Ukraine has a lot in common with other Central European countries. Take for example Moravia. Both countries have been subjugated by their stronger neighbour under the slogan of “fraternity“. While Czech nationalists usually argue that Moravians do not exist, Russian nationalists claim that Ukrainians are in reality Russians. It was the great Moravian writer Milan Kundera who in his essay “The Tragedy of Central Europe“ reminded the West of the difficult situation of the Ukrainians when he wrote in 1984: “One of the great European nations is slowly disappearing. And this enormous, almost unbelievable event is occurring without the world realizing it.“
In only seven years, Ukraine has gained independence, and it seems that the existence of the Ukrainian nation is not more at stake now. This does not mean though that we should take the present political organisation of the region inhabited by Ukrainians for granted.
Demonstrations in Ukrainian cities could be interpreted in many ways. One fact is the common dissatisfaction of the inhabitants with the system. Politics and economics are not shaped by the people who in times of the Soviet Union fought for independence. On the contrary, both fields are dominated by apparatchiks from the old bolshevik nomenklatura. Ordinary people feel the results every day.
In spite of that it seems that the attitude of the government to the association agreement with the EU was only a pretext, not a reason for demonstrations. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the fact that the acceptance of the association agreement and support from the MMF would be followed by drastical steps which would lead to a great increase of prices. From this view it seems that the approach of the EU is problematic, since it could force Ukraine to a pro-Moscow orientation.
Again, there is a strong difference in the public view between those parts of Ukraine which belonged to Austria-Hungary, namely Galicia, Bukovina and Zakarpattia on the one hand, and the rest of the country on the other hand. The formerly Habsburg ruled parts of Ukraine have continually supported presidential candidates who were promising quick integration into the EU. All these presidents (Kuchma,Yushchenko) posed a great disappointment for the western Ukraine.
This disappointment led many people to re-adopting the traditional identity of their respective provinces (Galician, Bukovina or even Hungarian) instead of the newly created ethnical Ukrainian identity, because they lost their confidence that the ruling oligarchy could lead the country out of the crisis. So we can observe Galician flags in today´s demonstrations and people from the Polish part of Galicia joining the protests in the western Ukraine.
We should not have illusions about a big interest of western Europe on the development of the Ukraine. France and UK sacrificed al large part of Ukraine to bolsheviks during the times of the Russian civil war and they were opposed to Ukrainian independence even at the beginning of the 1990ies. The approach of the EU regarding the integration of Ukraine proves that the policies of the European big players have not changed much since.
In this situation, let us recall the plan of the party “Moravians“ from 2008 who suggested a Central European federation built from historic lands, including Galicia and Bukovina. Such an integration is also proposed by the Austrian monarchists of the “Schwarz-Gelbe Allianz“. This is in tune with the concept of a Europe of regions as pointed out by the European Free Alliance. In spite of the Ukrainian question, we can see possible advantages of this project.
Firstly, such a federation would emphasize the interests of this regions against the European big players better. As mentioned, big countries may not have an interest in the development of our countries. Due to this integration, Central Europe itself would be a big player.
Secondly, it would enable integration into the EU of those parts of Ukraine which obviously and in the long term seek such an accesssion. For the EU, such an integration would be much easier than the accession of fifty million Ukrainians.
Thirdly, this would enable a much softer and nuanced approach of Europe towards the rest of Ukraine which does not seek the accession so intensively and which is by the present EU-policy forced into an alliance with Moscow.
In other words, it is better to enable an accession of at least a part of Ukraine than none at all. It is better to have a neutral buffer state in the rest of the country than to have all Ukraine as a Russian satellite state.
We believe that the situation of the Ukraine shows that the respective regional historic identities are a much better foundation of political organisation than the national state, and that this might show the way out oft he tragedy of Central Europe. Our approach may seem too ambitious at present, but who in 1984 would have deemed an independent Ukraine within only seven years realistic?
Party Moravians/ strana Moravané
Movement for Renaissance of Galicia/ Рух Відродження Галичини
Sovereign Order of Galicia/ Суверенний Галицький Орден
Democratic Transylvania League/ Liga Transilvania Democrata/ Demokratikus Erdély Liga
Autonomy for Transylvania/ Autonomie Pentru Transilvania/ Autonómiát Erdélynek
Movement for Rijeka/ Lista za Rijeku/ Lista per Fiume
Black and Yellow Alliance - Monarchists/ Schwarz-Gelbe Allianz – Monarchisten