Barely making it into the news is the story of Ukrainian riot police in Lviv kneeling in hopes of being forgiven for their involvement in last week’s lethal crackdown against anti-government protesters. Although these individuals insist they did not personally engage in violence against protesters, their association with those who did means they might have been able to do more to prevent the killings or found themselves in a similar situations.
Clearly, this gesture does little to resolve the underlying issues plaguing Ukraine in the short-term while it certainly does not make up for ending the lives of so many, but a little humility goes a long way, especially when you or your associates have helped take someone’s life away. Publicly recognizing wrongdoing and submitting oneself to the mercy of those injured is the first to reconciliation and absolution. This scene, involving a group of public servants taking on this type of personal and leadership responsibility, is something authorities around the world should always remember, especially when they find themselves needing to rebuild public confidence in their institutions.
Unfortunately, the efforts of these individuals and the Ukrainian political class to resolve their internal conflicts, with the West offering external intervention to help stabilize the fragile state, was not the main news story coming out of Ukraine. Instead of reaching out to all Ukrainians, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to provoke anti-Russian factions by ordering unscheduled military training exercises along the border.
Although there is an argument to be made that Putin is simply trying to demonstrate Russia will always defend the rights of pro-Russian Ukrainians, this act of intimidation solely makes anti-Russian Ukrainians feel more threatened by Russian influence, thus they are more likely to reject any cooperation with Russia and pro-Russian factions. Given Ukraine’s vested interests in its neighboring big brother, this type of action is far from constructive and must be stopped, if Russia wishes to see stability in Ukraine and its interests addressed any time soon.
Read old posts