Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ukraine: the risks of transition

Ukraine misrepresentations and lies, coupled with ignorance are fuelling  widespread displays of media propaganda.  There exists a factual skeleton that cannot be propagandized away though.

It is not in Ukraine or Russia's interest to partition the country.

The Kiev government has lost control of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Calling parliamentary elections in Kiev when so much of the country, with millions of voters,  is no longer governed from Kiev, is a democratic farce.

The current Kiev caretaker government  is widely regarded as Fascist by many and, in some parts of Ukraine, the majority of voters.  Any attempt to validate the agreement with the European Union by the current Kiev government will be regarded as illegitimate by much of the population.  And by Russia.

The response to this has so far been disastrous.  At least 2000 people have been killed.   The EBRD has produced a worst-case scenario in which the sanctions implemented and threatened against Russia will precipitate a Russian recession and bring growth to a halt in the area; there will be serious contagion throughout the global economy and, first, for Europe.

All European former socialist economies have distinctive features arising from their soviet-type starting model.  Escorting them and assisting them through transition is now a well-understood process, if hotly contested by those who want to punish the former socialist errors (and socialists), and those who seek to provide the best route to an economically and politically successful society.

Such a society would not  conform to the hyper-liberal, crony capitalism so beloved of the corrupt of all capitalist economies (sadly only too well-represented in some of the already 'transited' states that fought back to create a more balanced and indeed moral, as well as efficient,  economic and political system and thus largely completed the transition). 

Abolishing or reducing to a minimum the role of the state in transiting economies is not clever.  Market institutions must be created, there must be investment in modern infrastructures (just consider the backwardness of the highly inefficient energy consumption levels of Ukraine industries), market regulation must be a state function, and for any reasonable person there must be great importance given to the provision of employment, the alleviation of poverty, and the assurance of social peace.

Russia will not accept Ukraine (or any other near-abroad state) practising the politico-economic aggression of hyper-liberal, crony capitalism.  In the interests of its defence requirements it has formally annexed the Crimea.  Informally, bluntly, it has annexed also Ukraine as a whole, rejecting the kind of development that will lead to  an unstable and inegalitarian capitalist free-for-all.

Central Europe - Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic - really doesn't need this pseudo Europe of the UK, US, and Baltic peripherals, trying to put tanks on Russia's lawn.  


Sackerson said...

Scuse ignorance, but why wouldn't Russia settle for a partition that gave it the best bits?

hatfield girl said...

That's why I wrote 'bluntly'. Russia is Ukraine, as Ukraine is Russia; until Khruschev's unfortunate 1950s act of grandeur there was never the slightest doubt. There was never intended the separation of Ukraine from Russia, rather the very public affirmation of their union.

Russia moved openly and immediately on Crimea because of its central defence importance. For the rest of the country the relationship is as it always has been except for a remarkably poorly and corruptly managed transition.

Those who rose against Yanukovych rose against the kind of capitalism that was taking control, crony or oligarch (in Russian terminology) capitalism. Russia isn't the problem, crony capitalist corruption is and they believed that association with the EU would provide them with institutional infrastructures and economic assistance that would ease the transition difficulties.

Imagine, thinking of the EU as a beacon of anti-corruption capitalism and egalitarian development.

Why should either Ukraine or Russia abandon the unity of Ukraine to the ravages of vulture capitalism? Who can force it upon them? And whose army?

Nick Drew said...

well, but (notwithstanding the dark-ages history) Russians hold 'Ukrainian' Ukrainians in the deepest contempt, (far deeper than jokey anti irish sentiment here), as I have encountered on several occasions

this is warmly reciprocated and the proliferation of the most disturbing neo-N badges etc amongst young Ukrainians is pretty striking

that said, your 'near abroad' comment must be right, and I am pretty sure that, on top of the EU's inane expansionist tendency (pace, HG) there is a spiteful US neocon agenda at work - they can't launch wars any longer but they can upset Russia and China by prodding peripheral hot-spots with a stick

time to stop baiting Putin: the real enemy is at the gates

*dashes for Eurostar*