A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually. (Abba Eban)
The fact of holding four-party talks in Geneva (17 April 2014), which lasted more than 7 hours, became the major result of these talks. On the last night before the meeting in Switzerland residents of the city of Mariupol expected that the Ukrainian army would attack SBU building, which was occupied by the supporters of Donetsk People's Republic. Possible attack with mass casualties would exclude the appearance of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia at the negotiating table in Geneva. As a result an attack did not happen...
But four-party exchange of views took place, although it can hardly be called productive. In fact, we can say that the final agreement was Russian-American, as negotiation format was constantly changing from the quadrilateral to triangular (without representatives of Ukraine) and finally to two-way dialogue (Russia - USA).
This fact shows the current level of world politics, which has the following distinctive features:
- No world or regional problem can be solved without the participation of Russia;
- Only two powers - the US and Russia can take the optimal solution regarding the situation in Syria or elsewhere in the world, including Europe. The EU's role in decision-making remains very low, background.
In view of the abovementioned reasons, it would be correct to say that the conference in Geneva was Russian-American, as well as the final document, which was agreed without any problems with the EU. Kiev would have to implement this agreement under the supervision of the United States, Russia and the OSCE, as universal international organization responsible for monitoring on the territory of Ukraine. By the way, Russia insisted on such monitoring, as Moscow was clearly tired to refute the allegations, especially from Kiev, about Russian troops, military instructors, saboteurs, spies and other vampires and ghouls in eastern Ukraine.
Even today the Ukrainian authorities periodically report about new arrests of “werewolves” and “terrorists”, but do not show real evidence. It is worth recalling that on the eve of the meeting in Geneva the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that it would present the evidence of the presence of Russian troops in the eastern regions of Ukraine. As it turned out, we saw nothing but words.
But it is worth noting that the considerable part of the Ukrainian and Belarusian political classes does not need evidence. According to the tradition of Eastern European elites and the ruling groups there is no need to admit own mistakes, political failures and internal crises as you can always accuse your eastern neighbor.
Presenting itself as a victim of aggression by the "empire", shouting to the world about the elusive “Russian saboteurs”, Kiev authorities want to receive not loans, but unconditional and irrevocable assistance.
An additional point is that declaring the fight of population of the eastern regions of Ukraine for federalism (a referendum on the federal structure of the country) as an intrigue of pro-Russian forces; Kiev deliberately veils the main reasons of resistance in these regions:
- An extremely difficult economic and social situation of the population,which is suffering from rising prices, devaluation of the hryvnia, unemployment, de-industrialization of the region;
- Long-term and traditional, political, ethnic and regional ("Donetsk") defamation of the local population, its traditions and holidays, the imposition of the Ukrainian language, absence of effective representation of these regions in the higher echelons of power, two decades of rabid anti-Russian information campaign, supplantation of Russian media (TV channels);
- An example of the neighbour Russian regions and Russia itself, which are perceived in the status of clear and successful models of development, the rejection of the Ukrainian version of European integration;
- Fatigue from long-term insanity of Kiev, constant deception by the country's top leadership, a deep distrust of the central government.
As a result, the eastern region feels itself like Bantustan, and declared military operation is considered as a crusade of Uniate – Catholic West against the Orthodox East.
Kiev can do nothing with the Crimea. Ukrainian delegation went to Geneva with the firm decision (and supported by the EU and the US) to demand Russia to return the Crimea.
It should be noted that a new political tradition of public statements that the Crimea would be returned to Ukraine was formed in Kiev very quickly. We saw such a situation in Georgia, when political field in this country was changing after the Georgian- South Ossetian war and Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Nevertheless, the Crimean issue was not raised in Geneva despite the desire of Kiev. This was understandable. There is no shooting in Crimea, and the situation in the East of Ukraine is gradually, but steadily flowing into the mainstream of the civil war.
This is the essence of the issue: at a time when the Kiev authorities have started an anti-terrorist operation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and moved army, including armored vehicles, tanks, aircraft against its own people, who were demanding a referendum on the federal structure of the state, Ukraine handed over the Crimea to Russia forever...
Using the army to suppress the actions of the people actually legitimized the new status of the Crimea as a subject of the Russian Federation. Moreover, the events in the East of Ukraine only strengthened public confidence of the Crimean citizens in the correctness of the choices they have made in the referendum on March 16.
Last week Alexander Turchinov took responsibility and sent troops to the eastern regions of the country for the "cleansing" them from "terrorists" and "separatists".However, as it turned out, the Ukrainian army is not ready enough for full-scale raid. In addition, many of militants appear to have not only the years of service in the army, but military experience in Afghanistan.
Of course, it would be wrong to believe that the Ukrainian army has no divisions that are ready to fight against the militants, but surely, the army is a mirror of the crisis of Ukrainian statehood. Apparently, Kiev understands this.
No doubt, Moscow, Washington, Brussels, Minsk and especially Kiev drew attention to the paralysis of the Ukrainian army, which was not ready to act as a punisher of its own people. Unlikely the Belarusian army has more cannibalistic sentiment towards its own citizens. In any case, the Belarusian president should not expect that Belarusian army will start to shoot at the opponents of the Lukashenko regime in case of massive anti-government protests...
What comes next?
Washington and Moscow are key partners in Geneva agreement. Moscow actually confirmed that it has no plans to bring troops to the East and South- East of Ukraine. In reality, there is no need in Russian military support, especially taking into account the current state of readiness of the Ukrainian army and readiness of "Donetsk” to stop special operation. East can protect itself.
After Geneva agreement Washington actually appeared in the role of overseer over Kiev (very unenviable role) and Moscow delivered all its claims directly to Washington. After that, as they say, the sovereignty of Ukraine has ended. Before Geneva we could say that modern Ukraine was a protectorate of the EU. But now it is in the status of the American colony.
At the same time long-standing practice of balancing in the foreign policy of Ukraine has ended. Kiev was trying to use a dialogue with the European Union as a factor of pressure on Moscow and vice versa. It is worth recalling that Victor Yanukovych, recognized virtuoso of balancing, eventually became entangled in his own foreign intrigues, left without allies and lost the power.
Foreign policy balancing, along with the crisis of Ukrainian statehood and the collapse of Ukrainian national economic model just created the conditions for the escalation of profound structural political and economic crisis in Ukraine.
After the Geneva talks the sides considered the outcome of negotiations as their victories and demanded from each other to perform the most important for them points of the agreement.
Of course, Kiev urgently needs to break the resistance of Donetsk People's Republic. Ukrainian authorities demand the militants to lay down arms and vacate government buildings. At the same time, Kiev is basing on text of the agreement, which really says that “the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations. All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated”.
Nevertheless Kiev immediately announced that all Maidan military groups are not covered by the Geneva agreement, as well as buildings, captured by radicals in the center of the Ukrainian capital. In general, the Kiev authorities confirmed the opinion that they are not able to agree and interpret the agreements only in their favor.
At the same time the Ukrainian authorities have not cancelled the military operation in eastern Ukraine, in other words Kiev has decided not to “refrain from violence”, but just the contrary ... It is clear that Yatsenyuk and Turchynov full all responsibility for own sabotage of the Geneva agreements on Moscow ...
In turn, Moscow is interested in the beginning of the constitutional process in Ukraine (The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments), which implies a discussion on the federal structure of Ukraine. However, there are serious doubts that Kiev is generally capable to hold a dialogue with its own regions... Anyway, it seems that announced in Geneva amnesty may be declared only in late May.
Horror of federation
Ruling elites of all the Eastern European countries are experiencing incredible fear in relation to the federal structure of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. First of all, within the winning of state and ethnic nationalism, it is believed that on the one hand the federation will prevent the formation of the titular nations with a common language and even confession, and on the other hand to help preserve the national minority.
Moreover, it is believed that the federation will ensure the growth of Russian influence in the eastern regions of Ukraine, which will eventually lead to a change of one federation to another. Interestingly, but in ruling circles in Minsk there are similar fears regarding Mogilev and Vitebsk regions. The main reason for this only hypothetical "turning point" in the fate of the sovereign Belarus is not considered the issue of the language (Russian is the second official language in Belarus), ) or ethnic affiliation (there are no analogues of Crimea in Belarus), but the final the collapse of the Belarusian economy. Considerable part of the working population of these Belarusian regions works in Russia.
In the case of federalization of Belarus, partially independent from Minsk political elite will be formed. It will have certain rights in its territory. These processes will lead to historically rapid dismantling of the authoritarian regime in the country as a whole.
In addition, Alexander Lukashenko will never agree to unify political and territorial structure of Belarus and Russia in the framework of Union State, as he understands that the unitary Belarus will never be able to really unite with the federal Russia.
But all this is not so important today. Let’s pay attention to another issue. Until now, the official Minsk and personally Alexander Lukashenko do not comment on the direction of the Ukrainian army in the eastern regions of Ukraine to stop protests of Ukrainian- Russian population (Slavyansk, for example, is mainly Ukrainian city). It somehow does not fit with the attempts of the Belarusian ruler to present himself as the leader of Slavic people. Perhaps, Alexander Lukashenko is afraid to make a mistake, in other words, express public joy that the neighbors are almost in a state of civil war, and everything is quiet in Belarus...
А. Suzdaltsev, Moscow, 20.04.14