In his celebratory Christmas message, the local Pastor where I reside highlighted the positive, beginning with how fervently Pope Francis is praying for the Ukrainian people during this difficult time. Both the Pastor's message and the Pope’s prayers inspired some serious introspection.
So I ruminate on my own about the positive highlights of a year that has been anything but kind for my Ukrainian people. And yet, if it's sympathy we seek, then it has not been a bad year. Ukraine has been on everybody's mind. The global community has been more than sympathetic, it has been very helpful, not only in word but in deed.
Following the recent speech to Congress by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, even the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnel, stressed that the war in Ukraine is our number one priority. Not being a big fan of the Senator from Kentucky, I began to see Christmas as a time for healing. That healing, however, does not apply to the other senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul.
Nonetheless, two bipartisan illusions – whether high-level American naivete about looking deeply into Putin's eyes and doing business with him, or resetting the Russia policy because Russia is no longer a threat – have been dispelled. America today recognizes that Russia is the most serious threat to global peace and security. The crazies, of course, are excluded from this consideration.
And so I proceed without hyperbole. Despite the heavy human losses and physical destruction throughout Ukraine, it has been mostly successful on the battlefield 10 months into the invasion. Comments that this was not anticipated are indicia of ignorance about the Ukrainian people, their history and character, as well as a profound lack of understanding of the nature of the Russian empire as an alleged federation rather than a prison of nations with many internal weaknesses.
Myths have been shattered. Russia is not a military superpower. It is also not a homogenous monolith. While Putin has lived up to his image as pure evil, he himself is a product of Russia. Russian culture has created a plethora of Putins, including an appendage of the Russian special services masquerading as a religion. Even the paradigm of the Russian mother is representative of evil, bringing up her sons as not only murderers but perpetrators of extreme cruelty.
The Ukrainian military has proven to be not only ready for NATO but suitable for a leadership role. Extremism in Ukraine is very insignificant as all citizens of Ukraine share equal rights and opportunities.
Ukrainians throughout the world have proven to be very much aware of both their tragic and heroic legacies.
We have acquired strength from attempts over centuries to effect our demise. Our historic, almost inveterate heroism has helped us overcome physical and psychological deficiencies. “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to its heroes” have become the mantra of the Ukrainian nation everywhere. The image of Zelensky in military fatigues is not only suitable for the cover of Time as its man of the year, but fitting as a poster for a descendant of the Cossack brotherhood with that warrior blood pulsating through his veins.
Ukrainians and all people of good will have the moral right to a more favorable new year. That’s the least that can be reasonably expected. A year that will bring an end to the war and the suffering of the Ukrainian civilian population, its children, and its military. After all, Christmas is a time of great joy, the birth of the Messiah.
May the Messiah bring about the rebirth of a free and democratic Ukraine, with fully restored borders, completely renewed sovereignty, and the ability to rebuild its infrastructure with the tangible assistance of the community of nations that will continue and intensify its postwar efforts to dismantle the Russian empire and ultimately free all captives – nations and individuals. That is what Christmas represents for me. I do not think that I am asking for too much.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.