Instead of looking to two opposite directions and pushing “Europe” and Russia further apart on their antagonistic positions, Ukrainian people should stand together to form a strong and self-sustainable country amid intensive muscle flexing of her powerful neighbours.
It is time to fix the broken key bridging the East and the West, and it is not the time to further divide it and shut both doors. Arguably, Ukraine’s fate is written in its strategic geopolitical position between Russia, the so-called East, and NATO (and the US), the so-called West. It is the perfect time in history for the Ukrainian people to reunite, a chance they have missed for hundreds of years, during the current crises because leaning towards either of the side would bring peace plus a united Ukraine at the crossroad of the Eurasian continent has great potential which has also been suppressed for hundreds of years.
Realist thinking will be used here to explain the point because the Cold War rhetoric between the two camps is still predominant over the media and hence in people’s mind.
Russia would not let the key drop because Russia’s history has its deep root intertwined with that of Ukraine ever since Kievan Rus was established and even more so when Russia was converted to Orthodox Christianity under Kievan Rus’ rule. Ukraine to Russia, is more than just a piece of land or a neighbouring state, but to a certain degree, a spiritual companion. However, the distinct difference in people’s preference over Russia or EU has created this dilemma for all three parties involved.
Either way the fate of the country looks bright, like its somewhat sad experiences with its allies in the past – Tsarist Russia, Germany, USSR, not to mention the non-allied neighbours like Poland. However, right now it is actually a perfect chance for Ukrainian people to act together to protect their nations, their unique culture and identity and really seize the opportunity to build a strong nation in between its powerful neighbours and stand on its own feet high and proud, rather than further tearing their homeland and become dependent once again on others. That way, Ukraine still servers as a buffing zone between the East and West, also a key connecting two directions, and above all, a sustaining strong nation bridging the two “blocs”.
The same prospective goes for the case of North and South Korean, Mainland China and Taiwan as well where “choosing side” anachronistically speaks even louder than the reunion of separated families and nations.
Featured Image: National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140129-protests-ukraine-russia-geography-history/)
Guan Huang is the founder of Bisconia and also a concerned International Relations student at University of Sussex.