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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

No pumpkin for Putin -- By Suzanne Fields, The Washington Times

Illustration by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times (Illustration by Alexander Hunter, The Washington Times)

Ukraine buys into a reluctant marriage with the Russians

Where you're born on the calendar of history makes all the difference in the world. We watch the protests of the young and restless unfold in Kiev's Independence Square and our sympathy goes out to them in their quest to be linked in partnership with the West. They want economic integration with the West, but they yearn to free their hearts, their creativity and their ambition, too. Some call it freedom for the soul.

These are men and women born in that part of Eastern Europe once labeled the "Bloodlands," where between the years of Stalin and Hitler more than 14 million men, women and children were killed. The timing of the births of the protesting youth was fortunate. When the Berlin Wall came down and the "Evil Empire" crumbled, they were suddenly free.

When Ukraine became independent, it was not the end of history, as some glibly suggested, but the beginning of a new historical measure. Young people in particular wanted to enjoy the free and easy life of the West. They knew that Ukraine, the largest of the 14 republics freed from the yoke of the Soviet Union, would not achieve true independence and movement toward the West easily. But they had their dreams.

Fifty Ukrainian women delivered a big pumpkin, tied with the blue ribbons of the European Union, to the Russian ambassador in Kiev — a pointed invocation of the custom of a Ukrainian woman giving a pumpkin to a suitor when she declines his offer of marriage. But it was not to be. Pumpkin or not, Ukraine submitted to something of a shotgun wedding when Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine $15 billion in wedding presents — loans and cheaper natural gas — to reject the West. "Ukraine's trade with Russia makes it impossible for us to act in any other way," says Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. "There is no alternative to this." Ukraine can expect a cold honeymoon.

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