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David Reavill


NextImg:Ukraine, The Twisted Road To War

by David Reavill

When this conflict in Ukraine began, it all seemed so black and white, so clear cut. Russia, in a wanton act of aggression and with no provocation, had invaded Ukraine. And, as has often been the case throughout our history, America rode to the rescue of Ukraine.

But as time passes, that initial confirmation has all but faded away. New facts have come forth, and the American public has discovered that things were not as they appeared in February 2022.

The area we know today as Ukraine has, for centuries, been marked by conflict and revolt. However, modern Ukraine can trace its roots back directly to the early twentieth Century, when several factions in the region sought independence while Russia was undergoing the Bolshevik Revolution.

The Ukrainians failed to achieve complete independence but were allowed to remain as a semi-autonomous state under the former Soviet Union. It served Ukraine well during the Second World War, and when the War ended, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic enjoyed peace and prosperity.

In 1954, Pravda, the official newspaper of the Soviet Union, published a short announcement that drew little attention at the time but would have profound implications for the 21st Century. Pravda announced that on February 19, the Oblast of Crimea would be transferred from the Soviets to Ukraine. It was an incredibly odd move by Khrushchev and the Kremlin, given that Crimea was approximately 80% ethnic Russian at the time. But given that the entire region remained under Soviet control, it seemed that there would be little real change for Crimea.

However, 37 years later, everything did change. The year was 1991, and it was the year that the Soviet Union fell. Suddenly, all of those Eastern European Baltic States were cut free. Free from the iron fist of the Soviets and free to form their own independent countries.

The first of three historic referendums would be held for Ukraine. In 1991, the citizens of Ukraine voted to become an independent state. By a nearly 90% margin, the modern country of Ukraine was born.

And from its birth, Ukraine has been the gemstone of Global Geopolitics. A country rich in natural resources, in terms of geography, it is also the second largest nation in Europe, second only to Russia. In the past two years, we’ve seen how crucial Ukrainian wheat and fertilizer are to the world’s agricultural production.

So, it should be no surprise that Ukraine has been foremost in Russian and American efforts to extend their political reach.

2004 began a 15-year period when the tussle between these two great powers, Russia and the United States, threatened to surface. In that year, an election was held in Ukraine, and America’s favorite candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, lost. Immediately, the two groups that were monitoring the election protested. Washington-based National Democratic Institute and Freedom House claimed the elections were rigged and cited polls indicating that Yushchenko had an 11% lead.

At the same time, the American-based NGOs called foul, and demonstrations broke out in Kyiv. Protesters filled the streets of Ukraine’s capital, calling for a reelection. Organized by a group named Pora! (“It’s Time!”). They adopted as their symbol the orange, and hence Ukraine became part of that unique event: the “Color Revolution. These were “popular” uprisings that all occurred in the first five years of the new Century. And all took place in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union’s Empire. There were four of these Color Revolutions in all: Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, Kyrgyzstan in 2005, and this Revolution in Ukraine in 2004.

Watching all this from his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was the future US President Joe Biden. Like his close compatriot John McCain, Biden made up the loudest voices for the Color Revolutions within the US Congress. He called his policies toward Eastern Europe while in the Senate “His proudest moment in public life (2007).”