The Silence of Russia

World_Russia_Russian_silence_017982_In Grani, Vitaly Portnikov writes about what he sees as a breakdown in the centuries-old relationship between the peoples of Ukraine and Russia:

Because the Russians are silent. They are silent when the people they so love to call brothers are being killed, tortured, humiliated, abducted from hospitals; all of it, of course, in the name of order and friendship with Russia, but even so. They are silent when the rallies are broken up. They are silent when the land so close to them is being brought to the precipice of a real war. In the whole vast country only a few dozen people are capable of getting out to the Ukrainian embassy or anywhere else to signal their protest and support.

This is a historic indifference. A new Ukraine may still emerge, but it will never have a mutual understanding with Russia at the level of values.The silence –  not even that of people, but of an entire nation that claims shared roots and a common outlook on the world – will, at the most crucial moment for Ukrainians, create a very real chasm of alienation that will not be so easy to fill in again.

What is happening today between Ukraine and Russia is precisely what once happened  between Russia and Poland, or Russia and Finland…


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