Ukraine is no longer sustainable and no longer a state, but keeps on being a state only to the extent that it is recognized by international players.
December 14, 2015
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
The president of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting, Rostislav Ischenko, explains why it better suits the world power-centers to keep Ukraine in its present state, in which the power is of the regional elites, and what sort of plan Washington has in case of the collapse of Ukraine.
In politics you can never talk about any outcome; it can not leave off on December 31 and re-start on January 1st. Those processes, which began earlier, will go on in 2016. If we talk about the stability of the Ukrainian state, it is no longer sustainable and no longer a state, but keeps on being a state only to the extent that it is recognized by international players. For Brussels and Paris, and Berlin, it is unprofitable to preserve Ukrainian statehood, but to admit its dissolution/destruction is an even more losing option.
Once we admit its destruction, the question immediately arises, what to do next. Necessarily, create something new to replace it, but that would need a clear understanding of how to create, what to create, and what orientation the new formation would have. But the world’s major players have completely different views on the subject.
If the US, the EU and the IMF have not found 3 billion to pay for Russian debts, they simply won’t find the tens and hundreds of billions over 5-10 years for a new project.
At the same time, everyone understands that the regime is not something that is sustainable — it isn’t alive anymore, the local elections in Ukraine have shown that the regime can not compete even with regional elites: In all regions the elections returned local and regional elites. Therefore Biden, when he came to Ukraine, said that there was no longer a need to hold elections, let everything remain as it is.
His words relate to the fact that the politicians of the US, who have more education and experience than their Ukrainian counterparts, are well aware that any subsequent elections will lead to the disintegration of Ukraine, international community notwithstanding. This process can slow down, but it cannot be ignored, and though it may be possible to to maintain the integrity of the state with intravenous injections, it is no longer possible to stop the process of decay and reverse it.
The sprawl is inevitable, although the world’s centers of power can pretend that Ukraine exists as a country, for some time, even if nominally. A state is not just an anthem, a coat of arms, a flag, and international recognition. In the very fact, it is an internal consensus, and it is possible only when the internal power meets the needs of its people. It does not just collect taxes from you, but you know that your taxes are accomplishing something.
Now there is such a situation where the central government has lost the function that it can play in the interests of the whole country, and is no longer able to attract external funding. The economy is in ruins, and making a budget through taxes and fees is impossible. The center has lost its importance for the regions and the process of decay depends only on the uptake of the regional elites, and their real and powerful capabilities. As crumbled as at the time of the Kievan Rus. The center only takes, but gives nothing in return.
Though giving money to Kiev, the regions decide all questions on their own – they protect themselves, solve the problems of the administration, and even are set to enter foreign markets on their own. And why do they need Poroshenko?
The collapse is hampered by two things in one basket. First, the US interest — that controls the Ukrainian government and the general policy — is to maintain a single player, which they can show to the world and say: here is Ukraine. Not Odessa, Zaporizhia, Lviv, Zhytomyr, but the whole Ukraine. The other is the spastic rhinestones of the local regional elites in the face of the Americans. But the regional elites do not realize that the Americans depend on them to a much greater extent than they depend on the Americans: If Washington will face a collapse in Ukraine, they will play with Filatov in Dnepropetrovsk, Baloga in Transcarpathia, Saakashvili in Odessa and just forget about Kiev. Of course, it is more profitable to play with Kiev, but that will not change their interests.