Tag Archives: Viktor Yanukovych

According American expert Gordon Hahn, ”Putin would have paid a heavy political price domestically if he ignored the voice of Russians from Crimea”

Power&Politics World – Bucharest – Romania/www.powerpolitics.ro

Romanian-flag– Mr. Hahn, can we talk about winners and losers in the crisis in Ukraine, or the things are much more nuanced than they seem at first sight?

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

Gordon Hahn: – Everyone right now has lost something. The big loser so far is Ukraine. It has lost Crimea, is at risk of further destabilization and even Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine, has an unstable government, and its constitutional system lacks legitimacy at least until the May presidential elections. Russia has gained Crimea which will have some economic costs, and the sanctions will add to those. Right now a mitigating plus for Moscow is that historical justice has been restored, since Crimea was always part of Russia until the totalitarian internationalist communist regime which sought to destroy nationalities and nation-states in order to evolve the new ‘Soviet man’ and identity and establish a global communist regime. The US and the West have lost by making a regional and semi-global power, Russia, something close to an enemy and thereby damaging their own national security. They did this through their policies of expanding NATO without Russia and against its will and of coupling that threatening policy for Russia with efforts to support democratization and therefore, wittingly or unwittingly, anti-Russian opposition movements and de facto ‘color revolutions’ in states near or neighboring Russia. Moreover, the West’s sanctions and possible Russian counter-sanctions are going to put at risk the global economic recovery, which is weak to begin with. Perhaps, the only winners are countries like China and India, which come off as paragons of reason compared to their Russian, American, and European counterparts – all engaged in ‘19th century thinking,’ as they say.
– What do you think: was an error of Mr. Putin (and his stuff) or a long awaited rematch?
GH: – I think Putin overreacted to the long-standing series of slights Russia has experienced since the end of the Cold War. Georgia 2008 was the first sign that Moscow would no longer acquiesce in what it perceives as threats to its national security and ‘fait accomplis’ imposed on it by Washington and the West. Another color revolution with neo-fascist elements occurring during Putin’s big moment at Sochi and accomplished through a betrayal of the Western-sponsored February 21 agreement between Yanukovich and the opposition pushed him over the edge.
– There is a usual confrontation between Russia and US (look, they are speaking about a new Cold War), or is a shift of paradigm of international relation system?
GH: – There is no doubt that the geostrategic systemic aspect of the crisis features a West in some sort of decline, in particular that of a hegemon in a unipolar system – with regional and semi-global powers like Russia and China counterbalancing against the hegemon. So this could be the beginning of a shift to a more multipolar and less stable international system. The international law aspect is also important. When great powers see it in their interests to claim international law as the standard of international political conduct, they are operating under the rather false assumption that international law usually sticks and that it is a reflection of a democratic order. However, there is nothing like a democratic international political system in place. This should be evident from the inordinate power that the five permamnent members of the National Security Council enjoy. Hence, when there is disagreement between the council’s members the system is likely to breakdown and needs to be supplemented with timely international conferences and negotiations. This was not done with regard to Ukraine until it was very, very, indeed too late, because the crisis had been in the making with NATO’s nearly two decade march east to Russia’s borders.
– Sometimes it seems to me that in the media battle between East and West has lost something essential: the simple Ukrainians from Euromaidan, all those people unemployed political and ideological. Can you to distinguish them in this melting propaganda?
GH: – No, not very clearly, unfortunately. It is hard to make generalizations about something as grand as the ‘international media’. I can only speak to the media I watch. I have found the U.S. independent media to be nearly as one-sided and hysterical as Russia’s state media. Russian independent media – Ekho Moskvy and others – have done a superb job, and Aleksei Venediktov should win a Nobel or Pullitzer for what he has done there. Oddly enough, the radio station is funded by the Russian state-owned GazProm’s media holding company. If the Kremlin could make its state media as all-encompassing and objective as Ekho, there would be no complaints about media freedom in Russia.
– Already Crimea situation is quite clear. Although many assumptions are made, yet no one dares to answer the question: will stop Russia here or there is the next stage, at least for the Eastern region of Ukraine?
GH: – I expect that if there are no unforeseen circumstances, provocations, or US_Russia_UkraineWestern missteps, Russia will not invade Ukraine, east or west. I do not think the plan is to conquer Ukraine or Poland or Europe as much of the biased US media and analytical community claims. Nor do I assume that Putin’s original intent was to annex Crimea. Rather, he might have sought to ensure security there and retaliate against the West’s meddling only, but the local population’s immediate calls for reunification with Russia and perhaps other considerations informed by the unfolding of events led Putin to support the reunification movement and referendum. After all, once those demands emerged, Putin would have paid a heavy political price domestically if he ignored them, especially if violence developed in Crimea, or eastern Ukrainian neo-fascists infiltrated and began provocations, or Kiev sent troops, which would have led to war.
– As it stand the things at the moment, and calling to you expertize: the globalization helps or entangles when it comes to managed a crisis of this kind?
GH: – Need more time to think about this question.
– Jens Stoltenberg most likely appointment to the Secretary General of NATO changes something in Russia’s perception about NATO plans? See you a better mediation of differences of opinion between the two parties? Do you think it’s a wise choice – Norwegian instead of Polish – we remember that previously was mentioned the name of Radoslaw Sikorsky (artisan of discussions between Yanukovich – opposition)?
GH: – I think selecting a Pole and one who has clear anti-Russian sentiments would have added additional animosity to the Russian-West relationship. This explains the appearance of possible new choice.

                                interview made by Gabriela Ionita

Gordon M. Hahn is analyst and Advisory Board Member of Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois, Senior Researcher – Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, Akribis Group, San Jose, California and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, Calif. Also Dr. Hahn is author of the well-received books ”Russia’s Islamic Threat” (Yale University Press, 2007) and ”Russia’s Revolution From Above, 1985-2000” (Transaction Publishers, 2002), the forthcoming The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014), various think tank reports, and numerous articles in academic journals and other English and Russian language media. He has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and has been a senior associate/visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Kennan Institute in Washington DC and at the Hoover Institution.

 

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Kiev – Princess gas, Yulia Tymoshenko, reaches behind bars – UPDATE: Ex-premier Tymoshenko, sentenced to 7 years in jail

The battle in Ukrainian political space from long time exceeded the limits of civilized debate and hits allowed. However, the upcoming elections and increasing the opposition popularity trend (not too much, but the popularity ratings of Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions are falling dramatically !!) seems to be convinced the leaders to power that is needed really radical measures. Such as the arrest of opposition leader.

A Ukrainian court in Kiev sanctioned on Friday the arrest of the country’s former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. The move came during a court hearing on abuse of offices charges stemming from Tymoshenko signing a 2009 Russian-Ukrainian gas deal (these were secret negotiations with the Party of Regions for a grand coalition and a gas contract with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Although the contract played a positive role in removing RosUkrEnergo from the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade she has never explained why she agreed to such a higher base price for gas than that in western Europe or why the transit fees Russia pays would remain  frozen and market rates would not apply to them but only to the gas Russia sold Ukraine). About 30 police officers entered the courtroom to detain Tymoshenko after the judge announced the decision, according RIA NOVOSTI. Tymoshenko, the country’s top opposition leader, has criticized the trial as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovychto bar her from elections and mocked the hearings. She has refused to rise when addressing the court, as required, and routinely insulted the judge. Her supporters have repeatedly disrupted hearings. Her supporters in court, including national lawmakers, squabbled with police, trying to prevent them from driving her away in a prison car and shouting: “Shame! Shame!”

Subsequent the ex-PM arrest, on the site of Yulia Timoshenko was posted a statement, personally written by ex-prime minister before the arrest:
‘I want to make a statement in connection with the implementation plan for my arrest. It is clear that this is a massacre with a political opponent, but I do not know.  I want to say that I have no inclination to suicide. What tricks are done with Kirpa and Kravchenko, they should not repeat. I will never finish his suicide. Everything I do – this is my struggle against the criminal regime of Ukraine by its rightful place in the world. Glory to Ukraine.Yulia Tymoshenko ‘.

For the common person getting behind the bars indicates the tragedy. But politicians in its mass – is not quite ordinary people.  For some of them, no matter how cynical it may sound, the prison cell is a catalyst for a career. And analysts seem to agree that the current session after the bars will be in benefit of Yulia Timoshenko.
In fact this is not the first experience of this kind for former Ukrainian prime minister. Tymoshenko has ever been in jail – she was in prison Lukyanovka in 2005, when she was charged with bribery in the $ 79 million by ex-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.  Then, Ukraine’s Supreme Court quashed all criminal charges and prosecution against Tymoshenko. Later she successfully returned to the forefront of Ukrainian politics, so that what appears today to be a defeat for gas princess could become a big problem in the future for leaders of power in Kiev.

A recent pools show widespread disenchantment with the authorities, including in the home base of the Party of Regions, at the direction Ukraine is going, high inflation, growing gulf between elites and the public and widespread perceptions that the authorities are helping the oligarchs and big business while  forcing small-medium businesspeople to pay higher taxes. Notice, just two month ago, ukrainianweek.com wrote: “Tymoshenko has greatest responsibility to prove she can learn from her mistakes as current opinion polls show that she could (if she is not given a suspended sentence or imprisoned and thereby allowed to stand) enter a second round in 2015. In the 2010 elections she lost by only 3%. Tymoshenko should not count on being elected by winning the support of Ukrainians who vote negatively against Yanukovych (which will be many more in 2015 than in 2010). Tymoshenko did not have a clear, pro-European platform in the 2010 elections and to win in 2015 would require her to analyse her mistakes in 2010 and earlier mistakes in permitting deputies to join BYuT who have defected. She also needs to stop referring to “revolution” and the Arab world. Ukraine is both not Russia and Egypt”. So, in 2012-2015, Ukraine will be in a transition between two elections and will resemble Ukraine in 2002-2004. The public mood by 2012-2015 though will be far more bitter than it was on the eve of the Orange Revolution.

UPDATE: 09.08.2011 – According euronews.com after the judge refused a third request to release Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, scuffles broke out as special force officers clashed with Tymoshenko supporters who have vowed to continue their street protests.

UPDATE: 29.09.2011 – Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday denounced her trial as a “political lynching” as she gave her final statement in a process that could see her jailed for seven years. The statement coincides with a trip to Poland by her political rival President Viktor Yanukovych for meetings with EU leaders where the government is expect to come under huge pressure to end her trial and detention. “This trial is a classic case of political lynching,” said Tymoshenko. “No document has ever proved any guilt. They (the authorities) have falsified this entire affair,” she added.

UPDATE: 11 October 2011

KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court found former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko guilty of abuse of office Tuesday and sentenced her to seven years in prison in a case widely condemned in the West as politically motivated. She was found guilty of violating legal procedures during the signing of a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009. According BBC, Tymoshenko, now the country’s top opposition leader, used her power as prime minister “for criminal ends and, acting consciously, committed actions which clearly exceeded the limits of rights and powers”  – Judge Kireyev said. Also Judge Rodion Kireyev said she caused damages of 1.5bn hryvna (£121m) on the national gas company by signing the contract with Moscow two years ago.

During a break before she was found guilty, Yulia Timoshenko said: “Whatever the verdict will be … I will continue my fight for Ukraine, for its European future. Nobody, not Yanukovych, not Kireyev, can humiliate my honest name. I have worked and will continue to work for Ukraine’s sake.” Yulia Timoshenko’s lawyers announced that they will appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court of Justice of Ukraine.

How will develop relations between Ukraine and its international partners is difficult to predict accurately. But certainly at this time Ukraine has a huge credibility problem. The United States and the European Union have condemned the trial as politically motivated, and Tymoshenko has dismissed the trial as persecution ordered by her longtime foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, to bar her from politics. The case has galvanized her supporters, who regularly held rowdy protests inside and outside the courthouse.

UPDATE: May 9 2012

According Reuters, “Ukraine’s jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whose plight in prison has soured relations between the country’s leadership and the West, was moved to a local hospital on Wednesday in a high-security police convoy”. Remember that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has faced growing criticism over the conviction of Tymoshenko – and the authorities’ refusal to let her travel abroad for treatment for chronic back pain. Tymoshenko repeated many times that she is the victim of a vendetta by Yanukovich who narrowly beat her for the presidency in February 2010. The European Union and the United States have condemned her trial and sentencing as politically motivated and called for her to be released.