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PERSONAL OPINIONS

The Hyde Park correspondents interviewed


three teachers, asking them the following
questions:

1. How long have you been monitoring the


NATO issues? Was it connected with your
military service, or just with your
interests?

2. What do you associate NATO with?

3. What is NATO in the modern world? Can you comment its activities in
Serbia, Afghanistan or Iraq?

4. What is your attitude to the non-block (neutral) status of Ukraine


confirmed by the Referendum on Independence in December of 1991,
and written in the Constitution?

5. What advantages or/and disadvantages may Ukraine get if it joins


NATO?

Georgiy Serhiyovych POLYAKOV,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Teacher of the Basics of Defense of the
Motherland:

1. I started watching NATO when I


joined the army. Every soldier
should learn about his potential
enemy. It was not connected with
my special interests.

2. NATO can protect its members from


the terrorist attacks. Also, the
organization effectively defends the
interests of its members all over the
world. In these aspects a country
benefits from its NATO membership.

3. In the modern world NATO secures stability. Aggressors can’t offend their
victims freely in the presence of NATO forces. NATO troops often serve as a
barrier between the fighting adversaries, as it was in Bosnia in 1996. Their
SFOR and IFOR peacekeeping missions in the Balkans were very effective.

4. I support Ukraine’s neutral status. It is one of the basic principles of building


our state. The neutral status is a Constitutional law, and the majority of
people voted for it back in 1991. Our country should remain really
independent. We can take care of ourselves, can’t we?

5. In case Ukraine joins NATO, we will be safe from any aggression. That is the
biggest advantage. However, the main disadvantage of such a decision will
be our deteriorated relations with Russia. First of all our economic relations
will suffer. Russia is very sensitive about NATO’s expansion to the East.

The interview was taken


by Helen Mykhailenko
and Irene Petrashchuk,
Group 34-E

Bohdan Stepanovych SAVON,


Physical Education Teacher

I have been watching NATO for a long


period of time, since the times of the
USSR. The army had its ideology then.
Nowadays things are different, but my
beliefs have not changed: NATO means
war!

First of all, NATO is associated with war,


bloodshed and death… If there were NATO
soldiers, instead of ours, in our cities and
seaports, there were American troops at
their bases stomping their boots on our
land, would not it mean that we have lost
our independence?

Can we call their mission in Iraq a peacekeeping one? I don’t think so. NATO
had broken into Iraq under the pretext of looking for some Iraqi nuclear
weapons, which have never been found. However, we all know their motive:
they just needed oil. That dirty war resulted in numerous deaths of innocent
people: partisans, women and children… I want Ukraine to be defended by
Ukrainian soldiers, not by foreigners…

Russia is against NATO, and we have always been, we are, and we will
depend on it. The Slavs ought to stay together – the common faith, and the
common victory in the war! If we gave our bases to NATO, Russian missiles
would be aimed at Ukraine, because nobody can guarantee that NATO’s
missiles would not be aimed at Russia. I am definitely against Ukraine’s
joining NATO!

The interview was taken by Volodymyr


Nagornyi, Group 34-E.
Oleksiy Oleksandrovych

ZABOLOTNYI,
English Teacher, PFC (ret.)

1. I put an eye on NATO about 30 years ago. While at


college, I was planning a career of a military
interpreter. Also, foreign armed forces have
always been a sort of a hobby of mine. Later,
serving in the COMINTEL, I studied NATO forces
professionally. I’m a soldier of the Cold War.

2. For me NATO means security, efficiency, cooperation, responsibility and


professionalism. Even in our every-day activities, when we criticize the way
things are at home, we enviously give some symbolic examples, such as
“British traditions”, “American richness”, “Canadian ecology”, “German cars”,
“Dutch cheese”, “Italian football”, “Danish cakes”, “Norwegian fjords”,
“Turkish resorts”… They are all NATO members. And I really like the way
NATO works. Imagine a small (NATO-member) country with half a dozen
helicopters playing Air Force. An aggressive dictatorship decides to solve its
internal problems bringing them abroad (like it has been done many times).
But instead of a very petty army, the villain finds himself confronted with the
entire US Navy + Marines, Bundeswehr panzers, Royal Norwegian Jagers, and
Italian Alpini, proudly covered from above by the Royal Air Force. God save
that villain. Nobody ever thinks about offending a NATO country.

3. When we say “civilization”, we may not think about NATO, but it comes
automatically. Belonging to Europe, means belonging to the North Atlantic
civilization. Do you know why Switzerland does not join NATO? Because it is
surrounded by its members. Why bother? So, NATO is the force component of
our civilization. And that civilization cannot afford any mess like terrorist
maniacs playing with weapons of mass destruction, or genocide in Europe, or
piracy along the Eastern Coast of Africa. So, they go in and solve the
problem. After the USSR collapsed being defeated in the Cold War, NATO
started thinking globally, and since then has become even more responsible.
NATO does not operate in Iraq. It operates in Afghanistan, though. But they
don’t smash entire villages there, and they don’t face massive guerrilla
movement, as the Soviets did. They are there by the UN mandate, by the
way.
4. Such flexible things as looking for alliance should not be put into such
fundamental documents as a Constitution. Situation changes daily.
Documents are always late.

5. Joining NATO may become the best thing happened to Ukraine since 1991.
There are no disadvantages. There are possible problems with reforming our
society. What to do with those hundreds of redundant generals, inefficient
management and contradicting laws? What to do with the most expensive
industry in the world, and the world’s deadliest coal mines? How to make our
top brass more responsible? Bringing the country to NATO standards will help
us to sort the things out. By the way, being a NATO member means that the
country is attractive for investments. And no bases (they just don’t exist).
Besides, we have some quite aggressive foreign military troops stationed in
the Crimea, don’t we? And no sending our troops abroad if we don’t feel like
doing that (it’s a matter of volunteering). Of course, there are a lot of people
who don’t want things to be changed. They feel
comfortable with instability guaranteed. I hope
they will be overwhelmed.

The
interview was taken by

Irene
Petrashchuk, Group 34-E.