It may not seem like much right now, but the organizers of this initiative are sure that it is part of something much bigger. Germany promotes its culture abroad through the Goethe-Institut. China has the Confucius Institute. Now Ukraine has the Skovoroda Institute, a small, youth-driven organization named for the Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoryi Skovoroda. It strives to introduce foreigners to Ukrainian culture through the study of the language.
But that's what the West keeps saying to Vladimir Putin's Russia. The most recent example is United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond telling the BBC: "We've got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines. At the same time we have to recognize that the Russians do have a sense of being surrounded and under attack, and we don't want to make unnecessary provocations."
At a time when the Minsk II ceasefire agreement is a ceasefire in name only and the threat of Russian espionage, sabotage, and invasion loom on a daily basis, sacking the country's intelligence chief for political reasons is risky. Then again, this is not the first time there has been speculation about Nalyvaichenko's dismissal. However, in each case, Nalyvaichenko's performance in fighting Russian aggression had kept him in the job. The fact that he's reportedly been offered at least two government posts suggests that Poroshenko still needs Nalyvychenko. So don't write his political obituary yet.
Russia's recent massing of troops and military hardware at its Kuzminsky firing range—only thirty miles from the Ukrainian border—raises fears that the escalating conflict may soon involve Russian regulars. Yet despite the telltale signs of Russian involvement such as unmarked vehicles, servicemen without insignia, and weaponry routinely seen in the possession of pro-Russian separatists, this latest buildup does not signal another massive Russian incursion. At least not yet.