One son joined Ukrainian volunteer troops to fight in the East while his brother and his mother sympathize with the pro-Russian separatists. This is how far division amongst some Ukrainian families is apparently going when it comes to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine as an interview from German magazine ZEIT-Online suggests (use google translate). The interview was allegedly conducted today on the very day of parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
While this family still seems to come along although they have totally different political point of views, the interview tells a different story on relations within a wider group of people – neighbors and inhabitants of a municipality. Since this family’s son left to fight for Kiev, neighbors and (former) friends avoid the rest of the family or openly call them “fascists” for the son’s support for Kiev – even though the mother and the other son support the separatists.
One interview by a German news magazine can not be basis for a broader and certain conclusion, but it hints on the possibility of a wider friction within the Ukrainian society that can not be repaired by just having elections. When distrust and lack of common understanding start to poison human relationships and no cure can be found, the risk of a civil war grows. When friends split up, neighbors stop talking to each other, because of different political point of views the seed of hate, spread by persons who need unrest in order to gain or stay in power, has a fertile ground. Avoiding and verbally attacking each other can grow in a steady process to suddenly erupting physical violence and atrocities. History is full of examples where peaceful communities ended up in slaughtering each other, because of differences of any kind.
In some parts of Ukraine we currently experience the same process of inner alienation within a society all in an atmosphere of distrust and accusations. Needless to say that – as in other historical examples – such a process is often fueled by outside powers and other parties who benefit from the situation or an escalation. In the case of Ukraine one fire is fueled by Ukrainian government and Western media while the other fire is fed by Russian media. When both fires have grown too big, an potentially devastating effect becomes an imminent threat, but this might actually even be the intention of some players in this “game” as it unfortunately does not seem to be over yet – regardless of the parliamentary elections today.