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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

Fragments from a War Diary, Part #320



I admit I’m getting tired. I can barely keep my eyes open as I write these words, having spent the morning chopping vegetables and doing manual labour. But I feel positive, because I am being driven in the right directions by some well-meaning people and there are some b*ggers out there but they really don’t matter. R——-’s disciples have all been dealt with, in some cases somewhat cruelly and abruptly, but they don’t deserve better. This is war, and strong efforts are all that matter, and people who talk trash about one-another don’t matter to me. I am in this for the results, and that means stopping soldiers and civilians alike from starving to death and all the other horrors associated with front line mayhem. So on we will go and we will keep fighting.


Today I spent a large proportion of the day flattening cardboard boxes previously stacked with rotten mouldy old vegetables into flat packs. What is the point of that, you might ask, of a man whose time is worth US$1000 an hour as a professional lawyer? Well, the answer is that it kept my mind refreshed and unfocused and therefore I could think about other things. So I spent my hours unpacking dirty sodden cardboard boxes and stacking them into heaps, thinking about how to federalise Ukraine into a governmental structure that could survive the end of the war. Now I didn’t reach any conclusions so far, because these issues are not straightforward. But what I do know is that virtually every civil conflict whether in the nature of a civil war or a conflict between neighbouring states over contested territory in which there is an ethno-nationalist component concludes with a federalisation agreement. In other words, we choose to chop Ukraine into federal pieces in which Kyiv is not so dominant as a palpably impotent centralised capital. Instead we devolve legal and political authorities to regional institutions that can take greater personal democratic responsibility for the areas over which they have jurisdiction.


Ukraine is an enormous country, and the idea that her governmental structures should not be federalised is fanciful. She is the second largest country in Europe, after Russia. Ukraine is not yet (entirely) democratic; nevertheless the nature of a future Ukrainian democracy must surely be premised upon the notion of federalism in which a gargantuan nation has democratic authority devolved to regions, in particular in light of the abject failure of Ukraine’s central government in the post-independence years to achieve wealth and satisfaction for Ukraine’s myriad peoples.


Hence dividing Ukraine into democratic federal regions is an inevitable consequence of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, just as it has been in a number of other European Union countries of equivalent size. Ukrainian democracy can only be successful, without the Oligarchs and the corrupt politicians in Kyiv, if it is devolved to the regions. Centralising power in a post-Soviet gargantuan state is not a plausible approach. Ukrainians from different regions of this enormous country do not trust one-another; they only trust the local communities within which they interact. A future post-war Ukrainian democratic polity must respect this fundamental principle.


Hence, I concluded, chopping up boxes into pieces turned out to be most similar an exercise to chopping Ukraine up into democratic federal units. Moreover adopting this approach allows the errant Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories later to join the federation that we establish in the West as part of a contemporary European polity in Ukraine.


After my manual labours with my boxes today, I had the good fortune to meet my delightful friend S———-, who met me in a warm and sophisticated restaurant far superior to the depredations of Mano’s Bar. We had drinks and food, and we shared light but friendly and warm remarks, and tomorrow she is coming with me to the Opera, on my invitation. It seems that I have met a person of high culture who shares the same values as do I, and this is a source of great contentment to me. She is well instructed in the mannerisms of sitting in the central seats of the front row of the Stalls in the Lviv Opera House, and we are looking forward to an event of impeccable culture tomorrow evening. I cannot wait. S———- remains one of my favourite people in Lviv, and who knows what paradise and warm friendships might emerge from our prior casual encounters.


After S———- and I retired from our luxurious Lviv Old Town environs, with a common kiss and embrace in advance of tomorrow’s culture, I tramped back over to Mano’s Bar, where I bumped into a classic hoary cast of the unusual and the crazy. I wonder whether Mano’s Bar remains really the place for me. Some chap was talking about bombings and shelling in Kherson. Some other guy told me about R———, that crooked chap who keeps popping up most unwelcomely in my life and now someone has told me used to be a street pusher in Ibiza in the summer months. We all know what that means. What on earth are these people doing in Ukraine, with their dirty histories and their filthy habits? I am profoundly disappointed. I am also disappointed in the people who are taken in by so serious a crook. Because in fact it turns out that it is obvious who he is, and what he does; he is on so many lists I cannot begin to keep count. People must see this in him, but they go along with him anyway. Why do they do this? Either because they are embarrassed that he has duped them for money in the past; or because they are part of his criminal enterprises. It’s all such a shame. I despise war profiteers. Even if it entails that I become the world’s international community policeman here in Ukraine, I have every intention of closing the activities of this kind of person down. If you want to support this type of activity in wartime Ukraine - of sheer wartime profiteering from abusing people in vulnerable circumstances - then you can count upon me as your enemy.

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