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Ukraine And European Security - International Mechanisms
As Non-Military Options For National Security Of Ukraine.
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Chapter 3. "Gradual" Approach
Section 2. Ukraine and the CIS
2.2 Ukrainian and Russian Vision of the CIS.
Whole period until 1994, Ukrainian leadership made as assertion on development of Ukraine exclusively as an independent actor on the CIS fora. For instance, on Bishkek Summit on 9 October 1993, Ukraine refused to participate even in the Consultative Economic Commission and signed only five of the fifteen documents.(168)
Nevertheless, surviving big economic difficulties, in April 1994 Ukraine became an Associate member of the CIS Economic Union and at the CIS summit in Moscow on October 21, 1994 the Ukrainian delegation signed the document on the creation of the Interstate Economic Committee.(169)
By doing so, Ukrainian officials although required a separate provision to be included that each country voluntarily decides what functions should be delegated to the Committee and did not sign the agreement on establishing a payments union of the CIS states, facilitating mutual convertibility of currencies, showing its intent to retain full national control over monetary policy.(170) Ukraine, Moldova, and several others non-signers of the agreement appended reservations to the agreement stating that the IEC could not override national legislation.(171)
Afterwards, all succeeding meetings up to now (especially, February 1995 CIS summit in Almaty,(172) and May 1995 Summit in Minsk) have ended with even less success for finding consensus between Moscow and Kiev within the CIS network. Although, on February 1995 Almaty meeting of the CIS the Ukrainian officials joined the CIS Common Air-Defence Structure,(173) Kiev strongly opposed the idea of Russian president Eltsin of signing "the document on collective security of all countries of the CIS", which he hoped is to be unquestionably signed at this summit.(174) And, here it is clearly seen that one of the main problems, which hampers the CIS evolution as effective cooperative vericle, is that two leading contributors to the Commonwealth have very different perceptions of its future.
Ukraine has always remained unwilling to accede any important aspects of its sovereignty to the CIS supra-national bodies. This strategy builds upon the principle that the Commonwealth is rather a loose association of the former-USSR or as former Ukrainian President Kravchuk interpreted it - "a mechanism of civilized divorce", than a new confederation of the newly-independent states.
Currently this position remains the same, chiefly because Ukraine's leadership "finds it difficult to accept CIS integration based on decrees issued by the leaders of one of its states", which neglect the position of others.(175)
On its side, from the initial post-Soviet period coming to an end in late 1993, majority of Russian political establishment has arrived to the opinion that under existing circumstances Russia's primary interest is in the CIS, and not in the West. In this regard, former Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev from the outset stressed that the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States is "the main priority of Russian diplomacy ", and argued that "the viability of the emerging Commonwealth lies in the fact that natural ties will be much stronger than the shackles of the totalitarian system".(176) While suggesting Russia's leading role in the CIS progression, he also signified an approach that countries leding the way in democratic and market reforms would show the path to others. Kozyrev rejected the static technique of the CIS as a forum for discussing problems bequeathed by the Soviet regime, but envisaged a type of variable geometry of dynamic relations between the various countries.(177)
In general, Russian foreign policy towards the USSR-successor states advanced on three fronts at the same: strive to strengthen and preserve the CIS establishment; consolidation of relations with the core states in a type of "Eurasian" union; and to some extent, the bilateralization of relations. This later foreign policy's approach is understood by several scholars as the tactic of 'inequality of the partnership' which can "easily allow Russia to dictate its conditions for economic and military cooperation".(178)
Using this method, and emerging as one of the strongest supporters of the CIS, Russia fulfilles a number of essential tasks: it helped to limit the damage caused by the disintegration and eased to avoid the total collapse of economic, infrastructural and human ties, and finally Russian domination in the Commonwealth also legitimates Russia's presence, including the deployment of military forces, in some CIS countries. Regarding to the former, it is important to suggest that mostly all cases of peace-keeping activities in the former-USSR area have shown, that diplomatic tools were not implemented, and military force was the main instrument of conflict regulation. The operations in Georgia, for example added new contest in Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.(179) And in exchange to resolving this conflict, Russia used a chance to force Georgian leadership to sign the CIS agreement at the end of 1993.
Strong pressure in favour of reintegration policy come out also from Russian parliament. The CIS Committee of the Russian State Duma has drawn up several proposals for a reintegration policy through revision of Belovezh agreements, stipulating the CIS and has conducted hearings on that subject.(180)
Afterwards, with taking decision on eastward NATO enlargement in December 1994 by Western powers, Russia's foreign policy towards the CIS has turned more to the development of an "integrated political and military block".(181)
At the end of January 1995, Belarus' and Kazachstan, two CIS members, which are lead a drive toward CIS unification backed Russian proposals and have shaped a customs union with Russia, that cancelled border controls and currently act jointly at founding up a system of collective security.
Ukraine has moved to keep its distance from these drives within the CIS and Ukrainian leaders strongly criticized Russia's policy within the CIS.(182) The developments in Russian relations with Belarus and Kazachstan rose up a question with regard to Russia's acceptance of Ukraine's right not to join the CIS military structures, when joining the economic ones - it must foremost to involve incorporation of member-states legislation, coordination of economic relations with non-CIS countries, "joint protection of CIS external borders and joint operation on defence facilities", besides first moves in creation of the CIS Customs union and open 'CIS-trade borders'.(183)
For many scholars it seems, that "Western" direction of Russian foreign policy appears to have lost its significance by the present moment. Analysing the current shape of Russian external policy, Deputy Director of the Russian Institute for USA/Canada Studies, Serhey Rogov has objectively suggested that since October 1993, Moscow's "diplomacy has entered into a new phase that could be characterised as a conuter-reaction to the previous, mainly pro-Western orientations of Russian foreign policy", with special focus on the CIS, as zone of specific Russian interest.(184)
Subsequently, the most important issue with respect to the further CIS development, seems to be whether the recent changes in Russia's foreign orientation will lead to the triumph of nationalists, who support the option of reganing of "historical splendour" of Russia in Eurasian space by reintegrating former Russian colonies, or democrats, talking about the civilized Westwards democratic option for development of Russia. There no doubts, that the question of the future of the CIS is dependent on Russia's foreign policy priorities and means of policy conduct.