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The Forum > Article Comments > Will Ukraine end like Estonia in 1940? > Comments

Will Ukraine end like Estonia in 1940? : Comments

By Sylvia McNeall, published 29/10/2014

Ukraine after the collapse of communism in 1991 and Estonia in 1920 share similar histories both wanted to form democratic republics, in control of their economic and cultural futures.

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The Latvian experience was very similar. My moth-in-law and her immediate family were deported east from their family farm. They escaped and walked to Germany, where they lived as refugees for 5 years before emigrating to Australia.

My father-in-law's story was similar, except that he was conscripted by the Germans and never again saw any member of his family.

The Museum of Occupation in Riga is a very challenging place to visit for those whose families were disrupted, never to be reunited, by the German and Russian years.

During a recent visit I became acutely aware that many ethnic Russians living in Latvia are doing it tough. Problems which take generations to build cannot be resolved in mere years.

My message: Ways must be found to reduce the problems faced by the Russian heritage residents of these formerly occupied nations. Many were born their and their parents also. Through no fault of their own, some Russian heritage Latvians (and Estonians, etc) now find life very difficult indeed and they are trapped in the country of their birth, neither Russian nor Latvian in many ways.

Peace is only found at the end of the two-way street called respect.
Posted by JohnBennetts, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 9:21:32 AM
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The author writes that MH17 is believed to have been shot down by pro-Russian forces in the Ukraine, but this is not believed by the many who take the time to read other than MSM photo-shopped press stories.
The author further alleges that Crimea was invaded by Russian troops and then stolen from the Ukraine. Many would argue differently. For starters, the Russian forces in Crimea were already there as part of the treaty giving Russia access to the Black Sea port in Sevastopol.
Democracy? They voted in Crimea and in the Donbass to secede from the Ukraine. Well?
What happened back in history when Stalin and Hitler walked across Europe is not the same as today. Nobody is saying what happened back then is what anyone wants to happen today, but to conflate then and now is to confuse and muddy today's story. Consider the recurring claims that Russia is crowding NATO. But in the real world, NATO has expanded up to Russia's borders and is crowding Russia. To pretend otherwise is an Alice-in-Wonderland argument.
The forces the Ukraine needs to muzzle come from within her own history and are backed by the EU and the US. They do not come from Russia.
Posted by halduell, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 9:57:59 AM
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The reference to MH17 in the article was a poor decision.

I don't know who was responsible for downing the jet and it is pretty much irrelevant to the remainder of the post.

Besides which, it has opened the door to crackpot theorists from both sides to use this post as a battleground for their fantasies. Halduell's comments, though no doubt he firmly believes them to be well founded, are essentially not relevant here.

As to the comment to the effect that secession is reasonable because of a single, unadvertised, uncontested, very much rigged vote in a restricted area of the country, does that mean that the Newcastle and Charlestown electorates of NSW, having voted Labor last weekend and with no Liberal Party candidates, are thus no longer part of Liberal-governed NSW? Or Australia?

Meanwhile, back in the Baltics nations...
Posted by JohnBennetts, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 11:04:05 AM
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>>Halduell's comments, ... are essentially not relevant here.<<

What then is relevant? Assessing, or even predicting, future intentions of Russia (or Germany) in the light of the attrocities commited by Soviets (or Nazis) three quarters of a century ago?
Posted by George, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 11:23:29 AM
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The author of this article brought MH17 into the mix, as she did the vote in Crimea and the Donbass. By commenting on her assertions I am merely pointing out another side of what she has chosen to make the story.
At the conclusion of JohnBennetts first post, he writes that ways must be found to reduce the problems faced by the Russian heritage residents of the formerly occupied Baltic States. He than adds, "Through no fault of their own, some Russian heritage Latvians (and Estonians, etc) now find life very difficult indeed and they are trapped in the country of their birth, neither Russian nor Latvian in many ways."
I would add, also through no fault of their own some Russian heritage Ukrainians now find life very difficult. They, too, are trapped in the country of their birth, they have seen the new government in Kiev threaten to ban the use of their first language, Russian, and they have been referred to by the then Prime Minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, as untermensch, or sub-human. As a result, many have voted to go their own way, and are, indeed, fighting for that option.
This is not irrelevant. These developments are determining the immediate future of Europe, and how that future will interact with Russia as she is today, not as she was in a previous incarnation.
Posted by halduell, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 12:09:33 PM
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I reiterate:
Both the initial author and Halduell raised the extreme example of disputed origin, the MH17.

Having done so, there is now little chance that the mundane, ordinary existence of the reasonable folk who find themselves unhappy and unsettled in the once-occupied lands will find peace any time soon.

Instead, we are reading comments about the need for distrust, division, internal war and meaningless, biased failed elections. They will provoke and prolong the existing disputes, not lead to peace and prosperity.

So, to both the author and to Halduell, I say "Thanks for nothing. You are both steering some beautiful, essentially helpless and peace-loving but troubled nations towards military solutions, which include destruction of infrastructure, destruction of societies and separation of families."

We have read your expectations of and justifications for war. Where are your thoughts as to how those wars can be avoided? Or, have you none?

You aren't in the arms sales business, by any chance?
Posted by JohnBennetts, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 12:35:20 PM
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