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Editorial

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: À Kiev, le prix du sang, l’éditorial de Patrick Apel-Muller

by Patrick Apel-Muller

In Kiev, the Price of Blood

Translated Sunday 2 March 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

“White Russia” has been bloodied. Whereas a kind of détente appeared and a dialogue was beginning last week, now there has been an escalation of violence. The truce that the Ukrainian president spoke of on Feb. 20 lasted only a few hours and an assault by rioters was followed by murderous salvos.

The dead bodies are lined up on Maïdan square. The country is toppling into insurrection and the most violent of repressions. In the smoke of burning buildings, the smack of bullets and the shouts of victims, it is the extremists who are leading the dance. The ghosts of right-wing extremists, who were thought lost in the rout of the Vlassov army nazis, are rising again – armed, helmeted, and booted. In the noise and the fury, their voices drown out those of such opposition leaders as Arseni Yatseniuk and Vitali Klichko. They feed on the escalation and the fears of a people who, socially, have been pushed to the limit. Opposite them, the backers of crushing the protesters are counting on a feeling of terror among the people, who, they hope, will call for an end to the disorder.

The chancelleries are outraged, after having fed the fires. On the Atlantic side, diplomacy pushed the protesters to the clash, while carefully avoiding saying that they rejected their country’s entry in the European Union or even helping it. They thus threw crowds into a tragic dead end. As for Washington, its representatives on the ground deployed frenetic activity to achieve one goal: weakening the capacity of the bear to resist Washington’s setting up NATO at its door. The White House knew that the Kremlin could not accept this.

On the Urals side, dreams of imperial domination of neighboring countries are coming alive again, the need to maintain an intimate link with what was Russia’s cradle, and the imperative need to protect an essential gas pipeline. Recourse to force is encouraged, as Prime Minister Medvedev did in making promised financial aid dependent on a vigorous restoration of order. On this gigantic chessboard, the pawns count for nothing and sacrificing them is self-evident. The future of a nation and the tearing that are likely to scar Europe do not matter! Already, in the Crimea, voices are demanding the direct support of the Russians. Such a pulverization of the country would be realized in unnamed pain. But in all these calculations, the price of blood counts for nothing.

Should one be astonished? Neither on the side of those who look towards Brussels, and the oligarchs who back them, nor on the side of those who look to Moscow and the wheeler-dealers who steer them, has it been proposed that the people be consulted, that a referendum be organized to decide on the country’s choices. The Europeans, somewhat awkward about dissidence in the streets against a democratically-elected government, are vainly agitating the threat of sanctions against the regime’s bigwigs. Perhaps a referendum will not manage to bridge the gap that is growing between the industrial East, attached to Moscow, and the West, turned towards Brussels. But the contradiction would be brought back to the domain of democratic confrontation and would escape the tangle of riot sticks and pickaxe handles, the criss-crossing of bullets and paving stones. Little by little, the diplomats are beginning to speak of a three-party dialogue – Ukraine-European Union-Russia – to halt the crisis. Late, so late. In any case, no solution will be found behind the backs of the Ukrainian people, at whose expense this is all taking place.


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