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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Zhirinovsky Goes Ballistic Over Ukraine’s NATO Bid

Below is a fragment from a Channel 1+1 talk show “Я так думаю” (“That’s What I Think”).

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Vice Speaker of the Russian State Duma: What was told today in Bucharest to representatives of Ukraine and Georgia — it means a 100 percent denial of accession into the bloc of NATO for times immemorial — forever. Never will either Ukraine and Georgia make it to NATO. Let me explain why. If Ukraine and Georgia are accepted, major conflicts will begin, both in Georgia and on the borders of Ukraine. Does NATO need this? NATO needs countries that have no conflicts whatsoever: Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark. That means quietude: getting together, drinking champagne. You will have your state falling apart completely because we will immediately set “NATO prices” for gas, oil and all the rest. We will immediately deport a million Ukrainian workers.

Hanna Bezulyk, host: Vladimir Volfovich…

Zhirinovsky: Your country and economy will collapse. And what will NATO do? Georgia: Immediately there will be war with Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia. That’s why NATO will never accept you, Ukraine and Georgia. And then there’s a more important scenario. Suppose everything is fine in Ukraine and Georgia. But we here think that it doesn’t benefit us. And never will NATO trade Russia for one hundred Ukraines and two hundred Georgias.

Well, Aleksandr Lukashenka here thinks otherwise.

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Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

Russian MPs do not have right to say whether Ukraine will or will not join NATO.

It is clear that Ukraine is pro-Western orientend country and that most Ukraininans want their country to join NATO.

Russia does no have any say in Ukrainian matters; Ukraine is independent country.

Taras said...

Hi Daniel! Good to see you again!

It’s a little more complicated. Unlike Georgia, where a staggering 77 percent of voters favored NATO membership in a January referendum, most of Ukraine’s population does not share this drive. Only 30 percent of Ukrainians have embraced the idea of NATO membership.

Such negative attitudes toward the Alliance had prevailed in former Warsaw Pact countries such Poland and the Czech Republic in the early 90s. Today, these countries enjoy both NATO and EU membership. Ukraine does not. What makes us different? Our bigger enslavement experience with our neighbor in the East and our smaller support group in the West. Bottom line: Ukraine is an oligarch-run banana republic lost in the shadow of Russia.

Most of those who oppose NATO base their beliefs on diehard Soviet propaganda and lack up-to-date knowledge about the organization’s purposes and structure.

The fact that Ukraine’s MAP applications fell victim to the Moscow Consensus, led by Germany and France, has a lot to tell about NATO’s decision-making process. While the US remains the most powerful player, it does not wield omnipotent power in an organization of collective security.

So far, the Ukrainian government has failed to educate the public about the country’s security needs and NATO membership benefits, including the reform role.

To succeed, the public relations campaign should emphasize NATO as a stepping stone toward EU membership.

Anonymous said...

Zhirinovsky voiced what Putin said behind closed doors according to sources(but went a wee bit further...)

"Putin allegedly made it clear that if Ukraine and Georgia are included in the Membership Action Plan (MAP), then Russia will acknowledge the independence of two of Georgia`s regions, Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia, thus creating a buffer zone between NATO forces and its own borders, and may initiate the process of incorporating eastern Ukraine and the Crimea into its territory."


Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor said...

Hi Taras,

I believe that Ukrainian president should tell Russia to back off. Ukraine is an indepenent country, and Russia has no right to have any say in Ukrainian internal affairs. If people don't want NATO, fine, but for Russia to hold Ukraine a hostage of its foreign policy is despicable.

PS: Who was behind the polls and surveys suggesting that only 30% Ukrainians want NATO membership?

Taras said...

Daniel, I have no reason to distrust those polls, just as I fully agree that Ukraine can and should be independent.

It takes a concerted education effort to get Ukrainians from where they are to where they need to be to protect their independence.

That’s hilarious! So he’s no longer into nuking eastern Ukraine?

Rather than indulge in childish fantasy, Putin should spend more time worrying about the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, which consists of 83 federal subjects.

Should separatism brew in these gas and oil-rich subjects, the incorporation of eastern Ukraine would hardly compensate for the resulting supply disruptions and loss of revenue.

Besides, getting eastern Ukrainian elites on board can be problematic. If eastern Ukraine were a part of Russia, how much power would they have in Moscow?

At the end of the day, the Russian card is just an election gimmick, nothing more.