Sunday, May 13, 2018

Moscow’s Approach to Ukraine after 1991 was ‘an Absolute Failure,’ Karaganov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 13 – In the course of an extensive interview in which he says Western elites have lost control over their own populations and over other countries, Sergey Karagnov says that Ukraine represents “a special case,” one in which Moscow’s policy or rather lack of policy after 1991 led to “an absolute failure.”

            Karaganov, one of Moscow’s most prominent and influential foreign policy commentators, says that Russia gave Ukraine “cheap gas viewing it as a fraternal people and a fraternal country. But they stole it and created on its basis their own anti-Russian ideology” (

                The Ukrainians, he continues, “stole both in Russia and in the West, but in Ukraine, this waasn’t a crime but almost a legitimate business. And in this we [in Russia] are guilty” because one “need not ‘feed’” such a state with cheap energy resources.”  But despite this assistance, Ukraine has proved “an incompetent state.”

            It hasn’t managed to elaborate a national idea, Karaganov says, because “one shouldn’t call serving the interests of the West and the US a national idea.”  Ukraine, he continues, is not only the poorest country in Europe but is in fact “the only incompetent state on the post-Soviet space.”

            What is worst of all, he continues, is that “the current Ukrainian ruling clan (there isn’t any elite) and those Ukrainian clans which feed at the regime, has nothing that they can offer the world besides confrontation with the Russia.”  Playing on that is the only way the Kyiv regime continues in power.

            According to Karaganov, “the West, of course, already has understood what is occurring there but can’t or won’t change the situation. Instead, the West has another idea – to do everything so that Russia can’t unite with Ukraine. And it has achieved that.” Had Moscow behaved differently earlier, the situation would be different.

            But it didn’t, he says; and as a result, “we are guilty in this regard.”

            “Unfortunately, our understanding came late only when we recognized that NATO could expand to include Ukraine. And this would have inevitably led to a major war. In order to prevent that and stop the advance of NATO, we had to join Crimea to ourselves and support the risings in the Donbass.”

                According to Karaganov, “this generated new international conflicts, but on the other hand, it blocked a major war in Europe. We chose the lesser of two evils.”

            As far as the future is concerned, the Moscow analyst says, eventually although “perhaps not immediately,” we will agree with the Europeans about some joint administration” of Ukraine. “I do not know how and when this will happen, but something like that must be done” – and can be because Ukraine is not a problem at “the global level.”

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