Seventy-five years ago, on December 30, 1942, widely known newspaper columnist and radio commentator Boake Carter had one of his columns appear in various newspapers throughout the United States.
Mr. Carter noted:
“I have had drawn to my attention a matter which is of considerable importance when contemplating the European picture as a whole, the matter of Ukraine.
“The average American, I would venture to say 99½ percent of all Americans consider Ukraine as a Russian province. The truth is quite the opposite. And it is worth noting a few facts about Ukraina (as the citizens of this territory prefer their land to be known and called), inasmuch as it is the bone of contention in this conflict between Germany and Russia…
“The language of Ukraina is not a Russian dialect. Ukraina has a long history, and possesses literature and traditions of her own. Modern Ukraine was born in the throes of the Kozak Revolution of 1648.
“The Ukrainians are not Russians. They speak their own language. Once she was an independent nation. Under Bohdan Khmelnytsky, hetman of Ukraina, the country made a treaty with Russia for protection against Polish and Turkish invasions and plunder expeditions.
“Russia later forcibly annexed Ukraina against her will, one of those cases where the protector turned out to be wolf, but the Ukrainian spirit never died. The Ukrainians still hope to restore their independence and freedom.
“Such an opportunity came in 1918, but not possessing a strong army to defend herself, Ukraina was overrun by the Bolshevik army…
“Then came the outbreak of war again in 1939. Germany wants Ukraina as a colony, and for the time being has control of her people. Russia wants Ukraina to stay as she was. The Ukrainians want their country totally independent from all tyrants.
“But, as one Ukrainian has put it to me, ‘I am wondering how the Atlantic Charter will work in our case – since Russia is a member of the United Nations!’ And he continues, ‘although Roosevelt-Churchill proclaimed new hope of the enslaved nations, Ukraina could not be set free from Russia.’ According to Paragraph 3 of the Atlantic Charter, Ukraina has little hope because Paragraph 2 will not allow this (‘territorial changes without consent of the people [Russians] concerned.’) fight for their freedom because Paragraph 8 forbids it!
“… It is to be doubted that Ukraina will obtain her independence after the war, as undoubtedly she should do if the Atlantic Charter is to be an honest document of honest intentions. And it is equally obvious that it’s neither.”
Mr. Carter argued that if Great Britain and the U.S. pressed earnestly to render justice under the terms of the Atlantic Charter, the Anglo-Saxon people would be obliged to approach the Russian government and insist that it free the Ukrainians. Russia, as a late-comer to the war, and happens to be on the “winning” side, would do no such thing.
Mr. Carter concluded: “Who then will be strong enough to enforce such justice for the Ukrainians who want their four freedoms just as much as we are fighting to ‘preserve’ ours? And will we be prepared to go to war against Russia over Ukrainian independence? The answer is quite obviously no to all the above questions.”
Mr. Carter, who died in 1944, would have been thrilled to see the collapse of the Soviet Union and the re-emergence of an independent Ukraine. He would have witnessed that it has taken the international community’s united efforts – the European Union, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Criminal Court, the Council of Europe and others (all institutions that the Kremlin has attempted to undermine and destabilize) – to keep Russian aggression at bay.
Perhaps Mr. Carter would not be surprised to see a Russia attempting to rebuild its lost empire. Russia continues to destabilize the world with its actions, whether militarily, via cyber attacks and through disinformation.
Source: “Will Russia give Ukrainians freedom,” The Ukrainian Weekly, January 9, 1943.