Read original article at day.kyiv.ua
May 28, 2017 was a day when, in accordance with the Agreement on the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, its twenty-five-year stay was to be completed. As you know, on April 27, 2010 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine violating the Constitution of Ukraine and the regulations, at the very beginning of Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency ratified the so-called Kharkiv agreement on the extension of the Black Sea Fleet period of stay on the territory of Ukraine for another 25 years – in exchange for the cheaper gas. Subsequently, on March 31, 2014, almost immediately after the annexation of Crimea, the State Duma of the Russian Federation unilaterally denounced this agreement, rejoicing at the idea of eternal possession of the Crimea, and in fact emphasizing the true status of the Black Sea Fleet as the occupation troops of the aggressor country.
Announcing a press conference in the UNIAN agency on the issue of Kharkiv agreements on May 17, the organizers rightly described them as a giant step towards the loss of Ukraine's sovereignty and the further annexation of Crimea by Russia. However, did the Russian Federation ever intend to leave the Crimea? To answer this question, it is worth recalling one page of post-Soviet Russian-Georgian relations. Twelve years ago, on May 30, 2005, the representative of the President of Georgia, Gela Charkviani, stated: "Today, the negotiation process for the withdrawal of bases, which lasted almost ten years, was successfully concluded." It was about withdrawing two Russian military bases from the sovereign territory of Georgia. The final date of the withdrawal, according to a joint statement by the foreign ministers of the two countries, was to be 2008. What did Georgia receive from Russia in return in 2008? Armed aggression and annexation of part of its territory.
Did the state leadership of Georgia believe that the Russian Federation will comply with its international obligations? Perhaps, it believed, contrary to Otto von Bismarck's warning that the agreement concluded with Russia is not worth the paper on which it is written. The top leadership of Ukraine for many years, right up to the annexation of the Crimea, also apparently believed, and also enjoyed the thesis about the alleged "strategic partnership" with Russia, which can be named strategic partnership of bull and yoke.
And it's true, about what kind of strategic partnership you can talk about, when the goals of the two countries are not just different, but opposing, antagonistic, incompatible: after all, Russia's goal is to revive the empire and its dominant role in the post-Soviet space, and Ukraine's goal is to build an independent state.
So, the lesson one, the most important: Russia can never be trusted and under any circumstances. And in this context, the statement of the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Kostyantyn Yeliseyev on May 13 that "for the sake of Ukrainians the President is ready to go even to a direct dialogue with Putin," is worrying because, for the sake of Ukrainians, this should not be done for two reasons. Firstly, conversations with a thief need to be conducted only with witnesses (another matter, in what format), and secondly, a considerable part of Ukrainians will perceive direct dialogue (another thing, reasonably or not) as a desire to agree on something behind their backs.
And now let’s think about the annexation of Crimea starting point. Did it start from the Kharkiv agreement? No. As is known, on February 12, 1991 (following the results of the so-called "all-Crimean referendum" on January 20 of the same year), that is, when the USSR was already weak, the Crimean region as part of the Ukrainian SSR was transformed into the Crimean ASSR. The fact that the legal price of this "referendum" is the same as that of the "national referendum" held by the invaders on March 16, 2014 - since the issues of the administrative-territorial structure of the country are not solved by local referendums, is one side of the coin. Another is that at that time (in January-February 1991) the Constitution of the USSR of December 26, 1990, the 10th chapter of which contained a list of autonomous SSRs (a total of 20, of which 16 was in the Russian Federation), and all of them - from the Bashkir to the Yakut ASSR - were national autonomies. Crimean autonomy is a unique case, as it is geographic autonomy....
What should the adequate Ukrainian government do after the proclamation of state independence? It had, in fact, two options for action: either to recognize the "all-Crimean referendum" on January 20, 1991 as illegitimate and return the peninsula to the previous status of the region, or decide to transform the Crimean Autonomy into the Crimean Tatar, and not only by name, but also by content. Instead, a third option was chosen - as we saw, it was the fatal path - consolidation of the geographical nature of autonomy, oriented not so much to Kyiv as to Moscow.
Appearance of the so-called green men on the peninsula was not the first, but the last phase of a multi-year special operation of the Kremlin. And the first massive attack on Ukrainian statehood was the opening on the peninsula branches of Russian educational institutions in the nineties of the last century - with the permission and, therefore, the connivance of the Ukrainian authorities . At the same time, the former mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, was allowed to finance some projects in Crimea, and, as you know, who pays, he orders music. Thus, a time bomb was placed under the sovereignty of Ukraine over the Crimea.
Did Russia (I mean both the state leadership and the population) ever perceive Ukraine as a sovereign country? I think no. I will tell you the story from my own experience happened almost twenty years ago. That time I returned from the Republic of Cuba and worked as even not an adviser, but the first secretary of the department of cultural relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. And for the first time in my career, I was included in the delegation, which left for Moscow for consultations between the foreign affairs agencies of the two countries. I was in charge of humanitarian issues. My counterpart was a man who was much older than me and who probably hoped to impress me with the first prepared phrase - I still remember it verbatim: "Your policy of ukrainization reminds me of the policy of arabization in Algeria when I was there as an ambassador of the Soviet Union" .
The Russian / Soviet ambassador continued to speak on the topic of ukrainization / aabization, and when it was my turn, I responded in one sentence: "Algeria, Mr. Ambassador, was a colony of France, so your comparison is true if you consider Ukraine a colony of Russia". After that, the Russian / Soviet ambassador was persuading me for a long time that I understood him wrong.
Then, under Yeltsin, they were imperialists, but they tried to hide it. Now they do not hide. That's the whole difference. Earlier I wrote about the humanitarian component of Russian expansion. I will refer to an authoritative source. "The humanitarian sphere is the least expensive and at the same time almost the most cost-effective vector of strengthening Russian influence in the entire post-Soviet space," wrote in the 4th issue of Asia and Africa Today magazine in 2005 the head of the Center for Strategic Development, a member of the Scientific Council of the Russian Security Council Major General Anatoly Gusher.
So let's ask ourselves the question: Do we want to "strengthen Russian influence" in Ukraine and is such a "strengthening" a threat to the national security of our state? After giving ourselves an honest answer, both the government and citizens must act adequately.
Surprisingly on different sites I read cheerful "reports" of officials of different levels on the successful completion of decommunization in the territory entrusted to them. The only thing such "reports" mean is the deeply rooted Soviet thinking of the officials themselves. Since the renaming of streets and the demolition of monuments are only external manifestations of this process. In fact, we should talk about decolonization (let's remember the ambassador of the USSR in Algeria), because Soviet domination in Ukraine was preceded by the tsarist, and time is needed for mental liberation from colonial dependence. The task of Ukraine is: to grow a generation of young citizens completely free from the influence of an aggressive neighbor. I do not know whether our officials are aware of this, but the Kremlin understands perfectly well: with the loss of Ukraine, with its liberation from the influence of Moscow, the empire will cease to be an empire. And in every way this will be impeded.
Made on May 14, the statement of the President of Ukraine on the occasion of Europe Day that our country "has forever moved away from the Soviet and Russian empires", unfortunately, is not entirely true. We are euphoric about the visa-free regime with the EU countries and near institutions we hang the flag of the European Union, but in fact the CIS flag should be hanged there, because we have not been able to get out of this quasi-union controlled by Russia.
Talking about the national language issue. In Ukraine it is not a philological question, it is a matter of national security. The point here is not so much in words but in content. Ukraine-colony for decades and for centuries lived a strange life. Through a book, a film, a song, we saw others' realities, so we were kept on a leash. We read novels and watched TV shows about their scouts, soldiers, cops, until they invaded our territory. But it’s not enough for them to have Crimea and Donbas, they want to occupy our minds and every day they do it. In this sense, the ban on social networks of the aggressor country, although belated, is a step in the right direction. We can also welcome the intention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to refuse to purchase Russian medicines, the message that without Ukraine Russian plants are forced to stop the production of AN-140 aircraft.
And a few words about the books. Only books of Russian-speaking writers of Ukraine should be published in Ukraine in Russian language. Others - only in translation. I would like to hope that the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, which is now responsible for the book sector, will make several urgent steps in the right direction. I mean, first of all, re-registration of subjects of publishing with the exception branches of Russian publishing houses and publishers with Russian capital from the list, as well as the introduction of licensing of printed products. This is also a matter of national security.
... Opposite the Arsenalna subway station in Kyiv there is an interesting crossroad that can serve as a metaphor for today's Ukraine - the intersection of two streets: Ivan Mazepa Street and Moscovska Street. In the twenty-sixth year of independence, it's time to choose the right direction.