Yushchenko: More than Half of Ukrainians Will Not Support Joining NATO or a Single Official Language
December 30, 2014
Translated from Russian by J. Hawk
The former President of Ukraine gave Poroshenko and his advisors a lecture on how to end the civil war and how to start a national dialogue.
The former President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko stated in an interview that more than half of Ukrainians would not support the country joining NATO or enshrining the Ukrainian language as the only official language.
“If you are in favor of a single official language in Ukraine, please keep in mind that more than half of the people would not support this idea.”
Yushchenko also believes that the Poroshenko regime’s desire to push the country into NATO is likewise a measure to which 60% of Ukrainians are opposed.
“If you want to transform Ukraine’s security policy toward membership in a European collective security structures, keep in mind that 60% of the country will not understand why.”
In addition, Viktor Yushchenko argued in favor of a general national dialogue:
“Whenever we talk of policies that may be given the label “Yanukovych policies”, one has to remember that, in addition to Yanukovych, these policies were backed by 12-14 million of Ukrainians. So if we want to reach a national consensus, a national rapprochement, we shouldn’t speak of Yanukovych but rather those 14 millions who think along the same lines as Yanukovych. We have to understand our strategic interests and our past, all the while preserving a national dialogue.”
The former president underscored the need for the national dialogue to compel Poroshenko and his supporters to take into consideration the interests of all citizens of Ukraine, so that Ukraine’s diversity would never again become the source of conflict:
“The diversity of our country cannot simply be a set of contradictions, but rather a distinguishing feature, and once we realize that these differences exist then the next step is to plan how to reconcile these differences.”
Given the mounting pressure from the West to come to terms with Russia (as evidenced by newly announced IMF conditions for the next loan to Ukraine, which include Russia’s postponement of Ukraine’s repayment of its debt to Russia), it may be that Yushchenko, while an opponent of Yanukovych in the presidential elections, is nevertheless being seen both by Ukrainians and (especially) the West as someone more capable of effectively enforcing a more conciliatory Ukrainian policy toward Russia. This is something that Poroshenko (due to the absence of his own political team) is incapable of doing (which is reflected by the cold shoulder he has received from the EU) and the Yatsenyuk/Turchinov clique is unwilling to do, preferring instead to attempt extorting billions of euros by threatening Ukraine’s collapse—which would be very difficult to avoid in the absence of the resumption of favorable Russian economic policies toward Ukraine. Yushchenko represents a substantially pro-Western political tilt without the virulent anti-Russian rhetoric that the current Kiev government excels at, which arguably makes him the most qualified to move Ukraine out of its current crisis.