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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
2.1. Emergence and Original Development of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
As of any Eastern European state, Ukraine's redefinition of its national interest involves looking both East and West and at the same time to consider its own past for sources of successful national state-building process.
After the failing of the Soviet Russia-dominated system, which was making for centuries, Ukraine's has found itself with immediate challenge to come to new terms in relations with the newly independent states of the former USSR. In parralel, the need for a new system of relations among new Eastern states was heated by recently emerged conflicts over borders, economic clashes, and violations of human rights, which highly endanger the security of the region.
The idea of establishing something approaching to a model of the British Commonwealth on the ground of degenerating USSR Union has been firstly advanced by Russian academician Andrei Sakharov at the First USSR Congress of People's Deputies in May 1989, and than, this concept had been promoted following by Russian democratic political forces.
Two years later, the defeat of the putchists in the August 1991 coup in Moscow accelerated the disintegration of the USSR and motivated the transformation of the declarations of sovereignty of the Republics into the declarations of State Independence.(157) By the end of 1991 it was clear, that the old Center in Moscow could play only a limited role on the post-Soviet Communist space and republics had reached several agreements on cooperation in economic and political matters, as well as initially agreed on the principles of security and defence questions. These commitments, however remained vague and soon gave a way for complete decentralisation of politics and moved them on republican level.
On 7 December 1991, after the failure of unsuccesful Novo-Ogariovo(158) process, the leaders of three Slavic republics: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus', met in Belovezhskaya Pushcha near Minsk, and the next day signed an agreement, establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The provisional accords of 8 December 1991, establishing the CIS stipulated that the CIS headquarters was to be in Minsk, the capital of Belarus'. The CIS was to coordinate policy through the Council of Heads of State and the Council of Heads of Government, both of which were to meet at least twice a year and the presidency of both councils was to be rotated. Individual member states had the right to veto decisions of the councils.
In the first year the councils had each met eight times and had signed several agreements, though many were of declaratory nature and lacked mechanisms for implementation. They also did not establish the framework for a deepening of relations but rather regulated continuing disintegration within the former Soviet Union.
On December 21, 1991 the leaders of 11 ex-Soviet states (except Baltic states and Georgia(159)) entered the new creation by signing the protocol of the CIS Almaty Agreement at the meeting of the Heads of the states. And since then the development of a new pattern of relationships among CIS states was in many ways more difficult, than establishing good relations with outside world. It was clearly manifected by the CIS Minsk summit on 22 January 1993, where an attempt was made to adopt the first draft of a CIS functional Charter. Being supported by Russia, Armenia, Kazakstan, Kirgistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and, with some suggestions by Belarus' the draft was opposed by Ukraine, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Azerbaidzan.
In this way, the development was distincted by a differentiation, in which one can define two main groups of states:(160)
The first group consists of Russia, Kazachstan, Belarus as a core, Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan and Armenia.
During 1991-1992, Russia has been indeterminate to take the lead in pursuing the integration of the former-Soviet states, trying to avoid complaints of neo-imperialism. Beginning in 1993, when Russia survived a remodification of its external preferences, it started to generate a building of a new environment in the CIS space.
New Russian policy was supported by enthusiastic integrationists among CIS states like Kazach President Nursultan Nazarbaev, advocating the creation of 'Eurasian Union', which will provide new supranational framework of an economic, security and political union of the former Soviet republics. Later on, this idea was bolstered by Belarussian leader Alexandr Lukashenka, who significantly altered Belurussian politics towards the CIS.(161)
The Central Asian Republics have also appeared most devoted to the CIS concept through in the past each of them had been weighty subsidized by Moscow and surviving political and economic crises they examined new ways of outside support. The intentions of Central Asian leaders to re-integrate with Russia within the CIS also exemplifies previously-mentioned approach of Elite Socialization, as far as the leaders of these countries were notably afraid "of being washed away by the wave of Islamic fundamentalism and looked for protection of strong neighbour".(162)
On its side, the emergence of these countries in core group indicated that the CIS could be transformed into a Russian-Central Asian bloc, or became an embodiement the "Eurasian" option in Russian foreign policy.(163)
Finally, Armenia, which was unwilling to re-join the Union Treaty in 1991, has always been rather weak in the CIS activities and selective in signing of its agreements, found the Commonwealth as the leverage to achieve independence and strengthen its security through resolution of Nagorno-Karabah conflict. Algthough, the CIS had contributed little to the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaidzhani dispute, Armenia always retained Russian political support. Unlike the other constituents of this group, Armenia nonetheless, was more apprehensive to the creation of supra-national CIS bodies and often kept rather a neutral position.
The second group, often called by politicians and scholars as "outsiders", was made up of Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Turkmenistan.
Ukraine made no secret of its intentions to grow as a European state, and behaved the CIS as though it was drawing it back towards Asia. Kiev has been absolute in opposing everything that could encouraged a new centre and acutely resisted Russian domination in the CIS. Hence, counting only on economic cooperation, Ukraine tried to make the CIS as powerless as possible, with no permanent status, and rejected to join the CIS Charter, objecting on basic draft references - common economic and information space, the 'spiritual unity' of the peoples of the Commonwealth, a joint defence policy and external frontiers, and harmonizing the legislation of the member-states, etc. All these objectives were understandably considered as those that would infringe Ukrainian sovereignty.(164)
As well as Ukraine, Moldova joined the CIS primarily for economic reasons, but was increasingly alarmed by the continued presence of 14 Army in Transdnistria, highly endangering the situation in the region. Criticizing Russia's attempt to provide the CIS with supra-state coordinating bodies, Moldova also refused to sign the CIS Charter and remained on the margins of the CIS.
Similarly to Armenia, Aizerbaidzan has regarded the CIS merely as a tool to secure peace within the CIS, what was understandably regarding the conflict over Nagorno-Karabach.(165) The acceptance of the CIS by the former Azerbaidzani President Ayaz Mutalibov was overturned by the parliament on October 1992 and since then the leadership has not been interested in rejoining of the Community.(166)
Turkmenistan was also keeping its distance from the CIS establishments, stressing that "Turkmenistan might withdraw [from the CIS] if the central-coordinating bodies were established".(167) Yet, a poor state of economy under the authoritarian govern of Sapharmurad Nyazov, the President and Prime-minister of Turmenistan, can trace the country to closer relations within the CIS framework.