We asked Atlantic Council experts and friends the following: How should Ukraine respond? How should NATO and the West react to this latest round of Russian aggression? What would it take to force the Kremlin to stop its menacing actions in Ukraine and around the world?
For Ukrainians, this reality comes in shocking contrast with the events of 1933 eighty-five years ago. Ukraine was breadless and in crisis. Corpses littered the streets in central and southern Ukraine, then part of the USSR.
William Henry Chamberlain, the American journalist and Moscow correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor traveled to Ukraine in October 1933. He only reported what he saw in 1934, after he had permanently left the Soviet Union. He famously said: “There was no other catastrophe of such scale in human history that would have drawn so little attention of the world.” Chamberlin’s book Russia’s Iron Age was one of the few, if not the only, comprehensive contemporary views on the effect of Russia's five-year economic plan, and the famine which devastated parts of the Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine, during 1932-1933.
This year—as is the tradition on the third Saturday of November—Ukraine is commemorating the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor, a man-made, politically induced famine which took the lives of over four million Ukrainians. This famine was an instrument of the national policy of the Bolsheviks and their last effort to conquer the resistance of the Ukrainian peasantry against the Soviet system.
Fast forward to today. Many are shocked by the tactlessness of shops which nevertheless advertise their sales with a "Black Friday" message. Just one day before every Ukrainian is asked by the National Memory Institute to light a candle in memory of the innocent victims of the Holodomor, the Black Friday craze begins. It’s beyond tone deaf.
Soviet customer service was notorious for showing no gratitude. Much of that is now history.
Having gotten used to enjoying influence over the hearts and minds of some believers in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) through its puppet body, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), has naturally resisted the process of Ukraine breaking free of Russia's "religious" claws.
But five years later the demand for justice is still unfulfilled.
Judges implicated in corruption and political cases have tended to be promoted, and those few known for their integrity and independence have been demoted and fired.
To create an island of justice in Ukraine’s corrupt judiciary, civil society and the nation’s Western partners have demanded the creation of the High Anti-Corruption Court, whose members are being selected now.
But members of the Public Integrity Council, the judiciary's civil society watchdog, say the authorities have all the tools at their disposal to block the selection of the most professional, independent, and impeccable candidates.