Vladimir Putin: Here's your chance!
Letter 32          12 January 2005

It has become evident that
men with guns aren't the answer.
"Within a matter of weeks, you could become as beloved in Ukraine as Viktor Yushchenko or Yulia Tymoshenko.  You could even become more beloved because you have much that Ukrainians value that would cost you nothing to concede." Lubomyr Prytulak

             12 January 2005

Vladimir Putin, President
4 Staraya Square
Moscow 103132

Vladimir Putin:

Within a matter of weeks, you could become as beloved in Ukraine as Viktor Yushchenko or Yulia Tymoshenko.  You could even become more beloved because you have much that Ukrainians value that would cost you nothing to concede.

Start by asking to be invited to the presidential inauguration of Viktor Yushchenko.  You can be sure you will be welcome when you tell them that you are bringing with you several tokens of friendship.  I call them "tokens" because given what is at stake, their monetary value is trifling; however, they are not the frivolous tokens of beads and mirrors which can be depended upon to fascinate the natives, but rather they are substantial tokens whose cost may at first glance take your breath away, until you have had a chance to weigh that cost against the larger benefit.

The tokens you will bring with you to Kyiv are as follows:

  1. You will address the Ukrainian nation in the Ukrainian language.  If it is the case that Ukrainian leaders always address you and the Russian people in Russian, and you never address them in Ukrainian, then this bespeaks an inequality so profound as to be repugnant.  All that is asked of you is that you change that last never above to almost never or to never but once.  Just once, perhaps for the first time in history, let a Russian leader address Ukrainians in the Ukrainian language.  This surely is a very small concession to which you can have no objection, or if you do, then there is no point in your reading further in this letter, as everything else I have to recommend is sure to strike you as impossible.

    The speech which you will deliver in Ukrainian will draw attention to the fact that the combined medals of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine in the 2004 Athens Olympics exceeded those of the United States, and that it is your dream that a united effort on the part of the Eastern Slavs can result not only in their continuing domination of the Olympics, but in their similar supremacy in an increasing number of areas.  This is not to propose that a single entity be formed to qualify as a single Olympic participant; it is to point out that collaboration among independent entities can be envisioned to bring the same remarkable achievement in more areas than Olympic competition, whether that collaborative unit is recognized by the Olympic Committee as a single entrant or not.

  2. You will bring with you to Kyiv the Pereshchepyna Treasure all 800 pieces along with the fourteen other Ukrainian artifacts currently housed in the State Hermitage Museum that have been brought to your attention 07-Dec-2004  Please return the Pereshchepyna Treasure.

  3. You will throw open to Ukrainian scholars all Kremlin files concerning the assassinations of Petliura, Konovalets, Rebet, and Bandera, as requested 30-Nov-2004  Murdered by Moscow Petlura, Konovalets, Rebet, Bandera.

  4. You will throw open to Ukrainian scholars all Kremlin files concerning the mass graves at Vinnytsia and elsewhere throughout Ukraine, as requested 09-Dec-2004  If the NKVD is dead, where is its grave?

  5. Following your handing over the John Demjanjuk Trawniki ID card, along with all other Trawniki ID cards and documents, to the BKA for comprehensive analysis, you will assign ownership of it to Ukraine, as recommended 16-Dec-2004  You must allow the BKA to examine the Trawniki ID card.

  6. You will throw open to Ukrainian scholars all Kremlin files concerning the Holodomor of 1932-1933, and most especially concerning New York Times Reporter Walter Duranty, as recommended 25-Dec-2004  Walter Duranty offers another opportunity for reconciliation.

Nothing more is being requested above than (1) a signal that you do not despise the Ukrainian language, (2) some information, and (3) the restoration of a modest collection of archeological artifacts.  As for the information that is requested, it will bring disrepute not on Russia, but on the monsters who for a time seized control of Russia, and who afflicted Russians almost as severely as they afflicted Ukrainians.  And restoring the artifacts to Ukraine will bring Russia only gain today, they stand as reminders of Russian plunder; restored to Ukraine, they will stand as testimonials to Russian justice.  The material loss to Russia of the Ukrainian artifacts is not one thousandth the material gain that their restoration to Ukraine will ultimately bring.

You will yield all these tokens freely and generously, without stint and without haggling in short, without imposing the condition that the Kremlin be allowed to tighten its grip around Ukraine's throat.  You will yield all these tokens because it is just for you to yield them, and because yielding them restores your moral authority.  Demands for further tokens will follow, but complying with each meritorious demand will only continue to strengthen your position, and it may be anticipated that the list of demands will be finite, and that the Ukrainian people are averse to dwelling longer than momentarily on their victimization.

The result which you do not look for, but which will follow, is that you will be revered in Ukraine, and honored throughout the world.

Actually, you won't be able to make the above presentation at the Yushchenko inauguration, as it would steal the show, which would be unfair to Viktor Yushchenko.  But you can make your intentions privately known beforehand, and you can make your full presentation in a visit to Kyiv a month or so after the inauguration.  You may find, paradoxically, that Ukrainian leaders begin to fear you more than previously because of the power that they see you acquiring over the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people.

Two additional initiatives will put you in contention for the Nobel Peace Prize.  You will join with Ukraine and the European Union and the United States and others to overthrow authoritarian rule in Belarus.  And you will withdraw from Chechnya, and allocate substantial annual funds over the next couple of decades to its rebuilding.  Again, you may find yourself receiving less international support for these two projects than might be expected, as some nations may be reluctant to cede to you the prestige which the projects' success will bring.

Do these things and you will change history.  You will reverse the fragmentation that you have till now promoted, and you will create a coalition of the Eastern Slavs, for which you will be immortalized.  Some have already noticed that Russia has the potential of seizing the moral high ground from the United States a possibility that comes to mind upon observing Russia acceding to the Kyoto Accord, while the United States does not.  What is within your power is to turn the tables on the United States.  Up till now, the Western world has viewed the United States as good, and Russia as evil.  In one bold stroke, you can reverse that perception.  Let the United States object to reversing global warming while Russia assumes leadership in defense of the environment.  Let the United States remain mired down in slaughtering civilians in Iraq, and funding the slaughter of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, and threatening to slaughter ever more civilians in one nation after another, and let Russia be seen to be slaughtering civilians nowhere, and funding the slaughter of civilians nowhere, and threatening to slaughter civilians nowhere.  Explain to the world the reasons why the epithet "Evil Empire" deserves to be shifted from Russia to the United States.  Best the United States not in amassing armaments and in racking up the highest body counts, but in winning moral leadership.

Learn to distinguish slaves from allies, and believe that one ally is worth a hundred slaves.  Abandon the goal of acquiring Ukrainian slaves, adopt the goal of acquiring Ukrainian allies, acquire Ukrainian allies by implementing the above recommendations.  America is favored by Ukraine because it helped; Russia can acquire Ukrainian favor by similarly beginning to help.  The above recommendations indicate some of the ways that Russia can help.

The above program for your success can be launched within days and can pay dividends within weeks.  It avoids calling for outlay, and in fact permits a reduction in outlay.  Its success is plausible.  Your refusal to implement any part of the above program will guarantee Ukraine's deepening alienation from Russia, and Russia's continuing decline.

Lubomyr Prytulak