In September 1991, I was sent to Chernovtsy -Chernivtsi on assignment. We were covering the birth of a nationless country; a former Soviet Republic and aspiring new comer to the hybrid family of European states.
|Viewing in opposite directions at Bender market on the Moldovan Transnistria border. Kremlin strategists|
tip the scales in favour of Russians looking East. Conflict on the southern flank is never far away
to include most of Bassarabia. Image 2002
Crossing back from the Ukraine at the northern Moldovan border our minders entered into the customary bribery for exit visas and the torturous babbling over who we were and why we were there.
Through our translator a border guard asked why I was making a picture of the new Ukrainian flag. Baffled, I flippantly enquired why! Is it a secret! The answer came back “Yes! Our national flag is a Secret.”
Ukraine is a house of straw, steeped in division and secrecy. The western Polish/Ukrainian sector wants to join the EU. It will bring little if nothing to the party. Russian east-Ukraine has all the goodies; industry, agriculture, tourism and natural resources. It has a chance to build a home of stone for Slavic pride.
The EU has been sold a pup over Polish ambitions to regain the city of L’viv and former surrounding territories.
In the end, Russians have kept their best cards for this present scenario. Should Polish Ukraine move west, Russia will follow towards Transnistria, Gagauz and Kishinev, re-establishing the former south western flank of a resurgent power. Its time for the EU to weigh-up the odds.