Among these myths are the following, Vasilchenko suggests:
· Second, he writes, there is the myth that “Ukraine could have avoided the war by agreeing with the leaders of the separatists already in the spring of 2014.” This myth, he says, “works particularly well among residents of the Donbass and” IDPs.
· Third, there is the myth that “simple people are not guilty when politicians unleash a war. This is a very dangerous myth because it justifies the Russian occupiers and their puppets in the Donbass.”
The last myth explains why Ukrainians are overwhelmingly negative to the Kremlin regime but are either neutral or positive toward Russians as such, Vasilchenko writes. And that is why many Ukrainians are quite ready to forgive and forget those who have acted as they have in the Donbass or even in the extreme case to consider them “innocent.”
In other words, the commentator continues, “there exist [in Ukraine] a significant number of citizens who do not yet understand that the detonator of the conflict were those residents of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions who called on Putin for support.” These were “simple pensioners, miners or ordinary lumpen,” he writes.
If there had not been their anti-Maidan, there wouldn’t have been a war,” and consequently today, Vasilchenko says, “almost 40 percent of [Ukraine’s] compatriots are ready to make peace with these people.” That points to real dangers ahead: explosions like those in the Donbass “could be repeated somewhere else.”
There are of course “other myths,” he argues, including the notion that “reforms lead only to impoverishment of the population” or that the authorities are using the war to justify their failure to reform. But it is critically important to understand why these myths are now so widespread.
“The Ukrainian authorities,” Vasilchenko concludes, “have themselves created fertile ground for the development of [such] harmful myths.” Kyiv doesn’t yet have a clear and well-defined strategy about the future of the occupied territories.” And until it adopts one, he says, “the number of victims of the myths about the war will alas only grow.”
· Fourth, Moscow seems convinced that the situation in Kazakhstan emerged precisely because the share of ethnic Russians in the population there has declined so precipitously over the last 30 years. Up until 1985, ethnic Russians had a plurality; now, they are outnumbered two to one by ethnic Kazakhs. Because similar trends are occurring in all the post-Soviet states, some in the Russian capital fear that what is happening in Kazakhstan could happen elsewhere sooner or later. On that, see here.
· And fifth, although it is unclear how widespread this fear is, at least some in Moscow are expressing concerns that what has occurred in Kazakhstan is what faces Russia in the near future. That is, they view Kazakhstan as a petrostate, which Russia is as well, and with its income down and its authoritarianism growing, the regime there and perhaps in Russia as well can’t escape popular challenges unless it liberalizes — something neither Astana nor Moscow is ready to do. On that danger, see the sources cited here.