Velvet Divorce?

This is a translation from Russian of an article by Georgij Zotov, published in the international paper edition of Argumenty i Fakty #7/2014. Yanukovich is still the president, but the coup is being fostered by Washington. Zotov takes a look at what would happen, and as we can now see, his predictions turned to be pretty accurate.

Velvet Divorce?

“The Battle for Kiev” may end up with break-up of the country

What happens if during the overthrow of Yanukovych, an anti-Russian regime comes to power? Will the republic split up (as it is predicted for her since 1991) into two parts? “AIF” observer considered both versions of events.

My Ukrainian friend, a businessman from Lugansk, is extremely dissatisfied with the behaviour of the Russian customs. The day before, his truck with candy stuck on the border with the Russian Federation – and perhaps will stand there for ten more days. My friend (a big supporter of Maidan) is terribly outraged by this fact, because it incurs losses. “Listen, you’re a fan of Ukraine’s rapprochement with the European Union, friends say ironically to him. – You could have sold all of the West.” “What do you mean?” the businessman is genuinely surprised “You can’t just like that wedge into a European market.” While stores in Russia, taking cheap Ukrainian candy, started making smaller purchases of Russian ones. So I’ll say a blasphemous thing that will not be to everyone’s taste: our economy will BENEFIT from establishing an anti-Russian government in Kiev.

Visas, gas and guest workers

In 2005 a protege of the West, Viktor Yushchenko, became the President of Ukraine. Previously Ukrainians were buying gas at a ridiculous rate – $50 per thousand cubic meters. After a quarrel with Russia they began to pay $95, and then – both $200 and $300(!): of course, our budget just benefited from that. Let’s say the West will displace Yanukovych. And what do we get from from that? Only positive things! A 30% discount on gas will be cancelled. Moscow will certainly refuse to grant Ukraine promised billions of dollars that are so necessary for a moribund local economy. One of the activists of the maidan, the leader of “Freedom” party Oleg Tyagnybok promises to introduce a visa regime with Russia – and it’s even more wonderful. Russian Federation will get a chance to send home two million Ukrainian guest workers, and the treasury of Ukraine will lose money from our tourists – the Russians, who represent half of holidaymakers in Crimea and Odessa, will leave for Sochi. I have already said, Yanukovych calls himself “our guy” in words only, but for Russia there is zero benefit from him: only the endless requests for discounts, cheap loans and deferred payments for gas. With friends like that one does not need enemies.

It is now customary to blame Americans, but for every dollar they invested abroad, United States receive five by skinning “friendly” country on a percentage basis. We do friendship with neighbours by a simple scheme: distributing a lot of money, and in return we get anti-Russian demonstrations. Thus, if the power in Kiev suddenly changes, we will only get richer. And yes, I personally support Ukraine’s rapprochement with Europe. Maybe then they will blame their woes on EU, not Russia.
Meanwhile bloody clashes in the capital caused a split among the citizens of the republic. Even the Ministry of Defence has recently made a strong statement that “recent events lead to the total collapse of the country.” Could it happen? Yes, definitely.

“Soviets” against “Banderas”

– I’ve always been a supporter of a unified Ukraine – explains to me Andrew, a bank employee in Kiev. – But now I started thinking: maybe it’s really easier for us to split? For 22 years we drown in corruption, poverty and lawlessness, nothing changes. Both the West and the East will always vote for their candidate: no matter good or bad, they just need to be a “Westerner” or “Donetsk-guy”. Ukrainians simply torment each other.
That’s right. While in Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil crowd stormed the regional administration, in Donetsk and Odessa, where “Euromaidan” saw 500 people gathered, the police had to protect the protesters. The theme “let them go, will live without them” recently became popular not only in the East but in the West of Ukraine. People are frankly tired of the eternal confrontation between the two parts of the Republic: a different mentality, different moods, different tastes. The point of no return has been passed. In Lviv, many demonstrators interviewed by reporters, snapped: “let ‘normal people’ go to Europe, and ‘soviets’ stay with Moskals”. In Donetsk, the public thinks like: “let ‘Banderas’ go to Germans to wash toilets, we are better off with Russia”. Actually, Ukraine is already broken, but what would happen if it splits officially? Alas, nothing good for us. Where should Transcarpathia go, where in the last election 42% voted for Yanukovych, and how to divide the Kirovograd, where supporters and opponents of the current government are represented equally? This means war – we risk the influx of millions of refugees. But even if the separation of Ukraine will happen as in the “velvet divorce” of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Russian Federation still can not avoid a headache.

“Crimea and Odessa will fall off”

As Ukrainian sceptics predict, the first to fall off will be Crimea, after it – Donetsk, Odessa, Kharkiv, and all the rest. “There is a high probability that there will soon organize a referendum and the people will vote for “an alliance with Russia.” Is there a catch? Moral – no doubt. As for the rest… Ukraine – a poor country, industry and economics remained at the level of the eighties. It’s a difficult task to restore foreign factories and coal mines of Donbass, while Kuzbass own mines are not in the best state. Yes, and how much money will one need for that? Germany has spent on the restoration of the GDR 1 trillion 250 billion Euros(!), but still, after 25 years, they have not managed to pulled East Germany to their standard of living. In general, it is not unambiguous – and we cannot approach it purely with the slogan, “Oh, we finally return Crimea!”.

In 2005 Yanukovych lost the election, Yushchenko became president. And in 2010, the people voted for Yanukovych again, because the economy has tanked to hell… Yushchenko received 5% of the vote. Now carousel turns again. It is possible that the armchair of the head of Ukraine will become occupied by a candidate with support from the U.S. and the EU – only to fail 5 years later at the next elections in the impoverished country. And on whom shall we bet then? Perhaps, sane politicians who provide friendship with Russia, not in words but in deeds.
Meanwhile, the rebellious nationalists in Kiev should really think. It is not “Moskal’s agents,” but the rejection of federal arrangement, persistent disregard for the interests of the East, the unwillingness to recognize the importance of the Russian language that in the end led to chaos in Ukraine and the collapse of the state into two separate parts. However, will someone on Maidan dare to admit it?