Спеціальні потреби

День незалежності - думки експерта Ореста Дейчаківського


З нагоди 18-ої річниці Незалежності України своїми думками з Голосом Америки поділився радник Гельсінської комісії при Конгресі США, Орест Дейчаківський




MG:
Joining us today at the Voice of America is Orest Deychakiwsky, policy advisor at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.

Orest, thank you for coming today.

OD:
Thank you.

MG:
Ukraine is celebrating eighteen years of independence. What do you see as the major accomplishment for Ukraine over the last eighteen years?

OD:
The major accomplishment, if one looks at it from a historical perspective, is the very fact of independence. It is an unbelievably important event, not only for Ukraine itself, which struggled mightily often over the centuries and decades for that independence, but also for Europe as a whole, and Ukraine’s independence has had very important and significant implications for the region and, indeed, for the world. Ukraine has, throughout the eighteen years, it has built its state institutions, as imperfect as they are. Ukraine has freedoms, respect for rights and liberties. Again, it’s not a perfect process, it’s an evolving process, but when one compares it, for instance, to Russia or Belorus, its closest Eastern Slavic neighbors, Ukraine is a far better place in many respects.

MG: I think the world already learned that Ukraine is this big country in Europe. As a long-time advocate for Ukraine’s independence in the United States, what do you think is the biggest disappointment of the last eighteen years?

OD:

Well, the biggest disappointment – I’d put it in several categories – I would say the biggest disappointment is the lack of rule of law. Or the inadequacy, I should say, of the rule of law, corruption, the internal political squabbles, the lack of, and this is going back into several of the last years, the lack of a delineation of powers between the prime-minster and the president, the lack of a completion of economic reforms. There’s definitely been a good start, but it’s not a completed process yet. So, Ukraine has moved along, but it’s not a consolidated democracy yet. And that’s perhaps the biggest obstacle. That’s not, admittedly, one thing, that’s several things, but all these things are related. And I think, whereas Ukraine’s independence is assured, despite Medvedev’s recent aggressive comments last week, despite Putin telling George Bush last year that Ukraine is not really a state, despite Russian actions towards Ukraine, which definitely have not been helpful, I’m confident that Ukraine will remain independent, because it has the power and the ability to withstand such pressure. But the question is – the quality of that independence.

MG:
If we could go back in time – was there a moment in history, in these eighteen years, when things could have gone differently?

OD:
Well, clearly, one was the Orange Revolution. And as one who himself had been an OSCE election observer and who stood on the Maydan for the first few days too and saw all the energy and the tremendous number of people and what they were calling for, there’s no question about it, that there have been a lot of missed opportunities and that all of the promises of the Orange Revolution, -- many of them, sad to say -- have not been fulfilled. Which is not the same as to say that none of them have. I’d say even with that Ukraine’s a better place than it was in many respects before the Orange Revolution. But there’s no question about it that there has been a disappointment and there’s been a lot of frustration because of that, not only here in the United States or in Europe, but first and foremost among the Ukrainian people themselves. And it’s not accidental that prominent politicians in Ukraine have low ratings.

Deychakiwsky interview, part II.

MG:
How is Ukraine viewed today on Capitol Hill? Why is Ukraine important for the United States? That’s a question a lot of Ukrainians ask.

OD:
Well, it’s still important because it plays a major contributing role in fostering security and stability in the region and the world. And if you have an independent, democratic, prosperous Ukraine, you’re going to have a Europe and a region that’s a lot better. But second of all – and I’ll be a little less diplomatic than some might be on this – but without Ukraine you don’t have a Russian Empire or a Soviet Union. And that clearly is in the United States’ and the world’s interest, because one just needs to look at the history of the Soviet Union, and I think it becomes very clear, you know. That doesn’t mean that Americans or people don’t think that Ukraine should have good relations with Russia, but they should be done on a basis where Russia shows respect for Ukraine, and I’m not sure that’s been happening, in fact it has not been happening, especially lately.

MG:
In the situation of Russia aggression, we hear a lot of statements, we saw the Duma pass the law to defend their soldiers -- there’s a lot of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, as we know, in the Black Sea fleet – in the situation of aggression, which we know happened with Georgia, what would the United States be able to do? How would the United States be able to support in such a situation?

OD:
That’s an interesting question, where we really get into the nitty-gritty of policy things. You’d have diplomatic support in that worst-case scenario. It’d definitely, without a doubt, should something like that happen, harm our, U.S. relations with Russia. I think if that happened you could forget any kind of reset, or whatever. There might be economic sanctions, or what have you. So there’s an arsenal, if you will, of tools that the U.S. could possible undertake in that kind of very negative scenario. I happen to think -- and maybe I’m going out on a limb here -- that Russia, as irrational as the statements of some of its leadership are, and I think we know what’s behind that and part of it is this continuing inability for all-too-many Russians to come to terms with an independent Ukraine. That’s, I think, at the core and the root of the problem and there are a lot of reasons for that that could take a whole another discussion. But I don’t think that Russia, even the current leadership, would really try to provoke a war, or something along the lines of what Dugin said the other day or what that resolution calls for. And especially because – with all due respect to Georgia – Ukraine isn’t Georgia. And if Russia tried anything, frankly, there would be a lot more push-back on the part of Ukraine, and I think the more-sober heads in the Kremlin completely understand that. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be attempts -- and of course they already exist – to continue to influence or even undermine Ukraine, especially governments, or presidents, like now.

MG:
To interfere in the internal affairs or the elections…

OD:
Exactly. You could already see that coming. Of course the Russians should keep in mind, and I’ve even seen some commentators from Russia say that may not be a good idea because that could end up having a counterproductive effect.

MG:
Backfire.

OD:
Backfire. Precisely. So we’ll see what happens in that realm. But I think it’s an unhealthy relationship and most of it is for the reasons I think I said, that the core of the problem being Russia’s inability to recognize and to accept, even psychologically or emotionally – even if they accept it, in a way, intellectually – that Ukraine, their brother, as they often like to refer to it, or cousins, Ukrainians, want to chart their own future and that that future might be a bit different than Russia’s future.

MG:
It’s a good ending point for our interview. What is the future of Ukraine?

OD:
This is not original, but I remember somebody about a decade ago at one of these Washington think-tanks saying that “Ukraine is doomed to succeed.” And I believe that it is. It’s sort of muddling along. It’s done a lot of things right.

MG:
And a lot of things wrong.

OD:
Exactly. Whenever you’re talking about Ukraine you sort of have to talk, “on the one hand, on the other hand.” Compare it with Belorus. Ukraine has an open political system. It respects human rights and all that. Yes, it’s vulnerable to Russian pressures, partly because it doesn’t quite have its act together internally and all the squabbling and what-not, the energy question, which is a major vulnerability to Russia and which is something that Ukraine really has had a deficit on in terms of confronting the energy issue. But then on the other hand, if you think about it, Belorus is even more vulnerable to Russia. If it had an open political system, like Ukraine, if it had more market reforms, like Ukraine – even though, again, in Ukraine it’s still a work in progress – if it was more, shall we say, European, if it had a more open political system, it would be less vulnerable to Russia. And we see right now how vulnerable Lukashenka is to Russia. It’s really a problem.

MG:
Of the three countries – Belorus, Russia and Ukraine – which signed the agreement to go their separate ways in ’91, who succeeded the most?

OD:
I think despite all its flaws Ukraine has succeeded the most. It is moving in a Western direction, becoming more of a normal, civilized country. And it’s moving forward even if it’s in fits and starts, even if it sometimes muddles along. Where Belorus and Russia seem to be moving backwards in many respects.

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