'It is impossible to bring Crimea to the brink of separation' - expert
In his interview to Western media new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russia was not a neighbor, but a partner for Ukraine. What is that supposed to mean?
I’ve also paid attention to this. It seems to me, Yatsenyuk meant that partnership was a more weighty relation than mere neighbourhood. Ukraine has other neighbors – for example, Romania, - but when he says “partner”, I think, he means something more valuable… Partner is more than just a neighbor. That’s my opinion
And the association of Ukrainians in Russia does not see any prerequisites to review our relations, doesn’t it?
You see, the spectrum of opinions of Ukrainians in Russia is very wide in regard to what is going on in Ukraine.
As well as in Ukraine.
Ukrainians in Russia want our relations to get better, not worse. And now our relations will undergo a serious test.
Is the new government, which is often called nationalist in our country, able to formulate a clear, strict, positive program of relations with Russia?
It’s a difficult question as the government has just been formed. Of course, there are nationalists and radicals in Ukraine, but the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians do not have anti-Russian sentiments. I’ll give you an example. There were very many Russians in the Maidan, and almost 50 percent of people were speaking Russian. And among 70 people killed in the Maidan, 15 people were ethnic Russians. The first steps of the government, and also the next steps, too, will not be anti-Russian. But we should bear in mind that Ukraine has its own national interests, which not always coincide with Russian interests. That is why we should always sit at the table and discuss the issues. They /in the government/ understand pretty well that Russia is our geographical neighbor, and we can’t get away from each other, so, we should discuss matters.
If we speak about the economy, the situation is very bad. The new authorities are very enthusiastic about the West, but frankly speaking, the West is not in a hurry to loosen its purse-strings.
And who is to loosen his purse-strings? The West is good at counting money. To whom should they give money? There was no government. Now there is a government, but let them work for some time – a week, two weeks. Let’s see what steps they will take. But the treasury is empty. In three years, Yanukovych and company have embezzled the richest country. But the Ukrainians will not starve. People are surviving somehow. But we need money, and that is the reason, why the whole country, all regions rose in rebellion against Yanukovych. And there is no other force to withstand the new authorities, there is only a threat of a split, but it cannot happen without an outside influence.
What is your opinion of Yulia Timoshenko?
She is from the same cohort as Lazarenko who is in an American prison now. She has been in power already… I do not pin my hopes on her. Of course, it’s a positive fact that she was released from prison. Yanukovych had imprisoned his political opponent, because he was afraid of her.
Crimea is becoming a trouble spot now. Is it possible to control the situation there?
I don’t think it is possible to shatter Crimea and to bring it to the brink of separation. There are not many people obsessed with the idea of separation. There are not many super activists, like those who were protesting in the Maidan. That is why the Maidan has won a victory – thanks to super activists, obsessed with the idea of Ukrainian democratic state. They were ready to fight till death for it. Unfortunately, revolutions are committed by romantics, but there are others who enjoy the fruits. So, we’ll see.
I think that the present power will follow a very cautious, balanced policy. Infringement of the interests of Russian-speaking people and native Russians is absolutely excluded.