Specific war between Russia and Ukraine, in which someone third wins

Author : GORDON

Respondent : Viktor Mironenko

Source :

Russian politician and historian, head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies at the Institute of Europe of Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Mironenko in an interview on the 112 Ukraine Channel, told about what will happen to the relations between Russia and Ukraine, whether decommissioning is necessary and whether Crimea and Donbas will return to Ukraine
22:09, 20 June 2017

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112 Agency

Gordon: The Gordon Show is on air. Today my guest is the famous Russian politician and historian Viktor Mironenko.

- Today Ukraine is working on a process of decommunization. In my opinion, this is a very important point, allowing very many people to get rid of the stupidity in their heads. How do you feel about decommunization?

- It’s difficult, because I do not understand the very concept, the term. I take this process a little differently. As a historian, I believe that we experienced a revolution. It took almost 80 years. But revolutions must end - you need to return to normal life. But when society returns to normal life, many things that were brought on the wave of revolution, just need to be removed, because they interfere with normal evolutionary life. Therefore, if we are talking about decommunization, then I have a question: "What, we had communism?". As far as I remember, communism was promised to build by  Khrushchev, our man, a Ukrainian, and if I remember it right, then this goal has not been achieved. Therefore, one must be very cautious here: we shouldn’t make the anti myth from that myth that we have, and then also turn it into a myth.

- I unequivocally understand that there should not be streets in Kyiv named after the ghouls who killed their own people. This is decommunization.

- I absolutely agree with that. But I have one small position that nothing will make me change. I believe that responsibility, especially criminal responsibility, is always exclusively individual. This is the basis of law. If a person's crimes are proven, then a person simply must claim responsibility for it. But in no case we should agree to collective responsibility, because in fact, such a collective responsibility allows the bastard to hide behind the group of people. I know that the most terrible things were committed on behalf of this people, but I have never seen them. This is some kind of abstract concept. Therefore, I believe that it is necessary to get rid of some ugliness appeared in the years of the revolution. But we shouldn’t install new monuments, instead of old ones, that is instead of myth, create another.

- Today you are the head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences. You are an expert on Russian-Ukrainian relations. What were they like earlier and what did they become today?

- Firstly, I am the head of the only center of Ukrainian research in the Russian Federation. And in this center there is only one worker - he is sitting in front of you. We, of course, have scientists with whom we interact, but in fact, I take this occupation very seriously. Russian-Ukrainian relations are at the lowest point today, and this completely changed the situation in Eastern Europe, which, despite all the difficulties and foolishness that was in the Soviet era after the year 1945, was perhaps one of the most stable, more or less economically developed and quiet regions. Now this region is completely destabilized, it is a region of economic marginalization, economic stagnation. Unfortunately, this is a region of regular infringement of freedoms and everything else. Today, Russian-Ukrainian relations are balancing on the brink of war and peace, and let God stop us from this point and move up from this point, because there is nowhere else to move.

- For me it is definitely a war today between Ukraine and Russia. Russian mercenaries and Russian weapons kill thousands of Ukrainians. How will this war end?

- Wars usually end in peace. But the peculiarity of the hybrid war ... It is bad because it is hybrid. It cannot be finished. I can agree with you that this is still a war, albeit covert, albeit not declared, even denied by the Russian side, but this is a fact. This war is bad because it cannot be victorious. We have two sides in this conflict. If Russia wins, then both sides will lose, both Russia and Ukraine. If Ukraine wins, both will lose. This is a very specific war in which someone else, someone third wins. The war is meaningless.

- Who is this third?

- I do not know.

- Will Crimea and Donbas ever return to Ukraine?

- As they say in politics: Never say never. At some point, I disagreed with Gorbachev, because he believed that people's opinion was the main one, although I do not know how much you can trust people's will, because the numbers are a pretty crafty thing. In fact, everything will depend on the pace at which the formation of what I call the fourth Ukrainian republic, will take place. That means, the new Ukrainian society and the new Ukrainian state: free, developed economically, convenient for life. Then, perhaps, after a while people will change their attitude towards Ukrainian statehood. And before all this actions it will be quite difficult. I think that, unfortunately, so many mistakes have been made, and so many irreversible political acts have been committed that it will take years, and decades, to normalize the situation. About the return ... I have big doubts. In the near future at least.

- In your opinion, does Ukraine need Crimea and Donbas?

- Yes, these territories are needed. People live there, but people should not be left. The question is, what do these people think: do they need Ukraine or do not need it? Judging by the reaction of a significant part, they did not like that Ukraine they saw until now. And if Ukraine becomes such as I and you want to see it ... In Germany in 1946 the Constitution of Germany was written. Adenauer, the then chancellor, was engaged in this. And then the Germans became indignant at this. They said that how it is possible to build a new Germany, if a significant part of Germany is under the occupation of the USSR. To which the right answer was given: "Let's create a prosperous, free state in the part that we control, and then they will decide something." This resulted in the unification of Germany. Crimea and Donbas, of course, are the territory of Ukraine, and Ukraine, and Ukraine will never recognize that this territories were taken away and it’s right, and the world does not recognize it. But the main thing is that the critical mass of people, the majority that lives in these uncontrolled territories, seeing how Ukraine develops, would say that they want to be there, not in Russia.

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- You said that the events in Ukraine should become the new Nuremberg process, but no one does anything, except for soldiers defending their land.

- When I spoke about the Nuremberg process, I meant that people are responsible for what we have now, on one and the other side. They must bear this responsibility. Maybe not criminal, but political. It will be difficult to understand and solve this issue - that's what I meant in this sense.

- In Russia, does 86% of population really support Putin or is it a fiction?

- This is a very sly figure; I would not rely on it. But in fact, the power of propaganda is colossal. If television 24 hours a day tells how bad Ukrainians are and how wrongly they behave, then, probably, these 86% are those people who form their perception of the world grounding on what they see on television tonight.

- You said that the sanctions will not force Putin and Russia to change the political course. And what if sanctions become tougher?

- The problem of sanctions lies in the fact that these sanctions influence not so much Putin or the Russian elite, but people who are not engaged in political process.

- What kind of person is Vladimir Putin is?

- It's hard for me to give him a description - I personally do not know him. I can judge only by external ideas, impressions. Looking at Vladimir Putin, on the policy that is associated with him and which is being carried out, I begin to see once again that it is good that all democratic countries have clearly, strictly limited the term of the country's top leaders in power. Not because one leader is better than another, but because a change of leader involves the ability to correct mistakes that were made before. Unfortunately, people are created in such a way that they do not like to admit their mistakes.

- For many years you were one of the closest associates of Mikhail Gorbachev. Now you are an advisor to him. How old is he, by the way?

- He is 85.

- How does he feel now?

- According to the age. He has a very difficult biography, and it’s a person who is deeply inwardly worrying that what seemed right to him was not realized.

- Do you think Mikhail Gorbachev is the father of Ukrainian independence?

- Well, no. Perhaps the father of Ukrainian independence in the form in which it was formed at that times was Boris Yeltsin, his entourage. It was during the fight against Gorbachev and the Union the Russian leadership began to cut down the economy, and it was the Russian leadership that forced the Ukrainian Communists who did not want the destruction of the Union to vote for the declaration of sovereignty. So when now the Russian leadership complains that the Ukrainians have gone somewhere ... They did not leave. They were expelled, they were pushed out. Gorbachev hoped that Ukraine would support him in preserving and updating the Union. But, unfortunately, the situation developed differently.

- Is it possible to say that in his 85 years Gorbachev became a victim of Russian television propaganda?

- You should ask him about that. I had discussions with him, disputes on his attitude, my attitude, about the events connected with Crimea, with Donbas. Often reacting to the position he occupied, I asked colleagues who work with him why he took such a position and who influenced him. I was told that no one, just now he is an elderly person who watches TV either in the hospital room or at home, and watching Russian TV is not very good for health. In year 2014, we quite sharply, resolutely argued regarding our assessments of the events that happened then. Now, by the way, our assessments are approaching.

- Do Russians, in general, understand Ukraine and Ukrainians?

- This is exactly the purpose of my work now. The aim of the center, which I created thanks to Academician Shmelev, the European Institute, is to study and understand Ukraine. In Russia, everyone believes that they know Ukraine. But what does a Russian citizen know about Ukraine now? Only 5-6% of Russians are visiting Ukraine. At school, no one talks about Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Russian public practically does not know anything about modern Ukraine. Or they know something completely mythical, invented.

- Were you ashamed of the Ukrainian choice when Yanukovych was elected president?

- I was surprised at this choice. But still Ukraine consists of several parts, it is very complex decision, and the human response is often very unpredictable.

- Will Ukraine become a part of Europe?

We must understand what we mean by Europe. For some reason, we think that some new super-state is being formed in the EU. Nothing like this. The EU is an attempt to create a new model of managed globalization. To create a new model for the coexistence of various states – euro regions. I believe that this model has its future.

- What will happen to Russia?

- I cannot answer this question. I am deeply worried about Russia, yet I have been living in this country for 30 years. Russia is very important for Ukraine, for Europe, and I think that if Ukraine copes with its tasks and creates a prosperous, free, democratic country, then it is possible to move along this path for  Russia as well. By the way, that's what I'm doing. I am studying my Ukrainian experience with my colleagues only for one purpose: in order not to make mistakes that were made in Ukraine, and then to offer these solutions to Russia. I think that only such an attitude can be constructive and may lead us to the future.

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