I’ve had the unpleasant duty to remind people that the rhetoric about the Ukraine war as one between a free people living in a liberal democracy versus an autocracy is not really true. Ukraine has been embarked on an ultranationalist cultural project meant to transform the internal politics of Ukraine. It is doing so for reasons I find perfectly legible and, in some ways, understandable. But it is not a liberal or democratic undertaking. It is more like a combination of civil war and radical reconstruction.
Ukrainian nationalists want to reorient Ukraine to Western Europe, and to do so they are pursuing a project of cutting up the cultural and political ropes that keep them tied to Russia. This was the whole subject of Putin’s essay on Ukraine’s unity with Russia. While it was popularly portrayed as denying a Ukrainian identity at all, the essay argues that Ukraine can’t have an authentic identity that is also anti-Russian, given their shared historic, linguistic, and religious patrimony. . .
Ukraine began banning political parties in 2014, starting with the Communist Party. It then banned the Party of the Regions, the party that typically won most of its support from Ukraine’s eastern region, where Russians settled during the Soviet era. It has banned almost all successor parties to the Party of the Regions. It has passed a series of harsh language laws that require Ukrainian competency to hold office or to be appointed to civic positions. It banned opposition media. It banned Russian-language schooling. More recently it has banned the importation of more than a handful of Russian-language books. . .
But it wouldn’t be my business except for the fact that our assistance to Ukraine goes beyond military aid and includes paying for this kind of illiberal government. And now, I find out that our FBI is assisting Ukraine’s security service in censoring American citizens expressing their political views on American-founded tech platforms. Don’t tell me we’re not at war while treating my morning news reading to a foreign government’s wartime censorship. . .
I’ve long worried that getting deeply enmeshed in this blood-soaked area of the globe would begin to corrupt our politics, that it would tend to make our Congress more and more resemble their Rada. Hunter Biden was just the beginning of it. I would just like for one of these chest-pounding defenders of the liberal world order stand up for liberal institutions and liberal conversation for once. (Read more from “Why Is the FBI Helping Ukraine Shut Up Americans?” HERE)
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