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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holodomor Was Genocide, Rada Rules
Moroz Goes Maverick on Anticrisis Coalition

Three generations afterward, it finally happened. We saw light at the end of the tunnel, a tunnel of historical injustice spanning some 64 years. The events whose human toll could be compared to the effect of a nuclear bomb exploded over Los Angeles have found their way into Ukrainian law.

Late Tuesday, November 28, 2006, the Ukrainian parliament, a mirror reflection of centuries of Russian rule and of more than a decade of chaotic capitalism, gathered enough votes to pass a bill that recognizes the Holodomor as “genocide against the Ukrainian people.” (The Baltic countries had recognized it as such awhile ago.)

Secure, or rather insecure in the knowledge that Moroz and Co. would play a maverick on this one, the Rada Communists raised hell. They who trace themselves as direct descendants of the CPSU put on the same old charade. They bewailed Ukraine’s post-communist demographic drain, calling it the “real McCoy” in need of recognition, as if crimes against the economy committed under K&K (Kravchuk and Kuchma) somehow exonerate them from moral responsibility for crimes against humanity. (Has it ever occurred to them that by applying NKVD interrogation techniques to their capitalist coalition partners, most notably the PRU, they might yield some helpful answers as to the cause of Ukraine’s population decline?)

Yushchenko’s embattled bill, which had initially prescribed fines for Holodomor denial, underwent transplant surgery, as a series of politically correct adjustments reshaped it into a compromise bill. The centerpiece of all this makeover was the replacement of the “Ukrainian nation” in the Yushchenko version with the “Ukrainian people” in the compromise version

Don’t the “Ukrainian nation” and the “Ukrainian people” mean the same thing? Not according to the PRU, on guard as it is against nationalism (except Russian). From the PRU’s viewpoint, the term “Ukrainian nation” singles out the Ukrainians as an ethnic group.

This horrible "misnomer" certainly raised a red flag (read: Red) in the PRU psyche, activating a diehard communist mantra that the word “nation” equals Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism equals nazism.

For the Socialists, who joined the pro-recognition movement contingently, the term “people” it was a safety valve that helped them avoid large-scale confrontation with the Regionalists. For BYuTies and NSNUzers it was an “open Sesame” incantation that magically got the job done. Of course, the tradeoff somewhat downplays the genocide’s ethnic profile, but few would disagree that, for the time being, it was a compromise worth making. After all, until Russian lobbyism levels reach a lower point, the Ukrainian people can read into the “Ukrainian people” whatever definition they prefer.

As for communist drones, it was the sound of water flushing the toilet. Their presence in the Verkhovna Rada has been dwindling with every new election, thanks to the public’s growing awareness of their political promiscuity. The communists have been notorious for cheating their voters left and right. In light of the CPU’s track record, millions of Russified Ukrainians have given up on it, finding direct experience with the PRU more enjoyable.

The communists’ “secret” affair with oligarchs as well as the mothballed suitcase of idyllicized Soviet past they keep under the bed puts them light years away from the European-style welfare state.

The bill was passed by a small margin, with the golden vote exercised by the Socialists. To what degree Speaker Moroz’s personal experience, as opposed to his political experience, affected the decision would be a good question.

In numerous interviews, Moroz recounted how his native village of Tarashcha, Kyiv Oblast was hit by the Holodomor. Hard-hit are Moroz’s approval ratings, as the Ukrainian people surely remember what he did last summer. If elections were held today, the Socialists would be up to their necks in horse dung. This harsh reality leaves them no choice but to do whatever they can to give the Grain Belt the impression they’re still the guys. (If tobacco companies can fool the public by sponsoring cancer research and donating money to children’s hospitals, who says we can’t do a little Zorro act ourselves?)

President Yushchenko, who took the liberty of suggesting fines for Holodomor deniers, still hopes his legislative initiative will be incorporated. In its present form, the law characterizes Holodomor denial as an act of desecration, yet sets no penalties for offenders.

Aside from BYuT, NSNU, and the SPU, all of which supported the bill unanimously, two brave souls from the PRU did. Presumably, these were Hanna Herman and Taras Chornovil — reverse renegades, as one may call them.

In China, a country where communism had cut a deadly swath and would have made it into another North Korea, rather than the world’s fourth economy it is today — had it not been for Den Xiaoping’s infusion of smart capitalism — they say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”


Stefan said...


greetings. first of all a hello to let you know that i keep reading.

second, that i find it annoying that your posts do not appear in the round up of ukraine blogs on the global voices site (just to let you know).

second, some weeks ago you posted a response to my response, as we dialoged about our western ukrainian roots. . .i enjoyed that quite a bit, and now i recall that you looked for pidhajtsi on a map, and asked after the spelling of the town. it is pidhajtsi, not pidkhajtsi. . .or, um, it is Підгайці--the town "under the grove." it is roughly 70km southwest of ternopil and about 30 km from berezhany, and the town is itself a county seat (the seat of pidhajetskyj rajon--i prefer to translate rajon as county and oblast as state, since these are the nearest american english equivalents) and was in soviet times the proud home of a really good regional soccer team.

the next matter--i forget in which of your more recent posts (perhaps not so recent), you made a comment comparing the peaceful orange revolution to, the implication it seemed to be, the violence from seattle to seoul. i didn't quite follow what you meant to imply, or perhaps i did--so here is my question: are you saying that the global demonstrations against neoliberal relations of globalization (that are incorrectly labeled, even by movement supporters, as part of the anti-globalization movement)--i.e., the demonstrations against the wto, imf, world bank, or in general against the washington consensus and the financial institutions of global order, or, um, pillage--that have happened in seattle, quebec city, cancun, prague, etc., counterproductively violent?

um, what else. . . i don't remember right now.

thanks for continuing to write, and for picking up the frequency of your posts at that. . .


Taras said...

Hi Stefan! Good to hear from you again:)!

I’ve finally found Pidhajtsi! I clearly goofed when I kept looking for ПідХайці instead of ПідГайці. That was really silly of me. Call it “Lost in Transliteration.”:)

I'm not a big fan of the IMF, since its credits had bought Kuchma the carte blanche to make Ukraine into a crony capitalist preserve.

Nor I am a big fan of those IMF watchers who heaped scorn on the OR while still in progress. In that context, I ran a “who’s who” comparison of our peaceful protests against the not-so-peaceful ones in Seattle and elsewhere around the globe. Insofar as the “neoliberal” in Yushchenko irritated “antiglobalists,” I tried to contrast their geographic mobility and living standards with the geographic mobility and living standards of millions of Ukrainians who could not make a living in the cozy, closed-circuit environment Kuchma and Co. had created for themselves.

I strongly believe that, in the court of public opinion, acts of violence and vandalism, as opposed to peaceful protests, kill the case. They play into the hands of crony capitalists by helping paint the protestors as an angry, irresponsible mob driven by utopian notions. In developed countries, such events turn the larger public, that is, the middle class off, without adding a cent to developing countries.

Had the Civil Rights Movement relied on similar tactics, African Americans would have never advanced their cause. I learned about that as a member of the America House Library at around the same time that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright convinced Kyiv to cancel its profitable turbines contract with Tehran. (By the way, I’ve recently seen “Syriana.” Thanks for the tip. Great movie:)

Likewise, had even a bunch of us Maidaners vented our anger on the local boutiques, or had we attempted to gain control of government facilities, the OR would have never succeeded to whatever extent it did. There would have been no OR, in the first place. Kuchma’s “Peace Corps” would have taken care of us in ways incomparable to the Andijan massacre.

Normally, I try to stay away from my-enemy’s-friend-is-my-enemy logic. In the course of the OR, it really hurt my eyes to see how Ukraine got caught in the crossfire among liberals, conservatives, and radicals of a myriad shades and locations.

During my OR cyber patrol, I ran across a plethora of anti-Ukrainian articles and commentaries, ranging from sarcastic to sadistic, that misrepresented the true nature of our stride toward freedom.

It was stuff like this that I couldn’t agree with:

True, some projections have ultimately proved to be not entirely inaccurate. That said, whenever people start carpet-bombing a country they barely know — whether physically or in terms of public relations — bad things happen. I still believe, and hope you agree, the OR was a good thing.

Thank you for recognizing my work and helping me discover Hmm…I guess I, too, should raise my voice;) Look forward to hearing from you:)