Ukraine, Russia and human dignity: interview with Myroslava Luzina, from Kiev

A Ukrainian soldier digs a trench on the front line near the town of Novhorodske, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, December 17, 2021. (Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters)

I did a Questions and answers podcast with Myroslava Luzina, political analyst and consultant in Kyiv. She is also a book translator and a complete intellectual. (She wouldn’t like me to say that, but it’s true.) From her, I have learned a lot in recent years about her country, Ukraine.

As she says in our Questions and answers, she was born in Kiev in 1978. Therefore, she was born in the Soviet Union. His grandfather was a member of nomenklatura, that is, the Soviet administration. Myroslava grew up speaking Russian, although her parents were ethnic Ukrainians. (It was indicated on their internal passports.) Myroslava talks about language issues, ethnic issues and other issues, very interestingly – and, of course, from personal experience.

Does she have a “bug out bag”? Is she ready to flee Ukraine, while Russian troops are massing on the border? No. But different Ukrainians do different things, with different degrees of concern.

One thing is clear, according to Myroslava: Putin’s regime is making Ukrainians feel more Ukrainian, rallying them around their flag and national identity. (Similarly, the regime in Beijing, with its belligerence, makes Taiwanese feel more Taiwanese. In recent years, Taiwanese identity has frozen, as has Ukraine.)

Toward the end of our conversation, I ask Myroslava Luzina about the famous, or infamous, phrase “sphere of influence.” He figures prominently in the Nazi-Soviet pact. When people say “sphere of influence”, what they really mean, I think, is the sphere of control.

Putin has influence, of course: that’s why some Ukrainians have prepared bug bags. Putin influences people outside of Russia – not to mention inside – every day. Control, or subjugation, is another matter.

Myroslava compares Putin’s Russia to a violent ex. Think of a guy who follows a woman across the country, finds out where she is, tells the police she stole the kids, files for custody, etc.

Anyone who supports Putin’s claims about Russia, says Myroslava, “essentially supports abuse.”

I ask him, “What would you like to see from us?” From the US government, for example, or ordinary US citizens, for that matter? »

“Please stop believing Russian propaganda,” she said. Ukrainians have the right to exist on their own. Be trouble-free. “It’s a matter of boundaries,” she says, as with personal relationships. “We all have a right to our lives, and Ukraine has a right to its life, and not to be controlled by an abusive ex, you know?”

She quotes Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who recently declared that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were “orphans” from the collapse of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. She also cites the responnse of Radek Sikorski, the Polish statesman, former correspondent of National exam“We didn’t orphan you because you weren’t our father. More like a serial rapist. That’s why we don’t miss you.

In conclusion, Myroslava says: “Either you are on the side of the aggressor, or you are on the side of human dignity, and if you speak of inalienable rights and the pursuit of happiness, if you ever take these words in your mouth , you should be on the side of Ukraine in this conflict.

(Let it be recognized that not all Americans are enthusiastic about the Declaration of Independence. Far from it. Yet, foreigners, or foreign-born Americans, regularly talk to me about it.)

Everyone has an opinion about Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainians are also worth listening to — it is their lives, and their national lives, that are at stake. Myroslava Luzina is a citizen, but she has important things to say; she’s a cool, level-headed analyst; and she speaks for many.

You may find it instructive and even moving. Again, here.

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