Russia first or why Ukraine lacks the attention of American analysts

Author : Dmytro Vovk

Source : 112 Ukraine

American and European experts are systematically engaged in the internal agenda of Russia
18:09, 23 June 2017

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112 Agency

In recent days, Poroshenko's visit to the United States and the peculiarities of his meeting with the American president became a topical issue.

I am not a great expert interpreting different signs of Donald Trump, (met at the porch/ spoke in the office; when looked around for the sandwich/ held a full meeting). I will express a subjective impression on how the theme of Ukraine was presented in the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a powerful think-tank funded from the federal budget.

Of all the speeches, and hence of the researches on the post-Soviet space, nine out of ten fall on Russia, including the context of a military conflict with Ukraine. The rest is smeared between Ukraine, Central Asia, and Transcaucasia. This is not bad, for, for example, analytics about Belarus is a very rare thing.

Related: Sanctions against Russia, visit of Tillerson, Holodomor: Poroshenko on his visit to US

By the way, some countries very wisely promote themselves at the research level. For example, a large Korean corporation supports a separate program about South Korea. I do not think that such a program is a very expensive pleasure. Nevertheless, domestic Ukrainian issues are almost completely represented by Ukrainian experts and politicians. Last week, Ulyana Suprun made a technologically brilliant presentation (I do not take into account the very topic).

This does not mean that there is no analytics at the level of the State Department. This means that there are little academic researches that have a political context.

Related: Poroshenko meets Tusk

At the same time, Russian vector is a different situation. American and European experts are systematically engaged in the internal agenda of Russia. And, as far as I understand, Russian, and with it and the Soviet theme, are becoming more and more popular.

Related: EU Council to extend anti-Russian sanctions today, - Poroshenko

Perhaps this is one of the answers to the growing concern Americans have about Russia.

The question of Russian presence in Donbas is not even discussed.

At least, I have not seen any expert who denies it or, say, argued the legality of the annexation of Crimea, although Oliver Stone's book with Putin on the cover (Barnes & Nobles) is successfully sold. Putin's own assessment is just an opponent's rating, without demonization or special sentiments, due to the lack of parallelism in the role of the United States and Russia in the world.

By the way, when it comes to contemporary Russia, the main issues are politic and military themes, not economics or public life.

The attitude towards Ukraine is sympathetic and constructive, but the emotions of Euromaidan are in the past.

The pathetic exclamations of the well-known and many times translated Ukrainian historian Timothy Snyder on Ukraine's European choice (when listening to his lecture, I was not sure that he could clearly articulate what this choice is), do not give a special response. Information and the desire to discuss concrete things like reforms, army, and corruption, have feedback.

Related: Poroshenko, Merkel meet in Brussels

There is a fairly clear idea of the main problems of Ukrainian society: populism, the oligarchic structure of the economy, the lack of rule of law. At the same time, some of our politicians who believe that they are able to differentiate between the external and the internal agenda, exporting some statements to the West and completely declaring inside the country differently (including at the level of concrete actions) are naive.

Over the past two weeks, I have heard for two times about the need to negotiate with Russia.

Related: Normandy Format negotiations to take place next week, - Poroshenko

It was about to cancel / change the sanctions regime, but in any case, it was an attempt to find an optimal format for coexistence with current Russia, not with which we would like it to see.

I do not think this is a sign of another reset in relations between Russia and the United States.

But one should keep in mind that the American academic community is more focused on values than American politics in general. Therefore, such signals are important for understanding of how they "see" us, Russia, war in eastern Ukraine, and the role of the United States in the region, especially when the US president's administration declares "America first", that is, giving the priority to the domestic politics, and the principle of "realism" in foreign policy.

Related: How American journalist put Poroshenko in awkward position by one question

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