Moscow Center's Pro et Contra journal
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, June 20, 2009

6WHY UKRAINE WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN RUSSIA 
Perhaps one day, a Ukrainian president, basking in the European Union sunshine
might quip, “You understand, Mr. EU President, Russia is not even a nation.”
Op-Ed: Roland Sylvester, Kyiv Post Staff writer 
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 12, 2009

7RUSSIAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST CRITICIZES MOSCOW FOR AGAIN
TRYING TO PUT ROSY SPIN ON A DARK AND PAINFUL HISTORY
By Olivia Ward, Foreign Affairs Reporter
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sat, Jun 13, 2009

8RUSSIA: HISTORY UNDER LOCK AND KEY
The only way to fight a real battle against the falsification of history
is to keep government archives as open as possible for historians
Op-Ed: Vladimir Rzyhkov, Russian State Duma deputy, 1993 to 2007
Hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 9, 2009

9WEAPON OF HISTORY 
Stanislav Kulchytsky: “The current Russian leadership is using whatever
it can extract from history to boost Russia’s imperial traditions”
By Ivan  Kapsamun, The Day Weekly Digest in English #16
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 

10.  RUSSIA TO CREATE THE MINISTRY OF TRUTH? 
There seems nothing more important for the Russian
government than correct interpretation of history.
By Yurii Raikhel, The Day Weekly Digest in English #16
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 

11 RUSSIAN PRESIDENT ANGERED BY 'FALSEHOODS' OVER WWII 
Agence France Presse (AFP), Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 8, 2009

12.  HISTORY: WITH APOLOGIES TO ORWELL
Like truth, history is what Moscow says it is.
By Galina Stolyarova, Writer, The St. Petersburg Times
Transitions Online, Prague, Czech Republic, Wed, 27 May 2009

13
UKRAINE RELEASES PREVIOUSLY SECRET DOCUMENTS
Ukrainian Intelligence Promotes Lustration in Ukraine. 
Yushchenko attacks Ukraine's Soviet past
Analysis & Commentary: By Taras Kuzio
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol 6, Issue 108
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Fri, June 5, 2009

14A BACKWARD TRADITION OF MANIPULATING HISTORY
Analysis & Commentary: By Vladimir Ryzhkov, Russian State Duma
Deputy, 1993 to 2007; Host, political talk show on Ekho Moskvy.
Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 28, 2009

15FOLLOWING IN GENERAL DENIKIN'S PATHWAYS 
On the “historical curse” of the Ukrainian nation - rifts and mutual non-acceptance of leaders
Analysis & Commentary: By Ihor Losev, The Day Weekly Digest
in English #17, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 

16PUTIN USES ANNIVERSARY OF GENERAL DENIKIN TO TELL WEST TO
STOP INTERFERING IN THE AFFAIRS OF "LITTLE RUSSIA" (UKRAINE)
Analysis & Commentary: by Yuri Zarakhovich
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 6, Issue 106
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Wed, June 3, 2009

17EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN UKRAINE RENT BY DIVISIONS
Merely saying the forest's name - Bykivnya - can cause strong emotions for millions of Ukrainians.
By Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard News Service, Friday, June 5, 2009 

18RUSSIAN PRESIDENT FORMS A COMMISSION TO PROTECT RUSSIAN HISTORY 
Medvedev promises action against the "falsifiers of history"
Analysis & Commentary: by Pavel Felgenhauer
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 6, Issue 98
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Thu, May 21, 2009

19HISTORY AND THE POLITICS OF BLAME
In some post-Soviet states, current interpretations
understate Russia's sacrifices in defeating fascism.
Analysis & Commentary: By Peter Lavelle, Political Commentator
Russia Today television (RT), Moscow, Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 26, 2009

20RUSSIAN RADIO COMMENTATOR SLAMS PRESIDENT
MEDVEDEV'S HISTORICAL FALSIFICATION COMMISSION
Ekho Moskvy Radio, Moscow, Russia, in Russian, May 20, 2009
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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1
 RUSSIA: WHEN INTERPRETING HISTORY BECOMES A CRIME
"The worst 'falsifier of history, of course, has been the Kremlin."
 
OP-ED: By Yevgeny Kiselyov, Political Analyst, 
Host, political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.
Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Wed, June 3, 2009

 I would be fascinated to know if Westerners can fully appreciate the political significance behind President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to create a special commission "for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia's interests."
 
Most foreigners would probably say, "This is very strange. Doesn't Russia have more pressing problems it needs to tackle, such as the managing the crisis, modernizing the country's political and economic institutions or battling corruption?"

Had the year been 1950, when the Soviet Union was making colossal efforts to recover from the aftermath of World War II, foreigners would have been equally perplexed that Josef Stalin chose that moment to initiate a huge public debate on the Marxist approach to linguistics.

Two decades before that, Stalin rewrote the history of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Red Terror and civil war. In this spirit, "A Short History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)" was published under Stalin's orders to make sure that all Soviets understood the "historical record" correctly -- that Stalin was the one and only successor to Lenin.

In 1934, Stalin's childhood friend and top Kremlin bureaucrat Avel Yenukidze published the book "The Underground Print Shop in the Caucasus." It was interpreted as having diminished Stalin's contributions to the printing press and to Bolshevism in general. As a result, Stalin did not spare his old friend. Yenukidze was arrested and executed as an "enemy of the people." The crime: writing about his revolutionary youth without the necessary respect owed to Stalin.

Similarly, it was anyone's guess why Stalin prohibited the sequel to the film "Ivan Grozny" by the famous director Sergei Eisenstein or why
Pravda lambasted a new opera by Dmitry Shostakovich. Soviet intelligentsia were left scratching their heads trying to figure out why Mikhail Zoshchenko's short stories and Anna Akhmatova's poems were subject to such harsh criticism in literary magazine reviews.
 
WORST "FALSIFIER" OF HISTORY HAS BEEN THE KREMLIN
The worst "falsifier" of history, of course, has been the Kremlin, and it is difficult not to draw a parallel between Medvedev's decision to combat the falsification of history and similar steps taken during Stalin's rule.

As soon as Medvedev uttered the words "attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia's interests," it was clear what he really meant: The state would crack down on any attempts to objectively examine the more unpleasant -- and incriminating -- aspects of Russian and Soviet history.
 
This includes a candid, historical discussion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of nonaggression between the Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany -- and, by extension, Stalin's passive and active role in helping Hitler start World War II.
 
Likewise, questioning the Soviet Union's annexation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia would be highly discouraged, as would raising the issue of how the Kremlin created and supported repressive puppet regimes all across Eastern Europe after rolling back Nazi forces at the end of World War II.
 
CRIMES THAT BANKRUPTED THE SOVIET SYSTEM
It is highly symbolic and ironic that "The Gulag Archipelago," written by Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was denounced by the Soviet regime as "a gross falsification of history." This was because the novel exposed crimes that bankrupted the foundation of the Soviet system.
 
The book thoroughly documented that mass repression began under Lenin, that terror was premeditated, systemic and systematic and that the country created and fostered a giant impersonal bureaucratic machine for the moral and physical destruction of human beings.

"The Gulag Archipelago" changed the world's attitude toward the Soviet Union. If there were people who previously viewed Soviet communism through rose-tinted glasses, "The Gulag Archipelago" exposed the harrowing truth about the government's heinous crimes. Published in the West in 1973, Solzhenitsyn's great "falsification of history" proved to be the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union.

Medvedev's plan for keeping the historical record "accurate" coincides with the introduction of a bill "opposing the rehabilitation of Nazism, Nazi criminals and their accomplices on the territory of the independent states, former republics of the Soviet Union." A prison term of three to five years is the
recommended sentence for Russian and foreign offenders alike.
 
TWO MILLION "VICTIMS OF YALTA"
For example, anyone who condemns the Allies for handing over to the Soviet authorities in 1945 about 2 million "victims of Yalta" could be labeled as a "criminal." According to the secret agreement between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union that was confirmed at the 1945 Yalta conference, the Allies agreed to forcefully repatriate all Soviet citizens who had fallen nto German hands before they were freed by the Allied advance.
 
These victims included Russian Cossacks, prisoners of war, forced laborers, emigres and anti-Communists who had fought for Germany against Stalin. Hundreds of thousands of these people were executed upon their "repatriation" to the Soviet Union or sent to the gulag.

Similarly, authorities could bring criminal charges against any historian who questions the whether the British and U.S. bombing of Dresden in February
1945 was justified.

Even while declaring battle against "falsifying history," today's authorities turn a blind eye to history textbooks that describe Stalin as an "effective manager" and portray the mass repression of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s as the only way Stalin could overcome the country's colossal economic and security challenges.
 
RUSSIAN TV FILLED WITH HISTORICALLY
GARBLED PSEUDO-DOCUMENTARIES
Meanwhile, prime-time, state-controlled television is filled with historically garbled pseudo-documentaries. For example, one depicted the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis as being almost the greatest triumphs of Nikita Khrushchev's foreign policy because the United States feared -- which is to say, "respected," according to Russian psychology -- the Soviet Union as an equal superpower.
 
Other "documentaries" portray the years under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Boris Yeltsin as being exclusively dominated by crises, disintegration and the loss of society's orientation and values.
 
In general, then-President Vladimir Putin set the stage for his politically driven historical bias when he referred to the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century."

Regarding questions of history, it seems that Medvedev is dutifully following in Putin's footsteps. And this once again demonstrates who is really calling the shots in the country.
 
LINK:  http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1045/42/377686.htm
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2.  KREMLIN'S CRIMES
Is Russia determined to repeat its history?
 
OP-ED: by Janusz Bugajski, Director, New European Democracies program
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington D.C. 
The Wall Street Journal Europe, London, UK, Thursday, June 11, 2009
 
As European democracies celebrate the 20th anniversary of their liberation from communism and the Soviets, Moscow seeks to restore its dominance over former satellites. Rewriting Russian history is part of this plan. The Putinist notion of a progressive Soviet system in the past is designed to provide justification for Russia's current assertiveness in the region.
 
Take Moscow's annual May 9 parade, which celebrates the "victory over fascism" on the anniversary of Nazi Germany's surrender to the Allies. The entire exercise is based on a monumental national delusion fostered by the Kremlin.
 
Although Russia was one of the victorious powers at the end of World War II, Moscow continues to disguise the historic record that the Soviet Union itself helped launch the war in close alliance with Nazi Germany. Through the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, Stalin schemed with Hitler to carve up Eastern Europe.
 
Russia has recently intensified its revisionist campaign, claiming that it voluntarily gave up communism and the Soviet Bloc and that the Cold War ended in a draw with the West. Russia's state propagandists maintain that the USSR never occupied its neighboring states after World War II, but rather liberated them from tyranny.
 
And they minimize the Kremlin's imposition of a totalitarian system over the region that stifled its political and economic progress for almost half a century. Unlike post-war Germany, Moscow has never paid reparations for Soviet crimes and expropriations in Central and Eastern Europe.
 
Moscow also disguises the fact that Stalin murdered more Russians and other Soviet citizens than Nazi Germany. Its official figure of 27 million war dead includes several millions of Stalin's victims during Soviet civilian deportations and military purges.
 
Instead of admitting that it was a perpetrator and an opportunist in the destruction of Europe, Russia, as the successor state to the Soviet Union, depicts itself as a victim and a victor.
 
Moscow took another step to revise its history last month when it formed a presidential inter-departmental commission to promote the Soviet version of history and to tackle alleged "anti-Russian" propaganda that damages the country's international image. The commission's mandate is to formulate policy options to "neutralize the negative consequences" of what they consider to be historical falsifications aimed against Russia.
 
This is in particular a response to steps by neighboring governments in Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, and elsewhere to talk openly about Soviet repression and to remove monuments that glorify the Soviet occupation.

The committee has no independent historians, and is comprised of bureaucrats from government ministries, representatives from military and intelligence agencies, several pro-Kremlin spin-doctors, and nationalistic lawmakers.

The chairman of this "historic truth" commission, Sergei Naryshkin, is chief of staff in President Dmitry Medvedev's administration and a loyal supporter of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. As Russian liberals have pointed out, this commission bears an eerie resemblance to Soviet institutions that established a monopoly over scientific and scholarly truths.

Additionally, legislators from the ruling United Russia Party have proposed amendments to the penal code that will make the "falsification of history" a criminal offence. If passed by the Duma, this could result in mandatory jail terms for anyone in the former Soviet Union convicted of "rehabilitating Nazism."

This draft bill is not designed to fight neo-Nazis or fascist ideology. Instead, it would allow the criminal prosecution of individuals who question whether the Soviets really "liberated" Eastern Europe toward the end of the war or whether countries such as Georgia welcomed their annexation by the Czarist Empire.
 
This would open the door to possible legal campaigns against political leaders in neighboring countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, and the three Baltic states, who challenge Russia's distorted version of history.

Last month's parade, where soldiers in Czarist-style uniforms carried the red flag with the yellow hammer and sickle across the Red Square, was an almost exact reenactment of Soviet-era self-glorification. The spectacle sent an unmistakable message to all formerly occupied territories that Russia remains the strongest military continental power and continues its Czarist and Soviet traditions.

During the May display President Medvedev warned unnamed adversaries who were supposedly contemplating "military adventures" against Russia -- a thinly veiled threat to keep Ukraine and Georgia out of NATO. The Kremlin's new historiography of Russia as a proud, virtuous neighbor to those in its sphere helps provide an intellectual underpinning for such posturing.
 
Western countries, including the former Soviet satellites, can take steps to expose Russia's historical revisionism by sponsoring international conferences and symposia, by opening up all pertinent state archives to scholars, by educating the younger generation about communist crimes, and simply by talking openly about the Soviet era.

As Russia glosses over its dark past and flexes its muscles, the fear is that those who rewrite history may also be determined to repeat it.
 
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124467052380903681.html
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3.  UKRAINE AS A FAILED STATE: MYTHS AND REALITY
Russia's number one target is to destroy the Ukrainain statehood
 
Analysis & Commentary: By Ambassador Yurii Shcherbak, Former
Ukraine Ambassador to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Israel 
The Day Weekly Digest #15, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 26 May 2009

Starting from the mid-1990s the world has been discussing the relatively new concept of a “failed state,” which means a dysfunctional state, a state that has failed to develop, a state in ruins. According to the definition of an authoritative political science reference book, a failed state is “A nominally sovereign state that is no longer able to maintain itself as a viable political and economic unit. It is a state that has become ungovernable and lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.” (Griffits, M., O’Callaghan, T. International relations: the key concepts. Routledge, 2003, p.105–107).

The same reference book gives examples of “failed states”: Rwanda, Haiti, Cambodia, and Sierra Leone. Among the factors that facilitate the transformation of an ordinary state in a failed state the authors mention transition from autocracy and tyranny to democracy, which creates power vacuum, as well as poor governance and corruption exacerbated by the global capitalist system in which weak states are too much in debt and thus lose the ability to develop.

Several years ago mentioning Ukraine as a failed state would seem a nightmare to many citizens: the country was widely recognized in the world, was a member of authoritative international organizations, a strategic partner of the US and Russia, and an important link of the European security system. It could not, by definition, be one of those several remote failed states, which are seized by anarchy, civil conflicts, and decay of the state power.
 
Today the label of a “failed state” is being all the more frequently and persistently attached to Ukraine — and this fact, surprisingly, evokes no anxiety among the state leadership and the ruling elite both of which are focused on the struggle for power and electoral victories.

What is the real situation with the Ukrainian statehood and what motivates those who want to proclaim Ukraine “a failed state”?

1. THE NUMBER-ONE TARGET IS TO DESTROY
THE UKRAINIAN STATEHOOD
The topic of Ukraine as a failed state has recently become especially fashionable among a certain circle of the Russian political scientists—“Ukraine’s mortal friends.” One of these “friends,” Sergey Karaganov, is not the last person in the Moscow establishment. He is the head of the Presidium of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and has expressed a number of views that must draw the attention of those who care about the future of the Ukrainian state.

In his interview to Russkiy zhurnal (The Russian Magazine) on March 20, 2009, published under the remarkable title “No One Needs Monsters. Desovereignization of Ukraine,” this experienced adherent of Russia’s neo-imperialistic policy, who has been hardened in international discussions (like many of my colleagues, I have been “fortunate” to meet this man who has never and nowhere concealed his hatred for Ukraine’s independence), replies to the openly provocative questions of Russkiy zhurnal.

     – Is the current situation in Ukraine threatening to turn it into a failed state?
    – We are dealing with a case a state bankruptcy. Are there any possible limits to desovereignization? Is the introduction of external governance possible?
     – Is any kind of discussion, possibly implicit rather than a direct one, in the expert circles on what should be done in the current situation on the territory
        of our western neighbor Ukraine? For example, events may get out of hand there as the problem with gas pipelines has already shown (!—hereinafter
        emphasis is added).
     – Can the recent warming of relations between Russia and the United States include this question? (i.e., is there any possibility of a joint Russian-
        American action against Ukraine?— Author)
     – Can we, Russia and Europe (!), permit the collapse of such a significant country?

In his answers Karaganov draws the conclusion concerning the “passive desovereignization,” i.e., loss of sovereignty as the ability of the people, society, and the state to govern themselves. Acknowledging that in 1999 Russia was on the verge of desovereignization and real collapse, Karaganov returns to Ukraine, stating that “Europeans have started to push Ukraine away by all available means… Now they are dismissing Ukraine without unnecessary sentiments, and everyone wants to ‘stay away from it’ for the time being … No one, roughly speaking, is ready and able to undertake the responsibility.”
 
Then, departing from the academic tone, the political scientist starts dreaming, “With regard to Ukraine and Moldova, precisely these two countries are the biggest concern (!), and Russia and the US could speak about a common responsibility (!) concerning them.”

However, Karaganov admits sadly, “the level of distrust between Russia and the US is so high that I am not sure whether we are ready for this kind of talk… Neither Russia nor US has any tools to influence the situation in Ukraine… And the possibility of occupation, even by a group of friendly (!) states… Unfortunately (!), it would be sad and ridiculous to surmise this.”

Karaganov gave a resolute answer to the last question on whether one can allow Ukraine to collapse: “No. We have no right to do so. (!) It is inadmissible to let things drift. However, I see no real possibilities for Europe to give Russia carte blanche to occupy Ukraine entirely or its parts. On the other hand, Russia will not want to see absolutely ungovernable territories close by… So Russia will not permit anyone to exhibit excessive activeness.”

This example is not the only one in Russia’s imperial discourse of today: this kind of talk, often even more aggressive, concerning Ukraine and the possible division of its territory has been persistently imposed on Russian society as a geopolitical entity by Zatulins, Prokhanovs, Dugins, and other suchlike personalities. In this way the Russian Bolsheviks were once shaping the bloody reality using fantasy propaganda slogans.

Without doubt, the ideas about Ukraine’s “desovereignization,” its “ungovernable territory,” and “disintegration” into parts are under serious scrutiny on different levels of Russia’s political, military, and intelligence leadership: big and small Russian bosses have not yet forgotten the words their leader shouted at the Bucharest summit in 2007 at the moment of angry revelation: “Ukraine is not even a state! What is Ukraine? Part of its territory is Eastern Europe, while the other one, which is quite big, was given to it by Russia!” (Geopolitika, August 1, 2008)

Everything is clear with this direction of political science thought. In military language it is called the ideological-propagandistic support of the future operation on capturing the territory of a sovereign state.

2. THE REAL SITUATION WITH FAILED STATES
Different political science organizations in the West make their ratings of the countries that belong to failed states or are close to this status. So, the magazine Foreign Policy (2006, May/June, p. 50–58) provides the country instability indices calculated on the basis of a number of indicators, such as the demographic situation, refugees, military conflicts, human rights violations, reliable security system, economic situation, etc.
 
All the countries under study are divided into five categories depending on whether they are in a critical, dangerous, boundary, stable, and most stable situation. Twenty-nine countries were included in the first category (critical situation), including Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Burma, etc.

The countries in the “dangerous” group (18 states) include such Russia’s allies as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well Egypt, Uganda, Syria, Laos, etc.
The group of the “boundary” countries, which are close to the failed state status, include such countries as Russia (!), Tajikistan, Belarus, and Moldova. This list ends with Ukraine and China.

We can see the US among the stable states, and Canada, among the most stable ones.

The Washington, D.C.-based Fund for Peace, founded in the mid-20th century, makes lists of failed states in the most professional way based on of the Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST). It studies 12 sociological, economic, political, and military indicators, assesses the ability of the state’s five most important institutions to guarantee stability and security, and takes into account risk factors and unexpected (negative) events that may have an impact on the situation in the state. Great attention is paid to the state’s vulnerability and the risks of violence.

The grades from zero to 10 (0 indicates the most stable situation) are assigned according to 12 indicators. The Failed States Index 2008 lists 177 states divided into four groups. The “alert” index was assigned to 56 countries — from Somalia to Georgia, from Haiti to Uzbekistan, from Guinea-Bissau to Turkmenistan, and from Yemen to Moldova. Neither Ukraine nor Russia is in this group.
 
They are part of the following “warning” category, with Russia taking a much worse place (72nd, 79.7 points) than Ukraine (108th, 70.8 points). The other countries of this group include Israel (58th), Azerbaijan (64th), China (68th), Saudi Arabia (84th), Turkey (92nd), Armenia (109th), and the new member of NATO Albania (112th).

The group of the countries in which the situation needs to be monitored includes Latvia (136th), Estonia (139th), Slovakia (142nd), Lithuania (143rd), Poland (145th), the Czech Republic (149th), France (158th), Great Britain (160th), and the US (161st).

The most stable group of “sustainable” states includes Japan (163rd), Canada (167th), Austria (168th), Sweden (175th), Finland (176th), and Norway (177th).

In the light of the above-mentioned failed states index, which is based on objective indicators, the attempts of certain Russian political scientists to pry in others’ affairs with their unhealthy and aggressive dreams appear to be quite comic, if not tragicomic.
 
These people fail to see the situation on their own territories, which are far from being trouble-free, to put it mildly. This reminds one of an old caricature in which some demented saboteurs are fixing a mine to an enemy ship, while sitting on a huge mine dotted with detonator wires.

Of course, our “friends” may find comfort in the fact that the index was compiled before the global crisis of 2008–09, which will affect the status of many countries, probably increasing the number of failed states.
 
It is worth lending an ear to the opinion of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, who said that the deepening of the financial crisis may stir up civil riots and “violence extremism” in “weak” European countries (let us recall the events in Greece, Iceland, and Latvia). Some NATO officers believe that Ukraine is “closer to failed states than any other functioning (European) country.” (Newsweek, April 6, 13, 2009).

Not very pleasant is the fact that The Economist listed Ukraine among the twenty least stable states (16th place, between Ecuador and Bangladesh, while the list is topped by Zimbabwe, Chad, Congo, Cambodia, and Sudan). Ukraine received this index owing not only to its financial-economic crisis, but also to the chronic paralysis of parliament and the discord in the highest echelons of power.

Under these circumstances one cannot dismiss various scenarios, even the most undesirable ones. However, provided there is no interference of external forces with Ukraine’s domestic affairs, our state — even in the current dangerously unbalanced situation — has sufficient safety margin owing to its uniquely peace-loving society. Whereas southern hot-tempered nations take up arms over the slightest cause, Ukrainians will be lazily ignoring the resistance actions until they are brought to the condition such as in the fall of 2004, when people’s patience snapped. However, cases like that are rare, occurring once in 10–12 years.

Today everybody is talking about Mexico with its drug war in which over 7,000 people died in 2008 (the influenza A/H1N1 only increased the instability in the country), as well nuclear Pakistan — these are the countries that, in Pentagon’s opinion, “are approaching a quick and sudden collapse” (Time, April 6, 2009).

The authors of the Failed States Index–2008 underline that it does not necessarily indicate that the state may face violence or collapse. Rather, it makes it possible to measure the vulnerability of the state to conflicts or collapse. The rate and direction of every state’s development may lead to either improvement or deterioration.

A classical example of considerable improvement of the state’s positions is India, which in 1970s was swept with a wave of famine and mass violence and became a classical example of a failed state. Today India, the episodic terrorist acts notwithstanding, is the largest democratic state in the world with a competitive economy and representative political system.

A similar example is found in the South African Republic, which after the racial war of 1980s has managed to create a new political system, adopt a liberal constitution, and drop its nuclear program. A certain improvement of the situation in 2007–08 was registered in Liberia, Haiti, C te d’Ivoire, while deterioration was found in Pakistan, Israel, Palestine territories, and Bangladesh.

Special attention is paid to the situation with parliamentarianism: an impotent, weak parliament, which rubberstamps government-approved resolutions is a necessary attribute of the dictatorial-authoritarian state, which is approaching a failed state. It turns out that there is a separate index of the parliamentary power, which takes into account the real power of the legislative body — its ability to declare war, use impeachment to the executive power, and adopt the laws that cannot be vetoed by the president (or other leader of the nation).

3. REALITY AND ILLUSIONS
We have seen now that Ukraine, fortunately, does not belong to the group of “critical” countries, which are characterized by mass hunger, riots, civil wars, total collapse of state power, unchecked anarchy, etc.).
 
Therefore, what our caring neighbors are saying about the danger of “ungovernable failed state” of Ukraine is in the category of information warfare designed to sway the public opinion in Russia and a number of European states (France and Germany) in favor of the legitimacy of sanctions against Ukraine and the possibility of carrying out an operation to subdue the disobedient state, which dared (what an impudence!) realize its own foreign policy that differs from Russia’s Eurasian, imperial, and autocratic lines of development.

What I have said urges (rather than removes the need for) a serious public discussion of the current situation in the state, the increasing weakness of many state institutions, which is dangerous in view of the threats emerging both within Ukraine and to the north and east of it.

Let us not forget what the important indicators of a failed state are:

     – loss of physical control over the territory;
     – loss of the right (monopoly) of the state to legal exercise of power;
     – inability of government representatives to make collective decisions;
     – growing level of corruption and organized crime;
     – inability to collect taxes;
     – massive movements of refuges and demographic catastrophes;
     – environmental catastrophes (such as Chornobyl);
     – foreign intervention.

It would be good if the readers of The Day who care about the situation of Ukrainian statehood, made their own assessment of the existing threats. The exhausting and absurd infighting in the supreme leadership, the partial paralysis of power, an abrupt fall of economic indices do not add to Ukraine’s stability. The country needs the political will and coordinated actions of all branches of power to move away from the dangerous zone of failed states. There is a need for honest and open discussion of our urgent problems with the participation of independent experts and entire civil society.

Despite all of our obvious weak points and mistakes, Ukraine’s great advantage over Putin-Medvedev’s closed, authoritarian, pompously imperialistic Russia is in the level of our democracy, political competition, freedom for discussion of all aspects of the state’s operation, and the awareness of the problems that need to be resolved immediately.

The latest issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs contains a remarkable article dedicated to Ukraine’s problems (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2009. Adrian Karatnycky, Alexander Motyl: The Key to Kiev, p. 106–120). The authors believe that the recent deterioration of Russia–Ukraine relations should be greatly alarming to the West, because Ukraine’s security is critical for Europe’s stability. The authors maintain that Ukraine should return to its political agenda as a state defending its own rights, rather than moving toward the status of Russia’s vassal.

The article characterizes Russia as undemocratic, authoritarian, complacently nationalistic country whose mass media are consistent in creating an image of hostile and aggressive Ukraine. They portray Ukraine as stealing Russian gas and forming alliances with Moscow’s enemies. (According to a VTsIOM survey of Feb. 15, 2009, one-sixths of Russia’s population is ready for a war against Ukraine, while 70 percent of the respondents believe that an armed conflict with our country is possible.)
 
It takes a mind-boggling amount of zombifying to produce these results from our former “brothers,” who not so long ago claimed they loved Ukraine. This contradicts the interests of Russia and its people, and the blame is entirely on Russia’s ruling regime.

The authors of the article in Foreign Affairs offer possible scenarios for Ukraine–Russia relations, pointing out that Moscow’s aim is to subordinate Ukraine through economic pressure and possible military adventures. They believe that these kinds of scenarios are extremely dangerous both for the Western countries and Russia itself, which is a split, corrupt, and potentially unstable oil-rich state. Russia possesses nuclear weapons, while it is still closer to the Third World than post-industrial countries.

Comparing Ukraine–Russia relations with those India–Pakistan and Israel–Syria relations, the authors urge the West to reject unilateral approaches (Russia first and foremost) and suggest pursuing a well-balanced policy that takes into account both Russia’s and independent Ukraine’s interests.
 
The conclusion of the article is important: “Europe and the United States must … understand that even with all its imperfections, Ukraine is not a failed state, nor is it likely to become one. … Despite … [its] weaknesses and political uncertainties, Ukraine will not collapse, as Russia’s ultranationalists have predicted.”

The Russian policy of increasing hostility toward Ukraine and a number of other post-Soviet and post-socialist countries is gradually leading to a cul-de-sac and runs into the increasing resistance on the part of Western public opinion. So, according to the BBC, Russia lost more in the eyes of other countries than any other country of the world in 2008. The number of people in the West who consider that Russia is playing a negative role in the world has grown from 34 to 47 percent.

Shouldn’t the Russian politicians, among which, no doubt, there are many who have not been brainwashed by the official propaganda, think about the need to return to the realistic policy of equitable, neighbor relations with Ukraine as a sovereign state instead of toying with phantom mirages of deceptive imperial illusions?

LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/274533/
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4.  RUSSIA'S IDEOLOGICAL CRUSADE AGAINST UKRAINE
Russian intelligence intensifies its activities in Ukraine
 
Analysis & Commentary: By Taras Kuzio
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol 6, Issue 113
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Fri, June 12, 2009
 
According to an interview with Ukraine's Ambassador to Russia Konstantyn Hryshchenko, the country's bilateral relationship with Russia has sunk to its lowest level since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, testimony to the Russian state control of the media and its ideological crusade against Ukraine (www.profil-ua.com, June 6). In the weekly Glavred magazine on May 20 its front cover declared: "Beware Ukrainophobia!"

The Levada Center recently found that 62 percent of Russians hold a negative view of Ukraine with only the United States and Georgia being seen in a worse light. At the same time, 91 percent of Ukrainians hold positive views of Russia, a reflection of media pluralism and the lack of state directed propaganda against Russia.
 
Analyzing these polls, the head of the Center for Military-Political Research in Kyiv summarized this relationship in his headline: "We like them but they do not like us" (www.pravda.com.ua, May 5).
 
RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES IN UKRAINE
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) is openly raising the question of the intensification of Russian intelligence activities within Ukraine, and Russia's return to Soviet KGB tactics.
 
This concern was expressed in SBU chairman Valentyn Nalyvaychenko's comment that the FSB within the Black Sea Fleet should withdraw from the Crimea (www.radiosvoboda, June 2). Nalyvaychenko explained that one of the functions of the SBU was counter-espionage, and that was why they did not agree with the FSB being based in the Fleet.

The main suspects of the murder in Odessa on April 17 of a student member of the Ukrainian nationalist NGO Sich, Maksym Chayka, belong to the "Antifa(scist)" NGO financed by the Russian nationalist Rodina party. The presidential secretariat requested that the SBU investigate their activities to discover if they are coordinated "with foreign organizations of an anti-Ukrainian orientation" (www.president.gov.ua, April 22).
 
The SBU appealed to the justice ministry to consider if there were grounds to revoke Rodina's registration, based on among things, their link to organized crime and financing from abroad. The suspects have fled to Russia.
 
The conflict between the Sich and Antifa NGO's is historically based; specifically the controversy surrounding the unveiling of a monument to Empress Catherine in Odessa in October 2007.
 
CONSTANT RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN UKRAINE
Ambassador Hryshchenko pointed out that unlike the constant Russian interference in Ukraine, Kyiv does not protest against Russian glorification of Tsar Peter and Tsarina Catherine -even though both are regarded very negatively in Ukraine.
 
Ukrainian history equates both Russian leaders as the destroyers of the Ukrainian autonomous Hetmanate in the late eighteenth century and the re-organization of Ukrainian territories into gubernia, as well as the introduction of serfdom and the banning of the Ukrainian language.

The Russian foreign ministry assumes the right to condemn the unveiling of monuments to historical figures in Ukraine. For example, Ukraine will unveil a monument to Cossack Hetman Ivan Mazepa on Independence Day (August 24) in his home region of Poltava on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava, where Ukrainian-Swedish forces were defeated by Russia. Mazepa has undergone rehabilitation as a hero in independent Ukraine, and his picture is displayed on the 10 hryvnia note.

The Russian Orthodox Church imposed an "anathema" on Mazepa and he was condemned as a "traitor" to Russian-Ukrainian unity by tsars and commissars alike. The on-going furore has led to a split within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) with Metropolitan Dmytruk, the head of the UOC's foreign relations, supporting the growing call to remove the church's anathema (www.pravda.com.ua, May 26).

Russia's new historiography incorporates additional Russian chauvinists, such as White Army General Anton Denikin. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent reference to Denikin's description of Russia and Ukraine as "great" and "little" Russia shows the degree to which these Russian views of Ukraine remain deep seated. Putin's use of "little Russia" infuriated all shades of Ukrainian opinion.
 
DENIKIN HATED "UKRAINIAN SEPARATISM"
As Ukrainian historians pointed out, Denikin hated "Ukrainian separatism" more than he did the Bolsheviks, and this was his undoing. Denikin's march on Moscow was foiled by uprisings in Ukraine, where his forces terrorized everything Ukrainian (www.unian.net, May 28).

Memoirs published in the West after the Russian revolution by white Russian émigrés described "Ukrainian separatism" as an "Austrian" plot against Russia. "Ukrainian separatism" in the 1990's evolved into a "Western plot," while two thirds of Russians in January 2005 believed that the Orange Revolution was an "American conspiracy" (see the critical review of the new anti-Ukrainian book "American Salo [pork fat]" www.unian.net, May 29).

These views of Ukraine's "artificiality" and "fragility" remain deeply rooted within the Russian mindset, and explain the state orchestrated campaign depicting Ukraine as a "failed state" that requires international supervision.
 
PUTIN DESCRIBED UKRAINE AS AN 'ARTIFICAL' ENTITY
Putin described Ukraine as an "artificial" entity with lands given to it by Russia and the USSR during his speech to the NATO-Russia Council in Bucharest in April 2008. The March 16 issue of Russian political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky's Ruskyi Zhurnal was devoted to "Will Ukraine Lose its Sovereignty?" (www.russ.ru).
 
Ukraine's former Ambassador to the United States Yuriy Shcherbak, wrote a lengthy analysis of the campaign conducted by senior Russian officials. Shcherbak believes that the aim is an "ideological-propaganda preparation of a future operation for the seizure of the territory of a sovereign state" (Den, May 26).

One of the Russian officials named by Shcherbak was the director of the Institute for CIS Countries Konstantin Zatulin, who recently called upon Russia to see ethnic Russians in Ukraine "in the same rank as the army, the fleet and church" (www.russkie.org). Zatulin was again denied entry to Ukraine at Simferopol airport. The SBU spokesperson explained this by saying that Zatulin remained on a banned list of Russians entering Ukraine.
 
DESTROY UKRAINIAN STATEHOOD
More importantly, "The stance of the SBU on this question is very tough: independent of the citizenship and position held (of the person) there is no place in Ukraine for separatists and extremists" (www.pravda.com.ua, June 6).

In their rush to "reset" the button with Russia after its invasion of Georgia and Barack Obama's election, Brussels and Washington have ignored Russia's ideological crusade against Ukraine. They should heed the warning from Ambassador Shcherbak, who believes Russia's ultimate aim is to "destroy Ukrainian statehood" (Den, May 26).
 
LINK: www.jamestown.org
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U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC): http://www.usubc.org
Promoting U.S.-Ukraine business relations & investment since 1995.
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5.  RUSSIA, AGAIN EVADING HISTORY

OP-ED: By Masha Lipman, Editor, Carnegie Moscow Center's Pro et Contra journal
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, June 20, 2009

MOSCOW -- The Russian government has intensified its attempts to perfect the nation's past. The Defense Ministry posted an academic article on its Web
site arguing that Hitler's territorial claims on Poland were "moderate" and "can hardly be referred to as unsubstantiated."

After Poland rejected these claims, seeking "to gain a great power status," the article went on, it was only natural that Germany would attack -- starting World War II. When the article became the subject of news coverage, sparking discussion at home and abroad, it was removed from the site.

Even if the Defense Ministry, or the government at large, would balk at supporting the theory of Poland's "guilt" in provoking World War II, the publication of this article -- "Fabrications and falsifications in evaluating the role of the U.S.S.R. on the eve and at early stages of WW2" -- on an official site cannot be ignored.

The article's title echoes the goal of a government commission established last month by President Dmitry Medvedev's decree: to oppose attempts to
falsify history that damage Russia's interests.

This mission shows the potential for interpretation -- and abuse: It implies that genuine historical fact cannot be damaging to Russia's world stature, but also that there's nothing wrong with the distortion of facts if it embellishes the country's image.
 
The commission, which is headed by Sergey Naryshkin, Medvedev's chief of staff, includes high-ranking officials from various government agencies, as
well as the directors of two leading historical research institutions. Some members have indicated that the panel will focus on Eastern European and
Baltic interpretations of the war history.

Naryshkin said the commission would deal with attempts by "a number of political movements and even governments to belittle the role of our country
[in the war] and even . . . to lay certain claims. We can't tolerate it. . . . We don't have the right to keep silent while listening to whiffets' peeping and yelping. We must respond."

ESTONIA, LATVIA & UKRAINE COMMITTED TO FALSIFICATIONS OF HISTORY
Sergey Markov, a Kremlin loyalist and member of the commission, was more specific: Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine, he said, "have fully committed their
government powers to finance falsifications of history." Markov, who is known for his grandiloquence, plans "to liberate historians in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia and Poland from the pressure of state dictatorship applied unto them."

For most of the 20th century, the Communist Party's historical falsifications and fabrications were of Orwellian proportions. In Stalin's time, schoolchildren were routinely told to blacken portraits of "enemies of the people" in their books; unwanted images were removed from official photos, eliminating all traces of former members of the communist elite who were killed by the Soviet regime.

In contrast, today's government does not seek to eliminate ideologically incorrect interpretations from every history book. Even Markov says academic
research should not be constrained. (There's evidence, however, that the government has asked professional historians to identify instances of falsifications" by their foreign colleagues.)

What the Kremlin has been after in recent years is boosting the sense of Russia's greatness and the infallibility of its leaders -- current leaders included -- in the national mind-set. This is a substantial task given the communist dictatorship's mass exterminations of innocents during the 20th century.

Hence the government's systematic effort to prevent broad public discussion of the crimes of totalitarianism or the fabrications used to cover up those
crimes. The official outlook on recent history is focused on the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, which is a uniquely positive memory shared by the
overwhelming majority of Russians.

To Russian officialdom, the fact that the Soviet Union defeated Hitler preempts critical analysis of all other pre- and postwar developments. But while no one would deny Russia's victory over the Third Reich, the Soviet role as an occupier and oppressor cannot be erased from the national memory of Eastern European and Baltic countries. This perception of the Soviet Union is used (and sometimes abused) by those countries to strengthen their national identities and senses of statehood.

Regardless, it is impossible to force a Russian vision on other nations (just as foreign countries can't impose their interpretations on Russia). What the Russian government can do, however, is impose politically motivated interpretations on its domestic audience, in schoolbooks and in the media.

GENUINE AND FALSE VIEWS OF HISTORY
There is another concern about the government assuming the authority to differentiate between genuine and false views of history. During Vladimir Putin's tenure, access to historical archives has become increasingly restricted. The historical records kept in those archives contain too many genuine facts that seriously tarnish Russia's image.

Arseny Roginsky, director of the Russian Memorial Society, a nonprofit organization that has done archival research and commemoration work related to the victims of Soviet totalitarianism, expects the commission to further obstruct such work. He is also concerned, as he told me recently, that "government attention will be inevitably focused even more on the expressions of alternative views on sensitive historical issues."

The anti-falsification commission may not directly interfere with academic research, but its potential effects are disquieting. Its work will probably result in professional historians being pushed even further from the broad public sphere, and it will marginalize even more organizations such as the
Memorial Society.

Meanwhile, its very existence will likely encourage more absurd and counterfactual theories, such as the one blaming Poland for starting World War II.
----------------------------------
NOTE: Masha Lipman, editor of the Carnegie Moscow Center's Pro et Contra journal, writes a monthly column for The Post.

LINK: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061902062.html
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6.  WHY UKRAINE WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN RUSSIA 
Perhaps one day, a Ukrainian president, basking in the European Union sunshine
might quip, “You understand, Mr. EU President, Russia is not even a nation.”
 
OP-ED: Roland Sylvester, Kyiv Post Staff writer 
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, June 12, 2009

“You understand, George, Ukraine is not even a nation,” then-Russian President Vladimir Putin was reported as saying to then-U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008.
 
The statement embodies a sentiment that permeates much of the recent hostility between the two neighbors: Russian pomposity. Russia seems to think it runs things around here. It therefore seems pertinent to evaluate this attitude; does Russia have a right to be arrogant? Which, put tongue-in-cheek, is the better nation, Russia or Ukraine?

Putin’s superciliousness is not an aberration, it is echoed by public opinion: a recent poll conducted by the Russian Levada Centre found that 49 percent of Russians view Ukraine in a ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ way.
 
Ukrainians, according to a concomitant survey, have vastly diverging views; 91 percent perceive their Slavic cousins in a kind light. What is it that provokes indignation in Russians; what has Ukraine – a sovereign nation, free to conduct policy at home and abroad - done to beget such hostility? Jealousy?
Putin recently stoked the political fire by echoing the words of a famous Russian general, Anton Denikin “…no on should be allowed to interfere in relations between us; they have always been the business of Russia itself”.
 
Putin’s sortie into historiography garnered him the title “Vladimir the Historian” in a recent Kyiv Post editorial; yet history can be seen through many prisms; it can be read and, indeed, rewritten to pander to the interests of the historian. What does a different glance through a different prism have to tell us about the two countries?

There have been many historical cataclysms in Ukraine and Russia. Both have endured great hardship. Yet, a country that more readily accepts history for what it is, ‘faces up to history’; tries to right passed wrongs and not just bury embarrassing skeletons, stands today as a greater beacon for good.
Russia’s stance in this respect is beguilingly bad.
 
Put Putin’s reading of history to bed, please: Russia to the day denigrates the Holodomor – the Stalin-induced famine which hued whole swathes of the Ukrainian population – as a “brazen [Ukrainian] attempt to falsify history".
 
The same state recently introduced a law forbidding the denial of national victory in the Great Fatherland War (World War II) – a ‘triumph’ that counted circa 27 million ‘victors’ dead. How can a ‘good’ country legislate this as a victory, further, how can you attempt to rehabilitate the leader that presided over the catastrophe: how dare Putin call Stalin ‘efficient’?

Argument rages in Ukraine. History here is, understandably, a sensitive subject. Though most of the 8 million perished in World War II fell fighting for the hammer and sickle, a good number fell for the Fascists. The SS Galicia division comprised 20,000 Ukrainian volunteers who fought against the Communists.
 
Whether they patriotic martyrs or abject traitors is not the point: their existence is admitted, debated and hence the individual can make his own mind up – the lessons of the past can be learnt. A society that permits open discourse on the past is a society that looks to the future.
 
BACK THEN TO THE FUTURE
Back then to the future. “I believe you have no moral right to run in the presidential election” – Victor Baloha’s farewell swipe at Victor Yushenko, current President of Ukraine and the aforementioned’s former boss. The statement characterizes much of what is wrong with Ukrainian democracy: back-stabbers, cronies, partisans, robber-barons, self-seekers, truth-tweekers – in short, chaos.
 
But the statement has one redeeming feature: it could never appear in Russia. Just as the Orwellian ‘big brother’ kept a beady eye or two on minds that might dare speak up in defense of anything as seditious as a different point of view, so the Kremlin today gives short shrift to dissidents.

The Associated Press but days ago reported on another protest ruthlessly repelled by the (Edinaya) Russia. Why is it the Kremlin cannot permit even a hint of public dissatisfaction? And, conversely, why is it that public demonstrations are the ‘joie de vivre’ for Ukrainians? The answer is simple: the countries differ vastly in their respect for plurality – the voicing of different opinions.
 
In Russia, the Kremlin’s line is the line. Russia must be a ‘managed democracy’ with a ‘dictatorship of the law’, to quote some of Putin’s well-known slogans. Russia can’t be run any other way, they might well say; it’s too big, too wild. Yet if this was the case, why does Nicholas Eberstadt, in his essay for World Affairs, proclaim that “[Russia] has pioneered a unique new profile of mass debilitation and foreshortened life previously unknown in all of human history.” Managed democracy is failing; the future looks bleak for Russia.

Though Ukraine doesn’t fair much better when considering demographic trends – a life expectancy of 67.8 compared to Russia’s 65.8, the bigger neighbor is endowed with vastly more natural resources; it shouldn’t be in the mess it finds itself in. The distinction is clear: Russian managed democracy leaves little room for maneuver, Russians don’t have any other option but to stand behind the ruling elite whilst the country rots itself towards extinction.

The Ukrainian electorate, on the other hand, has the opportunity to collectively voice its dissatisfaction at the next presidential election. If Ukrainian voters don’t lose faith in democracy, don’t lose faith in the power of the plurality to – in the end – reveal the truth, to sort the weed from the chaff and find a leader who has their best interests at heart, Ukraine will one day break free from the shadow of the autarchic neighbor.
 
"YOU UNDERSTAND, MR. EU PRESIDENT, RUSSIA IS NOT EVEN A NATION"
The seeds of the open society have been sown: nuture them, Ukraine. Perhaps one day, a Ukrainian president, basking in the European Union sunshine might quip, “You understand, Mr. EU President, Russia is not even a nation.”
 
LINK:  http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/43278
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7.  RUSSIAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST CRITICIZES MOSCOW FOR AGAIN
TRYING TO PUT ROSY SPIN ON A DARK AND PAINFUL HISTORY

By Olivia Ward, Foreign Affairs Reporter
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Sat, Jun 13, 2009

MOSCOW – Lyudmila Alexeyeva has spent decades grappling with the ghosts of history.

A schoolgirl in the days of Stalin's terror, she helped send food parcels to starving friends and relatives in famine-struck Ukraine and distant parts of
Russia. But her experiences were airbrushed from the official record as the country raced toward the bright communist future, divorced from its dark past.

Like other Russians of her time, the 81-year-old historian and human rights activist was taught to bury her memories alongside the dead. And it was not
until the fall of communism that the past flooded into history books, classrooms and the media, undermining old certainties and raising painful doubts.

Now, says Alexeyeva – who spent months in the 1960s typing Alexander Solzhenitsyn's banned exposés of the Soviet gulag and smuggling them to friends – the current of history seems once again to be running in reverse. During Vladimir Putin's nine years in power as president and prime minister, the past has again become a battleground in a quiet struggle for the hearts and minds of Russians.

From the trashing of politically incorrect textbooks to a clampdown on government archives, no gravestone is left unturned in creating a positive version of Russia's statehood. "When a country doesn't know what to do about the future it meddles with the past," Alexeyeva said at home in central Moscow. "It happened in Soviet times and we're wading into those waters again."

Alexeyeva, who was fired from her job and the Communist Party for campaigning for political prisoners' rights in the 1970s, insists that 21st-century Russia cannot be compared with the repressive Soviet era. But she sees disturbing signs.

In May, Putin's successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, ordered the creation of a commission to counter the "falsification of history." The move was part
of an effort to buff Russia's image at home and abroad, and boost national pride at a time of deep economic unease.

At its centre is Russia's victorious role in World War II, known as the Great Patriotic War. The conflict caused the deaths of a staggering 25 million or more Soviet citizens, and has since formed the bedrock of Russia's national pride.

This spring the State Duma drafted a law that would hand out fines and jail terms to anyone who published accusations of wartime atrocities or illegal
occupation by the Red Army. The bill urged cutting ties with countries that officially revised World War II history, as well as barring their leaders from Russia. It followed Ukraine's efforts for recognition of the Holodomor – a famine that killed millions under Josef Stalin's rule – as a genocide, as well as condemnation in Baltic countries of the Soviet Union's post-war occupation.

One Russian military historian carried the zeal for polishing the Soviet past further. He posted a research paper on the defence ministry website, blaming Poland for sparking World War II by refusing Adolf Hitler's "quite reasonable demands" to hand over the city of Gdansk and allow road and rail links to Germany. After protest, the ministry disavowed the article.

Officials have also overturned a 1993 law that allowed secret documents to be opened to the public within 30 years. The change makes it harder for
historians to access sensitive material. Students are also kept at arm's length from history.

During Putin's term, doubt and criticism were banished to the intellectual boondocks, in favour of a muscular affirmation of Russia's self-worth. He asked the Russian Academy of Sciences to scrutinize history texts, weeding out ones that did not "cultivate in young people a feeling of pride" in Russia's past and present.

But while this spin on the brutal past is bemusing to some, it is reassuring to others, at a time when economic shock waves have once again shaken the
ground under Russians' feet. Weary of the chaotic unpredictability of president Boris Yeltsin's era, many are ready to embrace both old and new certainties.

"In the Soviet era we had only one view, that the state was strong and great," said Alexeyeva. "Then in the '90s we could see events in ways that challenged old ideas. For some people that was too confusing, and now things are going full circle."

LINK: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/650292
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8.  RUSSIA: HISTORY UNDER LOCK AND KEY
The only way to fight a real battle against the falsification of history
is to keep government archives as open as possible for historians

OP-ED: Vladimir Rzyhkov, Russian State Duma deputy, 1993 to 2007
Hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The only way to fight a real battle against the falsification of history --  something that President Dmitry Medvedev has made a priority after creating a special commission to handle this issue -- is to keep government archives as open as possible for historians.
 
Unfortunately, the government is doing the exact opposite, depriving historians access to the most sensitive and important historical documents. Among other things, this is a violation of the Constitution.

Medvedev's commission "for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia's interests" is headed by presidential chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin, who will control which documents remain classified and which ones are opened to the public. There are many reasons to be concerned that the documents most essential to an open and honest study and discussion of Russian and Soviet history will remain locked up.

Former President Boris Yeltsin had a much more liberal policy toward releasing government archives. On July 7, 1993, he signed a law governing Russia's archives that remained in force until 2004. The law stipulated that documents containing state secrets should be declassified and made available to the public in no more than 30 years. Documents containing sensitive information of a personal nature had to be released in 75 years or less.

But under Vladimir Putin's presidency, a new law was passed in 2004 that imposed far greater restrictions on access to state archives. The 30-year limit disappeared completely. Although Article 25 of the new law states that all documents should be made available to the public, the final decision as to which documents contain state secrets and are held under restricted access is made by the very same commission on state secrets headed by Naryshkin.

This means that citizens' constitutional right to have access to archival documents will be rendered meaningless. What's more, since Article 25 contains no time limits for declassifying documents, the government can keep "inconvenient" or incriminating documents that it considers to be "to the detriment of Russia's interests" classified forever.
 
STALIN-ERA DOCUMENTS VIGOROUSLY GUARDED
Strangely enough, Russia's so-called "state secrets" are most vigorously guarded when they relate to Stalin-era documents, which remain the most highly classified. For example, historian Mark Solonin of Samara was recently denied access to the Foreign Ministry's archives following a request to study documents connected with Soviet-Czechoslovakian relations on the eve of the Munich Agreement in 1938, even though more than 70 years have passed since those events took place.

Most of the documents connected with the 1940 execution of more than 20,000 Polish officers at Katyn, which was carried out by the NKVD under direct
orders from Stalin, also remain locked away. After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Yeltsin officially acknowledged the massacre and released many
related documents from government archives, then-President Putin decided to do an about-face.

The chief military prosecutor recently closed the investigation into the tragedy, and even the decision to halt criminal proceedings was deemed classified. The Kremlin's decision to sweep the matter under the carpet  raises the question whether Russia really wants to break with Stalin's bloody past or whether it has a sick attachment to it.

Also classified -- or simply lost or destroyed -- are documents from Stalin's Politburo of 1939 related to the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the partitioning of Poland, the annexation of the Baltic states and the Soviet invasion of Finland.

Documents pertaining to political killings abroad carried out by Soviet secret service agents are still classified, even if decades have passed since the killings took place.

The government continues to deny access to materials documenting the behavior of Soviet forces in Europe in 1945. This automatically provokes speculation that the scale of the looting, violence and rape carried out by Soviet soldiers and officers was greater than we have been led to believe.

Also off-limits are documents connected with the mass deportation of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian citizens on the eve of the outbreak of World War II in 1941 and the expropriation of their property.

Still classified are huge stacks of documents on the Soviet gulags and NKVD crimes. Yeltsin's decree of June 23, 1992, calling for the full declassification of materials documenting the violation of human rights --  and particularly those involving political repression -- remains unfulfilled.
 
IT IS ABSURD THAT DOCUMENTS ARE STILL CLASSIFIED
It is absurd that documents regarding the famine deaths of millions of people in 1932 and 1933 in southern Russia and Ukraine are still classified.

Interestingly enough, Russia never tires of accusing Ukraine of falsifying history when Kiev claims that the Holodomor, or famine, was an act of Soviet
(read: Russian) genocide against the Ukrainian people. Moscow maintains that  Stalin's policy of seizing food supplies was directed against all the
agricultural regions of the Soviet Union -- mainly Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan -- regardless of ethnicity.

If that is the case, why doesn't the Kremlin immediately declassify those documents and expose Stalin's decisions? In this way, the Kremlin warriors for historical truth could pull the rug out from under Ukraine's allegedly "brazen attempt to falsify history."

As a result of all the crimes committed by the Soviet government, tens of millions of innocent citizens were killed or falsely imprisoned. Historians estimate that the number of victims in the Stalin era alone approaches 60 million people; the exact figure is difficult to pin down, and restricting archives will make it even harder to get to the truth. Most shocking is that Stalin came in third place in the "Name of Russia" nationwide television contest held in November for the most notable personalities in Russian history.

Moreover, new history textbooks, scheduled to be released in the fall semester, contain a description of Stalin as being an "effective manager." The creeping rehabilitation of Stalin has been under way for the past eight years, and restricting archives will help keep this process going strong.

The Soviet regime went to great lengths to conceal its heinous crimes from the public. Why would today's Russia, which boasts a democratic Constitution
and which has officially condemned the mass killings and imprisonment during the Soviet period, guard the secrets of the failed, bankrupt totalitarian state so diligently?

Perhaps because Russia's ruling elite view the Soviet model as being worthy of imitation? If so, we may soon see the mustachioed, grinning face of Stalin hanging in bureaucrats' offices all across the country -- side by side with Putin's portrait.
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NOTE: Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy from 1993 to 2007, hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

LINK: http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/1016/42/378332.htm.
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9.  WEAPON OF HISTORY 
Stanislav Kulchytsky: “The current Russian leadership is using whatever
it can extract from history to boost Russia’s imperial traditions”

By Ivan  Kapsamun, The Day Weekly Digest in English #16
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 

Last Sunday the Russian Information Agency Novosti published an interesting news item about the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril consecrating the tombstones on the graves of the Russian General Anton Denikin and the well-known Russian philosopher writers, Ivan Ilyin and Ivan Shmelev, after which a requiem was held. Then Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid flowers on the graves of these Russian great power nationalists.

While laying the flowers on Denikin’s grave, Putin noted to Archimandrite Tikhon (Superior of the Sretensky Monastery) that Dekinin “never divided Russia and thought it was utterly unacceptable to bring the country to the point of being dismembered,” NEWSru.com reports.

As he was talking to journalists after the ceremony, Putin asked them if they had read Denikin’s diaries, to which he got a vaguely negative reply coupled with a promise to do so. “You absolutely must do it! There you’ll find his reflections about Great and Little Russia. He says that no one should be allowed to interfere in our mutual relations, it has always been the concern of Russia’s alone! … It’s a crime when someone only begins to talk about the separation of Russia and the Ukraine, even if it should be White movement members or foreigners,” Putin said.

According to Archimandrite Tikhon, who was accompanying Putin, Putin told him that reading Denikin’s diaries had turned around his attitude to the general and changed “his view on Denikin’s role in history.”
 
“Putin recalled reading Denikin’s memoirs in which the latter says that, even despite his hate for the Soviet regime, a mere thought of Russia’s division is crime in itself. One of the main messages in Denikin’s literary and political work is that Russia’s division is unacceptable, especially with regard to the Little Russian land, the Ukraine,” Tikhon said.

Laying the flowers on the tombstone of Ivan Ilyin, Putin talked at length about this philosopher whom he holds in high respect. He often peruses Ilyin’s “What dismembering of Russia entails for the world”. Putin quoted ideas and excerpts from this work in his speeches on numerous occasions. In this piece Ilyin warns that a division of Russia will inevitably lead to a catastrophe.

In the graveyard of the Donskoy monastery, between the tombs of Denikin and Ilyin, rests Vladimir Kappel. a White Army general whose courage was also mentioned by Putin. Besides, flowers were laid on the grave of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Putin remarked that all these men were “true statesmen… their main distinctive feature was deep and faithful love for their homeland, Russia, and true patriotism… Tragic times, heroic men.”

Talking to Archimandrite Tikhon, Putin remembered that every time when he met Alexander Solzhenitsyn he “was astonished to see just how natural and convinced a statesman Solzhenitsyn was. … He could oppose the regime and be at odds with the state power, but the state was a constant for him.”

COMMENTARY: by Stanislav Kultchytsky, Ph.D., professor, deputy director of the Institute of Ukrainian History at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences:

“Vladimir Putin said a long time ago that the fall of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century. Anton Denikin was just the man who opposed the collapse of the Russian Empire and did a lot to help avoid it. But both General Denikin and General Wrangel eventually lost out. After Denikin’s failure in Ukraine, he could have agreed to some face-saving steps to satisfy the demands of the Ukrainian national movement in the struggle against the Bolsheviks, but he didn’t, and so the White movement suffered a historic defeat.
 
“The Russia of today is utilizing both its Bolshevik heritage, above all. the victory in the Second World War, and its pre-revolutionary history. Which is to say, the current Russian leadership is using everything it can extract from history to boost the country’s imperial traditions.
 
"Clearly, these traditions are sure to collide, but there are politicians in Russia who are hushing up these clashes. Anyone who acted in favor of the Russian or Soviet empires is now enjoying great (and often engineered) popularity in Russia.
 
“In my opinion, Ukraine shouldn’t react to Putin’s words. It is their vision and evaluation of history. We have a view of our own. For Ukraine the Denikin period became a kind of a popular bugaboo, which made the grip of Soviet Russia on Ukraine appear more acceptable. Thus the White Guards’ counterrevolution was a factor that strengthened the Soviet regime in Ukraine.”

LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/274926/
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10.  RUSSIA TO CREATE THE MINISTRY OF TRUTH? 
There seems nothing more important for the Russian government than correct interpretation of history.

By Yurii Raikhel, The Day Weekly Digest in English #16
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 

If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.
Winston Churchill
 
There seems nothing more important for the Russian government than correct interpretation of history. The crisis, oil and gas prices, businesses coming to a halt, etc., appear to concern the Kremlin rulers less than the correct understanding of history. Most importantly, it should not damage Russia’s interests.
 
There will be a commission tasked with monitoring the process and preventing such damage. Only a commission so far, but it is likely to be followed by something akin to George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue in Newspeak. Anyway, the foundation is in place.

The edict establishing the commission was made public knowledge shortly after Dmitry Medvedev declared in his blog on the eve of May 9 that of recent falsifications of history had become increasingly “cruel, hostile, and aggressive.” Now it was necessary to defend the historical truth, which is “hard and, to be honest, at times even disgusting… We will not allow anyone to cast doubt on the heroic accomplishment of our nation.” No sooner said than done.

This commission includes Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Presidential Administration; Ivan Demidov, head of the Department for Humanitarian Policies and Public Relations of the Domestic Policy Directorate of the Presidential Administration (secretary of the commission); Alu Alkhanov, Deputy Minister of Justice, ex-President of Chechnya; Natalia Norochnitskaya, president of the Foundation for Historical Perspective Research; and Nikolai Svanidze, member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.
 
This kind of commission, of course, could not do without Russian MPs Konstantin Zatulin and Sergei Markov, but it does not include Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the Presidential Administration, who has for the past several years been in charge of domestic policy. Now history will be handled by his boss, Sergei Naryshkin.

Even without reading the tasks of the commission listed in the decree, its very composition is proof of many things. It is supposed to deal with history, but there are only two experts in the field who hold administrative posts: Aleksandr Chubaryan, director of the Russian Academy’s Institute of General History, and Andrei Sakharov, director of the Academy’s Institute of Russian History. Zatulin and Markov, as well as the journalist and TV host Nikolai Svanidze are historians by training, but none has made a mark in the scholarly world.
 
Commission member Natalia Narochnitskaya holds a Ph.D. in history; she is into anti-West historical journalist — in other words, she is not a practicing scholar, either. On the other hand, some the commission members represent authorities that are, no doubt, highly competent in history: the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, FSB (secret police), Foreign Intelligence Service, Ministry of Regional Development, General Staff of the Russian Army, and so on.

One of the tasks assigned to this commission is to “generalize and analyze information concerning falsifications of historical facts and events aimed at belittling the international prestige of the Russian Federation.” If such a falsification means deliberate replacements of truth with falsehood or distortion of facts, how can this be proved?
 
There are countless examples of many historical facts that were considered falsehood but then turned out truthful. For decades the Soviet propaganda machine worked to prove that there were no secret protocols attached to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Then it was proved differently. Who was the deliberate falsifier in this case?

“Or take the Katyn massacre. There are official findings of the Burdenko Commission to the effect that the Polish officers were shot by the Nazis, but then it transpired that this was done by the Soviet authorities in 1940. However, following the logic of [Medvedev’s] edict, any quotes from Beria’s letter to Stalin, requesting permission to execute the Polish officers, would damage the Russian Federation’s prestige and should be criminally prosecuted.

It is very hard to define the meaning of the word combination “falsification of facts and events” because historical knowledge is biased. Historical methodology distinguishes between two types of historical facts: source facts versus research facts. The first is an actual event set in time and space limits; it is objective and inexhaustible. The Act of Capitulation of Nazi Germany is an undeniable historical fact. There is no point denying it, so no one has ever tried to do so.

“A historical research fact is a historical fact as it is studied by a scholar. Such facts reflect the researchers’ stand on the matter and their professional level.
 
For example, the French scholar and politician Louis-Adolphe Thiers and the Soviet Russian historian Yevgeni Tarle offered discrepant interpretations of Napoleon’s activities. A source fact is something reflected in a historical source. The historical science cannot exist without using source facts. If you study Nazi ideology, you can’t do without quoting from Mein Kampf or Benito Mussolini.

Finally, what are Russia’s interests? Who has determined them and where are they spelled out? One has to assume that the president, prime minister, Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu, and the newly established commission know them. What about others? What about people in Russia and in the former Soviet republics and other countries?

Commission member Andrei Sakharov at one time wrote a sizable monograph in which he tried to prove that the “Great Patriotic War” ended in 1944, when the Soviet troops crossed the [old] Soviet border. What followed was occupation of European countries. Now he will try to prove that this did not run counter to Russia’s interests at the time, but now it does and very much so.

During his presidency Vladimir Putin referred to Stalin as an effective manager. One ought to assume that this is the historical truth and that this answers the interests of Russia. If the Medvedev’s successor says to the contrary — as was the case with the leader of all working people — will this serve or damage the interests of Russia?

One is left to assume that this commission is being established in order to adopt the only correct view on history, as the highest instance, so to say, and that this view will be compulsory. This is nothing new in history and we all know the outcome of this practice. One is reminded of what Karl Marx had to say about tragedy and farce in history. In historical context, the Russian president’s edict obviously belongs to the latter category.

History is, most likely, just a pretext, a coverup for carrying out entirely different tasks. Sergei Markov said so in his well-known straightforward manner.

This Russian MP believes that the commission has to become a foreign political tool; that the role of major falsifiers of history is being played by the Ukrainian Orange leaders, Saakashvili’s regime in Georgia, and the governments of Estonia and Latvia: “Whereas the Ukrainian government is making every effort in its struggle for historical falsehood, we can’t direct our poor, miserable historians to the front lines of struggle for historical truth.”
 
According to Markov, history is a matter of [Russia’s] national security and requires government intervention. Sounds like a bad joke.

Zatulin goes even further: “We must define what an attempt to falsify Russian history actually is. There is no private ownership of Russian or Ukrainian history. We cannot look on silently as they are proceeding to revise the Nuremberg judgments, trying to portray the USSR’s victory in the Second World War as a sad event marking the beginning of occupation of the Baltic countries and Ukraine.”
 
He says that Russia must show its response on the government level and not only by taking educational measures. Then what measures? “This commission will be able to coordinate the efforts of ministries and agencies to draw attention to the glaring facts of distorted history, discuss various response measures, including special economic measures against countries where falsification of history has become the official policy.”

In other words, if Moscow decides that the wrong kind of book has been published or a television program broadcast in a neighboring country, it should cut off gas supply, recall the ambassador, sever air, motor, railroad and postal connection, or detect pesticides in the mineral water, wine or candies [imported from that country].
 
No such actions are envisaged with regard to Japan that claims a part of Russian territory and whose authors often challenge the results of the Second World War. Russia doesn’t seem to have problems other than the content of textbooks and scholarly publications in Ukraine and the Baltic countries. No one in Moscow cares about what is being published in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, or Romania. Whence this selectivity?

In all likelihood, the newly established commission has to address also purely domestic tasks. Russia’s troglodytic anti-Americanism has exhausted itself and there is nothing more it can do. Besides, the image of treacherous Yankees looks a bit too far-fetched.
 
But there are Ukraine and the Baltic countries right next door. Portraying them as enemies is much easier. Moreover, there is just a short distance between the Soviet-time friendship between brotherly peoples to officially promoted hostility.

The population of Russia is being convinced that their enemy is close by, right outside the state border, and it is the source of all the problems this big country is experiencing. The idea is being instilled in Russians’ minds that the country’s ill-wishing neighbors refuse to recognize its grandeur, past, present, and future victories, thus encroaching on its national security. Hence Russia must respond, and it does within the limits of its understanding and capacity.
 
However, the question is, What if this response backfires?
 
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/274927/
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U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC): http://www.usubc.org
Promoting U.S.-Ukraine business relations & investment since 1995.
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11.  RUSSIAN PRESIDENT ANGERED BY 'FALSEHOODS' OVER WWII 
 
Agence France Presse (AFP), Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 8, 2009

MOSCOW - President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday lashed out at what he said were growing attempts to falsify the history of World War II,
saying Russia's heroism in the conflict should never be put into doubt.

The remarks by Medvedev, which coincide with the celebration of Victory Day in the country on Saturday, reflect increasing frustration in Russia with the position of its ex-Communist Bloc western neighbours towards the conflict.

"We are all the more often encountering what are called historical falsehoods. Also such attempts are becoming tougher, more malicious and aggressive," Medvedev said in comments on his video blog. "It seems that time is distancing us more and more from the war."

"We must not close our eyes to the terrible truth of war. And on the other side we cannot allow anyone to put the heroic deed of our people into doubt," he said.

Western historians of the period have long irritated Russia by emphasising how strategic errors by wartime dictator Joseph Stalin and brutal purges of his top officials complicated the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.
 
ANTI-SOVIET WARTIME MOVEMENTS IN POLAND, UKRAINE, BALTICS
In recent years, the celebration of anti-Soviet wartime resistance movements in Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States has also angered the Kremlin.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in 2007 posthumously decorated Roman Shukhevych, the leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a
controversial group that fought Soviet security forces and was accused of Nazi collaboration.

No-one however disputes the Soviet Union's suffering in the war -- according to the Russian authorities 8.6 million Soviet soldiers and 27-28 million civilians were killed in the conflict.
 
RUSSIA HAS TO PROVE AGAIN THE "HISTORICAL TRUTH"
Medvedev said that while it was natural that different interpretations of the war would emerge over time, Russia now had to prove again the "historical truth" of the conflict. "This is hard and sometimes even, to be honest, disagreeable. But it has to be done."

His comments come as the government considers putting a controversial bill towards parliament that would make it a crime to "rehabilitate Nazism" by denying the Soviet victory in World War II.

Ruling party lawmaker Varely Ryazansky said earlier this month that the government should hand the bill to parliament in June and it was expected to receive cross-party support, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

However some liberal observers have condemned the planned law -- initiated by long serving cabinet minister and ruling party stalwart Sergei Shoigu
-- as a needless move that could be used against freedom of speech.

In a sign the debate still arouses passions, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper this week published for the first time letters by prominent Soviet writer and war veteran Viktor Astafyev bitterly critical of the Soviet leadership.

"Only criminals could have messed up their own people in such a way. Only enemies could have led an army like this during a war. Only idiots could have held an army under fear and suspicion," he wrote in a letter from 1990.

Russia, whose increasingly assertive behaviour under Medvedev and his predecessor Vladimir Putin has worried the West over the past years, is to mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany with a military parade in Red Square.

The parade, annual fixture in the Soviet Union which sees nuclear-capable missiles shown off in the centre of town, was revived last year following an order by Putin. The revival of the parade by Putin -- who also restored the music for the Soviet national anthem -- is a throwback to the days when Soviet leaders would peer at the proceedings from the top of Lenin's mausoleum.
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12.  HISTORY: WITH APOLOGIES TO ORWELL
Like truth, history is what Moscow says it is.
 
By Galina Stolyarova, Writer, The St. Petersburg Times
Transitions Online, Prague, Czech Republic, Wed, 27 May 2009

ST. PETERSBURG - It is an open secret that Moscow has zero tolerance for dissent. Opposition demonstrations are put down using riot police, while laws are changed with impressive determination to threaten and marginalize those who challenge the authorities. This month, President Dmitry Medvedev sent a new warning sign to critics of the Kremlin by creating a commission to fight what the Russian leader called "the falsification of Russian history."

Speaking on his video blog in early May, shortly before the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Medvedev claimed that "historical falsifications are becoming more frequent." "Attempts to distort Russian history are becoming tough, cruel, and aggressive," the president said.

"We will never forget that our country, the Soviet Union, made a decisive contribution to the outcome of the Second World War, that it was precisely our people who destroyed Nazism [and] determined the fate of the whole world," Medvedev said.
 
EQUATING COMMUNISM WITH NAZISM
Moscow has long been annoyed that many people in Eastern Europe and the Baltics equate communism with Nazism, and regard the postwar Soviet
presence as unwanted dominance. Russia, by contrast, says it liberated those countries from fascism and thus deserves only gratitude.
 
The Kremlin has been most sensitive to foreign criticism of Russian policies during and after the war, and mainstream Russian politicians tend to interpret critical comments about the Soviet occupation as cruel falsifications.

According to the decree that founded the commission, the alleged falsifications are made with an eye "to diminish the international prestige of Russia." The commission, according to Medvedev, must develop an effective strategy to fight against what the Russian president firmly believes is damaging his country.

Most of the commission's 28 members, led by Sergei Naryshkin, head of the presidential administration, are experts in security or education. Medvedev's initiative enjoyed a tremendous welcome from top politicians and the public. Many Russian officials have been suggesting similar moves for months. Sergei Shoigu, the emergency situations minister, proposed at a February meeting with war veterans in Volgograd that "to belittle the role of the USSR in the Second World War" be made a crime.

In a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center around the time of Victory Day, which Russia celebrates on 9 May, 60 percent of the respondents favored criminal penalties for denying the Soviet victory in World War II, while 26 percent opposed it.

Seventy-seven percent of the poll's participants said the role of the Soviet army in liberating Eastern Europe from fascism had positive consequences and allowed these states to develop. Eleven percent, on the other hand, said the Soviets had imposed their own rule in Eastern Europe and deprived the countries in that region of the chance to choose their own way.

The State Duma is already drafting legislation that would make Shoigu's idea a reality. The draft law recommends up to three years in prison for those who "diminish the Soviet victory" and equates such statements with promoting Nazism. The document would also make it possible to deny entry to Russia to foreign politicians who express views that annoy the Kremlin.

One wonders whether the 11 percent of respondents who confided their highly unpopular views to pollsters could face trial - if the law were passed.

LIBERATORS, NOT OCCUPIERS
Alexander Torshin, the first vice speaker of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament's upper house, has suggested that the commission pay close attention to the coverage of contemporary history. Torshin is most alarmed, for example, by the "wrong interpretation in the West" of the August 2008 events in South Ossetia.
 
The official insists that the events be referred to as "a conflict between Georgia and Ossetia" and argues that the commission must confront and fight all attempts to talk about "the Russian intervention" and "the Russian occupation of Georgian territory" because such views are nothing but "blatant falsifications."

All this ardent rhetoric has a strong flavor of the Ministry of Truth, straight out of George Orwell's novel 1984 Just like the other ministries in the novel, the Ministry of Truth is a misnomer, since it "corrects" history to present events in a desired light.

TO REWRITE OR POLISH HISTORY
Medvedev's commission seems to have been created with the same goal in mind - to rewrite or polish history, and punish dissent and alternative opinions in order to achieve propaganda aims.  Sending a large group of government officials, most with a background in security, on a truth-seeking mission can result at best in a fruitless crusade and at worst in repression. Essentially, Medvedev has created a commission against dissent.

Historical truth cannot be established by a government commission. War tribunals investigate war crimes and their verdicts are based on facts, not opinions. Russia already has laws against inciting ethnic and social hatred, and against promoting fascism.

On a diplomatic level, creating such a commission is a sign of weakness, as it indicates a failure to win the discussion using diplomatic or even legal tools. If someone says something racist or fascist, take them to court or prove them wrong. No bureaucratic weapons are needed for that. And it would be naïve to suppose that the Western politicians and Russian human rights advocates whose faces and voices have been annoying the Kremlin would suddenly stop speaking their minds.
 
RUSSIAN PEOPLE REMAIN IN THE DARK
As for historical falsifications, Russian people remain in the dark about so many years of their own history, including World War II, that another commission would be appropriate: one that would reveal unknown facts about, for instance, the Red Terror, or even the war itself.
 
Some Russian human rights groups, Memorial, for example, are still digging into Soviet history - only to endure strong resistance from the authorities and to realize that the archives of the country's security services still contain a great many secrets, which, if revealed, would change popular understanding of Soviet history.
 
Russia is still not over its totalitarian past - rather, the country's leaders still obviously find inspiration in Soviet-era, imperial-style politics, as the appearance of this new commission suggests. The country's top politicians have never officially apologized for the crimes committed by the Soviet regime.
 
But that won't stop Moscow from going after the people whose memories of those crimes don't exactly inspire gratitude.

LINK: www.tol.cz
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13.  UKRAINE RELEASES PREVIOUSLY SECRET DOCUMENTS
Ukrainian Intelligence Promotes Lustration in Ukraine. Yushchenko attacks Ukraine's Soviet past
 
Analysis & Commentary: By Taras Kuzio
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol 6, Issue 108
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Fri, June 5, 2009

On May 11 in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, outlined how previously secret documents from 1917-1991 were being released that will reveal details about the "crimes of communism." Nalyvaychenko described the opening of formerly secret documents and plans to proceed with prosecutions as "the launch of a Ukrainian version of lustration."
 
The documents reveal Soviet crimes against Ukrainians fighting for independence from 1917-1920, the 1933 artificial famine and the nationalist partisan struggle from 1942 to the early 1950's. Nalyvaychenko also revealed that the secret documents exposed crimes committed against other nationals, including Poles living in Ukraine. These began in 1937-38 and those whom the NKVD did not then murder were later murdered in the Kharkiv prisons (and Katyn forest) in 1940.

The director of the SBU's archives Volodymyr Vyatovych revealed that the SBU had already compiled 136 names of individuals involved in committing crimes against humanity during the famine. These included NKVD officers, senior members of the communist party and those who had signed documents.
 
The manner in which the crimes were organized was the basis for the allegation that the famine was a pre-planned "genocide" against Ukraine (Ukrayinska Pravda, May 28).

Russia has counter-attacked the claims of "genocide" by using the argument that the famine was felt throughout the USSR and was an outcome of collectivization and severe weather. This view has long been prevalent within left-wing and pro-Soviet political and academic circles in the West.
 
Nalyvaychenko replied to these Russian counter-claims by asserting that they had not studied the formerly secret documents made publicly available by the SBU. The SBU had requested its Russian counterparts to open secret Russian documents on Soviet repression, but this had been rebutted.
 
DAY OF MEMORY OF VICTIMS
"At first the Tsulag was established in Ukraine and then later the Gulag that we all know about," Nalyvaychenko said. The Tsulag was established in 1919 in Ukraine and included 18 locations. On May 21, the official Day of Memory of Victims of Political Repressions, Yushchenko attended a commemoration at one the most infamous of these in the Bykivnia forest outside Kyiv.
 
The area was established as a State Historical and Memorial Preserve by a resolution adopted by the 2001 Yushchenko government. The SBU had identified 14,000 names of the estimated 100,000 victims buried in Bykivnia.

Nalyvaychenko described how repressive Soviet agencies surrounded Ukrainian oblasts to prevent food entering them. These same units were also stationed on the Crimean border with Ukraine (then within the Russian SFSR).
 
Nalyvychenko's assurances that the SBU's work on Soviet crimes was not directed against Russia will fall on deaf ears in Moscow, especially following President Dmitry Medvedev's establishment of a special commission to "counteract attempts to falsify history."
 
Nalyvaychenko revealed that a 226-page collection of materials showed how in addition to the deaths caused by the famine many others were shot, and these included "Russians, Germans, Jews and Ukrainians" (www.radiosvoboda.org, May 28). The SBU has also investigated the 1944 deportation of 300,000 Crimean Tatars and criminal cases against the Tatar nationalist Milly Firqa organization in the 1920's (Channel 5, May 18).

The SBU chief believed that it would only require a short period of time to collect eye-witness accounts and launch criminal proceedings. These would investigate the repeated "actions of criminal groups and the crimes of repressive agencies in the first place against the civilian population" (Ukrayinska Pravda, May 28). Soviet repression included mass murder of the civilian population, mass deportations and placing the children of those sentenced or murdered into orphanages.
 
LAUNCHING CRIMINAL CHARGES
Launching criminal charges and lustration within Ukraine might be more difficult than placing this in the hands of the international courts. Ukraine's judiciary and prosecutor's office are highly corrupt and have not demonstrated sufficient competence in pursuing high profile cases, such as investigating the organizers of journalist Georgi Gongadze's murder or Yushchenko's poisoning.
 
Parliament might also prove unsupportive. Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych described the SBU's lustration plans for launching criminal charges in relation to the famine as "provocative and irresponsible" (Ukrayinska Pravda, May 27). Yanukovych condemned attempts by Yushchenko to play the nationalist card by using the famine to stay in power, potentially further dividing the country and worsening relations with Russia.

President Yushchenko replied to such domestic critics as individuals whose "dream is a gubernia where they would be uncontrolled lords," a place "without Ukrainian culture and without the Ukrainian language" (www.president.gov.ua, May 17).
 
Nalyvaychenko replied to Yanukovych that Soviet repression and the famine had been most severe in the Donbas and Zaporizhzhia oblast, three regional strongholds. He pointed out that since 2006, Ukrainian legislation asserts that the famine was an "act of genocide against the Ukrainian people," prosecution for which falls within the criminal code.
 
The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory had compiled nearly 900,000 names of Ukrainians who died in the famine. The SBU and the institute continued to work on the documents, collect eye-witness statements and locate mass burial grounds. "In this criminal case there is a serious possibility of success in court," Nalyvaychenko said (Ukrayinska Pravda, June 3).

The lustration of former communist officials has not been the norm in the majority of the 27 post-communist states. Different degrees of lustration were undertaken in Germany and within ten Central Eastern and Baltic states. The toughest lustration legislation was adopted in the Czech Republic and Germany.
 
It is noticeable, however, from this list of countries that no CIS state including Georgia has undertaken lustration. This could now change with Ukraine following Central-Eastern Europe in launching the lustration of communist crimes against humanity.
 
NATION BUILDING & HISTORICAL MEMORY
The issues of nation building and historical memory have become a personal crusade for President Yushchenko. At his Bykivnia speech, Yushchenko called for the removal of all the communist "symbols of murder" (www.president.gov.ua, May 17). Following the disintegration of the USSR, Ukrainian democratization could never be divorced from nation and state building.
 
Yushchenko's crusade against Soviet crimes is intimately bound up with its democratization and integration into Europe. This explains Moscow's hostility as it is in the throes of covering up Soviet crimes, and building an autocracy grounded in a synthesis of nationalism and Soviet rule.
 
LINK:  http://www.jamestown.org
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14.  A BACKWARD TRADITION OF MANIPULATING HISTORY
 
Analysis & Commentary: By Vladimir Ryzhkov, Russian State Duma
Deputy, 1993 to 2007; Host, political talk show on Ekho Moskvy.
Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 28, 2009
 
The Kremlin opened a new front against its "internal and external enemies" on May 19, when President Dmitry Medvedev created a presidential commission "for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia's interests."
 
The 28-member commission includes Kremlin-friendly conservatives such as State Duma deputies and United Russia members Konstantin Zatulin and Sergei Markov as well as representatives from the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry.
 
The commission also has representatives from the Defense Ministry, which has posted on its web site an article titled "Fabrications and Falsifications of the Role of the Soviet Union at the Beginning of World War II" that argues that the real reason the war began was because of "Poland's refusal to fulfill German demands ... Germany's demands were very reasonable."
 
INCREASING POWER AND CONTROL
But the real purpose of the commission has less to do with history than it does with increasing the authorities' power and control during a highly instable period caused by the economic crisis.

By attempting to impose its own "correct" interpretation of Russia's complex and tragic past, the Kremlin is taking another major step toward violating Articles 13 and 29 of the Constitution, which guarantee protection against political persecution. The big winners in this initiative are the siloviki, who have long sought a legal pretext for persecuting and suppressing the opposition.

A couple of years ago, the siloviki pushed a series of broadly worded laws through the Duma to "fight extremism" that can be interpreted anyway they want.
 
As a result, the aggressive, pro-Kremlin Nashi movement is allocated prime space in the center of Moscow to carry out demonstrations against the opposition and other "enemies of the state," while peaceful demonstrations by pensioners and human rights organizations are prohibited because the government considers them "extremists."
 
The FSB -- clearly taking a page from the KGB's 5th Division, infamous for repressing and jailing Soviet dissidents -- has created a special division to watch and control opposition groups.
 
58TH CLAUSE OF THE CRIMINAL CODE
But these powers are not sufficient for the siloviki to win its battle against the opposition. The problem is the new anti-extremism laws require that the accused be guilty of a concrete action, and it has proven difficult to lock people up for peaceful protests in defense of free speech or human rights. The siloviki have long dreamed of having a clause in the Criminal Code that would allow them to arrest and imprison critics of the regime for their ideas and statements.
 
This is exactly what was done during Josef Stalin's rule. He created the 58th clause of the Criminal Code on "counterrevolutionary activity," which guaranteed that anyone found guilty of "agitation and propaganda" against the Soviet authorities would be sent straight to the gulag.

Leonid Brezhnev continued this tradition during his 18 years in power. He created the 70th and 190th clauses of the Criminal Code concerning "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" and "slanderous fabrications that discredited the Soviet system." These clauses served as the formal basis to sentence Vladimir Bukovsky, Pyotr Grigorenko, Valeria Novodvorskaya, Zhores Medvedev, Andrei Almarik and many others to years in confinement in psychiatric institutions.

HISTORICAL FALSIFICATION
In the shadows of this harrowing legacy, Medvedev has created the commission on historical falsification. He paid particular attention to the problem of "revising the results of World War II." Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov went even further, calling for criminal prosecution for anyone "repudiating the results of World War II."
 
Mironov has targeted those who question the bravery of the Red Army and Soviet people during World War II. If his proposal becomes law, a Russian or foreigner who doubts the "genius" of Stalin as commander-in-chief during World War II or questions whether the people in the Warsaw Pact nations really "obtained their freedom" could be sent to prison for three to five years.
 
HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS NOT RELEASED
At the same time, authorities have not released historical documents that could shed light on the real -- albeit at times painful and incriminating -- truth of Russian and Soviet history, including World War II.
 
In fact, the head of Medvedev's commission on historical falsification, presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Naryshkin, also heads the agency charged with declassifying archived materials. Meanwhile, new textbooks for schools are being prepared that describe Stalin as an "effective manager."

This creates a direct threat to historians and ordinary citizens trying to research the history of the war objectively. Despite the difficulties in getting archived materials, imagine what might happen to a leading Russian historian who wrote a book about Stalin's mistakes and crimes during the war. He could easily be charged with "revising the results of World War II" and sentenced to prison.

The irony in this farce is that the worst falsifiers of history by far have been Russian and Soviet authorities. The Romanovs rewrote the history regarding the interregnum Time of Troubles from 1598 to 1613 to cast themselves in a better light. The Bolsheviks justified the October Revolution, the Red Terror and years of dictatorship by relying on Marxist dialectical materialism.
 
The main Bolshevik historian, Mikhail Pokrovsky, hit the nail on the head when he coined the phrase, "History is always politics viewed backwards." Stalin justified his Great Terror by writing it off as an "aggravated phase of the class struggle" and whitewashed over his own mistakes made prior to and during the war.
 
During Leonid Brezhnev's years, history books were revised to depict a relatively small military operation in 1943 that Brezhnev participated in at Cape Myskhako, near Novorossiisk, as a turning point in the war. Brezhnev turned this battle into a sensationalized autobiography titled "Malaya Zemlya," which later became the butt of many jokes against the geriatric, self-absorbed leader.

Now, the Kremlin leaders are reviving the Stalinist cult in order to justify their own violations of human rights. They believe that a "firm hand" is necessary to deal effectively with the Russian character and the country's huge territorial expanse. The power vertical, we are told, is the most effective form of government for Russia, considering its "unique historical and cultural tradition."

Moreover, the Kremlin interprets criticism of Stalin's crimes as an attack on its own authoritarianism. This is not surprising considering that today's leaders have made use of many weapons from Stalin's arsenal by creating a police state and the myth that Russia is encircled by enemies, including a fifth column implanted inside the country.

It is highly symbolic that the freshly painted portrait of Stalin's chief prosecutor-cum-henchman, Andrei Vyshinsky, who also served as foreign minister from 1949 to 1953, adorns the corridors of the Foreign Ministry.
 
Vyshinsky summed up the struggle against Stalin's enemies in an "academic article" in 1937, writing, "Their plots were exposed and the conspirators were seized and ruthlessly crushed." A fitting battle cry for all of the siloviki in their efforts to fortify the power vertical even more.
 
LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1016/42/377498.htm
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15.  FOLLOWING IN GENERAL DENIKIN'S PATHWAYS 
On the “historical curse” of the Ukrainian nation - rifts and mutual non-acceptance of leaders

Analysis & Commentary: By Ihor Losev, The Day Weekly Digest
in English #17, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 

The ambition of Russia’s current government to work out a new Russian ideology is quite easy to explain. Communism, which perpetuated the Russian Empire in the form of the Soviet Union, no longer has sway with the masses. General Denikin, while in emigration, admitted openly that if he had known that the Bolsheviks would preserve the empire, he would never have fought them.

However, today the red ideology can be accepted only by part of Russia’s society, and this part is not a large one. Where would one put the oligarchs then? According to the Moscow-based political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky, Putin is also one of them. For this reason a somewhat unnatural ideological amalgam was attempted uniting the “white” and the “red” ideas, which are largely incompatible.

However, these two ideas have a certain common foundation that permits consensus, at least in principle. This foundation is, for one, the imperial chauvinism, which has grown markedly within Russia’s Communist Party. Another component is the colossal suspicion with regard to the West and democratic society.
 
There is also the subconscious belief that the nations of the former empire are inferior to Russians and that the Russian nation has a special right to manage the lives of the rest of the people in the region and bring to them the “light” emanating from either the communist or Russia-centered chauvinist idea.

The first steps to hammering out this kind of ideological amalgam, a sort of ideological mosaic on an imperial basis, were taken a long time ago. Putin succeeded in uniting the Moscow patriarchate and the fiercely anticommunist and anti-Soviet Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Not all Russians residing abroad accepted this. Many believers were disgusted at what they felt was a “union of Cheka officers and the White Guard.”

In this context the visit Putin paid to the tombs of Denikin and Ilyin was perfectly purposeful. If you think about the red Kremlin stars coupled with the White Guard tricolor and Russian generals wearing sickle and hammer on their sleeves and the imperial eagles in the cockades, the picture becomes more complete. So Putin’s and Medvedev’s interest in Ilyin’s completely reactionary imperial political philosophy was not spontaneous.

Back in the early 1990s the well-known Nikita Mikhalkov, whose ancestors were the Russian tsars’ lackeys and left a lasting legacy in the Mykhaklov dynasty with their attitude to the powers that be, was not prevented by this fact from teaching people to love the proletariat.
 
He also wrote the texts of the USSR anthem followed by one for the Russian anthem (the music was the same). He tried, in vain, to help Alexander Rutskoy, the then vice president of the Russian Federation, develop a liking for Ilyin’s works.

It should be mentioned that Ilyn’s writings are the most consistent line of argument justifying the Russian Empire as a kind of modern-time Byzantium that is on a mission to resist the “morally corrupt West” and block any intentions of the nations both inside and just outside the empire to go “anarchic,” i.e., independent.

However, Putin’s liking for Ilyin’s heritage contains a sensitive nuance. Leonid Mlechin, a Moscow-based historian and writer, quotes an interesting letter to Ilyin written by Roman Gul, a White Guard migr .
 
In his letter Gul accuses the philosopher of publishing laudatory articles on Adolf Hitler and of his out-and-out anti-Semitism. Putin has found nice company in Ilyin! Where is the “anti-Nazi” commission set up by Medvedev looking? The whole thing smacks of a bad propaganda farce by the Kremlin.
 
GENERAL DENIKIN BRINGS DESTRUCTION TO UKRAINE
In many ways General Denikin symbolizes not only the fiasco of the White movement, but also the inevitability of this failure. In the multinational Russian Empire the slogan of the “one and indivisible” offered no chances for victory.
 
When many people who did not even like the Bolsheviks that much saw what Denikin’s forces were doing in Kyiv (executing Ukrainian intellectuals, banning the Ukrainian language, and disbanding the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences), and in Ukrainian villages (executions and physical punishment), they were more scared by Denikin’s blunt chauvinism than by the atrocities perpetrated by the Bolsheviks.

When the Denikinites, while on a march toward Moscow, started “installing order” in villages by using gallows and ramrods, Lenin brightened up in the Kremlin, contently rubbing his hands and saying: “That’s it! The peasants are now ours!”

Former Russian Imperial Guard General Karl-Gustav Mannerheim, who had defeated the Communists in Finland, was able to seize Petrograd at one stroke. However, he demanded from his former comrades-in-arms to recognize Finland’s independence.
 
Denikin said in response that Mannerheim, the traitor, would be the first one whom he would have hanged after the victory over the Bolsheviks. Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak also refused to comply.
 
Poles proposed joining forces with Denikin against the Bolsheviks in exchange for recognition of Poland’s independence. Although his mother was Polish, Denikin replied haughtily to the Polish leaders: “I don’t trade in the fatherland.”
 
Another military leader, General Nikolai Yudenich, whose army was mainly based in Estonia, flatly refused to recognize Estonia’s independence. The outcome of this blunt chauvinism is well-known.

Fighting against the Bolsheviks, Denikin sent very large forces to “pacify” the peoples in the Northern Caucasus. At least a third of his army was dealing with the Chechens, Ingushes, Karachais, etc. Denikin’s generals acted there exactly the same way as Yeltsyn’s and Putin’s generals did in Chechnya in the late 20th century.

Mikhail Bulgakov, who was then in the Northern Caucasus as a mobilized doctor, wrote in his diary: “I’d bet my life that it will come to no good. And for good reason—the villages are ruined.”
 
Another large part of Denikin’s army occupied Ukraine. It succeeded in ousting the Red Army quite quickly and pushing the UNR’s army back. But then Nestor Makhno’s insurgents started giving Denikin great trouble in the south on the 1,000-kilometer-long front.

Denikin had a most serious enemy in Makhno. So far as the military was concerned, the Makhnovites were worthy continuators of the Zaporozhian Cossack tradition. One of Denikin’s generals said of Makhno’s army in his reports to the General Staff: “In terms of military prowess they are doing an outstanding job. Their cavalry commands admiration.”
 
"HISTORICAL CURSE" OF THE UKRAINIAN NATION
Rifts and mutual non-acceptance of the leaders
 
If this army had joined the UNR’s armed forces, who knows, we could be celebrating the 89th, rather than the 18th, anniversary of Ukraine’s independence this year. Once again we are returning to the “historical curse” of the Ukrainian nation—rifts and mutual non-acceptance of the leaders.

The war against Ukraine turned out to be disastrous for Denikin and the entire White movement. Interestingly, Winston Churchill advised Denikin not to deal with Ukraine but go straight to Moscow and not to scatter forces. But Denikin’s imperial instinct was greater than the elementary instinct of self-preservation.
 
Is it possible that Putin is Denikin’s true follower in his attitude toward Ukraine?
 
In defiance of all rational arguments and the laws of military science, the White general swooped down on the UNR. Mykola Kapustiansky, a UNR army general, described in his memories what this led to: “Unfortunately, General Denikin refused to rely on the strong support of the Ukrainian Army, bring together all the forces and march through Orel to Moscow. Instead, he made an absurd strategic decision to use his army’s left flank to fight Ukraine. Thus, he ruined both our front and his victorious raid.”
 
DENIKIN LOST FIGHTING UKRAINIAN INSURGENTS
Denikin lost a great part of his army fighting Ukrainian insurgents. Simple Ukrainian men destroyed his elite regiments. With a slashing drive Makhno’s cavalry seized Berdiansk, where Denikin lost hundreds of thousands of shells and millions of cartridges. As the Russian author Sergei Semanov wrote in his novel Under the Black Banner (1993): “Makhno was known all over Ukraine through the grapevine as the defeater of Denikin.”

The UNR’s army gave battles to Denikin in the Odesa and Podilia regions, inflicting heavy losses. Besides, a great number of insurgent detachments fought against Denikinites in the Dnipro region. Denikin’s imperial venture had a predictable end—a complete failure. Denikin’s army was not only destroyed on the front but it also decayed on the inside.

A certain part of our society looks at the White movement through rose-colored glasses. But in fact, there were mass military crimes, White terror (even though it was on a smaller scale and less sadistic than what Red army did), robbery and theft, hard drinking, and drugs.
 
Baron Pyotr Wrangel, one of the clear-headed and pragmatic leaders of White army, once said: “The voluntary army discredited itself by robbery and violence. It was a total failure. We cannot go under the same banner of a voluntary army anymore. We need some other banner. An army that is accustomed to violence and arbitrary rule, robbery and heavy drinking and led by a commander who corrupts it with his own example was unable to create Russia.”
 
MASS JEWISH POGROMS, GENUINE UNFEIGNED HORROR
There is one more dark side to the history of Denikin’s army, which is being hushed up by the present-day followers of the general - mass Jewish pogroms.

In his article Pytka strakhom (Torture by Fear) Vasily Shulgin, one of the ideologists of the White movement, described what was happening in Kyiv and many other big and small towns of Ukraine under Denikin’s occupation. “At night medieval life comes out and fills the streets of Kyiv. In the dead silence and emptiness of the night a heart-splitting scream is let out. It’s the Jews screaming. Screaming for fear…

“In the darkness of the street a group of armed men with bayonets appears. On seeing them, huge five- and six-storied buildings begin to howl from top to bottom… Entire streets, gripped by deadly fear, are crying in nonhuman voices, trembling over their lives. This is genuine, unfeigned horror—a true torture that the entire Jewish population is being subjected to.

“The Russian population is listening to the horrible screams coming from thousands of hearts under this ‘torture by fear.’ They are thinking: Will the Jews learn anything during these nights? Will they understand what it means to destroy states they haven’t built? Will they understand what it means to follow the recipe of ‘Karl Marx, a great scholar,’ and pit one class against another? Will they grasp what it means to implement the principles of ‘people’s rule’ in Russia?
 
"Will they understand the essence of the socialism that has produced the Bolsheviks from its depths? Will they realize what they need to do now? Will they now curse in all synagogues and houses of prayer before the face of the entire people those of their own tribe who facilitated the revolt? Will the Jewish nation repent, beating itself on the chest, its head in ashes? Will it repent of such and such sins committed by the sons of Israel in the Bolshevik frenzy?” (Quoted after Ostrovsky, Z. Evreiskie pogromy (Jewish Pogroms). 1918–1921. Moscow, 1926, p. 17-18.)

These thoughts could perfectly fit into Mein Kampf.

Did Denikin do anything to stop this, as Shulgin called it, “educational measure”? Unfortunately, history is silent on this. Denikin’s views were no different than those of Shulgin, and Shulgin’s views were similar to those of Ilyin, who is highly respected by present Russian leaders.

After Putin’s speech at the cemetery it was very significant that communists Gennady Ziuganov and Petro Symonenko did not say a word, even though Denikin’s volunteers hanged, cut into pieces, and shot Bolsheviks with great enthusiasm. But the fact that communists do not say a word about it is a totally natural thing because Denikin’s ideals about “one and indivisible” Russia have been their ideals for a long time now.

Russian communists openly declare this, whereas communists in Ukraine (I cannot bring myself to call them Ukrainian) shyly hide behind the fig leaf of the union of brotherly nations.
 
Putin is trying to make an ideological and political synthesis of the communist and the White movement ideologies. So far he has been successful doing this on the time-tested foundnation of Russian chauvinism and great-power policy.

Until the last day of his life Denikin did not understand the reason of his defeat. It looks like his ideological followers do not understand anything about it and have not learn any good lessons from the past.
 
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/275545/
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16.  PUTIN USES ANNIVERSARY OF GENERAL DENIKIN TO TELL WEST TO
STOP INTERFERING IN THE AFFAIRS OF "LITTLE RUSSIA" (UKRAINE)
 
Analysis & Commentary: by Yuri Zarakhovich
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 6, Issue 106
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Wed, June 3, 2009

On May 24 Russian Prime minister Vladimir Putin visited the Sretensk Monastery's cemetery in Moscow, laying flowers on the graves of the White Russian generals Anton Denikin and Vladimir Kappel; emigre nationalist philosopher and the leading ideologist of the White cause Ivan Ilyin, emigre writer Ivan Shmelyev and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
 
The remains of Denikin, Ilyin, Shmelev and Kappel had been reinterred in Moscow in the 2000's from graves in the United States, Switzerland, France and China respectively in a symbolic gesture of healing the Russian civil war rift. Putin was accompanied on his visit to the cemetery by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, the father superior of the Sretensk Monastery.

Shevkunov is a leader of the most conservative, nationalist and monarchist wing within the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), close to the new Patriarch Cyril. He has also been known for his close links to Putin.
 
In fact, Putin had chosen him to prepare the reunification of the ROC and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) which took place in May 2007, with the ROCOR becoming part of the ROC. Shevkunov has neither confirmed nor denied persistent rumors that he is Putin's confessor, but he has emphasized his allegiance to him.
 
In 2001 Shevkunov said: "Vladimir Putin is indeed an Orthodox Christian believer...who confesses, takes Communion and realizes his responsibility to God for the high service entrusted him, and for his immortal soul...He who really loves Russia and wishes it well, can only pray for Vladimir, placed at the head of Russia by God's will" (Izvestia, December 8, 2001). It was through Shevkunov that Putin publicly disclosed his visit to the cemetery.

According to Shevkunov, Putin cited Denikin's suggestion that "No-one must be allowed to interfere in relations between us, ‘big Russia,' and ‘little Russia' -that is Ukraine. This was always a purely Russian affair." Putin added that Denikin viewed any movement toward disunity between Russia and Ukraine as "impermissible."
 
THE LITTLE RUSSIAN LAND - UKRAINE
Shevkunov also told the journalists that Putin "recalled reading Denikin's memoirs in which the latter said that despite his hostility to Soviet power, even to think about the dismemberment of Russia was a crime ...especially when talking about the little Russian land - Ukraine" (www.grani.ru, May 25).

Indeed, an impeccably honest individual, patriot and talented writer, General Denikin emerged as the leader of the White government in southern Russia, which in 1919 almost toppled the Bolshevik regime. Only 130 miles lay between his advancing troops and Moscow.

However, the Denikin movement collapsed owing to his intransigence toward the aspirations of non-Russian nationals within the empire. His insistence on seeing them all as subjects of the "one and indivisible Russia" alienated Poles, Ukrainians, Georgians, Finns, and many others from the idea of a broad-based anti-Bolshevik united front, which was the only hope of putting down Lenin's revolutionaries. Now, in the current political context, Putin's invoking Denikin's political dictums might suggest that there is trouble ahead.
 
PUTIN CONTEMPTUOUS OF UKRAINIAN STATEHOOD
Putin has always been contemptuous of Ukrainian statehood. In April 2008, Putin was quoted by the Moscow-based Kommersant as telling President George W. Bush: "Ukraine is not a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territory is in eastern Europe, and another part - a significant part - was given to it by Russia." Putin clearly let Bush understand that NATO membership for Ukraine, might risk Russia taking over the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine (Kommersant, April 7, 2007).

In August 2008 Putin was closely involved in successfully taking over the breakaway Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - and getting away with it - and with the worsening of the Russian economic crisis he might not wait for Ukraine's NATO membership as an excuse.
 
Sources in Ukraine and one senior Western diplomat in Moscow confirmed to Jamestown that Russia continues to issue passports to citizens in the Crimea. Russia had used the same pattern in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, until the number of Russian citizens reached 95 percent -and Moscow "had" to protect its citizens.
 
ANOTHER METHOD OF HANDLING UKRAINE
Another method of handling Ukraine is by using Russia's "pipeline troops." On May 29, Putin warned that Russia might again turn off gas supplies to Ukraine, based on its failure to pay (www.news.ru.com, May 29). Moscow has insisted for some time that one way out of this deadlock for Ukraine is to turn over its natural gas transportation system to Russia -along with its political independence.

The homage paid by Putin to Ilyin's grave on his visit to the Sretensk Monastery cemetery makes his actions and intentions appear particularly ominous. Ilyin has long been Putin's spiritual guru, to the extent that he cited him in his presidential addresses in 2005 and 2006, and in his speech to the council of state in June 2007.

Meanwhile, Ilyin advocated strong authoritarianism, founded on the link with the ROC, as the only acceptable form of government for Russia. In his work "National Socialism: New Spirit" in 1933 Ilyin condoned Hitler as a defender of Europe from Bolshevism. In 1948 in his essay "On Fascism" Ilyin wrote that "Fascism emerged as a concentration of statist-conservative forces...It was a healthy phenomenon during the advance of leftist chaos."
 
Ilyin, however, decried fascism's "mistakes," such as the suppression of all rival forces and the Church -he suggested that religion, the media and political parties might be tolerated "to the degree of their loyalty."

Putin's ideology can be traced to his state's origins both within the Romanov empire, the White cause's patriots and Stalin's Soviet empire. His growing authoritarianism combined with his cemetery visit, coordinated with the ROC, sends another signal of his intention to defend the Russian state and its interests in the near abroad.
 
LINK: http://www.jamestown.org
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17.  EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN UKRAINE RENT BY DIVISIONS
Merely saying the forest's name- Bykivnya - can cause strong emotions for millions of Ukrainians.
 
By Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard News Service, Friday, June 5, 2009 
 
KIEV, Ukraine — Merely saying the forest's name — Bykivnya — can cause strong emotions for millions of Ukrainians.

This is where the secret police of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin buried 100,000 of their victims between 1937 and 1941 in a mass grave northeast of Kiev. President Victor Yushchenko did not mince words during his recent speech there, on Ukraine's Day of Remembrance for Victims of Political Repression.

"Here, at Bykivnya, Stalin and his monstrous hangmen killed the bloom of Ukraine. There is no forgiveness and there will be none," he told several thousand mourners and, of course, Ukrainian journalists.

The mourners wept, while processing through the site behind Orthodox clergy who carried liturgical banners containing iconic images of Jesus and Mary.

"Because of the national symbolism of this ceremony, the priests there may not be important," said Victor Yelensky, a sociologist of religion associated with the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences.

"But the priests have to be there because this is Ukraine and this is a ceremony that is about a great tragedy in the history of Ukraine.
 
"So the priests are there. It is part ... of a civil religion."

This is where the story gets complicated. In the Ukrainian media, photographs and video images showed the clergy, with their dramatic banners and colorful vestments. However, in their reporting, journalists never mentioned what the clergy said or did.

Mainstream media reports also failed to mention which Orthodoxy body or bodies were represented. This is an important gap, because of the tense and complicated nature of the religious marketplace in this historically Eastern Orthodox culture.

It would have been big news, for example, if clergy from the giant Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) — with direct ties to Moscow — had taken part in a ceremony that featured Yushchenko, who, as usual, aimed angry words to the north.

But what if the clergy were exclusively from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate), born after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and linked to declarations of Ukrainian independence? What if there were also clergy from a third body, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, born early in the 20th century?

A rite featuring clergy from one or both of these newer churches also would have been symbolic. After all, these days almost anything can create tensions between Ukraine and Russia, from natural gas prices to efforts to emphasize the Ukrainian language, from exhibits of uniquely Ukrainian art to decisions about which statues are torn down (almost anything Soviet) or which statues are erected (such as one of Ivan Mazepa, labeled a traitor by Russia after his 18th century efforts to boost Ukrainian independence).

But it's hard for Ukrainian journalists to ask these kinds of questions and print what they learn when people answer them, according to a circle of journalists — secular and religious — at a Kiev forum last week focusing on trends in religion news in their nation. I was one of the speakers, along with another colleague from the Oxford Centre for Religion & Public Life.

As in America, Ukrainian journalists often assume that politics is the only faith that matters in life. The journalists in Kiev also said that they struggle to escape Soviet-era rules stating that religion was bad, irrelevant or, at best, merely private. Many journalists lack historical knowledge required to do accurate coverage of religion, while others simply do not care, because they shun organized religion.

"Many would say that, if we do not play the violin, we really should not attempt to comment on how others play the violin," said Yuri Makarov, editor in chief of Ukrainian Week, speaking through a translator.

This blind spot is unfortunate, because Ukrainian journalists may have missed a crucial piece of the Bykivnya story, said Yelensky. It's hard to understand the soul of Ukraine without grasping the power of religion.

"For many Orthodox people in western Ukraine, it is simply unacceptable to live in any way under the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate. At the same time, for many Orthodox in eastern Ukraine, it is simply unacceptable to not to be associated and in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. In the middle are places like Kiev. ...

"This is a division that is inside Ukrainian society. Is it based on religion? No. Is religion right there in the heart of it? Yes."
------------------------------------------
NOTE: Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. E-Mail him at [email protected] or www.tmatt.net. His column is distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.
 
LINK: http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2009/06/11/religion/060609relmattingly.txt
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18.  RUSSIAN PRESIDENT FORMS COMMISSION TO PROTECT RUSSIAN HISTORY 
Medvedev promises action against the "falsifiers of history"
 
Analysis & Commentary: by Pavel Felgenhauer
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 6, Issue 98
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Thu, May 21, 2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has recently made public comments about "the falsifiers of history," attacking the country and its heritage. This was a serious political statement of strategic importance - not merely a rhetorical proclamation, made just before the World War II Victory-Day military parade on May 9: "We will not allow anyone to undermine the sacrifice of our people" (EDM, May 13).
 
Medvedev's statement was followed by the creation of a special presidential inter-departmental commission: "the commission to counteract against attempts to falsify history that undermine the interests of Russia."
 
The presidential order to set up this "historic truth" commission was signed on May 15 and published on the Kremlin website on May 19 together with a list of its members (www.kremlin.ru, May 19).
 
The state-controlled television (Rossiya TV, NTV, and First Channel) immediately lavished praise on "the timely move" to save Russian history from the "falsifiers" -namely the authorities in the Ukrainian, Georgian and Baltic republics.

BUREAUCRATS AND SPIN-DOCTORS
However, the more independent press was much more critical, pointing out that in the 28-member commission there are only three professional historians, and even these are not independent researchers, but government-appointed directors of two official historical research institutions and the chief of the official Russian government archive.
 
Instead of appointing independent historians, the commission has been filled with high-ranking bureaucrats as well as a number of pro-Kremlin spin-doctors and nationalistic lawmakers.
 
Two commission members - Sergey Markov and Konstantin Zatulin - have been banned from entering Ukraine for allegedly promoting the transfer of Crimea to Russia. Zatulin has been accused of being one of the organizers of the mass distribution of Russian passports in Abkhazia and South Ossetia that was used as a justification of the Russian invasion last August. Fear has been expressed that the commission may punish liberal historians or dissidents (Kommersant, Vedomosti, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 20).

"There are only three historians there, and even they are not recognized among professionals," prominent historian Roy Medvedev told Kommersant. "I am afraid that the commission will be used for witch-hunts and the settling of scores," the military historian Alexei Isayev commented to Kommersant.
 
BACK TO THOSE SOVIET DAYS
"If we are going back to those [Soviet] years, then hopes for Medvedev the liberal, in whose name the commission is being established, are somewhat unjustified," Alexei Malashenko, an analyst with the Carnegie Center in Moscow, warned in Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

These fears, though justified and genuine, might be somewhat misplaced. The Russian authorities already possess sufficient legal power under the existing "anti-terrorist" and "anti-extremist" laws to punish dissidents. In addition, the Duma is reported to be rushing through amendments to the Penal Code to make the "falsification of history" a criminal offense. The first reading of the anti-falsification law is planned for June 3 (Vedomosti, May 20).
 
However, as a body the new "historic truth" commission per se appears to be too powerful and administratively weighted to be exclusively or primarily aimed at silencing the few independent researchers, dissidents and writers in contemporary Russia.

The overall composition of the "historic truth" commission follows the pattern of other commissions that formulate Russian foreign, defense and national-security policies by establishing an inter-departmental consensus -which is the foundation of Russian executive decision-making.
 
The actual composition of such commissions always includes prominent representatives of departments and ministries concerned about particular issues, which might prove an indicator as to any sanction they recommend.
 
"HISTORIC TRUTH" COMMISSION
The chairman of the newly established "historic truth" commission is the chief of Medvedev's administration Sergei Naryshkin, a well-known loyal supporter of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A number of other prominent presidential administration figures are members of the commission. The justice and culture ministers are represented by deputies as well as the chiefs of the government departments of education, science and the mass media.
 
Deputy Chiefs also represent the foreign ministry and the security council. The intelligence community is represented by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Security Service (FSB).
 
The commission member from the armed forces is the top Russian military commander, the Chief of General Staff and First Deputy Defense Minister, Army-General Nikolai Makarov.
 
The official task of the commission is to "analyze information about the falsification of historic facts aimed against Russia," to prepare "recommendations on adequate reactions to falsifications that hinder Russian interests and to neutralize their possible negative consequences" (www.kremlin.ru, May 19).

The language is clearly aimed not at dissidents, but at Russia's neighboring states and the presence of such prominent figures as the chief of administration and the Chief of the General Staff might indicate that military action such as the war last August against Georgia is not excluded. The Georgian authorities are not attempting to rehabilitate any Nazi collaborators.
 
However, Rossiya TV on May 19 accused them of falsifying history by assuming that Georgia was annexed by imperial Russia. According to Moscow, the Georgians gladly volunteered to join the Russian empire. After the commission makes its recommendations and adequate action is taken to "neutralize," dissidents, the Georgians, Ukrainians and others might face additional pressure to submit to the Kremlin's views.

LINK: http://www.jamestown.org
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19.  HISTORY AND THE POLITICS OF BLAME
In some post-Soviet states, current interpretations
understate Russia's sacrifices in defeating fascism.
 
Analysis & Commentary: By Peter Lavelle, Political Commentator
Russia Today television (RT), Moscow, Russia
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 26, 2009
 
The past is never really in the past as long as it pervades our present. And recent history is very much with us.

This is why Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has established a commission to protect against "falsification of historical facts and events aimed at damaging Russia's international prestige." This move has sparked considerable controversy both in Russia and in Western mainstream media. This is as it should be; history matters.

Medvedev's history commission is a reaction to the way history, particularly events before, during, and after World War II, is being reinterpreted and even rewritten in a number of post-Soviet and Eastern European states. This approach often undermines, or even denies, the role the Soviet Union played in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
 
BALTIC REPUBLICS AND UKRAINE
In some Baltic republics and Ukraine, Nazi collaborators are even honored as war veterans, while Soviet war memorials are moved or dismantled. Many in Russia consider this not only insulting, but also a dangerous rehabilitation of ideas that their countrymen paid such a high price to eliminate.

The hitherto accepted history of World War II (or the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia) is undergoing revision. This should not surprise anyone; that traditional narrative was a product of the Cold War. The ideological conflict that pitted Soviet developed socialism against Western capitalism resulted in diverging, ideologically couched explanations for the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The Western take was that the Allies, specifically the United States, "saved the world from tyranny in the name of democracy and other liberal values." Soviet ideologists, by contrast, stressed "the defeat of a murderous and very aggressive ideology: fascism."

As long as the Cold War continued, these two renditions could coexist, although the West consistently understated the Soviet contribution to Hitler's defeat. All of this started to change with the self-collapse of the Soviet Union.

Every country and every society needs a common history. National narratives bind a nation together and create a sense of community. All the new sovereign states that came into being with the end of the Soviet Union are very keen to establish new national histories. But in doing so, most of them have to address specific episodes related to World War II.

BALTICS, UKRAINE CHALLENGING RUSSIA'S HISTORICAL RENDITION
As the successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia adheres steadfastly to the belief that it liberated a great swathe of Europe from fascism. To craft what they believe are coherent, if not self-satisfying, national histories, many in the Baltics, Ukraine, and some Eastern European states are challenging Russia's historical rendition. They claim that not only did the Soviet Union not liberate them from fascism, but that it replaced Nazi Germany as the occupying power.
Embedded in this claim is a double-edged sword.
 
     [1] First, those who argue that the Soviets should not be credited with defeating fascism implicitly also deny the role of those in the Baltic republics,
           Ukraine, and Eastern Europe who sacrificed their lives to end Nazi rule.
     [2] Second, there is also denial about how many Soviet republics, and even Eastern European countries, bowed to Soviet domination, but also benefited
           from it.

To be sure, there were those who didn't, and their grievances are legitimate and should be heard. However, history is not as black and white as nationalist historians and governments would like us to believe. For example, I lived in Poland during much of the 1980s when the free trade union Solidarity was enjoying its greatest popularity.
 
At the time, Polish society was polarized; one-third of the population strongly supported Solidarity, and one-third the pro-Moscow regime, while the remaining third waited on the sidelines to see how the standoff between those two would end. And to this day, some Poles still have many good things to say about communist Poland.

What is very disturbing about historical revisionism when it comes to World War II is the attempt to airbrush from the record fascist ideas, groups, and individuals that infested Europe in the 1930s and '40s. The Cold War-era interpretation of World War II was a convenient opportunity to overlook nasty homegrown fascism all over Europe, particularly in the east.

After the war ended, few wanted to dwell on how fascism and gross right-wing nationalism -- very often anti-Semitic -- captured the imagination of the European body politic. Political imperatives were far more important, and so confronting the Soviet Union took precedence. It became acceptable to ignore unpleasant episodes.
 
RUSSIA CAN CLAIM IT TOO WAS A VICTIM OF THE SOVIET UNION
This is still happening today. Instead of facing up to the sins of the past, it is all too easy to blame contemporary Russia for the real or imagined sins of the Soviet Union. Using this line of argument, Russia can and should claim it, too, was a victim of the Soviet Union.

It is unfortunate that a new discursive pathology has come into vogue. Many feel that the sole way to prove their historical legitimacy and virtue is by casting themselves in the role of victim. This is history gone wrong. All too often a person's national identity is defined by how someone else wronged him or her.

Today states blame other states for their own problems in the present because of a very specific, and again self-serving, interpretation of what happened in the past. Equally unfortunate is the knee-jerk tendency to blame "undemocratic" Russia for the woes of its neighbors. This is politics on the cheap and a contemptible attitude to what history should really be all about.

Denying the Holocaust is a legal offense in Germany. This is the case in many countries in the world, and is morally right. Consigning to oblivion the murder of millions of people is simply wrong. Russia wants the same to hold true for the 27 million Soviet citizens (at the very least) who gave their lives to defeat Hitler's murderous regime.
 
SHAME RUSSIA FEELS IT NEEDS A HISTORY COMMISSION
It is a real shame that Russia feels it needs a commission to monitor how others interpret history. History should not be used as a political tool to divide people and countries. In fact, just the opposite should be happening.

Germany and France embarked upon an open and honest discussion to reconcile their long-standing historical differences. What we see now is the opposite: history is being used to divide countries and peoples. These divisions in turn open the door for the worst possibility: the slow but very real rehabilitation of a new form of fascism.
----------------------------------------
NOTE: Peter Lavelle is a political commentator for Russia Today television (RT) and is the host of the weekend program "In Context." The views expressed in this commentary are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of RT or RFE/RL.
 
LINK: http://www.rferl.org/content/History_And_The_Politics_Of_Blame/1739724.html
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20.  RUSSIAN RADIO COMMENTATOR SLAMS PRESIDENT
MEDVEDEV'S HISTORICAL FALSIFICATION COMMISSION
 
Ekho Moskvy Radio, Moscow, Russia, in Russian, May 20, 2009
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There is no truth in favour of one country, Russian political commentator Matvey Ganapolskiy has said commenting on the decree signed by President Dmitriy Medvedev to set up a commission to counter attempts to falsify history that are to the detriment of Russia's interests. It will be impossible to apply this document in terms of the law, Ganapolskiy added.
 
The following is the text of Ganapolskiy's comment broadcast by Ekho Moskvy radio on 20 May:

Everything would be fine in this decree setting up the commission and I would applaud its authors but for one addition to its title. I will specially repeat the title separately: On the commission under the president of the Russian Federation to counter attempts to falsify history. This is the first part of the title and I accept it with open arms.

Indeed, what can be better than countering the falsification that the Soviet authorities engaged in for almost 90 years? What can be better than looking for the truth?
 
After all, this means completely open archives, at last, declassified protocols, names made public, the acknowledgement of the Soviet annexation of the Baltic countries on the eve of the war (the eastern front of World War II from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945) precisely as annexation, and the mass murder of Polish officers in Katyn precisely as mass murder.
 
This means an honest analysis of comrade Stalin's actions in his bloody actions - the murder of top officers of the Soviet army, mistakes in military preparations and in the conduct of the war.
 
CRITICS OF OFFICIAL VERSION OF SOVIET HISTORY
The critics of the official version of Soviet history will probably be heard at last, and not only those of Soviet history but also Russian, and what they say will be analysed. Now we will at last learn the truth about the Chechen war; all the criminals that have plunged the country not only into the first, but also into the second Chechen war, will be named, and not only on the Chechen side.

Hold on, gentlemen, stop dreaming: I read the continuation of the title (of the decree): to counteract attempts to falsify history that are to the detriment of the interests of Russia. The concert is over, as (famous Soviet) compere Boris Brunov used to say. Now we know that there exists not only "sovereign democracy" but also a search for strict truth in favour of one side.

HOW UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO WILL BE ARRESTED?
I no longer want to comment on this legislative nonsense. I will only watch with a cheerful smile how this document will be applied in terms of the
law. I want to see how (Ukrainian President Viktor) Yushchenko will be arrested at the airport because he is rather partial to followers of (Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan) Bandera.
 
I would like to see the presidents of the Baltic countries that do not forget about the long Soviet annexation, lying face down in the snow. I am waiting for the closure of the Russian mass media that have the courage to write or say something debatable.

Of course, it is crystal clear that the presidents will not be arrested. After all, it is not for them that this has been written, but for our (media) that has begun to actively dig for the truth.
 
NO TRUTH IN FAVOUR OF ONE COUNTRY
I don't know why (President) Dmitriy Medvedev signed this incredible document as it is. I only know that he has signed a document that will never be implemented because there is no truth in favour of one country and you cannot shut anyone up.

As for Roy Medvedev, the (well-known) historian (who supports the idea of the commission), it would be good if he re-read (George) Orwell (REFERENCE to his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four).

Peace is war, war is peace. Truth is lies, lies are truth. Poor Russia 2009.
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