Tuesday, August 26, 2014

EU Moving Towards A Deal On Ukraine?

With winter moving ever closer several countries are not excited about problems with Russia and higher prices for natural gas, I see signs that much of Europe is ready to deal on Ukraine. Recently Germany's Vice-Chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel came out and spoke of support for a "federalization" of Ukraine once fighting between Ukrainian and Russian separatist forces in the eastern part of the country ended. "The territorial integrity of Ukraine can only be maintained if an offer is made to the areas with a Russian majority," Gabriel was quoted as saying "A clever concept of federalization seem to be the only practicable way," he added that a ceasefire was the first step and that still appeared to be a long way off.

While Merkel immediately distanced herself from Gabriel these comments raised eyebrows because of his use of the word federalization is a sensitive term in Ukraine. During a news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Merkel said what Germans understood by federalism was seen very differently in Ukraine where it was linked to a greater degree of independence "that we don't want at all". Pro-Russian media have in the past called pro-Moscow separatists supporters of federalization. "What we call federalism is decentralization," said Merkel, when asked about Gabriel's remarks. She said she supported Poroshenko's plans to give more responsibility to local authorities as part of a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

This appears the best hope for bringing breakaway provinces such as Donetsk and Luhansk back into the fold of democratic politics and accommodating those who may feel themselves somehow both Ukrainian and Russian, or somewhere in between. It’s the best hope for removing disputes from the hands of masked men with guns and moving this back into the realm of politics. Back in March, Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, spoke of “federalizing solutions.” Accomplishing this, he said, would be a major part of “the political redirection of Ukraine.”  In truth Ukraine is both dysfunctional and bankrupt, this means without outside funding disguised as "aid" from America and the IMF a resolution would sooner by reached.

Under the present system, the central government appoints provincial governors. As expected a governor sent by the new Kiev authorities who are distrusted by many in the east has has little hope of establishing his authority without force.  It would be best if those opposing the government in Kiev were encouraged to take the argument off the streets and into elected bodies. Those favoring greater regional autonomy, and even closer ties with Russia might win some local elections, but that would be far better than Western Ukraine waging a full out war against their brothers in the East and promising death to those who don't want to be under their control.

It seems both Russia and many of the separatist in Eastern Ukraine would support federalization. Surely, no reason exist for Kiev to be opposed other than a loss of power. Federalism does not mean debilitating decentralization it means the possibility of stopping violence and restarting politics. It also is the most plausible way of keeping Ukraine intact. Support for sanctions is mixed in Europe as some countries fear Russia and have an ax to grind with Putin while others wish to move forward. Saber rattling has only lead to death and destruction.  As I see it little good will come from further bloodshed and it is time for the West to stop sending money to Kiev so they can ramp up the violence and continue the civil war.

   Footnote; This post dovetails with many of my recent writings, as always other related articles may be found in my blog archive. Below is another post concerning the situation in Ukraine. Thanks for reading, your comments are encouraged.


  1. it's too late. You cannot bomb your own citizens and then make nice.

  2. As much as I wish to disagree with your comment, you are speaking with realism that others cannot accept. The Eastern Ukraine is gone; her control has just been moved from Kiev to Moscow.

  3. This scenario depends on how much sway Moscow has with the Donbass leadership and people to accept federalization and whether or not the U.S/Anglo neocons will accept defeat in Ukraine or simply hatch another plot as per their "Wolfowitz" bent. It would probably be better all around if the Donbass region gets some form of autonomy. as perhaps a Russian protectorate for the foreseeable future.