Hands off Ukraine!

hands off   A tragic situation has evolved just east of Hungary. Ukraine has entered a serious crisis, while its eastern neighbour, Russia, a great European power, hinders its recovery. Moreover, it hinders by way of non-admitted aggression. A few months ago it would have been unimaginable to us for this to happen in Europe. 

It turned out by mid March that we had been wrong. Russia, after its troops occupied the Crimea, held a referendum with its local allies regarding secession. The referendum was not in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution. After the referendum, the illegitimately elected local leaders proposed the peninsula's accession to Russia. The Kremlin nobly accepted it. Why would they have refused since the screenplay had been written this way in Moscow all along?

The Crimea's secession from Ukraine was attributed to the threat faced by the large number of Russians living there. This threat has not been confirmed. This fact does not disturb Russia at all, since it finds the brutal violation of a sovereign state's territorial integrity completely normal. The irony that Russia started its first Chechen war on the pretext of defending its own territorial integrity is also lost on Russia's leadership. It seems that Russia is allowed to do so, while its neighbour is not. It is thought-provoking since Moscow likes to claim some kind of Western 'double standard'. Meanwhile, it looks on its own 'double standard' as natural.

However, for the Russians, the Crimea wasn't enough. Because no one was willing to enter into negotiations with them, the Russians decided to take the campaign one step further. They started to foment rebellion in the mainly Russian-friendly Eastern regions. However, they struggled to keep the rebellion alive, so the Russians turned to local "freedom fighters" and volunteers. It is evident that what has been happening in the Ukraine cannot be considered a local conflict, because, if it were so, the occupation of public buildings, the erecting of barricades and the spontaneous protests would have happened a lot sooner. However, all these events started to take place only in April. The reason for this was that the Russian leadership realized that they were left without negotiating partners and the Ukrainians stood firm against the blackmail and the significant pressure exerted by the Russians. It had become obvious that the Russians were not interested in the well-being of the people living in the Ukraine, nor were they concerned about the corruption of the previous regime. Their only concern is to keep the country in the Russian sphere of influence. There are voices who accuse the selfish policies of the Western powers, and above all, the USA for the conflict. Even if this were true, the people of Ukraine should have the right to live a life as befits a human. Just because the country has become the victim of a major geopolitical conflict, why should the Ukrainians be prevented from leading a normal life and pursuing their dreams? Why should they live as they are told to by the Russians? As the election of Mr Poroshenko shows, the people of Ukraine clearly stated their ambitions. Why should we doubt their willingness to become members of the European Union? Of course, this won't be a matter of weeks or months. But let's give them the chance to at least try. It may well be that the EU accession process will turn out to be a failure. However, if the Russians had their own way, the people of Ukraine wouldn't even have the chance to live through this failure. And this is unacceptable.

The disinterest of Fidesz politicians and their cynicism at times is especially astonishing in such a dramatic situation. It's very hard to evaluate the Prime Minister's recent statement demanding autonomy from Ukraine. What would he himself think about a politician demanding such things from him while his country fought a battle of life and death against a far stronger power? His statement was not only disingenuous, but a stab in the back. Doctor Kövér said with great enthusiasm that the months-long conflict in Ukraine was nothing but a circus. Is it really? How can someone be this senseless and insensitive? Would he feel the same if something like this happened to Hungary? Why would Russia became an even closer friend of the Hungarian government than our Western allies? Maybe because Moscow does not criticize our illustrious government for their steps in destroying democracy? Or maybe retaining the massive loan given by Russia under the guise of expanding Paks is worth more than anything else? Is it more important than freedom, democracy and the values of honor? Where are we now? Does the freedom loving Hungarian nation deserve this? Do we need a government like this? Of course you know my answer. We Hungarians don't need such a cynical government which belittles another nation's pursuit of freedom. And to highlight this matter, we are going to try to initiate a resolution in the Hungarian Parliament condemning the Russian aggression and expressing solidarity with Ukraine. Let's make things clear! Let's see if a government standing up for the greatness of 1956 is capable of supporting others' freedom fight also, or if they will accede to the mutilation and violation of our neighbor.

Ferenc Gyurcsány, Chairman of the Democratic Coalition