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The Seven Wonders Of Ukraine’s Revolution

6:32 PM, Feb 28, 2014 • By REUBEN F. JOHNSON
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The fourth wonder is just how murderously medieval a mindset was demonstrated by the allegedly democratic government of Yanukovych. A common phrase uttered by many in Kiev was “Yanukovych is a bandit, and a bandit only realizes the degree to which he has murdered and done wrong when he is being led away in handcuffs—and not one moment before.” But his bloodthirsty impulses were not his alone. A not-terribly-well-publicized statement in January by one of the deputies in Yanukovych’s own Party of the Regions, Arsen Klinchayev, was that the number of people who had perished to date in the fighting on the Maidan was insufficient. More people had to be killed, he declared, because like Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 the protesters “needed to be taught a lesson that you simply do not rebel against your masters.”

The fifth wonder is how inept the response from Washington was in this crisis. When the first attacks on the barricades on Kiev occurred in early December the Obama White House was busy making plans to attend former South African President Nelson Mandela’s funeral. The job of dealing with Yanukovych was outsourced to Joe Biden, which telegraphed that the situation in Ukraine was a secondary priority at best. Ukrainian friends and colleagues were beyond furious at the “above the fray” aloofness of Obama. “Ronald Reagan would have known how to deal with Yanukovych,” said one close friend, “he would have had him by the balls and screaming for mercy. What do we get out of this White House—one milquetoast declaration after another that the Administration ‘is against violence—kumbaya.’ But not a word about what they are prepared to do to stand up for these people dying on the barricades.”

The sixth wonder is that the EU that was so undiplomatically denigrated in a phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt ended up saving the day and filling a vacuum so irresponsibly left open by Washington. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski is far more deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than the current occupant of the White House. His marathon negotiating sessions with Yanukovych are what saved the situation on Maidan from spinning out of control and resulting in horrendous bloodshed.

The final wonder is just how the world can stand by and watch Russian President Vladimir Putin continue to wreck Ukraine by his continued sponsorship of Yanukovych and how responsible nations tolerate his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and other Putin surrogates engaging in acts of serial dishonesty as they describe “Russia’s view” of the revolution.

Not surprisingly, almost the entirety of the Yanukovych government fled to Russia. Moscow has become a haven for the criminals who have looted the Ukrainian treasury and committed murder on a wide scale. The Ukrainian parliament and provisional government are calling for him to be tried in the Hague à la Slobodan Milosevic for the slaughter of the dozens of protesters in central Kiev.

But Yanukovych and his cronies sit free and secure in the welcoming bosom of Russia’s KGB-man turned dictator. Meanwhile, Russian troops are infiltrating the Crimea region while Moscow promotes a civil war there. Civilized governments need to do everything they can to promote and help this new Ukrainian government and to oppose Vladimir Putin until he pulls back the Russian military and Yanukovych and his cronies are extradited to stand trial. Anything less is a guarantee that the dozens who have died in Kiev are only the beginning. 

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