CRIMEAN COMMUNIST LEADER URGES UKRAINE'SINTEGRATION WITH RUSSIA,
Action Ukraine Coalition (AUC), Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.; Kyiv, Ukraine, FRIDAY, April 30, 2004
11. CRIMEAN COMMUNIST LEADER URGES UKRAINE'S
INTEGRATION WITH RUSSIA, NOT EUROPE
"National Idea: A Moment of Truth"
By Leonid Hrach, Crimean Communist Leader
Kiyevskiye Vedomosti, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 20 Apr 04; p 5
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wednesday, Apr 28, 2004
KYIV - Ukraine should strive for closer cooperation with Russia rather than
move in the European direction, Crimean Communist leader Leonid Hrach has
written in a progovernment newspaper. Opinion polls show that Ukrainians are
Russia-oriented, he argues. Hrach condemns the official course towards NATO
integration, as Ukraine may lose its sovereignty in NATO, according to
The following is the text of the article by Leonid Hrach, entitled "National
idea: a moment of truth" and published in the Kievskiye Vedomosti newspaper
on 20 April 2004; subheadings inserted editorially:
[Editorial introduction] The term national idea is sometimes applied to
pretty odd things in our land. For one, a recipe to transform Soviet
Ukraine, erstwhile one of the world's top 10 industrially advanced
countries, into Europe's backwater. Further pursuance of this policy, being
passed off as gaining national sovereignty, can only confirm Ukraine's
status as a raw-material and transit appendage to advanced states.
UKRAINE'S INTERNATIONAL PREFERENCES
[Leonid Hrach, chairman of the all-Ukrainian association Heirs of Bohdan
Khmelnytskyy, people's deputy of Ukraine] We have satisfied ourselves that
independence does not automatically create a national idea. A national idea
cannot come about unless society has developed consciously perceived
priorities and values. They are traditionally referred to as national
interests because they make it possible to unite isolated ethnic and
cultural groups into a political nation.
A recent survey conducted by the Oleksandr Razumkov centre for economic and
political research has shown that up to 40 per cent of Ukrainian citizens
think that relations with Russia should be a priority area in the state's
foreign policy. Only less than one-third (28.2 per cent) of the respondents
gave preference to contacts with European Union member states; 16.3 per cent
gave priority to CIS states, while 3.4 per cent named other states. Only 2.2
per cent of the respondents said that relations with the USA should be a
priority in foreign policy.
A survey conducted in Ukraine by a Moscow-based humanitarian and social
academy towards the end of 2002 showed that 53 per cent of Ukrainian
respondents supported the unification of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus into a
single federal state, 36 per cent were against it, with 65 per cent of the
respondents supporting a political union of Ukraine and Russia.
Ukrainian citizens' preferences in foreign policy are obviously in favour of
an alliance with Russia and the economic integration of the post-Soviet
space. The choice of political and economic alliance with Russia is
absolutely conscious. Integration with other republics of the former Soviet
Union, above all Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (being like Ukraine members
of the Single Economic Space [SES]) is perceived by most people in society
as a priority in foreign policy.
INDEPENDENCE AND NATIONAL IDEA
In this context, the myth about joining the European community is being
touted in society as a Ukrainian "national idea". The myth is at variance
with political reality. It is obvious that Europe does not want to see
Ukraine as part of itself. The role assigned to Ukraine, along with Moldova
and Belarus, under the EU leadership's ongoing foreign policy project is to
be a buffer zone isolating Europe from Russia. Frits Bolkenstein, the EU
commissioner for internal market, stated this idea most frankly.
Thus, EU architects (let alone constructors of a "new world order" in the
USA) totally deny Ukraine its right to be a political entity and,
correspondingly, to have a national idea. We should be aware that Ukraine
will not be able to exist as a third-rate peripheral state helping others
for a dole to implement their own plans. To be like that, we will have to
give up our own cultural values and historical experience, which is
tantamount to giving up national identity.
It looks like Ukraine's political elite is ready to consent to the USA and
its allies using our state, its territory and human potential in their
hegemonic plans. This approach is reflected in the ratification of the
memorandum on mutual understanding between the Cabinet of Ministers of
Ukraine and NATO granting NATO's armed forces the right of prompt access to
Ukrainian territory whenever the alliance needs it to implement its general
policy. According to the document, the NATO armed forces' military hardware
(planes, helicopters, tanks and ships) may, if necessary, move across
Ukrainian territory on the basis of a general permission.
This policy is leading us to giving up our state sovereignty, it runs
counter both to Ukrainian laws and Ukrainian-Russian agreements and it can
hardly have anything to do with "national idea".
HOW TO BECOME COMPETITIVE
Meanwhile, relations with Russia and participation in the SES are not only
related to the foreign political aspect of the national idea but also to
society's concepts of the necessary course of economic development.
Ukrainian society is interested in economic growth. To make industrial
development effective, a merger of SES member states' national economies is
required. It should be kept in mind that the industrial potential of our
states was formed in the Soviet era on the basis of a unified national
economy. Political independence in no event implies giving up the
achievements of the previous historical period. State sovereignty does not
require intentionally putting forward demands capable of setting back
It is large supranational and international structures rather than
individual states, that are competing on the world market today. Neither
Ukraine nor any other SES state can rival big world players single-handedly.
However, having become part of the SES and drawing on its pool of resources,
Ukraine could fill economic niches, from which it is now barred. The process
of developing SES structures is giving an additional impetus to
administrative reform. In this case, the reform could go on drawing on the
world's best practices. Just a reduction in the "rent" going to
functionaries could give a strong boost to entrepreneurial competitiveness.
Apart from this, the elimination of corruption will guarantee consolidation
in society and give rise to a new political elite. Ukraine's (and Russia's)
present elite is evidently unaware of how important it is to have
mobilization projects at different levels, ranging from strategic to
specific social and economic ones.
The US leadership has overtly declared its ambition for global domination,
especially in the ideological, military and political domains. Every big
world player, such as China, leading European states, India, Saudi Arabia
and Iran, have their own national mobilization projects. No big nation can
maintain its inward unity and identity without such a project. No-one in
Ukraine's political elite, neither the authorities, nor [Viktor Yushchenko's
opposition block] Our Ukraine, has come up with a mobilization project.
Russia lacks a properly articulated project.
In both cases, the absence of a mobilization project arises from lack of
requisite social and economic resources. Such resources can become available
solely within the SES where a whole set of such projects can arise, ranging
from joint exploration of mineral resources and upgrading transport
corridors from western Europe to the Far East, to creating a common "silicon
valley" and space exploration.
We should become well aware that we cannot hope to have any serious economic
and political standing in the world without economic unification with Russia
and other former Soviet states. (END)
ARTICLES ARE FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY