Open letter to the member of Bundestag Heinrich Gysi

Dear member of German Parliament!

Having attentively listened to your speech in the Bundestag concerning the issues of understanding of Ukrainian events, I would like to point out that it impressed me deeply. While addressing deputies of the Bundestag and Ms. Chancellor, you admitted a number of inaccuracies that completely distorted the picture of what is going on in our country now.

In your speech, you have pointed out that Russia has every right to protect its interests, as opposed to NATO's expansion to the East. However, you forgot to point out that Russia's interests have been extended to an independent and sovereign state, which is capable to decide on its own which direction of political development is better for it. What is it? Is it your deep-seated imperial fixation speaking out loud?

It is a habit of giving the preference to a strong state to pursue its interests at the expense of weak one.

History already knows a precedent, when one country proclaimed a fully independent state or a part of an independent state an area of its interests. While recognizing Russia’s right to protect its interests using weapons on the territory of a sovereign state, you devalue the tragic experience that the entire humankind had gone through that is codified in the verdict of the Nuremberg Trials.

You compared current situation in Crimea to the situation in Kosovo. However, you forgot to add that Kosovo witnessed a full-scale ethnic cleansing that was based on the belief that ‘Kosovo is a native Serbian land’. A similar argument is now being used to justify the Russian annexation of Crimea.

It is not for me to remind you that the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, which caused a death toll of hundreds of thousands, has been proven by international courts and tribunals and recognized as a crime against humanity. How dare you compare the situation with Russians in Crimea with the situation of Albanians in Kosovo? Do you have a confirmed evidence of eyewitnesses or observation data of international experts that could prove such allegations?

If you don’t have it, this means that when comparing these events, you deliberately or unwittingly distort the facts. As far as I know, and I'm sure you must be aware of this as well, Kosovo is now an independent state by virtue of the results of a referendum, which took place after the end of hostilities under a close supervision of the international community. Crimea became part of another country, the troops of which left places of permanent deployment and blocked Ukrainian military units at their bases. The referendum was held with numerous violations, including the absence of OSCE observers, lack of adequate lists of voters and actual boycott on the part of the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea. What makes you so sure that you have a right to compare these two events while neglecting so many inconsistencies?

In your speech, while describing the new Ukrainian government, you casually mentioned that people who came to power are directly or indirectly involved in the Jewish pogroms, which according to your sources already take place in Ukraine. Mr. Gysi, you cannot ignore facts. If you allow yourself to make such strong statements, please, do not forget to provide evidence.

According to the statement by the World Jewish Congress, no facts of anti-Semitism were recorded in Ukraine. In this regard, I will take the liberty of citing a well-known classic of world literature Mikhail Bulgakov: ‘Congratulations! You lied!’ Please, also inform us about the source of your quote that Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda Party leader, in 2014 called on to destroy Russians, Jews and Germans on Ukrainian territory. Tyahnybok’s statement made in 2004 was subject to an investigation, which resulted in the MP’s expulsion from the parliamentary faction. His statement referred to the events of the World War II, and had no relation to the current events.

Like a man who bears no responsibility for his words and actions, you easily suggested to divide Ukraine into spheres of influence through the formation of two states. Mr. Gysi, I can see that you are longing for the times when the rule of the gun was deciding the fortunes of nations. Leave aside this imperial fixation after all. It is unworthy of a deputy from a left-wing party to make at liberty such statements so much in the spirit of the Third Reich Chancellery. Do you have any proof that the citizens of the Eastern Ukraine want to live in a resurrected Russian Empire and return to the Soviet-type living? I live in the East of Ukraine, in Kharkov, but I never heard about it. Indeed, there are some people who are ready to go back to the USSR, but they are a minority, mainly consisting of the representatives of older generations. If a trial on the crimes of communism on the territory of Ukraine and former Soviet Union were held, there would be no proponents of such ideas at all. Your country has learned a lesson from the history, although judging by some of your statements I understand that this process is far from being complete. I cannot speak for the entire South-East of Ukraine, but there are patriots in Kharkov. They are ready to defend their homeland fighting with arms in their hands. By proposing the idea of​​ partition for Ukraine you push people in the East of Ukraine to a civil war. I am glad that Germany is led by a responsible politician – Angela Merkel – at whom, I must admit, we in Ukraine look with hope. It is her politically informed decisions and consistent position that is critical for stability in Europe.

Following your logic and allowing Russia to annex foreign territory on fictitious pretexts, you contribute to creating a dangerous precedent, because Russia's imperial ambitions can spread far beyond the territory of Ukraine. I mean the Baltic states. One will never know how Russian hysterical propaganda campaigns regarding reallocation of monuments to unknown soldiers would end, if the Baltic states had not already been full-fledged NATO members at that time. Careless referral to historic examples can have consequences. I do not know whether you are aware that, according to residents of Kaliningrad, on the night of March 12-13, 2014 someone planted a German flag on one of the administrative buildings of the city.

I am happy that you are ready to apply high European standards to actions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Having found missing several votes you casted a doubt on the results of the vote on the ouster of Mr. Yanukovych. However, you don’t want to notice that actions of the Supreme Council of Crimea do not comply with the concept of legality however defined. You demonstrate a surprising shortsightedness concerning actions of the Russian leadership. I don’t know whether you do so because of your inner conviction or under the influence of external factors. While mentioning sanctions against the richest people of Ukraine, whom we used to call ‘the family’, you show surprise that the same sanctions are not applied to the oligarchs supporting the new government. While making your remarks that money of the rich Ukrainians are of doubtful origin, you decided to skip mentioning Russian assets in Europe. Combined with your shortsightedness with regard to Russia’s actions this amounts to a more than an accidental slip of the tongue. Ukrainians asked the EU and US to block Yanykovych’s assets as well as the assets of his confidants in order to stop the bloodshed at the streets of Kiev. A mere threat of such sanctions made Yanukovych withdraw the interior troops and stop the bloody confrontation. All sanctions were made public after Yanukovych fled Ukraine. By the way, I would like to point out that today is exactly a month after the early attempts to brutally suppress protest demonstrations at the streets of Kiev with the help of snipers. You dare remind us that the international community and the people of Ukraine are impatient to see the results of the investigation of this massacre. One doesn’t need to be an expert to understand that one month is not enough to conduct a thorough investigation. The Ukrainian people are waiting to know the truth and an accurate description of details as well as the inevitable punishment of those guilty in this tragedy. In this case, haste can only lead to inaccuracies and accusations in biased conclusions. But you don’t care about truth, because your main objective is sound eloquent! It is very clear to me that you don’t care about Ukraine – all you need is to criticize Ms. Chancellor. But I'm sure that notwithstanding the intensity of struggle between the political forces in Germany, one should not resort to manipulations and distortion of facts regarding the situation in Ukraine just for the sake of a witty comment.

Dear member of the Bundestag, I am just a citizen of Ukraine and don’t belong to the official establishment, but your words hurt me very deep. I have no right to demand an apology from you, but frankly speaking, you should apologize to the people of Ukraine.


Nina Klochko

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