Thoughts from Ukrainian-American Alex Morozov, as told to Sophie Pappas.
I have lived in America for more than 20 years. I consider myself a Ukrainian-American. My children are now in high school, and they live in what I call the double bubble. They have a bubble because they live in America, and another bubble because they live in Carmel. We have a unique country here and I hope it will always stay that way.
My home country is Ukraine. And what you see on the news may be very complicated. But really the issue in Ukraine is very simple: Putin. Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power 15 years ago, after giving his university dissertation on what he called the largest tragedy of our time, the end of the Cold War. Not the first World War or the Holocaust, but the end of the Cold War. This should tell you who he is.
In the last 15 years he has used propaganda in Russia and the world. This is very similar to what Hitler did in Nazi Germany beginning in 1934. And Putin has admitted that he is interested in taking over Ukraine for one purpose: to bring back the Soviet Union and weaken the U.S. Unfortunately, we already have a very weak U.S. government and that is what Putin wants. He wants America on its knees.
Senator John McCain once said that Russia is a big gas station, and this is true. They are focused on exporting oil and gas. Since the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was elected in 2010, he has been very pro-Russian, always helping Putin and receiving money from Putin. In 2010, the Ukrainian people were not ready to take to the streets. This year, they were ready after Yanukovych said he would sign documents putting Ukraine in the European Union. Sadly, Putin paid Yanukovych $6 billion to not sign those documents. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
The people of Ukraine don’t want to be a part of Russia. They want to be independent. Putin has sent more than 25,000 un-uniformed troops into Ukraine, all carrying high-tech weapons. On February 22, Yemocovich fled to Russia with his family, taking between $20 and $40 billion from the Ukrainian government. I celebrated this event, but soon Russia wanted to strike even harder and take Crimea, again this is just to make the U.S. upset.
My biggest concern right now is that Putin will not stop here. He is just like Hitler was in the 1930s, and he wants complete domination. I’m positive if we had President Reagan in the White House, Putin would remain silent. Obama and the current administration need to show Russia that the U.S. is not weak. The Ukrainian people, and myself, do not want a war. We do not want blood. We believe the Western world needs to impose heavy sanctions on Russian oil and gas.
Putin dreams of the Cold War, and wants to recreate it just like Stalin. I am thankful for Mr. Putin because he has united Ukraine and showed us that we don’t want Russia anymore.
Alex Morozov is CEO of Swan Software Solutions, a company based in Central Indiana with three offices in Ukraine.
If anyone would like to help Ukraine during these tough times, please provide your contact information by going to the web site: www.UkraineForDemocracy.com
Sen. Coats’ response to Morozov
Thank you for contacting me in regard to the Russian invasion of Crimea in Ukraine, as well as the Euromaidan protests which led to the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych . I appreciate this opportunity to respond.
My sympathies go out to those who have been hurt or have lost loved ones in the protests throughout Ukraine. As a U.S. Senator, I naturally support and encourage the free expression of democratic principles across the world , and I am greatly saddened that the demonstrations ca me to violence before Ukrainian legislators ordered Yanukovych out of office.
I was concerned by the outreach of Russia in throwing Yanukovych an economic lifeline after his 2013 decision not to endorse Ukraine’s trade partnership with the European Union (EU) . In defiance of both popular demand and years of effort to establish new markets in the EU in exchange for a Russian bailout, these actions greatly damaged the already waning trust the opposition had for the Yanukovych government.
Now the Russian incursion into Crimea has nearly ensured that the current internal disagreements between western-leaning Ukrainians and supporters of strong ties to Russia will remain entrenched, and the protestors’ dreams of a truly sovereign and democratic Ukraine have all but been crushed.
However, Vladimir Putin has misjudged the resolve of the United States to be a guarantor of the universal right to rule one’s own nation. I am urging my colleagues in Congress to join me in demonstrating that the U.S. government is prepared to lead the international community in the defense of the Ukrainian right to democratic governance and self-determination.
Though basking in the afterglow of the Sochi Olympics and Russia’s time in the spotlight of world cooperation, Putin and the Russian Duma have moved to isolate themselves by invading Crimea, and now Russia must be shunned by the United States and our European colleagues. For instance, Russia must be dismissed from the economic Group of Eight (G-8) it was invited to join in 2002 , and plans for the upcoming G-8 summit must be relocated from Sochi, as should the planned 2018 FIFA World Cup games scheduled there. Russia must lose its seat at the table of the NATO -Russia Council, as this military action contravenes the founding principles of NATO. We must also encourage the non-military protection of the ethnic Russian populations in Ukraine through the deployment of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
I also recommend that t he United States directly impose sanctions that could convince the Russian populace their government is not acting in their interest. We also should consider suspensions of Russian-U.S. educational exchange programs and work visas, while also downgrading our diplomatic representation to Russia to the minimum effective level and requiring Russia to do the same.
In a time where pundits debate whether American influence in world events is in decline, Putin’s misguided invasion of Crimea has given the United States an opportunity. We must, for the sake of Ukraine and other nations in Russia’s sphere of influence, take the lead.
Again, thank you for taking the time to be in touch. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions on other matters of importance to you in the future.
United States Senator