World
Olga Shedrova
April 18, 2014
© Photo: Public domain

Demonstrators were being shot at in the port city of Mariupol as a quadripartite meeting between representatives of Russia, the US the EU and Ukraine on settling the internal political crisis in Ukraine proceeded in Geneva. That’s why the final statement which envisions de-escalation of the situation is an undisputed success. Will the Ukraine’s interim government carry out its obligations? There were separate discussions between US state Secretary John Kerry, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with Ukraine's interim Foreign Minister Andrei Deshitsa kept out of doors. The concerted actions of the parties to the talks are required to achieve the implementation of the decisions included into the final document. But there is little hope Ukraine will adopt a constructive stance…

The Ukraine’s representative put forward the demands for Russia to stop the “support of terrorists” in Donbass, the return of Crimea back to Ukraine, the retreat of Russian forces from the Ukraine’s border. It looks like he has no idea of what is really happening in the country. The escalation of tension continues. As the talks proceeded, Kiev announced that Russian males aged 16-60 are now banned from entering Ukraine. The ban extends to the men aged 16-60 registered as residents of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, no matter Kiev considers them to be the citizens of Ukraine. The Ukraine’s interim government lives in parallel reality believing that it’s not the local people but rather Russian special operations forces who are responsible for staging the protests in the country’s South-East. But there are no Russian forces in Donbass. At the same time, the escalation of violence against the citizens by the regular Ukraine’s army leads to the radicalization of demands and the spread of protests. While Kiev concentrates forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Odessa People’s Republic is proclaimed by the Odessa’s anti-Maidan movement. The Kiev’s interim rulers went on to impose their will provoking them into declaring independence. At first the south-eastern parts of Ukraine wanted an official status for the Russian language and respect of their national identity. They addressed their demands to the interim government what actually signified its de-facto recognition. In response mass arrests of activists followed while the Pravy Sector militants attacked protesters. It made the south-eastern regions put forward the demands for federalization and holding local referendums on regional status. The demands were sent to Kiev again. The interim rulers ignored all the appeals what, in its turn, provoked the proclamations of independence in the Donetsk, Kharkov and Odessa regions. 

Ukraine has never been so close to total collapse and loss of statehood. The chaos gives rise to the protest movement in Kiev itself. The Pravy Sector militants want tougher measures against the protesters in the South-East while common people hit the streets to protest against the fall of living standards. The government is not strong enough to put down the protests in the south-eastern parts of the country by force. No matter all the ambiguous orders and the threats of making the “guilty ones” stand before tribunals, army units switch sides to join protesters, those military who remain faithful to the interim government display no wish to shoot at their fellow citizens and prefer to give away armor and weapons without offering resistance. 

Obviously losing the control over the country, the Kiev interim regime agrees to take part in international talks. The chances are high it will lose power as the talks proceed. The Russia’s Western partners realize it well; still they support the use of force as the way to settle the conflict and the intent of the interim rulers to maintain the Ukraine’s status as a unitary state. The Geneva agreement envisions the cease of fire and disarmament of armed formations. It does not guarantee the end of violence. The problems that gave rise to violence still exist; the regime’s attitude to their solutions has not changed. 

The further talks should concentrate on solving the exacerbated problems related to the state structure and protection of all citizens’ rights preserving their multiple cultural and linguistic identities. If Kiev goes on imposing its will, the state of Ukraine will collapse with its territory divided between other states. It will lead to the destruction of the post-war international security system based on the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. It all has special importance for Europe, the continent with a plethora of disputed territories and re-shaped boundaries… 

The specific feature of the situation is that nobody else but the federal state of the United States and the confederacy of the European Union are the ones who support the idea of Ukraine remaining a unitary state. At that, federalization is the only way to let the country remain a state within its present borders or, in other words, an independent state instead of a loose batch of mandated territories. There is still time left to change the constitution and hold a referendum. To do it, the violence in the Ukraine’s South-East should be stopped; the representatives of south-eastern parts of the country should become a party to the negotiations process. 

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
After Geneva Talks: Federalization as Last Chance to Save Ukraine

Demonstrators were being shot at in the port city of Mariupol as a quadripartite meeting between representatives of Russia, the US the EU and Ukraine on settling the internal political crisis in Ukraine proceeded in Geneva. That’s why the final statement which envisions de-escalation of the situation is an undisputed success. Will the Ukraine’s interim government carry out its obligations? There were separate discussions between US state Secretary John Kerry, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with Ukraine's interim Foreign Minister Andrei Deshitsa kept out of doors. The concerted actions of the parties to the talks are required to achieve the implementation of the decisions included into the final document. But there is little hope Ukraine will adopt a constructive stance…

The Ukraine’s representative put forward the demands for Russia to stop the “support of terrorists” in Donbass, the return of Crimea back to Ukraine, the retreat of Russian forces from the Ukraine’s border. It looks like he has no idea of what is really happening in the country. The escalation of tension continues. As the talks proceeded, Kiev announced that Russian males aged 16-60 are now banned from entering Ukraine. The ban extends to the men aged 16-60 registered as residents of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, no matter Kiev considers them to be the citizens of Ukraine. The Ukraine’s interim government lives in parallel reality believing that it’s not the local people but rather Russian special operations forces who are responsible for staging the protests in the country’s South-East. But there are no Russian forces in Donbass. At the same time, the escalation of violence against the citizens by the regular Ukraine’s army leads to the radicalization of demands and the spread of protests. While Kiev concentrates forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Odessa People’s Republic is proclaimed by the Odessa’s anti-Maidan movement. The Kiev’s interim rulers went on to impose their will provoking them into declaring independence. At first the south-eastern parts of Ukraine wanted an official status for the Russian language and respect of their national identity. They addressed their demands to the interim government what actually signified its de-facto recognition. In response mass arrests of activists followed while the Pravy Sector militants attacked protesters. It made the south-eastern regions put forward the demands for federalization and holding local referendums on regional status. The demands were sent to Kiev again. The interim rulers ignored all the appeals what, in its turn, provoked the proclamations of independence in the Donetsk, Kharkov and Odessa regions. 

Ukraine has never been so close to total collapse and loss of statehood. The chaos gives rise to the protest movement in Kiev itself. The Pravy Sector militants want tougher measures against the protesters in the South-East while common people hit the streets to protest against the fall of living standards. The government is not strong enough to put down the protests in the south-eastern parts of the country by force. No matter all the ambiguous orders and the threats of making the “guilty ones” stand before tribunals, army units switch sides to join protesters, those military who remain faithful to the interim government display no wish to shoot at their fellow citizens and prefer to give away armor and weapons without offering resistance. 

Obviously losing the control over the country, the Kiev interim regime agrees to take part in international talks. The chances are high it will lose power as the talks proceed. The Russia’s Western partners realize it well; still they support the use of force as the way to settle the conflict and the intent of the interim rulers to maintain the Ukraine’s status as a unitary state. The Geneva agreement envisions the cease of fire and disarmament of armed formations. It does not guarantee the end of violence. The problems that gave rise to violence still exist; the regime’s attitude to their solutions has not changed. 

The further talks should concentrate on solving the exacerbated problems related to the state structure and protection of all citizens’ rights preserving their multiple cultural and linguistic identities. If Kiev goes on imposing its will, the state of Ukraine will collapse with its territory divided between other states. It will lead to the destruction of the post-war international security system based on the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. It all has special importance for Europe, the continent with a plethora of disputed territories and re-shaped boundaries… 

The specific feature of the situation is that nobody else but the federal state of the United States and the confederacy of the European Union are the ones who support the idea of Ukraine remaining a unitary state. At that, federalization is the only way to let the country remain a state within its present borders or, in other words, an independent state instead of a loose batch of mandated territories. There is still time left to change the constitution and hold a referendum. To do it, the violence in the Ukraine’s South-East should be stopped; the representatives of south-eastern parts of the country should become a party to the negotiations process.