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LOOKING AHEAD

April 20, 2007 (the date of publication in Russian)

Alexander Eliseev

A GIVE-AWAY GAME

Ukraine's disintegration: a new scenario, designed by "Washington's Politburo"

INTEGRITY UNDER QUESTION

A new political crisis, shaking Russia's closest East Slavonic neighbor, has repeatedly elevated the issue of Ukraine's unity to the political foreground. The possibility of a looming or potential disintegration is again vividly discussed. It is noteworthy that the possible split of the country will not necessary become a de jure partition, through establishing two or more sovereign statehoods. A de facto partition, under the guise of federalization, is more probable.

As a matter of fact, federalization of Ukraine would essentially mean a split. In the process of the current political crisis, the "blue" regions, constituting the base of support for Victor Yanukovich's government, are likely to build up a coalition of territories, opposed to Yushchenko-sympathizing "orange" regions. Imagine Russia of 1990s, with two thirds of the regions and three fourths of the population in a strong opposition to Kremlin; imagine that this opposition also possesses a strong party hierarchy, like that of Ukraine's Party of Regions.

In the history of the post-Soviet Russia, such a situation was possible not in 1995, the time of the highest popularity of the Communist Party, but rather in 1999, when a powerful faction of political and economic establishment, loyal to the duo of such influential figures as Yury Luzhkov and Yevgeny Primakov, established the Otechestvo-All Russia political party, involving leaders of most economically self-sufficient regions. At that time, the option of Russia's confederalization was on the table.

It is obvious that Ukraine's self-identified "regionalists", headed by Victor Yanukovich, are not interested in their country's disintegration. These very cautious nomenclature players well realize that their control over management and property is possible only in the conditions of political stability.

Most probably, this fact is understood also by President Victor Yushchenko. Despite his reputation of the revolutionary leader of the 2004 "Maidan" revolt, the earlier Prime Minister and the former chair of Ukraine's National Bank also prefers gradual changes and cautious maneuvers. He would hardly initiate a new crisis without a strong pressure from outside.

Yushchenko's dependence from the United States is routinely associated with the influence of his spouse Kateryna Chumachenko, a former official of the US Department of State. Observers emphasize that Chumachenko mostly relies upon her connections in the US Democratic Party: "In 2005, Clinton Foundation dispatched a group of experts to Kiev, for the purpose of "envisaging recommendations for improvement of work of the President's Secretariat". The key figures of this group, according to Andrey Vajra's paper "The Orange Golem", were John Podesta, former head of the White House's staff under Bill Clinton, Michael McCurry, former press secretary of the White House, and Melanie Verveer, ex-assistant of Bill Clinton and later Hillary Clinton's chief of staff. The shower of resignations and criminal investigations, ensuing after the "orange victory" and compared by Kiev's analysts with the Catherine tornado (a reference to Chumachenko's first name), is attributed to the influence of this team of consultants. In this way, the "silent Americans" have managed to establish efficient control of the offices of the President's Secretariat, the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other key government institutions. Still, it is noteworthy that all of these persons are connected with the US Democratic Party and not with the incumbent Republican White House" (see: Alexander Maslov, Hurricane Katrina over Ukraine, Zavtra weekly, May 24, 2006).

Meanwhile, Yulia Timoshenko, who is not trying to radicalize the conflict with all possible means, is most obviously backed by the US Republican camp. Not accidentally, she enjoyed public support from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice already a year ago.

The increasing confrontation, in which Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and Timoshenko's BYUT party, still unable to unify, obviously coordinate their pressure upon the Supreme Rada and the Government, suggests that both US parties share a common agenda, using every pretext for support of those forces of Ukraine which are US-dependent or potentially pro-American. This joint effort remarkably coincides with an increased activity of "orange" forces in Russia, launching one "Dissenters' March" after another.

Under these conditions, Yanukovich's "regionalists" are forced to undertake measures of response, getting more and more involved into confrontations. The stronger it will become, the higher is the possibility that the Party of Regions and the relevant factions of the business community will raise the banner of federalization, resuming their affront during the "Orange Revolution".

 

THE CHAOS AT THE BORDERS

What are we going to expect from the possible split? Is it strategically expedient for Russia? In some patriotic circles of the Moscow establishment, the collapse of Ukraine's integrity is anticipated with hope. Euphoric expectations are based on the assumption that this split would enable Russia to win back "what was lost in 1991" – primarily, Crimea and the industrial East of Ukraine (some also include Kiev, as "the mother of Russian cities"), while the West would stay alone with its cult of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

However, the political reality of today's Ukraine does not correspond with those romantic views. Kiev, as well as the central regions of Ukraine, mostly voted in favor of Yulia Timoshenko's party in the 2006 elections to the Supreme Rada (while the westernmost "Zapadenschina" preferred Yushchenko). Therefore, the romantic will have to forget about Kiev, at least for a while.

Still, the borders along which Ukraine is about to divide, is not the most serious problem. Undoubtedly, the first effect of disintegration will be chaos near the practically transparent borderline of Russia and Ukraine. A war of everyone against everyone – that is the realistic prospect of a possible collapse of Ukraine's statehood.

The impression of East Ukraine's solidarity in the hate towards the "orange" political forces is not correct. Again, look at the results of the past elections. While Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions strongly supported the Party of Regions, 21% of the voters of Kharkiv, the second largest city of Ukraine, voted for BYUT and Our Ukraine; the same is true about 17% voters of Zaporozhie Region. It is noteworthy that at the last congress of her party, Yulia Timoshenko formulated the task of "conquering the East": "I believe that the new (extraordinary) elections will enable us to boost our popularity in the eastern regions, and unify the opposition to the Government across the whole of Ukraine". At the same time, Timoshenko's party intensified its nationalist rhetoric in the westernmost regions, obviously intending to overtake the traditional electorate of Victor Yushchenko as well.

Therefore, we should not soothe ourselves with illusions. The split is likely to happen in most of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia will get involved into the conflict, regardless from the intentions of its ruling circles. A lot of Russians are likely to provide support to their relatives and friends in Eastern Ukraine if they ask for help.

The chaos, emerging from confrontation, will most seriously affect Russia's oil and gas transit. One can just imagine the collapse of Russia's "stock" in the EU. Certainly, Russia has got other markets and other routes of transit; it is equally true that one-sided "fuel orientation" is unfavorable for Russia's economy. Still, abrupt changes in this sphere are not expedient – as well as a prospect of achieving a "new Balkans" in the closest neighborhood.

The whole development of the Ukrainian political crisis, and particularly, the behavior of President Yushchenko, who agrees to act against the interests of his own party, indicates that the present destabilization, with an imminent potential of a territorial split, is expedient for "Comrade Wolf" from Washington’s "Politburo of Democracy". The motives behind this interest are quite transparent: the major purpose is to generate as many contradictions between Russia and the European Union as possible.

 

ONE PROBLEM OF THE TWO UKRAINES

Now, imagine that the split of Ukraine is still accomplished without serious internal clashes and civil warfare, or with an eruption which is efficiently calmed down. We'll achieve a hostile territory, separating the "convenient" Eastern Ukraine from a number of East European countries, closely associated with Russia with economic and trade agreements. Again, Russia is going to face a serious problem. This hostile territory will be efficiently used against Russia's interests, like West Berlin's territory in the times of the GDR. In the context of speculations over a "new Cold War", such parallels are adequate.

In the aftermath of World War II, the Soviet leadership was aware that the division of Germany is not favorable for Russia. The proposals to establish a unified neutral German statehood was seriously discussed in Moscow. Lavrenty Beria, Minister of Interior Affairs and Security, was convinced that a Communist Eastern Germany would eventually become a troublesome burden for the USSR. The artificial confrontation of the two parts of the German nation, with a physical wall across Berlin, did not contribute to the authority of the Soviet Union in the German population generally. The positive development of Russian-German relations, on the level of both governments and peoples, started from the collapse of the Wall.

In case Ukraine is separated in a similar fashion, the Ukrainian people will blame Russia, not the West, for the split of their nation. The separation of Galicia would eventually arouse compassion with the "alienated Western brothers" in the East of Ukraine, even in case this prospect seems today completely fantastic.

The emergence of a Russia-hostile independent state of Western Ukraine corresponds with the sweetest dreams of Washington's "Politburo of Democracy". An alienated Western Ukraine would eagerly join a new artificially constructed Rzecz Pospolita, centered in Warsaw. The losses, caused by separation from the industrial base of Eastern Ukraine (who knows in what condition this industry will find itself after a civil conflict?), will be eagerly compensated from outside. The patrons from the other side of the Atlantic would much easily afford assistance to a relatively small Western Ukrainian state, and control distribution of this aid than the present inefficient financial inflows into the Kiev bureaucracy. Generally, one third of Ukraine, as an independent entity, would be a much more manageable and convenient instrument of influence than Ukraine as a whole.

 

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

Thus, a split of Ukraine would bring nothing but trouble to Russia's interests, as well as to the population of the border regions. Therefore, Russia should undertake all possible efforts to prevent such an outcome. Generally, Russia could make a very strong political move by expressing official support of Ukraine's integrity. Today, we should express firm commitment of keeping Ukraine together. At the same time, the obvious fact that the split of Ukraine is most expedient for the United States, should be made clear to Ukraine's population.

Only this approach would generate a strong and genuine pro-Russian movement in Ukraine. This movement would eventually attract also the decent Ukrainian nationalists, once they realize that the globalistic forces, operating in Ukraine, only imitate cordial concern of Ukraine's statehood, and practically parasitically exploit the existing anti-Russian, essentially anti-Communist sentiment for their own geopolitical purposes. We should help them to realize that in the framework of these utmost cynical global games, Ukraine is viewed as one of the many instruments of pressure and subversion; that Washington's "Politburo of Democracy" actually imposes a stronger control upon those "instrumental" states than the self-ruined CPSU; that this control, as opposed to the Moscow domination, does not suggest any development of Ukraine's real economy and therefore, the permanent sources of well-being for the Ukrainian people.

The present tensions between the United States and the European Union, in their turn, would not help Western Ukraine to guarantee any stable investment climate. Moreover, "Washington's Politburo", closely associated with the US corporate players, is essentially uninterested in a competitive economy of the supposed Western Ukrainian state, as the more financially desperate this statehood would be, the cheaper its economic facilities will be purchased by the relevant players.

In order to convey this simple truth to the Ukrainians of the West and the East, to Russian-speakers and Ukrainian-speakers, to Orthodox and Catholic believers, one needs efficient diplomacy. Unfortunately, Russia's diplomatic work in Ukraine, our closest geographic and cultural neighbor, is presently dysfunctional – unlike the well-experienced agency of Washington's influence, keen in manipulating liberal and conservative, monarchist and outright fascist movements in East European states. It seems that Russia's foreign policy has accumulated the worst of the Soviet tradition, just replacing the dogmatic Marxist propaganda, spread even among African primordial tribes, with a commercial "pipeline ideology", which only spawns disappointment in Russia in the population of the "pipeline allies".

In Russian patriotic circles, inefficiency of "pipeline ideology" is well understood; still, the approach towards Russian-Ukrainian relations is often too superficial, disregarding the necessity of "public diplomacy" on all the levels.

While Yulia Timoshenko dreams of an ideological overtake of Eastern Ukraine, we should envisage ideological integration of Ukraine's intellectual community, including the decent nationalist thinking for which integrity of the nation is the highest priority. This is possible only in case we protect the whole of this unhappy nation from the enemies of both Russian and Ukrainian statehood, culture, and identity.


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