Opening archives and letting the dirt fall where it fallsApril 7, 2014
Following on – somewhat tenuously – from yesterday’s FSB entry and some possible, inferred, nefarious activities in Ukraine very recently, another “spook/intelligence” related issue has caught my eye.
Under ex-President Yushenko, in 2009 a decision was made to give the old KGB archives a public airing. Quite rightly it has to be said. The Czech Republic did not suffer greatly from engaging in such an experience, where as arguably the post Yugoslav space that failed to air its dirty secrets, remains mired in suspicion, rumour and myth over its nasty communist past and the very unpleasant incidents that occurred then.
Unfortunately for Ukraine, amongst many poor decisions made by Viktor Yanukovych, the process of making old KGB files public came to an abrupt halt – naturally when intent on creating a totalitarian regime, it doesn’t do to continually remind the public of the odious incidents that occurred under the previous totalitarian regime.
Also unfortunate for Ukraine, during 1990 just prior to the collapse of the USSR, many KGB files from Kyiv were either destroyed or spirited away to Moscow – particularly those covering the period from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many – but not all.
Needless to say a large number of much older archives remained in Kyiv, together with others carelessly missed that related to the latter days of the USSR.
It now appears that the historian and new custodian of these archives, Vladimir Vyatrovich, is intent on gaining parliamentary agreement to continue the process that started in 2009 of making these documents public. Bravo!
Of course this will require political will – which may or may not be forthcoming. It may further damage or partially venerate some of the more contested figures within Ukrainian soviet history. It may lead to public outrage and/or a deep sense of grief for what went before. It may lead to demands for justice against those still living responsible for despicable acts no matter how large or small their part. It may have serious consequences for some of today’s leading political figures – or recent ones. How accurate is the information recorded? Who knows?
What making public those achieves will do however, is further de-sovietise the Ukrainian public – perhaps in a far deeper way than the toppling statues of Lenin will ever accomplish. It will reinforce the desire to remain free of the Kremlin yoke in the future.
By extension that will (further) annoy a Kremlin that is seemingly intent on trying to rebuild the former Soviet space where ever it sees the opportunity – and to be frank whenever this process is done, that annoyance would be expressed from Moscow, so why not now?
As it seems that in the absence of a willing Ukraine to return to the Kremlin fold, a desire to create a permanently unstable Ukraine is the next best alternative amongst the Kremlin contingencies, (I did mention the former Yugoslav space already) then perhaps one of the best antidotes to this situation is to force those who view the old soviet days through some dewy-eyed nostalgia to remember just what a cancerous, odious, oppressive and invasive system it was.
Open the KGB files to a public airing – let the muck land upon the heads of those whom it must – but let us take this further step of de-sovietising the nation – swiftly!