Yanukovych cannot encourage secession at home

Thu 11 February 2010 10:00 GMT | 15:00 Local Time

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Alexander J. Motyl

News.Az interviews Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.

Do you expect any “coloured” revolution in Ukraine after the presidential elections?

Demonstrations are quite possible, but mass protests along the lines of the Orange Revolution are highly unlikely. People are too cynical about everybody and everything and want peace and quiet.

Could the new president make any significant changes in Ukraine's foreign policy?

Every single Ukrainian president since 1991 has pursued a policy of maintaining good relations with Russia, Europe and the United States. Sometimes they lean a bit more in this direction or that direction, but their policy has always been "multi-vector". That will not change. Yushchenko's policy toward Russia was never hostile; it just focused on Ukrainian interests and identity, which Putin's Russia – being hyper-nationalistic and neo-imperial – cannot tolerate. It will now be Yanukovych's turn to deal with the quasi-fascist regime Putin has built in Russia. And, like Yushchenko, he will have great difficulties maintaining good relations with a country that doesn't recognize Ukraine's integrity.

What are the prospects of Ukraine's further integration in the EU and NATO?

For the time being, these issues are off the agenda. On the other hand, if Ukraine can recover economically and stabilize politically, it will inevitably drift toward the EU and away from Russia – and, thus, toward NATO.

What is the future of the GUAM organization, which unites Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova?

GUAM hasn't been terribly important in the past and it is likely to remain so in the future.

Ukraine’s has been hugely supportive of Azerbaijan’s position on the Karabakh problem in the last few years at the UN and in other international organizations, despite Russia's displeasure. Do you think the new Ukrainian authorities may revise this position on "frozen conflicts" in the post-Soviet area?

Probably not, although they may become less vocal about their point of view. Ukraine also has potential secessionist provinces and a President Yanukovych cannot afford to encourage secessionism at home by acknowledging it elsewhere. Chances are he'll try to keep both Russia and Azerbaijan happy by trying to avoid taking a stand.

And, finally, may there be any changes in energy cooperation between Ukraine and Azerbaijan?

Every Ukrainian government needs energy diversity. If Azerbaijan can continue to help in this respect, Ukraine will maintain cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Aliyah Fridman



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