Transcript: Arkady Moshes on Russia, the EU and Ukraine | Apr 08, 2006

Arkady Moshes stands behind a lectern that reads "University of Toronto. Munk Centre for International Studies at Trinity College" on the front. He’s in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and with short wavy brown hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt and striped blue tie.

A caption reads "Arkady Moshes. The Finnish Institute of International Affairs."

The caption changes to "The Slavic Triangle: What does the future hold? Munk Centre for International Studies. January 26, 2006."

Arkady says IT IS A GREAT
HONOUR FOR ME TO BE HERE TODAY,
AND FIRST OF ALL, I SHOULD
EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE TO THE
ORGANIZERS OF THIS CONFERENCE
FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE A
KEYNOTE SPEAKER TODAY AND TO
ADDRESS THIS ISSUE OF THE SLAVIC
TRIANGLE, THE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN RUSSIA, UKRAINE AND
BELARUS, WHERE THEY ARE NOW AND
WHERE, I THINK, THIS
RELATIONSHIP WILL BE GOING.
I DON'T THINK I NEED TO FURTHER
EMPHASIZE THAT THIS ISSUE IS
EXTREMELY ACUTE.
TO DISCUSS IT IS...
THE DISCUSSION
ON THIS ISSUE IS EXTREMELY
TIMELY, AND INDEED, DOING MORE
TO UNDERSTAND THIS CRITICAL
RELATIONSHIP IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT.
THAT'S TRUE THAT I STARTED TO
USE THE TERM "THE SLAVIC
TRIANGLE" SOMETIME IN THE END OF
THE '90s, NOT THAT I LIKED IT
VERY MUCH, FRANKLY SPEAKING,
BECAUSE WHEN YOU CALL SOMETHING
A TRIANGLE, YOU IMMEDIATELY HEAR
FROM PEOPLE THAT THEY SENSE
GEOPOLITICS BEHIND THIS OR EVEN
MORE, THAT THEY SENSE AN IDEA OF
AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE THREE
COUNTRIES.
CERTAINLY I
DIDN'T MEAN THAT.
WHAT I MEANT WHEN I STARTED
USING THIS TERM, AND WHERE I
STILL SEE THAT IT CAN BE USEFUL
IS IF WE USE IT TO DESCRIBE AN
EXTREMELY INTENSIVE INTERACTION
THAT GOING ON BETWEEN THESE
THREE POST-SOVIET COUNTRIES,
EXTREMELY INTENSIVE CULTURAL,
HUMANITARIAN TIES, HISTORICAL
TIES THAT BIND THEM TOGETHER.
I WILL GIVE YOU JUST TWO
FIGURES.
ACCORDING TO THE POLLS CONDUCTED
IN UKRAINE IN THE END OF, I
THINK IN '99 IF I'M NOT
MISTAKEN, MORE THAN A THIRD OF
RESPONDENTS IN UKRAINE SAID THAT
THEY HAD CLOSE RELATIVES IN
RUSSIA.
FOR THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN
PART OF THE COUNTRY, THIS
INDICATOR WAS OVER 70 PERCENT.
AND YOU CAN SAY THAT JUST TO
HAVE RELATIVES DOES NOT MEAN
PERHAPS MUCH, AND THERE WILL BE
A POINT IN THAT AS WELL, BUT A
VERY RECENT POLL CONDUCTED BY
THE VERY DISTINGUISHED RAZUMKOV
CENTRE IN KIEV JUST LAST
SEPTEMBER SHOWED THAT RUSSIA WAS
STILL THE COUNTRY MOST
FREQUENTLY VISITED BY
UKRAINIANS, BY THE RESIDENTS OF
UKRAINE.
RUSSIA WAS VISITED BY MORE THAN
A QUARTER OF UKRAINE'S
POPULATION IN THE LAST 10 YEARS.
THE SECOND COUNTRY ON THE LIST
WAS POLAND WITH 8 PERCENT.
THE THIRD WAS BELARUS WITH 5.5.
ALL THE REST WERE MUCH LOWER ON
THE LIST.
IN A WAY, EVEN TO MY SURPRISE,
BECAUSE I DIDN'T EXPECT THE
PEOPLE TO TRAVEL SO FREQUENTLY,
FACING ALL THE ECONOMIC
HARDSHIPS THEY HAVE BEEN FACING,
THIS RELATIONSHIP, THIS
INTENSITY OF INTERACTION, IS
PRESERVED, AND IT EXISTS.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND
ALSO AS PART OF MY INTRODUCTORY
REMARKS THAT THIS TRIANGLE
EXISTS REGARDLESS OF THE STATE
OF RELATIONS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL
STATES.
INTERSTATE RELATIONSHIP CAN BE
BAD.
ACTUALLY, THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE
'90s, RUSSIAN AND UKRAINIAN
RELATIONSHIP WERE IN CRISIS.
THEY WERE IN A CHRONIC CRISIS.
THEY WERE MOVING FROM ONE
DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS TO
ANOTHER, AND MORE FREQUENTLY
THAN NOT, THE TWO CAPITALS AND
THE TWO DIPLOMACIES WERE FAILING
TO SOLVE THE ISSUES.
NEVERTHELESS, THIS INTERACTION
BETWEEN THE NATIONS WAS
PRESERVED, AND IT STAYED THERE.
THIS INTENSITY OF TIES OBVIOUSLY
HAD ITS IMPLICATIONS, NAMELY
THAT EACH OF THE THREE
COUNTRIES, ITS POLICY CHOICES
AFFECT THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE TWO
OTHERS TO A VERY STRONG DEGREE.
I COULD GIVE YOU A NUMBER OF
EXAMPLES, FOR EXAMPLE, HOW EACH
OF THE SIDES WAS FIGURING OUT
WHAT ITS POLICY SHOULD BE IF A
RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO OF
THE THREE COULD BE REACHED.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE MIDDLE OF
THE '90s, IT WAS NEARLY AN AXIOM
FOR THE RUSSIAN POLICYMAKERS
THAT IF INTEGRATION WITH BELARUS
COULD BE REACHED, IT WOULD BE
VERY DIFFICULT FOR UKRAINIANS TO
STAY OUTSIDE.
IT WAS SEEN NEARLY AS AN AXIOM,
NEARLY AS A GIVEN, AND YOU CAN
FIND IT EVEN IN THE DOCUMENTS,
IN THE LEADING RUSSIAN POLICY
THINKING.
AND IN FACT -- I'LL SPEAK ABOUT
THAT A LITTLE BIT LATER -- THAT
WORKED DURING THE FIRST
ADMINISTRATION OF VLADIMIR
PUTIN.
CONVERSELY, WHEN A RAPPROCHEMENT
BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE WAS
REACHED IN THE YEAR 2001 AND
LATER, IT WAS ALREADY THE TURN
FOR THE BELORUSSIAN LEADER
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO TO BE
CONCERNED, BECAUSE HE REALIZED
THAT MANY OF HIS SERVICES WOULD
NOT BE NEEDED IF A
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN SORT OF
ALLIANCE, PRAGMATIC ALLIANCE,
WOULD WORK.
AND HE MADE HIS BEST NOT TO BE
SIDELINED.
SOMETIMES YOU
CAN FIND VERY FUNNY EXAMPLES OF
BEHAVIOUR WHEN, FOR EXAMPLE,
MISTER PUTIN WENT TO KIEV TO
CELEBRATE THE 60th ANNIVERSARY
OF UKRAINE'S LIBERATION FROM THE
NAZI OCCUPATION.
LUKASHENKO
THOUGHT IT WAS A MUST FOR HIM TO
ALSO COME TO KIEV, ALTHOUGH HE
WAS ABSOLUTELY UNWELCOME THERE,
AND HE HAD TO GO BACK JUST
SEVERAL HOURS AFTER HE LANDED IN
KIEV.
BUT HE DID IT BECAUSE HE
COULDN'T OTHERWISE EXPLAIN TO
HIS DOMESTIC AUDIENCE WHY THE
TWO OTHER BROTHERS GET TOGETHER,
AND HE WOULD NOT COME, OR HE
WASN'T COMING.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, BESIDES
THE MUTUALLY INFLUENCING FOREIGN
POLICY BEHAVIOUR, THESE
COUNTRIES, WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE
EACH OF THEM ALSO AFFECTS THE
DOMESTIC POLICY CHOICES OF THE
OTHER TWO.
NOW, AFTER UKRAINE'S ORANGE
REVOLUTION AND THE REACTION TO
THE UKRAINE'S ORANGE REVOLUTION
IN RUSSIA AND BELARUS, I DON'T
NEED TO SPEND MUCH TIME TO
CONVINCE YOU THAT THAT IS TRUE.
BUT THIS WAS ALSO THE CASE EVEN
BEFORE.
THE BELORUSSIAN DEMOCRATS ALWAYS
TRIED TO INVOLVE RUSSIA INTO THE
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR
COUNTRY EXACTLY USING THE
ARGUMENT THAT A MORE DEMOCRATIC
RUSSIA HAD NO RIGHT TO IGNORE
WHAT WAS GOING ON IN BELARUS,
AND THEY EXPECTED THAT THE
RUSSIAN POSITIVE EXPERIENCE OF
TRANSFORMATION -- THIS IS HOW IT
WAS VIEWED AT THAT TIME -- WOULD
HAVE A SPILLOVER ONTO BELARUS.
IN THE '90s, OR WHEN WE NOW
RETROSPECTIVELY DISCUSS 1990s,
OF COURSE, IT IS EASIER TO PROVE
THAT THE TRIANGLE DID EXIST.
FIRST OF ALL, THE CONTEXT WAS IN
A WAY POSITIVELY AFFECTING ITS
EXISTENCE.
THE SOCIETIES IN ALL THE THREE
COUNTRIES WERE SIMILAR.
THEY WERE NOT IDENTICAL.
I'M NOT SAYING THIS, BECAUSE
RUSSIA WAS NOT FREE FROM
POST-IMPERIAL TEMPTATION AND
POST-IMPERIAL BEHAVIOUR.
BELARUS WAS ACTUALLY NOT EVEN A
POST-SOVIET COUNTRY IN THE
BEGINNING.
IT WAS AN INERTIAL SOVIET
COUNTRY.
IT WAS THE COUNTRY THAT WAS NOT
READY FOR INDEPENDENCE AND FOR
THE POST-SOVIET EXISTENCE.
THAT'S WHY IT TRIED TO EMULATE A
LOT OF SOVIET PATTERNS OF
BEHAVIOUR.
UKRAINE OBVIOUSLY ALWAYS HAD A
STRONG NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC IDEA,
BUT NEVERTHELESS, THE SOCIETIES
WERE VERY SIMILAR.
POLITICAL SYSTEMS IN ALL THREE
COUNTRIES WERE VERY SIMILAR.
ALL THREE COUNTRIES HAD MANAGED
DEMOCRACIES, THE HYBRID REGIMES
IN WHICH ALL THE ELITES REALIZED
THE NEED TO HOLD ELECTIONS FROM
TIME TO TIME TO LEGITIMIZE THEIR
STAY IN POWER, BUT ALSO THEY
WANTED TO MANIPULATE THE OUTCOME
OF THE ELECTIONS TO MAKE SURE
THEY WOULD BE THE WINNERS.
DIFFERENT POLITICAL ELITES DID
IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY USING THE
CAPABILITIES AND THE INSTRUMENTS
THEY WERE IN POSSESSION OF, BUT
BASICALLY THEY MANIPULATED THE
RESULTS, AND ALL THREE COUNTRIES
HAD THESE REGIMES OF MANAGED
DEMOCRACY.
ALL THREE...
WELL, HERE PERHAPS RUSSIA IS A
PARTIAL EXCEPTION.
BUT THEY DIDN'T HAVE MANY
FOREIGN POLICY ALTERNATIVES BUT
TO BEHAVE LIKE TYPICAL
POST-SOVIET COUNTRIES.
UKRAINE TRIED.
UKRAINE SERIOUSLY TRIED ALL
ALTERNATIVES THAT IT THOUGHT
WERE AVAILABLE.
IT WANTED TO ESTABLISH CLOSE
TIES WITH WESTERN EUROPE AND THE
UNITED STATES, WELL, WITHOUT
GREAT SUCCESS FRANKLY FOR A
NUMBER OF REASONS WHICH I DON'T
NOW HAVE TIME TO EXPLAIN.
IT TRIED TO DEVELOP REGIONAL
COOPERATION, AND IT SEEMED FOR
SOME TIME IN THE EARLY '90s THAT
REGIONAL COOPERATION WITH
VISHIGRAD COUNTRIES COULD WORK,
BUT IT DIDN'T BECAUSE ONCE THE
CENTRAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
REALIZED THAT THEY HAD A CHANCE
TO GET INTEGRATED INTO
EURO-ATLANTIC STRUCTURES WITHOUT
UKRAINE AND THAT THEY HAD BETTER
CHANCE TO GET INTEGRATED THERE
WITHOUT UKRAINE THAN WITH
UKRAINE, THEY DIDN'T HESITATE
FOR A SPLIT SECOND TO FORGET
ABOUT UKRAINE.
THAT ALTERNATIVE DIDN'T WORK AT
THAT MOMENT.
SUB-REGIONAL ALTERNATIVE ATTEMPTS
TO ORGANIZE THE COUNTRIES THAT
HAD SORT OF DIFFERENT FOREIGN
POLICY ORIENTATIONS WITHIN THE
POST-SOVIET SPACE.
I MEAN, FIRST OF ALL, THE FAMOUS
GUAM GROUP.
NEITHER WORKED BECAUSE GUAM
COULDN'T HELP UKRAINE
ECONOMICALLY FIRST OF ALL.
AND EVEN SUCH
A THING AS AN ATTEMPT TO
POSITION ITSELF AS A COUNTRY
THAT WOULD BE EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT FOR EUROPE BECAUSE IT
WOULD CONTROL A PART OF A NEW
ENERGY TRANSIT GOING FROM
TRANS-CASPIAN AREA TO EUROPE,
FOR EXAMPLE, EVEN THAT
ALTERNATIVE FAILED FOR UKRAINE.
BAKU-CEYHAN
PIPELINE WAS PLANNED, THOUGHT
AND IMPLEMENTED IN THE WAY THAT
HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH UKRAINE
FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS.
THIS POST-SOVIET CONTEXT
EXISTED, AND ONE IMPORTANT
FEATURE OF THE POST-SOVIET
CONTEXT IS THAT WHETHER YOU LIKE
IT OR NOT, IN THE POST-SOVIET
SPACE, AS LONG AS IT EXISTS,
THERE IS ONLY ONE LEADING AND
ORGANIZING SYSTEMIC FACTOR,
SYSTEMIC POWER.
THIS IS RUSSIA.
THE LEADING ROLE OF RUSSIA HAD
TO BE ACCEPTED.
IT WAS RUSSIA THAT SUBSIDIZED
THE OTHER COUNTRIES.
VERY MANY PEOPLE IN MOSCOW
DIDN'T LIKE THAT FACT.
IT'S NOT THAT, YOU KNOW, ALL
THOSE POST-IMPERIAL RUSSIANS
WERE HAPPY TO BUY SOMEBODY
ELSE'S LUNCHES FOR A DECADE, BUT
THEY REALIZED VERY WELL THAT IF
THE ECONOMIES OF SURROUNDING
COUNTRIES COLLAPSED, RUSSIA
WOULD BE THE FIRST TO SUFFER
FROM THE NEGATIVE SPILLOVER
EFFECTS.
THERE WERE NO OTHER OUTSIDE
FORCES READY, ABLE AND WILLING
TO TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY.
I'M SPEAKING ABOUT 1990s FOR
VARIOUS REASONS.
THAT'S WHY THE CONTEXT OF THE
POST-SOVIET CONTEXT DOMINATED
THE SPACE.
THE RELATIONSHIP WITHIN THE
TRIANGLE ACTUALLY PASSED
DIFFERENT STAGES.
THE FIRST STAGE WAS...
I WOULD SAY '91-'94 WAS A STAGE
OF INERTIAL DISINTEGRATION.
THE RULING ELITES IN UKRAINE BUT
ALSO TO A CERTAIN EXTENT IN
BELARUS REALIZED THAT THE ONLY
IDEOLOGY ON WHICH THEIR
INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY
COULD BE BUILT WAS THE IDEOLOGY
THAT THEY WERE NOT RUSSIANS,
THAT THEY WERE NOT RUSSIA, AND
THEY WANTED TO DRIFT AWAY FROM
RUSSIA.
THAT WAS LEGITIMATE, AND THAT
WAS EASY TO UNDERSTAND.
I WOULD REMIND YOU THAT AT THAT
TIME, BELARUS WAS NOT, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE MEMBER OF THE
RUSSIA-LED COLLECTIVE SECURITY
ORGANIZATION BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T
FEEL IT NATURAL IN '93 TO JOIN
THAT ORGANIZATION.
THEN IN '94-'97, THERE WAS A
DIFFERENT PERIOD.
IN '94 PRESIDENT KUCHMA WAS
ELECTED PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE ON
A SORT OF PRO-RUSSIAN PLATFORM.
HE PROMISED TO MAKE THE RUSSIAN
LANGUAGE THE SECOND OFFICIAL
LANGUAGE OF THE COUNTRY.
HE MADE SEVERAL OTHER PROMISES
TO BRING UKRAINE CLOSER TO
RUSSIA THAT DIDN'T MEAN TO
SURRENDER INDEPENDENCE OR
SOVEREIGNTY, BUT THAT'S WHAT HE
WAS PROMISING.
LUKASHENKO WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT
IN BELARUS, BUT IN BELARUS, THE
PRESIDENTIAL RACE WAS EVEN
WORSE, BECAUSE THE TWO
CANDIDATES WERE JUST COMPETING
ABOUT WHO WOULD MAKE MORE
PRO-RUSSIAN PROMISES AND WHOSE
PROMISE TO BRING BELARUS CLOSER
TO RUSSIA WOULD BE FOUND MORE
CONVINCING BY THE ELECTORATE.
THIS IS WHERE IT STARTED.
BUT AS SOON AS THESE PEOPLE GOT
ELECTED, VERY QUICKLY THEY
REALIZED THAT THEY WERE NOT
WILLING TO RECEIVE JUST ORDERS
FROM MOSCOW, THAT THEY HAD THEIR
OWN INTERESTS TO SERVE, AND FOR
SOME TIME, THOSE INTERESTS RAN
PARALLEL TO THE INTERESTS OF THE
COUNTRIES, THE LEADERS OF WHICH
THEY WERE.
SO THERE WERE...
ALTHOUGH THERE WERE SOME
ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE AND MAYBE
OVERCOME THE CENTRIFUGAL
PARADIGM WERE UNDERTAKEN, AND
THERE WERE SOME PARTIAL
SUCCESSES, THE COUNTRIES DIDN'T
GO TOO FAR.
BY PARTIAL SUCCESSES, I
CERTAINLY MEAN THE PACKAGE OF
TREATIES BETWEEN RUSSIA AND
UKRAINE ON THE BLACK SEA FLEET,
THE TREATY THAT ALSO ENABLED THE
COUNTRIES TO SETTLE DOWN THE
DISPUTE ON ENERGY DEBTS, AND THE
SO-CALLED BIG POLITICAL TREATY,
THE TREATY ON FRIENDSHIP,
COOPERATION AND PARTNERSHIP
BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, IN
WHICH RUSSIA FOR THE FIRST TIME
EXPLICITLY RECOGNIZED THE
TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF UKRAINE
IN ITS PRESENT BORDERS.
BUT SINCE IT WAS AT THE SAME
TIME MORE OR LESS CLEAR THAT
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WAS FAR FROM
IDEAL IN THE PERIOD BETWEEN '97
AND '99, THEY OPENLY STAGNATED.
THERE WERE NO
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS REACHED OR
AGREEMENTS EVEN REACHED BETWEEN
RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, AND THE
RUSSIAN-BELORUSSIAN RELATIONSHIP
WERE DEFINED AS PAPER
INTEGRATION.
DOCUMENTS WERE
SIGNED REGULARLY, NEVER
IMPLEMENTED AND, I THINK, '99,
IN '99, THE LAST DOCUMENT WAS
SIGNED, WHICH WAS A SWAN SONG OF
THE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS
YELTSIN.
WHEN HE WAS LEAVING THE OFFICE
ALREADY, HE SORT OF SIGNED
ANOTHER DOCUMENT ON FINDING A,
ON CREATING A UNION STATE WITH
BELARUS, AND THAT WAS THE LAST
DOCUMENT.
AND SINCE THEN, NOTHING
BASICALLY HAPPENED, BECAUSE AT
THAT MOMENT, THE LIMITS OF THE
PAPER INTEGRATION WERE REACHED,
BUT NOTHING ELSE WAS IN REALITY
ON THE AGENDA.
AND THEN MISTER PUTIN CAME AS THE
LEADER OF THE RUSSIAN
FEDERATION... AND A LOT OF
THINGS CHANGED ACTUALLY IN THE
STYLE OF RUSSIA'S BEHAVIOUR AND
IN PRACTICE.
PUTIN CERTAINLY WAS A NEW
POST-SOVIET LEADER IN THE SENSE
THAT HE WAS NOT HELD RESPONSIBLE
IN THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC
OPINION, ALSO IN RUSSIA, FOR THE
DISSOLUTION OF THE SOVIET UNION.
UNLIKE YELTSIN, HE DIDN'T NEED
TO PRESERVE THE VISIBILITY, THE
FACADE OF THE RELATIONSHIP IN
THE UNION.
FOR YELTSIN IT WAS ALWAYS
DIFFICULT, BECAUSE EVERY TIME
THERE WAS A CONFLICT, HE NEEDED
TO SAY...
HE FELT THAT OTHER PEOPLE WOULD
ASK HIM AND WOULD SORT OF BLAME
HIM FOR HIS ROLE IN THE
DISSOLUTION OF THE SOVIET UNION.
SO HE, THROUGHOUT HIS TERM IN
OFFICE, HAD TO PROVE THAT WHAT
HE DID IN '91 WAS THE RIGHT
THING TO DO, AND THEN THE
RELATIONSHIP COULD CONTINUE.
PUTIN WAS A NEW MAN, AND HIS
VERY FIRST ACTIONS TOWARDS
UKRAINE WERE ACTUALLY PRETTY
TOUGH AND TRANSPARENT.
NOW NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE
REMEMBER THAT, BUT PUTIN'S FIRST
FOREIGN POLICY DOCUMENT,
RUSSIA'S FOREIGN POLICY CONCEPT,
FOR THE FIRST TIME, I THINK, IN
HISTORY, DID NOT MENTION UKRAINE
AMONG THE FRIENDLY STATES FOR
RUSSIA, THE STATES THAT WOULD BE
FRIENDLY TO RUSSIA.
IT MENTIONED BELARUS, BUT
UKRAINE WAS MENTIONED BASICALLY
IN ONE CONTEXT THAT THE FACT
THAT UKRAINE WAS SIPHONING OFF
THE GAS FROM THE TRANSIT
PIPELINE WAS A THREAT TO
RUSSIA'S NATIONAL SECURITY.
THAT WAS QUITE A STRONG
STATEMENT, AND HIS FIRST ACTIONS
WERE SIMILAR, BECAUSE FIRST
THERE WAS EVEN A BLOCKADE OF OIL
DELIVERIES TO UKRAINE ANNOUNCED,
WHICH LASTED FOR TWO MONTHS, AND
THAT WAS USED IN ORDER TO STOP
THE GAS THEFT.
SO WHAT HE OFFERED UKRAINE WAS
THE CHOICE -- "IF YOU WANT A
CONFLICT, YOU'RE GONNA HAVE A
CONFLICT.
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE A
CONFLICT, WE'LL MAKE A DEAL."
AND THE DEAL ACTUALLY WAS
REACHED.
A NUMBER OF EARLIER...
THE ISSUES THAT HAD BEEN EARLIER
THE CAUSE OF CONFLICTS WERE
SETTLED DOWN.
IN RETURN -- OR I WOULD PUT IT
DIFFERENTLY -- ON THE OTHER
HAND, PUTIN WAS ALSO FREE FROM A
LURE OF POST-SOVIET NOSTALGIA.
HE WAS READY TO ACCEPT
IRREVERSIBILITY OF POLITICAL
CHANGES.
HE WENT TO KIEV IN AUGUST 2001
TO TAKE PART IN CELEBRATION OF
THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF
UKRAINE'S INDEPENDENCE.
THIS WAS A STEP THAT YELTSIN
WOULD NEVER HAVE MADE.
FOR PUTIN, IT WAS JUST NO BIG
DEAL, BECAUSE HE WAS FULL OF
OTHER IDEAS.
AT THAT MOMENT, RUSSIA WAS
COMING CLOSER TO THE SLOGAN
"ECONOMIC DOMINATION INSTEAD OF
POLITICAL CONTROL."
BUT HE WAS ALSO READY TO BE
ECONOMICALLY PRAGMATIC.
THE RUSSIAN SUBSIDIES TO BOTH
UKRAINE AND BELARUS DECREASED.
THERE WERE EVEN TRADE WARS
BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE.
THE MUTUAL TRADE WAS FALLING FOR
SEVERAL YEARS.
THE RELATIONSHIP WITH BELARUS
BECAME MUCH MORE COMPLICATED.
AND ALL THAT, INTERESTINGLY
ENOUGH, WAS GOING ON IN THE
CONTEXT OF POLICY, OF RUSSIA'S
OWN POLICY, THAT WAS CALLED "THE
POLICY OF RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN
CHOICE."
SO AT THAT MOMENT, RUSSIAN
LEADERSHIP BELIEVED THAT IT HAD
ITSELF TO COME CLOSER TO EUROPE.
IT SAW EUROPE
AS THE ONLY, AND IF NOT THE
ONLY, AT LEAST THE MOST LOGICAL
SOURCE, OF RUSSIA'S OWN
MODERNIZATION, THE SOURCE OF
INVESTMENT, THE SOURCE OF NEW
TECHNOLOGIES, AND SO ON AND SO
FORTH, WHICH FACILITATED FINDING
THE COMPROMISE WITH UKRAINE.
THE PROBLEM
WITH THAT, PUTIN'S NEW
PRAGMATISM, WAS, HOWEVER, VERY
NEAR, AND THAT PROBLEM OF THAT
WAS THAT THIS POLICY OF
PRAGMATISM OF PUTIN WON, WAS
ONLY POSSIBLE AS LONG AS THE
POST-SOVIET CONTEXT, WHICH I
TRIED TO DESCRIBE EARLIER, WAS
THERE.
SOMETIME IN THE FALL OF 2003,
RUSSIAN POLICY MADE A U-TURN.
IT CEASED TO BE PRAGMATIC, AND
IT BASICALLY, RUSSIA BECAME MUCH
MORE ASSERTIVE VIS-A-VIS ITS
POST-SLAVIC NEIGHBOURS.
AND WE SHOULD TRY TO UNDERSTAND
WHY THAT HAPPENED.
THAT HAPPENED BECAUSE THE
TRIANGLE OR, IF YOU LIKE, THIS
POST-SOVIET CONTEXT AS A WHOLE
IN THE WESTERN PART OF THE
FORMER SOVIET UNION, IT WAS
CHALLENGED.
IT WAS VERY SERIOUSLY CHALLENGED
FROM INSIDE, BECAUSE BY THAT
MOMENT, VERY IMPORTANT CHANGES
HAD TAKEN PLACE INSIDE UKRAINE,
FIRST OF ALL.
IN 2002, A POLITICAL FORCE WHICH
RUSSIA -- I MEAN OUR UKRAINE...
WHICH RUSSIA APPARENTLY DIDN'T
LIKE AND AGAINST WHICH IT WORKED
DURING THE PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE, WON THE
ELECTIONS.
THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME WHEN
THIS HAPPENED, BECAUSE BEFORE,
THE POLITICAL FORCE THAT HAD THE
SUPPORT OF RUSSIA WAS ALWAYS
WINNING.
IN 2002, THE SITUATION CHANGED,
AND THAT FACT HAD TO BE ACCEPTED
AND TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.
UKRAINIAN OLIGARCHS THAT EMERGED
DURING THE BIG PRIVATIZATION
AFTER 1999, THEY WERE
INDEPENDENT FIGURES.
IF EARLIER ON, UKRAINIAN
OLIGARCHS WERE MOSTLY INVOLVED
INTO THE TRADE OF RUSSIAN GAS,
BETWEEN '92 AND 2002, UKRAINE
HAS GOT SEVERAL POWERFUL GROUPS
OF PEOPLE WHOSE FORTUNE WAS NOT
DEPENDENT ON RUSSIAN GAS, WELL,
MOSTLY IN THE METALLURGICAL
BUSINESS, BUT NOT ONLY.
PEOPLE WHOSE PERSONAL FORTUNE
WAS ESTIMATED AS RANGING BETWEEN
TWO TO FOUR BILLION DOLLARS WERE
NOT THAT MUCH DEPENDENT ON THE
RUSSIAN POLITICAL SUPPORT.
THEY WERE ABLE TO BUY THEIR OWN
MEDIA AND IF NECESSARY THEIR OWN
FACTIONS OF PARLIAMENT.
THEY DIDN'T NEED TO BORROW THE
RUSSIAN MONEY FOR THAT.
AND THE UKRAINIAN STATE ACTUALLY
WAS BECOMING MORE AND MORE
STABLE FROM INSIDE.
THE CRIMEAN ISSUE WAS NO LONGER
ON THE AGENDA.
THE ORIGINAL SPLIT WAS GETTING
ACTUALLY NOT SO DRAMATICALLY
THREATENING THE FUTURE OF THE
STATE.
AND FINALLY, EVEN THE CENSUS
CONDUCTED IN THE EARLY 2000 OR
2001, SORRY, DEMONSTRATED THAT
EVEN THE...
IT SHOWED THE CHANGES IN THE
STRUCTURE OF UKRAINE'S
POPULATION.
THE CENSUS OF '89, ACCORDING TO
THE CENSUS OF '89, THE SHARE OF
THE RUSSIANS IN UKRAINE WAS 22 PERCENT.
ACCORDING TO THE CENSUS
CONDUCTED 12 YEARS LATER, IT WAS
JUST 17 PERCENT.
YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS FALL
UNLESS YOU ASSUME THAT PEOPLE
JUST CHANGED THEIR
SELF-IDENTIFICATION.
I DON'T KNOW
IF THESE WERE PEOPLE FROM MIXED
FAMILIES OR WHAT, BUT THE
PEOPLE MORE, A SIGNIFICANT 5 PERCENT OF
THE POPULATION -- THAT'S A
SIGNIFICANT SHARE -- STARTED TO
THINK ABOUT THEMSELVES AS
UKRAINIANS AND NOT RUSSIANS.
THAT WAS A VERY BIG THING, AND
THAT HAD TO BE ACCEPTED.
IN BELARUS, THE PROCESSES WERE
DIFFERENT, BUT IN A WAY, THEY
WEREN'T SORT OF AS... WORRYING
THE RUSSIAN POLICYMAKERS AS
THOSE IN UKRAINE.
MISTER LUKASHENKO, IN ORDER TO STAY
IN POWER, STARTED TO USE MORE
AND MORE...
HE STARTED TO PLAY THE
SOVEREIGNTY CARD.
HE CLEARLY SAID THAT THERE WOULD
BE NO REUNIFICATION.
HE...
WELL, WHEN PUTIN -- WELL, THAT
WAS ALSO A PROVOCATION -- IN
2002 OFFERED BELARUS TO
BASICALLY ENTER THE RUSSIAN
FEDERATION NOT EVEN AS A STATE
BUT AS SIX OR SEVEN
ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS,
MISTER LUKASHENKO SAID THAT EVEN
COMRADE STALIN WOULD NEVER HAVE
DARED TO PROPOSE THIS TO
BELARUS, AND THAT WAS A VERY
SERIOUS STATEMENT.
ECONOMIC CHANGES STARTED TO TAKE
PLACE.
EVEN BELORUSSIAN TRADE STARTED
TO REORIENT MORE AND MORE
TOWARDS EUROPE FOR A VERY EASY
REASON, BECAUSE RUSSIA THAT WAS
GETTING RICH, WAS LESS AND LESS
INTERESTED IN THE BELORUSSIAN
GOODS THAT WERE PRICE
COMPETITIVE BUT THAT WERE NOT
QUALITY COMPETITIVE.
AND LUKASHENKO...
WELL, THE BELORUSSIAN
POPULATION, STARTING FROM
SOMETIME IN 2002 AND UP UNTIL
NOW, NO MORE THAN 13 OR 15 PERCENT OF
BELORUSSIANS SAY THEY WOULD LIKE
TO LIVE WITH RUSSIA IN A COMMON
STATE, WHEREAS IN THE LAST THREE
YEARS, THE SHARE OF THOSE WHO
HAVE BEEN WILLING THEIR COUNTRY
TO JOIN THE EUROPEAN UNION HAD
NEVER FALLEN BELOW 50 PERCENT.
SO THESE CHANGES WERE THERE, AND
I SAID WHAT MISTER LUKASHENKO WAS
DOING WHEN HE...
HIS ATTEMPTS TO PLAY THE
SOVEREIGNTY CARD LED HIM
ACTUALLY REALLY FAR.
LAST YEAR, IN THE FALL OF 2004,
WHEN HE HAD TO RUN HIS
REFERENDUM TO CONTINUE HIS STAY
IN POWER, HE CLEARLY...
HIS WHOLE CAMPAIGN WAS BASED ON
A CLEAR ANTI-RUSSIAN PLATFORM IN
ONE SENSE.
HE WAS SAYING THAT HE RAN A
SMALL STABLE COUNTRY, WHEREAS
RUSSIA WAS BIG, UNSTABLE AND
THREATENED BY TERRORISTS.
HE ANNOUNCED HIS REFERENDUM ON
THE SAME VERY DAY WHEN RUSSIA
WAS MOURNING THE VICTIMS OF
BESLAN.
HE DID IT ON PURPOSE.
HE WANTED TO SHOW THAT HIS RULE
IN BELARUS WAS BETTER THAN ANY
ALTERNATIVES THAT RUSSIA COULD
OFFER.
AND THIS THING CERTAINLY COULD
NOT HAVE PASSED UNNOTICED BY
MISTER PUTIN.
SO THE TRIANGLE WAS CHALLENGED
FROM WITHIN, AND IT WAS ALSO
CHALLENGED FROM OUTSIDE, I MEAN
THE EUROPEAN UNION ENLARGEMENT.
REMEMBER WHAT I SAID EARLIER...
AS LONG AS THE COUNTRIES HAD NO
ALTERNATIVES BUT TO TREAT RUSSIA
AS THE FIRST FOREIGN POLICY
PRIORITY, WHETHER IN POSITIVE OR
NEGATIVE TERMS, WE HAD ONE
SITUATION, BUT ONCE THEY
REALIZED THAT THE UNION WAS
COMING TO THEIR BORDERS, AND THE
ENLARGED UNION WOULD NEVER BE
SIMILAR AS THE OLD UNION, AS THE
UNION CONSISTING OF
15 COUNTRIES, THEY STARTED TO
WELCOME THE STRONGER
INTERFERENCE AND ACTION OF THE
UNION ON ITS EASTERN PERIPHERY.
IN THE VIEWS OF UKRAINIANS AND
MANY BELORUSSIANS, THIS
DIFFERENT ALTERNATIVE SYSTEMIC
PLAYER CAME TO THEIR BORDERS,
AND THE REORIENTATION
ACCELERATED.
IT STARTED BEFORE, BUT IT
ACCELERATED ONCE IT BECAME CLEAR
THAT IN 2004 THE GEO-ECONOMIC AND
TO A CERTAIN EXTENT GEOPOLITICAL
SITUATION IN THE REGION WOULD
CHANGE.
AND THE OTHER THING...
WELL, PARTLY RELATED TO THAT WAS
THAT RUSSIA LOST IDEATIONAL
APPEAL IN THE EYES OF MANY
UKRAINIANS AND EVEN MANY
BELORUSSIANS.
IT WORKED DIFFERENTLY FOR
DIFFERENT PEOPLE, BUT THOSE
PEOPLE WHO BEFOREHAND
APPRECIATED RUSSIA EITHER
BECAUSE IT WAS THE MOST REFORMED
AND THEREFORE DEMONSTRATED THE
BEST ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE OR
BECAUSE IT WAS THE MOST
DEMOCRATICALLY REFORMED, THESE
PEOPLE WANTED IN A WAY THEIR
COUNTRIES AND THEIR LEADERSHIP
TO FOLLOW RUSSIA'S SUIT.
IT CHANGED SOMETIME IN 2003 AND
2004... 2003, I WOULD EVEN SAY,
BECAUSE RUSSIA WAS NO LONGER THE
LEADER REGARDING THE TEMPLES OF
ECONOMIC GROWTH, FOR EXAMPLE.
IT WAS CERTAINLY BECOMING LESS
AND LESS DEMOCRATIC AND EVEN
LESS AND LESS PLURALIST.
IT HAD ALL SORTS OF SOCIAL ILLS.
IT WAS
THREATENED BY TERRORISTS, AND
ITS WAR IN CHECHNYA WAS TOO
WELL-KNOWN.
NOBODY WANTED TO SEND THEIR
CHILDREN TO FIGHT IN CHECHNYA,
AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.
SO THE
CHALLENGE WAS...
THE CHALLENGE OR MULTIPLE
CHALLENGES WERE THERE.
COINCIDENTALLY, AT THAT TIME, AT
THE END OF PUTIN'S FIRST TERM IN
OFFICE, MOSCOW FELT ABLE TO STOP
THE EROSION OF THE SLAVIC
TRIANGLE.
IT THOUGHT THAT IT HAD
ACCUMULATED ENOUGH POWER TO
REGAIN ITS POSITIONS IN THE
POST-SOVIET SPACE BECAUSE IT
THOUGHT IT WAS ECONOMICALLY
STRONGER.
IT THOUGHT IT HAD THE VERTICAL
OF POWER THAT WOULD ALLOW THE
COUNTRY AT LEAST TO PURSUE
COORDINATED FOREIGN POLICY.
YOU HAD DIFFERENT POLITICAL
FORCES IN THE COUNTRY, RANGING
FROM TRADITIONAL (Russian word)
STATISTS TO THE NEWLY-BORN
NATIONALISTS, TO THE FORCE THAT
WAS THE MOST INTERESTING IN THIS
PARTICULAR CONTEXT THAT CALLED
ITSELF LIBERAL IMPERIALISTS.
IT'S THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SAYING
THAT, "YES, WE ARE FOR THE
LIBERAL ECONOMY, AND WE'LL BUY
EVERYTHING THAT IS THERE, AND
WE'LL CONTROL ALL THE ASSETS
THAT ARE THERE, AND WE'LL BRING
THEM THE LIBERAL ECONOMY THEN,
BUT WE'LL CONTROL IT."
ALL THESE POLITICAL FORCES NOT
ONLY SUPPORTED THE WAY OF
THINKING ACCORDING TO WHICH
SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE, BUT
THEY DEMANDED THE ACTION.
AND AGAIN, APPROXIMATELY AT THE
SAME TIME, THE POLICY OF THE
RUSSIAN EUROPEAN CHOICE WAS PUT
ON SHELF, WHICH HAD A VERY
SERIOUS IMPACT ON THE BEHAVIOUR
IN THE POST-SOVIET SPACE.
IT'S JUST THE LOGIC, BECAUSE IF
YOU WANT TO COME CLOSER TO
EUROPE, THEN TOO GOOD
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE REGIME OF
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO IS A
LIABILITY, BUT IF YOU DON'T,
THAT DOESN'T MATTER.
IF YOU ARE MOVING YOURSELF
CLOSER TO EUROPE, THEN YOUR VIEW
ON WHO WILL MAKE IT THERE FIRST,
UKRAINE OR RUSSIA, IS ONE STORY.
YOU CAN TAKE IT EASY.
BUT IF YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE
NOT GOING TO EUROPE, WHILE
UKRAINE IS, THEN YOU HAVE TO BE
PREPARED TO ONE DAY SEE THE NEW
CIVILIZATIONAL BORDER OF EUROPE
DRAWN ALONG THE
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN BORDER WITH
ALL THAT FACT ENTAILS, STARTING
FROM THE VISA REGIMES.
AND AGAIN, ONE THING IS THAT YOU
RETHINK WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND
THE OTHER THING THAT YOU BELIEVE
THAT YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY STOP THE
ENLARGEMENT AND YOU MIGHT
PRESERVE THE BORDER WHERE IT IS,
NAMELY, ON THE UKRAINIAN-POLISH
BORDER.
WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.
WE KNOW TUZLA.
WE KNOW THE CUT OF GAS SUPPLIES
TO BELARUS IN FEBRUARY 2004.
WE KNOW MASSIVE INTERFERENCE
INTO THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS AND FOR THAT MATTER,
AND NOT SO MASSIVE, BUT STILL
INTERFERENCE INTO THE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN
MOLDOVA IN MARCH 2005.
BUT THIS DIDN'T WORK, AND IT
PROBABLY...
IT COULDN'T HAVE WORKED EXACTLY
FOR THE REASON THAT THE CONTEXT
CHANGED, AND RUSSIA HAD LOST
THIS IDEATIONAL APPEAL, AND THE
CHOICES HAD BEEN MADE IN A WAY.
SO WHERE ARE WE NOW, AND WHERE
ARE WE GOING?
WELL, FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY
SOME WORDS ABOUT THE
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS.
THE FIRST THING THAT NEEDS TO BE
UNDERLINED IS THAT AFTER THE
ORANGE REVOLUTION, UKRAINE IS NO
LONGER THE LITTLE BROTHER.
RUSSIANS UNDERSTAND THAT, AND
UKRAINIANS UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT
BEFORE BOTH UNDERSTOOD THAT,
UKRAINIAN ADMINISTRATION TOOK
SEVERAL DEMONSTRATIVE ACTIONS TO
SHOW IT.
I WILL REMIND YOU THAT
PRESIDENT YUSHENKO APPOINTED
YULIA TYMOSHENKO THE
PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE.
PHYSICALLY ON HIS WAY TO MOSCOW,
HE SIGNED A DOCUMENT IN THE
AIRPORT BASICALLY TO SHOW THAT
FROM NOW ON, NEVER MOSCOW WOULD
HAVE A SAY IN UKRAINE'S CATERED
POLICY.
MOSCOW DIDN'T LIKE THE
PASSIONARIA
OF THE
ORANGE REVOLUTION.
TYMOSHENKO WAS INDICTED IN
RUSSIA FOR BRIBERY.
YUSHENKO DID WHAT HE DID.
THAT WAS A VERY STRONG SYMBOLIC
GESTURE.
A COUPLE OF MONTHS LATER, HE
INVITED LEADING RUSSIAN
BUSINESSMEN TO COME TO KIEV,
WHERE HE PROMISED THEM CERTAIN
THINGS, AND HE GAVE THEM
ASSURANCES THAT THEIR PROPERTY
WOULD NOT BE TAKEN AWAY, WHICH
THEY WANTED TO HEAR OBVIOUSLY.
BUT IN KUCHMA'S YEARS, THE
UNDERSTANDING WAS THAT IN ORDER
TO HAVE GOOD ECONOMIC RELATIONS,
THE TWO COUNTRIES WOULD ALWAYS
NEED TO HAVE TWO PRESIDENTS OR
THE POLITICAL CLASS AS
INTERMEDIARIES.
BY INVITING RUSSIAN BUSINESSMEN
TO KIEV, YUSHENKO SAID, "NO
MORE.
I DON'T NEED KREMLIN TO TALK TO
RUSSIAN BUSINESS PEOPLE."
AND THEY WENT TO KIEV, AND THAT
WAS PERHAPS AN EXTREMELY
REMARKABLE, A REMIND WORTHY
THING.
THE POLICY OF
THE EUROPEAN CHOICE, UKRAINE
MADE IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR THAT
ITS FIRST PRIORITY IS
INTEGRATION INTO THE EUROPEAN
UNION FIRST OF ALL, BUT IT WOULD
LIKE TO KEEP AS MANY TIES WITH
RUSSIA AS POSSIBLE.
IN HIS ADDRESS
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS FIRST
ANNIVERSARY IN POWER, JUST TWO
OR THREE DAYS AGO, MISTER YUSHENKO
MADE A VERY IMPORTANT STATEMENT
ACTUALLY, SORT OF TRYING TO
ASSESS THE RESULTS OF HIS FIRST
YEAR.
HE SAID, "WE GOT CLOSER TO
EUROPE, AND WE BECAME MORE
UNDERSTANDABLE FOR RUSSIA."
THAT'S A VERY WELL-COINED
PHRASE.
I MEAN IT REALLY DESCRIBES THE
CHOICE THAT WAS MADE.
WHAT RUSSIA COULD DO?
WELL, ITS FIRST ACTIONS WERE
ACTUALLY AIMED AT PREVENTING
CONTRACTING THE ORANGE DISEASE.
SO THEY WERE DOMESTIC.
THEY WERE ORIENTED AT THE
DOMESTIC MARKET, STRENGTHENING
OF PROPAGANDA, BETTER CONTROL OF
ELITES, BECAUSE THE WAY RUSSIA
DIAGNOSED WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT
HAD HAPPENED IN UKRAINE WAS THAT
IT WAS THE SPLIT IN THE ELITES
THAT MADE THIS POSSIBLE TO
HAPPEN AND THAT THIS WAS A
FOREIGN MONEY THAT HELPED THE
REVOLUTIONARIES.
SO IN A WAY, MOSCOW BEHAVED IN A
VERY LOGICAL WAY.
IT CERTAINLY PREVENTED THE SPLIT
OF THE ELITES, IT STRENGTHENED
THE DISCIPLINE IN THEIR OWN
LEADERSHIP, AND WE SEE WHAT'S
GOING ON NOW WITH REGARD TO THIS
LAW THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY BAN
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS,
PUT AN END TO THE VERY EXISTENCE
OF MANY NON-GOVERNMENTAL
ORGANIZATIONS IN RUSSIA.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, ALTHOUGH
RUSSIA DIDN'T LIKE WHAT WAS
GOING ON IN THE RELATIONSHIP, IT
WAS NOT READY FOR A LONG AND
PROTRACTED CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE
FOR TWO REASONS, ONE, BECAUSE IN
THAT CASE, IT WOULD HAVE TO TAKE
ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
CONFLICT, BECAUSE THE
PHRASEOLOGY COMING FROM KIEV IS
THAT "WE WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH
YOU," NOTHING RESEMBLING THE
BALTIC EXPERIENCE OF THE EARLY
'90s, BECAUSE THE BALTS, WHAT
THEY WERE DOING WAS A
GEOPOLITICAL FLIGHT, AND THEY
WERE TRYING TO CUT AS MANY TIES
AS THEY HAD.
UKRAINIANS ARE SAYING, "WE WANT
TO KEEP AS MANY TIES AS WE HAVE,
PROVIDED THESE TIES WILL NOT
IMPEDE OUR WAY TO EUROPE."
SO IF MOSCOW NOW SAYS THAT
THERE'S GOING TO BE A CONFLICT,
THAT'S THE MOSCOW'S CHOICE, AND
THAT'S THE CHOICE THAT WILL BE
ALSO STILL NOT SO EASY TO SELL
TO THE PUBLIC INSIDE RUSSIA,
EXACTLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE
TIES BETWEEN PEOPLE ARE STILL IN
PLACE.
AND THE SECOND REASON IS THAT
MOSCOW IS NOT READY FOR THE LONG
CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE EXACTLY
BECAUSE OF THE EUROPEAN FACTOR.
IT'S A VERY DELICATE
RELATIONSHIP AT THE MOMENT.
EUROPEAN UNION, MAYBE AGAINST
ITS WILL, IS BEING BROUGHT
CLOSER TO THE SCENE.
IT HAS TO TAKE A STAND.
IT HAS TO HAVE A POSITION
REGARDING WHATEVER HAPPENS
BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, AND
IF THE FIGHT IS BETWEEN THE TWO,
RUSSIA IS BY DEFINITION
STRONGER, AND UKRAINE CANNOT
RECIPROCATE.
BUT HAVING EUROPE SOMEWHERE ON
THE BACKSTAGE, AT LEAST
THINKING -- AND NOW EUROPE IS
NOT ONLY THINKING, BUT IT'S
TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON...
MOSCOW HAS TO ADMIT THAT A
CONFLICT WITH UKRAINE WOULD NOT
BE IN ITS INTERESTS.
SO I THINK THAT
RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS WILL
BE EVOLVING MORE TOWARDS THE
INTERSTATE RELATIONSHIP.
EVEN IF REFORMS IN UKRAINE
SLOWED DOWN, THERE IS CERTAINLY
NO WAY BACK, AND WHAT WAS DONE
TOWARDS THIS PARTICULAR
RELATIONSHIP IS IRREVERSIBLE.
HOWEVER, SPEAKING AT THIS
PODIUM, I SHOULD SAY THAT THERE
IS ONE HUGE WILD CARD, AND THIS
WILD CARD IS CALLED CORRUPTION.
BOTH COUNTRIES ARE IN THE SECOND
HUNDRED OF THE MOST CORRUPT
COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, AND
ALTHOUGH THERE WAS SOME PROGRESS
IN UKRAINE NOTICED BY
INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS, IT'S
STILL AN EXTREMELY CORRUPT
COUNTRY, AND CORRUPTION OPENS
VERY WIDE AVENUES FOR ALL SORTS
OF INFLUENCES AND, IN A WAY, ALL
SORTS OF...
IT ALSO OPENS THE WAY TO USE
INSTRUMENTS TO IMPEDE UKRAINE'S
SYSTEMIC TRANSFORMATION AND IN
THAT WAY PERHAPS TO KEEP CERTAIN
OPENINGS TO THE REVERSAL OF THE
POST-SOVIET PARADIGM.
IN RUSSIAN-BELORUSSIAN
RELATIONS, THERE'S GOING TO BE A
STALEMATE.
RUSSIA CANNOT AFFORD TO CONTINUE
A CONFLICT WITH MISTER LUKASHENKO
FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, BECAUSE
AGAIN, THIS RELATIONSHIP IS TOO
IMPORTANT DOMESTICALLY.
IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO
EXPLAIN TO THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE
WHY AFTER 10 YEARS OF CLOSE
POLITICAL INTEGRATIONS THERE
SHOULD BE A CONFLICT NOW BETWEEN
RUSSIA AND BELARUS, WHY RUSSIA
SHOULD EXERCISE PRESSURE.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IN MOSCOW
THERE ARE NO ILLUSIONS VIS-A-VIS
LUKASHENKO.
MOSCOW KNOWS WELL ALL THE
PROBLEMS THAT EXIST IN THE
ECONOMIC SPHERE BETWEEN THE TWO
COUNTRIES AND ALSO IN THE
POLITICAL SPHERE.
BUT THAT'S WHY I SAY IT'S A
STALEMATE.
RUSSIA WILL BE...
RUSSIAN-BELORUSSIAN RELATIONSHIP
WILL BE IN A WAY ENTRAPPED.
IT'S NOT POSSIBLE FOR MOSCOW NOW
TO OVERCOME THE LIMITS THAT ARE
IMPOSED BY SUCH THINGS AS THE
NEED TO DEMONSTRATE THE
VIABILITY OF THIS PARTICULAR
POST-SOVIET ALLIANCE.
IF YOU ASK ME WHAT WILL HAPPEN
TO THE UNION STATE, I WILL TELL
YOU THAT MY FORECAST IS THAT
NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.
IT WILL REMAIN ON PAPER.
MISTER LUKASHENKO CARES TOO MUCH
ABOUT HIS SOVEREIGN POWERS, AND
THAT'S WHY HE IS NOT GOING TO
CONCEDE ON ANYTHING, AND
ACTUALLY ALSO RUSSIA IS NOT
PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN ANY
SORT OF SUPERNATIONAL
STRUCTURES.
AND IF THE STORY IS, THE
CONSPIRACY THEORY SAYS MISTER PUTIN
MIGHT NEED THE UNION STATE TO
CONTINUE HIS STAY IN POWER AFTER
THE YEAR 2008, I WOULD ARGUE
THAT HE HAS MANY OTHER EASIER
POSSIBILITIES, ALSO LEGAL
POSSIBILITIES, HOW TO DO IT, NOT
VIOLATING THE RUSSIAN LAW OR THE
RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION OR NOT
AMENDING THE RUSSIAN LAW.
WHAT WILL
HAPPEN BETWEEN UKRAINE AND
BELARUS IS, OF COURSE, DIFFICULT
TO SAY.
I THINK THAT FOR THE TIME BEING,
WE WILL SEE THAT THESE COUNTRIES
WILL BE DRIFTING FURTHER APART
FROM EACH OTHER, AGAIN BECAUSE
MISTER LUKASHENKO DOESN'T WANT TO
BE TOO CLOSELY... TO BE TOO MUCH
EXPOSED TO WHAT IS GOING ON IN
BELARUS, IN UKRAINE.
BUT IF THE
POLITICAL SITUATION INSIDE
BELARUS CHANGES, SO WILL THE
RELATIONSHIP, AND I THINK IT
WILL, BECAUSE I DO THINK THAT
THE CURRENT BELORUSSIAN REGIME
IN THE LONG RUN IS NOT
SUSTAINABLE, AND IT WILL HAVE TO
GO SOONER OR LATER.
MUCH WILL, OF COURSE, DEPEND ON
EUROPE, ON EUROPE'S POSITION,
HOW IT WILL TREAT ITS NEIGHBOURS
AND SO ON.
MY FINAL CONCLUSION IS THAT AT
LEAST FOR THE SHORT TO MEDIUM
TERM FUTURE, THE SLAVIC TRIANGLE
WILL STAY WITH US.
IT WILL REMAIN, BUT IT WILL
ERODE, AND INSTEAD OF THE SLAVIC
TRIANGLE AS IT EXISTS NOW,
UNLESS RUSSIA CHANGES ITS VIEWS
ON WHAT IT ITSELF SHOULD DO
VIS-A-VIS EUROPE, WE WILL SEE A
NEW PROCESS THAT THE NEW EUROPE
IN BETWEEN WILL BE EMERGING.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The audience applauds.

Watch: Arkady Moshes on Russia, the EU and Ukraine