Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

#7 - JRL 8479 - JRL Home
RIA Novosti
December 2, 2004

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov) - It has been announced that the two opposing sides in Kiev, the "orange" forces of Mr. Yushchenko and the "blue-white" forces of Mr. Yanukovich, have reached a compromise at last with the help of foreign intermediaries. A firm handshake and friendly smiles of yesterday's sworn enemies/semi-presidents sealed - specially for television crews - the signing of the joint document. But who lost and who gained from this compromise?

Of course, everyone knows that both sides are expected to cede something and that reconciliation benefits everybody. But what will be the practical result of that handshake? Mr. Yushchenko will withdraw his "guards" from the government buildings, allowing the Ukrainian officials temporarily to return to their papers, while Mr. Yanukovich and Mr. Kuchma will admit that they had actually lost the election. The Supreme Court is to decide if the election was rigged and if so, to what extent.

One way or another, Mr. Yanukovich will not become president now. If the second stage of the election is re-enacted, he will lose. If a completely new election is held, he will most probably not run at all. No wonder that the "orange" crowd welcomed the compromise with cries of victory: they have won.

But have Ukrainian democracy and the people won? Meaning all of the Ukrainian people, including the followers of Mr. Yushchenko, who are euphoric with their victory, as befits young revolutionaries at the initial stage of a revolution.

But the euphoria will pass soon. The foreign intermediaries did not talk with the two parts of the split country and not even with genuine representatives of its western and eastern parts, but with delegates from different clans, who at this period in Ukraine's history have failed to divide its territory. The negotiators used the word "people," which frequently arose during demonstrations and talks, only as a traditional ritual incantation.

Mr. Kwasniewski defended Polish interests in Ukraine and tried to augment his country's authority in the EU. Mr. Solana, who officially represented the EU, upheld Western, in particular, NATO, interests. Mr. Gryzlov, who represented Russia, did not have the requisite political authority and hence was an observer rather than a full participant in the talks with a proper voice. And Mr. Kuchma was clearly thinking more about his political future than all the others who were claiming to care for Ukraine's interests.

If the firm handshake was not a farce, it means that the two clans have come to an agreement.

The outlook for Ukraine is not positive. The people will not gain anything soon, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, what form the political change stipulated by the Supreme Rada (parliament) takes, and who becomes president (and premier). The East will not meet the West for a long time yet. Ukraine will continue to maneuver between Moscow and Western capitals, and the ruling Ukrainian politicians/millionaires will continue to care about their pockets rather than the interests of those in "orange" and "blue-white."