Between Maidan and Bolotnaya

December 2, 2013
Putin and Yanukovych | Sergei Guneyev/RIA Novosti

This editorial appeared in the generally pro-Kremlin Gazeta.Ru. Its author argues that Russia must now incorporate Ukraine into the Russia fold, because the riots in the streets there are a threat to Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, but also to Putin, as the longer they go on the further the Ukrainian populace will be from Russia. Interestingly, the author supports a proposal by radical right-wing MP Yelena Mizulina that would change the Russian constitution to ground the identity of the government in the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church, a move that, Volkov argues, will help ensure that Ukraine feels closer to Russia than the European Union. – Ed.

The post office, the telegraph agency, the telephone company. The City Council and the administration. Ukraine is trying to disperse Maidan, introducing a ban on rallies, but instead has reached a critical line beyond which the situation could become unmanageable. For Kiev, for Moscow, for Brussels. The European Union is gritting its teeth, Ukraine is trying to storm the institutions of government, Moscow is celebrating victory. Putin has become a world politician, and Ukraine has acquired its “new Bolotnaya” [the name of the Moscow square where mass anti-Putin demonstrations took place in recent years].

When Ukraine first went out on Maidan Square in 2004 and won, Russia was in shock. Neither its soft or hard power technologies worked, Ukrainians went their own way. The first stage of tightening the screws followed within Russia, in order to protect Moscow from such a scenario; then the creation of Nashi and Idushchiye Vmeste [Ours and Coming Together, Putin’s youth movements], which generally sang and praised the current government. There was fear and loathing, and the color orange was imagined everywhere. It was amazing that utility workers in their bright ginger vests didn’t change into something less provocative, for example, rose…

But the orange team made a number of mistakes. Enchantment, hope, disappointment. Then a split in the team, and Yushchenko went his own way, Timoshenko tried to go her own way. And Ukraine once again proved that it consists of two halves, west and east. The elections took place, others came on the scene.

Moscow sighed with relief and, inspired by the return of “their own,” began to build relations with Yanukovych. He wasn’t exactly a present either, but he was at least one of theirs. But that wasn’t the problem.

A Ukrainian doesn’t belong to someone, he is his own person. Our friend is the EU, but only to a certain point. We want to relate to Moscow, but also, within measure.

Then there was the world crisis. Everybody had money problems, and the Ukrainian began to see who has it better and how much that will cost him. What is the price of choosing the East or the West? They turned their heads to the left and right back and forth and understood: for now it is better not to link up with the EU, they’re not going anywhere, the dream of not letting Ukraine return to a Russian flag will not die, Brussels will wait, and we’ll see in the mean time what Moscow will offer us.

And now Ukraine has its own Bolotnaya. Once again, angry city-dwellers came out on the streets. They had thought they were one step away from Europe, but oh, no.

Disappointment, anger, protest. OMON [riot police] came from the regions where there is no fear of disloyalty. From the areas where evidently they hate these “Kievans who have stuffed themselves,” just like the Russian provinces hate “those Muscovites who have stuffed themselves.” See, you give them liberalism, and you get participation in politics and the European vector!

Then, you see, they want to run off to Europe to work as nannies and cleaning ladies. But let them sit here!

Moscow will not cease talking about its foreign policy power and the wisdom of Putin. And inevitably will add that really, Kiev itself decided so. It made the right choice after sensing the true plans of Brussels and Washington to diminish and weaken the great Ukraine. And Putin, during Yanukovych’s semi-clandestine visit to the Russian capital, opened his eyes to the cunning of Europe. Yanukovych saw the light and realized: only with great Russia would he acquire his sovereign happiness and welfare.

Not really! A real Ukrainian always considers with whom it is more advantageous. And now the simple mathematical calculation plus the obvious economic condition of the Western neighbors led the leader of the Ukraine to Moscow.

And presidential elections are to take place in a year in Ukraine. Simple computations, with whom in the coming years you can more effectively fix things – yet here Brussels is offended and angry. But what did you want, you gentlemen from the European Union?

To blame evil Putin for everything would really be unfair. Brussels, especially in recent years, has displayed itself, along with the IMF, not in the best fashion. They pressured some, despite the crisis, and others they happily helped. To some they broadly gave loans, others they pressured along with the banks and the deposits. And they treated those who do not determine the economic condition of the EU approximately thus: survive as you wish, we will deal with you later, we have no time for you now.

So, Ukrainians had their own reason to look toward Moscow, and Putin had his reason to remind them of himself.

So we’ll see how it goes. If we are to believe the forecasts, Europe has passed the low points of the crisis and in the next year will begin to gradually recover. That’s in Ukraine’s favor, to get a stronger market in the Western direction. It’s also in Russia’s favor to have the EU recover and to have fairly good forecasts for China. Although the external circumstances favorable to Russian affairs will not change, these affairs do not look so brilliant in the coming years – there’s the unsealing of the reserve funds – until recently the arc of the financial covenant. But since things have gone this way, a fraternal people can be helped.

They tried to disperse Maidan by banning any “Bolotnayas” before Christmas, but it was not to be. First demands were heard to impeach President Yanukovych, then they stormed the government buildings.

Now the main thing is not to permit bloodshed. At various ages and in various countries, bloodshed has become the line dividing the present from the future.

Yanukovych will not give up so easily. There is something to lose, and there is one factor which has appeared only in this presidency: Timoshenko. The ex-prime minister is sitting in jail and that means that you can’t be sure that other “formers” will not end up this way. And that’s a completely different state of affairs.

But even if Maidan settles down now and meets the fate of Bolotnaya, it is too early for some to rejoice and for others to “beat it out of the country.”

There will be elections soon in Ukraine, and the country once again will face a potential turning point. And they will take place at a time when Russia will enter into its own election phase.

So you have to strike while the iron is hot without leaving the cash register. To immediately make it so that Ukrainians don’t have a thought in their heads of any Europe. For example, thanks to the fact that the anniversary of the Russian Constitution is coming up, along with an address which must contain some effusive ideas, Ukraine can be offered to create a union state. Especially because the Belarus union did not meet expectations and sometimes Belarus behaves God knows how. And Ukraine can immediately be offered to become a subject of the Russian Federation. Fresh and non-traditional.

Well, and finally, the very best options – the spiritual ties. It is time to change the Russian Constitution, return to the ideological foundation, and fasten it with confessional might. It is time to recall that it is precisely with Kiev that the history of the Russian land began. Should not Russia be turned back once again, both the land and the history? They love this in our country.