A new broom or an old rake? Vadym Karasyov: our foreign policy is a key factor in the schism
A new broom or an old rake? Vadym Karasyov: our foreign policy is a key factor in the schism

A new broom or an old rake? Vadym Karasyov: our foreign policy is a key factor in the schism

12:22, 04 September 2007
9 min. 1456

Foreign policy and the east-west divide is the biggest stumbling stone for Ukraine, noting PM Viktor Yanukovych leans strongly towards the east in his policies. It might be best for Ukraine "to drift" a few years...

Politics in Ukraine is not likely to settle down any time soon after the 30 September early election, political expert Vadym Karasyov, who is close to the presidential team, believes.

Speaking in an interview with a serious daily, Karasyov predicted that political forces will appeal to the courts no matter what the outcome of the vote is.

Karasyov said former parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn is being financially back by a member of the Party of Regions and added that should he get into parliament, the political landscape will dramatically change.

He also said foreign policy and the east-west divide is the biggest stumbling stone for Ukraine, noting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych leans strongly towards the east in his policies.

Karasyov predicted it might be best for Ukraine "to drift" a few years with an indeterminate foreign policy while voters mature to decide what they really want.

The following is the text of the article by Nataliya Romashova, entitled "A new broom or an old rake? Vadym Karasyov: Our foreign policy is a key factor in the schism", published in the Ukrainian newspaper Den in Russian on 30 August; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Less than a month is left in the election countdown. In exactly 30 days Ukrainians will evaluate politicians and the policies they have carried out. And there is clearly no reason for us to expect sanctification, regeneration or increase in the quality of policy after 30 September.

The same people we be under the dome of our law-making assembly and they are not likely to have learned many lessons from the recent crises. And since the players are not changing, there is probably little sense in talking about changes to the game`s rules of behaviour on the floor of parliament. And so there are likely to be crude violations of the rules; there will be fouls, scandals and of course new crises.

We`re used to that... [ellipsis as published] This will all come after the September election, when the political "chefs" begin with vigour to stew a new coalition soup out of old ingredients.

But wait - Director of the Institute of Global Strategies Vadym Karasyov suggests a new player could very well find his place under the sun of the parliament of the sixth convocation. Mr Karasyov predicts the golden share held by the speaker of the fifth parliament could be picked up by the speaker of the fourth parliament.

In other words, the deciding packet of MP votes which will determine the colour of the ruling coalition could be controlled by Volodymyr Lytvyn.

And Lytvyn`s party, Karasyov says, is going into the election as a satellite of the Party of Regions, and so the [propresidential] Orange political parties will not be able to call out anyone for betrayal and claim the people`s will has been misrepresented.

We asked Vadym Karasyov what comes next...[ellipsis as published].

[Karasyov] You remember when there was the television programme "For 16 and older"? That`s what we`ve got now - up to 30 September and after. What is more important? I think no-one is thinking about what will happen on 30 September, but about what will happen after that date. Everything is fairly clear with the election.

Of course, the election campaign will be more lively, dynamic, dramatic and scandalous. But still, the campaign machinery of all the parties have begun setting their paths and you have to look at those paths and see what and who will come after 30 September.

[Romashova] And who and what will come?

[Karasyov] The first question is who will get into parliament? It`s most likely five parties will get in, but with Lytvyn in place of [leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine Oleksandr] Moroz. And that really changes the picture in this game.

[Romashova] You mean the coalition game?

[Karasyov] Yes. In principle, people are now talking about a grand coalition between the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine-People`s Self Defence [OUPSD] or a Blue coalition, the Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine [CPU] and about an Orange coalition between the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc [YTB] and OUPSD.

In the case we have now, everything will depend on who has the mathematical majority. But if Lytvyn gets in, that really changes everything. It`s most likely Lytvyn is now running as a Party of Regions satellite project.

[Romashova] What brings you to that conclusion?

[Karasyov] First, Khmelnytskyy is on the Party of Regions list, but he is financing Lytvyn. Second, Lytvyn after all is closer to the multi-vector style of Ukrainian domestic and foreign policies.

That is, he is closer to the Party of Regions, than to the pro-West Orange vector. But what is the main intrigue here linked to Lytvyn? That intrigue is that if he gets into parliament and he, the CPU and the Party of Regions get a majority, then that is pretty serious.

It is serious, because the entire game around the illegitimacy of the fifth parliament and its being disbanded early, centred on Moroz who was Orange and became Blue. That is, that the Orange had the majority of votes in 2006, and Moroz`s betrayal twisted the people`s choice.

But if Lytvyn comes, he is neither Orange nor Blue. It makes no sense to accuse him of betrayal. And that will not be a coincidental win, as the 2006 win could be classified.

It will confirm the leading role of the Party of Regions and its partners in Ukrainian politics. In short, if Lytvyn makes it into parliament, the intrigue will get very wound up.

By the way, that is good for the Party of Regions, because being alone in a coalition with the Communists is not very easy. The Communists are a predictable and unpredictable partner. They can pull those kind of tricks.

[Romashova] Can you be more specific?

[Karasyov] For example, demand the post of speaker or say demand an openly pro-Russian choice or pull the Regionals into openly anti-Western rhetoric and so on.

In short in such a situation, the Communists will try to play a pushy role, provoking the Regionals into sharper, more radical and more anti-presidential policies.

And depending on the results of the election and the trajectory under which the coalition will be formed, political forces will react to the results of the election: the procedures by which it was held, the transparency, legality and cleanness. And of course, the courts will be used to the


I think the results of the election will be a long time in coming. Besides this, it is unknown how the CEC will behave itself in an unclear situation - will it split?

That is, it`s most likely that all these factors could lead us to a new circuit in the crisis - a post election crisis. In this situation, with the cabinet, I`ll say, quasi-legitimate, parliament already illegitimate and the new parliament yet to gather...[ellipsis as published]

So you see, the courts, the president and the main political parties will be

the main players who will define all the scenarios: both crises and compromises.

[Romashova] I`ll have to say - that`s a pretty "optimistic" prognosis. But can you be more precise: what is the crisis scenario?

[Karasyov] An unrecognized election.

[Romashova] In that case, the next logical question is: when, in your opinion, will MPs of the sixth convocation gather under the dome of the Ukrainian parliament?

[Karasyov] Under the constitution, they have 30 days. A coalition is to be formed within that time frame. But you know, I think we are in for some tense times on the third anniversary of the Maydan [popular protests during the 2004 presidential election].

[Romashova] If the majority is formed by Orange forces, the situation is more or less clear. But if the coalition is formed by the Blue, how might events unfold?

[Karasyov] If Lytvyn and the Party of Regions join, then this is what will happen: [Viktor] Yanukovych will be prime minister [Foreign Minister Arseniy] Yatsenyuk will be first deputy prime minister and Lytvyn will be speaker. But it is not a fact that the president will submit Yanukovych`s nomination. He could use time looking for variants more advantageous to him

in terms of events unfolding.

It`s clear YTB will be an active player, pushing the president towards an anti-Blue scenario. Of course, there is a lot of risk in this. Everything depends on the Party of Regions. It`s likely the Party of Regions will not nominate anyone but Yanukovych for prime minister. And if the president draws out time in submitting his nomination, then is when the little war will begin, I`d say.

The Communists will demand impeachment. And in this case, by the way, that will not just be their opinion, but a position consolidated with the Party of Regions. And in a situation when the Party of Regions has won in both 2006 and 2007, it will be very difficult for the Orange forces to appeal to the West. Especially since the winds are now beginning to blow from the


The West is tired of Ukraine and it`s sort of hazy now. But Putin`s Russia is on the drive, it`s in condition. And you must admit that authoritarian states are rising now: China, Russia, Central Asia and Brazil. These states are more actively taking on the Western vector of the world order.

[Romashova] Well in this case, maybe we need a firm hand and a Ukrainian Putin?

[Karasyov] That is already clear, the question is whose hand it will be: a woman`s hand in a high-fashion blouse [Yuliya Tymoshenko]? Yushchenko`s gesticulating hand? Yanukovych`s fist?

[Romashova] ???

[Karasyov] You know, in my opinion, Ukraine would be better off without hands. Ukraine needs clear and understandable rules for the game and it needs to kick like in football - with its feet.

It will be a catastrophe for Ukraine whether a dainty hand, a man`s hand or a fist wins singularly. So the optimum variant is to leave out the hands and play by the rules. And these rules exist by the way, in the form of a constitution.

[Romashova] Vadym, the recent crisis very clearly demonstrated how these rules are observed.

[Karasyov] You know, in fact the model from 2006 is not that bad. If you can back away from specific political personalities - this is the best system Ukraine can have at this stage.

The prime minister, the president - and everything is balanced! But the problem is that Yushchenko and Yanukovych are the finalists of an old presidential election and they personify two regional Ukraines.

[Romashova] And as a result, it`s year 16 of independence and the world press is writing headlines on a very traditional topic: which direction is Ukraine going?

[Karasyov] That`s right. And it can be forced by a fist into multi-vector policies: not [former President Leonid] Kuchma`s, but with asymmetric vectors which are closer to Russia, with little bows directed towards the West. That is Yanukovych`s road map.

Yushchenko`s hand and Tymoshenko`s hand can lead Ukraine to the West. There is also one more variant: drifting for five or six years. Maybe this drifting is needed so that both the political players and voters mature for new politicians and a new choice. There is no good variant - all the variants are a worse than bad, they are foul.

[Romashova] You know, for some reason it would be surprising to hear there was anything good for us.

[Karasyov] You see, you can break the country over your knee, tighten your fist and use a severe hand to manage a more right away in some direction. And then we will have to figure out where it is we`ve arrived. Or drift for a while and grow up to understand: what is Ukraine? Why does it exist? What is its place on the map of Europe?

[Romashova] Why do we not even have any solidarity in foreign policy? Take for example, the scandal around Yanukovych`s recent trip to Moscow.

[Karasyov] That`s exactly it: foreign policy for us is the key factor in the divide. In political science there is an understanding of a "foreign policy state". That is a state which arises as a result of geopolitical circumstances and develops between two different centres of influence. And the entire structure of Ukrainian politics is determined by geopolitics.

Look at us - the left is not leftist, the right is not rightist. Our divide is east and west. We have our own rightists in the east and there are leftists in the east, too. And in our west there are both rightists and leftists.

Suppose for example in France, the president and the prime minister also do not share foreign policy. But they have one course, they just can`t determine it instrumentally. And we have two courses. Our president is oriented towards the West and our prime minister has an asymmetric, multi-vectored path.

While Kuchma tried to balance between the West and Russia, Yanukovych is really closer to the East. By the way, I would advise you to analyse his speeches to the diplomatic corps. There is an entire programme there at least, but foreign economic policy is calculated in terms of eastern markets.

[Romashova] Ukraine has a part of society which has absolutely democratic convictions. Besides this, they have not forgotten they are Ukrainians and that means they carry people`s democratic convictions.

And they are striving for the higher standards of Europe and that means they are in part Europeans and Atlanticists. So who is going to represent them in the next parliament?

[Karasyov] Judging from articles in Western academic journals - YTB. Well and probably part of Our Ukraine. But you really have to divide our Atlanticists into those which are reserved and those which are more open.

In this case, Our Ukraine promotes a more pragmatic Atlanticism, while YTB is rather more conceptual about it, judging from Yuliya Tymoshenko`s article "Holding back Russia".

[Romashova] Vadym, why is the current campaign all about social policy junk, excuse me, and nothing more?

[Karasyov] I`d give it a bit of a different definition. It`s a childhood disease, children`s socialism for Ukrainian politicians. In this case, the politicians do not want to touch topics which are scary and divisive. In short, they are talking in ciphers and they don`t want to expose their foreign policies.

[Romashova] And the result of these ciphers, as you call them, leaves thinking voters unable to decide whom to vote for.

[Karasyov] That is not the problem of these political forces, but a problem of a lack of new ones. With the ones we have, everything is quite clear. It`s just that they`ve decided to leave these issues on the side for the time being and compete on another field.

[Romashova] And while they compete, 40 per cent of Ukrainians say they want to leave the country and over 50 per cent complain they cannot control the authorities. Maybe it`s time to show these competitors a "red card"?

[Karasyov] There is never a popular uprising "against everybody". In order for there to be a protest, it has to have a promoter, a producer, a director and a choreographer.

People`s activity is a proto-scene. And for it to become a full-fledged act, there needs to be an outside screenwriter who is provided by political forces. Only a vote can be against all.

As far as ciphers are concerned, you know, you have to be careful in your approach to them, since any person will always say he has little control over the authorities. Especially in conditions like ours, where people feel that democracy is good through and through and practically direct contact with a person.

Ask the Americans who are more sober and pragmatic about democracy. Democracy is when they don`t get in the way of his life and don`t break the rules of the game. And we have to look at this issue from a different point of view - that people think they should be living in a self-managed commune.

Like in the USSR you know: the people and the party are one. And 40 per cent want to leave? On one hand that`s bad. On the other hand, it`s good. It shows we live in a global society. Let them leave...[ellipsis as published]

[Romashova] Right, let them go. Then all the normal people will leave and we will sit here thinking for 100 years where is Ukraine going and is it even going anywhere at all.

[Karasyov] No, not all of them will leave. Let them travel and see how much their brains are needed out there in the West. The Soviet authorities` mistake was that they never let anyone out.

If people had left and lived out there they would have valued that social package which the Soviet authorities gave them. But they will come back to Ukraine anyway. Because for a person born and raised here, no better country exists.

This article was monitored by the Action Ukraine Monitoring Service for the Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, Editor.

INTERVIEW: With Vadym Karasyov, political expert

BY: Nataliya Romashova, Den, Kiev, in Russian Aug 30 07; pp 1, 4

BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, Aug 31, 2007

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