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Referendum in southeast paves Ukraine’s way out of crisis, experts say

May 12, 2014, 18:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“Referendum is a victory of the southeast,” an analyst says
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© AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

MOSCOW, May 12. /ITAR-TASS/. The referendum in the south-eastern Ukraine opens prospects for a way out of Ukraine’s crisis, experts said at round-table discussions at the Parlamentskaya Gazeta (parliamentary newspaper) on Monday.

“Almost 90% of participants in the referendum spoke in favour of independence,” Vladimir Isakov from Higher School of Economics said. “It has demonstrated that the Kiev authorities are waging a war against the population in the east,” he added. “If the United States had not behaved the same way (as residents of Ukraine’s southeast), they still would have been a British colony,” Isakov said.

“A foundation has emerged after the referendum for creating a contract relationship with the Kiev authorities, as these republics (Donetsk and Luhansk) have got a government that may enter into a dialogue with Kiev,” State Duma’s Communist deputy Vadim Solovyov, said. “It will be relying on legitimate support of 90% of the population,” he said, adding that “this is a step towards putting an end to bloodshed in the southeast”. “The Kiev authorities cannot maintain now that they are waging a war against terrorists and gunmen,” he said.

“Referendum is a victory of the southeast,” political analyst from Russian State Humanitarian University Alexander Gushchin said. “The Kiev authorities failed to present any major episode of pressure on voters. The tonality of European media outlets is changing,” he noted. “The referendum has demonstrated that the Kiev authorities cannot take the situation under their control,” Gushchin said.

Focusing on the international-legal aspect of the referendum, the political analyst said “a lot of faults can be seen, but it is impossible in the present situation to hold a referendum in full conformity with international law.” “The legal environment in which the referendum was held is a major victory for the southeast,” he added.

The president of the Ukrainian Centre for System-Based Analysis and Forecasting, Rostislav Ishchenko, sounded less optimistic. He said federalization of Ukraine was not under discussion in the present situation, as “regions voted for independence”. “It is not federalization that is the point at issue now, but forms of a more or less satisfactory divorce,” he said. According to Ishchenko, Kiev and Washington “must realize that it will be only worse in the future - the army of southeast will not just be protecting itself but will also attack”. The political analyst believes “the Kiev authorities must recognize (south-eastern regions) as equal partners de facto”.

“So far there are no reasons to believe the referendum will stop bloodshed. But it will make it possible to counterbalance the quasi-legitimate government in Kiev with no less legitimate authorities in the southeast,” he said. The political analyst regards the situation so that “the Kiev authorities will rather bring the situation to a full-scale confrontation than to a more or less stable situation”.

Experts believe the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine on May 25 and the European Parliament elections could improve the situation. According to Isakov “a federal union of the southeast with the remaining part of Ukraine is possible only if common sense prevails after the presidential election”. Otherwise, the southeast of Ukraine will take the road of creating an independent state or a union with Russia. Solovyov also believes “a federal union will be possible if common sense prevails in Kiev, but if confrontation begins with the use of force - we will get two Ukraines”.

According to Ukrainian political analyst Ishchenko, “Russia and the European Union will manage to agree on the Ukrainian crisis after elections to European Parliament and after the European Commission gets a new lineup”. At the present time “Kiev is under control of the US, and they don’t have to agree with anyone,” he said.

Political analyst Gushchin from Russian State Humanitarian University echoed him by saying “the key to the settlement (of the Ukrainian crisis) is in the sphere of international politics,” while “the United States is a factor of destabilization” in Ukraine.

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