September 1, 2016 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ – translated by J. Arnoldski
On August 30th in an interview with “Echo Moscow” radio station famous for its radical Russophobic views, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin stated: “I consider the elections in Russia to be illegitimate because they are being held on the territory of occupied Crimea. Moreover, these elections are not legitimate in a political or legal sense.” Klimkin had in mind the elections to the State Duma of Russia set for September 18th. What’s more, he refused to answer the questions whether or not Ukrainian authorities can guarantee the safety of Russian citizens who want to vote at Russia’s embassy and consulates located on Ukrainian territory.
Klimkin’s statement is all the stranger given Russia’s recent friendly gesture towards Ukraine. The head of the Central Electoral Commission of Russia, Ella Pamfilova, stated on August 16th (just after the thwarted Ukrainian sabotage and terrorist attack on Crimea!) that Ukrainian representatives could participate as observers in State Duma elections as part of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights mission.
However, Ukraine has demonstratively stated through the its foreign minister that it does not recognize the State Duma elections as legitimate. It even refuses to provide the reasonable minimum which is the legal responsibility of any state, i.e., guaranteeing normal conditions for Russian citizens to vote at polling stations in the Embassy and General Consulates of Russia in Ukraine. Russia, by contrast, guaranteed safe conditions for Ukrainian citizens, of which there are at least 2.5 million in Russia, to vote at Ukraine’s diplomatic missions on Russian territory.
In diplomatic language, Klimkin’s statement is called a demarche, or, in ordinary language, “rudeness.”
Klimkin’s initiative might be another manifestation of his emotional imbalance and clumsy amateurism. Just recently we discussed another one of Klimkin’s statements in which he promised to introduce a visa regime with Russia. But a simple analysis of financial, economic, and social losses led to this foolish initiative being abandoned by the Ukrainian foreign ministry.
I still would posit that, in this case, the Ukrainian foreign ministry will not renege on its word. Russia should expect the already pre-announced surprise that Ukraine will not recognize the results of elections to the State Duma. Given Kiev’s behavior bordering on military hostility (and in some cases including such), the aggressive demarche from the Ukrainian MFA and the pacifist (on the verge of defeatist) statements of Pamfilova, known for her liberal-Western views, cause confusion. After the murder of two Russian servicemen at the hands of Ukrainian saboteurs, the invitation of Ukrainian observers seems like a complete lack of national pride. If Pamfilova allows Ukrainian observers to participate in Russian parliamentary elections, then a campaign could be launched in our country to boycott the elections.
However, I think that this won’t happen. It is most likely that Ukraine will fulfill its threat and ignore the Russian elections. And Russia will have to find an adequate response to yet another hostile step by Kiev.
And Russia has something to answer with.