Oleksiy Haran is Professor of Political Science and Founding Director of the Kyiv Mohyla University School of Policy Analysis. From 1991-1992 he was Dean and organizer of the Department of Social Sciences at the reborn Kyiv Mohyla Academy, where he has taught since then. Graduated from the Department of International Relations, Kyiv University in 1981, Haran received his doctor degree in 1996. In 1991-94, he was Dean and organizer of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the re-born University of KyivMohyla Academy (UKMA), since 2002 Founding Director of the UKMA School for Policy Analysis. Since 1989 Haran has been providing consulting for electoral campaigns, political, economic, and media players. In 2005-2006 he served as the Eurasia Foundation’s Vice President for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
Don't believe the Russian propaganda about Ukraine's 'fascist' protesters
The Kremlin uses many kinds of falsifications to justify its aggression against Ukraine and plans to annex Crimean peninsula. One of which is that the mass protests of Ukrainians against the corrupt and bloody regime of Viktor Yanukovych, called the Euromaidan, was a gathering of far-right extremists intent on imposing nationalist rule over all other ethnic groups in Ukraine.
But the Euromaidan was anything but this. Although many Ukrainian nationalists passionately joined in the protests in central Kiev against Yanukovych's plans to get Ukraine into a Moscow-led customs union instead of signing a forward-looking association agreement with the EU, the maidan was a place of multi-ethnic national solidarity in the face of repression. One shouldn't forget that Sergey Nigoyan, the first victim of police ruthlessness in the Maidan, was an ethnic Armenian who came to support the protest from the Russian-speaking Dnipropetrovsk region in eastern Ukraine. Jews actively joined the ranks of protesters and a religious Jew headed one of the maidan self-defence units, passing command status to his Ukrainian deputy every Friday after the beginning of sabbath.
Crimean Tatars – a Sunni Muslim ethnic group that ruled in Crimea before it was captured by Russia in 1783 – have backed the maidan since its early days and now decisively oppose secession of the peninsula, let alone its accession to the Russian Federation. They still remember how, in 1944, their people were forcibly moved to central Asia under Stalin's orders with their land and houses transferred to ethnic Russians. That is where the Russian demographic domination of Crimea stems from.
Not a single representative of ethnic or other minorities has yet complained about the worsening of their position since the victory of Ukrainian democratic revolution. Instead, these minorities have articulated their desire to have an association agreement with the EU signed as soon as possible, which will bring additional safeguards against any discrimination or violation of human rights. Moreover, it is with the deployment of Russian troops in Crimea that swastika signs appeared on the walls of synagogues in Simferopol. And it is the chief rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich who publicly suggested holding the G8 summit in Kiev to show support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Under European supervision, Ukraine could introduce guarantees for the protection and development of its cultural and ethnic diversity. But this possibility is diminished by the lack of a robust western response to Russian aggression. This risks demonstrating to all nations that force is a swifter way to achieve your objectives than dialogue and rule of law. I only hope we all remember the consequences this position has had for the continent in the past.
copyright: Dr Oleksiy Haran
source: the Guardian