The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Forty-Two, Crisis in Ukraine, by Misha Ignatenko with assistance from Marin Ekstrom
Ukraine has always been the target of surrounding empires – the Ottomans, Poland-Lithuania, Austria-Hungary, Russia, France, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union – who have harbored ambitions to conquer and use its resources. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Ukraine, is right in pointing out that “in the history of the 20th century there is no place on earth where the soil is more blood-soaked than [in Ukraine].”
The newly established government, which is heavily supported by the northern and western regions of Ukraine, is viewed as pro-Ukrainian and pro-EU. In contrast, most of eastern and southern areas of Ukraine share pro-Russian views. Claiming that the new government might suppress the interests of ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Russia sent troops to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The new government fears that Russia might use the same reasoning for sending troops to the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.
You can find a wide range of opinions on what is happening in Ukraine and who is to blame, but I think that the image on the left illustrates the situation well: most people are fighting against each other on minor issues (such as language) instead of focusing on larger issues (poverty, corruption) that everyone in Ukraine shares, regardless of ethnicity, language, religion, and political views.
People: “Hey! What are you doing?! This is our public money!”
Oligarchs/politicians: “You should first decide what language you want to receive an answer in and who is going to represent you.”
People: (fighting over language/politics)
Oligarchs/politicians: (escaping with public money)
Ukraine could take advantage of its unique position as a neutral zone between the European Union and Russia, but those in power are pursuing their short-term goals of splitting the country into two hostile sides (Russian and Ukrainian), stealing as much as they can, and leaving piles of unsolved problems behind. As soon as I have a source of income, I want to invest in the people of my country who think beyond cheap politics and have a long-term vision of a peaceful and prosperous Ukraine where everyone is treated equally regardless of who they are. You’re welcome to join me on this “venture”.
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10
The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year
(c) 2014 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 8, Spring, 2014. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.