Cyril Koky: Ukraine, where are you heading?
Everyone is closely watching what is happening in Ukraine today with horror and an appropriate dose of fear. Ukraine has been seething since November, when its government halted preparations for signing an association agreement with the EU and called for expanding economic cooperation with Russia.
The government justified its move by saying it was not yet clear what sort of compensation Kiev would receive from the EU for the losses caused by weakening its economic cooperation with Moscow. Protests began in Kiev and gradually spread west into regions that fear Russia's influence and are calling for Ukraine to take a pro-European direction.
Russian-speaking areas in the east and south of the country, on the other hand, are vehemently supporting integration with Russia. The Ukrainian unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and Ukrainian President Yanukovych has fled the country for Russia.
Ukraine's political instability has now transformed into bloody unrest which does not bode well for the ordinary people there. Neither the EU nor Russia should fool around with Ukraine - its people must freely decide on their own which path to take.
The current crisis can only be resolved by peaceful means, not war. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that the situation is so serious that Ukraine will no longer hold together as a unified state.
A possible solution might be the division of Ukraine into two independent states. The story of the former Czechoslovakia could serve the Ukrainians as a textbook example of how to achieve this through peaceful means to the benefit of everyone living in Ukraine.
The Crimea was annexed to Ukraine by Soviet head Nikita Krushchev in 1954. Most of its population is ethnic Russian, with roughly one-third of its inhabitants either ethnic Tatar or ethnic Ukrainian.
Even though politicians in Crimea already enjoyed significant autonomy, local politicians announced their referendum on joining the Russian Federation without seeking the permission of the central government of Ukraine. The fact that more than 95 % of voters expressed themselves in favor of the peninsula joining the Russian Federation is very dubious.
The international community cannot recognize the referendum for that reason. Let's try to imagine a situation in which the large Hungarian national minority living in southern Slovakia decided to announce a referendum on joining Hungary without the permission of the legitimate Government of the Slovak Republic and its Parliament - can you imagine the ruckus that would follow?
The author is Coordinator for Romani Affairs and Alien Integration with the Social Affairs Department at the Central Bohemian Regional Authority in the Czech Republic
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