On January 29th, The Washington Post published an op-ed by the well-known Yale historian Timothy Snyder, titled “Putin’s case for invading Ukraine rests on phony grievances and ancient myths.” In a key passage, the article reads:

Last July, Vladimir Putin supplied the mythical basis for Russian war propaganda in an essay titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians.” The essential idea is that Russia has the right to Ukraine because of things that happened a thousand years ago in Kyiv. … It takes some fanciful thinking to see here a reason for Russia to invade Ukraine in the 21st century, as it seems prepared to do. … Putin’s idea is that Ukraine is a fraternal nation because of how he personally feels about the past. This is known as imperialism. It flies in the face of the basic legal principle of state sovereignty and the basic moral principle of democracy.

Timothy Snyder
Timothy Snyder [Source: timothysnyder.org]

Putin’s article did NOT assert that “Russia has the right to Ukraine because of things that happened a thousand years ago in Kyiv.” It didn’t even assert that “Russia has the right to invade Ukraine.” Furthermore, the allegation that Putin’s view that’s expressed there advocates “imperialism” that “flies in the face of the basic legal principle of state sovereignty and the basic moral principle of democracy” is likewise a bald-faced lie.

Moreover, Russia’s Government has consistently denied that it has any intention to invade Ukraine, but instead asserts that if Ukraine invades Donbass, then Russia will not allow that invasion to conquer the residents there.

Russia’s position has consistently been that only the people who live in Donbass have the right to determine whether or not—and the terms under which—they will be ruled by the government in Kyiv.

This government was installed (against the will of more than 90% of them) in February 2014 when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was forcibly overthrown by what the U.S. Government calls a “democratic revolution,” and by what Russia’s Government and the head of the “private-CIA” U.S. firm Stratfor, and many historians, call a coup—imposed by the Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.

A key goal of the coup was to replace Russia’s naval base on Crimea by a new U.S. naval base there (which Obama was not able to do, though his coup conquering Ukraine otherwise succeeded).

Stephen Cohen's Misrepresentations about the 2014 Coup in Ukraine - Modern  Diplomacy
Maidan Square after violent protests in February 2014 that resulted in the overthrow of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine led by Viktor Yanukovych. [Source: moderndiplomacy.eu]
A picture containing tree, outdoor, sky, people

Description automatically generated
Russian Victory Day in Sevastopol, May 9, 2014. [source: wikipedia.org]

Several of the mercenaries that the U.S. hired (some from Georgia, for example, as shown in these videos) subsequently confessed to having participated in the coup. The U.S. afterwards charged Putin with “aggression against Ukraine,” and with “seizing Crimea,” and issued sanctions against Russia for that.

Here are some key passages from Putin’s article (the article that Snyder lies about):

The determination of nationality, particularly in mixed families, is the right of every individual, free to make his or her own choice. But the fact is that the situation in Ukraine today is completely different because it involves a forced change of identity. And the most despicable thing is that the Russians in Ukraine are being forced not only to deny their roots, generations of their ancestors but also to believe that Russia is their enemy. … And I will say one thing—Russia has never been and will never be “anti-Ukraine.” And what Ukraine will be—it is up to its citizens to decide.

Putin, as well as François Hollande of France, and Angela Merkel of Germany, brought the Donbass government and the Ukraine government together in 2015 and got the Donbass and Ukraine to sign onto an agreement in Minsk, promising that those two then-warring parties would call a truce until both of them would agree to negotiate together and arrange some degree of autonomy for Donbass within the Ukrainian federation.

A group of men in suits holding flags

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Leaders of Belarus, Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine at the February 11-12, 2015, summit in Minsk. [Source: wikipedia.org]

However, after it was all signed, Ukraine (with backing from the U.S.) steadfastly refused to negotiate at all with Donbass.

Merkel, Hollande and Putin had worked together to get the Minsk accords agreed to and signed by the two sides, but the Ukrainian side then stonewalled, refusing to comply with the agreement. Putin’s consistent position has been the same as Hollande’s and Merkel’s on this, and remains so to this day: BOTH sides must comply. (Donbass has always been willing, but Ukraine never.)

The rest of Putin’s article is a history of the relationship that has existed between Russia and Ukraine. Snyder’s article that alleges to be about Putin’s article ignores that history, just as he lies about the rest of the article. And that is from a professor at Yale.


CovertAction Magazine is made possible by subscriptionsorders and donations from readers like you.

Blow the Whistle on U.S. Imperialism

 

Click the whistle and donate

 

When you donate to CovertAction Magazine, you are supporting investigative journalism. Your contributions go directly to supporting the development, production, editing, and dissemination of the Magazine.

CovertAction Magazine does not receive corporate or government sponsorship. Yet, we hold a steadfast commitment to providing compensation for writers, editorial and technical support. Your support helps facilitate this compensation as well as increase the caliber of this work.

Please make a donation by clicking on the donate logo above and enter the amount and your credit or debit card information.

CovertAction Magazine, CovertAction Quarterly and CovertAction Information Bulletin are projects of CovertAction Institute, Inc., a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York.

We sincerely thank you for your support.


Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s). CovertAction Institute, Inc. (CAI), including its Board of Directors (BD), Editorial Board (EB), Advisory Board (AB), staff, volunteers and its projects (including CovertAction Magazine) are not responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. This article also does not necessarily represent the views the BD, the EB, the AB, staff, volunteers, or any members of its projects.

Differing viewpoints: CAM publishes articles with differing viewpoints in an effort to nurture vibrant debate and thoughtful critical analysis. Feel free to comment on the articles in the comment section and/or send your letters to the Editors, which we will publish in the Letters column.

Copyrighted Material: This web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. As a not-for-profit charitable organization incorporated in the State of New York, we are making such material available in an effort to advance the understanding of humanity’s problems and hopefully to help find solutions for those problems. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. You can read more about ‘fair use’ and US Copyright Law at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.

Republishing: CovertAction Magazine (CAM) grants permission to cross-post CAM articles on not-for-profit community internet sites as long as the source is acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original CovertAction Magazine article. Also, kindly let us know at info@CovertActionMagazine.com. For publication of CAM articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: info@CovertActionMagazine.com.

By using this site, you agree to these terms above.


About the Author

7 COMMENTS

  1. I told the editors not to publish this article if they were to make the stylistic change in it that they had edited into it, but they ignored that and went ahead violating my instruction; so, I now publicly am telling them: Remove this article. Their stylistic change simplified a passage while removing a key part in the article that documented (with crucial links) how incredibly sloppy a researcher and writer Timothy Snyder is. I am the article’s author; and they were obligated not to publish the article unless they published it AS I HAD WRITTEN IT. They promised me that they would make the change-back, but did not do so. They violated their promise. I shall never again submit anything to those editors.

Leave a Reply