Reprise: The Ukraine Fallacies (with Victor Rud)
On the West's misunderstanding of the history of Ukraine.
NOTE: This piece and the podcast interview with Victor Rud originally ran on May 21, 2021. A lot has changed since then, but I am reprising it today, for obvious reasons.
Concerned about U.S. apathy toward Ukraine, the American attorney Victor Rud, in his capacity as chair of the foreign advisory council for the Ukrainian National Association, composed a letter to the incoming Secretary of State:
I am writing concerning the ongoing developments in Ukraine.
Even though Ukraine is the largest European country, the size of Germany, England and Hungary combined, it has been forever a terra incognita for Americans, citizens and policymakers alike. That, together with Ukraine’s sudden and stunning appearance on the international scene, requires a studied reassessment of America’s mindset about “Russia” that has dominated for now almost a century. This is especially so because, regardless of the result of the upcoming elections in Ukraine, the U.S. will be confronted by ever increasing and sophisticated attempts by Russia to suborn that country.
Putin’s soul is of an unrepentant CHEKIST who matriculated from the same school as Pavel Sudoplatov. Pavel was a key player in the Soviet penetration of the Manhattan Project. . . and was a killer, among the “wet tasks” organizing Trotsky’s assassination. Infinitely more consequential to the United States, though your predecessors were oblivious to its implications, was Sudoplatov’s organization of the assassination of Ukrainian political and military leaders in what he described as a 75-year war between Ukraine and Russia . . . . The war continues.
Rud did not write this to Antony Blinken this past January. He wrote it to Condoleezza Rice in December of 2004.
Sixteen-plus years later, the only thing that has changed is the Russian occupation of the Crimea. Putin remains unrepentant. American policymakers remain oblivious, if not flat-out complicit. Ukraine remains essential. And the war continues.
To make sense of the situation playing out in the geographical center of Europe, we must understand the history of, and between, Ukraine and Russia. As the latter has spent the last century and a half in a concerted, systematic attempt to erase the history of the former, this is not always easy.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
ICYMI: The Ukraine Fallacies (with Victor Rud, recorded May 2021)
Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, and is in the geographic center of the continent. Understanding its history vis a vis its more famous northern neighbor is critical to grasping what’s happening right now in the Crimea—and why Western defense of Ukraine is so vital to global stability. Greg Olear talks with Ukraine expert Victor Rud, past chair of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, about Ukraine’s past, present, and future. Plus: A new offering from Time/Life Books.
Thanks, Magic Mind! Go to magicmind.co/PREVAIL and use code PREVAIL at checkout for 20% off
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Season 3 of the PREVAIL podcast will drop on Friday, March 18.
Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, 2016.
Thank you, has been timely for most of this century it seems. A century that has had more than a fair share of despots, piled one upon the other. Now it appears to have risen to the top of the pile as the world trembles. I keep waiting for a pic of Putin sporting a Hitler mustache to go viral. A Stalin pic would be more fitting but not as distinctive. Seems that Putin plans on making it a 100 years war to continue Russia’s bloodthirsty history of conquest toward it’s neighbors. You may think I am a Q nut, but I can’t help but think that this was a topic at Helsinki in 2018. Now Putie may have to wait a few years before the republicans can aid and abet his delusions of conquest. Or not. My question… will China support a madman
President Biden should announce that the USA will not condone Russia owning ANY of Ukraine for 1,000 years. Period.