Normandy format sinks; Hollande stuck in his cabin

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SS Normandie, the grandest liner of its day, was scrapped by the US in 1942. It caught fire and sank in New York harbor as the US was refitting it as a troop ship. 

Ronald ZONCA

In Boulevard Voltaire, February 7, 2016

Translated from French by Tom Winter, February 8, 2016

The broadcast of a documentary on the tragedy of Odessa has provoked the reaction of Le Monde, who have countered with an article. Visibly, Paul Moreira has committed the crime of lèse-majesté by challenging the official version blazoned by the big media. The death of these 50 people in the official version is only a simple but tragic accident. But the film-maker shows plain enough the involvement of ultranationalist groups aligned with the current regime in this debauchery of violence and hate.

Le Monde is also indignant that Oleg Tyanibok got treated as a neo-nazi. One sees that in Le Monde’s world, Tyanibok is simply an educator of young savages who needed an outlet to vent their unhappiness. For this talented teacher, a pogrom with fire, iron bars, and guns is just the doctor’s orders for therapy. Or possibly a good session of pillaging and exactions in the Donbass.

Yet, last Sunday a bit of news came out that interests us, the French, directly. The Ukrainian reps of the contact group declared that only those rubrics of the Minsk accords that are in line with the Ukrainian Constitution and laws would be considered. This accord was signed by the members of the Normandy format, namely the heads of state of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia. 

The agreement entailed more autonomy for the Donbass, and obliged the government to revise the Ukrainian Constitution and laws in this direction. Well, last Sunday, the Ukrainian mission just told three heads of state to go take a hike.

Monsieur Hollande, your Normandie format is in the process of sinking just like the Normandie ocean liner. You signed that accord in the name of France, and the signature of France must be honored.

During the bloody events of Maidan in February 2014, France, with Fabius’ signature, had already become guarantor of compliance with the agreement between Yanukovych and the opposition.* The ink was hardly dry before the president was overthrown in a coup — without France saying a word.

And since then, the Ukrainian regime has exhibited nothing but contempt for France. There is no other way to see this but as the consequence of your submission and that of your government to foreign interests.

Monsieur Hollande, in the times of live tensions between Russian and Ukraine, it is all to your honor to have gotten Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin together on Norman soil. Likewise, the marathon Minsk sessions are one of your undeniable successes, since your initiative led to dialog and a ceasefire between the belligerents.

But You do not have so much success under your belt that you can squander it. It’s time for you to hold Ukraine sharply to its commitments. And time to forget about foreign partners and to think, foremost, about France.

*This is the agreement that was settled upon with the assistance of the EU: it would have left Janukovich in power, and it is what Victoria Nuland referenced when she said “Fuck the EU.”

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