The last Ukrainian peacemaker: Sergei Sivokho remembered,

Nicolai N. Petro, professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island

Sergei Sivokho, Ukrainian peace activist, succumbed to chronic asthma and passed away on October 17. His name was not well known outside Ukraine, perhaps because, in these angry times, he sought to reconcile Ukrainians rather than drive them apart.

One wonders if, in the end, this big bear of a man died of a broken heart. […]

It may seem odd that even before Russia’s invasion, merely mentioning reconciliation and dialogue could arouse so much anger, until one realizes that what Sivokho was actually asking for was a fundamental shift in Ukrainian political thinking. In his mind, Ukrainians had to recognize that they all bear some measure of responsibility for the conflict in Donbass, and specifically for dehumanizing the Other Ukrainians, those who do not think or talk the way they do.

Such policies, he argued, began well before 2014. His words aroused intense anger among Ukrainian nationalists, who were further outraged by his assertion that, “the time has come to correct mistakes, to forgive and to ask for forgiveness . . . to talk to the people living in the uncontrolled territories.” […]

Some Ukrainian nationalists will rejoice at the demise of this inconvenient Ukrainian patriot who fought tirelessly to overcome the country’s divisions by preaching mutual forgiveness. His personal quest for peace may now be over, but we should all hope, for Ukraine’s sake, that his mission is taken up by others. Läs artikel