Vladimir Putin: Want acceptance by Europe? — Try acting more European!
Letter 04        16-Nov-2004

"If Russian intervention had consisted of blanketing Ukraine with the posters below, then Ukrainians would have viewed that intervention as benevolent and welcome." — Lubomyr Prytulak

             16 November 2004

Vladimir Putin, President
4 Staraya Square
Moscow 103132

Mr President:

As Russia struggles to win acceptance by Europe, I wonder if progress might be advanced by Kremlin leaders learning to act more like Europeans.  Compare, for example, European and Kremlin behavior with regard to the ongoing presidential elections in Ukraine.

Europe, on the one hand, avoids favoring either candidate, and works only to implement fair elections, as is evidenced by The European Commission's Delegation material posted below:

Of 20 concrete funded projects listed on the web page immediately above, the first three are as follows:

The 125 000 posters mentioned above were of the five originals www.delukr.cec.eu.int/site/page31179.html reproduced below.  Although they were prepared for the 31-Oct-2004 vote, they enunciate general principles applicable to all Ukrainian elections, and deserve wide circulation before the 21-Nov-2004 runoff as well.  Three voter-education audio clips broadcast by the European Union in Ukrainian are posted at www.delukr.cec.eu.int/site/page31173.html, and are reproduced below:

The Kremlin intervention, in marked contrast, was to take no step toward making the elections fair, and in fact was to take giant steps to make it fraudulent, and so was to oppose and to undo the work of the European Commission, as for example by means of the original Kuchma-Putin-Yanukovych plan to open 650 polling stations across Russia to capture the votes of putative diaspora Ukrainians.  And the Kremlin did take sides, as by having you appear with Kuchma and Yanukovych at a military parade on a date that Ukraine had never celebrated before, but that happened to fall three days before the election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) demonstrating his lack of familiarity with European values by appearing three days before the Ukrainian presidential elections between President Leonid Kuchma (implicated in the murder of journalist Heorhy Gongadze) on his right, and presidential hopeful Viktor Yanukovych (implicated in the murder of journalist Ihor Oleksandrov) on his left.

If Russian intervention had consisted of blanketing Ukraine with the posters below, then Ukrainians would have viewed that intervention as benevolent and welcome, as helping Ukraine to choose its own path, and as upholding democracy and the rule of law.  In such a case, Ukrainians would have been grateful, and would have seen benefit in working more closely with Russia.

But what Ukrainians do see is the Kremlin scheming to subjugate them by installing compromat-controlled gangsters to rule Ukraine.  That is why Ukrainians turn away from Russia with fear and loathing, and embrace Europe with gratitude and hope.  Fire all the KGB generals who couldn't see this coming, and Russia will be indebted to you for it.

But to return to the question of Russian acceptance by Europe — some Europeans may be less than enthusiastic because it appears to them that you conduct yourself as if you have forgotten that the hammer and sickle no longer flies on your flag.

Lubomyr Prytulak