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 Ukrainian Politics
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 After the Fall of Yanukovych’s Regime Ukraine May Expect War With Russia, Western Expert

After the fall of Viktor Yanukovych the fate of Ukraine will depend on domestic political consensus and agreements between elites and oligarchs.

Rutgers University political science professor Oleksandr Motyl writes on his column in The World Affairs:

"Ukraine's tycoons will remain fabulously wealthy and influential, regardless of whether they hide on their estates or in their villas in the West. Their primary interests will, as always, be the protection of their assets and privilege, which means stability and security. Although sultanism offered some measure of both, the collapse of sultanism and Ukraine's subsequent time of troubles will likely incline the oligarchs to seek to align Ukraine with the global economy in general and the West in particular as the only reliable guarantors of both."

According to the expert, the choice before Ukraine's future democratic elites will mirror that before Poland and Czechoslovakia more than twenty years ago.

"Post-Yanukovych Ukraine will remain unified, like Poland, if its civic-political institutions, oligarchs, and leaders can agree on some degree of federalization or decentralization that enables Ukrainian-language speakers and Russian-language speakers to use Ukrainian as a lingua franca and to enjoy linguistic choice at other levels of social interaction. Post-Yanukovych Ukraine will go the way of Czechoslovakia if some such consensus is not found."

"Chances are that the Polish scenario will get the upper hand. The Yanukovych regime's endorsement of Russian supremacism may appeal to diehard Russian-language speakers, but it will, several years from now, likely be as discredited as the regime that spawned it. Unless the post-Yanukovych democrats engage in linguistic maximalism, it's a good bet that Ukraine will survive intact and that a "social contract" between East and West will emerge, especially if the oligarchs endorse it, as they are likely to do," noted the analyst.

Meanwhile, according to Motyl, a more substantive danger to post-Yanukovych Ukraine will be Vladimir Putin's Russia.

"The chances that a declining quasi-fascist petro-state such as Russia will become strong and stable are few. A beleaguered Putin will almost certainly not choose democracy as the means to save himself and his regime. Instead, Putin will tighten the reins and increase his neo-imperialist rhetoric, perhaps hoping for a "quick little war" that could provide his tottering regime with a shot in the arm.

Will Ukraine survive a possible military intervention? It could go the route of Yugoslavia, and the resulting instability could also spell Russia's doom. Or post-Yanukovych democrats and oligarchs may succeed in drawing on burgeoning popular patriotism and organizing a mass mobilization in defense of the "homeland." Given the parlous nature of the Putin state, the outcome could easily be a stalemate, which would be tantamount to a victory for Ukraine. Naturally, a defeat would mean Ukraine's loss of the Crimea and some southeastern territories to Russia. That would be painful, but it could also consolidate a post-Yanukovych consensus around a breakthrough agenda in independent Ukraine," concluded Motyl.

 
 
 
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