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Kiev Must Show Compassion to Eastern Ukraine

Published: August 20, 2014 (Issue # 1825)


Its acliche topoint out that objectivity andcommon sense are among thefirst casualties ofarmed conflict but its important tonote that compassion often follows suit as well.

Today, thelack ofcompassion exemplified byresidents ofboth Moscow andKiev over theconflict ineastern Ukraine andthe future ofUkraine as awhole ought togive us serious pause.

Far beyond abstract politics, theissue ofvery real, very serious hatred between two brotherly nations should concern everyone today, particularly those who dont want tosee further instability onEuropean soil.

InMoscow, Ive grown tired ofexplaining that just because Im critical ofcurrent Russian policy onUkraine doesnt mean Im into Nazism. Ive similarly grown tired ofpointing out that backing separatists inUkraine whether unofficially or officially may backfire onRussia inthe worst possible way, as regional destabilization triggers greater destabilization over time.

But ina similar vein, pointing out thehorror ofcivilian casualties ineastern Ukraine toKiev residents often results inderision anddownright hostility. Maybe these people should have thought about theconsequences before siding with Russian-backed terrorists, is arefrain one hears too often inKiev these days.

Tobe certain, it makes sense forKievans tobe angry. While theWest andRussia continue their stand off over Ukraine, thecountry itself faces anincreasingly uncertain future.

Thestate ofthe economy is dire. Ukraines already unstable social andpolitical environment may worsen when thearmys battle with theseparatists is over andthe boys come home fromwar. It certainly doesnt help that thefar-right volunteer battalions fighting ineastern Ukraine may want toplay apart inpostwar politics.

Meanwhile, awar still rages ineastern Ukraine.Among Maidan supporters inKiev, plenty have friends who are now inthe armed forces deployed ineastern Ukraine. Some talk about friends they have lost inbattle. It makes sense tobe angry when some 19-year-old kid you knew will never come home again.

It equally makes sense tobe angry that, inaddition toviolence inKiev last winter, locals had todeal with everything fromthe humiliating loss ofCrimea toincreasingly desperate-seeming brawls inthe parliament.

Tobe fair, theparliament did manage topass animportant lustration bill inits first reading last week, although one has towonder whether theeventual law will be properly enforced.

Yet despite thepain ofKievs residents, civilians ineastern Ukraine have emerged as themost vulnerable parties inthe entire horrid mess that is theUkraine crisis so far.

It is sad andtelling that thenew Ukrainian government was said tohave put together anaid convoy forthe Donbass region only after theRussians had done thesame. It makes Kievs move seem like aPR stunt andbrings home thefact that civilians ineastern Ukraine have apparently been largely off-the-radar as far as theauthorities are concerned.

Thebickering over theconvoy drives home thepoint, though, that what were seeing inUkraine right now is not just alocal conflict involving some international players. It is also avicious cycle being simultaneously experienced bytwo societies both Russian andUkrainian that are growing inured tothe idea ofdestruction anddeath ontheir doorstep.

Andthe less sympathy andsupport that eastern residents get fromKiev, theless they are going tocare about thewhole notion ofa sovereign Ukraine.

Natalia Antonova is anAmerican playwright andjournalist.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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