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View Diary: Will Ukraine be Partitioned? (66 comments)

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  •  If we review Ukraine's post-Soviet history it (5+ / 0-)

    seems that Russia, and Putin in particular, was quite happy to have the place run by crooks - just as long as they were Russia's crooks. The dioxin poisoning of Victor Yushenko after the first Orange revolution should have been a wake-up call to all of us that Russia was going to destabilise a Western leaning Ukraine. Shutting off the gas in 2009 was a further attempt to remind Ukrainians of the limits of their autonomy.

    The 2010 election of Victor Yanukovych may have been honest, but the subsequent rewriting of the constitution to transfer powers to the President was instrumental in allowing Yanukovych to ignore parliament and strike a deal with Putin rather than the EU.

    It's abundantly clear that western Ukrainians want to join their Polish brethren in the EU, and have a normal country not run by crooked Russian stooges. Even taking into account your opinion that the poll I mentioned is by a US-biased organisation, you do not have any evidence of the contrary (that is widespread support for unification with Russia). So let's assume the the true state of feelings in the East is unknown - but a referendum should clarify that.

    If pushed I'll bet Kiev would support an open referendum run under the auspices of the OSCE. I'll also bet that Russia will oppose or interfere with such a referendum - because they might not like the outcome - instead they will want to continue with a puppet regime in the East and a federalised Ukraine incapable of joining the EU and therefore incapable of raising its living standards.

    Russia needs Ukraine in its customs union for one key reason - Ukraine has 1/3 Russia's population and with only 190 million people Russia is a demographic pygmy compared to its Asian neighbours. There's nothing Russia manufactures that China can't do as well or better (how many bullet trains does Russia have?), and Russia will be little more than a gas tank for China until the latter gets off fossil fuels.

    Russians have big dreams for their central role in Eurasia - but they're just dreams based upon coercing the likes of Kazakhstan and Ukraine by denying their ability to deal directly with the rest of the world. The charade is not going to last.

    •  The USA is run by crooks (3+ / 0-)

      Not much of an argument for anything you make here.

    •  there's nothing the US manufactures (5+ / 0-)

      that China can't do as well or better (how many bullet trains does the US have?).

      If "western Ukrainians want to join their Polish brethren in the EU", adopt IMF "austerity" and pay market prices for Russian gas and oil (borrowing from the US and Germany to do it), well fine (there's a whole raft of "Polish jokes" that can be rebranded to accommodate that stupidity).

      If a "federalized" Ukraine would interfere with that then perhaps the west will support a fully independent East Ukraine . . . which would resolve at least that problem.  And said East Ukraine can establish whatever affiliation they want with Russia.  Or the EU.

      I think you've got it exactly backwards who will oppose a referendum in East Ukraine . . . at present Russia is for it and Kiev (and the US) are firmly against.  I don't see that changing . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 11:41:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt that Putin was very happy (5+ / 0-)

      with Ukraine's oligarchs. It seems that some of them were pilfering large quantities from Gazprom, and others were involved with the Russian mafia. Perhaps he would wish to rein them in, as Ukraine's various governments have not been able to do.

      My reading of Putin is that he would prefer stable and friendly (non-NATO) governments in the former Republics, that would trade preferentially with Russia -- but not that he wants to take them over.

      While a federalized Ukraine might be incapable of joining the EU, that does not mean it would necessarily be incapable of raising its living standards. Membership in the EU is no  guarantee of raised living standards either.

      •  Re. living standards... (4+ / 0-)
        Membership in the EU is no  guarantee of raised living standards either.
        For sure. Just ask Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, and Greece.
        •  Agreeed - membership is no guarantee, but (0+ / 0-)

          Western Ukrainians look to their fellow Poles (remember Lviv used to be Polish) and see a success story they would like to emulate. They look to Russia and see a stultified distorted shell of what could have been a powerful democracy on the world stage. Poland had to go through its own battles with the religious fundies wrapped in the nationalist banner, and Ukrainians will have to similarly deal with their church and elements like Right Sector.

          But the recent actions of Russia and Russian-speakers in East Ukraine have probably accelerated their desire to get the h*ll out of the new Soviet Union. From their perspective it's not just about the money.

          •  This is cogent and perceptive (0+ / 0-)

            observation, islandchris. But the tendency of Western media to cast Putin in a diabolic role does Ukraine no favors.

            And you must admit that Putin's new Russia has offered its people a far better standard of living than any previous government has.

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