Saturday, May 9, 2015

VE Day in Europe and Russia's commemorations are ignored! Wrong?

Apparently, even the young Princess Elizabeth escaped for the evening when the Brits hit the street parties on the night of commemorations to celebrate VE day in 1945.There were parties and ceremonies remembering the deaths from that terrible war, all over Europe yesterday. Russia too remembered the huge numbers who died in that tragic time. (They had more people killed than any other nation)Very few 'Western' leaders attended, choosing instead to travel to a ceremony in Poland. They state the reason for their non-attendance on Russia's stance in Ukraine. That is a snub and in my view insensitive to the memory of a former allies' efforts to fight an evil foe! Sure, much has changed since 1945 and we have witnessed the Cold War era, but one can not change history, although interpretations can be re-written. If we take the argument about present actions by one particular country and ignore past history, then we are on shaky ground. Surely the 'West' missed an opportunity to build bridges with Russia. The Ukraine situation is far more complex than we are led to believe via the protestations of Western politicians. The present leadership in Ukraine is tainted with the very forces we once fought against. Getting a consensus is difficult to say the least on this vexing question. That Ukraine's leadership is leaning towards the EU is not enough in itself to steer Europe and the USA (with its allies)towards ignoring the history of Russia's huge losses in WW11. I am not excusing or heaping praise on Putin, by taking this stance. I have been uncomfortable with his 'gathering' of more and more power to himself and his cronies, nor do I support any leader holding power in any nation for more than a set amount of time. (It does not happen often in NZ, but maybe we too need a limitation on how long one politician can hold the reins of power)Russia used the occasion of VE day to parade its resurrection of military power in quite a provocative manner. It is not of course the only nation to exhibit that tendency! In short---have we missed an opportunity to unite re our remembrance of the deaths of so many people? Does this add fuel to the premise that we have entered a new 'Cold War?'