July 30, 1987

Thirty years ago, on July 30, 1987, the Soviet government accused United States diplomats of inciting demonstrations by Crimean Tatars calling for the return of their homeland. In Washington, the State Department responded by stating that such accusations were “absurd.”

Some 500 Crimean Tatars – mostly young people – called for the restoration of their ancestral homeland during a 24-hour protest near Red Square that began on July 25, and which unexpectedly had drawn no police retaliation. The protest culminated in a meeting on July 27 with Soviet President Andrei Gromyko to discuss their demands. One of the demonstrators’ demands was to meet with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Mr. Gromyko reportedly outlined the composition of a top-level commission to investigate their cause and requested that all 21 members of the delegation explain their complaints.

Putin: Non-Russians must learn Russian, but Russians needn’t learn their languages

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” George Orwell wrote in “Animal Farm.” Now, Vladimir Putin has applied this to Russia by saying that all non-Russians must learn Russian, but that no ethnic Russian must be compelled to learn a republic language even if he or she lives in a non-Russian republic. Such comments are music to the ears of Russian nationalists, but this asymmetric approach is highly offensive to many non-Russians, who are quite prepared to learn Russian but who believe that those who live among them on the territories where they are the titular nationality should learn their languages as well. By coming down in this way, the Kremlin leader has guaranteed that the divide between Russians and non-Russians in the republics will deepen, that nationalist passions on both sides will intensify, and that more conflicts will arise as both sides see this move as another step to the liquidation of the non-Russian republics and what’s left of Russian federalism. At a session of the Presidential Council on Inter-Ethnic Issues on July 20 in the Mari El capital of Ioshkar-Ola, Mr. Putin made three pronouncements on ethnic relations: the first on the difference in status between Russian and non-Russian languages, the second on ethno-tourism and the third on who should be running nationality policy (business-gazeta.ru/article/352146). First of all, Mr. Putin told the group that “the Russian language for us is the state language, the language of inter-ethnic communication, and it cannot be replaced by anything else.

For the second time in Russian history, “the fish is rotting from the head”

“A fish begins to rot from the head,” Russians say, “and society descends into insanity following its dictator. His personal paranoia becomes that of society, and propaganda infects the entire country with it,” Igor Eidman says. “Thus it was in Stalin’s USSR; such it has occurred in Putin’s Russia as well.”

There is only one principal difference, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says. “Stalin’s paranoia was directed inside the country. He was pathologically afraid of conspiracies, didn’t trust even his closest entourage and sought to destroy all he suspected of disloyalty” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1540269132702727&id=100001589654713).

NATO membership, assassinations, political warfare

“Will Ukraine join NATO? A course for disappointment,” by Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution July 25 (https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/07/25/will-ukraine-join-nato-a-course-for-disappointment/?utm_campaign=Brookings%20Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm _content=54625936):

Following the visit to Kyiv by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine would seek to meet the alliance’s membership criteria by 2020. …

Ukraine today is involved in an undeclared, low-intensity conflict with Russia in the Donbas. That is not a conflict of Kyiv’s choosing, but one forced upon it by Moscow. The Kremlin has organized, led, funded, armed and otherwise supported – in some cases with regular units of the Russian army – violent separatism in Donetsk and Luhansk of a kind that Russia itself would never tolerate …

Even if the Donbas conflict were settled, there would remain the issue of Crimea and its illegal seizure, occupation and annexation by Russia.

Summer jobs

It was the worst job I ever had. And it paid well. I was a “test carrier” at J&L Steel Co. Our next door neighbor was a union shop steward, and he arranged for me to be hired. I already had a job lined up in an inner-city high school in September, but I welcomed the opportunity to make good money over the summer.

“Retro Lviv” benefit at Soyuzivka raises funds to help Ukraine’s soldiers

KERHONKSON, N.Y – A full house of 160 people attended the “Retro Lviv” gala on Friday evening, July 14, at the start of the annual Ukrainian Cultural Festival at Soyuzivka Heritage Center, to raise funds for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which continues to suffer the consequences of Russia’s war in the Donbas. The event was organized by the Ukrainian National Foundation, an affiliated company of the Ukrainian National Association that performs charitable activities. The charitable partner of the 2017 gala was the International Alliance for Fraternal Assistance, a respected and highly awarded Kyiv-based NGO. Viktoria Voronovych, assisted by her husband, Roman Woronowycz, spoke about the work of the IAFA, including its latest focus on establishing a career center to help Ukraine’s soldiers returning from the frontlines. The elegant evening featured a gourmet dinner of old Lviv cuisine.


Russia, EU concerned about sanctions 

PRAGUE – Russia and the European Union are both expressing concern about proposed new U.S. sanctions against Moscow, focusing in particular on how they might affect joint energy projects. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman and EU officials spoke on July 24, a day after the White House said that President Donald Trump is open to new legislation that would slap fresh sanctions on Russia and limit his ability to ease or lift them by himself. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reached agreement on the legislation last week, and the House passed it on July 25 by a vote of 419-3. Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia is “working with our European partners on implementing a number of large-scale projects,” when asked about the possible impact of the new U.S. sanctions on projects like Nord Stream 2. “It goes without saying that we and our European partners attach great importance to finishing these projects and we will work towards this,” Mr. Peskov said in response to a question about the potential effects of sanctions on projects such as Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that is to carry Russian gas across the Baltic Sea to Europe.

Patriarch Sviatoslav visits Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – A day after installing Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk as the new bishop of Chicago’s Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas, Patriarch Sviatoslav was off to visit one of the farthest parishes, located in Tucson, Ariz., of this vast eparchy. Upon disembarking from a four-hour, nearly 2,000-mile flight to Tucson, the patriarch was moved by the dedication of a group of about a dozen stalwart parishioners singing “Mnohaya lita,” who waited in their Ukrainian embroidered clothing, with a large “Welcome, Patriarch” banner, despite the fact that the flight was two hours late, making it midnight at the time of arrival. The next day, July 1, Patriarch Sviatoslav was greeted at the door of St.

Boston Holodomor activists unite behind Genocide Education Bill

Boston Holodomor activists gather on the steps of the State Capitol following the June 27 hearing on the Genocide Education Bill. BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Legislature Joint Committee on Education on June 27 heard testimony on House Bill 314, which incorporates genocide education into the Massachusetts curriculum for secondary schools throughout the state. Presenters providing testimony included attorney Paul Thomas Rabchenuk, chairman of the Greater Boston Committee to Commemorate the Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933, the Holodomor. Mr. Rabchenuk discussed the 41 genocides that have occurred in the past century, emphasizing the many that were not properly addressed by the educational system. Father Yaroslav Nalysnyk, pastor of Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church in Boston, told the committee how surprised he was while working on his doctorate in theology to find that many of his colleagues were totally unaware of the Ukrainian genocide.

Ukrainian pro hockey update

Islanders superstar Mike Bossy

Mike Bossy was named one of the NHL’s 100 – the top-100 players in the history of the National Hockey League’s 100 years of existence. This is the third in a series featuring the six Ukrainian hockey stars selected to this elite group. When hockey pundits discuss late-20th century dynasties, the team that first comes to mind is the Edmonton Oilers. Ranking right up there with Gretzky’s Oilers are the New York Islanders of the 1980s, often referred to as one of the greatest teams of all-time. One of the main men on the Isles’ top line was Ukrainian right wing Mike Bossy, partnered with center Bryan Trottier and left wing Clark Gillies.