Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ukraine - Another Perspective

Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Radio interviews Ukraine expert, U.S. diplomat, and Orthodox Christian James G. Jatras.

I have deep respect for Mr. Jatras, and quote him in my book, Facing Islam. I feel it is essential for us to slow down and make every effort to appreciate the Russian national interests at work behind Putin's decisions concerning Ukraine, Crimea and Russia's relationship to the EU and America. I intend to post more alternative viewpoints on the Crimea/Ukraine situation in the days ahead.

Russia is rising anew as the world's defender of Orthodox, Coptic and traditional Christianity, even as Western Europe and the United States dissolves into a miasma of apostasy, sodomy, gluttony and orgiastic indulgence in all the passions. That Russia is being smeared and targeted by America and the EU through blatantly false propaganda and treacherous alliances with dark forces, and that most Americans are happy to be fed the lies, speaks more to our hollowness, than to any fault on the Russian side.

Ukraine - Another Perspective
Ancient Faith Radio via Pravoslavie — March 27, 2014

As we continue to follow the news in Ukraine, Ancient Faith Radio is committed to bring you a balanced perspective on the events and implications for the Orthodox Church. Today, Kevin Allen is speaking with Ukrainian expert and Orthodox Christian Mr James Jatras. Mr Jatras is a former US diplomat, US Senate staffer, and a member of the American Institute of Ukraine.


Mr. Kevin Allen: This is Kevin Allen for Ancient Faith Radio, and I’m speaking with Mr. James G. Jatras. Jim is an Orthodox Christian, a former U.S. diplomat and U.S. Senate staffer, and a member of the American Institute in Ukraine. Jim, thank you for joining me on Ancient Faith Radio.
Mr. James Jatras: Thank you.

Mr. Allen: Jim, I’d like to begin by reading a short quote from a political analyst from Voice of Russia Radio on the current situation in Ukraine reflecting, I believe, the Russian position—maybe that should be in parentheses—and different from that of the West. Then [I’ll] follow up with a question. He said:

I think it (Ukraine) is a classical coup d’état. We should understand that what is going on is completely illegal and illegitimate. The whole situation is completely beyond the framework of law, and this is the worst development that we have seen in Ukraine during the last 25 years.

Jim Jatras, is it your view reflecting that of many inside Russia as well as many who support Russia’s interests, that the protests we’ve been seeing in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, are, in fact, a classic coup d’étatand not a lawful transfer of power, and how would you describe the current situation in Ukraine?

Mr. Jatras: Well, I don’t think you’d have to be looking at it from a Russian perspective or even call it a coup d’état, which maybe it is, and it’s not like, for example, the military stepped in and swept aside the government, but I think there’s some very serious questions about the legality of this apparently now-successful revolution or takeover of the government under any concept of legality. Remember, this was a legally elected government. President Yanukovych was a legally elected president of Ukraine. I suppose legally one could argue that he still is and that this order, whatever it might be in Kyiv at the moment, does not have a legal basis.

There are counter-arguments to that, but the thing I would point to is the element of violence here. There were at least two, possibly three, instances where President Yanukovych on the one hand and the three principal leaders of the opposition—Mr. Klitschko, Mr. Yatsenyuk, Mr. Tyahnybok—had agreed on a political solution and, in keeping with that agreement, the government had pulled back police forces from the central areas of Kyiv where the opposition demonstrators, fighters, however you want to characterize them, had assembled, and they simply used that as an opportunity to launch further attacks on the police, and some of them were quite breath-taking in their violence. You’d see police huddled like turtles under their riot shields, with people just banging away on them with clubs, throwing Molotov cocktails at them, trying to run them over with a truck. It’s indicative that of the several dozen people—the numbers run from the 80s to over 100 that were killed—anywhere between a quarter and a third of them were police.

So this is not simply a question of the authorities clashing or repressing peaceful protestors the way President Obama characterized them. There was a hard edge of armed militants without whom this transfer of power or the seizure of authority in Kyiv could not have occurred, and, in fact, those people with the clubs and the Molotov cocktails I think are still the real power in Kyiv right now.

Mr. Allen: You know, elected officials, as you point out, in Ukraine’s parliament apparently, as you said, agreed to most of the demands of the opposition. Just to review for our listeners, they include: sweeping changes in the constitution, an arrest warrant for crimes against protestors [against] President Yanukovych—and unsubstantiated reports are that he may be in the suburbs of Moscow, Russia, at this time—release of the imprisoned ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, formation of an interim government, and new elections slated for May 25, 2014. And Russia appears to question, again, as you pointed out, the legitimacy of these new parliamentary decisions. How do you think that position versus the changes that the interim government has made augurs for Ukraine’s relations with Russia going forward?

Mr. Jatras: I don’t think it augurs well. Even more pressing is what does it augur for this new administration, whatever we’re going to call it, in Kyiv, its relation with the rest of Ukraine? Aside from how they may feel now about President or former President—take your pick—Yanukovych or about the Russians, the south and the east of Ukraine has very strong reason to be very suspicious about this new administration. Whatever they may have felt about Mr. Yanukovych, having the president that they voted for being overthrown with a very questionable legal authority, with this element of violence, and with the participation of some people with some very, frankly, nasty ideological and moral perspectives—even though they may just be a small fringe, a very important one in the success of this transfer of power—is something that should give them pause.

So, for example, when the new administration talks about what or when we’re going to have presidential elections on May 25, I’m not sure anybody can count that anybody in the east and south of Ukraine is going to entertain those elections, that they will be held in those parts of the country, because they will say, “Hey, this is not legal. Who appointed youthe new government?”

Mr. Allen: You know, following up on this, quoting Russia’s foreign minister, Dmitry Medvedev, he said or wrote:

Strictly speaking, today there is no one to talk to there (referring to Ukraine). The legitimacy of a whole host of government bodies is raising huge doubts. If people crossing Kyiv in black masks and Kalashnikov rifles are considered a government, it will be difficult for us to work with such a government.

Do you think these statements indicate that Russia is setting the stage for a rejection of the Ukrainian parliament’s decisions or even military intervention? Just as a follow-up before you respond to that, today’s Reuters reports that President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat-readiness of the armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, in their opinion, “flexing Moscow’s military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.” Is that where this thing’s heading?

Mr. Jatras: I don’t think it’s heading toward military intervention. I think the troop movement that was described today is simply saber-rattling against what they in Moscow consider to be Western interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs, and I think that was borne out, for example, by the leaked phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the American ambassador in Ukraine, [Geoffrey] Pyatt, where she used an expletive to describe the European Union, but clearly showed the degree of direct American involvement in the opposition camp. I don’t think military intervention is at all likely, certainly not under any circumstances we see today.

And I think Prime Minister Medvedev is quite clear that they don’t see this as a legal order in Kyiv, but I think the question he raises is one that doesn’t [just] pertain to Russia but also to the United States and the European Union, especially when it comes to the question of Ukraine’s very, very dangerous economic circumstances, where the country is in an economic free-fall right now. They’re not going to be able to pay their bills coming due by the end of this month. A default is looming. Thehryvnia, the currency, is losing its value very rapidly. And the question is: Even if you wanted to help Ukraine and even wanted to help these new authorities in Kyiv, such as they are, to whom do you talk? To whom do you send the money, even? Who is in charge? Nobody seems to know, and I think, as Prime Minister Medvedev pointed out, why would we give $35 billion to the guys with the Kalashnikovs and the Molotov cocktails? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Mr. Allen: And that leads me to this question. The picture painted in much of the Western media is that the European Union association agreement that triggered the crisis was simply good for Ukraine and Putin foiled it for geopolitical reasons. However, another perspective is that the European Union offered no loans to Ukraine but only IMF refinancing of previous loans with less-than-ideal terms, as one Russia expert I’ve communicated with tells me. And on the other hand, he says, Russia offered a $15 billion loan with far fewer conditions. So anti-European Union proponents also argue that opening Ukraine to foreign investment would also come at the price of submitting the economy to many regulations and heavy debt, although I want to point out before you respond that a new IMF package demanding clear cuts in social services, new privatizations, and the raising of commodity prices is being proposed.

Mr. Jatras: I think that description is roughly accurate. The IMF conditions which also include, for example, raising domestic energy prices and devaluing the currency which is devaluing rather fast all on its own at the moment, has been characterized as the equivalent of the doctor’s bleeding a patient already suffering from severe anemia. You’re talking about an economy that really can’t afford to make such radical restructuring. The economic benefit of such restructuring is at least a question mark, but there were estimates that what the IMF was demanding and by extension the European Union was demanding would cost Ukraine in the neighborhood of $160 billion over ten years which is the equivalent of one year’s GDP. Even if that number is a bit high—is it high by a factor of two? by three?—it’s still a very substantial amount of money that they didn’t have, and the amount of money that the Europeans were actually going to provide to Kyiv in the form of loans was less than one billion Euro, which is not really going to take care of the problem. I think there’s no way that President Yanukovych could have accepted that agreement without completely not only destroying Ukraine’s economy but particularly hard-hitting the areas in his own electoral base which are the industrial heartland of the Ukraine.

In addition to that, and, of course, in the Western media, this was described as “threats from Moscow,” you had the problem with the Russians saying: Well, look, if you’re joining a trade pact that we don’t belong to, right now Ukraine has free access into the Russian market. How can they expect to maintain that free access, and by extension by acting as a conduit for European goods to have access to the Russian market with no reciprocity for Russia? Russia would be compelled to take remedial action to impose trade barriers against Ukraine, which they did not want to do. And of course, that was characterized as “Russian threats against Ukraine.” What the Russians were saying all along, and indeed President Yanukovych toward the end was also insisting on, is what’s really needed is more talk of a deal between Brussels and Moscow, that we need to regulate the trade relations between the EU as one bloc and the customs union as another bloc and figure out another way to accommodate Ukraine in that context that’s not forced to choose between one side or the other, because Ukraine really can’t afford to do that.

Mr. Allen: Jim, you know, in the New York Times in yesterday’s edition, speaking of how things in Ukraine have been characterized in Western media, their editorial calls the president of Ukraine, Yanukovych, or perhaps the former president, “the venal president of Ukraine.” And in a blog I just received today from the Greek-American media source, National Herald, they say in their headline: “The Good Ukrainians Won!” framing this in, obviously, “good versus evil” terms, but I have heard anti-opposition voices and credible Russian experts make, again, a credible argument that the opposition leaders are also [as] corrupt as or more than those they’re replacing. Just one further follow-up, then please respond. One Russian expert in Scandanavia I’ve corresponded with on this wrote that the recently released Yulia Tymoshenko became a billionaire in the ‘90s by stealing Ukraine’s natural gas, and he says further that the main opposition party is “composed of retreads from her former government which also is known for its corruption and ineptitude, which is why she lost the last election to Yanukovych.” Do you agree with that assessment?

Mr. Jatras: Well, I guess I start with the observation of “Trust not in princes.” I think people who invest their hopes and dreams in political figures are bound to be disappointed. As far as the allegations against Mr. Yanukovych, these, I think, [are] being used as an ex post facto rationale for justifying or claiming the legality of his removal. If that’s the standard for removing internationally recognized governments or elected leaders, there are probably several dozen governments around the world that ought to be removed by people in the street, and probably no government in Ukraine should have survived until the end of its term. This is hardly unique in Ukraine.

As far as the opposition leaders go, I don’t know that there are allegations of corruption against Vitaly Klitschko, the retired boxer who heads one of the opposition parties, but you mentioned Yulia Tymoshenko: yeah, of course, the corruption and even more serious allegations against her are quite well-known. Her reputation is a very negative one when it comes to her probity of the public trust, which in Ukraine is saying a whole lot, that she would have that reputation. I’m not in a position to say that Yanukovych or Tymoshenko or anybody else is a bad person or is a corrupt person or a corrupt leader, but the idea that somehow if we can justify the overthrow of Yanukovych and have the new crowd come in, that goodness and niceness will break out and corruption will disappear in Ukraine, any way you cut it, it’s going to be a very formidable task.

Mr. Allen: Do you think that Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, is going to stand for running for the president on May 25?

Mr. Jatras: I think it’s virtually certain that she will, and also I believe in the last day or so Vitaly Klitschko has announced that he will run for president as well, and I’m sure there’ll be several other contenders.

Mr. Allen: You know, getting back to what you said in an earlier part of this interview, and I’d like to focus in on this a little bit, there have been some terribly disturbing reports about some of the demographics in the opposition movement on the street. We’ve heard and seen and read reports of white supremacists with neo-Nazi ties, far-right protesters wearing helmets with S.S. logos, anti-Semitic rhetoric, blatant Russophobia, anti-Russian statements, etc. How would you characterize some of these reports? This gives many of us concern.

Mr. Jatras: It’s easy to overblow those reports, to simply describe this as a brown revolution or [say] it’s a Nazi revolution or something like that, and I think there has been some hysteria along those lines. On the other hand, I think it’s easy to discount them too much as well, to simply say, “Well, they’re only a tiny fringe, and they’re really not quite that extreme.” Yes, they may be relatively small in numerical terms, but theywere the spearpoint of this revolution if we want to call it that. It would not have succeeded if it were not for people who were very prepared to apply violence and then did so, and they did so with an ideological background.

One of the most obvious groups is Pravyi Sector, Right Sector, as it’s called. I don’t know how many people notice when they watch the news footage from Ukraine how many red-and-black flags that they saw. Those red-and-black flags were the flag of the so-called organization of Ukrainian Nationalists or the Ukrainian People’s Army, which, during World War II not only killed Russians and Jews or, obviously, Communists, but also killed, for example, 100,000 Poles in what is now western Ukraine, that has very much an ideology that’s based on a kind of blood-and-soil genetic concept of the Ukrainian people, which I think is only shared by a very small group of people within Ukraine, even in west Ukraine, but nonetheless it’s there, and nonetheless it’s central to what happened in Kyiv over the last few weeks.

And I think the really dangerous thing is, well, two-fold. One is that Western governments have been so blithe about allying themselves with people like this and with other more moderate leadership being allied with these people, knowing that they constitute the cutting edge of this change in power, and also the fact that they still hold whatever the new order in Kyiv is hostage; they’ve made it very clear they will not disperse from the streets, and they will not allow their revolution as they see it to be sold out. Even during the stand-off with Yanukovych, there were several instances where the more moderate leaders, maybe in good faith, were trying to come up with a political compromise, and they were booed and hissed and threatened by these radical elements. I think they have a veto power over even the western democratic-oriented elements in the opposition camp that are trying to form a government. That’s not good.

Mr. Allen: How much do you think this crisis, as it is shaping up as a kind of chaotic uprising, concerns the Russian government in terms of its possible spillover or impact on how political protests are potentially conducted in Russia?

Mr. Jatras: I don’t think it does. I mean, there is an interesting parallel in that some of the people, if you look at some of the anti-Putin demonstrations that have taken place in Russia over the last few years, they are much smaller, comparatively speaking… Even there, some of the elements who are depicted as democratic and Western-oriented are anything but; some of them are quite nationalistic or even national Bolshevik in their orientation and things like that. They’re hardly the moderates they’re sometimes painted to be. On the other hand, I don’t see any evidence that the Russian government is going to let itself be driven out of power from the street.

One of the big differences and I think one of the things that’s overlooked in Ukraine is some people have, for example, drawn parallels with Ukraine and what’s happened in Egypt with the Tahrir Square demonstrations that brought down President Mubarak and later on were mobilized by the military to bring down the Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, and I think there’s one great big difference there—aside from the obvious one of the Islamic ideology—is that in each of them there’s something called a “deep state.” There’s a military-led, hard core of authority that orchestrated the removal of Mubarak when he was a liability and that also got rid Morsi after they gave him enough rope to hang himself.

In Ukraine there is no deep state. In fact, the problem with Ukraine is there’s not much of a state at all, that the government has been a kind of a plaything of very powerful oligarchs, and that’s not likely to change in the near future. I think the hard part for any Ukrainian government is to maintain its authority in the face of powerful private interests that treat the state like it belongs to them. That’s not the case in Russia. It was the case under Yeltsin; under Putin nobody has any mistake as to where the state is and who’s in charge.

Mr. Allen: Moving to a slightly different direction, the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, which is the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has been quite reserved and moderate throughout the crisis, although it seems a few of their properties have been under threat, although [there are] no attacks that we’re aware of, but, for an example, at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra—if I’m pronouncing that correctly—it was apparently surrounded by far-right activists who shouted anti-Moscow Patriarch slogans until they were eventually calmed down. I wonder if you might comment on the Moscow Patriarch’s response, because in the West especially some believe that the Russian Orthodox Church tends to toe the line, if you will, with the Kremlin in its politics, and therefore its views on Ukraine reflect this, that the Kremlin uses the Russian Orthodox Church to forward its agenda. How would you respond to this line of thinking?

Mr. Jatras: Well, first off in the Russian context, I’m not sure if it’s the Kremlin that’s using the Russian Orthodox Church to forward its agenda or whether the Russian Orthodox Church is using the Kremlin to furtherits agenda. As you know, in Orthodoxy we have a very long, if not always happy, but I think venerable, tradition of Church-state symphony, and where the two powers—the spiritual and the temporal—support one another. I think that’s one reason, for example, why we see so much coming from Russia which drives some progressives crazy here in the United States, that the kind of godless values that have become so prevalent in America and in western Europe don’t really have much legs in Russia, that the Church supports the state; the state supports the Church.

I think that in Ukraine, the same thing goes on, but it’s quite clear that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has been very, very Ukraine-ized, is very Ukrainian in its perspective. It’s no way a tool of the Russian government or even the Russian Orthodox Church as a whole, and I think that record is quite clear. Now, for ideological motives, there are a lot of people in Ukraine or some people in Ukraine who may not even be particularly religious who, what they want is a Ukrainian Church that’s more Ukrainian than a church. And I think that’s a very dangerous thing if it gathers any kind of momentum. I don’t know that it will or that there’s anything much behind it. I do know, however, that under the previous administration of President Yushchenko, who was the president before Yanukovych, some very important churches, especially in Kyiv, were taken from the canonical Church and given to the non-canonical so-called Ukrainian Patriarchate church. That, I think, is a very dangerous meddling in the internal politics of the Church by state authorities.

Mr. Allen: Right, and just to expand on or clarify your statement on the religious makeup of Ukraine and whether this is a religious movement or not, which it clearly is really not, only 10% of the Ukraine population are regular church-goers, according to statistics. So it’s not like an overwhelming percentage are packing the churches every day or every weekend in Ukraine.

Mr. Jatras: Well, of course, and the number in Russia is actually a little bit lower than that. On the other hand, those are pretty sterling numbers when it compares to western Europe. So I guess it’s a question of comparison: how religious that indicates [Ukraine is]. The other thing, by the way, and again, not to strike too much of a discordant note, that some observers have been very pointed in their descriptions of the role of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which is a church based in western Ukraine that’s Eastern rite but in union with Rome, which tends to be the religion of some of the more Ukrainian Nationalist elements that come from the far west part of the Ukraine that was part of the Austrian empire before World War I, not part of the Russian empire.

This perspective, which has both a religious and an ethnic element to it, is a very important part of a certain concept of what Ukraine means, which I think there’s a tendency to kind of impose that concept on the rest of Ukraine. One of the problems with Ukraine, regionally, is that linguistically, religiously, and so forth, there’s not just one Ukraine. There’s at least two, three… I’ve seen articles describing as many as eight Ukraines. This kind of diversity and accommodating it in a single state has always been Ukraine’s challenge.

Mr. Allen: So this East-West polarity and tension as you’re describing it is not simply coming from geopolitical dynamics, that is, Russia versus European Union, but it’s really part of the fabric of the new Ukraine. Is that not correct?

Mr. Jatras: Absolutely, and one of the things that’s puzzled me all along here is this kind of dichotomy of Russia versus Europe. Yes, we’re Ukrainians, we’re Europeans, we’re not Russians. Well, yes, you’re Europeans, but what do you think Russians are? I mean, this concept of being European or not European is used with respect to Russia in a kind of pejorative way that never would be used, for example, for people from Africa or south or east Asia or Latin America. It makes me wonder about the question: what are we Americans? Are we Europeans or not, according to this kind of usage? It’s used in a kind of [an] us-versus-them dichotomy that I don’t think really has any place in modern life, but it’s become a kind of a staple of describing Ukrainians as one of the good people, one of the “us"es in the West, not one of “them,” bad people, Russians, whatever they’re supposed to be if they’re not European. I frankly do not understand it. What are the Russians if not an integral part of European civilization?

Mr. Allen: Yeah, personally I like to look at these things as Christians, not so much as cultural or political distinctions…

Mr. Jatras: Well, of course. The thing is… There is a cultural stamp on Christianity. We use bread and wine for our Eucharist; we don’t use tea and rice, we don’t use beer and tortillas. There’s a stamp from the ancient Middle East and the Greco-Roman world that was the cultural matrix in which Christianity arose, and it’s reflected by the very names we carry which tend to be Greek or Hebrew names, as Christians. You could add to that Slavonic names or some others that have come in over the years. That doesn’t mean Christianity is a European religion. It does mean, however, that European civilization is indelibly marked by Christianity, and, as part of the history of Christian Europe, I think Russia is no less part of that than, say, Spain or England or any of the other of the countries we think of as the cradle of our civilization. [I don’t understand] why some people have the need to try to divide Christianity against itself and Christendom against itself, as if two world wars and a cold war weren’t enough, to almost finish off our civilization.

Mr. Allen: Yes, well said. You know, it appears of concern to the Moscow Patriarchate in Russia, and I read an article not directly on the issue of Ukraine but on its relations with the culture of Europe by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), and I think this could be applied to the concerns that many, and, frankly, including many Orthodox, have about the possibility of Ukraine’s borders opening not only to foreign investment and trade but to also all of that that goes with it. Metr. Hilarion speaks of European “militant secular values and laws” that are embedded in some of the European Union—gay marriage, abortion, and so on—that it fears will come from a European Union association which will change, in their view, Ukraine’s culture and values. Since the Russian Orthodox Church is clearly committed to rebuilding an Orthodox legacy in the region, do you feel that this is a major and legitimate concern?

Mr. Jatras: I think it is a concern, and that even came up over the course of the last year in debate within Ukraine where people critical of the association agreement with Europe raised this: What about things like gay marriage and so forth? And that was dismissed by most observers as simply being a red herring, just a way to throw mud at the agreement and say nothing of the sort will happen, but I think it is a legitimate concern. There is an ethos to western Europe and, unfortunately, increasingly to the United States, that has adopted values that are new values that certainly cannot be called Christian and certainly not traditional for our country and our civilization.

On the question of abortion, as you know it’s very high and the rate is very high in all the former Communist countries. There have been efforts in Russia to get the rate down. The Church has been active there. To their credit in the western part of Ukraine, the Catholic part of Ukraine, their abortion rate is much lower than it is in the “Orthodox” parts of Ukraine, the large majority of the country. The Church, as far as I know, has done very little about that. I wrote a paper on this a couple of years ago. The fear of contamination, let’s say, of a godless western European post-Christian culture, is a very legitimate one, but let’s not pretend that everything is all rosy within the culture that is being threatened by those new values. Unfortunately the years of Communism did not do much for the moral standard of people in general.

Mr. Allen: Thank you. I appreciate that very balanced comment. Jim Jatras, as we’re coming to a close, where do you see events leading in Ukraine? What are the chances the protests will die down soon, because people are still in Independence Square, and there still seems to be a movement?

Mr. Jatras: It’s a very, very good question, and that fact that you point to is indicative of how intractable the problem is. When the opposition seemingly has now formed a new government or is trying to do that and is supposedly in control, against whom are the protesters protesting? If the more violent elements demand—and I think [they] are being courted—a veto power on further political elements, if they decide they’re not happy and they use the same tactics against Tymoshenko and Klitschko and Yatsenyuk that they used to against Yanukovych, will they be any stronger at being able to resist violent demands than Yanukovych was? I think it’s a very open question, but I can’t imagine they’d be in a stronger position.

How will they reach out to the eastern, southern parts of the country? It’s indicative of a problem that one of the first things they purported to do in the new parliament is to repeal a fairly moderate [law to] accord a status to the Russian language, which is the prevalent language in eastern and southern Ukraine, and really even in the city of Kyiv, not even to grant it official status along with Ukrainian, but to allow it to be officially used for some purposes and return it to the status of a completely second-status language. In the constitution is even called the language of a national minority in Ukraine, which is simply absurd. That doesn’t bode well for how these people intend to reach out to other parts of the country. Will they be able to hold elections? Will violence break out in other parts of the country? Let’s hope not.

I think, ultimately, a lot of this may be decided by the economy. I’d mentioned early the difficulty knowing, not only for the Russians but for the Europeans and the Americas: whom do you even send the aid to in Ukraine? I don’t think there will be much aid coming to Ukraine from the West. At some point they’re going to turn back toward Russia. Now, Russia is… Right now it seems to be taking what they call the Colin Powell Pottery Barn rule: “You broke it, you pay for it.” “We offered money. Instead you swept those guys away. You’ve got some real problems, but they’re not our problems.”

As I say, I think somehow the Europeans, especially, and the Russians need to work out some understanding between themselves and figure out a place in Ukraine for it, and see if they can help promote reconciliation among Ukrainians, and that’s going to be a very tall order.

Mr. Allen: Well, Jim Jatras, thank you very much on behalf of Ancient Faith Radio and our international listeners for providing a very balanced perspective on the crisis in Ukraine.

Mr. Jatras: Thank you.

Mr. Allen: I’d also like to acknowledge before closing and thank Mr. Thomas Smitherman, a Russian expert and AFR listener for his help with background information for this program.