It has become pretty obvious that the candidate most likely to win Ukraine's upcoming presidential elections is the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. The elections will be held on January 17. If Viktor Yanukovych wins, this date might signal the end of independent Ukraine. There is, of course, nothing more dangerous for Ukraine as an independent political and cultural entity than going back under the influence of Russia, but the majority of Ukrainians are incapable of realizing this.
As the leading Spanish newspaper El Pais astutely observed, while the economy of Ukraine is in shambles, there is at least no doubt that Ukrainians enjoy their democratic freedoms. Freedoms of expression, association, and belief are - for now - available to all Ukrainians. This will obviously end if Ukraine turns into a dominion of Russia. No political or ideological dissent is tolerated in Russia, where the old habits of a totalitarian state have come back in full force.
The imperial mindset of Russian politicians has suggested to them a great way of distracting their citizens from their poverty and lack of democratic freedoms: contempt and hatred towards everybody who is not Russian. People in Russia are indulging in their hate of everybody else - from Ukrainians to Americans - with a vengeance. Those Ukrainians who are likely to vote for Yanukovych will do that because they want to identify with Russia. They are blind to the fact that being Russian wannabes does not convince actual Russians to suspend their contempt towards everybody who is Ukrainian.
Ukraine was a despised and looted colony of Russia for centuries. Our people were exterminated by the million in horrifying acts of genocide, our culture and language were destroyed. We have been taught to hate ourselves and to feel hugely inferior to the Russians. The propaganda techniques that Russian leaders employed in order to make Ukrainians feel ashamed of their non-Russian origins have been wildly successful. Many Ukrainians, especially from the Eastern part of the country (which is incidentally the place where I come from), hate being Ukrainian and are eager for Ukraine to return to the role of a bullied and exploited colony of Russia.
The prospect of seeing Ukrainians heading for national and cultural self-immolation saddens me beyond what words can express.