Ukraine: Is there a political force able to undo the division?

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council. Almost like a European saint... (The Council of the European Union photographic library, 17/3/2014).

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Press conference after the Foreign Affairs Council. Almost like a European saint… (The Council of the European Union photographic library, 17/3/2014).

Last Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council condemned the illegal referendum in Crimea and took restrictive measures against 21 Russian and Crimean politicians and military officers. Also on Monday, probably without understanding what they were doing, the 28 European Foreign Ministers had the unfortunate idea to discuss during the same meeting the present state of complete destruction, political, social, economic and in every other respect, that the West inflicted on Bosnia and Herzegovina by causing the Yugoslav civil wars and then taking sides in them.

The German factor

Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1992 and the architect of the complete destruction of Yugoslavia and of course of Bosnia-Herzegovina had the courage to recognize his error and duly apologized for the destruction, the thousands deaths and the atrocities he caused. After the fall of the communist bloc in Europe, the dissolution of Yugoslavia  was probably an unavoidable development. However, the direct interference of Germany and later on of the entire West including the US, turned this dissolution into an inferno. The parallel with what happens now in Ukraine is evident.

Coming back to today’s developments in Ukraine, with the secession of Crimea and its imminent annexation in Russia, an impartial observer of goodwill has to pray for this to be the end of the destruction of this large country in the heart of Europe. This is not very probable though. Judging from the kind of forces in action there, the least that can be said is that none of them has democratic legitimacy.

Between east and west

Russia is threatening with straightforward military action in the eastern provinces of Ukraine, if ‘its children’ will be threatened by the ‘fascists’ of Kiev. By the same token, the interim President and government in Kiev, appointed in their functions by the ‘regiments’ of Maidan (Central Square), provoke the Russian speaking populations in Donetsk and Kharkiv, by arresting local pro-Russian leaders. In this way, the Kiev authorities are acting in those areas, as if they want to push the confrontation between the pro-Russian and the pro-Kiev parts of the population to its limits. The truth is that in all the provinces of Ukraine, there is now a dangerous and growing division between pro-Russian and pro-Western parts of the population.

Everybody agrees that this division may soon develop into an internal civil war, with the two sides clearly controlled from outside the country. In reality though, this division was rather forcefully created by the operatives of foreign powers, looking to have a share in Ukraine. The armed ‘militias’ which today patrol the streets of Kiev and some western cities like conquerors, have nothing to do with the authentic outburst and the protests of the people of Ukraine.

Corrupted political elite

Who remembers now, how the last authentic uprising started last November, when the hundreds of thousands of people of Kiev rallied against the deeply corrupt, completely inefficient and caring only for their clan politico-economic establishment of Yanukovych? The people of Ukraine have proved that they can revolt as they did in the ‘Orange revolution’, chasing away the corrupt and autocratic Kuchma regime. Unfortunately, the entire political elite of the country, including the heroes of the Orange Revolution, behaved as feudal lords just enriching themselves and creating their own circle of business oligarchs.

Today, the politicians who pull the strings in Kiev, come directly from these quarters. Both the interim President and the Prime Minister are close aides to Yulia Tymoshenko, the ‘gas Princess’. She made her fortune while Prime Minister (2007–2010), by signing the country’s gas supply deal with the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom. Apparently this deal had the blessing of Putin and it is well know that she had a long tête-à-tête meeting with the Russian ‘Tsar’, before this deal was signed. Today she ‘sells’ her Western credentials acquired from George W Bush, long before meeting Putin.

All in all, cynicism continues to be the name of the game. Last Monday’s decision of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to impose visa restrictions and freezing of assets to 21 Ukrainians and Russians is full of exceptions. Member states can avoid imposing the sanctions almost at will. This fact shows clearly how cynic is the Western strategy over the Ukrainian issue. As for Russia, the ‘bear’s’ reactions have always been violent and forceful. Alas, poor Ukraine seems to lack a strong and well-organized force of honest and effective politicians. Not many of them have survived after all those years of corruption, political murders and persecution by the rulers of Kiev.

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