By Sviatoslav Karavansky
There are some unaccomplished thoughts in the F. Stephen Larrabee’ article “Ukraine: A Western policy…“ published in Philadelphia’s mews paper “America” of June 25, 2011.
The author’s primary thought is: the door to the EU for Ukraine should be open. It is hard to object this opinion. However there are many problems that need to be addressed first.
Ukraine, under President Yanukovych, is far from being a truly democratic country. The domestic policy of Yanukovych turns Ukraine to be a copy of the “democracy”, practiced in today’s Russia.
Will it be reasonable for Europe to adopt such a non-democratic regime in the European family of nations without any preconditions?
F. Larrabee writes, “US and European policy should be aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and promoting the growth of the civil society.”
But when should this be done, before or after the Ukraine joining the EU? The article didn’t express this very clear.
In my opinion, it should be done before the Ukraine joins the EU.
Is it done so now? Did the US and the EU really take some steps in this direction?
The only real step in this direction was the resolution of the European parliament on the
politically motivated trial of Julia Tymoshenko.
This trial, however, is not the only un-democratic event, that has registered in today’s Ukraine. There are much more of them.
The author of the article mentions that Ukraine is experiencing an identity crisis, torn between its eastern portions and pro-Western Central and Western Ukraine. Unfortunately, the analyst did not suggest that US and European policy should be aimed on the weakening the tensions between these regions and avoid the deepening of these tensions. Such an approach is very important for the Ukrainian situation, because deepening of these tensions is fraught with serious consequences. And what is the Yanukovych’s solution of these tensions?
From the very beginning, Yanukovych’s domestic policy was directed on the disregard and contempt of the pro-Western regions of Ukraine. The minister of education, appointed by President, from the first day in the office, started attacking the pro-Western Ukrainians of Halychyna, stating that they are non-Ukrainians at all, deepening by these attacks the gap between these regions of Ukraine. So pro-Western Ukrainians were for the ruling Mafia of Ukraine persons non grata.
Is the promoting the interethnic hostility in a country a sign of existing the civil society there? Did the EU take any step for opposing the stirring up the ethnic hatred in Ukraine by the government?
The Yanukovych’s coalition accepted the law that has been already passed in the Russian Duma, a resolution about the posting up the red flags on the Victory day on May 9. Does such a reviving of the Soviet totalitarian symbols correspond to the European values?
And let us look on the elections in Ukraine. Free and fair elections are the main cornerstone of the democracy. We must ask, are the elections in Ukraine under Yanukovych fair?
The presidential elections of 2004 were deliberately falsified by the Ukrainian Mafia. These elections were eventually cancelled. One of main managers of these elections was the premier-minister Yanukovych. The same was repeated during the 2010 local elections, on an even larger scale. Judging by the work of the commission for expanding election law, created by Yanukovych, the same is planned at the 2012 parliament elections. In order to calm the world, Yanukovych pretends that he wants to expand democratic election law, but this is just another of his tricks. American jurists, invited to take part in the work of this commission, abandoned it, stating that the commission is pro-power, and works behind closed doors in order to deprive the opposition of valuable participation. This is the indisputable evidence of Yanukovych’s intentions to conduct the 2012 elections in the same manner as the 2010 local elections were conducted.
Did the EU or the US take any steps in order to compel Yanukovych to create a commission for expanding election law according to world standards? These steps should be taken right now, ahead of the planned elections. It will be too late to take such steps by end of this year or in 2012. So, if the strengthening the democratic institutions in Ukraine will ever happen, the EU and the US must compel Yanukovych expand a democratic election law.
Hence, keeping the door open for Ukraine in such circumstances looks very inadequate.
Should the EU, keep opening the door open for Ukraine and say right now that the joining the EU, including the zone of free trade, will be possible only for really democratic Ukraine with the real free elections and real civil society?
In my opinion it should.
The frightening thing that such a firm step will turn Mafia’s Ukraine toward Moscow is based on the lack of the knowledge of composition of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
The analysis of the events in Ukraine, without taking into consideration the factions, which exist in Yanukovych’s PR, is quite infertile. This party, as the majority of the world’s political parties, has some “sub-parties”. When it comes to the PR, there is a criminal “sub-party”, and an oligarchic “sub-party”.
An interesting, exclusive trait of Ukraine is the fact that the main core, which unites the mixed members of the PR, is the demand to give the Russian language the official status. The frankly criminal elements of the PR found partners among the Oligarchs on this matter, but these two factions are far from being like-minded. The Mafia’s elements of the PR did not hide their intentions toward Moscow; but the Oligarchs, while wishing to communicate and administer in the Russian language, did not want, however, to be in any way subordinate to Russia. Oligarchs stand for the European choice. So, Brussels attracts them and Yanukovych cannot do something that will push Oligarchs away.
Apparently, when joining the Party of Regions, Oligarchs quite ingenuously agreed with
Yanukovych about certain political demands and certain governmental posts they may count on in case the PR would gain power. The Oligarchs demanded that Ukraine join the EU and found some followers among the Mafia. To ensure these demands, Yanukovych promised the Oligarchs the post of foreign minister and the post of head of secret service.
When dealing with Oligarchs, Yanukovych must also show his loyalty to Moscow. However, when he did assert his intention to join the Custom Union with Russia, Byelorus and Kazakhstan, the foreign minister reacted immediately, and Yanukovych was compelled to abandon his desire. To calm Moscow he invented a formula 3 + 1 instead.
The existence of two sub-parties in the PR came to surface on Victory Day and June 22 in the city of Lviv. The Moscow-oriented forces in the PR planned a provocation on June 22 in the city of Leo. But the Oligarchs stopped them. The most interesting episode of this event was the letter of the deputy of the Supreme Counsil, Alexander Feldman, who is not a member of the PR, but has influence over the Oligarchs, as the head of Jewish community of Ukraine. Mr. Feldman condemned the pro-Soviet and pro-Moscow provocation, and Yanukovych was compelled to yield. So, the Oligarchs in the PR have great influence over Yanukovych and interestingly, through a deputy of the Supreme Counsil, who isn’t even a member of the PR!
All this proves that the turning to Moscow instead of Brussels, cannot happen without the split in the PR. To avoid such a split, Yanukovych must agree with the desire of Oligarchs, because without them, he will lose the majority in the Supreme Council.
So, the firm position of the EU will in fact be the instrument of strengthening democratic institutions and promoting the growth of civil society in Ukraine.
If, instead of this scenario, the EU will accept the Ukraine’s Mafia into EU without any preconditions, Yanukovych won’t change his domestic policy of neglecting the democratic values and ignoring human rights.
There are some elements in the EU that are attracted by the values, practiced by Yanukovych. It is conceivable that these values would spread among the members of the EU.
Thus, the EU and the democracy in Europe and the world will receive a palpable blow.
To avoid this blow, the EU should insist right now that joining the EU is possible only for the democratically ruled Ukraine.