According to the Russian President’s estimates, the events in Ukraine “don’t look like a revolution, but rather like pogrom” and had been prepared for the upcoming presidential elections in this country in 2015. This is a domestic political process, an attempt of the opposition to destabilize the incumbent legitimate authorities in the country, Vladimir Putin stressed. In the media expert’s opinions on the events in Ukraine have been divided
A political scientist Sergei Nebrenchin and an expert Fyodor Pashin are answering our questions.
How can you assess the situation surrounding Ukraine?
Sergei Nebrenchin: Ukraine is a ‘key country’ in the post-Soviet space. Only in alliance with Russia it can recover its lost positions in Eurasia and in the world, to get a stable and progressive development. Meanwhile, after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine powered from outside is used to deter the process of Russia’s revival. The known principle of geo Atlantic strategy is being implemented – ‘divide and rule’. Ukraine and Russia are opposed to each other; discord is being stirred up between the brotherly peoples. A similar scenario was implemented during the cold war between the two parts of the divided Germany - East and West Germany, or today in the Republic of Korea and the DPRK.
That is why the present-day events are of course inspired by and directed from abroad. The active opposition forces core is composed of trained fighters. There is evidence of political tutelage over the ‘revolutionary’ events on the part of the leading Western countries, of financial aid; the information support in the international media and the Internet is evidently stage-managed. What is most interesting is that, despite the balanced and restrained position of official Moscow, a significant role in destabilizing the situation in Kiev is still played by interested forces from Russia. Those people who serve the foreign countries’ interests in the political, economic, informational and cultural spheres are not in short supply in both our countries.
Fyodor Pashin: However, one cannot but agree that in Ukraine there is fertile ground for the rise of protest moods. Firstly, the sheer fact of an active outside interference in the internal affairs of the state is a source of permanent political crisis. Secondly, the president Viktor Yanukovych’s pre-election (pro-Russian in large measure) promises actual retraction, has led to the fact that while remaining ‘enemy’ to the voters of western Ukraine, he ceases to be ‘friendly’ in the south-eastern regions of the country. As a matter of fact, initially, his presidential legitimacy was vulnerable, because Ukraine currently lives under the constitution, of which the version operates exclusively by the CC’s decision, while changing the basic law is the prerogative of Parliament. Now, when the sitting president, within the meaning of the influence agents and their Western bosses, has ‘come untied’ and ran out of control, the question of his legitimacy is once again put on the agenda as an argument to remove the current government.
Thirdly, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that within Ukraine there are growing contradictions between the western and south-eastern parts of the country which is also stirred up by interested international forces. The state is by leaps and bounds sinking into a new crisis, experiencing serious financial difficulties; the socio-economic situation of the population has worsened markedly. Possible takeover of power in Kiev by the opposition spokesmen on the economic plane will inevitably plunge the country back to the times worse than it was under the rule of pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko.
At these days at Kiev’s Maidan, along with pro-Western, European integration slogans there are anti-Russian ones. How can this be explained?
Sergei Nebrenchin: This just confirms the thesis that the interested forces deliberately contradict Ukraine and Russia against each other, and most importantly, the two fraternal peoples. Anti-Russian rhetoric is a key element for ensuring Ukraine’s ‘independence’, the powers’ pro-Western forces survival, support from outside. The current story with Ukraine’s accession to the associate EU membership is used by our ill-wishers to force a new round of anti-Russian moods. Interestingly enough that in this campaign a significant role was played by the leading Russian media, which surprisingly zealously began to advocate for the Ukrainians accession to the CU and to ‘dissuade’ from participating in European integration. Such brazen interference in the neighboring state’s internal affairs could not but cause a reverse reaction, all the more so as in the past more than 20 years since the collapse of the USSR, the Russian media with all their force have worked against the integration of Russia and Ukraine.
The Russian president, who strongly condemned the ‘revolutionary’ events in Kiev, was accused of trying to dominate the international relations...
Sergei Nebrenchin: No, if anything. Since recently, the Russian president is actively opposed to the pro-Western forces in the Russian political establishment. Therefore it is logical that he spoke negatively about the situation in the neighboring fraternal country. However, it can be understood. There is more to it than that without Ukraine the process of integration within the CU will be slowed. Like no other he is well aware that European integration will not only complicate cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, but will also lead to a deterioration of relations with the EU and other European countries. Today it is obvious that the accession to the EU will not improve the lives of ordinary Ukrainians but rather will create additional difficulties, trigger disintegration processes in the country. In this situation, Russia can hardly be out of possible hardship of its neighbors and will have to respond appropriately.
Fyodor Pashin: As is known, Vladimir Putin has already expressed concerns about the ‘export of revolutions’ to other countries. Russia, which in 2011-2012 encountered sufficiently strong protests organized by the liberal opposition, does not want the ‘revolutionary’ unrest in Ukraine to adversely affect the course of events in Russia. Against the background of the growing crisis phenomena in the world, the growth of protest actions, the general deterioration of the international situation, Russia proceeds from the assumption that the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine threatens Russia’s national security. Of prime importance is to bear in mind that today there are estimates and projections, according to which we should expect further growth of disintegration processes in the neighboring country, up to the withdrawal of certain territories under the jurisdiction of Kiev.
How serious are these threats?
Sergei Nebrenchin: This is entirely possible, as Ukraine, unlike Russia, has no proper historical safety factor of its statehood. The Western Ukraine gravitates toward Europe, albeit is concerned about Poland, the South Eastern - toward Russia. In the case of Ukraine collapse the status of certain areas, in particular, Crimea may be controversial. Territorial claims will be filed both by Romania, and Poland and Turkey. It should be borne in mind that for the EU too, the 45 million-strong Ukraine in its present composition is not very attractive. Brussels clearly unwishes Ukraine’s full integration with the EU and initially intended to lengthen the process for many years, with the aim of first de-industrializing the Ukrainian economy, destroying agriculture. Moreover, the ‘independent’ Ukraine has always been needed to the West, primarily to restore the ‘sanitary cordon’ around Russia with Warsaw’s dominant role within the Eastern Partnership.
Fyodor Pashin: Unwinding of the current Ukrainian crisis in the world’s media and the Internet, as well as the active participation of some Russian news structures in fomenting panic and hysteria in the Ukrainian society give also other ideas to experts. There are assumptions about a possible scenario of a controlled Ukraine’s collapse, rejection of the western territories under the Poland protectorate, the Crimea under that of Turkey. With such a scenario, in the eastern regions even the formation of a Russian state is possible. However, as is predicted by the Internet, such a formation is likely to be controlled from outside and will be used to promote disintegration processes in Russia. In the West, there are a lot of interested forces willing to endorse Russian nationalists in their effort to revive the Russian state, even within the Russian Federation.
It is apparently not by accident that today in Ukraine the nationalist card is actively played, it is staked on Ukrainian nationalists, which inevitably leads to setting off the population of western and eastern regions of the country. The Ukrainian Nationalists activity is a good example for Russian nationalists of how to come to power. However, there is no doubt that in the case of execution of the project, the nationalists of any color will be again pushed to the margins of politics, if not exposed to direct persecution, as it has been many times in history. Representatives of the world’s establishment are at bottom blatant nationalists themselves and even racist, and therefore can not bear the presence of any other nationally-oriented forces and viewpoints. In the first years of the USSR the Bolsheviks stamped out the ‘nationalism head’.
Will the sitting president of Ukraine be able to resolve the crisis?
Sergei Nebrenchin: As the well-known publicist Stanislav Belkovsky writes in MK, the historic mechanism of V.F.’s (Yanukovych – ed. comment) removal from power has made a move. It is difficult to quarrel with this statement. Victor Fedorovich naively believed that he, following the example of Kuchma, will ‘suck two mothers as a friendly calf’. He did not understand that times are changing. Today the U.S. and the Western Europe ‘have time only for themselves’ and in Russia, President Putin, becoming disagreeable to the West, has attended to national interests, issues of national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
Fyodor Pashin: The Ukrainian President is unlikely to be able to come out of the crisis with honour. The confidence in him is lost in large measure. There are already first turncoats. It is clear that the oligarchs escape, those who in his entourage worked against him. Confusion and hesitation of security officials. Today he is needed neither to the West nor to the East. Moscow already stakes on other people who will not renounce the promises and agreements. But most importantly, Viktor Yanukovych loses the support of people who in due time helped him win the presidential election of pro-Western opponents. It remains only one thing - to pass from ‘mova’ (Ukrainian language) to the Russian language, leave for the East, it is easier to maintain power there, and mark the time till things go better.
Are there any prospects for revival of Russian-Ukrainian relations?
Sergei Nebrenchin: Certainly, there are, while the Little Russians and Great Russians are alive in Russia and Ukraine. Lady History is witness of this. The East and West Germany eventually united. Sooner or later North and South Korea will reunite. However, the question of reunification and rebirth of Russian Slavic trinity largely depends on Russia. Until there is not any proper work on uniting the fraternal peoples around Russia, but quite the contrary, their departure from the Russian sphere of influence is stirred up, the prospects do not seem optimistic. Also there are grave doubts about an unprecedented influx of migrants to Russia.
Therefore, for the common people, as the saying goes ‘honey is sweet, but the bee stings...’ Hence the sentiments are in favor of Europe, although most people are aware that it is a hard time there too. In general, Ukraine is trying to escape from itself, its roots, history and traditions.
Fyodor Pashin: At the present time, the union construction topic gains currency. Intensification of work on the early establishment of the Belarusian Union State allows Russia not only to solve integration problems. The Belarusian-Russian union provides good opportunities for personnel revolution in the union state, which will significantly help to defeat corruption, reduce the level of outside influence, to join efforts in promoting the interests of the international arena, to drastically reduce the mass migration. Such a union state can be an attractive subject for other CIS countries and, above all, Ukraine. In any case, it is hoped that the Ukrainian crisis will not pass without leaving a trace. Its successful overcoming will allow our ancestors’ great prophecy to come true: “the Slavic rivers will flow together into a common Russian-Slavic sea” to nations’ joy, to enemies’ envy.