Interesting and honest ! i am a french who spent some time in central asia and who is married with a russian; we also have ukrainian
friends, and we discuss a lot… There is one thing strange in the west : most people see Russia still as some kind of Ussr trying to survive ( and against others ….) But it is more complex, much more
As Soljenitsynes has said, Russia has been the first victim of Soviet Union and most part of communist nomenklatura were not russian… from Trotsky to Staline .
Once Russia, as others, has been burried under the collapsed fabric of Ussr,
struggling to get through and out, the country did’t received any help at all..
and has been surrounded by packs of countries
just willing to take advantage of the situation. Russia is going through some kind of nationalistic rebirth and this lead to some problems; it is going to take some times
before they find their path; however always
remember that it is not the west media who
will shape future here and there, but the local people … West Europe may be a big
disapointment for Ukraine, specially when it is going through a very big identity crisis ! look the problems now between Poland and Brussel… some people jock about the whole thing : why they try to rebuilt soviet union
in the west ? can it last better or longer ?
We are just at the begining of a new big
reshuffle, and challenges/surprises may come !
I am also a Frenchman familiar with Ukraine and Russia and, as always, I wholeheartedly concur with your analysis. When I last was in Kiev, my overwhelming impression was that of a country on the fence.
Ukraine must decide its fate relative to the West or to Russia. It must also, more importantly, define its own national identity. As you mentioned, its constitutional system has just changed radically — one of the major issues during the drafting of the constitutional reform was the official language: should Ukranian be the only official language, or should it be Ukranian and Russian? This is an example of how young Ukraine is as a country.
Ukraine must not only, as so many other countries, decide to change to adapt to globalization in the midst of a culture of corruption and profiteering. It must also decide its role at the center of a major geopolitical area AND decide what its national identity is (and whether it has one). All at the same time.
Very interesting times indeed. Very dangerous times, too.
I believe that much in the fate of the Eurasian area will hinge on how the Ukranians decide in the next few years.
I live in Romania, so I know much of what is now happening in Ukraine, based on my own experience as an individual living in a country emerging from communism toward capitalism.
.I think part of Ukranians are not happy with this new regime because they go beyond concepts. I mean, when westerns refers to former communist countris say: they got freedom.
But freedom is only a concept; in fact, it is about several liberties: liberty to vote, liberty to have private property, and a relative libery to speak. (But, to speak about the most important, the private property is only a word for many people, the right to have it not being followed by possessing it; many have this right but no property, because they are very poor).
All these liberties are not overhelming important related to what was lost:
* a secure country, whithout mafia and gangs, * a paternal state, assuring apartaments and jobs;
* a egalitarism witch opposes to discrepancies between reach and poor present today;
Majority of individuals lived in poorer conditions for many year after the crash of communism and this is palpable,not theory, for everyone living in East; as a rezult, I think there is understadable explanations for what people from Ukraine feel today.
Is “re-privatizing” the same thing as nationalizing or making? Timoshenko didn’t make the industries private, did she?
Perhaps all of this ‘pressure’ to choose is largley a figment of US imaginations.
THe US always keeps an over inflated idea of its power. True the US ‘influences’ it has enough spies and enough information to ‘influence’ but thats all.
Perhaps Yanukovych should think of this the next time he poisons himself.
The Ukraine like any country has its ‘deciders’ and nothing will really change their choices, usually they will do what is best for their pockets.