In civilized countries, a national ambassador is seen as a representative of the best his country can offer, and expected to use only the most diplomatic language even in time of war, to show that he does in fact represent a civilized, modern nation deserving of the world’s respect.
But Russia, of course, is not a civilized country. So Russians apparently have no problem with their Ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, publicly stating that the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine were “at each other like dogs.” Instead of censuring Chernomyrdin, the Russian Foreign Ministry castigated Ukraine for daring to complain about his outrageous insult.
Chernomyrdin was referring to an exchange between Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and the nation’s Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko which occurred behind closed doors and was secretly leaked to Ukrainskaya Pravda. Yushchenko stated to Timoshenko: “All of you are taking bribes! Without bribes your partners in the Verkhovni Rad (parliament) would give you the finger. If you were not a woman it would be easier to talk to you. You have a talent for theft.”
These word were ill-advised, of course. But they were made in private, and only became known to the world because of an improper leak. As such any civilized person, much less a national ambassador, should know that they were not proper fodder for comment. Yet Russia’s ambassador felt no hesitation in injecting himself into not just a Ukrainian internal matter, but a personal one between the two leaders of the country, one in which he has no business meddling.
How would Russians react if Ukraine’s ambassador to Russia made similar comments about Putin and Medvedev after similar private comments were revealed, referring to the pair as “dogs”? It’s unlikely Russians would be happy if the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry responded as Russia’s has done. Quite possibly, boycotts of Ukrainian products would be organized and virulent threats issued from the Russian parliament.
But Russians don’t notice this hypocrisy, because they are just that barbaric. They don’t notice how they are alienating what should be one of their closest friends and allies, ignore the fact that they stand utterly alone in the world. Nor do they notice that Ukraine has managed to make a woman prime minister, something Russia has never done, and managed to pass power back and forth between true opposition parties in real contested elections — again, something Russia has never done.
By attacking Yushchenko and Timoshenko, what Chernomyrdin was really doing, then, was attacking the institution of democracy itself — something utterly unknown and therefore terrifying to Russians, like a match being struck for the first time in front of a wild forest savage.
The world must see these brazen aggressive statements by Russia for what they are — a precurser to military aggression just like the world witnessed in Georgia. Russians see the Crimean region as being just as much a Russian entitlement as Abkhazia and Ossetia, and they are getting ready to attempt to seize them. If the world turns a blind eye, as it did to Hitler’s aggression early in World War II, it will deserve the horrific consquences that inevitably will follow.