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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.
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Chapter 2. Ukraine's National Interests. Existing Trends In Foreign And Security Policies.
Section 2. Ukrainian Foreign and Security Policy and Realization of National Policy Objectives.
2.2 Political elite of Ukraine and its policy vision
The composition of Ukrainian elite, "instrumental at large in defining the national interests"(128), played a crucial role in the implementation of the national objectives of Ukraine.
The forces that brought about achieving independence could be described as a combination of diverse political parties and movements. At the same time the decision proclaiming Ukraine's independence was taken by the parliament that was elected in 1990 and dominated by the Communists.(129) After unsuccessful coup in Moscow in August 1991 the Ukrainian Communists, fearful of Yeltsin's anti-Communist measures, joined the campaign for independence led by the nationalist parties. The Rukh Movement (Ukrainian National Movement) was the most influential among the latter.
In this way, as sholars admit, Ukrainian independence was achieved by the joint efforts of the Communists and the nationalists.(130) Then the strongest candidate for Ukrainian presidency Leonid Kravchuk personified a compromise between two opposite political forces: he was a former Ukrainian Communist Party leader, who openly joined the camp of supporters of independence after the failure of the USSR.
The First Ukrainian Parliament, elected at the time of Communist domination was naturaly unprepared to deal with the new questions of foreign policy. It contained no Foreign Ministry officials and relatively few representatives of the intelligentsia, who would potentially learn about such a complicated matter as foreign affairs and international politics. At the same time, though there had been the Foreign Ministry of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, it was of little help in making of new external policy. The ministry did not possessed an independent analytical apparatus and any representative offices abroad, except for Ukrainian mission to the United Nations. The Ministry was headed by Anatoliy Zlenko "a genuine diplomat" as Alexandr Motyl of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University characterized him, accompanied by a few professional colleagues.(131) Nonetheless, a small group of professionals was not able to carry out the work of the ministry.
Consequently, as one can easily assert, the elite of the Ukrainian state was not equipped for handling difficult tasks of foreign policy and it is not surprising, that planning and decision-making in the field of external policy was taken by a narrow circle of senior officials. Thus, though the vital national interests of Ukraine may even have been defined correctly, this did not mean that the process of their implementation in the work of the Ukrainian diplomats and politicians be smooth.
In general, the beggining stages of Ukraine's diplomacy conduct was running with crucial emphasis on independence, which was rooted in the assume that state national interests would best be served by total distancing it from Russia. It was also prevailing assume that this policy would facilitate internal economic and political stability.
Ukrainian elite chose the building of the national statehood as the first and foremost national interest of Ukraine. Other national interests, such as creation of potential state's institutions and strong national economy were subordinated to the goal of strengthening of Ukrainian statehood.(132) In security thinking terms that period was largely run by believe on Russia's political and military risks.
This approach also prerequsited notable mistakes in the use of political and ideological instruments to strengthen economic relations with foreign partners and miscalculations in estimating of country's economic possibilities on regional and global levels.
Prevailing then economic policy vision has lead to the efforts in developing economic relations with more distant and economically mighty powers as China,(133) Egypt and Canada, than with its former alliens and partners in the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance.
For instance, the Ukrainian-Egyptian Communique of December 1992 was ensembled by a number of treaties on mutual economic and scientific cooperation, which included special clauses on protection of investments, trade relations, air communications, etc. At the same time, the similar documents with Central European states were concluded on only "on some local problems...[like] in the case with Poland, ...a treaty on border and regional cooperation".(134)
Following this way, Kiev was considerably "mistaken in structuring [its] political hierarchy of economic, political and ideological aspects of cooperation with regard to foreign partners".(135) While officially considering Russia as a main trade partner, Ukraine practically made very slow progress in re-establishing links with it. In 1994, for example, Russia accounted for 39 per cent of Ukraine's exports and 30 per cent of its imports, through Ukraine - only 13 per cent of Russian foreign trade.(136) In contrast, Eastern Europe countries like Poland or the Baltic states, which also politically resistant to Moscow's domination, have continued their trade relations with Russia.(137)