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Wouldn’t Hitler Laugh

May 17, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Odessa in the south west of Ukraine is a beautiful city, very much a city of European influence with a long and proud history; a history influenced first by Peter the Great and then by Catherine the Great, who both wanted this part of the (then) Russian Empire to be more closely aligned to Europe.
Odessa is a major port city with a majority ethnic Ukrainian population (55/45 Ukrainian v Russian) that had appeared to be, and was certainly believed to be by the locals, exempt from “the troubles” being felt elsewhere in Crimea and the East of the country. But on this day, Friday May 2nd 2014, things changed for the locals, and the reality of what they truly face struck home.Singer

We had docked in Odessa at 0800 this morning and departed for our tour of the city, we had a lovely day (more of that elsewhere) in what is a truly beautiful city, but around 3.30pm it all changed and it was not for the better.

There had been plenty of evidence of nationalistic (Ukrainian) fervor throughout the city, as we toured, there was a big football (soccer) match scheduled for the afternoon, the locals (Odessa) versus visitors from the east (Donesk) and the local colours were evident as we toured the city. Those we saw, spoke with and interacted with appeared happy and excited about the match and were proud to be photographed behind the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag. There was no obvious hint of any trouble brewing The problem is that the supporters from Donesk (which is in the East and is ethically Russian on a ratio of around 70/30) clearly came not just to support their football team but with the intent to promote unrest, ferment trouble and create an issue where one did not exist prior to their arrival. They succeeded, in spades, and the end result was 42 people dead and the confidence of the population shattered and their view of life changed forever.

Around 3.30pm we were approaching our last stop, the Transfiguration Cathedral, situated on Sobornaya Square, where a local flea market had been set up earlier in the day. As the coach started to pull into the side to let us off there was a major disturbance, people were running away from the square and the market area, clearly in fear.

StudentsThe bus driver (wisely in my view) decided not to stop and continued moving slowly along the street, we then saw a large number of yellow shirted (local) people with arms linked, apparently protecting or shielding themselves from something. We saw a (clearly) badly injured man with blood seeping from a chest wound of some description, originally we thought stabbing but then, after we heard the news, we realised it was from a gun shot, being supported and carried from the area by (I assume) friends; and we saw the ranks of riot police forming. To put it simply – we got the hell out of there, went elsewhere for our last (quick) stop and headed back to the ship and safety. It was a very sad end to what had been a great day, one of the best we had had.

The shock and horror of what was happening was reflected in our tour guide Irena’s face, in her very shaky voice, and in her reaction to what she and we saw. Talking with her later she simply could not believe that this was happening in her beautiful city. She was almost in tears at the thought of it and what it meant for the future.

We learned later that one of the lies that is being pedaled on Moscow television and via Social Media is this: if you speak Russian in Odessa you will be murdered – this is simply NOT TRUE, in fact it is the complete reverse of the facts. Irena, who is Ukrainian (of German descent), was speaking to us in Russian as she started the tour. When she was asked why, she replied that the spoken language in Odessa is predominantly Russian, while the written word tends to be Ukrainian.

Make no mistake folks Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine as part of his expanding Russian Empire and yesterday, in Odessa we saw the start of his insidious Russification campaign in that, hitherto untouched, part of the country.The Kids

Certainly the situation in Ukraine is complex and dates back a long time. Yes there are ethnic Russian majorities in the East, where it splits 80/20 towards ethnic Russians, because the Russians engineered it that way. Yes there is a Russian majority in Crimea which (to all intents and purposes) has already fallen. There is however an equally strong ethnic Ukrainian majority (80/20) in the Western half all the way to the Polish border and in the middle bits it is much more even.

But the country is Ukraine and the citizens of Ukraine have a right to their country, to the peaceful development of the country and the right to live within that country the way they choose and the way voted.

The sleeper is a little place called Transnistria along the Eastern edge of Moldova which is on the Western border of Ukraine. This is an almost 100% ethnic Russian enclave, again set-up by the Russians to create a Russian area of influence and pressure along the more Ukrainian Western edge of the country. Watch the pressure start to build from there in the coming weeks and months, and see how that area is likely to be used to squeeze the Ukrainian people between the two paws of the Russian Bear.

This is a war being fought in the press, in the social media field with professional agitators creating influence, fermenting trouble and inciting the youth and the angry unemployed into action, which then creates an excuse for “freedom fighters” to come to their aid and “protect” the “Russian” citizens. These freedom fighters, if  they are not active Russian soldiers are certainly financed and fitted out by their Russian puppet masters.This should have been a happy day, instead it ended in sadness and tears as the reality of the situation was bought home to those who call Odessa and Ukraine
home. The ships Safety Officer Alex, who we dined with a few nights ago, is Ukrainian and comes from from Odessa, his wife and two month old baby live there. I saw him this morning and expressed my sadness at what had happened in his beautiful city, he shrugged his shoulders almost helplessly, shook his head and said sadly “what can we do, we are not strong enough to fight them”.

When we woke this morning and heard the full news report we could not help thinking of Irena and her family, the young kids who had rallied proudly behind their flag and the the many fans of the local team who proudly displayed there colours, all back in Odessa facing a far less certain future this morning than they did 24 hours ago.

A modern day dictator, by the name of Putin with his own grand designs, in this case the restoration of the Russian Empire to its former glory has shattered the world in which they live. He is seeking what he believes to be his true place in history, he wants to be “Vladimir the Great”, and he is going to can accomplish it, not by force of arms and brute strength but by brazenness, stealth, deviousness and outright treachery.

Wouldn’t Hitler laugh? – It’s all too easy!

Written by: Peter Watson

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. John Hollins says:

    I’d just like to say that Peter has written a wonderful piece that really get’s to the heart of the situation. It takes you to the streets where real lives are being affected. It also cuts through the propaganda that is spread so easily by aggressive states. Let’s hope something is done to stop this and soon, or there’ll be trouble for many other European countries.

  2. Kanchana says:

    What about th US empire built around oil?

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