With more than 900 international students, faculty and staff from over 90 countries, Clark University is a hub for intercultural discussion, learning, and (with time) perhaps even change. Over the years I have met people from all over the world, and it has made me realize that no issue, especially one that is politically charged, is one-sided. There must, at the very least, be two incongruous stances—each viable and appropriate in their own ways through respective cultural lenses. Saying this, I believe it is important to never solely trust in the dramatized news we all catch glimpses off in our feeds and on our screens. In order to form a competent and fair opinion on a matter we need to take a step back and look at the entire issue from every possible perspective.
Today, I’m looking at the Ukrainian Separatists movement through Clark sophomore Vladislav Kiveliyk’s unique perspective. Vlad immigrated to the States when he was six years old, and has since been naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Though having been raised in the United States, the majority of Vlad’s family still resides in Ukraine and for this reason has very strong ties to the currently independent country.
“From what I’ve been reading and what I’ve been hearing from family members living in Russia and Ukraine is that there are some separatists, but most of the political Russian support in Ukraine is being fueled by Russia.” Vlad went on to explain, “There are a lot of things that aren’t publicized or made known. Ukrainians are being paid to walk around with Russian flags…Ukrainian media is saturated with pro-Russian propaganda.”
We are all used to countries being taken after a grueling political and often violent war, but in today’s day in age perhaps a country’s expansion can be propagated by less violent means. When hundreds of thousands of people rely solely on their televisions to understand what is going on in the world, and these same televisions are constantly advocating for Ukraine’s annexation into Russia, is that fair? Is that ethical?
“Conquest by media” is a phrase that keeps coming to mind when I consider such a scenario. If Ukraine one day votes to become part of Russia, can any outcome be considered legitimate? Whatever happens, the country’s fate rests in only the Ukrainian people’s hands and, in a way, the country’s biggest threat to their sovereignty is not their powerful neighbor, but their own divided national identity.