Widen­ing di­vide

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Noth­ing is too ab­surd for to­day’s Rus­sia. The Krem­lin, which stole Crimea and has troops con­trol­ling vast sec­tions of eastern Ukraine, is sanc­tion­ing Ukraini­ans for “hos­tile be­hav­ior” against Rus­sia. On Nov. 1, it pub­lished a list of 322 in­di­vid­u­als and 68 com­pa­nies who will lose their as­sets in Rus­sia and who can't run a busi­ness there.

Most on the list don’t own any­thing in Rus­sia and won’t be hurt. It's a scat­ter-shot mix of politi­cians, top of­fi­cials, ac­tivists and high-pro­file Ukraini­ans.

Rus­sia has done so much real harm to Ukraine — cen­turies of harm — that this list is hardly a pin­prick. Most Ukrainian politi­cians named took it as proof of their pa­tri­o­tism. Soon jokes ap­peared about some try­ing to buy a place on it.

What was Rus­sia try­ing to achieve? Take Yu­lia Ty­moshenko, an ex-prime min­is­ter and pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner: Was she on the list be­cause she is bad for Rus­sia — or did Rus­sia in­clude her to val­i­date her? What about Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s part­ner Ihor Kononenko? Is he not on the list be­cause he is a se­cret friend of Rus­sia, or is this a Rus­sian at­tempt to un­der­mine Poroshenko? What about Ukrainian oli­garchs Ihor Kolo­moisky and Dmytro Fir­tash, who weren’t sanc­tioned ei­ther?

Our sug­ges­tion: for­get about the list. We’ll never guess Rus­sia’s in­ten­tions, and we shouldn’t play along with its at­tempt to med­dle in Ukraine even more. The Krem­lin's war has killed more than 10,500 Ukraini­ans and stolen 7 per­cent of Ukraine's ter­ri­tory. Ukraine will get the ter­ri­tory back by ac­cel­er­at­ing the break from its Soviet and czarist pasts. The sanc­tions widen the di­vide be­tween an au­to­cratic, mur­der­ous and im­pe­rial Krem­lin and Ukraine, which should re­spond by strength­en­ing and speed­ing up its demo­cratic de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic ties with the West.

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