Ukrainian-Russian relations and the attitude toward them in both countries on the part of the general public and various social groups make it obvious that both the ruling elite and ordinary people either refuse to recognize Ukraine’s independence and stand for Ukraine’s subordination to Moscow or the restoration of the Soviet Union (albeit in the form of a Slavic alliance) or they want Kyiv to reduce contacts with Moscow to a minimum and be completely oriented toward the West. Whatever the stand, it ensues from provincial stereotypes and the mentality of an epoch that is already history. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is undergoing globalization, and this demands from the elite and society decisions and actions to meet the challenges of the times. The relationship between the two countries and the place each determines for itself in the global system being created require nontraditional and flexible approaches, something we do not seem always prepared to do, to put it mildly. The Day continues to publish opinions voiced by politicians and experts, concerning chances and perils in the bilateral relationships under globalization.
Yevhen MARCHUK, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine:
The universal world of science, planetary trade and finance trends, multinational business, global presence of the media and Internet, tourism and migration, cultural interrelationships, global environmental problems, and organized crime — all this deepens the reciprocal dependence of countries and societies, a phenomenon we know as globalization.
Countries participating in the integration process have to gradually surrender some of their sovereignty and put up with mounting reciprocal technological, economic, information, and political infiltration, and even assist the process of creation of a world without borders.
Globalization manifests itself, among other things, in the process of building supranational economic and political structures. This process is unavoidable, since such powerful supranational formations are acting in the international arena as full- fledged world political entities, so that an unaffiliated country is sure to encounter the powerful joint potential of many other countries in all aspects of international relations.
The role of the nation state is changing under globalization; it is being reduced for objective reasons, and this is a very important world political factor.
With the appearance of the Internet the planetary community of nations received an opportunity to make this world even more united. A negative aspect of information globalization is the powerful pressure on a given nation’s ethnic and cultural identity. For the long-since-formed nations, such as France, Britain, and Germany, this pressure is somewhat mitigated compared to the nations just starting their state building. To the latter, information globalization may well mean their eventual loss of that identity.
Naturally, the economic aspect of globalization is crucial. The new global economic order demonstrates unique opportunities in expanding the range of its manifestation, embracing the world as one vast market and a single state.
Free market relations not only help a given country’s economic growth, but also divides market operators into thriving and decaying ones who are dying out. Within a country, this differentiation affects just so many firms; under globalization, the process of survival and extinction embraces whole nations.
Globalization comes down to the transformation of mankind into a single hierarchical economic system built on the principle of unequal exchange and where the basic controversy is the ever broadening gap between the most advanced countries and the rest of humanity, which is being actively capitalized upon by the world leaders and causing other countries to constantly lag behind, a process which in many cases becomes irreversible.
The strong potential of the new technological (information, intellectual) epoch serves as a powerful implement of world dominance, as was previously the case with the industrial potential used against the underdeveloped countries.
Objective economic integration requires an unprecedented concentration of intellectual, material, and natural assets to provide sufficient resources for strategic breakthrough technologies as the main factors of competitiveness and dominance in the world arena.
This is the only adequate way to meet the challenges of the new economic order.
This inference applies to both Ukraine and Russia where the industrial economic system is predominant.
Even though the socioeconomic conditions in Ukraine and Russia are fundamentally different in certain respects, they are similar from the standpoint of global challenges. Under the circumstances, accelerated integration into the world economic space without advancing certain elements of the postindustrial epoch will cause the Ukrainian and Russian economies to get stuck in a phase of hopeless economic and social lag, dooming them to a continuous pursuit of those in the lead.
Here the only alternative is stepping up the construction of a postindustrial economic system as the dominant one. Even with obsolete technologies to cope with, progress is possible by way of concentrating intellectual resources and bankroll and using intellectual assets.
If we want equal cooperation in the world arena, we must have postindustrial business entities participate in the globalization process.
This is a top priority, a crucial issue. Under globalization, any procrastination of adequate administrative decisions threatens our economic and social communities .
Volodymyr ALEKSIEYEV, People’s Deputy (Batkivshchyna):
The world integration process is an objective phenomenon. The problem is not whether to take part in it, but the terms and conditions of this participation.
Ukraine is a totally sovereign country now, and the ongoing struggle is not between the opponents and exponents of [reviving the Soviet] Union, but among those supporting various unions or alliances. The population is mentally oriented toward the East, while the capital’s establishment and Galicia look to the West. I think the Western vector is largely supported by the Granny Malashka syndrome — it’s when an old woman teaches her daughter to marry a prosperous man, so they all can live well afterward. Obviously, those supporting the idea have poor knowledge of classical Ukrainian literature, for in all such cases the daughter ended up as a farmhand and her mother would not even be allowed to visit her in the new home.
The scientific and technological revolution has caused changes in the production price system. Previously it was determined basically by the costs of raw materials and manpower; today, the prime cost of a hi-tech science intensive product is determined by the expenses involved in its development. There is a steel hard regularity: the higher the output, the lower the prime cost and the higher the competitiveness. The need in a guaranteed market (estimated at 350 million persons), without which all those billions invested in the science-intensive sectors stand a slim productive chance, causes integration process in Europe, North America, and the Far East.
Ukraine has lost this market, as has Russia, thus being automatically pushed to the periphery of world progress. I think that any attempts to integrate into a different community are not realistic. 450 million Europeans have toiled for over fifty years to raise their living standard. They are not likely to let it drop just to help solve Ukraine’s financial problems. I think that we stand a chance of reintegrating into that community in which Ukraine emerged and existed and to which its economy is adapted.
Dmytro KORCHYNSKY, leader of UNA-UNSO in 1991-97:
The problem is that Ukraine an d Russia are out of phase. For the past ten years Ukraine has been whiling away idle hours. During the same period Russia has undergone tempestuous transformation. We have practically had no spectacular figures at the political helm; Russia has shown a gallery of tragic and spectacular personalities. Watching Russian television, we noticed that even a cloakroom attendant looked like a general. We are witness to events in Ukraine that took place in many other CIS countries back in 1989- 91. We are at a turning point, also in the cadre domain, so we badly need spectacular personalities. They do appear. By contrast, Russia seems to need them no longer, so they are being gradually crowded out of Russian politics and journalism. I think that after the next elections the State Duma will be structured not by factions but by platoons. Our divergence is largely due to our being out of phase; in other words, the processes underway in Ukraine and Russia are polarized. The Russians will have to spend another decade under a neo-Brezhnev regime and we will have a decade of stormy events, spectacular personalities, confrontations, and so on.
As for Ukrainian-Russian prospects, I am fond of comparing the United States to Canada. In this sense, Ukraine is more like the US.
I believe that Ukraine will prove the most dynamic element in the CIS during next couple of years. Despite our sitting on our hands and the Foreign Ministry doing its utmost to conduct no foreign policy whatsoever, Ukrainians have made a quite active appearance in the CIS and the same is true of the Caucasus, Transnistria, and Belarus. Activating the Ukrainian factor in Russia could cause significant changes, even upheavals. And this doesn’t take much, just several strong economic and political moves by Kyiv. Hopefully, they will be made.
Yevhen HOLOVAKHA, Ph.D. in philosophy, supervisory research fellow, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences Institute of Sociology:
Russia still has to determine its relationship with Ukraine and its prospects, because there are two competing lines of conduct with regard to Ukraine. The first, the so- called liberal-democratic one, was previously somehow or other adhered to by Right liberal politicians. It holds that a strong and independent Ukraine is more important for Russia as an equal international political partner. The other line, quite strong and with numerous supporters in Russia, especially in the Left and Right extremist wings, is nostalgic for empire and holds that Ukraine must not be regarded as an independent country, that it must be part of a union, supposedly due to many historical, socioeconomic, and geopolitical reasons.
Actually, there is nothing alarming about the two lines competing in Russia. The trouble is that we also have two stands toward relations with Russia in Ukraine. I would describe the first as provincial consumer or nostalgic consumer. It holds that Russia has what Ukraine badly needs: energy resources and markets for Ukrainian goods. This provincial consumer stand alarmingly combines with Russia’s nostalgic imperial trend. The other Ukrainian stand could be described as nationally concerned (those adhering consider that any rapprochement with Russia threatens the loss of Ukrainian independence and may have disastrous consequences for the Ukrainian state). It is not likely to combine with Russia’s liberal-democratic line. Thus furthering Ukrainian- Russian partnership regrettably does not approach the liberal-pragmatic level, at least not yet.
I believe that the further globalization of Ukrainian-Russian relations will be inevitably oriented against the West, something neither Russia nor Ukraine needs right now. I would like to see forces take shape in Ukraine, capable of overcoming the provincial consumer complex, adopting a liberal pragmatic strategy, and taking an appropriate stand toward Russia. This would find response among the supporters of a similar trend in Russia. I further believe that the West would be interested in Russia and Ukrainian being in sync, moving toward the objective they once declared: democratic society, development of democratic states, etc. I see no such prospects at the moment. There is another scenario, considering Russia’s interest in Ukraine without serious conflicts and cataclysms, and Ukraine’s interest in having an economic access to Russia and that country’s political support. I think this scenario will be acted out, at least in the nearest future, meaning cautious rapprochement. Among the advantages this approach could have for Ukraine are several economic ones. Naturally, any economic advantages would be connected with certain political concessions. If these advantages are not on a liberal pragmatic basis but that of some provincial dependence, Ukraine will have no alternative but make various political concessions, otherwise the whole arrangement would have no political value for Russia, except probably a paternalistic role, hoping that there would be no social explosion in Ukraine, at least not in the foreseeable future, because this explosion would make Ukraine’s neighbors suffer, regardless of its geographic scope.
As for cautious rapprochement, among the perils for Ukraine is above all mounting pressure from the West. The latter will find all kinds of excuses to reduce its help if the rapprochement is not on a liberal democratic basis (which is likely to be the case, as I said). Second, this will stir up the national-concerned camp, for they will regard this rapprochement as a threat to the Ukrainian nation state and will proceed with actions of protest. This could well destabilize the situation. Third, expanding relations with Russia will mean a sequel to Ukraine’s provincial dependence and provincial consumer attitude toward Russia, and will serve to prolong Ukraine’s economic suffering.
In my opinion, an effective option would be the formation of a strong liberal pragmatic movement in Ukraine, capable of coming to terms with similar political forces in Russia. If they could combine efforts and get the upper hand in both countries, further globalization would pose no threat, for it would benefit these countries and the world community of nations.