BRAMA, April 14, 2011, 9:00 AM ET|
An Open Letter to Viktor Yanukovych
President Yanukovych's Chance to Show Leadership
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
By Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the UAOC or Metropolitan Myfodii.
Dear Viktor Fedorovych:
Please excuse my informality, but I want to impress on you, or at least hopefully to catch the attention of some of your key advisors something that can guarantee your place in history. Scholars may assign you a distinguished place for showing vision and courage at this point in time. They may attribute you with seizing an opportunity that defined the nation's course for a century or more.
Viktor Fedorovych, you have a chance to help make something happen that will impact the entire continent and perhaps world history. It is a blessing on you and Ukraine. Do everything possible to ensure Ukraine joins the European Union.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who as you know from leaked American diplomatic cables doesn't think much of you personally or Ukrainian sovereignty, will do everything to stop Ukraine from joining the European Union. No doubt the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, which you have a spiritually unhealthy attraction toward, will attempt to influence you. Remember it is an extension of Russia's foreign policy and not a friend of Ukrainian sovereignty. If Ukraine, the second largest nation on the continent and potentially one of the wealthiest, joins the European Union then the political and economic dynamics of Europe dramatically shifts. You actually have the chance to lay the foundations for the long-term viability of Ukrainian sovereignty and to enable the country to finally move away from Moscow's shadow.
Remember what U.S. President Jimmy Carter's foreign policy advisor Zbigniew Brezezinski wrote more than 16 years ago, "Without Ukraine Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire." Keep this in mind Viktor Fedorovych.
Considering the size of Ukraine's population and its natural resources it can be a dominant, not third rate, European economy. In the future, Ukraine with the European Union behind it, may even have the upper hand in negotiations with Russia. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?!?!?! This cannot happen if Ukraine is locked into Putin’s contrived Single Economic Space.
Imagine future historians crediting and remembering you with empowering Ukraine to shape the continent’s future because you guided the country into the European Union. Never before in the history of Ukraine has it had such an opportunity.
Putin will attempt to charm and pressure you. An impression in the West, though you may think it unfair, that you are a marginal bureaucrat and a Putin-puppet will be re-enforced if Ukraine doesn't join the European Union. No doubt Russia's offer of $8 billion in annual natural-gas subsidies to join the Single Economic Space is very tempting. Yet it is a political maneuver that will jeopardize your place in history and Ukraine's ability to control its destiny.
In light of some of the stagnant economies that would be part of the Single Economic Space, Ukraine would be weighed down and burdened. I mean no disrespect to our Belorussian cousins, but do you really think being linked to Belorussia’s economy is healthy for Ukraine? In addition, what about the Russian oligarchs? Not only do they run wild in Russia, but it’s a good bet they will use the Single Economic Space as the means to fully take over Ukraine's economy.
Ukraine's geographic position with its northern neighbor necessitates an economic relationship of some sort. But sometimes your decisions have backed Ukraine needlessly into a corner. Renewing the Russian naval base in Odessa for twenty-five years, for example, was not one of your better decisions. Understandably, having thousands of vodka-happy Russian sailors spending money in Odessa helps the local economy.
On the other hand, you locked Ukraine into an agreement for twenty-five years. If you really think this lease is beneficial to Ukraine, which most Diaspora Ukrainians doubt, it would have been politically shrewd to have renewed the lease for three year periods. It would have given you options and flexibility. Imagine what you could have extracted every time the base lease was up for renewal! Instead, you gave Russia the opportunity to further entrench itself. The northern neighbor needs the base far more than Ukraine needs the boost to the local economy.
Viktor Fedorovych, I must underscore and remind you again to the point of being repetitive that you are the leader of the second largest nation in Europe and potentially one of the wealthiest. Your plans for Ukraine should go well beyond tinkering with education and fighting corruption. Of course education reform and combating corruption are important matters, but have you ever thought about laying the foundations for making Ukraine a player on the world stage?
You can achieve this by standing strong against Putin and guiding Ukraine into the European Union. This is not to suggest history will be kind to you regarding your handling of civil liberties, church-state relations, or hindering democracy by obstructing competitive, transparent elections, but I’ll revisit those issues with you in another Open Letter.
Please remember Viktor Fedorovych you are President of Ukraine. You are not its Russian appointed governor. Your place in history will be determined, in part, on how you helped Ukraine integrate into the European Union.
Wishing you and your family peace and blessings during this Easter season of rebirth, renewal, and life.
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC)-Kyiv Patriarchate
Appointed U.S. spokesperson for Metropolitan Myfodii of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine
* * * * *
Apr 22 12 - Op-ed: Aiding and Abetting the Moscow Patriarchate
Mar 23 12 - Friends of Ukraine Take Action
Feb 24 12 - Will Ukraine have Its First Modern Political Martyr?
Jan 23 12 - Holocaust Remembrance Day
Dec 30 11 - Ukrainian World Praise for Major Archbishop Shevchuk
Dec 21 11 - Lessons from Muscovy
Aug 10 11 - Russian Truth
Apr 14 11 - President Yanukovych's Chance to Show Leadership
Mar 14 11 - An Open Letter to Viktor Yanukovych
Aug 27 10 - Independent Ukraine 2010
Jan 31 10 - Remembering Ukraine's Jews
Jan 15 10 - Orange Forever!
Aug 27 09 - UAOC Mourns the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy
Jan 14 08 - UAOC Bishop Condemns United Fatherland and Union of Orthodox Citizens
Oct 25 07 - Bishop calls for Annual Holocaust Memorial Day
May 28 07 - Priests try to end anti-Semitism
Feb 12 07 - Statement on Anti-Semitism
Feb 5 07 - Kyiv Patriarchate Appoints U.S. Director of Public Affairs
Nov 23 05 - Archbishop Husar's Orange Revolution of Faith
Sep 12 05 - Yushchenko showed leadership
Sep 7 05 - Metropolitan Mefodiy of Kyiv to visit America
Sep 2 05 - UAOC issues strong condemnation of anti-semitism
Apr 28 05 - Yushchenko at the Kennedy Library
Apr 1 05 - Diaspora rebirth begins in dialogue
Mar 11 05 - The Politics of Orthodoxy
Feb 11 05 - The Diaspora's Future
Jan 21 05 - Ukraine, Orthodoxy, and the Greek Prelate
Dec 22 04 - Has the Diaspora failed? Can more be done?
Dec 22 04 - Russia will not leave Ukraine alone
Dec 14 04 - God, Faith and the Orange Revolution
Dec 8 04 - Ukraine must run the extra mile
Dec 1 04 - Cage the Russian Circus Bear
Nov 24 04 - Support liberty - Practical things you can do
Nov 22 04 - Ukraine's Election - NOW WHAT?
Oct 11 04 - Catholic Patriarchate in Kyiv
Sep 29 04 - Kuchma and the American presidential election
Aug 13 04 - Op-ed: Foreign churches cannot dictate a unilateral non-Ukrainian spirituality in Ukraine (Patriarch Filaret and Ukrainian Spirituality)
Jul 26 04 - Op-ed: Viktor Yushchenko and Ukraine's future (Ukraine needs a patriot as its next leader)
Mar 18 04 - Ukrainian influence in the 2004 American presidential election
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