Hendrajit, Geopolitics Expert and Executive Director of Global Future Institute (GFI)
Paper presented at Padjadjaran University (UNPAD) Model United Nations 2018, on 7 May 2018.
As one of the former Soviet Union states, I am personally very concerned with keeping up and analyzing various factors and political dynamics in Ukraine, which led to a political alliance to evict President Viktor Yanukovich that is seen pro-Russia in the year 2014. Because of the fear that could considerably threaten the agendas and strategic interests of the U.S. and the European Union in Ukraine.
Indonesia which has the historical role of pioneering the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung 1955 and the Non Alliance Movement in Beograd 1961, it is imperative on our part to have the natural political standpoint strongly criticizing against foreign interference in its all forms and manifestations. Including such kind of maneuvers to overthrow President Yanukovich in 2014.
Ukrainian Case: The Incompatibility between Democracy and Secrecy in US and European Union
Democracy and secrecy sometimes are not compatible in United States (US), especially in conducting its foreign policy. In treating the countries potentially regarded as unfriendly or hostile to its strategic interests, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as the intelligence organ of American establishment in Washington, was quite often reported to conduct the covert foreign policy such as overthrowing the national leaders considered as uncooperative to the US strategic agenda in the developing countries.
Even in the condition where democratic practices seems functioning smoothly but the election would have run counter to the American establishment, by all means available they begin to explore and plan the possibility of sponsoring the opposition forces to bring down the existing government using the symbol of anti-corruption and human right as the major theme of their political action.
Just take a look at the orange revolution in Ukraine as a case in point. Ukraine is the newly-established state which separated itself from the Soviet Union turned Russia. The 2004 presidential election in Ukraine featured two candidates. One was the incumbent Prime Minister Victor Yanukovyich. The rival candidate was Victor Yushchenko, former Prime Minister in the period of 1999-2001.
In the presidential election which was held in a highly charged atmosphere, on 24 November 2004 Yanukovych was officially certified as the winner by the Central Election Commission.
The next morning after the certification took place, his rival candidate Yushchenko spoke to supporters in Kiev, urging them to begin a series of mass protests, general strikes and sit-ins with the intent of crippling the government and forcing it to concede defeat.
According to Yuschenkos version, election was colored by fraud in favor of the government-backed Yanukovych. On the other hand, demonstration for public suppport for Yanukovych were held through out eastern and souhtern Ukraine, the stronghold of Victor Yanukovych.
Unfortunately, due to Yushchenkos connections to the Ukrainian media and fully supported by foreign observers, the pro Yanukovych supporters failed to gain its legitimacy for defending its victory in the eyes of the general public.
Finally, the Ukraines Supreme ordering a revote of the run-off to be held on 26 December 2006. This decision was seen as a victory for the Yushchenko camp.
The December 26 revote was held under intense scrutiny of local and international observers. The preliminary results, announced by the Central Election Commision on December 28, gave Yushchenko and Yanukovych 51.99% and 44.20% of the total vote, respectively.
Some oberserves said that the result of last election gave the clear picture over the success story of US political elites in Washington to lauch character assasination to Yanukovych.
During the election process, Yanukovych was unfairly reported by the press as being convicted of robery and assault. He was also reported of having alleged connection with corrupt businessmen. And worst still, if he were to ascend to the presidency by fraud.
Many analysts alos believed that the so-called Orange Revolution was sponsored by the US and Western Countries in geneal. The Orange revolution was the result of extensive grassroots campaigning and coalition-building among the opposition. Each included election victories followed up by public demonstrations.
Threre were also strong evedence that Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies.
According to The Guardian, these include the US State Department and USAID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House.
Seen from the US perspective, the victory of Yanukovych was very dangerous political development as the Russian Presiden Vladimir Putin had clearly express his support behind Yanukovych from the very beginning of election.
Understanding Ukraine from Geopolitics Perspective
Realizing the fact that Ukraine as the target of a battlefield between powerful countries like the U.S. and the European Union versus Russia and China within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), it is once again raises an important subject in this study, namely the importance of understanding the geopolitical strategic values of a country.
This is the valuable lesson learned for the present-day Indonesia. What a vital thing the so called independency and personal character of the national leader in dealing with foreign intererest, especially coming from the superpowers such as US and European Union.
Who would have thought when the decision of President Viktor Yanukovich for receiving financial aid from Russia and delaying trade agreements with the European Union (EU) resulted in the majority of the people in Kiev, Ukraine Capital to instantaneously hold street demonstrations. It doesn’t make sense.
The raising question is that: did the delay make Ukraine turbulent, or perhaps was there another hidden agenda which is more urgent for the opposition rather than a trade agreement; has the decision made by Yanukovich broken the hidden agenda? This is just the initial assumptions on the prologue of this note.
The triggers of Yanukovich’s fall
The U.S. and EU anger peaked after President Yanukovich refused some political and economic pressures by the U.S. and the EU countries. Yanukovich preferred an alliance with China, Russia and Iran.
Still remember what happened in 2011? At that time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to break the Ukrainian economy when the government rejected outright the IMF recommendations to stop subsidizing the price of gas consumed by most of the people of Ukraine. Though Ukraine approved a loan amounted to USD 15 billion.
Germany, was also pressing Ukraine to join its political and business networks through the power of the EU countries. As informed, Germany has actually started its geopolitical project against Russia by expanding its European Union Eastern Partnership. The project was able to embrace Georgia and Moldova. While Belarus and Armenia which are already in the German radar tended to chose to join the Eurosian Customs Union led by Russia.
Now, Ukraine which is rich in source of energy has also rejected the EU wishes. It is very logical if then Germany was inflamed following the Ukraine’s refusal. Because geopolitically, Ukraine is seen by Germany as the key to winning the EU global energy market war against a group of countries which are pro Russia and China.
Germany viewed, if Ukraine could be invited to join the European Union, the European Union would be able to set the global energy market, at least at the level of countries within the European Union.
The European Union maneuver and the anatomy of opposition
Some EU strategic moves to take control of Ukraine has actually been done long ago. Several large German companies have already built a sizeable gas pipeline in Ukraine. The gas pipeline is built across Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. It viewed that by building the gas pipeline, it will in turn resolve the Ukraine’s dependence on gas supplies having so far been distributed from Russia.
So Germany expected the major project to be ‘paid’ by President Yanukovich to sign an agreement to join the European Union. But following the Yanukovich’s decision to prefer an alliance with China, Russia and Iran, The German plan to build a gas pipeline has finally been without result. Failed miserably.
It seems this is a great scenario of the U.S. and European Union in supporting a wave of demonstrations under the symbol of “Pro-Democracy” and “anti-President Yanukovich” movements.
So, how is the political constellation of Ukraine after the fall of Yanukovich? Let us look at the profile of the groups behind the “Pro-Democracy” movement. Apparently there are 3 major groups behind the overthrow of Yanukovich.
The first is the Batkivschyna party led by Yulia Tymoshenko. The party is funded and supported directly or indirectly by Germany.
The second is the Svoboda party that carries the Neo Nazi ideology. This party is the most powerful group opposed to Yanukovich. The anti-Jewish party (including Russian Jews) is financed by Washington. The party is led by Tiahnybok. He develops his party with neo nazi by refering to that developed in Europe. In a parliamentary political constellation in Ukraine, Svoboda is the largest party in Ukraine today.
If you looked at how tumultuous the political situation in Ukraian a few months ahead of the fall of Yanukovich, Svoboda Party seemed to actively play a role in escalating situation and creating political destabilization in the country.
The third party is the Udar party led by Vitally Klitschko, the former world heavyweight boxing champion. Klitschko is one of the presidential candidates who will run for the 2015 Ukrainian elections. German Christian Democrat Union party ensures Klitschko is one of the important persons being capable of bridging the pro-EU spirit in Ukraine.
What makes us amazed in the Global Future Institute, some of the mainstream media, including leading dailies in Indonesia, more precisely highlighted and made headlines in terms of the emergence of the spirit of neo nazi in Ukraine. There’s even some developing a discourse that Ukraine will become a new neo fascist. So the Svoboda Party and neo nazi movement have become headlines in the mass media within and outside the country.
In fact, the major issue behind the fall of President Yanukovich is a global energy fight between a group of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries led by the U.S. and the European Union, especially Germany and the countries that are members of the BRICS which is based on the Russian and Chinese strategic cooperation through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Examining and monitoring both intensively and continuously the development of the situation in Ukraine today mean pushing various strategic elements in Indonesia to be aware of a similar scheme that will be performed in Indonesia at any time. Moreover, ahead of the April 2014 elections, it is predicted there will be quite crucial and potential for possible political instability.
Mapping Domestic Politics in Ukraine
At first Yushchenko was considered as the most superior politician for securing 51.99 % of the 27.96 million votes. He pocketed about 15.11 million voters. But in his one-year tenure he did not bring significant changes in Ukraine, his popularity was down to 81 seats, or comparable with 3.56 million votes. How drastically, about two thirds of its votes lost in compared to the first election.
At first glance the Yushchenko’s political career is almost similar to Mohamed Morsi who comes to power as a result of a mass movement, then he was elected in the election to replace Mobarak.
The similarities of the “fate and career” of both was through mass actions in the streets — In Ukraine it was called Orange Revolution, in Egypt is was called Arab Spring. Another similarity is the period of rule in which both did not bring a change to their country.
This is the principal cause of why people’s trust become dim. If the risk accepted by Yushchenko is the unsignificance of seats of his party Nasha Ukrayin in parliament, while Morsi experienced a tragic fate, he was ousted by General El Sisi, his own choice junta.
Reading the political map in Ukraine should not be separated from the those and groups playing. First : The Yanukovich stronghold that remained loyal to Russia, a traditional ally of Ukraine since the old days.
Second is the Tymoshenko stronghold and others who tend affiliated to the “West”. West in this regard is the EU, the U.S., and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Yanukovich mass base in the eastern region, neighboring Russia; while the mass base of Yushchenko et al is in the west, adjacent to the EU countries.
Although the reality on the ground is not black and white in nature, at least, this is the political mapping in Ukraine in terms of geography and aspects of “ideology”.
Another indication of the ‘death’ of Orange Revolution besides the things that have been explained earlier, namely the political infighting (internal conflict) between Yushchenko, the President and his own PM due to fighting over strategic resources of the country. In short, Tymoshenko was removed as PM (08.09.2005) for being accused of involving in a graft case.
Geopolitics of Pipeline and Gas Weapons
The underlying point to discuss in this forum is that, why Ukraine becomes so vital in the eyes of US and EU in such a way that the western blocs risking the long-lasting political instability of the domestic politics in Ukraine.
In terms of geostrategy, Ukraine is very strategic playing strategic role as the buffer zone or buffer zone of the superpowers Russia and the West, especially the EU because of the ideology of a bygone era indeed be jockeying for influence. This is the inherent geopolitical destiny since he was born as a nation.
Ukraine urgency levels in the region, in fact can not be removed from his past role as members of the Soviet Union. The key role was not against the Soviet state as parent — — alone, but also for countries other Warsaw Pact. Beside rich in natural resources, such as iron ore, coal, color metal, gas, oil, salt, clay, etc. He also produces aircraft and ships, trucks and buses, cars and locomotives , TV and radio, chemicals, textiles, computers and electronic equipment, agricultural machinery, and others .
Another important role, in addition to exporting electricity to Eastern Europe (until now) and surrounding countries such as Hungary, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, etc. The majority of Soviet nuclear warheads belonged formerly stationed in Ukraine. That strategic position in the center of the attractive power of the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc old days (1949-1991). Rhetoric is : is it possible (position) is geostrategi contested by the two superpowers at the top ? It may be. But there are things more urgent than that.
Geopolitics of Pipeline and Gas Weapons
Principal role of Ukraine as a buffer zone is more true to the Geopolitics of the pipeline (the pipeline) . This is it.
It seems, “fate” Ukraine is similar geopolitical superpower Syria contested the West and the East as a result of factors other than geostrategy position on the Silk Road, but more particularly because of the presence of the pipe lines.
How the flow of gas and oil pipelines passing through Syria are among countries, regions and even across continents penetrate. At least, as well as the Ukrainian gas pipeline despite the “scale” is relatively not large when compared to Syria.
Urgency buffer zone for example, when Putin to stop the gas flowing through the pipeline in Ukraine on January 1, 2006 when the gas dispute ( 2006-2009 ) between Russia – Ukraine , turned out very broadly devastating impact. Not only that scream Ukraine gas shortage, but uneven across Europe shout because less supply of gas pipeline intended closure.
Why so, how 80 % of Russian gas export route to Europe through Ukraine trajectory pipe lines. When disconnected the “nodes” of his, undoubtedly scream consuming countries in the downstream pipeline. In this context, Ukraine is a knot of gas lines, while the EU and surrounding countries are in the lower reaches. This is the weapon of gas (gas guns) the Red Bear, another name Russia.
It can not be denied that, Russia is the largest gas producer in the world, although oil production is the second largest after Saudi Arabia. Just additional information. Once again, this is equivalent gas weapon owned by Russia in order to “control” Ukraine and countries around the net gas importers.