Russian MPs React to Ukraine: “This is a Matter of Our Survival”

December 12, 2013

All the factions of the State Duma endorsed the statement on the situation in Ukraine. In this statement the legislators express dissatisfaction with the actions of the opposition, including riots and destruction of monuments, as well as with meddling by western politicians in Ukraine’s affairs.

In its statement the State Duma warns that “unauthorized rallies, interfering with the actions of public authorities, takeover of administrative buildings, looting, and destruction of historical monuments lead to destabilization” in Ukraine. “Of particular concern,” according to the Russian deputies, is “blatant interference” by Western politicians “in the internal affairs of sovereign Ukraine,” that “leads to further deterioration of the political situation.” In this regard, the State Duma called on foreign governments to stop exercising pressure on the “policies of our fraternal country,” and asked “the opposition forces in Ukraine to return to acting within a constitutional framework” in order to find a way out of the situation “peacefully, in the interests of the Ukrainian people.”

“The situation in Ukraine mirrors the struggle between those who favor the Eurasian integration and those who are against it,” said Leonid Slutsky (LDPR), the Chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs. “The bottom line is simple,” said Sergei Mironov, the leader of the Just Russia party. “What is happening in Ukraine today is a coup attempt, and this we cannot be indifferent to it. It is a blow to the Slavic Union, a blow to the heart.”

A particular outrage for the Communists was the destruction of the monument to Vladimir Lenin in Kiev. “It is to this person, whose monument they destroyed, that Ukraine owes its existence and its name”, said Tamara Pletneva (CPRF). “All the decrees on the establishment of the Ukrainian Republic were signed by Lenin, the Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov continued. “The situation that is developing in Ukraine is not a purely local one, and [it is not just] their government’s problem. It is a matter of our survival.”

“We are dealing with a geopolitical challenge,” said Alexei Pushkov, the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs (United Russia). According to him, Russia should “proceed from its basic national interests, to make sure Ukraine is as close as possible to us, not as far as possible from us.” The Ukrainian population, according to Mr. Pushkov, hopes “to join civilization”  through an association with the European Union, but he thinks it is a mistake. Moreover, he adds that “the current Maidan is a clear, albeit aggressive, minority, but they don’t write about it in the West.”

The statement by the State Duma will be adopted during the voting hour, after 17:00.

How the Duma deputies tried to dissuade Ukraine from European integration

Russia “should be prepared for any turn of events, since the Ukrainian leadership has demonstrated that they can suddenly change their earlier decisions.” This is what the State Duma deputies declared on November 25, commenting on the protests in Ukraine. At the same time the legislators noted that the majority of Ukrainians understand that in the case of association with the European Union, the Ukrainian economy will become uncontrollable.

Why Russians do not like Ukraine’s European choice

According to a survey by the Public Opinion Fund (FOM), 59% of Russians believe that for Ukraine it is more beneficial to get closer to Russia than to the EU, and only 6% believe that Ukrainians will benefit from European integration. Note that since 2004, when the “orange revolution” happened in Ukraine, and until 2008, the number of those who believed in Ukraine’s rapprochement with Russia has declined.