Ukraine Has a New President, And It’s Putin?
A frozen conflict in Ukraine at least gave the superpowers a bit of breathing room from each other. If Ukraine slides to Russia, tensions in Europe could skyrocket.
Ukraine had its presidential elections last week. The winner of the elections is the Ukrainian stand-up comedian, and YouTube star Zelensky. Mr.Zelensky enjoyed regional success and proved a point that has been known since JFK beat Nixon because of television – image and popularity matter.
Zelensky is many things, but a politician he isn’t. This fact, along with the aforementioned star factor, actually greatly benefited his rise to take Ukraine’s highest office. Now that the polls are closed, it is time to see how the political fresh face performs. This leaves Ukrainians, the West, and Russia begging the question; What is next for Ukraine?
The transition away from Poroshenko, a pro-Western politician and businessman had immediate effects in the region. Despite the West’s providing of military and financial support to Poroshenko’s government, the electorate had different plans. Those plans seemed to embolden the Kremlin.
The morning after Ukraine’s presidential election, Putin spoke on Russian radio discussing giving Russian passports to citizens of Ukraine’s highly contested Eastern and Central regions (Donbass, Luhansk). This was one of the steps Putin is initiating in what appears to be a grandiose plan for Ukraine.
A week after the election a second major announcement was made by the Kremlin. Russian and Ukrainian citizens now can apply to have both citizenships.
The power play with dual citizenship, allows Russia to step into Ukraine any time they want. Think of Georgia in 2008. All the Kremlin has to say is they are “ protecting Russian citizens.”
Conjecture is already buzzing that a referendum is in the workings to reunite Russia and Ukraine as one “Fraternal Slavic Nation.”
Putin also made a suggestion to return citizenship to Saakashvilli, the pro-Russian “politician” that had his Ukrainian citizenship revoked during Poroshenko’s time in office.
From a geopolitical perspective, Ukraine is a key buffer state between the EU-NATO-Russia. A frozen conflict in Ukraine at least gave the superpowers a bit of breathing room from each other. If Ukraine slides to Russia, tensions in Europe could skyrocket.
What Went Wrong?
Current U.S. President Donald Trump is too busy with nationalism and dividing contributions to the UN and NATO vs taking a harder look at Ukraine. The West was successful for a while, turning Ukraine closer to the West and weakening Russia; forcing OPEC to overproduce oil and the drop of crude caused the Russian economy to go into a deep recession at the time.
Yet, again Vlad came back swinging hard. Putin shouldn’t ever be underestimated given his former KGB training compounded with the elite X2 system that was created by a Russian chess player. Only a few people in Russia are left that have such training and they are all within Putin’s inner circle. If paid attention, the patterns of a chess game can be noted in the power-play for Ukraine.
What really went wrong – my generation does not remember the Cold War or the ramifications of the Cuban missile crisis that was averted. Therefore, empowering Russia is not perceived as a threat from them. Besides an interest in socioeconomic issues within the voting age group, the changes in the global geopolitical scale and what it means for Western Europe and its NATO allies does not seem to be a concern.
Putin’s dream is a resurrection of the Russian empire with a quasi-Soviet Union structure. His grandiose plan to be an emperor of it all.
Ukrainian citizens, for now, can be enamored with the medical and professional privileges of having dual citizenships and access to more services. In the long term, they could face a harsh truth and again be behind a new, different style of iron curtain and cut off from the West. History tends to repeat itself.
In the short term, many forecast Ukraine’s new president more than likely will be a Russian ally and will not hard line any issues including Crimea, Russian influence or a symbiotic economic relationship. The Russian language will return as an alternative language in Ukraine.
In conclusion, the oligarchs backing the elections and interests that align with Putin’s view of Eastern Europe – conquering and changing the global power play and balance – are tipping it further to the Eastern hemisphere.