Ti­mothy Sny­der

Kyiv Post - - Opinion - – Euan MacDon­ald

In late sum­mer 2016, the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was at its height, and Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald J. Trump was sway­ing from scan­dal - for brag­ging about sex­u­ally as­sault­ing women, for his treat­ment of the fam­ily of a slain U.S. sol­dier, the Khans, and for en­cour­ag­ing Rus­sia to hack into his ri­val Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails. Not many thought he had a good chance of win­ning the presidency.

He was down in the polls, he seemed to be stum­bling from gaffe to gaffe, (Poli­tico pub­lished an ar­ti­cle in Septem­ber 2016 list­ing 37 of them), and a slew of se­nior fig­ures in the Repub­li­can Party, from for­mer pres­i­dents to for­mer and cur­rent Repub­li­can elected of­fi­cials, were an­nounc­ing their op­po­si­tion to his elec­tion as pres­i­dent.

But Ti­mothy Sny­der, best-sell­ing au­thor and pro­fes­sor of his­tory Yale Uni­ver­sity, re­called in an in­ter­view with Ger­man news­pa­per Der Tagesspiegel on June 28 that a Ukrainian jour­nal­ist, who had cov­ered a Trump cam­paign visit to Ohio, wrote to him days later with the sim­ple, and cor­rect pre­dic­tion: “He will win.”

The Ukrainian jour­nal­ist was right be­cause Ukraini­ans had ex­pe­ri­enced “fake news” and post-fact pop­ulism for years, Syn­der said.

“Amer­i­cans and Euro­peans still be­lieve that his­tory is be­ing made in the West and mov­ing east­wards, but it has been the other way around for 10 years,” he told Der Tagesspiegel. “The klep­toc­racy, the ma­nip­u­la­tion of the me­dia and the cy­ber war came from the east to the west.”

Sny­der, who wins the Or­der of Yaroslav the Wise this week, was spot on. Ukraine has been a test­ing ground and an ob­jec­tive for com­pet­ing pow­ers for cen­turies, and has seen all of their tricks.

Speak­ing in the Bun­destag, the Ger­man par­lia­ment, on June 20 on Germany’s his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards Ukraine, Sny­der made the point that Adolf Hitler’s Op­er­a­tion Bar­barossa fore­saw the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion of only 10 per­cent of Soviet Rus­sia. In con­trast, 100 per­cent of Soviet Ukraine was to be oc­cu­pied, and the coun­try was the key prize of the Third Re­ich’s east­ward colo­nial ex­pan­sion. Ukraine’s land has also been cov­eted by the Krem­lin for cen­turies (there can be no Rus­sian Em­pire with­out Ukraine) and Josef Stalin used Ukraine as a prov­ing ground for his geno­ci­dal so­cial en­gi­neer­ing, the Holodomor, in which he starved to death mil­lions of Ukra­ni­ans.

The ills af­flict­ing Ukraine and the West have a com­mon source -- the Krem­lin.

For the health of our so­ci­eties and democ­ra­cies, we will have to not only de­velop re­sis­tance, but de­feat the en­emy.

Or­der of Yaroslav The Wise

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