Sunday 13 April 2014

Wladimir Klitschko and Dick Tiger: Boxing, Nationalism and the Lessons of History

Dick Tiger (Left) pictured in 1968 in the army uniform of the rebel Republic of Biafra, and Wladimir Klitschko draped in the flag of Ukraine

“How can I think about boxing when the men and women of Ukraine are being murdered in Kiev?”
The speaker of these poignant words was the heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko to a British journalist while on a brief stopover in London.
They formed the headline for an extensive article in the Daily Mail at the beginning of March of this year and were made soon after the displacing of the elected government of Ukraine headed by President Viktor Yanukovych and its replacement by an interim government. This had followed months of protests at Maidan Square in Kiev.
Klitschko’s words and press statements over the course of the present crisis in his homeland are reminiscent of those of another world champion boxer of a generation ago, Dick Tiger, the Nigerian-turned-Biafran campaigner, whose ruminations and propaganda proclamations at the height of the Nigerian Civil War were reported in the pages of Western newspapers.

Tiger did not receive an extensive formal education. He had barely managed to complete his secondary education before assuming the life of an itinerant petty-trader and pugilist. He was also a naturally reticent person.

But he was intelligent. And as a champion fighter who was based in New York City, he became an articulate spokesman for the emerging nation of Nigeria which had been granted independence by Britain in 1960. To the revered boxing writer A.J. Liebling, his interviews invariably often bore the tones of a ‘chamber of commerce pitch’.

The Nigerian political class acknowledged his usefulness as a tool in promoting the image of the country by expending a large sum of money in staging black Africa’s first world title bout in 1963 in the city of Ibadan. His victory over the American Gene Fullmer brought messages of congratulation from sources including the figurehead of pan-Africanist thinking, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Earlier in the year, he had been awarded the MBE medal by the British Queen, and later on in the month of his successful defence against Fullmer, President John Kennedy thought it apt to inform the Nigerian prime minister with whom he was engaged in a telephone conversation that he was looking forward to “having Dick Tiger come over” to the United States

Tiger was very much the ‘pugilistic plenipotentiary’ as described by an American sports journalist.

Wladimir Klitschko in contrast to Tiger is educated to doctorate level.

His older brother, Vitali who recently relinquished his portion of the world heavyweight title, also holds a doctorate.

Vitali is a politician in the thick of events in Ukraine where he heads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party or UDAR; the acronym of which in Ukrainian stands for ‘strike’ or ‘punch’.

Far from being the uneducated, ‘punch drunk’ stereotypical boxer out of Palookaville, the brothers, erudite sons of an officer who rose to the rank of major general in the Soviet army, were beneficiaries of a middle class upbringing.

The sport of boxing has from the time of its origins at times provided a conduit through which rivalries between different nationalities and ethnicities have been played out.

But it has also served as a pulpit through which successful combatants have in times of crisis advocated nationalist causes and actively striven to create an awareness of the plight of their people.

For both Dick Tiger, nomme de guerre of Richard Ihetu, and Wladimir Klitschko, the celebrity and status which they acquired from being world champions have been useful tools in overarching campaigns which have drawn widespread sympathy.

Both situations; that of the Biafran and of the Ukrainian are firmly grounded on the thesis of being the underdog. Both make the case for a people being imperilled by a larger group.

In the case of Biafra, it was that of an alliance of rival groupings based on tribal allegiances aimed at frustrating the advance of a progressive and largely Christianized ethnic group.

This anti-Biafran coalition of forces allegedly had a strong jihadist component; it being the supposed resuscitation of the pre-colonial southward advance of the Sokoto Caliphate with its avowed objective of euphemistically ‘dipping’ the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean.

There was much to engender the world’s sympathy for the cause Dick Tiger sought to promote; namely the secession of the largely Igbo Eastern Region from the larger body of Nigeria.

In May and September of 1966, there had been pogroms directed against his people in the mainly Muslim Northern Region, and in July of that year an army mutiny saw members of the Igbo military bear the brunt not only of assassination and summary executions, but also to suffer barbarous forms of torture designed to inflict pain and humiliation before death.

So far as the Ukraine is concerned, the blame for the woes of that nation is firmly affixed on Russia and its tendency toward chauvinism. Be it through domination by the Russian empire in Tsarist times, the Soviet era of communism and now the post-Soviet era presided over by Vladimir Putin, the Ukrainian view as espoused by Wladimir Klitschko is that of a domineering and aggressive neighbour which does not countenance any move by Ukrainian’s in the direction of what he terms, “peace, freedom and democracy.”

The narrative holds that efforts made to achieve a genuine level of independence through the so-called ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004 and the ‘Euro Maiden’ protests which have led to the new interim government have been actively and perversely challenged by Russia.

These have included covert actions, the manipulation of elections, the leverage of economic blackmail and the recent annexation of Crimea.

At the heart of these Ukrainian aspirations is to become more Western; a line which was also taken in the Biafran case to the world. In each situation, the idea is that of a group of people wishing to emancipate themselves from what they perceive as essentially backward-thinking neighbours.

Each cause has felt the need to be supported by the West to be of vital importance, and as in the case of Biafra which directed its propaganda machinery towards the Western media, so it is with Ukraine.

As Wladimir Klitschko put it to the Daily Mail:

I was there in 2004 during the Orange Revolution and I learned then that our fight for freedom is impossible without support and aid from the West, so while my brother has been in Kiev all this time, working day and night for three months with barely any sleep, I have been talking in the West and obtaining influential supporters.

Support, he claims, has been garnered from the likes of former US president Bill Clinton, the actors George Clooney and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as the composer and producer Quincy Jones and Klaus Meine, the singer of the rock group, The Scorpions.

“Without (the support of the West), we would have been swallowed up by the East,” he added.

While Dick Tiger did not gain a commensurate level of high profile supporters, he was nonetheless instrumental in providing information and raising awareness of the plight of his people to sports journalists such as Robert Lipsyte and Dave Anderson of the New York Times and the New York Post’s Larry Merchant.

To Lipsyte he showed pictures of the charred remains of Biafran victims of Nigerian Air Force raids and it was Larry Merchant to whom he turned when after the capitulation of Biafra and stricken with cancer he wanted a neutral person to bear witness to Nigerian assurances that he would be allowed to return to his homeland unmolested.

A necessary and essential centrepiece of the efforts made by both fighters to get their point across is in the build up to and the actual defence of their titles.

For Dick Tiger, the build up to his world light heavyweight title defence against Bob Foster in May of 1968, was marked by a series of emotive interviews highlighted by those which he granted to the New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

On the night of the fight, he climbed into the ring with his robe emblazoned with the Biafra emblem and the national anthem of the rebel nation, words set to the music of ‘Finlandia’, Sibelius’ homage to Finnish resistance to Russian domination, was played.

But even after Tiger lost this particular battle in the ring, the propaganda war continued to be waged outside of Madison Square Garden. As the audience streamed out of the arena, they were greeted by volunteers from the Biafran Mission who gave them leaflets detailing the evidence they claimed of the genocide being perpetrated by the Nigerian armed forces.

The fight had been broadcast live in America and was seen by an international audience. It is precisely this sort of opportunity which Wladimir Klitschko is preparing to utilise when he fights Alex Leapai just four weeks before the scheduled presidential elections in May. As he told the Daily Mail:

This is not just another fight. It is my stage. I’m expecting the whole of Ukraine to want me to win for our country. More than 150 countries will tune in to watch the fight. I am working on a few plans to help my country in the build-up and on the night. Trust me; I can do a lot for Ukraine on the night of April 26.

Later, in a video widely circulated on youtube, he urged the Russian president, Vladimir Putin “not to repeat the mistakes of history”. It was an indictment of past Russian transgressions in invading countries within its sphere of influence; most notably those instigated during the Soviet era: the crushing of the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and the neutralising of the Czechoslovakian ‘Prague Spring’ in 1968.

But there is another side to the arguments proffered by both Biafran and Ukrainian nationalists which nestled sympathetically into the ears of the Western media and public.

One crucial point relates to the historical basis of the existence of their respective nations. The other challenges each nation’s asserted right to pursue a course totally independent of the larger entities within which they belonged.

Nationalism is a phenomenon which invariably to a great degree is reliant on invented histories, and this factor is present to a remarkable degree in regard to both Biafran and Ukrainian claims to nationhood.

The claim made by the Igbo secessionists was that they were a kindred people whose unity and claim to nationhood was predicated on an ancient kingdom of Biafra.

Yet, claims of the existence of such a realm are doubted by serious scholars. There are no records, archaeological or otherwise, which can confirm this.  There is no oral chronology of its kings and queens. No accounts of how it was formed or of its system of laws.

The supposition that its name is derived from a composite of the words ‘bia’; Igbo for ‘come’ and ‘Effriam’ or ‘’Ephraim’, the Hebrew patriarch, together supposedly meaning ‘coming from Effriam’, is a fanciful contrivance locked into the recent historical phenomenon of those wishing to promote the thesis of the Igbos been a lost tribe of Israel.

The word Biafra, which was derived from the ‘Bight of Biafra’, can trace its origins to the language of Portugal. The Portuguese were the first European explorers to chart the coast of West Africa.

The existence of a vast kingdom as postulated by Igbo nationalists is suggestive of a people with a unified and cohesive past. However, the realities underpinning the modes of organisation of Igbo-speaking communities in the period before colonial conquest, was anything but the case.

Igboland was composed of an aggregate of separate villages and hamlets, the inhabitants of who ploughed the land, crafted tools and ornaments, and traded. The aspect of trading took on a grim tone with the rise in the demand for African slaves by Europeans.

The supply of slaves was facilitated by Igbos dominated by the Aro community and their attendant cult of the ‘Long Juju’. By the end of the eighteenth century, an estimated yearly total of 20,000 slaves were being sold by Igbo rackets dotted around the eastern Niger delta. 

The reality behind the often trumpeted allusion to a unified Igbo people was that the facade of unity was facilitated through the conquest and colonisation of their communities by the British who incorporated them into the southern protectorate of a polity they named Nigeria.

The existence of an historical state of Ukraine arguably fails to stand up to scrutiny. The name Ukraine itself, meaning in Russian ‘the land on the edge’ is suggestive of a smaller geographical component of a larger corporate entity.

Kievan Rus, the Viking created, medieval era centre of a collection of eastern Slavic tribes, which is located in modern Ukraine is the acknowledged birthplace of what came to be known as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. However, it is a struggle to find any cartographical representation through the ages of a distinct and definable entity of a state of Ukraine.

What can be ascertained is that the area located on the Pontic step, that is, on the flatlands north of the Black Sea was subject over the ages to a series of occupations by different empires whose influence has shape and moulded what in modern times came to be conceptualised as a Ukrainian state.

That a dialect and culture bearing distinct divergences from its ancient Russian roots metamorphosed from these events cannot be denied. Starting with the Mongol invasion of the middle thirteenth century and continuing with overlord empires that extended from Polish, Hungarian and Austrian lands the division from Russia became in some ways pronounced and in others less pronounced.

However, the impetus for the actualising of a state of Ukraine arguably came from external sources. True, expressions of a Ukrainian entity as an autonomous body within the Austrian empire were the longings of some romantic poets and historians, but the actual idea of bringing the first Ukrainian modern state into being found its birth in the Imperial German High Command headed by Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff.

A central plank of German strategy during the First World War was Revolutionspolitik. This was a policy aimed at encouraging subversion and revolution in the vulnerable regions within the empires against which Germany was waging Welt Krieg.

A notable example of this was the facilitating of the bomb-proof sealed train which carried Lenin from Switzerland and across German territory. The intention was that the revolutionary would help foment chaos in Tsarist Russia and so give Germany an advantage in its war on the Eastern front.

The basis of creating a Ukrainian state was similarly rooted in the overriding plan to undermine the Russian Empire. The Germans scoured their prisoner of war camps for Tsarist troops whose birthplaces and dialects identified them as originating from the region from which they had earmarked to constitute the new state.

These POWs were given lessons in Ukrainian history, socialist doctrine and agronomy; useful for farming the land which they were promised would be confiscated from the large holding estates which would be broken up after the fall of the Russian Tsar.

The Germans financed the apparatus of propaganda among refugees from the area designated as Ukraine which included the publication of newspapers, pamphlets and books.

A Ukrainian Rada or council was created in Kiev under the auspices of the Germans in February of 1918. Thus a Ukrainian state was created for the first time as an ‘independent’ state which was a protectorate of the German and Austrians. The purpose of this state was to serve the material needs of the Central Powers who were suffering from the effects of an Anglo-American sea blockade.

The coal-rich Donets Basin was later added to the borders of the new nation again to service the needs of the German war effort and not by any popular will of the inhabitants.

This first incarnation of Ukraine did not last for long as the Bolsheviks and later the Poles carved up Ukraine into western and eastern parts until under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the Soviet Union extended its influence to the western part.

A second short-lived Ukrainian state would be declared in 1941 by nationalists including Stepan Bandera who along with his cohorts hoped for an alliance with the Nazi invaders who in accordance with national socialist philosophy ultimately aimed to make Ukraine into a German colony and turn its Slavic inhabitants into a slave class to serve the needs of Lebensraum or ‘Living Space’.

The other crucial aspect which impinged on the viability of carving a Biafran state out of Nigeria and one which similarly affects the idea of a Ukrainian state being totally divorced from Russian influence relates to the ethnic composition in both lands. There were geo-political realities which needed to be respected in the case of Biafra and which require the utmost attention in the case of formulating the basis of a viable Ukrainian entity.

Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu’s declaration of an independent republic of Biafra on May 30th 1967 may have borne the trappings of justification given the horrors visited upon the Igbo people.

However, the designated Biafran state whose borders equated to the Eastern region which encompassed a range of communities of non-Igbo ethnic groups who did not want to secede from the Nigerian federation did not make the decision one of unanimous consent. Indeed, the act of secession offended minority groups who were fearful of Igbo hegemony.

Furthermore, the fact that the region contained a large amount of Nigeria’s crude oil reserves meant that a shooting war over resources would be inevitable.

The reasons for wars are never always clear-cut in favour of any of the protagonists, and the Nigerian Civil War is no different in this matter. However, one crucial point stressed by Colonel Yakubu Gowon who assumed the mantle of head of state after a counter-coup instigated by Northern military officers in July of 1966 was that permitting a Biafran state would have led to the balkanisation of Nigeria.

The country would have been in serious danger of disintegrating into warring armed camps with each group being backed by competing foreign powers. This stance was vindicated by the backing Nigeria received from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). 

The steadfast policy of this body was that whatever the severe problems caused by European draughtsmen who during the 19th century ‘Scramble for Africa’ created a series of artificial states to suit their national interests, the breakup of these nation states was not to be countenanced.

In other words, the allowing of secession would only serve as a precedent for chaos and encourage latent separatist movements which the continent could ill afford.

Ukraine itself is a composite of different ethnic and linguistic groups which tend to be reduced to the western and eastern divide. The former were for lengthy spells under either Polish or German-Austrian influence and follow the Greek Orthodox Church, while the latter are Russian-speaking and Eastern Orthodox in denomination.

It is something of a misnomer to refer to ‘Russian-speaking’ since virtually all Ukrainians speak Russian as a first language. The Ukraine-born literary figure, Nikolai Gogol wrote his famous works in the Russian language and even an avowedly nationalist figure such as Yulia Tymoshenko admitted that she did not speak Ukrainian until well into her late 30s.

The overthrow of the Yanukovych government in February was greeted with alarm in the eastern part of the country when soon afterwards a proclamation was issued banning the Russian language in areas of the country. 

That Ukraine will not be able to survive governance by those with a rigid nationalist agenda became all too apparent by the secession of the Crimean region and the threatened secession of other parts of the east.

The viability of the state is clearly dependent on its relationship with Russia which has a legitimate interest in it for historical, cultural and geo-political reasons.

The ‘land on the edge’ with its flat surface that is bereft of natural defences has historically been the entry point of aggressive armies bent on destabilising Russia.

For instance, Crimea was attacked by France and Britain in the 19th century, while in the following century France seized the ports in the cities of Sevastopol and Odessa during the First World War. In the 1920s, Ukraine became a battleground between the Polish nationalist regime of Marshall Pilsudski and the Bolsheviks.

Two decades later, it would also serve as an entry point for the German Wehrmacht after the launch of Fall Barbarossa and would be the staging post for furious battles between Soviet defenders and Nazi forces that included fanatical divisions of the Waffen-SS.

The measures taken by the European Union that are aimed at ensnaring the Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit of influence as well as the efforts undertaken by United States agencies in sponsoring the so-called Orange Revolution, and evidently, the recent ‘Euro Maidan’ protests together form an updated form of utilising Ukraine as a means of weakening the Russian state.

And so it stands to reason that Russia was not going to sit back until NATO established military bases and American nuclear warhead missile defence shields became deployed on a territory right next to theirs.

Wladimir Klitschko’s warning to President Putin about the need to avoid making the “mistakes of the past” bears thinking about.  But the thrust of such examination cannot only be focused on what are perceived as Russian mistakes, but also on Ukrainian blunders.

What lessons are there from history in regard to the expressions of Ukrainian nationalism?

The answer reveals a troubling and unappealing array of issues including a recurrent xenophobic sentiment as well as a tendency for the country and its people to be injured by foreign manipulations that have resulted from schemes encouraged by its nationalist activists.

A common thread running between the two short-lived Ukrainian states respectively in the early and middle parts of the 20th century were the vicious pogroms executed against Jewish communities by followers respectively of Symon Petliura and then Stepan Bandera. 

It cannot have escaped the attention of the Klitschko brothers that the interim government installed after the overthrow of the legitimately elected government of Viktor Yanukovych is composed of members of the Right-wing extremist parties Svoboda and Pravy Sektor who are the ideological heirs of Bandera.

The leaders and followers of these parties are prone to making not only anti-Semitic, but Russophobic and anti-Polish comments and gestures. For instance, the leader of Svoboda is on record as having called for Ukraine to be liberated from what he terms the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.”

They resent what is seen as centuries long domination by Russia and maintain land claims against Poland. The catastrophic famine which consumed millions of Ukrainian lives during the 1930s known as the Holodomor, they view as a deliberate policy engineered by the Bolsheviks in Russia; with blame also apportioned to Jews for having formed a significant proportion of the Bolshevik elite.  The figure of Lazar Kaganovich, a Jew, is identified as the overseer of a diabolical plan by Stalin to destroy Ukrainian nationalism.

The true face of Maidan was not the beautiful young Ukrainian woman featured in a youtube video gone viral who dreamed of a future equating to Wladimir Klitschko’s hopes for “peace, freedom and democracy”; it was the balaclava-wearing fascist thug armed with a gun, a knife or a Molotov cocktail.

They had been detailed to serve as protectors of a hardcore of protesters -culled from the ranks of the unemployed and paid a stipend- who had been bussed into Maidan Square from parts of western Ukraine.

The number of portraits on display at the square during the protests which were dedicated to Stepan Bandera confirms him as serving as a sort of spiritus rector for these neo-Nazi enforcers.

The other warning from the past concerns the use by foreign powers of Ukrainian nationalists for their ends.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Bandera felt that he could forge an alliance with Nazi Germany as head of an independent Ukrainian state. If he was properly acquainted with the ideology laid out by Adolf Hitler in ‘Mein Kampf’, he would have been aware of Hitler’s dreams of Lebensraum in the eastern Slavic lands key among which would be the Ukraine which would serve as the ‘breadbasket’ of an envisaged German empire. As a Slavic people, the Ukrainians were designated as untermenschen; that is, sub-human under national socialist doctrine.

Unsurprisingly, the Nazis refused an accommodation.

Twenty-three years earlier, the creation of the Rada-led Ukrainian state by the efforts of the German High Command had been geared towards simultaneously weakening the Russian empire and meeting German needs.

The Germans effectively used the Rada as a tool to loot Ukraine in order to satisfy a shopping list which consisted of a million tons of grain, 400 million eggs and 50,000 tons of beef. There were also demands made for the supply of coal and manganese.

An analogy can be made today regarding the interest of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the United States-NATO in Ukraine.

There has been a great deal of evidence gathered over the past two decades that an overarching goal of the United States has been to contain and destroy the military capacity as well as the political and economic influence of what remained of the old Soviet Union.

In this regard, an understanding of the plan formulated by the influential US foreign policy thinker, Zbigniew Brzezinzki is essential.

These efforts have seen a missile defence shield program being implemented in nations bordering Russia as well as sponsored agitations including the financing through front organisations of the Orange Revolution and the Maidan protests.

In early February, wiretaps of Victoria Nuland, the US state department official, record her essentially picking the individuals who would later form the government which would succeed the one led by the soon-to-be-overthrown Yanukovych.

A serious argument can be made that the interim government and any succeeding pro-Western administration will like the Rada of the early 20th century be utilised as foreign instruments –effectively puppets- who will be tasked to oversee an economic assistance package which will be tilted in favour of Western interests.

The role of an IMF funded bail out would inevitably lead to asset stripping ventures and foreign speculators buying out Ukraine’s industry and natural resources – much of which is concentrated in the Russian dominated regions in the east. The appointment of members of the Ukrainian oligarchy to positions of power notably in the eastern region, somewhat mirrors that of the composition of the Rada which was made up of figures from the property owning classes and the petty bourgeoisie.

One great lesson that ought to be learned from past mistakes in European history concerns that of entrusting the governance of a country to extremist figures. The Nazis who were allowed to form a coalition government in early 1930s Germany supplanted those who felt that they could be controlled and manipulated while in power.

The presence of groups designated ad ‘fascist’ and ‘neo-Nazi’ within the Ukrainian interim government is an altogether disturbing development and does not portend well for the future direction of the country.

The enterprise of Biafra supported by Dick Tiger ended in disaster because the leaders of his people failed to acknowledge the historical legacies and the contemporary realities which informed the capacity of the Igbo people to create and sustain a viable nation state.

They failed to arrest the perception that they were seeking to impose a form of tribal hegemony over other groups after the first army mutiny, led largely by middle-ranking officers of Igbo descent contrived a casualty list of politicians and senior military officers which was composed of victims drawn from the Northern and Western regions.

The assertion of a fundamentally anti-Christian strategy by the rest of Nigeria later touted by the Biafran propaganda apparatus did not measure up since many of the rank and file soldiers who staged the reprisal coup were Christians from the Middle Belt of the country and the man who emerge as the new head of state, Yakubu Gowon, was himself a devout Christian.

It was a war the Biafrans fought without any overarching philosophic idea which could have fostered alliances with other groups in Nigeria. It was also a war for which they were woefully ill-prepared and which they would go on to fight with limited means.

It was a war which sapped the spiritual energy and the finances of Dick Tiger who before he died would acknowledge that he had felt used.

At the height of the war in 1968 while been interviewed in the fatigues of a Biafran army Lieutenant, he had ruefully told the New York Time’s Lloyd Garrison that it was a war which the world did not understand and a war which the world did not care of:

I know that this is a forgotten war as far as the world is concerned. Nobody really cares about Africa. Nobody in America understands.

His final gesture before the collapse of Biafra was to return the MBE medal which had been bestowed to him in 1963 to the British embassy in Washington as a protest against the British government’s material and moral support of the “genocidal war against the people of Biafra.”

The situation in Ukraine for which Wladimir Klitschko hopes through his fights to serve as a symbol of national unity, is one which could degenerate into a civil war and even worse, to a Third World War.

His proclamation that “nobody should determine our future except ourselves” is, granted, an incontestable one. But it is also one which as history shows should be exercised with an appropriate level of prudence and political maturity.

These are qualities which appear to be lacking among the corruption ridden Ukrainian political class. It is a nation, which bereft of a lengthy period of self governance, should focus on building a national consensus and a proper political culture among its different ethnic and linguistic populations.

They need to create a national identity within which its political, economic and cultural interests can be accommodated within an arrangement which straddles both Western and Russian interests.

It would be an understanding which would likely bear the hallmarks of ‘Finlandization’, that is, an active form of neutrality that bars entry into the EU and NATO.

And to assuage the fears of the eastern provinces, it may need to embark on a process of constitutional reformation with the end of achieving a con-federal like system such as is practised by the Swiss.

But, importantly, such a framework must be effective in isolating, diminishing or, as best as can be hoped, eradicating from its political mainstream, those parties and politicians who feed on a platform based on Russophobia, anti-Semitism and ultra-nationalist sentiment.

It must be a framework which involves a grassroots originated settlement and not the sort which has typically been imposed from the top by people acting on the instructions of foreign powers.

It is the sort of transformative process; non-partisan, apolitical and shorn of the historically negative connotations of Ukrainian nationalism to which Wladimir Klitschko could lend his enormous prestige.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2014)

Adeyinka Makinde is a lecturer in law with research interests in intelligence and security issues as well as in the sport and culture of boxing. He is the author of Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal and Jersey Boy: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula

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