There are no useless people in the world. Even the worst one can be used as a warning for the others. Alas, this has become a sad axiom in our times.
Last Tuesday, after two weeks of hard work in committees, factions and electoral districts, the fat rosy-cheeked Ukrainian MPs started a new week with a clean conscience.
But everything is relative. Last Tuesday, most of the Ukrainian MPs approved the amendments they would have pulled the “criminal inhuman Yanukovych regime” for a few years ago. But now the regime is democratic, so, everything is OK.
A new law on a once Ukrainian army
What kind of a law is this? Draft amendments to certain legal acts on military service for foreigners and stateless persons. In other words, today any foreigner or stateless person can serve in the army that has until now been called Ukrainian. This is contrary to the constitutional article saying that to protect Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity is the duty of its citizens. According to the author of the amendments, MP from Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front Dmytro Tymchuk, if a foreigner wants to serve in the Ukrainian army, he is obliged not only to become a citizen of Ukraine but also to stop being a citizen of his native country.
We have already seen a number of high-ranking gastarbeiters acting in the same way.
Tymchuk insists that the amendments comply with the Constitution as the latter does not say that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be protected by foreign citizens. Even more, today to become a Ukrainian citizen, a foreign should live in the country for just three rather than five years.
Let’s not try to understand the motives of those who have drafted the amendments and those who have adopted them. Our concern is if they realize that by doing this they are undermining the fragile Ukrainian statehood.
An army of foreign mercenaries is a death for a state
The Roman Empire began to fall down at the moment it began hiring foreign soldiers. The Romans hoped that the foreigners would help them to protect their empire and so they recruited whole tribes and nations into their army. The Roman citizenship promised lots of preferences, one of them being a political office in Rome. In the Roman Empire the army was politically active, so, once the other government institutions fell down, armed groups began to actively struggle for power. And the most active strugglers were the “new Romans” – foreigners for whom arms were the only solution to any problem. It was they who ruined Rome – when Attila’s Huns and Odoacer’s Barbarians came, the empire was already in ruins.
Ukraine is not Rome. Nor is the Ukrainian citizenship as attractive as was the Roman one. But the future they are preparing for us is similar – ruins.
The way it was, the way it is now
Since 1991 it has been a real temptation for many in Ukraine to turn the army into a weapon for solving personal political and economic problems.
The first attempts were made in the 1990s. In fact, many of the present-day Ukrainian politicians started their careers in criminal shootouts. In 1993-1995 that criminal debauchery finished – mostly because the newly emerging elites found peaceful solutions to existing problems. But the temptation is still existent and is manifested from time to time as raids, contract killings, large militarized groups guarding both physical and legal entities. All this is ready to come out should there be an order. Those ordering this may chance but the system is the same.
The second big attempt to create a pocket army was undertaken at the time of the first coup, the so-called Orange Revolution, in 2000-2004.
When first emerging in the mid-1990s, the militarized radical youth groups were regarded by many as just some greenhorns playing some game. But now it has become clear that those youths were recruited by specific politicians against rivals and for a future coup. In 2004 some of them formed It’s Time! civic movement – a force that was very similar to the present-day Right Sector.
The third attempt was taken in 2013-2014. As a result, we have armed forces that are able to solve a much wider range of tasks.
Many were shocked to see how well organized and well armed were the young people storming government facilities during the Maidan. Gradually, groups of armed people were turning into volunteers detachments. And in Mar 2014 acting President Oleksandr Turchynov instructed regional administrations to create territorial defense battalions.
It was then that war came in Ukraine.
In the next article, we will discuss what the attempts to keep the war going may lead us to and why the possibility of a new coup seems to be so real now that we are ruled by a “new democratic regime.” We will also analyze what kind of a coup it may be and how it can be prevented.
Andrey Chesnokov (Kiev) specially for EADaily