Colored Revolutions by Samokhvalov

Colored Revolutions by Samokhvalov - *Rcsctu‘ch Fellow,...

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Unformatted text preview: *Rcsctu‘ch Fellow, International Center for Black Sea Studies, University of Athens, COLORED REVOLUTIONS 1N UKRAINE GEORGIA: REPERCUSSIONS FOR THE SYSTEM OF INT RNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA RE ION Vsevolod SAMOKHVALOV* Two years ago, after the Georgian President {lard ‘Shevarnadze tried to legitimize electoral fraud in order to prolong is power, a united opposition movement headed by the young lawyer 'kheil Saakashvili initiated public protests against the corrupt regime and a tually removed the old political elite from power. Saakashvili. supporters, r resentaltives of the civil society and opposition parties, flooded central squ - es of the Georgian capital bringing hundreds of roses. Those flowers were j st the first signs of serious changes that were to come in the post-Soviet Sp cc. One year later, in November 2004, thousands o Ukrainian citizens, wearing headscarves and bandages of orange color and eezing for several weeks in the tents at the central Independence squar of Kiev, actually asserted the right to choose their president. Both e plosions of public protests brought to power new democratic leaderships at assumed office soon after that. Thousands of people present at the i auguration of both Presidents could not check their tears. Later on, in l te March 2005 the leaders of the organized public protests in the capital of the formerly Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan seized power ousting from e office President Akaer with little resistance from his side. The analysis of the repercussions of these intern developments for the regional system of international relations should started from the definition of the major factors and processes, which sh ped the post-soviet Space architecture in the past decade. The first among th se is the process of state and nation—building in the Newly Independent S ' es. New political elites in the former Soviet states had a certain vision 0 their state-projects which, as a rule, harbored Euro-Atlantic aspirations d, in fact, removed PERCEPTIONS - Auturrm 2005 99 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Geo "a relations with Russia as well cooperation in the post-poviet space from the list of priorities in their foreign policy agendas. See ad, these aspirations, along with the changes in Europe and its perip ery, resulted in the involvement of outside players in the post-soviet re on - US, NATO, EU and the Western European states, and, some region actors, i.e. Turkey, China, Poland, etc. The third actor in the post-Soviet pace remains Russia, which was considerably irritated by the emergence y the aforementioned (f)actors in its Near Abroad, since Moscow had its ow quite different vision for the development of this space. Hewever, despite those three (flactors wo ed in diametrically opposite directions and their relations were rather fr quently complicated, this interaction did not produce serious tensions in the ormerly Soviet space, ' which could shake the regional system of internation relations. As a result, 14 years after the collapsa of the USSR, the region international system still could not find its stable equilibrium. It rather f'o itself in the situation of unstable equilibrium which could not last forever. Internal Developments One of the defining (f)actors of this _state of fairs was the internal developments in the post-Soviet states. The process of state-building and transition to democracy and market economy in most f the mist-totalitarian societies, including Georgia and Ukraine, in the past ecade d'd not procced too far. Internal liberalization has been delayed or eve wrapped up while the local leaders have digressed from being progressi e “apparatchik” to a semi-authoritarian and as rule corrupt leaders. This etamorphosis actually made it impossible for Ukraine and Georgia to realize heir proclaimed goals of joining NATO and the EU in the past decade. As a respectable Ukrainian new agency stressed: “Ukrainian politicians considered foreign policy as resource for achievements of their purely personal goals, first and foremost consolidatio of their power inside of the country”.1 I. Olesia Yachno, “Zabud' pro ES. 1pm EEP mzhe. (Forget about the EU. Forget S ingle] ELEeouomic] Slpace] 100)”. available at <www.glavted.info>. 100 Pane-smears - Autumn 2005 Vsevolod Samokhvalov This delay made it impossible for Ukraine and their relations with Euro-Atlantic structures. Conseq conflicts” (in South Osetia, Abkhazia, Transniestria) c uld not be solved. ‘ Sensitive issues of bilateral relations (Russian flee in the Crimean Peninsula, military bases in Georgia and Abkhaz‘ ) also remained unresolved. This situation was the preferable option for Kremlin as it allowed to avoid serious changes in the post-Soviet pace and promote Russia's national interests, as they were perceived b Moscow; namely lobbying the interest of major business players, ens 'ng rights of the Russian-speaking and pro-Russian minorities, m ntaining military presence, etc. On the other hand, Euro—Atlantic struc- were not eager to undertake significant commitments within the s.t~Soviet space, ! preoccupied with serious events they had to address (B kan crises, EU and I NATO Enlargement, European integration and digestio of new members, 1 war against terrorism). ' orgia to deepen ‘ However, any change in power applied 'or course of action of any of e the major (fiactors in the post-Soviet space could affec the whole system. Growing resentment with delayed transition and setb cks, political and social developments together with maturing civil socety contributed to accumulating critical mass in Georgia and Ukraine, w 'ch in combination with specific irritator - electoral fraud resulted in social explosions against the semi-authoritarian regimes in these states. The very fact of the colored revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine delivered a serious low in the regional system of international relations. Russia. on the Eve Even before the revolutions took place in Georg a and Ukraine, the Russian Federation introduced serious. changes in its fo i-gn policy strategy towards the post-Soviet space. These changes were root in the consensus achieved by the Russian society and elite groups about the concept of the Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet space. The esse e of this consensus is that unlike the Balkans and Central Europe, the po -Soviet space was recognized as the sphere of the Russian real natio a1 interests. This recognition is the product of the processes which have en place in the past decade in and out of the post-Soviet space. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 101 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia It should be noted that the lack of sensitivin Europe and the US displayed in their policies towards the Balkans and Central Europe predetermined Russia's hostile attitude towards any ‘ intrusion” in its Near Abroad. Initially the feeling of disillusionment was 'b It] in Russia with the decision of NATO to expand to Central Europe 11 the early 905 and. continued in the Balkans from 1995 until 2000. The 'sis in Kosovo was a turning point in the Russian perception of the E o-Atlantic structures. Russian alarmists started to wear the NATO int ention into Kosovo conflict as a scenario which can be at any morne 't applied to Russia. Afterwards, the second wave of NATO enlargement ontribuued. to Russian feelings of insecurity. In addition, the EU enlargemen into the Baltic States, the European Neighborhood Policy produced irr'ita' u even for the most moderate groups of the Russian elite - economists an diplomats. While Moscow could hardly do anything in se cases, apart from expressing diplomatic protests, in the case of the Ne Abroad, Russia tired to respond by deepening economic integration in C18 and supporting prowRussian political elites. As the international act rs penetrated into the post-Soviet space, this feeling grew up. In the year 2 , an analyst close to the Kremlin, suggested that Putin's priority in the sec nd term of office will be to increase cooperation with the formerly Soviet states.2 Even Anatoly Chubays, a veteran of the liberal political elite, expre sed the idea of Russia playing the role-of “liberal empire”.3 Kremlin did not esitate to translate this theory into practice. Moscow analysts were quite posi "we in their conclusion that while the old political elites in the New Indepen ' nt States remained in power the status quo in the post-Soviet space w unlikely to change drastically. Therefore, the colored revolutions in Georgia d Ukraine took place in the time, when the feeling of insecurity cause a “zero-sum game” perception in MOSCOW about the regional architec e in the post~Soviet space. And, this radicalism was developing increasi gly from Georgian to Ukrainian events. 2. S. Eclkovsky, ‘ngedy of Vladimir Putin“, available at <www.le.Lema.ru> , ‘ Hunters," available at (www.msbaltm. ‘ 3. Annme Chuhays. “Missiya Rossii (Mission of Russia)," Speech at the SiPetem available at <www.chubays.ru> to Putin from Famous Oligarch Engineer-Economic University. 102 PERCEPTIONS - Auwmn 2005 Vsevolod Samokhvalov While the Russian-Georgian relations were seriously deteriorated after the Rose revolution, it was natural to foresee that the Russian decision makers would demonstrate their decisiveness to contribute to every possible way into keeping the oid Ukrainian political elite in power. Russian spin-doctors made the Ukrainian capital their home and application of their PR technologies. The failure of Russia despi support provided to its protege to bring to power in Ultra candidate is explained by the. fact that Russian intellectu common historic roots and cultural fraternity with the whole complexity of the societal processes in Geor “conspiracy theory”. The emerging modernist elite an demonstrated their cormnitment‘ to democratic values w plot of foreign intelligent service(s) or; in the case of major stock gambler George Soros. test-ground for the te massive e the pro-Kremlin El elite, despite the a and Ukraine to a civil society that re interpreted as a orgia, plan of the Uloaiglie, actually reduced At the cabinet session of November 24, President Putin said that those who organize and encourage such actions take a great responsibility on themselves. He also said that he hopes the new Georgian leadership will “restore the tradition of friendship” between the Russian and Georgian peoples.4 The Russian society, the political and intellectual elite, all those who have lived the highly negative experience of the “wild! capitalism” in the Yeltsin era and who for a number of reasons opted for a strong band authoritarianism, adopted this interpretation of the political developments in Ukraine and Georgia. The colored revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine increased significantly the power with which the two diametrically opposite approaches were applied to the regional system of international relations in the post-Soviet space. Except the deterioration in bilateral relations, which will be described below, this divergence gave birth to a w trend in the CIS space. The interaction of the diametrically oppos' e powers in the post—Soviet space caused increasing tension along all the rift lines, which go not only through post—Soviet space but also through 4. “Putin Cali President to Duster Results." RFERL Newsh'ne, Vol. 7 No. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 eir societies. This 222 (25.11.2003). 103 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia tension appeared in recent events very vividly. It is sufficient to observe reaction chain in the post-Soviet space. Almost immediately after the democratic revolution in Georgia, Russia introducell visa regime at the border with Georgia. The process of state building attempted by the Georgian President Saakashvili in South Osetia provoked Russia's open support breakaway region. The situation in Ukraine was even more complicated. Clash of Civilizations or Two Ukraine 's Debate? I In the case of Ukraine, the reductionism of interpretation resulted in the political and geographical split of Ukraine. Wh Samuel Huntington proposed his theory of the clash of civilizations, he dim the future conflict line along the border of the Western, predominantly Catholic regions and Eastern Ukraine, taking as the main dividing criteria culture and religion. Huntington's model could have become reality in 1990-1992 because Western Ukraine, being highly nationalistic and obviously more politically active than the Eastern Ukraine, was actually the driving force behind Ukrainian independence. Thus, different from the Eastern. and even the Central part, it could not but provoke negative feelings in the rest of the country. Therefore, differences between Orthodox and Catholic Western Ukraine, which was part of Anette-Hungarian Emp e and Poland, could provide a fertile ground for a conflict between the u tionalists of Western Ukraine and the Russian speaking conservative hardl' ers of Crimea, or the “red directors” of industrialized Eastern Ukraine Despite sometimes balancing on the edge, the 01d Ukrainian political elite had a rare success for the post—Soviet space. It managed to preserve civil peace during the initial crucial phase of Ukrainian independence. war-er The most destructive result of the [ire-electoral campaign and the Ukrainian civil nation-' building. Ukrainian p esidential elections undermined this process by launching the process 0 division of Ukraine, along another clash line which, with certain degree of generalization, can be described as South and East vs. the Rest [ of Ukraine] presidential elections of 2004 was the undermining Ff the process of the 104 PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 Vsevolod Samokhvalov When the results of the elections were announced and thousands of protestors flooded into the central streets and squares of Kiev, the old political elite chose to continue accusing Yuschenko-led democratic opposition of participating in a plot inspired by foreign forces. Yuschenko supporters, protesting against electoral fraud, were picturled as “drug addicts and vodka-affected crowds who are led by the well paid foreign conspirators”.5 On the other hand, allies of the old p 'liticai elite rallied Southern and Eastern Ukraine with slogans making ace ations of attempts to steal the elections from thehard working people of Do ietsk and Lugansk, who produce one third of the GDP of the country in In tallurgy plants and coal mines. The institutionalization of this attitude took lace at a congress of a varied hierarchy deputies from Eastern Ukrai e, in the city of Severodonietsk, of the Lugansk region, where the 310. s of federalization of Ukraine and autonomization of its Eastern regions, w re raised.6 Russian-populated, regions of Eastern Ukraine on the 0 her. As the former ‘ National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski s ted, Ukraine was witnessing a process of historic significance -“a sort 0 marriage between Ukrainian nationalism and Ukrainian demOcracy. here were many nationalist movements in the history of Ukraine, howe er not all of them were democratic. But one can talk about the unifi tion of Ukrainian patriotism, Ukrainian selfnperception and Ukrainian d mocracy, freedom and liberalism”.7 Roman Szporlyuk, another an yst of Ukrainian developments, was positive in. denying such a cul split in Ukraine 5. The apolheosis of these tactic was a speech by Mrs.Yanukovich at the rally in his strum hold city of onetsk where she described the protesters as zombies wearing valmki-boots with the label “made in US ‘1 standing n queues to take drug-injected oranges available at the website of Ihe opposition 5th Channel; available at 'Jf5tv.00m-W>. 6. Autonomist Congress of chd-odoniesflr was attended by the Moscow Mayor Yuri Lu ov, who also is known for his broad activities. with the aim of support and mobilization of Russian speaking population i the post-Soviet space. 7. BBC Russian Section Report of02.I2.2005, availableat <www.bbc.eo.uldrussian>. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 105 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Geoqgia saying that: “Dividing Ukraine, as is traditionally don , into East and West does not correspond to modern reality .. .Ukraine is not divided into Lviv [in the West] and Donietsk [in the East], rather she h s transition zones, in particular the Cherkassy, Chemihiv, Poitava1 Zhito ir oblasts - these are central regions of Ukraine and, as such, they integrate the extremism of the West and the extremism of the East...Uloaine no is divided between supporters of democracy and those who, for some It‘KSOIi, have no trust in western democracy, who emotionally hold on to the traditions of the Soviet Union, who like leaders and believe in the wise leading role of the party".3 Kiev, presenting the division as one between the “h (1 working” Russian speaking Eastern Ukraine against the nationalist and fascist Western Ukraine.9 This negative'tre'nd born in the electoral process and political bargain between the old and new elite, however, will not finish with Yuschenko assuming presidential office. However, the old political elite tended to oveIF‘implify the events in Kuchma and Prime-Minister Yanukovieh are paying pecial attention to the Russian speaking regions of Eastern Ukraine and Cri ea On December 29, when, after the preliminary results of the re—vote it became obvious that Yuschenko would become the next Ukrainian presideht, the State TV Radio Company of Sevastopol, the largest city of Crimea land naval base of the Russian fleet in Ukraine broadcast Mr. Yanukovic '5 live address to the citizens of the city, in Which candidate thanked the for support, stressed that “regardless of the results of vote the fight will 0 on and promised to visit city as soon as possible”.10 Former incumbe t President candidate remains one of the frequent guests in Russian “Unity’ pro-Kremlin Party. It is also well known that the outgoing President Kuch a had a deep interest in the problems of the Crimean peninsula, making fr uent, and sometimes sudden, visits to the region, as well as instituting a Special preferential regime of taxation, which allowed the city to enjo substantial financial comfort. At the time of writing, there is a significant in‘iication that President 8. BBC Ukrainian Service Regan of 05.1 1.2004 availabie at <www.bbc.‘co.uk’ukraini . 9. For further analysis of this split line look Mykola Ryabchuk, "Two Ukminesi,“ EMF“!!! Reporter, V01. 5. Nil-4 (1992); and for-further debate see Rom Szporluk. “Why Ukrainians Are Ukraini ‘2"; Mykolya Riabchuk, "Ukraine: One State, Two Countries?"; and Tatiana firin'chenko. “The Myth of No Ukraines" vaiiable at <www.eurozine.com>. 10. Analysis of Y'anukivich and Kuchma activities in Crimea is in Ilmi Iliasov, " ohms Perebiraetsa v Sevaswpol?‘ (is Kuchma Moving to Sevastopol). available at <www.rupor.info>. 106 PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 - post-Soviet space. This Moscow‘s decision realized wh ‘ states which insist on preserving legal procedures. an status : attract support in their local constituencies, with a View Vsevolod Sarnokhvalov Members of the old political elite are therefore likely to campaign and to returning to the wider political arena, once their position has been reinforced and the political situation is more favorable. The old Ukrainian political elite did not - Only remain at the political scene, it also managed to p esent itself as sole defender of the Eastern and Southern regions of the untry continue to support it. Therefore, the fault line between e “two was open and even if the new political elite succeeds in hie-ving improvement in the economic situation, the Ukrainian which will Ukraiines” substantial 'litics and bilateral ‘ relations will always bear the stamp of the aforemention rift line. Expert of Revolutions and General Climate of the Past-Soviet Space One of the preconditions for a democratic revolu country in nowadays, it is necessary that political and - 'on to succeed in a 'litary elite in this country possess certain degree of political responsibility] to refrain from the use of force. Nevertheless, it is not always the case in th post-Soviet space. While the democratic movements in Lebanon and Jf‘yrgyzstan, being inspired by Ukrainian and Georgian events, were succes , the suppression of opposition in Azerbaijan and in Uzbekistan demonstrated that there are regimes which will not hesitate to shed blood in order td remain Wearing the worst of possible scenarios for ‘ incorrect interpremtion of the Ukrainian and Georgian re the Russian initiative to encourage suppression of olutions in power. itself and applying resulted in rebelliens in the n Russia interfered- into the course of democratic elections in breakaway re ublic of Abkhazia. After the Kyrgyz Tulip Revolution took plaCe, Mosco did not hesitate to go to rapprochement of its relations with Uzbekistan an Azerbaijan. The new emerging rift line in the post-sovie spaCe — between supporters of democratization of the post-Soviet Space ersus the group of post-Soviet was institutionalized after the Commun' Choice was established by presidents of Georgia, U Poland in Crimea on August 13, 2005. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 quo in the for Democratic 'ne, Lithuania and 107 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia Moscow demonstrated its intentions to support with the demonstration of power through a series of the . exercises with former Soviet Republic in Central Asila and C the adopted principles iloint military ina. Moscow also offered 'to couduct common military exercises on suppression of rebellion under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Hewever, this idea was opposed by Kazakhstan. Organization. Euro-Atlantic Ambitions of Uia'aine and Georgiq and Passfile Russia '3 Response The Euro—Atlantic integration of Ukraine an Georgia is an urgent task for the transition to. democracy and market econo y. Two key elements for such a transition, would be the'following: First, adopting and implementing. a comprehen sive EU- framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, It: islative uropeamization (from he Action Plan in the and economic reforms and finally, if as a long-term prospect, the co try's accession to the EU); and second, joining NATO. In what appears to be a sort of action plan for Radek Sikorski, director of the American Enterprise nstitute Initiative, as well as some other analysts, advise the We e West and Ukraine, Euro—Atlantic st to propose “a support package” to Ukraine which would include the following: -NATO action plan, to be implemented during uschenko's first term in office; -The EU should create a tough but tan-gib e path accession within a decade or so. In the meantime, the EU for Ukraine's should spend serious money on [Maine‘s infrastructure, with the 'm of connecting it to Europe; Pipelines, highways, and railway lines across ame basin would help anchor Ukraine to the West, an would Europe's energy security; -The WTO membership; -The support from IMF and World Bank.” to the Caspian contribute to II. Radek Sikorski, "Back in the (Former) USSR.” American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AE1) Publications: Jennifer Mommy-and Taraz Kuzio _. “How to Help Yuschenko," Jute 108 PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 Tribune. 06.05.2005. Vsevolod Samokhvalov Taking into account the influence and respect the aforementioned Institute enjoys among the American political elite, suc a program would reflect a consensus around the future action of Washingt 11 towards Ukraine. However, implementing both key elements of this s ategy would also ' present a serious challenge for Ukraine. The source of is challenge is the 3 Russian reaction to the Euro-Atlantic trajectory of Ukrai e. In view of Russia's attempts to prevent Ukrain from leaving the trajectory towards closer integration inside the (218., the ro-Atlantic choice of Ukraine will provoke Russia into making steps tha could threaten the European integration of the country. Even after theRuss an MFA stated that Moscow would have no problem with Ukraine joinin the EU, President Putin, in his congratulations to Viktor Yuschenko, stre sed the importance that Russia attaches to the Single Economic Space.12 . ainian decision to withdraw from the deepening integration structure ~ Sin 1e Economic Space ‘ provoked Krernlin‘s decision to raise the rate for the u-ssian natural gas ' supply to Ukraine up to the world price level. Kiev bei monopolist in the transit of 50 percent of the Russian gas export exercised espousive pressure which resulted in the Russian—Ukrainian gas impasse. Except the energy pressure, Russia still possesses serious levers of influence in Ukraine. Should Ukraine join NATO and switch its economic ties towards the EU, it is likely that Moscow will not hesitate to apply this pressure. The most efficient instrument would be to sup rt the pro-Russian elites of Eastern and Southern Ukraine and the preservlfiion of the Russian naval base in Crimea.l3 Moreover, taking into account the feeling of ins rity, there is a high probability that the current Russian leadership will nude ' e such actions in order to legitimize its authoritarian regime and justi the restriction of democracy in the country. Ukraine's immediate integra- on with the NATO would be such a provocation. As a senior associa e at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stressed: “The wrong Way to try to 12. Congranzlations of Russian President Vladimir Putin amended to Viktor Yuscheuko ml the occasion of his election to President of Ukraine, 20.01.2005 available at <www.lr.remlin.m> I3. The opposition leader Viktor Yanukuvich is warmly welcomed guest at congresses of th Russian pro-govemmeut party “Unity”. Yulia Timoslaenko afmr been discharged from the position of prime-minister fished reguiar dialogue with Moscow. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 109 Colored Revolutions in Ukraine and Geolrgia integrate Ukraine with the West is through early NAlI'O membership. Such a move would infuriate and terrify Russia, and risk a severe Russian reaction. And, if NATO membership long preceded Ukraine's actual economic and social integration into the West, then the close ties between Russia and Ukraine, and the strong support of many Ukrainians, could give Moscow dangerous opportI-mities to make its anger felt.”” The strategy for the West towards democra '6 independent states, therefore, should, first of all, include the gradual E opeaniaation of those sooieties, with special attention being paid to the pr ss of deeiinnnalization and democratization of the Eastern and Southern aine and break-away republics of Georgia and Moldova, in order to eliminat possible .causes for the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations and a possible It gative social response to Euro-Atlantic integration of those states. Public c paigns devoted to the pean integration of Ukraine. The second component of the strategy for s ping regional system of international relations would be an Action Plan f r Russia to be applied by NATO and the EU in order to ensure a peaceful engagement of Russia into realization of the European Neighborhood Poli . Such an Action Plan in order to offer some form of Russia's constructi e participation in the regiOnal system of international relations should rst of all answer the following questions: -- What are the main reasons behind Russia's n ative response toWard Wider Europe concept and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the formerly Soviet states in the Russian periphery? - Which of their political, geopolitical, milit , economic concerns are reasonable and which are not, how can both of m be addressed? - What should be the format of cooperation f the European Union with the NIS in order to encourage Russia to enh ce their relations with both above-mentioned parties? ‘ - What are possible ways of convincing Russi political elite that the ‘ 14. Annie] Licvcn, “A Shotgun Wedding is Bound to Fail," International Hamid Tri rte. 21.112004. 1 10 Pancsp'rrons - Autumn 2005 Vsevolod Samokhvalov European trajectories of the N18 and their relations with Russia is not a “zero sum game”? Only having answered those queStions, initiating such a debate and acting in those directions simultaneously can promise certain stability in the regional system of international relations. PERCEPTIONS - Autumn 2005 11.1 ...
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