Editor: Dr. Henry Srebrnik has accurately presented a few historical facts on Ukraine. However, he did not attempt to explain any of the underlying causes that have created the protests in Ukraine.
Ukrainians have been dominated for centuries because of the land’s rich natural resources. In 1932-33, Stalin starved 10 million Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine.
Since then, and even before, the east has been systematically populated by ethnic Russians to procure a more favourable attitude towards Russia. Hence, the basis of the pro-Russian support there.
Between the First World War and Second World War, under Russian rule in the east and Polish rule in the west, the Ukrainian language was not encouraged. However, in western Ukraine, Ukrainians speak, read and write Ukrainian. This was and still is not the case in the east. After the Second World War, all of Ukraine came under Russia's rule, and anyone who opposed that, faced consequences.
The protests are about the right to live with economic and civic freedom. Ukrainians are tired of not being able to earn a decent wage and not being allowed to express their opinions freely. There are also ethnic Russians who are disturbed by the heavy handedness of a government that muzzles any voice that questions its policies.
In both Putin’s Russia and Yanykovich’s Ukraine, journalists, writers and those who could inspire others to think critically seem to disappear. Why would anyone want to live in a country ruled by such oppressive policies? Young Ukrainians have tasted independence and no longer wish to be controlled by an authoritarian government.
This is a quick look at a complicated issue. The Canadian press has done a decent job of trying to understand and write objectively about the difficulties surrounding the crisis in Ukraine. I am grateful for that.