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Russian experts retain hopes for Geneva meeting over Ukrainian crisis

April 15, 2014, 16:29 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, April 15. /ITAR-TASS/. The four-party meeting of delegates from Ukraine’s new authorities, Russia, the European Union and the United States, due in Geneva on Thursday, April 17, was called with the aim to help defuse tensions in the southeast of Ukraine, which is pretty close to a civil war, and in the country in general, engulfed in an acute political and economic crisis.

None of the participants in the meeting has any illusions as to the possibility of handling the tight bundle of contradictions in Ukraine overnight. US President Barack Obama in his last night’s telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin accused Moscow of supporting whom he described as “separatists” in the southeast of Ukraine. Putin replied that “the protests in Ukraine’s south and southeast are a result of reluctance and inability of the authorities in Kiev to take into consideration the interests of Russian and the Russian-speaking population.”

The White House’s confirmation CIA Director John Brennan had made a brief visit to Kiev last weekend merely added fuel to the fire. And the US and European Union’s sanctions against Russia over Ukraine clearly contribute nothing to the search for a way out of the crisis, to say the least.

It is quite significant that the new authorities in Kiev have mentioned the possibility of holding a national referendum on the same day with the presidential election, which might pave the way for a compromise.

The experts polled by ITAR-TASS Political Analysis Centre are unanimous that for the sake of overcoming the dangerous geopolitical conflict the European Union and the United States should try to shift to a constructive discussion instead of showering Russia with criticism.

“Ukraine shares a common border with the EU, and for that reason it is in the interests of the European Union, just as in Russia’s own interests, to secure an early settlement of the political crisis in Ukraine. There is the hope that the European powers eventually turn an attentive ear to the voice of reason and begin to respect the interests of the population in different parts of Ukraine. Including the interests of ordinary working-class people in the southeast, who earn their own living and also support the whole of Ukraine,” says the director of the international institute of the newly-founded states, Alexei Martynov.

He hopes that Europe, in contrast to the United States, which is far away and pursues its own objectives in Ukraine, will enter into a constructive dialogue with Russia at last. “However, the European organizations are under tight US control, and there is the risk the US lobby will not let them agree with common sense,” he added.

“Starting a constructive dialogue for the West now would be tantamount to recognition Russia is by no means a regional power, but a country that has to be taken into account,” says spin doctor Yuri Girenko. “On the other, already now one can say that Ukraine is sliding towards an active phase of the civil war. Currently, the passive phase of the civil war in Ukraine is in progress already.”

In his opinion, the European Union in the current situation over Ukraine has been conducting a dual policy.

“On the one hand, the EU is reluctant to disappoint its friends in Kiev, for whom federalization would be a nightmare. On the other hand, the EU seeks to prevent an escalation of the conflict. But the over-bureaucratized European Union is hardly able to fundamentally change the vector of its policy.”

“The crisis in Ukraine is a man-made one to a large extent, and it should be blamed squarely on the euro-bureaucrats, whose biased policy of “fencing off” Russia has brought about the current situation, in which Ukraine’s statehood is at risk. I do hope that in Europe there are political forces strong enough to point to the mistakes the European officials have made,” says the director of the Historical Memory fund, Alexander Dyukov.

“There is some hope the Europeans will be able to begin at least a constructive dialogue regarding the crisis in Ukraine. European parliament elections are due in May, so the rival political forces now have an opportunity to highlight the mistakes the European officials have made. But the euro-bureaucrats would feel very uncomfortable, if they had to abandon their usual policy of double standards, while many ordinary Europeans are under the effects of European propaganda and very often refuse to see an alternative point of view,” the analyst said.

“The hope for a constructive discussion in Geneva in the four-party format still exists, but it has been wearing thin, as Kiev has mounted threats against the protesting population of Ukraine’s southeast. Should the new authorities in Kiev resort to the use of force, it would be very difficult for Russia to conduct a dialogue with them,” the deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Andrei Klimov said.

“If the situation in the southeast of Ukraine is resolved peacefully, the participants in the Geneva meeting will be able to consider a whole range of issues for returning the situation to normal,” Klimov said.

“Russia will propose its own agenda in Geneva. In the first place, the disarmament of all illegal armed groups in Ukraine. Then there will follow a return of the political situation back on the legal track, including preparations for a constitutional reform with all citizens taking part. A separate item on the agenda will be the incorporation of representatives from Ukraine’s southeast in the country’s central government. After that Russia will be prepared to discuss measures of financial support for Ukraine with the EU countries,” Klimov said.


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