If history is our teacher, the world may be headed for unrest

We must reassure the Baltics and Ukraine – who live in the very shadow of Russia – that the United States will be there for them if trouble arises. Russian intimidation of our NATO allies or other free nations cannot be tolerated. It is conventional wisdom that history repeats itself. But the world should hope – and pray – that this maxim is off base when it comes to our global security. Security arrangements, like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which through 71 years since the end of World War II have kept us safe from yet another global conflict, are quickly showing signs of coming undone.

Ukraine at the U.N.: moral issues versus political expediency

Ukraine managed to pass a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly condemning the violation of human rights in illegally occupied Crimea by Russia. The voting was not particularly impressive or overwhelming. The resolution garnered 70 yea votes with 23 nay and 76 abstentions. Still, it was an important vote. All NATO countries voted with Ukraine.

It’s long past time to identify and shame Holodomor deniers

One of the positive developments of recent decades has been the willingness of historians and those concerned with human rights to identify, shame and isolate those who deny the Holocaust. Today, it is long past time to do the same thing with those who deny the Holodomor, Stalin’s genocidal terror famine against Ukrainians and others. On November 26, Ukrainians and people of good will around the world paused to remember the victims of Stalin’s murderous attack by famine on the Ukrainian people which claimed as many as 10 million lives, intentionally led to the Russification of Ukraine, and thus set the stage for many of today’s problems there. At the time of the famine, Soviet officials and useful idiots in the West like the notorious Walter Duranty denied that any famine was taking place. But the evidence for that crime was too great and was most usefully assembled by James Mace and the U.S. Commission on the Ukrainian Famine in the 1980s (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=583BE13B37921).

Patriarch Kirill at 70: No autocephaly for Ukraine and no multiculturalism for Russia

Patriarch Kirill, who has become the leading promoter of the traditionalist national values in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, says on the occasion of his 70th birthday that the Moscow Patriarchate will never allow an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church or the appearance of multiculturalism in Russia itself. Feted by Orthodox and Russian state leaders, including President Putin, who not only gave the patriarch another award but suggested that it is likely it was Patriarch Kirill’s father who secretly baptized the young Putin many years ago (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=65227), the patriarch used the occasion not only to reaffirm his hard line but to declare that he has “only just begun” to push it. Patriarch Kirill made that declaration in the course of an extensive interview with the Moscow newspaper Kommersant (kommersant.ru/doc/3148819), which he began in the best traditions of the Soviet background that he shares by providing statistics about the growth in church institutions rather than concern about religious faith itself. “If you’ll permit me,” the Russian Church leader said, “I will begin with statistics.” Since he became patriarch, the number of Moscow Patriarchate churches has increased by 5,000, the number of priests by 10,000, and the number of monasteries by 122. There are now 160 more parishes in Moscow, and the number of bishoprics has gone up from 159 to 296.

What Iskander means

Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian Crimea under cover of the closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics was the most despicable use of the Olympic ideal in the Games’ modern era. The subsequent proxy war in eastern Ukraine, the murder of 298 people on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the human rights abuses by Russia’s agents and proxy thugs, and the stream of lies about all of it have continued the crime begun with Sochi. As these events unfolded I marveled at how quickly elites of both left and right discarded the meager gains of all the blood spilled in Europe in the 20th century – international law, the United Nations and the protection of sovereign nations from the predation of imperial powers. Evil developments, all. But, from the start, the geopolitical catastrophe of Russia’s invasions of Ukraine was the undermining of international nuclear arms control.

Latest Minsk talks fail to reach breakthrough on Ukraine conflict

Talks in Minsk on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine have ended with the foreign affairs ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany all saying no new breakthroughs were made. German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the November 29 meeting in the Belarusian capital concluded with negotiators far from reaching a political agreement that includes local elections – one of the key points of the February 2015 Minsk Agreement. But Mr. Steinmeier said he still hopes for progress on implementing the Minsk accords in order to bring an end to fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Mr. Steinmeier also held out the prospect that full implementation of the measures agreed in Minsk in September 2014 and February 2015 could lead to the lifting of international sanctions imposed against Russia over its role in Ukraine’s conflict. Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin blamed Russia for the standstill at the November 29 meeting, saying Moscow would not agree to any of the key priorities set out in the talks.

What happened to the Europe Ukrainians died for?

November 23

Three years ago this week, a nation rose up and demanded a better life. Three years ago this week, a middle class revolution commenced. Three years ago this week, the Euro-Maidan was born. And it’s worth remembering the Euro part. Because the popular uprising that eventually overthrew the corrupt and autocratic regime of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was driven by a desire to be part of Europe.

Expert says Trump’s victory is Ukraine’s chance to grow up

KYIV – With Donald Trump as president, the United States will focus on its internal problems and this should allow Ukraine to start addressing its challenges with its own resources, claims one Ukrainian political scientist. Mr. Trump’s victory in the presidential elections is a chance for Ukraine to get rid of illusions and begin to solve its own problems, according to Vadym Karasyov, director of the Institute of Global Strategy. Otherwise, Ukraine will not survive in the new geopolitical reality. Mr. Trump’s victory is the end of the America-centered world established after the Soviet Union’s collapse. The U.S. will focus on solving its internal problems and will address the problems of other countries to a lesser extent.

Petro Grigorenko in 1982 in Washington.

In memory of Petro Grigorenko, a voice in defense of Crimean Tatars

October 16 was the 109th anniversary of the birth of Petro Grigorenko (1907-1987), Soviet general, Soviet dissident, victim of punitive psychiatry and defender of the Crimean Tatar people. His friend Mustafa Dzhemilev is now again in exile, and the Crimean Tatars are facing persecution in their homeland under Russian occupation. Grigorenko served as major general during World War II and could have remained a respected war hero to the end of his life. From 1961, he refused to be silent and paid a high price, first being subjected to repression and then exiled in 1980. From exile he continued to represent the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and remained a voice for those persecuted in the Soviet Union until his death on February 21, 1987.

Those attacking Ukrainian archives should improve their own research

On May 2, Foreign Policy magazine published an article by Josh Cohen, a former employee of the U.S. State Department, titled “The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past” (http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/ 02/the-historian-whitewashing-ukraines-past-volodymyr-viatrovych/). Although Mr. Cohen’s criticism of Ukraine’s archives open access policies are a mixture of slander, speculation and unfounded fears, Foreign Policy magazine never responded to my letters and did not explain why they would not publish my response which is given below. 

The historian alleged to have cleansed Ukraine’s past of undesirable episodes is Dr. Volodymyr Viatrovych, head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance (UINM). The timing of the article coincided with a series of articles that were published arguing that, even if de-communization is to be expected, this is not the right place and the right time and is not being run by the best people. Mr. Cohen’s article is short on facts and evidence. Mr. Cohen claims the UINM has already received millions of documents from the former Soviet archives, when in reality this is not the case because the archive is just being launched.