Posted May 17, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Bloomberg News recently interviewed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the situation in Ukraine. Being a person who does not see the world through the viewpoint of any “side” – there is only one side and that is humanity – it is beneficial for increased understanding to hear from all persons involved in situations like that which is occurring in Ukraine. During United Nations Security Council meetings recently all members have strongly suggested diplomatic solutions through dialogue. This interview is dialogue, and talks are exactly what is necessary between all people, in all regions, of Ukraine to resolve any differences.
Some of the interview that stood out were Mr. Lavrov’s emphasis on all parties’ returning to the April 17 Geneva Agreement, where Ukraine, Russia, United States, and European Union officials agreed to stop all violence until a way forward was found which satisfied all Ukrainians from all regions. He pointed out that there could be no genuine communication through mortars, gunfire, bombs, or painting helicopters so they’d be falsely recognized as United Nations helicopters. The United Nations condemned those actions of Kiev authorities’ disguising helicopters.
Sergei Lavrov believes the present crisis began in 2008, at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting where the aim became spoken that Georgia and Ukraine should become part of the military alliance. The young interviewer asked Mr. Lavrov about Crimea, which Nikita Khrushchov turned over to Ukraine in 1964, although the action occurred in 1954. Lavrov noted that not one shot was fired in Crimea when the people there voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
After Crimea seceded, Lavrov talked about his government’s consistent efforts to bring about a national Ukrainian dialogue, including decentralization of power, a federalized political system, amendments to the constitution, presidential elections, and all issues and concerns being met in a way that satisfies all regions. The reforms resulting in a new Ukrainian model would be guaranteed by all stakeholders, but that these efforts were met with no response.
Lavrov said that the western goal is to legitimize the – what Lavrov described as – illegitimate, illegal regime that came to power in Kiev through violence.
He shares his experience of western officials telling him that Russians were taken into custody for crossing the Russia/Ukraine border to take part in violence. Lavrov tells the interviewer that he has requested many times that the evidence become produced – whether documents, identification cards, photos, or any evidence – but that he has never been presented with one piece of evidence.
He pointed out that officials from various regional nations have been given suggestions to stay out of meetings with their Russian counterparts, and that Lavrov’s requests to western leaders to appear on the media together have all been turned down. He said that he has heard many suggestions that Russians must do this, Russians must do that. He finds it hard to understand when, after doing what had been suggested, the response then would come that “Russia must change.” He expresses incredulity when describing how his questions about “what type of change would you like” have gone unanswered.
So, Sergei Lavrov in this interview says that something is missing in the negotiations between himself as a representative of Russia, and Ukraine, European Union, and American colleagues. He notes that Vladimir Putin called for postponement of referendums in eastern and southern Ukraine, and that if presidential elections don’t happen on May 25 – for any reason – Russians were told they would be to blame.
Perhaps at his most insightful moment during the interview, Lavrov talked about many people already starting to experience fatigue over the Ukrainian situation. He attributes this fatigue to “this absolutely useless, childish exercise, to turn a very serious crisis into something which does not have anything to do with the future of Ukraine, but has to do with how people are perceived by their own electorate, how they’re perceived by those who try to dictate the politics from Washington. This fatigue is felt very much.”
As the talk winds down he spoke about Ukrainians in the east and south having no wish to be labeled/called “pro-Russian”, “pro-American” or anything else but Ukrainians.
Sergei Lavrov ended the interview with Bloomberg News by saying, “We don’t have any intention of sending any troops anywhere.”
Lavrov’s talk on “fatigue” probably reflects the feelings of many men and women who are, and have been, concerned about the people of Ukraine. I hope to God that, because the Ukraine events have become so extensively reported, this situation may signal the end to war and the need for men and women to either prevent or stop conflict. As mentioned at the top of this post, there is only one “side”, humanity, on this Earth. Ukraine, and every conflict situation in history, represent the worst symptoms of a disease that becomes cured with increased understanding through genuine, constructive talks focused on creating the best conditions for the greatest number of men, women, and children.
Yes, people around the world have grown weary and fatigued from the wars, destruction, and pain innocent people – who just want to live normal, peaceful, and happy lives – come to experience because leaders fail to understand love must be the basis of all decisions.
“For infinite are the nine steps of a prison cell, and endless is the march of him who walks between the yellow brick wall and the red iron gate, thinking things that cannot be chained and cannot be locked, but that wander far away in the sunlit world, each in a wild pilgrimage after a destined goal.
Wonderful is the supreme wisdom of the jail that makes all think the same thought. Marvellous is the providence of the law that equalizes all, ever in mind and sentiment.
I, who have never killed, think like the murderer!
I, who have never stolen, reason like the thief!
I think, reason, wish, hope, doubt, wait like the hired assassin, the embezzler, the forger, the counterfeiter, the incestuous, the raper, the drunkard, the prostitute, the pimp, I, I who used to think of love and life and flowers and song and beauty and the ideal.”
– Arturo Giovannitti (1884-1959) Italian-born American poet