"Borrowed bread lies heavy on the stomach."
- Ukrainian Proverb
There is a (temporary) sigh of relief now that Ukraine has seen its latest strongman leader flee to parts unknown, but anxiety remains. And why not; the nation has a history of struggle with self-determination. Actually, that comment is an understatement as Ukraine, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, seems to have spent its entire existence fighting off one conqueror or another. There was a short period during World War I when several nations took control over a period of weeks:
Extermination by Hunger
There have been several attempts to completely snuff out the Ukrainian culture from the late 1700s, and most recently, the Holodomor or Extermination by Hunger. This period of genocide saw man-made starvation inflicted on the people of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 by Russia, as part of a larger multi-year program to remove Ukrainian language, culture, and customs.
The slaughter took up to 7 million lives; killed through orchestrated starvation, which has recently been recognized by the world for its true horror.
In the past, such efforts to wipe out the culture saw certain elites, authors, educators, and others flee the nation, while others succumbed and melded into a Russian identity like author and playwright, Nikolai Gogol in the 19th century.
Divine Fire Still Burning
"The current generation now sees everything clearly, it marvels at the errors, it laughs at the folly of its ancestors, not seeing that this chronicle is all over scored by divine fire, that every letter of it cries out, that from everywhere the piercing finger is pointed at it, at this current generation; but the current generation laughs and presumptuously, proudly begins a series of new errors, at which their descendants will also laugh afterwards." -Dead Souls
Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls
The people that first domesticated the horse have been on the other end of the spectrum, where their sovereignty and spirit has been broken over and over again, only to come back stronger.
Even though Ukraine became independent in 1991, most people of the world considered it a part of Russia.
In fact, most opinions of Ukraine are unflattering and undignified. This latest attempt at real-self-determination will be watched by the world after this brave stance of ordinary people.