Putin Has Been Disingenuous, but I’m Rooting for Him in Ukraine

I don’t find European and American preaching to Moscow convincing; it’s a derivative of political correctness and ignorance.

Eyal Megged
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Armored troops carriers bearing Russian and separatist flags, Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 16, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Eyal Megged

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is putting some order into the world. Things are returning to their original state, and in a few ways that’s a good thing.

The immediate gain is the blow to globalization, which in cultural terms has been extremely destructive. As a member of the generation for which the Cold War was the daily reality, things are getting interesting once again.

The herd mentality of the global village is disintegrating and youth will flourish again. Thanks to Vladimir Putin, time is not only at a standstill, it’s moving backward. Attentive to our hidden desires, he waves his wand over the stormy waters and within a week wipes out 20 years of deceptions and foolish challenges to the laws of nature.

Yes, the conflagrations in Crimea, Kharkiv and Donetsk have the taste of genuine history — history in serious black and white, not computer games divorced from reality. Every border incident in eastern Ukraine reverberates from a different formative event: Putin’s disingenuous provocations, the mouse that roared in Kiev, the minority that’s pleading for the protection of Big Brother, the momentary illusion that the lion won’t devour its prey.

In the current crisis, “been there, done that” isn’t something negative, it’s the fulfillment of a desire. Finding yourself in the middle of a familiar historical drama is a situation that inspires confidence, I’d say. First of all, I know who I’m rooting for. Handing Crimea over to Ukraine already seemed illogical when it happened decades ago, if not downright scandalous.

What does Ukraine have to do with Crimea? Aren’t Isaac Babel and his “Odessa Tales” a rare Russian treasure? Don’t Chekhov’s pearls from Yalta glitter on the crown of Russian literature? Is the film “Battleship Potemkin” a Ukrainian masterpiece? Wasn’t it the Red Army that liberated Crimea during World War II? And in general, since when do the Ukrainians deserve a prize — after all, they were a fifth column who rejoiced at the downfall of the Soviets when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union.

If we’re talking about Ukraine as a separate entity, well, this huge area stretching from the Black Sea was a Jewish kingdom for hundreds of years — a virtual kingdom, unfortunately. The Jews lent it a cultural and even a national character. Ukrainian children specialized in pestering Jews and distilling vodka that fueled pogroms. Gorbachev and Yeltsin were drunk when they granted Ukraine independence.

As far as I’m concerned, as a Jew who doesn’t forgive and forget in this case, the horror of Babi Yar alone justifies the eternal enslavement of all Ukraine by the Russians. Then there are the various Ivans the Terrible for whom the murder of Jews was a golden age.

So I don’t find European and American preaching to Moscow convincing; it’s part of our loss of moral compass, a derivative of the political correctness, frivolousness and ignorance that have taken over the world with the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

But we can depend on Putin, as alert and sober as a Jewish bartender, to restore all past glories. We can depend on him completely. As a hipster worthy of the name he will repair the historical injustices, and we will once again tread on the solid ground of endless conflicts that are logical and justified.

Russian President Vladimir PutinCredit: AP

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