13.12.2002 | Oleksandr Stepanenko, Chortkiv

On discrimination in Ukraine


In my opinion, the estimation of the discrimination and inequality in Ukraine ought to be more critical. The affirmation that the state allegedly does not follows the policy of discrimination (that is there no reservations for ethnic minorities, coercive closure of churches or mass deportations) does not mean that many people are not discriminated in an extremely cruel way. Delimitation of rights flows, mainly, from prosperity (the aged division into poor and rich), and the prosperity somewhat depends on the loyalty to the existing power. Besides, it deserves mentioning that the equal start opportunities for reaching the prosperity are not guaranteed by our state.

Citizens are discriminated in the sphere of medical aid: the chances to get the adequate medical aid, both free or for money, are very different for, for example, a Kyivan dweller and a villager, as well as for a rich and poor Kyivan dweller. The same can be said also about the access to education, culture, etc.

The intolerance to other religions and opinions in the politics and everyday life are especially noticeable, since the power frequently encourage it by own passivity or even open provocation. All this must not be neglected (referring to „political struggle“ or „inheritance of the past“), because sometimes the intolerance is based on the long-lasting interethnic or inter-confessional conflicts. These conflicts may become more acute, if the situation in the country destabilized: seeking an answer to the question „Who is the guilty?“ always was very popular in our country.

During my short-term political activities the opponents in power actively implanted the xenophobia to the disloyal candidates. The anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish spirits were stirred up. Although, to be fair, the anti-Semitism was used by almost all sides of the election campaign. The situation with me was merely curious: at the same time and in the opinion of the same people I was a „half-moskal“ (moskalis a scornful name for Russians used by Ukrainians. – Translator’s note), a „Jewish mason“ and a „spy of the „greens“ working off the American money“, who „washes dirty linen in public“.

Thus, the discrimination in the form of the aggressive intolerance to any different viewpoint is not only endorsed in our half-civilized society, but sometimes is cautiously roused.

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