(Be sure to read the updates at the bottom of this post. -Kovpak)
When it comes to politics and the moral high ground, all Ukraine has to do is basically hold onto the ball and run out the clock. Yes, there are economic problems, yes, there’s the threat to its territorial integrity, but the fact is that Russia’s ambitions have largely backfired and Russia is still assuming a rather large cost to prop up its pseudo-states in the Donbas. World sympathy is with Ukraine, almost uncritically so. Just hold onto the ball and run down the clock.
Earlier this year it was the ridiculous “decommunization” and “independence fighters” law that Poroshenko signed after being warned against doing so by a long list of Ukrainian and foreign history scholars. This time they’ve banned a long list of people from entering the country, with several BBC journalists among them. Two Spanish journalists on the list are actually still missing in Syria, possibly in the hands of ISIS. Nice move.
This kind of phenomenon makes you wonder who’s responsible for this. Who’s the mastermind? Who says: “Okay we’ve basically got the entire world sympathetic to us, so that means we can occasionally pass really idiotic laws and regulations every few months or so.”
Now I have looked at the list and a lot of the names on there are people you’d expect. You’ve got Russian state TV people, you’ve got Dmitriy Kiselyov himself. That’s the problem though- now those “journalists” are equated with the BBC and other legitimate media outlets who don’t invent stories about non-existent little girls getting killed by artillery or boys being crucified on billboards.
Once again, it’s that type of thing you’d expect Russia to do, and yet just as Russia hasn’t punished anyone for publishing critical material against the allied coalition in WWII (as per a law discussed in 2013), Russia also hasn’t gone after BBC or VOA- this in spite of the Kremlin’s belief that they are locked in an “information war” with the UK and US. So in other words, once again, Ukraine’s government, in what feels like an instant, manages to exceed Russian levels of hostility toward free speech and free press. Once again the law is passed with lightning speed and virtually no discussion, whereas reforms, anti-corruption measures, and even military reforms aimed at better supplying Ukraine’s soldiers at the front drag on.
For fuck’s sake, Ukrainian government- all you have to do is nothing. These fuck ups take deliberate effort. With the previous incident, all they had to do was tell Yuri Shukhevych and Volodymyr Viatrovych to shut up and sit down. With this all they had to do was maybe read the goddamned list a little more carefully. Maybe just stop…doing…things.
UPDATE: There’s been some talk that the Ukrainian government may be revising the list in response to the reaction. Let’s hope for the best.
UPDATE II: It looks like the BBC reporters will be removed from the list. It looks like this is going to turn out to be like that law the Rada tried to pass after Maidan, which was quickly repealed. The sentiment is still valid though- HOLD THE BALL AND RUN OUT THE CLOCK.