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[The Political Analysis of Postcommunism. Kyiv: Political Thought, 1995, pp. 265-284.]

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The Contradictions of Geopolitical Self-Determination


1. Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and Modern Civilizations

The states of the former socialist bloc and those which emerged from the ruins of the USSR, are seeking their geopolitical places in the world, as is Ukraine. All this, of course, threatens stability and increases the likelihood of regional conflicts.

Given this state of affairs in the contemporary world, let us examine the situation in the region of East Europe (and more broadly in the civilization of Eastern Christianity) and the overall geopolitical situation. First of all, it must be admitted that at the close of the twentieth century, less active on the world arena are individual nation states than groups of states which are allied largely, though not exclusively, on the principle of civilization. The most vivid example of this is the decades-old association of Protestant/Catholic Europe, which simultaneously preserves the system of transatlantic partnership.

More complex and contradictory is the integration processes in the Muslim world. But there can be no doubt as to a high level of what might be called "self-identification" among the socially active segments of the Muslim world. Among the forces representing the Muslim realm near Eastern Europe Turkey is most prominent. It is capable of playing both Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turkic cards in the Balkans, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, and with time quite probably in Crimea. Ukraine, as well as Bulgaria, Serbia, /266/ Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Belarus do not belong (to put it in terms of the civilization approach) to either the Occidental-Christian (North Atlantic) world or, the more so, to the Muslim or some other Asian civilization. At the same time, there exists, as an inadequately understood reality a world of people on the territory of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Trans-Ural Region up to the Pacific Ocean mutually related by age-old spiritual, historical, and economic ties. The structure of this civilization community is quite complex and, therefore, in seeking to identify it, we see two different approaches which we can provisionally call post-Byzantinism and Eurasianism.

The former lays in its emphasis upon common criteria of the post-Byzantine culture, while its weakness lies in its ignoring the no less significant presence of the old and profound interpenetration and interrelations of Slavdom (predominantly Russians) and Turkic Muslims (except for Mongol-speaking Buddhists Kalmyks, Buryats, and Mongols). Eurasianism emphasizes the latter, but fails to pay due attention to the cultural and spiritual kinship of the Oriental Christian peoples.

In addition, it must be noted that some parts of Ukraine and Belarus west of the Dnipro especially Galicia, Bukovina, and Transcarpathia havi roots closely connected to the civilization of the West. This, along with the dual position of Greece, gives the Oriental-Christian and Eurasian "space" an additional Western dimension.

The realization by Ukraine of its place in the above geopolitical domain emphasizes once more the importance of its maintaining stable and balanced relations with Russia. It is well known how organically interrelated the economic, social, cultural, and scientific systems of these countries have become. For each of them, it is difficult (more for Ukraine than for Russia) to find a similar alternative partner. At the same time, political instability and the likelihood of chauvinist great-power forces coming to power in Russia make it vital for Ukraine to pursue an extremely cautious foreign policy, whose cornerstone must be to preserve and strengthen its state sovereignty and to develop relations with all the /267/ influential forces on the world arena (Western Europe, the USA, Turkey, etc.). But this does not at all contradict the top priority of affirming Ukraine precisely in the Oriental-Christian and Eurasian regions, taking into account the geopolitical mistakes made in the first years of its independence.

Among those blunders, the following should be especially underscored. First, the naive and futile hopes for broad support of Ukraine by the West and betting on integration into the European economic, political, and military systems. Second, the absurd from any standpoint (both economically and culturally) idea of the Baltic-Black Sea Alliance: the countries of the Vyshegrad group, as well as Croatia and Slovenia, on the one hand, and the Baltic states of the former USSR, on the other hand, are regarded by Protestant-Catholic Europe as belonging to it. Their policies are oriented with cultural and historical basis toward ultimate integration into the West (and, one might add, acting as its Eastern cordon sanitaire), a world to which Ukraine has practically no chance of admission. Third, Ukraine's whole approach to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) turned out to be erroneous in that the latter was viewed as a temporary organization, necessary for the velvet smooth divorce of its eleven member states. All attempts to find alternatives to traditional links, especially economic (not to mention interpersonal) ones, proved to be unsuccessful. Moreover, the Ukrainian leadership's reliance upon bilateral relations among CIS member-states (motivated by fears of Russian domination in any international body) led in practice to Russia's ever increasing supremacy over each of its CIS partners in bilateral relations.

The above review of the geopolitical changes now taking place leads to the conclusion that at present and even more so in the coming century the normal development of Ukraine, as well as other countries, presupposes its seeking their new place in a certain civilization. For Ukraine, this is the so-called Eastern-Christian "Eurasian OEcumena," and its identification with the latter must be such that this would not hinder an all-around development of mutually /268/ beneficial relations with nations of the West, the Muslim world and other civilizations.

2. Ukraine in Twentieth Century Geopolitical Strategies

Ukrainian geopolitical thinking urgently requires analysis of the strategies which have been pursued in Europe and to which Ukraine in particular has involuntarily been an object. One may discern at least three such strategies, and today we are witnessing the formation of a fourth.

The beginning of this century witnessed the development of the first strategy, which reached its climax with the outbreak of World War I. The initiators of "imperial geopolitics" were empire-nations split into two hostile blocs: the Entente Cordiale and the Triple Alliance. The outcome of this strategy resulted in the ruin of the empire-nations and the imperial idea, as well as the emergence from these ruins of independent states including Ukraine (1917-1921), the latter falling prey to foreign intervention. While in Europe (as a result of the First World War) continental imperial systems disappeared, on the territory of the former Russian Empire the change was of a merely decorative nature. Ukraine once again, as earlier, fell victim to Russia's imperial strategy and geopolitics, this time in its Bolshevik


The second stage of geopolitical strategy arose as a result of the world's division according to the criteria of universalistic ideologies and their corresponding political regimes. On the one hand, at first sight, these were Western-type democracies, including the USA, and, on the other hand, totalitarian systems of the fascist and communist types. In this division of geopolitical forces, Ukraine did not play an independent role because it lacked, in reality, the basic attributes of state sovereignty. Moreover, it was held hostage to Stalinist Soviet geopolitics.

The consequences of the geopolitical strategy of the second period proved to be tragic for civilization as a whole. For the culmination of World War II manifested an even /269/ greater gap between the political thinking and scientific-technological progress that begot the gloomy prospect of mankind's self-destruction. Genocide and ethnocide became hallmarks of this period of world geopolitics. As a result of World War II, only one, the more externally aggressive part of the totalitarian order Nazism was vanquished. However, the Soviet Union survived and consolidated its international position as the mainstay of the totalitarian system and aggressive geopolitics, causing the division of the world into antagonistic groupings and blocs. It was precisely this situation which determined the nature of world geopolitics in the third stage, marked by the atmosphere of the Cold War and the onset of the so-called bipolar global system, the stability of which was based on Mutual Assured Destruction thanks to stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Created for waging wars, these weapons were transformed into the principal factor of geopolitical strategies of the third type.

Now we live though the fourth stage of geopolitical processes which signifies the emergence of a new geopolitical strategy not only in Europe, but for the world as a whole. This stage could be conventionally defined as a transient one from the bipolar and bloc system to an integrated one, free from blocs. It is at this stage that Ukraine made its appearance as an independent state capable of playing an independent role in the geopolitical realities of the late twentieth century. But, thus far it is very difficult to precisely define Ukraine's geopolitical strategy. This is due to various external factors, its great dependence on its CIS partners, as well as internal political processes, which hinder the efficiency of economic reforms, thereby holding Ukraine back from the European economic and, ultimately, geopolitical system. Therefore, having become an active player in world politics, Ukraine now finds itself facing the challenge of opting between two geopolitical strategies, i.e., a strategy of choosing priorities and one of balancing interests.

A choice of priorities strategy requires a high degree of independence by a country already in a position to unilater-/270/ally choose its strategic partners on a basis of mutual benefit and to directly participate in structuring the geopolitical arena. The second strategy, that of interests balancing, is, perhaps, the only one possible for Ukraine at present, because of both external and internal factors.

Unfortunately, the interaction of these factors makes Ukraine's overall geopolitical course dependent on the international set-up and momentary (quite illusory) advantages which, in turn, testifies to the fact that Ukraine is only approaching the status of an independent actor in geopolitics, remaining largely an object of the play of external geopolitical forces.

The lessons of the outgoing century conclusively demonstrate that only if Ukraine becomes a full-fledged actor with its own geopolitical strategy will it have a future as a state and its people form into a full-fledged political nation.

3. Europe or Eurasia

The independence Ukraine gained in the early 1990s remains illusory without its return to the common European civilization. No matter how great the achievements of Ukraine's first years of independence may seem (state symbols, the army, diplomatic recognition), the loss of sovereignty and a probable disappearance of the Ukrainian nation itself will be inevitable unless its socioeconomic and political systems are remade and geopolitical orientation is changed.

The pressing need for an immediate geopolitical discourse is caused not so much by long-term factors as by the circumstances of a very loose and unstable modus vivendi resulting from large-scale upheavals and collisions in the economic system and the macroeconomics of a great many countries and peoples inhabiting the expanses from the Oder to Sakhalin, from the Adriatic and Black Sea to the Arctic. It is becomes increasingly obvious that in spite of all the fireworks of independence following the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, this and other walls would have stood for ages, /271/ had Russia resorted to her only convincing argument the use of brute military force.

An entirely unique and historically unprecedented situation has arisen in East Central Europe as a whole and on the territory of the former USSR in particular. It is that Russia is more interested in the economic independence of the non-Russian nations than the latter themselves. Neither the nationalists nor the advocates of the USSR in Ukraine seem to understand thus far that restoration of the Union with its previous level of economic well-being is next to impossible, despite the most touching eulogies of some and the most wrathful anathemas of others, for such a Union lacks the "fuel" on which this earthly paradise ran for the last two decades.

The reason for Russia's rather favorable attitude to the independence of Ukraine and the other European countries is the lack of food raw materials and shortages of foodstuffs in these countries. To change this situation would be economically ineffective and not justify the expense. However, given the drastic fall of hard-currency earnings and a considerable deterioration of living standards in Russia, her aggression against the "near abroad" and probably the Eastern European countries as part of an attempt to seek means of life-support becomes inevitable (a historical parallel may be drawn from the events of 1918 to 1920).

It is clear that the best way to keep Ukraine from danger would be NATO membership and all the collective-security guarantees associated with it. But this option is currently not possible, and this must be left as a future goal. In the conditions of brief and shaky inter-pact equilibrium it seems more realistic to try creating a joint alliance in Eastern Europe would not only meet common needs of defense and urgent economic restructuring as a step towards allEuropean integration, but would also eliminate the danger of Russia and Turkey blocking the Ukrainian Black-Sea communications. It would also reflect the historically established East European set-up which had existed before the disintegration of the Polish-Lithuanian (-Ukrainian) state as a more or less homogeneous ethnic entity based on the com-/272/mon or very close cultural, economic, legal, religious, and linguistic foundations. However, this would not yet have solved the problems of harmonious relations and rapprochement between the continent's Eastern and Western parts. What is key here is the position and interests of the West.

The analysis performed reveals two fundamental approaches worked out by Western geopolitical science in respect to Eastern Europe. The first, represented by English and French thought, proceeds from the need to transform this region into a cordon sanitaire, which is to separate the living space of the two antinomic civilizations in the East and West. According to this vision, the East European area is to act as a buffer to soften the East's pressure and to neutralize its expansionism. This kind of "splendid isolation" of the two worlds obviously dooms the East European nations to rapid exhaustion in an unequal opposition to the East.

Other approaches to the future of Eastern Europe were proposed in Germany; these may be roughly classified as East and West oriented. This multi-directional quality reflects the cultural and historical dualism of Germany, whose history has always been characterized by a constant dialog of the two Eastern and Western parts, depending on various socio-political, cultural and religious factors. This "West-East" juxtaposition is often one more of culture and civilization than of geopolitics. When the Eastward, Prussian orientation (so-called "Borussimus") prevailed, the world witnessed not only the consonance and rapprochement of Germany with another exponent of the Eastern tradition, i.e., Russia, but also their complete concordance in joint actions against the rest of the European world, as happened during the nineteenth century and the first years of World War II. In the early 1920s the idea of Ostorientierung and alliance with communist Russia was advocated by the extreme right-wing {e.g., Moller, von den Brock) and radical left-wing (national Bolshevik) forces; the overwhelming majority of Nazis, Goebbels in particular, greatly sympathized with Bolshevik Russia at that time. These plans, under the influence of the school of K.Haushoffer, did not envisage any role for Ukraine. It is an open secret that today's Russia /273/ does not lack certain politicians longing for restoration of a "Prussian" Germany which could assist in another partition of Eastern Europe and achieve joint hegemony over the continent. However, there is no influential political force in today's Germany which hopes for an anti-European alliance with Russia.

Compared to the Eastward pro-Russian course, orientation to West European values has been a more weighty trend in the German socio-political thought. It is in the stream of this democratic, essentially, liberal-conservative movement that Naumann's "Middle Europe" project ought to be placed. It is also most probable that strategic rapprochement between Ukraine and Germany is possible in this liberal-conservative system of coordinates. Therefore, friendly relations between these countries depend on Ukraine's return to the conservative values historically inherent in her, to its individualism, to private property, and to the principle of laissez-faire. After the likely failure of another attempt to westernize and modernize Russia (as calculated by A. Yanov, the fourteenth attempt), it will be difficult to find forces capable of providing peace in the East European frontier area and guaranteeing security in Europe other than by a strong East European alliance along the German-Ukrainian (German-Polish-Ukrainian) axis.

It is important to remember, however, that Ukraine's reintegration into the European community is only possible provided Ukraine's European cultural and historical identity is recognized and a positive answer is given to the first component of the "friend or foe" dichotomy. In this connection great importance attaches to the problem of Ukrainian society's typological proximity to its European counterpart, since the mere fact of Ukraine's geopolitical location does not automatically by itself make her a member of the European family. Even though resemblance between the post-Soviet Ukrainian and European socioeconomic systems is close to nil, the analysis of the Ukrainian national sociogenesis gives every ground to speak about the identity or, at least, parallel development of the socio-creative process in Ukraine and Eastern Europe throughout Ukraine's history /274/ up to the 1930s. According to the conclusions of European observers who studied Ukraine's social system in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the European identity of the Ukrainian nation may be attributed to the existing institution of private property and adequate European legal standards, ethno-socio-psychological archetypes of individualism, conservatism, democracy, as well as similarities in types of political cultures and political awareness.

Thus, Ukraine's reintegration into the European community is feasible from this standpoint by reviving its traditional sociopolitical and economic structures and institutions, reactivating its historical societal heritage, evoking historical memory and, thus, rebuilding and healing its broken socio-cultural continuum. To slow progress along this path would mean the deformation of the historic factor in the existence of the Ukrainian community and cause the death of the Ukrainian nation both as a European nation and as a nation as such.

It is these consequences that will affect the course toward Ukraine's integration into the CIS and projects to create a Eurasian Union. It may be recalled that the Eurasian idea put forward back in the early 1920s was developed by Russian nationalist emigres with financial assistance from GPU-NKVD as an alternative to anticommunism by explaining the Russian Revolution within the context of Russia's Turkish-Slavic geopolitical identity, its legitimacy being sanctified by the political and cultural inheritance of the Golden Horde, the Grand Principality of Moscow, the Russian Empire, and the USSR.

4. Ukraine and the CIS

To assess the prospects of Ukraine's integration into the world community as a whole and into the European geopolitical system in particular, it is essential to determine to what extent Ukraine's participation in processes now underway in the geopolitics of the continent correspond to its national interests and ensure its independence and security.

With this in view, let us consider the Eastern vector of /275/ Ukraine's integration drift the Commonwealth of Independent States. We shall attempt to outline the geopolitical consequences for Ukraine, its security and survival as a sovereign state, which may arise from its further integration into the common Eurasian space into which, as its patrons claim, the CIS is going to be transformed.

Overcoming the current socioeconomic crisis is at the top of the national agenda. When we consider that most factors causing the crisis are in one way or another linked with fallout from the USSR's collapse (severance of old economic ties, breakdown of the ruble zone, lack of access to traditional sources of raw materials and markets, territorial issues, ethnic border problems, etc.), it becomes easy to understand the fact that proposals of establishing "a renewed Union" on the territory of the CIS, of restoring the USSR, and even of "reunification" with Russia not only find support but are seen by some as Ukraine's only way out of the crisis. Similar attitudes can be found in other CIS countries as well, and are often made use of by various leaders who hope to speed the CIS's evolution into a new, integrated association with conspicuous supra-state institutions, with managerial, decree-issuing, and even coercive functions.

Ukraine is obviously interested in both the re-establishment of severed economic ties and the establishment of new ones with CIS countries and, above all, with Russia. But the main problem is this: what kind of ties with what inner economic content should there be? The compatibility of nations' market economic structures is a solid foundation for democratic integration processes. Moreover, such ties need not necessarily be guided by supra-state regulative bodies and political directives. As is witnessed by the West European experience, the latter spring up only after a certain level of economic integration is achieved, based on highly developed democratic national market economy structures of approximately the same level and type.

In the case of the CIS, an artificial pumping-up of market economy structures that have not completely formed will result in a restoration of the "single economic complex" of the former USSR with all its inherent weaknesses: ineffi-/276/ciency, technological backwardness, economic dependence on the state, excessive centralization, etc. All these scorn the logic of market transformation and will undoubtedly retard reforms, "preserve" economic backwardness and institutionalize its isolation of the newly independent states from the world economy.

The acceleration of such a process would certainly bring economic and political losses to all the participants, whatever their level of economic potential. An example of this is the attempt to unify the monetary system of various CIS countries. It is this example which demonstrates the priority of geopolitical and military strategic factors in the integration process now underway in the CIS, along with certain fundamental obstacles to coordinating each others interests and of Russia's policy of asserting her traditional dominance. This argument is also valid for the Economic Union within the CIS. Some clauses of the Economic Union agreement prohibiting member-states from participating in other economic and trade unions are of a political rather than economic nature. The primacy of political motives is also evident in other clauses of the Union draft agreement. Given this, Ukraine's status as an associate member is its best option. Under the circumstances, orientation toward the East only retards overcoming the legacy of its separation from an integrated Europe by a sort of economic Curzon line which would only retard the reform of Ukraine's socioeconomic structures and prevent its joining the family of civilized nations.

5. In Search of a Strategy

Today Ukraine is first and foremost a passive object of policies pursued by the other global players for two main reasons. First, well-defined global priorities of economic and political character are absent due to ill-defined strategic directions of social and economic transformation at the national level. Second, Ukraine currently lacks an adequate economic base and institutional infrastructure which could allow it to pursue its interests on the international arena. /277/

This uncertain situation is extremely dangerous because Ukraine's spontaneous or forced integration into the world economy would preclude its effective attainment of its national interests, have negative fallout at the national level, endanger its distinctive nature, and perhaps even its independence. For this reason, Ukraine must clearly realize to what extent it needs to integrate into or approach various economic and political groupings. Today one should speak about "managed" integration and rapprochement. Waiting passively for results of integration processes is dangerous to Ukraine, for it could lose its existing opportunities for economic stabilization and transition to a new model of economic development.

After the Cold War it has become fashionable to speak about the end of the bipolar confrontation in Europe. Such optimism is premature. The evolution of a post-Cold War Europe is, and will for some time continue to be, very much influenced by the ghosts of the past decades.

It will be some time before the dream of all-European political, economic, and security structures becomes reality. In fact, given contemporary trends in Western Europe and the former Soviet Union, there is a very real potential for the reemergence of a bipolar system in Europe roughly along the lines of the old Cold-War standoff. This confrontation, unlike its predecessor, would not necessarily be an armed one, but its socioeconomic consequences could still be no less real.

Where does and where might Ukraine possibly fit into this scheme of things? Currently, Ukraine is very much perceived, both abroad and by many Ukrainians (gripped, it seems, by an almost paralyzing Slavic fatalism), to be a natural candidate for eventual full membership in the anemic CIS.

However, Ukraine should unequivocally persevere along the path leading to eventual integration with the West. By so doing, Ukraine would both offer its people the best long-term guarantees of their own well-being and also go a long way toward preventing a possible redivision of Europe, thus removing the principal obstacle toward the /278/ eventual development of truly all-European structures.

The aim of Ukraine's foreign policy should be to seek the creation of an external environment in which domestic socioeconomic institutions can flourish. The domestic roots of foreign policy seem obvious, but are all too often overlooked. Ukraine's progress toward "the West" should therefore be analyzed from the perspective of both its domestic and foreign policy components.

As for the latter, Ukraine's steps toward the West in 1994 have been encouraging. Progress has been made with both the European Union and NATO, despite an apparently grudging but gradually increasing Western acceptance of Ukraine's immense geopolitical significance. Ukraine now has its foot in a door that not long ago appeared locked tight. Every effort should be made to push open the door wider still. Thus, in foreign policy, there appears to be movement toward an eventual goal of integration into the West though the tactical expedient of close short-term cooperation with the CIS as a mechanism for a civilized divorce.

However, the organic link between contemporary Ukrainian foreign policy and its domestic base is tenuous in critical parts of the country. Very broadly speaking, Ukraine's pro-Western orientation appears to be largely an initiative of an executive branch that finds its natural constituency in Western Ukraine and Kyiv and among strata of the population. However, should the ascendant trends in the current domestic debate over the future development of Ukrainian statehood congeal into a coherent policy, it would become extremely difficult perhaps even impossible to maintain the present pro-Western momentum. The tactical expediency would then necessarily become a goal in itself.

It is difficult to be optimistic about Ukraine's long term future under such circumstances, regardless of whatever immediate economic benefits it might bring. Full and voluntary integration into a CIS dominated by a brooding, unstable, and assertive Russia would in no sense foster any form of meaningful sovereign Ukrainian statehood, notwithstanding arguments for cheap oil.

The arguments for a sovereign Ukraine whose domestic /279/and foreign policies have a clearly recognizable pro-Western orientation cannot easily be dismissed:

First, Ukraine's determination to chart a Westward foreign policy course would be a critical factor in dissolving the residual Cold War mentality and frames of reference.

Second, just as Lenin and Gorbachev realized that there could be no Soviet Union without Ukraine, a CIS minus Ukraine cannot evolve into a threatening, proto-imperial structure.

Third, a sustained pro-Western Ukrainian initiative would in and of itself force Russia to examine its own domestic and foreign policies. Thus, Ukraine would make a significant contribution to Russia's search for a (hopefully benign) post-imperial and post-Soviet identity.

Fourth, a domestic policy of steady and consistent market reforms would eventually and inevitably strengthen the links between Ukraine and the West, thereby easing the task of Ukrainian diplomacy in negotiating formal integration.

Fifth, and most important, history suggests that the Western model of socioeconomic development offers the best vehicle to fulfill the well-being and potential of the Ukrainian population. Neither the dynamism nor the relative success of this model can be reasonably disputed on objective grounds. Moreover, given its universality (should we even speak of a Western model which applies also to Japan? The term is actually more useful as an analytical concept than as a description of current geographical realities), there is no reason to assume that Ukraine cannot also eventually adopt and successfully adapt the Western model to its own particular needs. The major obstacles are a lack of political leadership, vision, and the unwillingness of many politicians to pay the political price that a fundamental, well-balanced program of economic reform would inevitably require. Ukraine's current politics and not some kind of cultural, social, or historical determinism are responsible for Ukraine's current plight.

There is little doubt that Ukraine will remain an independent state. The debate is now over the content and /280/ meaning of that independence in other words about the well being of the Ukrainian and, by extension, European people. The foreign policy choices Ukraine makes today will inevitably affect and be affected by the course of this debate well into the next century.

6. The Problem of 'Returning' to Europe

In order not to remain in semi-isolation, Ukraine must return to Europe; it must accomplish a rapprochement with the West. However, rapprochement must be recognized for what it is and it is not. It is the elimination of tensions and the fostering of goodwill between two parties. Ukraine's rapprochement with the West should not be confused with a process of integration into the latter. Rapprochement can still leave a country standing alone. Thus, the new challenge before Ukraine is to transform rapprochement with the West into real and accelerated integration into that community of nations and its leading European institutions, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.

This is a particularly difficult challenge in light of several geopolitical factors or dynamics that could loosen Ukraine's foothold in the European community. These dynamics make it all the more necessary for Ukraine to adopt a foreign policy that moves beyond neutrality and whose economic, political, and security components unambiguously foster Ukraine's integration into the West. An ambiguous geopolitical orientation will, at best, perpetuate Ukraine's position as a state standing alone between Europe and Eurasia. At worst, it risks allowing the emergence of a new division in Europe which could isolate Ukraine from the broad European community of nations.

The first dynamic pulling of Ukraine away from a larger Europe has been Russia's effort to establish its hegemony over the space of the former Soviet Union and East Central Europe. Russia's strategy to this end has been to strengthen and institutionalize the CIS, particularly its economic and security components. Moscow's policy toward Kyiv is an im-/281/portant element in this strategy and reflects prevailing Russian attitudes toward Ukrainian independence.

Prevailing attitudes in Russia will not rapidly shift away from the assumption that Ukrainian independence is a "temporary historical aberration." Ukraine was, and remains, far too important to Russia historically and strategically to assume otherwise. Moreover, Ukraine's integration into the Western community of nations would be a significant setback for a post-Soviet Russian foreign policy, whose principal objective is to reestablish a Eurasian zone under its domination. It is safe, therefore, to presume that for the foreseeable future Russia's intentions toward Ukraine will remain, at best, contradictory, at worst, bent on hegemony.

The second dynamic shaping Eastern Europe's geopolitical landscape has been the regional ization of its economies into four clusters. The first cluster is the Visegrad Group, consisting of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Except for Slovakia, these nations have demonstrated commitment to aggressive market reform, including fiscal and monetary responsibility and aggressive privatization.

The second economic cluster consists of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Their policies are also characterized by rapid privatization, responsible monetary and fiscal policies, and an undisputed desire to enter the Western community of nations.

The third group consists of the Balkan states: Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and the states of the former Yugoslavia. Stagnating economies and civil war have plagued this Eastern European cluster. Although, Bulgaria and Romania are associate members of the European Union, the pace of their integration into the Union lags far behind that of the Visegrad Group. Slovenia described as the emerging "Singapore" of Europe, stands out prominently above the chaos of the Balkan war.

The fourth group consists those of European states that are part of the CIS: Russia, Belarus and Moldova. They are characterized by a lack of market reform, as well as fiscal and monetary irresponsibility. /282/

Despite growing recognition in the West, and the United States in particular, that its policy toward Eastern Europe has been excessively "Russocentric," and that a "Russia policy" is an inadequate substitute for a "Europe policy," it has still failed to produce a vision of post-Cold War European security which could serve to guide its relations with East Central Europe, including Ukraine.

In order to overcome the economic and geopolitical dynamics that are pulling Ukraine away from a larger Europe, Kyiv must more clearly assert its intention to fully integrate into that community. The basis of such a strategy must be economic and political reforms which transform Ukraine from a nation which the West regards as a potential dependent into one whose political and economic vibrancy will be recognized and desired as a strategic asset.

With regard to foreign policy, Kyiv must abandon the assumption that a clear geopolitical orientation toward Western Europe requires Ukraine to abandon or isolate Russia. Integration into Western security, political, and economic structures would significantly assist the development of Ukraine's economy, which is the most effective means of neutralizing the imperfections of Russian-Ukrainian economic relations.

7. The Parameters of Foreign Relations Harmony

As for Ukraine, given its large territory and great potential, it has a real chance and urgent need to decide, independently of considerations of momentary political advantage, its natural place and role in the system of international relations, as well as to better define, individualize, and stabilize its parameters as an independent member of. the European and world community. Obviously, the following should principles should govern such a self-identification: self-sufficiency, the unequivocal priority of its own national interests, independence from other states or groups of states, high norms of civilized behavior, and a responsible policy as well as vigor in the development of partnership on the basis of real equality and mutual benefits. /283/

One might well apply Friedrich Gorenstein's famous description of Russia to Ukraine: "Its culture...is related to Europe, while its civilization to Asia." Moreover, it is in Ukraine that the features of a peculiar "Asianism" were made more prominent by the Bolshevik rule over the past seventy years. To get rid of them and to join Europe seems to be an objective impulse of our society today. However, because of the actual absence of a Europe-or-Russia alternative, the problem of choosing priorities proves to be quite complicated.

The Ukrainian state that has arisen as a result of external events (both in their origin and nature), will need now and in future much from the outside, which can be found partly in the West and partly in Russia. Both Russia and the West are Ukraine's partners; they complement each other rather than substitute for one another. The current orientation toward Russia serves as an imperative, linked with top priority economic tasks, as well as with achieving the needs to preserve the whole domain of human ties. At the same time, the orientation toward the West reflects its need for political guarantees of its independence, of finding additional opportunities for economic modernization, and designing promising models of social development on the whole.

Such a policy, involving both the Western and Russian orientations, seems to be not only logically appropriate taking into account the merits and drawbacks of such a policy, as well as the low probability of other alternatives being achieved it also corresponds most appropriately to the tasks of the domestic integration and stabilization of Ukrainian society. A practical resolution to the problem of choice (either Russia or the West) would result in counterpoising one's own interests to those of others, and in artificially limiting the possibilities of international cooperation and interaction. Because of essential differences in social and historical experience, as well as the mentality of various regions of Ukraine, the policy of one-sided orientation cannot be truly national and, hence, efficient.

A question arises is it, in principle, possible and adequate to formulate and pursue a strategy devoid of a clear /284/ geopolitical orientation in the unstructured domain of Central and Eastern Europe, which is far from harmonious in its international relations? Obviously, given the attitude of the two above-mentioned sides to Ukraine the wait-and-see attitude of the West and the political/economic pressure that accompanies Russia's claims to domination the following may be a good guideline to consider in the near term: a predominantly political and (insofar as possible) economic cooperation with the West; a predominantly economic and (insofar as possible) political relationship with Moscow. It should be added that the South also has to gradually take its natural place in Ukraine's foreign relations.

The essence of such a policy lies in the renunciation in principle of all confrontation, of all attempts to use anti-Russian feelings, and to juxtapose Russia with the West in the dynamic participation in Pan-European cooperation. By so doing, Ukraine can play an exceptional role in preventing the restoration of geopolitical bipolarity on the continent, by achieving its various long-term interests.

Giving up an unequivocal choice in matters of geopolitical orientation should not be considered as a sign of isolationism, individualism, or amorphousness in Ukrainian foreign policy. On the contrary, this policy has to be based on distinct normative reference points, principles, and priorities. And from this it follows that it has to advance Ukraine's image as an attractive, dynamic, constructive, and reliable partner. But, in so doing, it is important for Ukraine to not lapse into "messianism" and to not burden itself with the function of being a "bridge" or mediator in some Utopian and futile attempt to artificially push West and East toward unification.

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