The Time for Negotiations between Russia and the West on Ukraine Has Not Come By Nikolai Bobkin

12 April 2014 — Strategic Culture Foundation

In American geopolitical scenarios, Ukraine is given the role of Russia’s periphery, and forcible changes in its way of life are supposed to serve as an example of breaking free of the “domination of Moscow” for other states of the former Soviet Union. The White House’s immediate plans include somehow forcing Moscow, first of all, to recognize the legitimacy of the new government in Kiev, and second, to agree to Ukraine’s turning once and for all toward the Euro-Atlantic. The fate of Ukraine itself is of little interest to the Americans, just as they are ignoring the radical nationalism of the putschists who have seized power. The disintegration of statehood, the weakening of the government, and the schism in society all play into the West’s hands.

Such are the circumstances under which the West is proposing to begin negotiations between Russia, the U.S., the EU and the current regime in Kiev on resolving the crisis in Ukraine. The Americans are in a hurry; they intend to organize the first meeting in the next 10 days. However, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s confidence that such negotiations will take place without fail within the appointed 10-day period is unconvincing to many people; many believe that the final decision lies with the Kremlin.

It is expected that EU head of diplomacy Catherine Ashton, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Deshchytsia will take part in the negotiations. From this makeup, it follows that the West is once again trying to dictate its conditions to Russia on Ukraine, and furthermore, it is proposing that Moscow agree to begin a dialog with a representative of the putschists, Deshchytsia. It is one thing to meet with Ukrainian energy specialists on the issue of gas supplies, and quite another to conduct a political dialog on the resolution of a domestic Ukrainian crisis with a person speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine who does not have sufficient authority to do so. What is there to agree on with him?

The haste with which Washington is trying to launch the negotiations between the U.S., the EU, Russia and the Kiev regime can be explained by the events which are taking shape in eastern Ukraine. There the Americans are experimenting with their model of waging war using illegal militant groups and foreign private military companies in order to critically weaken Russia. It has been decided to wrest the Donets Basin from the Russian cultural and historical area. The battle in the east of the country could become the culmination of the entire Ukrainian crisis, and the Americans have panicked, fearing a repeat of Crimea. Washington would like to deprive the millions of Russian citizens of Ukraine living there of their lawful right to be the source of power and the bearers of sovereignty.  If the planned negotiations take place, it will be an affirmation of the inability of Ukrainian civil society to independently determine the future of its country. There is no sense in playing into the hands of Kiev and its partners in Washington in this.

More and more significant societal forces in Ukraine are advocating a referendum on a federative form of government and a new constitution for the country which would take the linguistic and other interests of Eastern Ukraine into account.  However, nothing is yet known about preparations for a new constitution. “There is no information regarding specific discussions and concepts included in this next draft of the fundamental law of Ukraine,” says Sergei Lavrov. How can multilateral negotiations begin without such fundamental information?

Yatsenyuk has promised to complete a draft of the Constitution by April 15. There has been no hint that the East’s demands for federalization will be met, but there are nebulous assurances that the regions will be given some kind of “new powers” Neither the representatives of the eastern regions nor Russia knows anything about what kind of powers these will be. Can it be that the Russian Foreign Ministry will only have the opportunity to acquaint itself with the new constitutional face of Ukraine being formed in Washington at the negotiating table?

Note that America’s knowledge of Ukrainian affairs remains on a very low level. Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, several public opinion research centers have conducted surveys among Americans on how, in their opinion, the U.S. should react to the existing situation. And although two thirds of those surveyed stated that they are following the situation in Ukraine “fairly closely”, the majority of them really knew little about the events occurring there and did not even always have an idea of where the country is located. But the Americans are unperturbed by their own ignorance; now they have taken on the writing of a constitution for Ukraine. The European Union, by the way, has no knowledge of the draft of the new Ukrainian constitution either. Brussels has been given a bit part in the suggested negotiations.

And the very idea of tempting Ukraine with integration with Europe belongs not to the Europeans, but to the Americans; the Old World is economically unprepared to accept new countries such as Ukraine, Georgia or Azerbaijan into its ranks.

According to European Commission estimates, around 84 million people in Europe are living below the poverty line, and the process of getting out of this crisis could drag on for ten years. Some believe that even these figures are low. According to the international humanitarian agency Oxfam, 120 million people in Europe are already living below the poverty line, and if the austerity policy of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund does not change, the number of the European poor will increase by another 15-25 million by 2025. With Ukraine there would be twice as many; here practically one out of two people lives below the poverty line, and this line is much lower than in Europe.

In reality, participation in the negotiations so confidently promised by Jen Psaki would mean not only legitimizing the coup d’état and the unlawful government which arose from it, but preparing the way for Ukraine to join NATO. As a result of such negotiations, Ukraine stands only to gain the status of a territory controlled by Western states in which NATO will have the right to deploy its troops at the border with the Russian Federation. The West cannot have any trust in the Ukrainian army; few Ukrainians are prepared to march on Moscow. The “military reform” of the Kiev regime is mainly aimed at creating punitive forces who are prepared to fight with their own people. The name of this force is borrowed, of course, from the U.S. – the “national guard”.  It was planned to mobilize up to 15,000 people in the ranks of this punitive guard by the end of March, but this was not successful. In most cases “volunteers” do not even make it to the medical commission; they decline themselves or are unsuitable for service. The unemployed apply, but many of them are older than the age limit for recruiting of forty. Fairly often people with several convictions on their records applied. Out of 122 volunteers in the Donetsk region, so far they have not found even one person who meets all the requirements for service as a “guardsman”. The situation in the west of the country is no better. In the six western regions of Ukraine only 700 volunteers have applied, and only 43 have been accepted. There is no longer any doubt that the national guard has been reanimated only in order to legalize the squadrons of fascist fighters from the Right Sector, who are the only ones prepared to defend American democracy in Ukraine.

The high point of Washington’s folly has been sending employees of American private military companies to Donetsk. This is the beginning of an intervention; the Americans risk getting mired down in the Ukrainian crisis. The U.S. had no practical military options for the Crimea, as they had none for Georgia in 2008. The Americans have no military chances in Eastern Ukraine, either. They will have to retreat, and only Russia can pull them out of their latest failure. The time for negotiations, however, has not come. Moscow will be working out the terms for America’s retreat, and not playing up to Washington in its scheme…

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