Taming crocodile is as ill-advised as befriending russia

2023-11-11 10:03:33

Recently, Yurii Shcherbak, a distinguished writer and diplomat, and a member of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Peace Council, presented his new book, "To Kill Evil Empire: Russia is Eternal Enemy of Ukraine", published by the 'Duh i Litera' publishing house.


A panel discussion titled "Geopolitical Dialogues" (featuring two Ukraine's then-ambassadors to the U.S.: Yurii Shcherbak headed the Ukrainian embassy from 1994 to 1998, and Valeriy Chaly, who served in the same role from 2015 to 2019) was attended by diplomats, civic activists, writers, and scholars.


Yurii Shcherbak said the book contains texts written during the full-scale Russia-Ukraine war, and author's thoughts on russia's policy over the past three decades since Ukraine gained independence. Like any Ukrainian today, the writer strongly believes that resisting moscow's invasion is a matter of the survival of the Ukrainian nation.


In particular, the book describes the first weeks of the war. Yurii Shcherbak knuckled down to work and resist information warfare from the first days of the full-scale invasion: he composed appeals, communicated with journalists from different countries, explained what was happening, and called for support for Ukraine. "These appeals were monitored by all the influential embassies across the globe," noted Valeriy Chaly.


The voice of the Ukrainian writer (as well as the voice of hundreds and thousands of Ukrainians) has been heard.


The book was written in Poland, where the writer relocated in February 2022. Yurii Shcherbak emphasized that he is deeply grateful to the Poles – relatives, friends, and strangers – who helped him open a new chapter in his life. Over less than two years, he traveled throughout Poland, meeting with writers, politicians, and ordinary workers.


"The book is the voice of an elderly, weak man, which may not be heard in the din of russian propaganda, fake news and disinformation," the author said. "However, I believe in the immortality of texts, and I hope it will be useful."


Yurii Shcherbak said that he had "seen through" putin's imperial ambitions a long time ago. And on the eve of the tenth anniversary of Ukraine's independence, he could hardly restrain himself from throwing something at the russian president, who was self-confidently walking across Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv with his entourage. The next day, putin stood on a podium, observed the demonstration of Ukrainians and apparently schemed the capture of Ukraine...


"The population of russia is infected with the ‘madness’ virus," the writer believes. "And they will not recover their senses until this 'epidemic' passes. I have a very pessimistic view of the future of this nation.”


Valeriy Chaly asked Yurii Shcherbak about his medium-term outlook for developments in the world.


"I foresee that we are inexorably approaching the World War III," answered Mr. Shcherbak. "Ukraine is in the epicenter of a global war involving about 140 countries, and this war is a continuation of the process of slipping toward World War III. I have studied the history of the First and Second World Wars, and I can say people did not realize in 1913 that they were approaching disastrous events. If you restrospect to that time, you can clearly see how local wars were preparing the ground for a global war. The same is happening today."


He noted that, according to U.S. forecasts, the probable period of the global conflict could be 2027-2030. "There is a split of humanity into two blocs. I think around 50 democratic countries will form the global NATO bloc. It will include Japan, Australia, New Zealand and others. The so-called global South is also being structured and prepared for a confrontation."


As a matter of fact, according to Valeriy Chaly, a world war is already raging in cyberspace, involving the United States, Iran, North Korea, China, and russia. Mr. Chaly compared the present-day picture of the world to the "Game of Thrones" series. International rules and standards are being destroyed, the world is sinking into a state of chaos, and power centers are being redistributed. Certain countries with dictatorial regimes are aggressively demanding their share in global power. Valeriy Chaly recalled recent discussions in Ukraine about a possible alliance with Great Britain and Poland. Unfortunately, progress in this direction has been suspended for now. "If we are not invited to join NATO at the next summit in Washington, we will have to decide something. And we have to ponder how to defend ourselves," he said.


The host also asked about the milestones for the Ukrainian society in these circumstances.


Yurii Shcherbak answered that this is undoubtedly complete separation from "russkiy mir" (russian world). "'They have been our enemies for 350 years, they have shown their beastly face and will remain so in the future. I have never been a russophobe, but I have seen these mean, dense people who hate Ukrainians and envy them because they live better," the writer added.


He also believes "the period of emotional and passionate speeches that touch the audience to the heart is over”. These speeches really helped to attract allies. Today, however, emotional techniques no longer work, and different rhetoric and approaches are needed.


The writer suggests that we listen more attentively to Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny, as there is a danger that the war will become positional, and Russia will have superiority in such warfare.


“We need to form a government of national unity," Yurii Shcherbak stressed. "It's time for one party to stop playing the game of power. Consider the actions of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He pursued the wrong policy, attempted to "turn a blind eye" to the activities of Hamas (in other words, to tame the crocodile), and also to befriend russia. But at a critical moment, Netanyahu has been able to call for unity between the opposition and the government. We need such unity as well.”


Yurii Shcherbak believes that more power should be given to the military. And perhaps we will raise a Ukrainian Mannerheim or Ataturk. Moreover, no matter how hard it is, we must believe in victory.


Svitlana Galata


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