Friday, January 07, 2005

The Frozen Revolution

An article on the Ukrainian elections by political commentator Vadim Dubnov, in the Russian periodical New Times, written and published back in November 2004, contains the following revealing passage:
It must be recognized that Russia has played an historic part in the Ukrainian election: two visits of Putin to back Yanukovich were a greater contribution to the Ukrainian independence than all the efforts of many years by the independence minded West Ukrainians. It was the second case (after Abkhazia) of successful experiment to consolidate sovereignty, evidently a new foreign policy trend. If it is so, then this genre was a copy of a special forces' operation: its logic being incomprehensible it must have been top secret. Now the president's reasons to go to Kiev before the first round are not of so much interest. Another point is interesting: why, after the ludicrousness of the visit and of all the Russian backing became evident to every one, and after Yushchenko won the first round and it was clear even to political science freshmen that Yanukovich had no honest chance to win the second one, why was it necessary to go to the Crimea again?

Actually, that second visit turned out to be almost a secret one: nobody in Ukraine seemed to notice it. Moscow's wish to have at any price a man of its own blood group as the president of the neighbouring country (here, too, against the Abkhazian background, one sees the outline of a foreign policy doctrine taking shape) is so overpowering that one no longer considers as fabricated the reports of the Russian special task forces' readiness to undertake a mission in Kiev. Practically all political explanations of this passion smell of metaphysics: is the Kremlin willing, indeed, to sacrifice few remnants of its reputation only for the sake of preserving a mythical geopolitical front?

Hardly so. Things may be simpler and spiteful critics are right in explaining so much zeal just as a business. Really, costs of Moscow's bigger political support are not so large an investment for the gold-bearing Donbass.

But now that what's done is done, when, unlike a Russian or a Belarus style, all of Ukraine is willing to go on strike and to resort to other, none too ingenious but effective forms of disobedience, when the forms of the election race leave no illusions of Yanukovich's methods of rule once he is installed, it seems that there emerges, in a most principal way, quite a realistic political motivation.
Yanukovich's victory and a manifestation of the possibility to ignore any protest to become the president of a country willing rather to go to pieces than to recognize him, are becoming a matter of honour for Moscow and a form of an historic proof that the chosen line is correct.

Moscow would not like at all to lose in Kiev.

Yet, anyway, should Yushchenko still win, Moscow will congratulate him though grudgingly. It will turn out that Chernomyrdin was right and there is nothing awful. We will still have brothers for a time close by, in Minsk. Not to mention that, regretfully, we will still be able to live on as we do, alone. Without a sound, biting the pillow, and envying the Ukrainians that they at least made a try at it (at the time this issue went to the printers).

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Marius

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