What should Ukraine expect from Prime Minister Putin?

14:34, 08 May 2008
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Expert opinions

In the opinion of Ukrainian political scientist Serhiy Taran, Putin as Prime Minister will have less influence upon Ukraine compared to when he occupied the President’s post.

“In Russia, as in any authoritarian country, the policy is determined by not the person who has formal authorities, but by those who have a real influence through personal relations, through own people, through authority in force structures. So, I think, he will keep on determining many things in the Ukrainian-Russian relations. In particular, through exerting influence upon the Russia’s gas policy. Because Putin had and will always have this influence, and the gas policy is the same constituent of the foreign policy as a Foreign Ministry”, Serhiy Taran believes.

However, according to Russian political scientist Andrey Okara, in the current structure of President-Prime Minister authorities, most probably, the foreign policy will be decided by namely Medveded, and not Putin.

“Over the last 8 years, Vladimir Vladimirovich has proved that both he and his closest surrounding do not understand how to build relations with Russia’s closest neighbors, first of all, with Ukraine. Over the last years, Russia has lost the role of leader at the post-Soviet space. It is not a center of consolidating the post-Soviet countries any more, it does not determine the legitimate criteria for the post-Soviet regimes”, Andrey Okara stresses.

Experts forecast that, probably, the Putin-Medvedev (or Medvedev-Putin) tandem will keep on trying to re-integrate the post-Soviet space. To achieve that goal, they will apply natural gas, the Moscow Patriarchy, pro-Russian forces and Russian military presence. Another evident fact is the consolidated activities of the Kremlin team at foreign fronts. It means, divided forces will face difficulties if resisting Russia.

Radio Liberty (in Ukrainian)

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