There’s a new urban generation, they all have smartphones, speak English, have friends in countries around them that they are in constant contact with over social media. They’re not fooled and know what they want which is to enjoy those freedoms that almost all Europeans take for granted. The cabal in the Kremlin has no power over them and desperately reaches for the old soviet tools to handle it. Putin may fool us in the west into believing enough of his nonsense like we do now in Syria but Moscow lost Kiev and the only way to regain it is through force. And his hand is stayed because that could undo Russia itself.
What surprised was what the EU and its symbols meant to the crowds in Ukraine. To them its a flag that stands for liberal values. The Kremlin probably was as taken by surprise by this, the almost forgotten EU flag as a passionately felt symbol of an ideological identity? Before too many people in Russia caught wind of that virus, it had to be stifled. Which is why we now have the, in post-soviet times, unprecedented crackdown on the media in Russia and the furious attempt to degrade the Ukrainian liberal revolution into a nationalist and anti-Russian mould, one that is so much more comfortable to Putin and his henchmen.
A Polish friend of mine said 10 years ago that its an all-Russian struggle, that Ukrainians really are Russians with Kiev being the old capital of them all. But Ukrainians have awoken while the Russians still slumber in Moscow imposed ideological isolation. I’ve increasingly started to agree with his perspective. He said all we have to do is continue to set the example, especially Poland is extremely instrumental there. The EU doesn’t need a common strategy, it is that very post-nationalist lack of one that is so appealing. Many in Ukraine want to join such a union and do away with all the hatred and spite that now oozes out of Moscow.