The President of Ukraine 1994-2005 Leonid Kuchma presented the book “Ukraine is not Russia. Twenty years later.” This is reported by the Interfax-Ukraine agency.
During the presentation of the book, Kuchma emphasized: if the previous edition of “Ukraine is not Russia” was addressed mainly to Russian readers, then “Ukraine is not Russia. Twenty years later” was written for the Ukrainian reader.
“20 years ago, I wanted to explain, using examples they could understand, why we are different nations, why Ukraine is not Russia. Why should they leave us alone, if they are not capable of equal relations, of friendship. But the shameful joy with which the majority of Russians perceived Putin’s invasion showed that I tried in vain to explain something to them then… Now she does not try to explain anything, one might say, to strangers. It is for the Ukrainian reader, for his own. All the good words about Russia that were said once were burned by Russia itself,” the author emphasized.
According to Kuchma, after the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, he did not think of republishing the book “Ukraine is not Russia”, although many were interested in it. The decision to write a new book arose after, in January of this year, a missile intended for large aircraft carriers flew into a high-rise building in Dnipro, and in a photo from the impact site, he saw a burnt book “Ukraine is not Russia”.
“I looked at the photo and mentally wished that the unknown reader of my book in the house where it was, survived this hell. And also… I thought, what was on those pages, what was in those lines that Russia burned… Suddenly I thought that there was exactly what I wrote to the Russians when I still believed that it was possible to deal with them it’s still somehow normal to talk, to explain something to them. And now it’s burned, that’s all. That’s when I decided to republish the book,” Kuchma emphasized.
In the newly published book, the author shares his view on the events of the 20th century and recent years, talks about the Ukrainian and Russian national characters and debunks the myth of the “one nation”.
“Twenty years ago, I finished that book with hope. Yes, I said, Ukraine is not Russia. But two states can live as good neighbors, not just not at war, but also making each other stronger. Twenty years ago, I had warm feelings for both countries. Today, I feel boundless pride for Ukraine and boundless anger towards Russia,” Kuchma wrote in the afterword.
The author emphasizes: today it is clear to him that “country Z” will never achieve anything at all. At least as long as it remains “Country Z”.