In this context various public organizations launched an active campaign in Ukraine to support its movement towards NATO. The national TV channels broadcast video clips and movies agitating for the membership in the Alliance, a national campaign under slogan “NATO-YES!” was conducted in all cities. The Minister of Education issued an order to devote the first day of the school or academic year in all schools and educational institutions to explanation of NATO values and importance of Ukrainian membership in this Alliance. The NATO Secretary General and his colleagues evidently liked it.
But did the Brussels team appraise fulfillment of other provisions of the plan – the human rights situation, reforms of law enforcement system, judicial and fiscal systems, security service, internal troops and border guards, as well as results of combating against corruption? The success in these spheres is not so apparent in Ukraine, and the NATO team did not like it so much.
The Ukrainian authorities reported to the high-ranking guests from Brussels on “new achievements” in cooperation with the Alliance – signing of the MOU on Ukraine’s participation in NATO’s Air Situation Data Exchange (ASDE) programme, and readiness of Ukraine to take part in establishment of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force (the mission of the 12,000-strong force will be to rapidly interfere into resolution of various conflicts the world over).
The Ukrainian President is in a hurry: it is not so much time left until December. And here he faces a new problem. If earlier the MAP opponents referred in general to “the lack of public support among a majority of Ukrainians to the membership in NATO”, now they primarily speak about “a threat of exacerbation of the internal political situation in the country”. For example, today Germany is more concerned over the aggravating conflict between the Ukrainian political elites because the confrontation between the President and Prime Minister has already passed into an active phase and escalates day by day.
During his visit to Kiev NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made all his best to support President Yuschenko and his policy of integration into NATO. “Membership in NATO will strengthen the sovereignty of Ukraine,” the Secretary General emphasized at a final press-conference. According to him, Ukraine is a sovereign state, which is competent enough to take any decision on membership in the Alliance. And it is no need to listen to the northern neighbor.
He also pointed out that Ukraine successfully moves on the way of democracy development, and the Ukrainian people should themselves take decisions on their national policy. In so doing, he rather originally judged the wave of mass rallies against rapprochement with the Alliance that propagated across entire Ukraine during the NATO visit to Kiev. In his opinion, these rallies “are an indicator of democracy” in Ukraine. “When I see such demonstrations, I believe that it is democracy in action,” the Secretary General said.
It is hardly possible to make more cynical appraisal of the public opinion about the destiny of the nation, for such appraisal directly approves the steps of the Ukrainian authorities ignoring the opinion of a majority of the population, in this particular case, the opinion on membership in NATO. It is well-known that President Yuschenko denied the demand of the oppositional Party of Regions to conduct a referendum on membership of Ukraine in NATO, and take any decision only based on the results of this referendum. So, both Yuschenko and NATO leaders absolutely do not care of the Ukrainian people and their opinion. For the Secretary General it is important that it is done “democratically”.
But the key mission of the NATO Secretary General and President Yuschenko in this story is to fulfill the decision of the American Senate to draw the Slavic state into the Alliance as soon as possible and make it a new link in the chain of territories surrounding Russia for deployment of Alliance infrastructure as it already takes place in the Baltic countries, Poland, Bulgaria, Rumania and Czechia.