This article was translated from Chinese to English by Google Translate software
On April 21, 2019, the second round of voting in the 2019 Ukrainian general election ended. The Jewish Ukrainian Vladimir Zelensky (Володимир Олександрович Зеленський), who was born as a movie star, won 73% of the votes and dramatically defeated the The current President Petro Poroshenko (Петро Олексійович Порошенко) was elected as the new President of Ukraine. On May 20, Zelensky was officially sworn in, and immediately carried out a major shake-up of the cabinet. This has greatly increased the attention of international public opinion on this "political amateur", and it also means that Ukraine's future is more uncertain.
At the same time, the intermittent war in eastern Ukraine, sometimes intense and sometimes weak, has entered its sixth year. Since the outbreak of large-scale demonstrations in Ukraine in 2014 and led to regime change, Ukraine has encountered serious crises such as the loss of Crimea, the independence of parts of eastern Ukraine, and the rapid deterioration of Ukrainian-Russian relations. Corruption-ridden countries have been hit again. Faced with these crises, the new Ukrainian government, which is pro-Western, has taken some measures, but its capabilities are limited and it is hard to get back. The country has been in turmoil for five years, and nothing has improved.
So, what changes will the 2019 general election bring to Ukraine? What is the past and present life of this European-Russian plain country with the second largest land area in Europe, a population of 42 million, and sandwiched between the East and the West? Will Ukraine's future rise to nirvana or continue to sink?
(1) The glory of Kievan Rus and the ill-fated fate of its descendants
The history of Ukraine can be traced back to around 4500 BC. In the long ancient history, the region where Ukraine is located today has experienced the settlement, conflict and occupation of different ethnic groups. It was not until the 5th century AD that the ancient Slavs, one of the predecessors of the modern Ukrainian race, began to rule this vast plain. At the end of the 9th century BC, Kievan Rus, a feudal kingdom established by the Vikings and dominated by the East Slavs, became the master here. From the end of the 9th century to the beginning of the 13th century, it continued to expand and became the most powerful country in Eastern Europe. Its territory included today's Ukraine, Belarus and parts of Russia (including Moscow), in the Balkans, the Baltic coast and Scandinavia The peninsula also has a place. Kievan Rus reached its heyday during the reign of Grand Duke (ie monarch) Yaroslav I (Ярослав I Владимирович Мудрый). At this time, Kiev was already the "mother of the Rus cities", and the area where Ukraine is located today is the "Central Plain" of Kievan Rus. The period of Kievan Rus was a prosperous age of East Slavic national civilization, and the capital of Kiev was also the cradle of medieval Eastern European civilization. Today's Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, whether it is cultural traditions or political customs, are inextricably linked with the Kievan Rus period. From blood to culture, the three countries can be said to have the same origin and the same species. The history of the rise and fall of Kievan Rus is the common historical memory of the East Slavic countries such as Russia and Belarus.
The rise of Kievan Rus took hundreds of years, but its demise was extremely rapid. The Mongolian expedition to the west interrupted the development of the ancient Rus countries, and Kievan Rus was not spared. During the Batu West Expedition in 1236-1240, Kievan Rus bravely resisted for more than a year, but in the end Kiev fell, the Mongolian army slaughtered the city, Kiev was destroyed, and the Principality fell. After that, Kiev, like other East Slavic peoples, was ruled by Mongolia, that is to say, it was trapped in "Tatar's shackles" for more than 200 years. During this period, the civilization of Kievan Rus was greatly damaged, and social development stagnated.
As Mongol rule crumbled across Asia and Europe, Kiev and the region around it - today's Ukraine - returned to the embrace of the Slavs in a series of uprisings. But this did not bring peace to Ukraine. On the contrary, a protracted war broke out between the Slavic countries (especially the two camps of East and West Slavs), and foreigners on the west and north sides also joined in the competition for this land. among. As a rich plain granary and a strategically important place connecting Eastern Europe and Central and Western Europe, Ukraine is torn apart by forces from all directions. Among them, the competition and influence of the Polish-Lithuanian Federation and the Russian Principality/Tsarist State/Empire over Ukraine constituted the embryonic form of the differences and confrontations between the east and the west of Ukraine today. Later, the Austro-Hungarian Empire participated in the partition of Poland, and the Galicia (Галичина) region centered on Lviv (Львів) it obtained became a fertile ground for the rise of Ukrainian nationalism. The easternmost Donbas (Донбас) region is the base camp of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. The conflict between Austria-Hungary and Imperial Russia also accelerated the division and confrontation between East and West Ukraine. The differences in religious beliefs between Eastern and Western Ukraine are also becoming more and more obvious: the nobles and citizens of Western Ukraine mostly believe in Orthodoxy Catholicism; while in Eastern Ukraine, Orthodox Christians have an absolute advantage. Both the eastern and western Ukrainian nations resist oppression from their own rulers and pursue national independence, but they are also influenced by Russian and European systems and cultures. There is both unity and opposition between the eastern and western Ukrainian nationalities. The immigration of Russians and Poles has made the situation in Ukraine more complicated, and the differences between the east and the west are getting bigger and bigger. Almost at the same time when the "Ukrainian ethnicity" was formed, "East Ukraine (people)" and "West Ukraine (people)" also came into being. The same area, the same nation, were internally divided into two distinct regions and ethnic groups. .
After the outbreak of World War I, most Ukrainians joined the Allied Powers to participate in the war as part of the subjects of the Russian Empire; while Ukrainians in Galicia joined the Allied Powers camp as vassals of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ukraine was the front line of the Eastern Front in World War I and was ravaged by war. But it also gave Ukraine a chance to become an independent country. The October Revolution and the signing of the Soviet-German "Brest Peace Treaty" allowed the descendants of Kievan Rus, the Ukrainian nation, to have its own country for the first time.
But the good times didn't last long. The Soviet Union and the Second Polish Republic, both of which were also new regimes, actively competed for Ukraine, the vast "European granary". After the Polish-Ukrainian War, the Russian Civil War, and the Polish-Soviet War, Ukraine was divided into two. Poland seized Lviv and other Western Ukrainian cities and territories, while the central and eastern regions including Kiev were owned by Soviet Russia (United States). During the interwar period, the West Ukrainians were dissatisfied with the rule and oppression of Poland on the one hand, but they were also deeply influenced by Western national self-determination and democratic enlightenment thoughts in a relatively free situation. Their nationalism and democratic consciousness were stronger than those in East Ukraine. The anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalist armed forces headed by Stepan Bandera (Степан Андрійович Бандера) originated in Galicia and other Western Ukrainian regions. They fought against the Soviet Red Army until the end of World War II. Many people were killed or imprisoned. Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" mentioned many "Bangera elements" in labor camps.
In 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and the Soviet Union also took advantage of the situation to capture eastern Poland. Most of the Soviet-occupied area was Western Ukraine. The Soviet Union incorporated Western Ukraine into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as part of the USSR. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Ukraine was the first Soviet territory to be conquered. In 1944, the Soviet Union regained the entire territory of Ukraine and determined the territory of Ukraine at the Yalta Conference, including Western Ukraine, which belonged to Poland before 1939. In other words, many territories in Ukraine today were "recovered" by the Soviet Union for the Ukrainians. Since then, the whole of Ukraine has been completely under the rule of the Soviet Union, which lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
During the period of Soviet (Russian) rule, Ukraine experienced the catastrophe of the Great Famine and the Great Cleansing that resulted in the death of millions of people, the tragedy of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and consistent authoritarian oppression; but it has also been the most important granary for a long time Responsible for half of the Soviet Union's agriculture, and built a heavy industry base that ranks among the top in the Soviet Union and the world, making Ukraine a model of the Soviet-Eastern socialist economy and the pride of the entire Union. Disaster and glory coexist in the complex epic of Soviet-era Ukraine. To some extent, Soviet rule brought unprecedented disasters to Ukraine, but also created its unprecedented glory. As for the Ukrainian National Independence Movement, after violent suppression in the 1920s and 1930s, it was in a state of silence for a long time under Soviet rule. Moreover, most of the resistance activities in Ukraine also focus on anti-communism rather than nationalism. Especially in the 1950s and after, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine, which is also in the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", has always been relatively friendly. In 1954, Khrushchev also assigned Crimea to Ukraine as a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the annexation of Russia and Ukraine. year gift.
It is precisely because of this that Ukraine is relatively quiet amidst the voices of national independence triggered by Gorbachev's reforms. In 1991, a referendum on whether to retain the Soviet Union was held. The voting rate in Ukraine was as high as 83.5%, of which 71.5% of Ukrainian voters chose "yes". Compared with the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasus, two regions with a strong tendency towards independence (especially the three Baltic countries), Ukraine is relatively pro-Soviet and pro-Russian. This is not only because the Soviet Union promoted the economic benefits brought about by the rise of Ukrainian industry, Ukraine’s dependence on the supply and demand of the Soviet state’s economy, but also because the two nations of Russia and Ukraine have a relatively close relationship. In addition, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s propaganda and national integration Policies also played a role in the erosion of nationalism (of course in some other areas the CPSU's ethnic policies backfired). In 1991, ethnic Russians made up about 20 percent of Ukraine's population, and they naturally preferred Ukraine to remain in the Soviet Union.
However, in the Russian Soviet Republic, Russian nationalism merged with separatism, and Yeltsin was the representative who hoped that Russia would be independent from the Soviet Union. Under Yeltsin's instigation, coupled with the attack of many other reasons, the Soviet Union finally embarked on the road of complete disintegration (rather than the establishment of an "union of sovereign states"). After the defeat of the August 19 coup, the leaders of Russia, Berowe, Yeltsin, Stanislav Shushkevich (Станісла́ў Станісла́вавіч Шушке́віч), and Leonid Kravchuk (Леонід Макарович Кравчук) signed the Berowe Japan Agreement (Беловежские соглашения), the three countries broke away from the alliance, which directly sounded the death knell for the Soviet Union. Since then, Ukraine has gained independence again after being partitioned and annexed in 1921, and has become a huge country with a population of more than 50 million and the second largest land area in Europe.
(2) Ukraine, which is independent and difficult to stand on: the economic "many declines and few prosperity" and the gap between diplomacy and survival
Becoming an independent sovereign country seems to be a great thing for any nation. But things are not that simple, at least for Ukraine.
Like Russia, Ukraine suffered a tragic economic collapse during the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, but it was more serious than Russia and had a longer economic downturn cycle. This is caused by the interaction of several reasons. Ukrainian industry and agriculture are heavily dependent on the forced planned supply and demand within the Soviet Union and the "socialist family". It is a part of Stalin's economic model, and the economic operation lacks independence and flexibility. The political independence of Ukraine caused a relative economic break with the republics of the former Soviet Union and other Soviet and Eastern bloc countries. From the perspective of industrial structure, the Ukrainian economy is dominated by heavy industry, and the military industry is the core part of heavy industry, which is extremely dependent on a fixed market and strong technical support, which can only be provided when the Soviet Union exists (for example, the Soviet Red Army is the military industry of the union republics. largest buyer of the product). The disintegration of the Soviet Union and economic transition led to insufficient supply of funds, technology, and supporting facilities for Ukraine's economic development. At the same time, it lost its previously fixed purchase and consumption markets. Both imports and exports and domestic supply and demand have suffered a cliff-like decline. The decline in productivity is accompanied by soaring prices (the inflation rate exceeds 1,000% and reaches over 10,000% at the highest point), the economic growth rate and inflation rate drop and rise, and people's lives are also deteriorating with the changes of the two curves. Ukraine's GDP growth rates from 1992 to 1996 were -9.9%, -14.2%, -22.9%, -12.2%, and -10.0%, respectively. Even if such figures seem shocking, let alone those people in Uzbekistan who have personally experienced the economic collapse.
Faced with all this, President Kravchuk and his ruling team are helpless. Not only was Kirchner unable to reverse the trend of economic collapse, he also ignored official corruption and the loss of state-owned assets. Workers were unemployed, teachers owed wages, banks defaulted, businesses closed down, and the country's economy and people's livelihood were in bleakness. Among them, the eastern and southern regions of Uzbekistan, which are dominated by heavy industries, suffered relatively more severe economic damage. The Black Sea Steamship Company (Black Sea Steamship Company), which had a long reputation in the Soviet Union and was the flagship of the Ukrainian economy, also went bankrupt at this time. The shortage of materials and poverty made the people even more dissatisfied with the Kristian government.
In diplomacy, Kristina pursues a pro-Western policy and has increasingly deteriorating relations with Russia. This is due to the Krebs trying to get closer to the West in order to obtain economic aid and curb the continuous economic decline; the second is the pressure from the West Ukrainian nationalists who are pro-Western, and the West Ukrainian nationalists are trying to let Ukraine completely get rid of the former Soviet Union and Russia The third is due to differences between Ukraine and Russia on how to deal with the legacy of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, such as the distribution of the Soviet Union's "inheritance", the Russian military base in Crimea, and the storage and disposal of Ukrainian nuclear weapons. Although Ukraine and Russia finally reached an agreement on dealing with the "inheritance" of the Soviet Union and Russia's garrison in Crimea, and also shipped all nuclear weapons to Russia for dismantling under international supervision, the discord between the two countries has not disappeared.
In the 1994 Ukrainian general election, Kravchuk faced the challenge of then Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma (Леоні́д Дани́лович Ку́чма). Kuchma is a pro-Russian who advocates repairing relations with Russia and has received support from pro-Russian forces in Ukraine. The economic failure of Krishna also made many middle voters turn to Kuchma to express their dissatisfaction or refuse to vote. In the end, Kuchma defeated Kirschner 52%:45% and was elected president. From the perspective of regional vote distribution, Kuchma has received general support from people in eastern and southern Ukraine; Kirchner has won the leading votes in the Western Ukrainian states; in the central part, the two have almost evenly split the votes. For example, Kuchma got 88% of the votes in Luhansk Oblast, the easternmost state of the country, while Kuchma got nearly 94% of the votes in the westernmost Lviv Oblast. After independence, the differences between east and west of Ukraine became more obvious, and the difference in election results is the most intuitive.
Kuchma's coming to power did not reverse the economic downturn. From 1995 to 1999, that is, Kuchma's first term, the Ukrainian economy still showed a downward trend, but because the previous decline was too fast, the economic decline slowed down. In fact, Kuchma inherited the economic policy of the Krishna government, and did not have any creative new ways to solve economic problems.
But in diplomacy, Kuchma has achieved some major success, that is, he has achieved a balance in relations with Russia and Europe, and has established and maintained good relations with both parties. On the one hand, Kuchma worked hard to repair the rift in relations with Russia during the Kravchuk era, and established a close quasi-alliance with Russia in politics and economy (especially in the energy field); on the other hand, Kuchma retained and developed It changed the policy of good relations with Europe in the Kristian era. During Kuchma’s administration, Ukraine and the EU held eight high-level summits, discussing and partially reaching agreements including economic assistance, building a “unique strategic partnership”, establishing the EU-Ukraine Free Trade Zone, simplifying the procedures for citizens of both sides, and dealing with The legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and many other agreements. Although Ukraine failed to join the EU or even become an observer, and the signing and implementation of some agreements were delayed and discounted, the relationship between Ukraine and Europe has been greatly shortened overall. And Kuchma also won the general support of the people of eastern and western Ukraine by virtue of his diplomatic success, and suspected of using some fraudulent means, and won the 1999 general election with a relatively large advantage. Kuchma's ten years as president has become the only period since Ukraine's independence that successfully balanced its diplomacy between the East and the West while maintaining friendly relations with both Russia and Europe.
Due to the success in the field of foreign relations, the arrival of external aid, and the effect of “bottoming out” after the economy continued to decline, after 11 consecutive years of GDP decline, Ukraine’s economy has begun to grow positively since 2000. At this time, Eastern Europe and the international economic environment were recovering, and the prices of Ukraine’s advantageous industries such as metals and chemical products rose. The Ukrainian economy gradually eliminated the decline and achieved relatively stable growth in the next nine years, with an average annual growth rate of 6.9%. But even in 2008, the last year of this period of growth, Ukraine's gross domestic product had only recovered to slightly above the level of 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, excluding the factor of rising prices. The recovery of the economy in the past nine years is in fact mainly due to the improvement of the international economic climate and external aid, and it is a compensatory growth, rather than the success of Ukraine's own economic reform. When the international economic situation deteriorated and the demand for Ukrainian industrial products decreased, the Ukrainian economy quickly entered a new round of decline. After the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, Ukraine's economy plummeted 15% the following year, falling back to pre-1991 levels. This highlights the fragility and instability of the Ukrainian economy.
In the 28 years after independence, Ukraine's economic structure is still the same as that of the Soviet Union, dominated by agriculture (in the west) and heavy chemical industry (in the east), with a single economic structure, limited technological content, and lack of innovation capabilities. Similar to Russia, the abnormal development of the only newly emerging industry, the financial industry, not only failed to promote the increase of productive investment, but created a group of wealthy oligarchs, and the property of traditional enterprises and workers was sucked away by the oligarchs in collusion with politicians. Privatization has also been carried out in a predatory manner, turning into a loot for the few. This has exacerbated the shortage of funds in the fields of infrastructure and technological innovation, the poverty of the people, the shrinking of the domestic market, and formed a vicious circle. Unlike Russia, Ukraine has a lot of natural resources to sell to alleviate the crisis, the same economic ills have produced a worse situation than Russia. In terms of per capita economic output value, per capita income, industrial structure and quality, economic stability and sustainability, Ukraine is one of the worst performing economies in the Eastern Soviet region (second only to Moldova; economic momentum is not as good as that of Albania ). All this has continued to this day, and there has been no fundamental improvement.
(3) Power struggle and geopolitical game: Ukraine's domestic and foreign difficulties
(1) Dirty political struggles and the outbreak of the "Orange Revolution"
Not only economically, but also in terms of power distribution and struggle, Ukraine is quite similar to Russia in the Yeltsin era, but it also has its own "Ukrainian characteristics".
When Kravchuk and Kuchma served as president and prime minister respectively at the same time, the curtain of political struggle has gradually opened. But compared to the subsequent series of power struggles and political scandals that surprised the international community, this is only a moderate beginning.
Kuchma was Ukraine's first democratically elected leader and was re-elected. However, all kinds of political scandals have become more and more widespread since he came to power. According to Serhy Yekelchyk's book on Ukraine, The Conflict in Ukraine, between the 1999 election and the 2000 constitutional referendum (on expanding presidential powers and limiting parliament ( Verkhovna Rada) power), there is widespread fraud. This is exactly the same as Yeltsin used a series of rogue and dirty campaign methods to defeat his opponent Zyuganov in the 1996 Russian presidential election.
During Kuchma's second term, he aggressively cracked down on political opponents who disagreed with him. First, he fired the pro-Western prime minister and later Ukraine's president Yushchenko (Віктор Андрійович Ющенко). He later appointed Yanukovych (Ві́ктор Фе́дорович Януко́вич) (also later president) as prime minister. This is a manifestation of the further openness of the struggle between the pro-European and pro-Russian factions. The promotion of Yanukovych is also an arrangement made by Kuchma for succession. He hopes that Yanukovych will succeed, not only to continue his balanced diplomacy, but also to provide amnesty and protection for his illegal acts after leaving office.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the political and business circles of some Soviet and Eastern countries were full of dirty political transactions and interest blending, and Ukraine was one of the hardest hit areas. The Kuchma government's corruption, secret deals, and collusion between officials and oligarchs are well-known open secrets in Uzbekistan. As a result, some social activists and media reporters with a conscience and a sense of journalistic responsibility started the struggle to expose the darkness.
In Ukraine, the leading political scandal investigative journalist is Georgiy Gongadze. The Georgian-born journalist traveled across Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia. He reported on the Georgian Civil War, Russia's intervention in the former Soviet republic, and held anti-communism and opposition to Russian expansionism as his values. Later, he came to Ukraine and worked in several media outlets, trying to break through the public opinion controlled by politicians and oligarchs, and report the truth as an independent journalist. This has drawn the resentment of the Kuchma government and the oligarchs. He was forced to go into hiding to avoid police harassment, but was eventually assassinated. According to later forensic investigations, he was doused with dioxin and beheaded while still alive.
This incident has aroused widespread concern and unanimous condemnation at home and abroad. A month later, opposition politician Oleksandr Moroz released a volume of conversations between Kuchma himself and other top officials, recorded by Kuchma's bodyguards, about how " Take care of the content of "Gondaze. After more than 10 years of investigation by all parties, only a few gang members and officials of the Ministry of the Interior were dealt with. Kuchma was not convicted due to insufficient evidence. But this incident was a heavy blow to him and his followers. The opposition seized the scandal and lashed out, indirectly causing his "appointed" successor Yanukovych to lose in the 2004 general election.
When the Kuchma era came to an end, three political newcomers rose up in the Ukrainian political arena and became the political leaders who decided the development path of Ukraine and the destiny of the country in the first 15 years of the new century. The three are Viktor Yanukovych (Віктор Федорович Янукович), Victor Yushchenko (Віктор Андрійович Ющенко), Yulia Tymoshenko (Юлія Володимирівна Тимошенко).
Yanukovych is a representative of pro-Russian forces in Ukrainian politics and Kuchma's favorite successor. Compared with Kuchma, his position is more pro-Russian and has also been supported by Putin. This young man, who was born in poverty and was imprisoned twice for fighting and wounding when he was young, was promoted by Kuchma and made his way to the top. He served as Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2002 to 2004 and actively developed relations with Russia, but he still maintains a certain degree of cooperation with the EU and NATO, and his domestic and foreign policy is roughly the same as that of Kuchma.
Yushchenko is a pro-Western Ukrainian nationalist with a background in finance. He served as the governor of the Central Bank of Ukraine and participated in the post-independence Ukrainian financial system and currency issuance. He is Ukraine's most prestigious opposition leader and has also had political cooperation with Kuchma, that is, he served as prime minister from the end of 1999 to May 2001. During his tenure as prime minister this time, he has improved the Ukrainian economy to a certain extent. However, because his reforms conflicted with the interests of the industrial and mining industry, and his pro-Western and pro-NATO attitude was hated by pro-Russian forces, he was removed from the post of prime minister in a vote of no confidence in the parliament.
Compared with the first two, Yulia Tymoshenko's name is widely known both at home and abroad, and Chinese people who pay a little attention to international issues are familiar with her name and appearance. She is a businessman who once ran Ukraine's largest energy company - Ukrainian United Energy Systems (ЄдиніенергетичнісистемиУкраїни, ЄЕСУ/UESU). When he held the half-business half-official position, although he was entangled in lawsuits, he still did a good job. He contributed a lot to Ukraine's import and export, repayment of debts, and revival of the manufacturing industry. He also became the richest man in Ukraine in 1995, known as the "natural gas princess ". She later stepped into politics in spite of pro-Russian authorities and served as deputy prime minister in charge of energy affairs in Yushchenko's cabinet for more than a year. Like Yushchenko, she is a pro-Western Ukrainian nationalist, but with a tougher stance on Russia and closer to NATO.
When these three politicians entered the political arena, the political struggle in Ukraine became sharp and complicated. Kuchma and pro-Russian forces kicked Tymoshenko and Yushchenko out of the cabinet successively, which was just the beginning. Immediately afterwards, the two sides used the law, public opinion, and other more vicious means to launch a fierce offensive and defensive battle for power. Shortly after her dismissal, Tymoshenko was arrested for "forging customs documents and smuggling natural gas". Although she was later released due to insufficient evidence, it still interfered with her career in politics. She also later survived a suspected murder car accident and was embroiled in other legal troubles. And Tymoshenko was not willing to suffer, and used the Gundaze incident to accuse Kuchma of murder and encouraged supporters to carry out street protests. As a woman, she was also close to the grassroots, showing bravery and fearlessness, so she attracted a large number of supporters and became a key figure in the later "Orange Revolution".
Before the 2004 general election, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko reached an agreement that Yushchenko would participate in the election on behalf of pro-Western and anti-Russian forces. Tymoshenko gave up the election and supported Yushchenko; After being elected, Tymoshenko was appointed prime minister. On the surface, the two have similar political views and interests, and seem to be unbreakable allies. However, things in the next few years showed that the two were both friends and enemies, and their cooperative relationship was not strong.
The 2004 general election has a bearing on Ukraine's future political and economic direction and foreign policy, and is closely related to the interests of all parties in Europe, Russia and the United States. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries that were formerly satellite states of the Soviet Union have joined NATO and the European Union one after another. Later, the three Baltic countries and other former Soviet republics also joined NATO, and NATO's eastward expansion has reached the gate of Russia. Anti-missile systems that break the strategic balance are also deployed in these countries, and a huge sense of strategic crisis hangs over Russia. Therefore, Belarus and Ukraine have become Russia's last barrier against the West. After Putin became the leader of Russia, he tried to revive the glory of the Soviet era. Ukraine is the top priority of Russia's European strategy. At the same time, the United States and Western Europe are also trying to further expand their strategic interests and values to the East. After "911", the United States strengthened its aggressive foreign policy. The "Rose Revolution" in Georgia in 2003 was a "surprise attack" by the United States on Russia's strategic hinterland, which also caused Russia to lose a big game in the Transcaucasus. For both the United States and Russia, Ukraine is an inevitable camp on the front line of the struggle for hegemony.
Therefore, this election campaign is extremely fierce, with domestic two heroes competing for the throne, and foreign forces also intervening in it.
After the first round of voting, Yushchenko and Yanukovych entered the second round with support rates of 39.90% and 39.26% respectively. And the second round of voting is full of nastiness. According to a survey report by the Carnegie Peace Foundation, the voter turnout in Eastern Uzbekistan, where Yanukovych has a higher support rate, has skyrocketed, some reaching 98.5%, exceeding 40% of the first round of voter turnout; It actually exceeded 100%; Yanukovych’s supporters voted repeatedly in different constituencies across the country; some groups that depend on government economic support or are easy to be controlled, such as students, hospital patients, and prisoners, were asked to vote for Yanukovych . International observers monitoring the election also believe that the election was heavily fraudulent. Under the suspicion of fraud, the election results showed that Yanukovych defeated Yushchenko 49.46% to 46.61%.
Such an election result was immediately questioned by the international community. Except for Russia and other pro-Russian countries supporting Yanukovych, major countries in the world generally do not recognize the election results or choose to wait and see. Both the United States and the European Union have fiercely accused Russia of interfering in the Ukrainian election and assisting Yanukovych in fraud. Putin also accused the United States and Europe of interfering in the general election and trying to support the pro-Western Yushchenko to control Ukraine. At this time, Yushchenko was suspected of being poisoned and caused dioxin poisoning and disfigurement, which escalated the tension in Ukraine again. In this situation, the "Orange Revolution" broke out.
The outbreak of the "Orange Revolution" is the result of long-standing dissatisfaction among the Ukrainian people against the Ukrainian government. Since Gundaze's assassination and the leak of Kuchma's audio recordings, the Ukrainian people have become increasingly dissatisfied with the corrupt Kuchma government and disgusted with Kuchma's successor, Yanukovych. Ukrainian nationalism has gradually revived in the ten years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Most people, especially those in the west and central regions, pin their hopes of reform, economic recovery and integration into Europe on Yushchenko, who has a clean record. Therefore, when the election fraud scandal fermented, millions of people took to the streets under the instigation of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko (and the US intelligence agencies who were likely to participate), launching the "Orange Revolution (orange is Yuxian's It is also the representative color used by the Uzbekistan camp during elections, and is also commonly used by Uzbekistan pro-Western forces)".
The "Orange Revolution" has swept across most of Ukraine. Except for the eastern Donbass region and the Crimean Peninsula, many people in every state and city have taken to the streets to protest election fraud, demand re-election, and criticize Kuchma Corruption and brutality of the government, refusing to recognize Yanukovych as the new president. Yanukovych's supporters also held rallies in the east and south, and marched into Kiev, and the two sides were at war. It is said that Yanukovych wanted President Kuchma to order a state of emergency, but the latter refused. The Ukrainian intelligence agency and some military personnel also opposed the suppression, and even leaked internal information to the opposition. As a result, the orange camp gained momentum, and more and more participants were involved. According to later statistics, about 18.4% of Ukrainians participated in the Orange Revolution, and the number exceeded 8 million. And the role of the Internet is also emerging in the Orange Revolution. In addition to the contests among the various factions in Ukraine, the infiltration of the United States and Russia is looming; the phantoms of the CIA and SVR (Russian Foreign Intelligence Service) are also lingering in the back alleys of the revolution.
Under strong social pressure, the Ukrainian Supreme Court declared the second round of the election invalid and called for a new election. The opposition also reached a compromise with Kuchma and Yanukovych to carry out political reforms, limit the power of the president, and lay the groundwork for containing Yushchenko. In the second round of re-election, Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych 51.99% to 44.20%, becoming the third president of Ukraine after independence and gaining international recognition. The "Orange Revolution" also ended in victory.
(2) Ukraine in the "post-orange revolution" era
When the curtain of revolution fell, the pro-Western camp (Orange Camp) won an unprecedented victory. According to the previous agreement, Yushchenko appointed Tymoshenko as prime minister, and both the president and the cabinet were controlled by the "Orange Battalion".
But as soon as the revolution was over, internal strife quickly broke out in the alliance that originally aimed to jointly fight against Russia and the pro-Russian camp. Faced with the pressure of slowing economic growth, Yushchenko shifted the blame to Tymoshenko, accusing Tymoshenko of working for private business (rather than being loyal to the state). Immediately afterwards, Yushchenko, because of a conflict between Tymoshenko and Poroshenko, who was then a commissioner of the National Security and Defense Council, dismissed the two from their positions and favored Poroshenko. Ended (less than 8 months of service only). This sparked a strong backlash from Tymoshenko's camp. The two sides have fallen into a fierce mutual attack, which is exactly the same as the ugly political struggle of the previous dynasty and the dirty politics of Russia. Most of the Ukrainian people prefer the "Iron Lady" of Eastern Europe, and they have complained about her being "fired".
In the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election, Tymoshenko's party "Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc" won a big victory, winning 129 seats, six times the number of seats won in the previous election, and surpassing the pro-Yuria Tymoshenko Bloc. The political party "Our Ukraine (The Our Ukraine)" became the largest party in the parliament. To Tymoshenko and her supporters, her return to the prime ministership seemed a certainty.
However, the pro-Russian Party of Regions (PR) united the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) and the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU/KPU), and reached a tacit agreement with Yushchenko. A parliamentary majority coalition was formed, leaving Tymoshenko aside. In the end, Yushchenko chose to appoint his opponent Yanukovych as prime minister, abandoning his ally Tymoshenko. This sudden change in the Ukrainian political arena has completely changed the political divisions and the political situation after the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian political situation has ushered in a new round of reshuffle.
The reason why Yushchenko chose Yanukovych instead of Tymoshenko as prime minister was not only because of personal grievances and power struggles, but also because of the desire to ease relations between Russia and Ukraine. In 2005-2006, the first Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute occurred, which caused major damage to Ukraine's economy and Eastern diplomacy. Yushchenko tried to ease tensions with Russia and improve Ukraine's economic situation by appointing Yanukovych and other pro-Russian forces to important government posts.
But this situation similar to the "coalition government" did not last long. The alliance faltered as Yanukovych and Yushchenko increasingly diverged over policies and interests. And Tymoshenko played the "competent" role of "demolition". Since she was removed from the post of prime minister, she has been active at home and abroad to win the support of the US government, which was tough on Russia at the time, in order to make a comeback. Tymoshenko's camp continued to undermine the fragile alliance between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, and encouraged members of her camp to withdraw from the parliament collectively, weakening the legitimacy of the parliament, and Yushchenko disbanded the parliament. As a result, Yanukovych's government and parliament, less than a year old, were dissolved, and Ukraine held elections again. Although Yanukovych's Party of Regions is still the largest party, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko's party united to form a parliamentary majority, and Tymoshenko returned to the prime ministership.
This time, Tymoshenko served as prime minister for two years. In the past two years, Tymoshenko's cabinet encountered two more gas crises in Russia and Ukraine, as well as the financial crisis that swept the world in 2008. Both President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Tymoshenko failed to deal with these problems effectively. The economy fell sharply, the relations between Russia and Ukraine deteriorated day by day, and Ukraine fell into internal and external difficulties. To make matters worse, Yushchenko and Tymoshenko continued to squabble. Yushchenko saw her as a political rival, Tymoshenko said in an interview. Indeed, the competition between the two has never ceased, and mutual suspicion has long since surfaced. For example, on the issue of the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko had public disagreements. The latter and his cronies even accused the former of "serving Russia systematically", even though this is completely untrue.
In the 2010 general election, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko completely tore their faces. Instead of collaborating again, the two ran separately and criticized each other. Tymoshenko criticized Yanukovych and Yushchenko for "packaging" and believed that the two together brought misfortune to Ukraine. After experiencing the financial crisis, the unemployment rate increased sharply, per capita income fell, and poverty and corruption shrouded Ukraine. Therefore, a large number of intermediate voters have turned from supporting Yushchenko and Tymoshenko to Yanukovych. Yushchenko got less than 6% of the vote in the first round of elections and was defeated miserably. Yanukovych and Tymoshenko entered the second round with 35% and 25% of the vote respectively. And Yushchenko refused to support Tymoshenko, and also approved the electoral system reform plan proposed by the Asia Party of Regions and other political parties (this plan is beneficial to Yanukovych and not conducive to Tymoshenko). In the end, Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko 48.95%:45.47%.
After the election, fierce clashes broke out between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych. Tymoshenko refused to cooperate with Yanukovych, claiming that the latter was a "kleptocrat", and mobilized the cabinet, her political party, and the public to boycott Yanukovych and "defend Ukraine's independence and national identity." And Yanukovych also quickly countered, instigating the anti-seasonal forces in the parliament to remove Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko organized a shadow government and called on "all national patriotic forces" to rebel against Yanukovych. Soon, Ukraine's Supreme Prosecutor's Office reintroduced the 2005 criminal charges against Tymoshenko in an apparent act of political revenge. One came and two went, the struggle between the two sides became fierce. In the end, Tymoshenko was sentenced to life imprisonment on suspicion of "corruption, murder, abuse of power". During her sentence at the Kharkov prison, she was also abused by prison officials.
After Yanukovych was elected president, Ukraine's diplomatic pendulum again tilted towards Russia. Within months of Adam's election, Ukraine signed a series of economic, trade, cultural, and political cooperation agreements with Russia, and Putin also promised to sell natural gas to Ukraine at preferential prices. Although Yanukovych also avoided stalemate with the West and continued to maintain contact with the United States, Europe and even NATO, the tone of pro-Russian diplomacy is completely clear.
So far, the goals pursued during the "Orange Revolution" have been reset to zero again. To be precise, even under Yushchenko-Tymoshenko's administration, the problems required to be solved in the revolution, such as corruption, inefficiency, and regional development imbalance, were not resolved, and Western countries were only partially satisfied in terms of diplomacy and nationalism. The demands of the Uzbekistan region (while the people of East Uzbekistan are greatly dissatisfied, and their pro-Russian tendencies are stronger). The fundamental reason why the middle voters fell to the opposition side was that the 2008 economic crisis had a huge impact on the Ukrainian economy, and the national living standards declined again (the real national income shrank by almost half). After Yanukovych won the election, domestic and foreign affairs returned to the Kuchma era, even more pro-Russian than when the latter was in office.
(4) Sudden changes after tranquility: the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, Crimea's "return" to Russia, and the Donbass War
(1) Straw piled up for a long time and the stone wall collapsed--Pro-EU demonstrations and the new "Orange Revolution"
After Yanukovych came to power, the Ukrainian economy recovered for a while. But this is not the credit of Asia, but more of the natural rebound of GDP after the economic crisis. Even so, Ukraine has remained relatively quiet for several years as its economy rebounded.
In the field of internal affairs, Yanukovych also regards anti-corruption and cracking down on oligarchic illegal behavior as his ruling program, but in reality there are no obvious achievements. Corruption and oligarchism still pervade Ukraine; he also emphasizes the importance of press freedom and promises to defend Ukraine. Freedom of the national media. To a certain extent he has indeed done it, including satirical newspapers such as the "Kyiv Post (Kyiv Post)" can also speak normally; in the field of social security, he tried to increase public benefits such as pensions, but was cut by the IMF in violation of the law reasons for blocking.
In the field of diplomacy, as mentioned earlier, he chose to be pro-Russian, but he also maintained a certain amount of friendly relations and cooperation with the West. In his speeches and interviews, he also repeatedly emphasized the importance of maintaining Ukraine's sovereignty and independence. Even though some of his remarks were for show, he did not have any particularly outrageous and obvious "traitorous" behavior. In all fairness, he basically managed to balance East-West diplomacy while being pro-Russian, while maintaining sovereignty and independence.
But dissatisfaction is building. In other words, no matter what Yanukovych does, it will arouse the dissatisfaction of about half of the people. Because in the Xiwu region, where nationalism is strong and full of hatred for Russia, even if it does not confront Russia, it is considered weak and traitorous, not to mention choosing to get closer to Russia. In the 2010 general election, Yanukovych only got less than 20% of the votes in some states of Xiwu, among which the votes in Ternopil and Lviv regions were less than 10%. His victory is based on the fact that East Uzbekistan generally has a support rate of more than 70% or even more than 90% in Donetsk Region. Except for middle voters, the vast majority of residents in East and West Ukraine will choose a fixed pro-Russian/pro-Western candidate, regardless of his/her performance in power. The serious confrontation between the east and the west of Ukraine has made political polarization and political turmoil inevitable.
In November 2013, Yanukovych decided to suspend the signing of the "Association Agreement" with the EU (equivalent to the "preparatory course" for entering the EU), which became the fuse that detonated political conflicts. Just like the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, it was only a small-scale protest at the beginning, but due to the violent suppression of students and citizens by the military and police, it triggered a strong reaction from the people, and the long-standing anger was ignited. There were anti-Yanu protests all over the country Kovic protests. Then, in a cycle of demonstration-repression-even greater demonstration, the people converged into a revolutionary torrent. By mid-December, more than 1 million people participated in the demonstrations across the country. "Orange Revolution" is back.
From November 2013 to February 2014, anti-government, pro-EU, pro-American Ukrainian nationalists and liberal social activists and the public took the Yanukovych government, military police, pro-Russian militias and the public as one side For the other side, there was a protracted standoff and violent conflict. Among them, the "Golden Eagle (Беркут)" special forces, which are very pro-Russian and support Yanukovych, used various bloody means to suppress the demonstrators, causing a large number of casualties and making the conflict more violent. Excluding the later Donbass War, only in non-war demonstrations, parades, and conflicts, according to different statistics, at least 100 people were killed, and at most nearly 800 people were killed, about 2,000 people were injured, and 60-300 people were missing.
The conflict has also further torn Ukraine apart. According to the polls at the end of 2013, 45%-50% of the public supported the pro-EU demonstrations, and 42%-50% of the public opposed it. The results of other polls were not much different. And this conflict once again presents Ukraine's regional differences. In Kiev, the capital, and Lviv, an important town in the west, pro-EU demonstrators had the upper hand; while in the east, pro-EU demonstrators encountered various harassment and even violent attacks. Most people supported the Yanukovych government and leaned towards Russia. However, it is clear that the pro-EU forces are far stronger than the pro-Russia forces in terms of the number of participants nationwide, and the mobilization ability of the former is also stronger than that of the latter, even if Yanukovych’s side uses money and various welfare resources to mobilize people to support the government . The large-scale involvement of civilians on both sides has also complicated and popularized the violent conflict, turning it into a full-scale confrontation ranging from state leaders and parliaments to ordinary people.
With the radicalization and violence of the conflict, peace talks and compromise between the two sides have become increasingly impossible. The demands of the pro-EU demonstrators have also shifted from demanding the resumption of the "Association Agreement" with the EU and strengthening close relations with the West to the overthrow of the pro-Russian government and Yanukovych's resignation.
Western countries have condemned the Ukrainian government's repression and put pressure on Yanukovych. Although the European Union and the United States are out of step with the Ukrainian issue, and even have conflicts, they both tend to let Yanukovych step down. And Moscow naturally chose to support Yanukovych.
Yanukovych and his supporters in the political, military and police adopted a policy of "carrots and sticks". Some compromises were made, such as restarting negotiations with the EU, arranging opposition leaders to senior government positions, and releasing all journalists arrested for reporting or participating in demonstrations. His close associate Mirza Azarov (Микола Янович Азаров) also resigned at the end of January 2014. But none of this can stop the situation from deteriorating, and the crisis is irreversible.
Unlike authoritarian regimes such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Cambodia, Ukraine is a democracy, even if it is not perfect. Ukraine's "military nationalization" is also relatively high. Except for special pro-Russian forces such as the "Golden Eagle" special forces, most of the military and police will not choose to become a tool for dictators to suppress the people. Although the military and police were generally involved in maintaining order at the beginning of the demonstrations, they would not carry out large-scale suppression, let alone use machine guns and tanks to massacre the people. Therefore, with the increasing number of pro-EU demonstrators and increasing pressure on the government, the military and police have gradually retreated and neutralized, making it difficult to prevent the expansion of the protest. In the Ukrainian parliament, members who support pro-EU people have gradually gained the upper hand and are planning to remove Yanukovych.
On February 21, 2014, Yanukovych signed a preliminary agreement with the opposition and also sent a congratulatory letter to the female athletes who won gold at the Sochi Winter Olympics. But only the next day, the parliament announced the removal of Yanukovych and announced that early elections would be held. The speaker, Alexander Turchinov (Олександр Валентинович Турчинов) was sworn in as acting president. The military and police acquiesced to the sudden regime change and actually turned their allegiance to parliament. At the same time, the parliament also issued an order to prevent Yanukovych from fleeing Ukraine, trying to capture and try him.
Yanukovych fled to Kharkov, which is controlled by pro-Russian forces, and delivered a speech to refute the parliament, claiming that the parliament's actions were a "coup" and the parliament was "illegal". But without the support of the military and police, Yanukovych, who had previously ordered the suppression of the people and caused many casualties, was already terrified. He fled to Russia shortly after being rescued by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency, and is still wanted by the Ukrainian government. Interpol also included him in the "Red Notice" list at the request of Ukraine.
(2) Irreconcilable opposition between "orange" and "blue": Crimea "returns" to Russia and the Donbass War
After several months, the 2014 Ukrainian revolution "victory". But it is a victory for pro-Western Ukrainians. For the pro-Russian people, this is a tragedy and a despicable coup. As a result, the anger of dissatisfaction with the central government and the ruling group rose from the other side. Compared with the orange of the pro-European and anti-Russian camp, the pro-Russian camp uses blue as its representative color (and sometimes black).
The area where Ukraine's pro-Russian forces are most concentrated is Crimea. About 60% of the residents here are Russians, and the rest are Ukrainians and Tatars. Moreover, there is also a Russian naval fleet stationed on the Crimea Peninsula. When the Yanukovych regime in Kiev was overthrown, Crimea's self-government institutions immediately held a meeting, refused to recognize the new government in Kiev, and discussed countermeasures, including preparing to return to Russia. On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament decided to make Ukrainian the only official language, abolish the status of Russian as an official language, and limit the autonomy of pro-Russian states in the east, which strengthened Crimea's determination to "leave Ukraine and join Russia." In the end, the Crimean government and most of the public agreed to a referendum on whether to join Russia or remain in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government immediately objected, claiming the referendum was illegal. Not long before, the Ukrainian National Security Agency stated that "the most severe measures will be used to prevent the division of the country." European and American countries have also expressed their "respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and opposed the separation of Crimea from Ukraine. Russia immediately reacted strongly. Putin not only asked the Black Sea Fleet stationed in Sevastopol all year round to "protect the referendum", but also directly dispatched "volunteers" called "little green men" (actually Russian special forces) "Entered Crimea, with the support of local pro-Russian armed forces and the public, disarmed Ukrainian government troops and police, and quickly took control of the Crimean Peninsula including Cyprus. In the end, both the Crimea region and the city of Sevastopol agreed to join Russia with more than 96% of the votes. Putin made a speech immediately thereafter, declaring that "Crimea has 'come home'". The Russian people also cheered. Although Ukraine and Western countries generally question the legitimacy of the referendum and do not recognize the result of the referendum, it is a basic fact that the majority of Crimeans support Russia. The Tatars, who make up about 12% of Crimea's population, boycotted the vote, and many of them fled the peninsula before and after "returning to Russia".
The "return" of Crimea to Russia has triggered a chain reaction in the pro-Russian East Ukraine region. The three most pro-Russian states: Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkiv have all erupted in large-scale demonstrations, hoping that the state will be "independent" or merged into Russia. Among them, the first two states in the Donbas region were established by pro-Russian forces, the "Donetsk People's Republic" and the "Luhansk People's Republic", established armed groups, and clashed with Ukrainian government forces and police. Russia's intervention played a decisive role in the growth of pro-Russian armed forces. When a large number of Russian soldiers, mercenaries, and a large number of weapons and ammunition secretly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border, Ukraine's "counter-insurgency" in Eastern Ukraine was doomed to fail in the short term. Moreover, the Ukrainian army in these pro-Russian areas is facing an "enemy" with a mixture of soldiers and civilians. The pro-Russian forces deliberately asked civilians, including women, to stand up to stop the tanks and troops of the Ukrainian army, and used the army to outflank them. The Ukrainian army, who were unprepared and unable to shoot at their own citizens, were disarmed one after another, and even their armored vehicles were surrendered. After successive surrenders, the Ukrainian army had to withdraw from cities controlled by pro-Russian forces in the Donbass region, and tried to regain control by shelling and attacking military strongholds. In addition, conflicts between pro-Russian and anti-Russian people also occurred in Odessa, the "heroic city" of the Soviet-German war in southern Ukraine. A building where pro-Russian people gathered was set on fire, resulting in the death of nearly 50 people. This has further increased the hatred of the pro-Russian people towards the Kiev authorities and Ukrainian nationalists.
Thereafter, the two sides began a regular war. The Ukrainian nationalist "Right Sector" in the west and other extreme right armed organizations also came to fight in the east with the Ukrainian army. In strategic locations and cities such as Donetsk Airport, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and Mariupol, the two sides fought fiercely. Heavy firepower such as rocket launchers, heavy artillery, missiles, and tanks all went into battle. in thousands. During this period, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian armed forces, killing 298 people and shocking the world. Although the two sides later signed two "Minsk Agreements" (September 2014 and February 2015) with international mediation and promised a ceasefire, the armed conflict continued. After mid-2015, the intensity of the fighting has declined, but so far there has been no peace. According to statistics from the United Nations, in the five years since March 2014, about 13,000 soldiers and civilians from both sides have died in the war, 27,000-30,000 people have been injured, and millions of residents have been displaced, fled the area and even fled abroad.
The sharp confrontation and bloody conflict reflect the irreconcilable contradictions between the pro-Russian and pro-Western camps in Ukraine and the people in the east and west of Ukraine. In the case of completely different cultures and values, interests, and national identities, no matter which party holds the power of the central government, it cannot satisfy the other party. Even in the Kuchma era, there was a reluctant balance under the special circumstances at home and abroad (such as domestic nationalism not yet flourishing, Russia's weakness and no time to intervene, etc.). But the sharp conflict between the two major domestic groups will eventually lead to tragedy. Now that Crimea is separated and the war in Donbass is protracted, the tragedy has already happened and is still going on.
(5) The reshuffling of power and the evolution of the political structure under the crisis of the country
Three months after Yanukovych fled, Ukraine held presidential elections. The election was mainly between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, with all Ukrainian states except Crimea and Donbass controlled by pro-Russian forces voting. Consistent with most polls, Poroshenko was elected president in the first round with a majority of the vote (54.70%), while Tymoshenko received only 12.81% of the vote. In the parliamentary elections held in October of the same year, the Tymoshenko alliance also suffered a disastrous defeat. Poroshenko's political party "Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity")" The "People's Front (PF)" led by Петрович Яценюк) became the largest and second largest party in parliament respectively. Tymoshenko, who was only released from prison in February of that year, is no longer the all-powerful national idol during the Orange Revolution, and the Ukrainian political arena has also ushered in a new round of political reshuffle. Among them, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are the two main winners after the election.
Peter Poroshenko, best known by his nickname "The Chocolate King" before and at the beginning of his election as president, is actually far more than a candy business owner. He graduated from the Department of International Relations and Law of Kiev University, the cradle of Ukrainian politicians and diplomats. Former Georgian President Saakashvili is his student. Thereafter, he used his expertise to participate in his father's business and became the successor, working in various industries such as confectionery and automobiles, and achieved great success. Since then, he has also set foot in the fields of finance and media. These two industries are the key areas for the rise of oligarchs in the former Soviet Union and East after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and they are also a springboard for oligarchs to intervene in politics or directly enter politics. Wealth and the right to speak are hot currencies in this chaotic transition zone, and Ukraine is no exception. In 1998, Poroshenko was elected as a member of the Verkhovna Rada. He was a supporter of Kuchma and one of the founders of the pro-Russian party Party of Regions in the early days, but later turned to the opposition, and had a close relationship with Yushchenko, and both families had good personal relationships. Since then, he has successively served as Commissioner of the National Security and Defense Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Minister of Economy and Trade, with a solid political resume. That is to say, Poroshenko is not what the outside world who does not know the inside story thinks—a "chocolate seller" with no political experience, but a figure who has experienced political trials and tribulations.
After pro-EU demonstrations broke out in late 2013, Poroshenko gave his full support to the demonstrators. The media he controls actively reports on the news, and he pays for food, water and charcoal for people protesting in Kiev Square. These actions made him popular with the people. In addition, compared with Yatsenyuk, Tymoshenko and other Russian radicals, he is more moderate and has attracted the support of middle voters. After the fall of the Yanukovych regime, he received the support of Ukraine's world boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko (Віта́лій Володи́мирович Кличко́), which further increased his popularity. Therefore, he faced Tymoshenko, who had just been released from prison and had lost the support of the heavyweight oligarch, and won easily.
As mentioned in the third part, Poroshenko and Tymoshenko had conflicts for a long time, and they did not become political opponents until the 2014 election. In 2005, the two men, the national security commissioner and the prime minister, accused each other of serving the oligarchs, and the conflict led to a political crisis that forced then-president Yushchenko to dismiss the cabinet. Although Yushchenko dismissed the chief prosecutor who tried to sue Poroshenko because of his bias towards Poroshenko, this made him lose his official position and face the danger of being prosecuted. And this is also the fuse that led to the end of Tymoshenko's first term as prime minister. As a result, the two sides have feuded and have been hostile for a long time, and so far they have not been able to reach a settlement. This has also become a reason why both Bo and Ji failed in the 2019 presidential election.
Arseny Yatsenyuk was only 40 years old when he was elected prime minister in 2014, but he has more than ten years of political experience. He was born in an intellectual family, and has obtained a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in law, and a doctorate in economics. The two majors of law and economics are the ladders for the technical elites in the former Soviet Union to enter the top political and business positions. And Yatsenyuk is undoubtedly one of the best. With his excellent academic qualifications, he successively served as the president of a law firm and a bank consultant. This is another position that everyone admires in the hot industry in the former Soviet Union. But Yatsenyuk is not reconciled to this, but is determined to enter politics. In 2001, at the age of 27, he became the Minister of Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; in 2005, he served as the first vice chairman and chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine; Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada. Before becoming foreign minister, he also served as head of the Ukraine-European Commission, which further brought him closer to EU leaders and strengthened his pro-European complex. In the 2010 general election, he ran as an independent candidate and ranked fourth with 6.96% of the votes when the "Orange Camp" votes were concentrated on Tymoshenko. After the 2012 parliamentary elections, he became a member of the Verkhovna Rada.
Unlike politicians such as Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, as a technocrat, Yatsenyuk has no obvious political opponents, including the Party of Regions and Yanukovych himself, who are politically opposed, and he is not disgusted with him. For example, when he was nominated as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he received the general support of all parties in Parliament. At the beginning of Yanukovych's election as president, he was inclined to nominate Yatsenyuk as president, but he rejected it. In addition, he also has a relatively close political relationship with Tymoshenko. Not only was he a member of the same political party alliance with the latter, but he also actively advocated her release after Tymoshenko was imprisoned.
At the beginning of 2014, in the face of a full-scale protest movement, Yanukovych once again tried to let Yatsenyuk become prime minister as a compromise with the opposition, but was rejected by the latter. After the fall of the Yanukovych government, acting president Turchinov appointed Yatsenyuk as prime minister. He then formed a new political party, the "People's Front", which participated in the 2014 parliamentary elections (but did not participate in the presidential election, but chose to support Tymoshenko in the election). In the election, the People's Front and the "Poroshenko Group (Unity)" launched a fierce competition. With Yatsenyuk's popularity, the PFD's total vote rate is slightly higher than that of the latter, but it has failed in the single constituency, and its seats are far inferior to "unity". In the end, "Unity" ranked first with 132 seats, the PFD became the second largest party with 82 seats, and Yatsenyuk also remained as prime minister.
Because Ukraine implements a "dual-head system (that is, half-presidential and half-parliamentary system)", both the president and the prime minister have great power, so Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk have become the two most powerful people in Ukraine. Although both of them belong to the pro-Western camp, they are not from the same party, and their specific political views are also quite different. As well as the fundamental political nature of fighting for power and profit, it is natural for them to struggle.
Yatsenyuk's image in Uzbekistan's political circles is "moderate and fresh", but his foreign policy is very radical. He is more pro-Western than Poroshenko. He advocates becoming a full member of the European Union, joining NATO, taking a tough attitude towards Russia, and resolutely taking back Crimea and the Donbass region. On the other hand, Poroshenko adopts a more practical and compromising attitude, such as meeting with Putin in Minsk, signing the "Minsk Agreement" and agreeing to grant a certain special status to the Donbass region, and disapproving of war with Russia while being pro-Western. The difference in political views between the two has vacillated Ukraine's foreign affairs and domestic affairs. And because of the relationship between Yatsenyuk and Tymoshenko, the former is regarded as the spokesperson of the latter in Ukrainian politics, which naturally aroused Poroshenko's dissatisfaction.
In April 2016, under the condition of economic weakness and corruption, Yatsenyuk resigned as prime minister and was replaced by Poroshenko's close friend Vladimir Groysman (Володимир Борисович Гройсман). Since then, Poroshenko has dominated Ukrainian politics, while Yatsenyuk has temporarily withdrew from the political arena, and the dispute between the two has also come to an end. However, as a young and promising political star, Yatsenyuk will not completely fade out or permanently withdraw from politics. On the contrary, he is likely to come back in some form in the future.
In addition to the struggle between the above two politicians, there are still many changes in the political situation in Ukraine, and political struggles are happening everywhere from time to time. The Party of Regions, a pro-Russian political party that was once the largest party in Ukraine, was disbanded after the 2014 revolution. Since then, there has been no major pro-Russian political party active in Ukrainian politics. In April 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament enacted a bill titled "On the Denunciation of Totalitarian Influences such as Communism and Nazism and the Removal of Their Symbols", prohibiting propaganda and the dissemination of ideas about Nazism and the Communist Party. In December of the same year, the Ukrainian Communist Party, once one of the important political parties in Ukraine, was declared illegal by the Supreme Court and officially banned. Members of the Ukrainian Communist Party are also barred from participating in various elections, including the 2019 presidential election. Since the early 2000s, the Ukrainian Communist Party has gradually declined, from the top three parties in the parliament to the 2014 parliamentary elections with no seats left. Another left-wing party, the Ukrainian Socialist Party, has also lost all seats since 2007. While pro-Russian and left-wing parties have been marginalized and declined, nationalist, right-wing and even extreme right-wing parties have grown rapidly. Mainstream political parties such as "Poroshenko Group (Unity)", "People's Front", "All-Ukrainian Union (Fatherland)" are all right-wing parties. The far-right parties Right Sector, "The All-Ukrainian Union (Freedom) (The All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda")", and the deep-right party Radical Party (The Radical Party) (whose right-wing attributes are mainly reflected in nationalist aspects) are also on the rise. The ebb and flow of political forces on the left and right wings of Ukraine is consistent with the overall political climate change trend in Eastern Europe in recent years, that is, nationalism, conservatism, and populism.
A benign political system should accommodate all factions from the left, the center, and the right, with the center-left and center-right as the mainstream political forces, taking into account the demands of different political value orientations and different interest groups, and avoiding extremism, authoritarianism, and populism. However, the formation of political parties and the development of the political situation in Ukraine run counter to this benign system. This is disturbing and not conducive to the interests of the Ukrainian state and people. But so far, this bad situation has not only not improved, but worsened.
The series of political changes since the Ukrainian revolution in 2014 did not solve or improve many political, economic, ethnic and social problems in Ukraine, and did not bring about the changes expected by the people. It's just intrigue. Thus, new political forces arose.
(6) The rise of Zelensky and the 2019 Ukrainian election
Time flies, five years have passed, and Ukraine has ushered in another general election. In this general election, in addition to President Poroshenko, who is running for re-election, there are other competitive candidates, one is Tymoshenko, and the other is Zelensky.
Vladimir Zelensky, Jewish Ukrainian, graduated from the Faculty of Law of Kiev National University of Economics. Like the aforementioned political elites, he was also born in an elite family and studied in a prestigious school with a popular major. However, after graduation, he did not choose to enter the political or legal field, but chose a very personal career: becoming a comedy troupe producer and comedian. When he was 17 years old (1995), he joined a comedy troupe and made his mark. In 1997, he founded his own comedy troupe and company of the same name "Kvartal 95", which has been in operation till now. Under the operation of Zelensky, the "Kvartal 95" troupe has developed rapidly and performed in Ukraine, Russia and other former Soviet countries with extraordinary achievements. Since then, he has cooperated with Ukrainian TV to produce many TV programs and film and television dramas, and his reputation is growing. Because he often performed in Russia, he made friends with many Russian literary and art circles. When Russia-Ukraine relations were tense, he opposed Ukraine's ban on Russian artists and literary works. As a satirical comedy performer, he often satirizes various scandals such as corruption of Ukrainian and Russian politicians. Putin's celebrity, confidant, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (Рамзан Кадыров), is also the object of his ridicule.
In the pro-EU demonstrations in Ukraine in 2013-2014, Zelensky sided with pro-EU demonstrators against the Yanukovych government. In the later Donbass War, he personally went to the Mariupol front to perform for the Ukrainian army, and then he also donated 1 million hryvnia (equivalent to nearly $40,000) to the Ukrainian army. These actions of his, coupled with his previous satire on Russian politicians, aroused dissatisfaction in Russia, and some Russians demanded that he and the works he participated in producing or performing be completely banned in Russia. In 2018, the Russian government blocked his participation in the romantic comedy film "Love in the Big City 2".
In 2015, as the head of the "Kvartal 95" company, Zelensky directed the TV series "Servant of the People (Servant of the People)" and played the leading role. In the play, he plays a high school history teacher who criticizes the current situation and slams corruption. This teacher participated in the presidential election and won the support of the people. , Govern corruption, and fight all kinds of ugliness. The show aired its second and third seasons in 2017 and 2019, respectively. At first glance, this show is similar to Netflix's well-known work "House of Cards", but the specific plot and style of the two are different. "House of Cards" has a strong analysis and criticism of American social problems, which is very in-depth; while "Servant of the People" only uses "Soviet joke"-style sentences and plots, and criticizes society such as corruption and collusion between officials and businessmen more superficially. problem, and then create a political satire comedy that is similar to "Qingliu" and the story of common people's "counterattack" all the way to meet the audience's psychological pleasure. The show sidesteps some of the more sensitive issues, such as domestic ethnic conflicts, Russian threats and intervention, and other major challenges that Ukraine is known for. The Donbass War, which had already occurred during the production of the TV series, was not mentioned in the play.
But in any case, "Servant of the People" did arouse widespread resonance among the Ukrainian people. When Poroshenko was elected, he put forward the campaign slogan "Live in a new way! ('Live in a new way!')", but after several years in power, the country has not changed significantly, at least the internal affairs are still corrupt and low. However, the economy continued to slump, and officials and oligarchs continued to "follow the horses and dance". Under such circumstances, this satirical drama fully catered to the dissatisfaction of the people, and the satire of the Ukrainian government and society's ugliness made the audience hooked. This has won Zelensky, who plays the "president", huge popularity. After it became popular in Ukraine, "Servant of the People" also landed on Netflix, which further expanded the popularity of the show and Zelensky. Just like the response to "In the Name of the People" in China, and the people are familiar with "Hou Liangping" and "Qi Tongwei", "Servant of the People" and Zelensky are also well-known in Ukraine. As a result, there were "voices" among the people to make Zelensky a real president, although these "voices" did not necessarily appear spontaneously. Before Zelensky formally entered the election, the poll support rate was already very high, and the support rate among young people even surpassed Poroshenko at that time. Finally, on New Year's Eve in 2019, Zelensky officially announced his candidacy. Prior to this, he had established the political party "Servant of the People (Servant of the People)".
Like his role in the play, Zelensky's main slogan in the real political competition is anti-corruption, anti-oligarchy, breaking the state of old politicians monopolizing the political arena and dividing up political spoils, and creating a new government that is clean and close to the people. But exactly how to remove the old and establish the new? Ivan Bakanov, head of the "Servant of the People" and director of Zelensky's campaign office, explained in an interview with The National Interest magazine. Ukraine needs legal reforms and international support to fight corruption, he said, and will work with the Verkhovna Rada and major political parties, as well as use the special powers granted to Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (the National Security and Defense Council) to change Ukraine Corruption and lack of rule of law. He sees the need to join NATO and the EU, subject to referendum approval. As for the issue with Russia, he advocated strengthening national defense and international cooperation to resist Russia's threats and aggression, while at the same time properly dealing with the issues of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and respecting the language, culture and religious beliefs of the pro-Russian people. As for how effective this is, Bakanov admitted that "this is not a simple problem" and Ukraine cannot deal with it alone. In addition, he also mentioned the importance and methods of promoting economic growth, which are mainly measures similar to what China calls "simplification of administration and decentralization of power", and promote tax reform and combat money laundering to "remove obstacles" and " Make doing business profitable and comfortable". All this sounds good, but whether it will be feasible and implemented after taking office is not known or even considered. After all, the rulers of many countries have promised so, but in the end they did not implement it. Moreover, it is also unclear how much of these policy platforms are Zelensky's own political views, and how much are the ideas of his possible "behind the scenes" or his think tank team.
The most important "behind-the-scenes figure" suspected of being Zelensky is his boss, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, the controller of Ukraine's "1+1 TV station". If it is assumed that he is Zelensky's behind-the-scenes manipulator, and Zelensky's various actions are made by him, then it is necessary to dig out the history of this person.
Koromoisky and Zelensky are both Jewish Ukrainians. He is one of the founders of Ukraine's largest commercial bank "PrivatBank". Since then, he has been involved in profiteering industries such as mining, oil and other financial activities, and has controlled many media including "1+1 TV Station". He was once the richest in Ukraine One of the people who was listed on the Forbes rich list, with more assets than Poroshenko at that time, he was an out-and-out super oligarch. According to "Forbes" magazine, Koch's family history is very dirty, including hostile takeovers, power-for-money transactions, and even hiring "paramilitary organizations (equivalent to underworld forces)" to carry baseball bats, iron bars, gasoline and guns to fight against the United States. Violent takeovers of factories resisting unfair takeovers, threats and dispersal of workers. His violence has also included the forcible eviction of new oil executives who replaced his surrogates. He later served as governor of Dnepropetrovsk region in central Ukraine. During his career in business and politics, he was caught in a long-term battle and legal dispute with Ukraine's richest man and oligarch Viktor Pinchuk (Віктор Миха́йлович Пінчýк), and the lawsuits were fought from home to abroad. In addition, he also violated the country's law that does not allow dual citizenship (according to regulations, public officials who violate the law can be sentenced to 3-10 years in prison), and have triple citizenship of Ukraine, Israel, and Cyprus, but they have not been punished at all. Koch argued that "the law does not allow dual citizenship, but it does not allow triple citizenship". This kind of blatant "impunity" and even overriding the national law is the normal state of the oligarchs in the former Soviet Union. And from these words and deeds, we can also see the character and background of this person. Compared with him, oligarchs like Poroshenko are considered "civilized and law-abiding".
Ukrainian oligarchs have various ties to Russia, both good and bad. Judging from the situation since 2014, the relationship between Koromoisky and Russia is not good. He supported anti-Russian demonstrations and organized the army and funded anti-Russian armed forces during his tenure as governor of Texas. That drew retaliation from Russia, which included confiscating his assets in Crimea, placing him on Interpol's most wanted list, and Putin calling him a "'unique crook'". But he has also shown no more anti-Russian rhetoric than other Ukrainian oligarchs. As a Ukrainian, it is normal not to betray the country and insist on patriotism in times of crisis. While not being pro-Russian, he also showed no tendency to be pro-Western. Such oligarchs without specific political positions are more profit-seeking political speculators, and are not suitable for being labeled as "pro-Russian oligarchs" or "pro-Western oligarchs".
Koromoisky has also had complicated relationships with several Ukrainian political figures. He has had explicit or covert connections with Tymoshenko, Yushchenko and now Zelensky. But at the same time, he also ended his support for the first two oligarchs successively, and even turned against Tymoshenko.
The relationship between Koromoisky and Zelensky is now the focus of attention. Koch claimed that he and Zelensky rarely meet, and that the two only have a business relationship. He will also provide some policy advice and help after Zelensky is elected president, but it will not become the norm. Koch even said that he is more like Zelensky's "puppet" than Zelensky is his "puppet", because he will listen to Zelensky's opinions more when it comes to business cooperation and filming film and television dramas .
The relationship between politicians and oligarchs in the former Soviet Union countries is often intricate and secretive. The most important thing is that there is a lack of comprehensive legal norms and practices including the control of political donations. If the outside world wants to know the relationship between the two, it can only analyze it through some external signs and "internal information" that is difficult to fully verify. According to the "Washington Post" report, after Zelensky took office, Koromoisky ended his years of "disaster avoidance" living abroad and returned to Ukraine. He also spoke to Zelensky (again, claiming it was just about work). In addition, a member of Koch's legal team is also an important adviser to Zelensky. This kind of situation where one person serves two well-known people at the same time, it is easy to think that there is a confidential relationship and connection between the latter two.
During Zelensky's campaign, the "1+1 TV station" controlled by Koromoisky did his best to support the former, which is undoubtedly the most obvious support relationship, even if it complies with the law and election rules. In addition, Zelensky's offensive on social media is fierce, and his fans and related activities far exceed those of his opponent Poroshenko. And this requires a huge amount of money and related resources to support. These could be from Koch, or from Russia, or both. The absolute advantage of the campaign on social media has become an important factor for Zelensky's easy victory. If only relying on his experience of playing the president in a TV series without some kind of political "hype", it will be difficult to maintain his popularity, and it is even more impossible to get such a large proportion of support.
In any case, Koromoisky played a major role in boosting Zelensky's rise to power. As for whether Zelensky will become Koch's "puppet", at least for now it is difficult to determine. But there is no doubt that the two have an alliance of interests in the past, present and short-to-medium future.
In addition, Zelensky, like other populist politicians rising in world politics today, has made full use of social media propaganda. The "short, flat, fast" characteristics of social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp have allowed politicians with not high political talents but outstanding personalities to rise from the ground and gain super popularity. Regarding the role of social media, it will be mentioned in other paragraphs of this article, and this is not the focus of this article, so I will not elaborate here. In short, Zelensky's success is closely related to social media.
Thanks to being a "political amateur", not having the "black history" image of traditional politicians, the important role played by social media, and various visible and invisible support from home and abroad, Zelensky won the first round of elections. With a support rate of 30.24%, he was far ahead of Poroshenko and entered the final election. The two opposing candidates, Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, received 15.96% and 13.40% of the votes respectively. Poroshenko defeated the latter by an insignificant advantage and entered the second round. The candidate Yuri Boyko (Юрій Анатолійович Бойко), representing the original Party of Regions, Uzbekistan's centrist faction, and the Russian-friendly faction, received 11.68% of the votes, ranking fourth.
It is worth noting that Zelensky received only 30% of the votes in the first round (even if his opponent was lower), if Poroshenko can win the votes of Tymoshenko and other pro-Western candidates, it is possible Flip the ending. After all, the supporters of Poti and Poti have many overlaps in their political views, and they are both tougher than Zelensky in their policies towards Russia. If Tymoshenko and other losers actively support Poroshenko and agitate his nationalist sentiments, Poroshenko's chances of a comeback are still very high. But it is a pity that the personal grievances between the two obviously did not subside. They attacked each other in the first round, and Tymoshenko also refused to support Poroshenko in the second round. And the other candidates did not choose to support Poroshenko "in consideration of the overall situation", but refused to express their views, and they were in a state of disunity. This also reflects the fact that Ukrainian politicians have deep grievances and generally lack a sense of the overall situation. In addition, more complex external public opinion intervention, intentionally creating internal strife and other reasons have caused the votes to not regroup to Poroshenko's side. On the contrary, the results of the second round of elections showed that Zelensky won most of the votes of the candidates who lost the first round, and his vote rate increased by 43% (from 30.24% to 73.23%). The candidate with the highest number of votes. Poroshenko's vote increased by only 9.5% (from 15.96% to 24.46%). Except for the entire Lviv region and a small part of Ternopil region won by Poroshenko, the remaining 20 states (excluding the pro-Russian forces in the Donbass and the Crimea peninsula) and the municipality directly under the Central Government of Kiev were all Zelensky has an absolute majority. This was beyond the expectations of some observers, but according to the media and international observers, the election was generally fair and transparent, and the results were credible. Poroshenko also conceded defeat and congratulated Zelensky on his election as president.
The election of Zelensky has triggered different evaluations from the Ukrainian people, political circles, academic circles, and international observers. For the Ukrainian people, in addition to the separated parts of Crimea and Donbass, as well as the Lvov region that supports tough Russia, the majority of people in most parts of the country tend to agree with Zelensky’s elected. However, scholars who study Ukraine at home and abroad, as well as some former politicians, such as the aforementioned former Ukrainian world boxing champion and current mayor of Kiev Vitaly Klitschko, are not very optimistic about Zelensky. And their negative evaluation of Zelensky mainly focuses on two points. One is that as a "political amateur", Zelensky seriously lacks political experience and does not have a systematic and complete policy program; Pro-Russian tendencies" (about this, it is controversial and complicated, and will be described in detail later). And they also believe that if there is a choice between Poroshenko and Zelensky, the former is more qualified to be the president of Ukraine.
Regarding Zelensky's "pro-Russia", there is a huge controversy in itself. As mentioned earlier, he supported pro-Western forces and opposed the pro-Russian Yanukovych government in the pro-EU demonstrations in 2013-2014; later he also participated in the labor performance in Donbass and donated money to the Ukrainian military. In addition to these, Zelensky's remarks on the future fate of East Ukraine and Crimea are more like the image of a Ukrainian patriot. He claimed that he would not negotiate with "Russian puppets" in the Donbas region, nor would he pardon the rebels, insisted on no federalism, and continued to use Ukrainian as the only official language. Zelensky also said that he would never give up Ukrainian territories such as the Crimea peninsula. But he also believes that if he wants to regain Crimea, it will not be possible unless there is a regime change in Russia. As mentioned earlier, he is also in favor of joining the EU and NATO subject to a referendum.
But some people and observers still see him as relatively pro-Russian. Even looking at Zelensky's words and deeds alone, he does not seem to be pro-Russian, but compared with his opponents in the general election, Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, who have been "singing against Russia" for many years, Zelensky is considered It shows that Russia is not tough enough. And although he claimed that he would not negotiate with pro-Russian rebels, he is willing to hold talks with Putin to negotiate a solution to the issues of East Ukraine and Crimea. A review article in "Foreign Policy" compared the differences between Poroshenko and Zelensky on the issue of Russia.
The author of the article, Alexander John Motyl, believes that during the five years of Poroshenko's presidency, he has launched a fierce confrontation with Russia, especially in the Donbas region. Moreover, Poroshenko has established an army capable of competing with the armed forces supported by Russia in the East Uzbekistan region. He has also established friendly relations with the West and gradually integrated into the West, saving Ukraine from the crisis. Poroshenko has carried out a series of reforms in the political, economic, cultural and social fields, gradually breaking away from Russia's influence and moving towards "Brexit Russia and join the European Union." The author also believes that, on the one hand, Poroshenko's reforms are institutionalized and stable; on the other hand, if Poroshenko wants to be famous in history, he may also choose to truly fight corruption and carry out more thorough reforms. In short, Ukraine led by Poroshenko will only get better, no matter how fast or slow, but it will not go backwards and get closer to Russia again. On the contrary, the author believes that Zelensky will be a weak leader with no political experience, whether he is a puppet of an oligarch or alone in making decisions about state affairs, and this will be what Putin would like to see. Moreover, some plots in the drama "Servant of the People" show that Zelensky has a pro-Russian tendency. The author also expressed concern about the populist and utopian political orientation of Ukrainian voters. He believed that the Ukrainian people did not cherish the freedom after the revolution. Facing the imperfections of Yushchenko and Poroshenko, they chose Yanukovych and Zelen successively. Ski, who abused the freedom brought by the revolution, elected a "fictitious president (that is, the president in the TV series)" to become a real president, and also chose a "fantasy" political picture instead of a pragmatic, relatively good and stable one. path. The title of this article highlights the author's core point of view: "Ukraine's TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian".
I basically agree with the author and this article, even though more reports and comments did not even deny Zelensky's pro-Russian tendencies. Although Zelensky is not as obviously and openly pro-Russian as Yanukovych, the ambiguity of his policies and lack of ruling experience make it impossible for him to be like Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, and Poroshenko. Hold a firm pro-Western, anti-Russian stance like others. On the contrary, Zelensky is likely to choose to compromise with the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine and even Russia in the face of the complexity of real politics and the needs of power struggles, at least not to implement a "one-sided" foreign policy as firmly as Poroshenko. The most important thing is that he cannot completely "draw a line" with Putin and become an opponent like these pro-Western leaders. He has the possibility of being bribed, infiltrated by Putin, or at least seriously influenced and interfered. In the economic field, Poroshenko has restored the Ukrainian economy to growth. As for the problems of corruption and oligarchs, they cannot be resolved overnight. It is worth mentioning that Zelensky has a more liberal tendency on social policies, such as supporting the use of medicinal marijuana, abortion and the legalization of the gambling industry. , The working environment is more enlightened. But when it comes to LGBT rights, Zelensky, like the other candidates, has chosen a conservative stance. When he was a 1+1 TV host and artist, he and other actors in the film made fun of the Pinocchio character "claiming to be a woman instead of a man".
So, where will Ukraine go after Zelensky comes to power? Before fully discussing this issue, it is first necessary to systematically describe and comment on Russia’s influence on Ukraine, which is an unavoidable issue that needs to be studied intensively.
(7) Putin's Russia: Ukraine and Kiev's inescapable strong neighbors
For Ukraine, the biggest external influence from ancient times to the present is Russia (countries and regimes) from the East, whether as part of Tsarist Russia, Imperial Russia, or as a member of the Soviet Union, and since independence, Petersburg/Moscow politics The strength of the center has always had a profound impact and even determines Kiev's domestic and foreign affairs. Regarding the history of Russia-Ukraine relations, the previous article has made a general statement. This part only talks about Russia’s infiltration and influence on Ukraine in recent years.
As mentioned earlier, Ukraine and Russia have a long history, and both sides are intricately related in terms of national blood, cultural background, and interest relationship. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO expanded eastward, the European Union increased its membership, and the influence of the United States and Europe in Central and Eastern Europe increased, making Russia increasingly uneasy. After Putin came to power, he tried to revive the glory of old Russia and regain his status as a great power in the world, and Ukraine became a must. During Yeltsin's period, Russia's intervention in Ukraine was relatively small. But after Putin came to power, Ukraine has become the frontier and the key to his renewed struggle for hegemony. In the 2004 Ukrainian general election, Putin worked hard to support Yanukovych, but in the end it gave birth to the "Orange Revolution", and his attempt to support pro-Russian forces in power suffered a major setback. But Putin is not reconciled to failure, but launched intensive infiltration, wooing, attacking, and manipulating Ukraine in various fields such as politics, economy, religion, military, and the Internet.
Facing the pro-Western Yushchenko-Tymoshenko regime, Putin launched a series of offensives. At that time, the most important method was to play the "energy card", that is, to use Russia's natural gas exports to Ukraine as a lever of pressure to " Price increase" and "breathing" to attack the pro-Western Ukrainian government. However, since 80% of Russia's natural gas exports to the EU transit through Ukraine, the Ukrainian government has also adopted measures to curb Russia by raising natural gas transit fees, cutting off and intercepting natural gas transported to the West. This has happened since Ukraine's independence in the 1990s, but the conflict escalated suddenly after 2005. Such high-intensity conflicts continued intermittently until 2009, leading to a European-wide energy crisis. Although the two parties finally reached an agreement under the mediation of the European Union, and came to an end with the pro-Russian Yanukovych coming to power in 2010, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine was seriously damaged, which intensified the dissatisfaction of the pro-Western people in Ukraine against Russia. However, as far as the intervention effect of Russia's "energy card" is concerned, it is still successful to a certain extent. Yanukovych's victory over Tymoshenko and Yushchenko in the 2010 general election has something to do with the fact that Ukraine's economy suffered a major blow during the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis. Moreover, while causing dissatisfaction among the Ukrainian pro-Western people, it also tore Ukraine apart, making Ukrainian pro-Russian people more dependent on and supporting Russia.
The economic pressure Russia can exert on Ukraine goes beyond the energy sector. Due to the division of labor between the members of the "big socialist family" and the Soviet Union, the economic ties between Russia and Ukraine were very close. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, some countries that had relatively failed in economic transformation, failed to become independent, or “westwarded” still maintained this division of labor and cooperation relationship with Russia. Ukraine is the granary of the Soviet Union and a major importer of Russian grain, and the heavy chemical industry enterprises in Udon also have close economic ties with major industrial bases in Russia. Ukraine's heavy industry and military industry need Russia's technical support and spare parts, and even some large military orders require Russia-Ukraine cooperation to complete. From 1990 to 2010, the volume of import and export trade with Russia accounted for one-fourth to one-third of Ukraine’s total foreign trade value. Even now, five years after the Donbass War, Russia is still Ukraine’s largest import and export Trading partners, but the share has dropped significantly. Ukraine's failed and fragile economy has heightened its dependence on Russia and given Russia greater economic leverage to put pressure on Ukraine. In order to bring Ukraine into Russia's sphere of influence, Putin has been trying to get Ukraine to join the "Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union" composed of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and strengthen the economic and trade ties of the four countries (of course, the next step is a political alliance). But even Yanukovych is unwilling to wade into this muddy water and be tied to the same chariot as the declining Russia, but hopes to develop economic and trade relations with the European Union countries westward. Because of the discord in this matter, Yanukovych's pro-Russian government also had tense relations with Russia. Although after 2014, Ukraine tried to change the direction of trade and actively engaged with the EU, but economic and trade exchanges with Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States are still very important, especially in Ukraine. Economic ties and a certain degree of dependence make Ukraine have to be restrained by Russia to a certain extent.
Apart from economy, religion has also become a tool used by Putin to try to bring Russia-Ukraine relations closer. As mentioned earlier, although some people in western Ukraine believe in Catholicism, the whole of Ukraine is still dominated by people who believe in the Orthodox Church, which is the same as the mainstream religious belief in Russia. The patriarch who has deep ties to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and indirectly controls part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is in Moscow, and has a close relationship with the Putin government, which pursues cultural conservatism. According to statistics, in 2008, about 50% of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians belonged to the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate" (Українська Православна Церква). The nominal patriarch of these churches, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, is a staunch supporter of Putin.
Since Kirill I took office in 2009, he has become Putin's most powerful supporter in the ideological field when he pursued a policy of anti-Western values. For example, he publicly opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage and compared the same-sex marriage law to the laws of Nazi Germany, claiming that "same-sex marriage legislation is contrary to the moral nature of human beings." He also criticized Western secularism, liberalism, and feminism, and believed that these were not natural occurrences but caused by the influence of modern media such as education and television. And after the feminist and postmodernist movement group "Pussy Riot" performed a performance art at the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow (Храм Христа Спасителя) and attacked Putin and Kirill I with crude language, he criticized them. behavior condemned. This incident is a collision between progress and conservatism in Russia's ideological field, and the Orthodox Church clearly stands on Putin's side.
The Russian Orthodox Church organization and values not only act as the backbone to resist the "cultural invasion" of the West at home, but also become a magic weapon for Russia to exert "soft power" influence on neighboring countries. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the pro-Russian Orthodox Church has been an important bridge of cultural connections and non-governmental exchanges between Russia and Ukraine. Russia also uses this as a means to draw closer to the people of Uzbekistan, attract conservative forces, especially religious conservatives, and cultivate pro-Russian forces. In the Crimea Peninsula, the Donbas region, and Odessa, where Russians live in large numbers, the pro-Russian Orthodox Church and churches are institutions and places for Russian residents to communicate with each other, strengthen internal unity, and even political and ethnic mobilization.
In this regard, the Ukrainian side also countered. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian Orthodox Christians belonged to three churches. In addition to the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate" mentioned above, there is also the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kiev Patriarchate) (Українська Православна Церква Київського Патрiархату )", "Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Українська автокефальна православна церква)" two major church groups. The latter two both insist on independence and deliberately keep a distance from Russia. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is an important force against Russian Orthodox teachings and values. In Old Galicia and Kiev, Catholic Ukrainians have stronger pro-European and anti-Russian tendencies. The latest "big move" is that in December 2018, some members of the Orthodox Church belonging to the Moscow Hierarchy announced that they would merge with the other two above-mentioned church groups to form a new "Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Православна церква України )", and obtained the approval of the Universal Patriarch of Constantinople (Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης) (the nominal supreme leader of the Orthodox Church) before its establishment. After its establishment, in January 2019, the Universal Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople officially signed the decree recognizing the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the leadership of the Russian Patriarch. Poroshenko also attended the ceremony. The Russian side, including Kirill I, announced that it did not recognize the newly established independent church and condemned the Constantinople side. A part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church still recognizes the suzerainty of the Moscow Orthodox Church. As a result, serious divisions and confrontations took place from within Ukraine to the entire Orthodox world. This also proves that religion, politics, and nationality are often closely related, and the three are inseparable and use each other.
Military intervention and intelligence warfare are another sharp weapon for Russia to intervene in Ukraine's domestic and foreign affairs. The Orange Revolution and the 2013-2014 pro-EU demonstrations, the return of Crimea to Russia, and the Sino-Russian intelligence and military intervention in the Donbass War have been described above, so I will not repeat them here. Military and intelligence are Putin's personal and Russia's strengths, even though these two "strengths" are very detrimental to the country's image in a civilized society. However, since the Putin regime has repeatedly assassinated "traitors" in Britain and other overseas countries without changing their face, and bombarded civilians with tanks in Chechnya without hesitation about international influence, why can't they use force against Ukraine, a place that must be contested? Moreover, when both economic and cultural means are frustrated, the military becomes an inevitable choice. The "assassination and resurrection" of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko (Arkady Babchenko) in exile in Ukraine that occurred in May 2018 is a typical case of Russian assassination warfare, intelligence warfare, and Russian-Ukrainian fighting. The incident was complicated and complicated, so I won't go into details here. In short, violent means are also Russia's usual foreign means. Syria and Ukraine are two examples of direct Russian military intervention. Judging from the results, the intervention in Syria has so far been successful, both strategically and tactically. But in Ukraine, Russia has achieved tactical and short-to-medium-term strategic victories, but from the perspective of overall and long-term strategy, Russia has probably lost the game in Ukraine. Although Russia annexed the Crimea Peninsula by force and separated parts of the Donbass from Ukraine, it caused the rest of the Ukraine and Kiev regimes to fall to the West (although there is a possibility of reversal in the future).
For Russia, the biggest magic weapon for foreign intervention is undoubtedly the Internet and social media, or more precisely, fake news, online trolls and hackers using social media. This is the only attack method that Russia has an absolute advantage over the West and has "outstanding achievements" in recent years. Its greatest achievement was "officially certified" by the CIA as "interfering in the 2016 U.S. election" and successfully making Trump elected president. In addition, Britain's exit from the European Union and the French "yellow vest" movement are also guided by the Russian cyber army. Similarly, Russia has also launched a continuous cyber war against Ukraine. According to "Observer.com" quoting "Radio Free Europe"'s interview with a Russian youth Mara Burkhard who once "undercovered" Russia's most well-known cyber warfare base "Internet Research Center", before "hiring" these hired When they are in the navy, they will ask their views on the Donetsk issue; and the main content of their work is the war against Russia and Ukraine. The Atlantic Monthly and the Guardian also disclosed that Russia used cyber trolls to launch information warfare against Ukraine (similar to the "public opinion guidance" of China's "network commentators"), hired hackers to invade anti-Putin organizations, journalists, Writer's mailbox and other cyber warfare details. The aforementioned most famous "Water Army" base "Internet Research Center" is located in St. Petersburg. According to "BuzzFeed", an independent American media known for reporting serious political news, it has systematically reported on the Russian cyber army. It mentioned that in 2014 alone, the "Internet Research Center" received US$10 million in funding from the Russian government. The basic salary of each "online reviewer" is about 4,000 yuan.
Of course, because such anonymous trolls guide public opinion, online propaganda and hacker attacks are relatively hidden, even though there are many reports, more details have not been disclosed and verified. However, judging from the effect, this kind of online fake news and public opinion guidance is very effective. As mentioned above, it has had obvious effects in the United States, Britain, France and other countries, and it has completely or partially achieved the purpose of destroying the political and social order of Western countries and supporting their agents. Now that the "brilliant" achievements have been made in the civilized and developed Western powers, it is easier to deal with the relatively weaker Ukraine, which belongs to the East Slavic language family and uses the Cyrillic alphabet. In the dire situation, Ukraine turned to NATO for help. The United Kingdom sent several military teams from the "77th Brigade", which is responsible for social media security and information warfare and closely cooperates with MI5 and MI6, to Ukraine to support and defend against attacks from Russia. But this is clearly a drop in the bucket. The United Kingdom accidentally "passed" the Brexit referendum due to the destruction of fake news and online trolls, while the UK-based company "Cambridge Analytica" spying on Facebook user data, manipulating the US election and the Brexit referendum have all been exposed The UK’s own vulnerability to information warfare and the fight against fake news. Therefore, sending a "squad"-level military to support Ukraine may not have much effect.
So what impact did Russia have on Ukraine's cyber warfare? An article by a scholar named Zhang Zhicheng published in Taiwan's "Shang Bao" "The most terrifying fake news is never the kind of Zhongtian", which has a very detailed description and accurate analysis, is excerpted here:
"Ukraine's "Kiev Spring" is also anti-Russian nationalism, but Putin's team, which conducts information warfare, sees the anti-Russian trend in Ukraine as an opportunity rather than a threat. Russian strategists operate information warfare... to take advantage of any "contradiction" that exists within the democratic system: every democratic country has various political issues and conflicts within society...Russia's information warfare operations will launch cyberspace The military and the media launched a fake news campaign with the aim of intensifying internal conflicts in a democratic society to the greatest extent.
Because a democratic system inevitably requires camps with opposing positions... to reach a "compromise" "consensus"... Any contradiction that eventually turns into antagonism and deepens to the point where compromise cannot be compromised, and then there will be flaws in the country's democratic mechanism. The profound meaning of information warfare is to make citizens who hold different positions on various issues within a democratic country deepen the confrontation with each other to the point where they cannot compromise or even become hostile to each other. In the end, democracy will have its own flaws and cannot perform its original functions normally.
Russia's greatest achievement in the past few years is to dismantle the anti-Russian Ukrainian society to pieces. There are many related papers on this Russian "political technology", and almost all the conclusions will tell you that the core tactic of information warfare is not to buy pro-Russian licks that make your Ukrainian media overwhelming, which is secondary. His main "art of war" is still to successfully drive the wind in any social disputes within Ukraine, making your society confront each other, unable to form a stable political operation, and leading to fragmented democracy.
And it wasn't just Ukraine that was torn apart. The Russian cyber army left the whole of Europe covered in bruises without a single soldier. The use of information warfare caused all the internal democracies in European countries to be shattered. In 2016, the European Union and NATO established a think tank "The European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats" (The European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats) in Helsinki, Finland, which specializes in countermeasures against Russian information warfare. After analyzing the data, we can clearly grasp the major events in Europe in the past few years, from Brexit, the French presidential election in 2017, the Catalan independence referendum, to the Yellow Vest Action in France and other major political events that have shaken the social foundations of European countries in the past few years Behind the incident, there is clear evidence of the trend of Russian cyber army activities. "
The purpose of this article is to alert Taiwan to the "cyber warfare" of the mainland, so it borrows the example of Russia's cyber warfare against Ukraine and Europe (the United States is not mentioned in this article, although the United States is the most serious cyber war against Russia) as an example (about the The issue of Taiwan, and whether it is similar to Russia and Ukraine, whether the mainland has launched a cyber war against Taiwan or to what extent are very complicated issues, which have nothing to do with this article, and I will not comment here). Not to mention other things, only in terms of the article's analysis of Russia's cyber warfare means, purpose, and impact, this article is very accurate, and it is also consistent with my previous discussion and other media reports. As far as Russia is concerned, it does not necessarily make the target country turn pro-Russian, let alone directly promote pro-Russian ideas, but to disrupt the normal operation of democracy and civil society by spreading rumors, creating hatred and confrontation, and destroying It works so that relatively honest and kind politicians suffer reputational damage, while rogue villains can fish in troubled waters, and ultimately Russia and Putin will benefit from it. Nowhere was this more evident than in the 2016 US presidential election. And for Ukraine, of course, the same is true.
Has the newly appointed Zelensky been assisted by Russian cyber warfare? From the analysis of the above signs, yes. Is Zelensky pro-Russia? uncertain. But as mentioned earlier, he is by no means as staunchly anti-Russian as Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, and Yushchenko. As long as Zelensky's Ukraine no longer falls to the West like the previous anti-Russian politicians did, Putin will have a chance to take advantage of it. Zelensky, who has no political experience and is influenced by oligarchs, is easily used by Russia and even manipulated to a certain extent.
Under the "multi-pronged approach" of the Putin regime, Ukraine is naturally incomplete. No matter which leader comes to power, it will be difficult for Ukraine to really get rid of Russia's influence. Of course, Russia has every right to safeguard its own national interests and participate in international politics. It is also necessary to check and balance the hegemony of the United States, but it should not harm the interests of the people of other countries and create evil deeds. What Putin has done has deviated from and exceeded the normal scope and degree of safeguarding national interests. Ukraine, on the other hand, is obviously the country that suffers the most relatively. Ukraine has about 40% pro-Russian people and 20% ethnic Russians (including the Crimean Peninsula). It is also understandable for Russia to protect their security and interests. But in fact, from specific means to long-term goals, Putin is not or is not only doing these things, but trying to use Ukraine as a pawn and a victim to interfere, divide and destroy Europe and the European Union, creating violence and consolidating Rule by itself, promote conservative values, and destroy modern civilization values such as equality, fraternity, freedom and democracy, progress and openness. And these actions are not really conducive to protecting the interests of Russian citizens and Russians inside and outside Russia. In Russia, corruption and violence are rampant, the gap between the rich and the poor is huge, and the society is rotten. Putin uses oil revenue to provide welfare and violence and terror to maintain stability. People, especially civilians, do not have real freedom and dignity. It is impossible for such a regime to bring civilization to other countries, but more to spread the human and economic diseases of the Putin regime, and to create disasters for the people of Europe and the world.
Therefore, most of Russia's interventions and influences on Ukraine are negative. They do not respect Ukraine's national sovereignty and national independence, violate Ukraine's national interests, and run counter to Ukraine's development and progress. Even for the pro-Russian people and Russians in Uzbekistan, attachment to the Putin regime is not conducive to their struggle for true independence and dignity in the long run. According to reports, after Crimea "returned" to Russian jurisdiction, corruption and bureaucracy became more rampant, while living standards did not improve. When Russians in Ukraine face unfair treatment by the Ukrainian central government and threats from extreme right-wing forces in the west, they do need protection from their own nation-state. But only a Russia and its regime (not the Putin regime) with a transparent rule of law, civilized integrity, and willingness to shoulder international responsibilities can and will sincerely seek justice for them in Ukraine and the international community, instead of treating them as A tool to bully other countries and threaten Europe.
Due to the gap in national power, the insidiousness of the Putin regime, and the complexity of domestic political forces, no one in power in Ukraine can resist Russia's infiltration and intervention. If pro-Russian forces control the government and parliament, they will naturally become more dependent on Russia. And this will lead to a backlash from pro-European and anti-Russian people, such as the "Orange Revolution" and the demonstrations that broke out in late 2013. As far as the pro-Western Kiev government is concerned, the only possible way to counter Russia is to turn to the West in an all-round way, get the support of Europe and the United States, and leverage its strength. In fact, Ukraine is pro-Western, not only for economic development and social progress, but also as a last resort in the face of Russia's aggressive offensive. But this in turn has intensified the pro-Russian tendency of the Ukrainian people (especially Russians) who have a good impression of Russia, and stimulated Russia's determination to defend the "final buffer zone", Crimea's "return to Russia" and the Donbass War Just for example. As a result, Ukraine was torn apart by the pro-Western and pro-Russian people in the country, and the further intervention of the two major forces of the United States, Europe and Russia added fuel to the fire, and the country was in a long-term confrontation, turmoil, and conflict. This kind of internal friction not only affects national unity and political stability, but also affects economic development, cultural exchanges, and diplomatic relations. In short, the nature of Russia's intervention in Ukraine is negative, the means are brutal, and the consequences are bad, and there is no possibility of change in the short to medium term.
(8) A Difficult Future: Where is Ukraine Going?
As mentioned above, after Zelensky came to power, Ukraine’s political situation and foreign relations have become more uncertain. The once clear Ukraine’s internal affairs and diplomacy have entered a new period of change and adjustment, and the impact of these changes is even more difficult. fully foreseen. But on the other hand, chronic diseases in Ukraine's economy, social governance, ethnicity and other fields still exist, and neither Zelensky nor other leaders can change them in a short period of time.
First, for Ukraine, economic stagnation and periodic decline have become the norm after independence. Zelensky and his team have no novel solution to this problem. The "simplification of administration and decentralization of power" measures mentioned above are only small fixes, and even these fixes may be as difficult to implement as before and will not be resolved. Therefore, the Ukrainian economy will most likely continue to show slow and unstable growth as in the past, occasionally including severe crises and declines. However, the foundation of the economic structure is still dominated by agriculture and traditional heavy industry. On top of this, there is a service industry that accounts for a larger proportion but lacks stability and quality. The economic structure with heavy industry as the pillar symbolized prosperity and progress before the 1970s, but now it is a symbol of economic decline. Although industries such as military industry, aerospace, and machinery manufacturing still exude unique brilliance, if they cannot improve their technological content and enhance their competitiveness, they will eventually "have nothing to do with it." If Zelensky slows down Ukraine's integration into Europe, technology, talent, and financial assistance from developed countries in the EU will be even thinner. Without the injection of external capital and technology, the optimization of Ukraine's economic structure and the success of economic transformation must be far away.
Secondly, Ukrainians hate corruption, oligarchs' interference in politics, and collusion between officials and businessmen. They have high expectations for Zelensky, who once "anti-corruption and widows" in fictional video stories, hoping that he will change Ukraine's corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy system, against oligarchs. But reality is not a TV series. What Zelensky did in the TV series "Servant of the People" cannot be practiced in reality. The protagonists in film and television works can drastically punish officials, because the screenwriter can arrange the plot at will to please the audience. But in reality, Zelensky is more dependent on a corrupt but sprawling bureaucracy, and is more likely to please than bring them down. Even if a group of old bureaucrats are eliminated, it is only to provide conditions for the placement of their cronies. As for the elimination of oligarchs, it is even more impossible. He himself was supported by one of the most notorious oligarchs in Ukraine. Even if a few oligarchs who were opposed to the "overlord oligarch" Koromoiski were "eliminated", it was nothing more than a conflict of interests between oligarchs and politicians, and "the king's banner changing at the top of the city".
Third, the ethnic conflicts that have lasted for hundreds of years, as well as the derived and relatively independent religious issues, will also not be effectively resolved in the short to medium term. The confrontation between Ukrainians and Russians, the pro-European and pro-Russian people, the estrangement between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and the split of the Orthodox Church are all caused by complex and long-lasting conflicts between history and reality, and conflicts of interest. A leader and a great statesman like Mandela can bridge differences and reach reconciliation to a certain extent, but it is impossible to eradicate conflicts. The Ukrainian central government has no plans to implement a federal system, and even refuses to recognize Russian as one of the official languages, which makes compromises come to naught. And if you choose to be pro-Russian and agree to implement federalism and the officialization of the Russian language, but Russia continues to interfere in Ukraine's internal affairs, it will lead to a stronger separatist foundation for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, which will inevitably put Ukraine in greater danger, and will also lead to Backlash from pro-Western populace. What can Zelensky do about these? His governing ability and experience are no higher than any previous Ukrainian president or prime minister.
Fourth, in terms of foreign relations, Zelensky is more difficult to be optimistic about, and Ukraine's foreign policy will undergo major changes. His predecessor, Poroshenko, had established a stable cooperative relationship with the West and gradually advanced his plan to integrate into Europe. But after Zelensky takes office, all this may be overturned and changed. The lack of a clear, planned, and firm foreign policy platform is Zelensky's outstanding shortcoming compared to several former leaders. Inexperienced leaders are relatively easier to be manipulated and seduced. Therefore, even if Zelensky is really good for Ukraine, he cannot do better than Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and others, on the contrary it must be worse. His election is doomed to the abort or stagnation of Ukraine's efforts to join the European Union and integrate into the mainstream of Europe since 2014. As long as Ukraine fails to integrate into the West in an orderly manner as it did in 2014-2018, Putin will have an opportunity to pull Ukraine into his European strategic track. In addition, after Trump, who is close to Putin and indifferent to human rights issues, became the president of the United States, Ukraine has basically lost the substantial support of the United States, which is more conducive to Putin's strategy toward Ukraine. The relationship between Ukraine and China is relatively simple. The main connection is only at the economic level. There should be no major changes during Zelensky's tenure. For Ukraine, the relationship with the three political entities of Russia, the European Union and the United States is the most important and also the most difficult.
In short, I think that Ukraine in general (especially in the fields of foreign affairs, defense, and political reform) is far more likely to become worse than better after Zelensky came to power.
But is Ukraine already a completely hopeless "failed country"? not really. Ukraine has a vast land and is the largest country in Europe except Russia (it is also the largest country in Europe with its entire territory in Europe). Its area is 1.6 times that of Germany and 2.4 times that of the United Kingdom, and its land is almost all plains. Densely covered, rich in resources, suitable for life and production. It also has a population of more than 42 million, making it the most populous country in Eastern Europe. Territory and population are the two basic elements that constitute a sovereign state, and Ukraine ranks among the best in Europe and in the world in both respects. This means that Ukraine has huge economic potential, not only has a rich labor force, but also has a huge consumer market. If it can achieve economic take-off, it will become a pivotal power in Europe and the world. Although since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s population has experienced negative growth all year round, the birth rate is lower than the death rate, and the net outflow is serious. However, if the economy is reversed, the population outflow will naturally be contained, and even return to the 50 million population at the time of the disintegration. Conversely, if the Ukrainian economy continues to decline and social governance and ethnic conflicts continue to deteriorate, the population will continue to decline. According to the map information website "FactsMaps", Ukraine in 2050 may only have about 17.8 million people. From a long-term perspective, whether Ukraine's future will be a virtuous circle of economy, society, and population, or a vicious circle is a matter of man-made, and there is no clear answer now.
Moreover, the Ukrainian economy is not all bad. On the contrary, its machinery manufacturing, steel, aerospace, industrial mining and processing, automobile and shipbuilding industries are all in the forefront of the world. It's just that the world economy is becoming more and more high-tech and information-based, and the industries above Ukraine are not only traditional heavy industries in nature, but also have not upgraded their technologies and products, resulting in relative decline. But in terms of its industrial potential and volume, there is a basis for reshaping and taking off. In this regard, Ukraine is similar to China in the early stage of reform and opening up. Both have a sound industrial system but poor product quality and lack of technical content. It is both a fatal flaw and a basis for change. China has transformed the low-quality industry of the Mao era into a new industrial system in line with international standards in decades. Why is it impossible for Ukraine? What's more, Ukraine's industrial technology content is not low today, and the starting point is higher than that of China back then. If the economy can be fundamentally improved and the country’s income and national income can be greatly increased, Ukraine’s social conflicts will naturally be greatly eased, and its international status and influence will also increase, providing a material basis for fully resisting external pressure. The use of state power to forcibly promote economic transformation and vigorously develop education to provide outstanding talents are two key breakthrough points to save economic decline and achieve rapid development.
With regard to ethnic conflicts, church splits, and foreign relations, if all parties in Ukraine and foreign forces sincerely hope for peace, they must know how to compromise with each other, understand each other, and strive to reach a peace and coexistence framework that meets the most basic interests of all parties and satisfies the "greatest common denominator" . Uzbekistan and Russia, who are both Slavs and have been as close as brothers in history and have resisted foreign aggression together, should understand and unite with each other, and work together to oppose the corrupt and authoritarian ruling class, instead of becoming a tool of competition between the US and Russian empires. Of course, under the realistic conflict of interests, it is difficult to realize all this quickly. But everything is changing, and it is man-made. The confrontation between Russia and Ukraine should not and will not be permanent. In addition, Ukraine needs to be vigilant against the hegemony and bad intentions of Russia and the United States, and choose more contacts with the EU, which is a better diplomatic strategy for expanding international relations and safeguarding national interests. In addition, no matter who holds power, they should take into account the interests of different ethnic groups and groups, properly and fairly resolve historical and practical problems, and should not favor one side and create ethnic discrimination and oppression when both parties are at fault.
Ukrainians also have choices when it comes to improving government governance and combating oligarchs and corruption. If the Ukrainian people can truly learn from Western and Central Europe, improve their political literacy, actively participate in political and civic movements, and shoulder their responsibilities as citizens, these chronic diseases will not be eradicated or partially resolved. And politicians should also reduce personal fights, be brave enough to fight for the public, and fulfill their basic responsibilities as politicians. In addition, political pluralism is also a prerequisite for political progress and social civilization in Ukraine. Today, Ukraine is similar to neighboring countries such as Russia and Poland, where the right-wing government takes turns to control the government and occupy the majority of seats in the parliament, while left-wing parties are marginalized. This ideological conservatism and simplification of the political situation is not conducive to political innovation, healthy competition between political parties, and the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups. If there is a left-wing political party that promotes social justice, fights oligarchs and dependencyism, and promotes progress and equal rights, it will bring about a turning point for Ukraine, and it will also benefit the rights of the working class, women and children, LGBT groups and other disadvantaged groups. Maintenance and expansion. But all of this requires the joint efforts of Ukrainian politicians, social activists, scholars, journalists, ordinary workers, peasants, and employees from all walks of life. Instead of relying on Zelensky or anyone as a "savior", everything depends on the Ukrainian people. Own awakening and struggle. The "Orange Revolution" and the 2013-2014 parade and even the "revolution" have proved the courage, action and spirit of Ukrainians to fight against power. But in the future, Ukraine needs more constructive changes. "Breaking" is important, but "establishing" is even more critical.
In short, in the short to medium term, Ukraine's internal and external troubles are difficult to resolve, and even after Zelensky came to power, the situation has become more complicated. But in the long-term and farther future, Ukraine has huge economic potential and broad social development prospects, but it only needs the persistent efforts and struggles of the Ukrainian people. The road ahead is long and the world is difficult. This is true for the Ukrainian state, nation, and every citizen. I hope that this nation, which has a glorious history of civilization and has endured hardships, will one day realize true self-improvement, freedom, and independence, so that every citizen can live in a civilized, peaceful, and prosperous land.
June 21, 2019
Chinese reference materials:
1. "Ukraine Election: Comedian Zelensky Wins High Vote" - BBC
2. "The Ukrainian General Election: A Political Amateur Who Examines a Veteran in the Political Field"--BBC
3. "Assassination of Babchenko: Drama within a play, the truth and the whole story" - BBC
4. "Reporter Laihong: Ukrainians' Russian Complex"--BBC
5. "The situation between Ukraine and Russia is tense, and the Ukrainian army is ready for battle"--BBC
6. "Ukrainians Fight for Liberal Values" -- "New York Times"
7. "Ukraine proves the fragility of Putin's dream of great power" -- "New York Times"
8. "Ukrainian Army Surrenders to Eastern Separatists" -- The New York Times
9. "Ukraine at the Center of a Civilization War" - The New York Times
10. "The Ukrainian President Announces the End of the Ceasefire, the West and Russia Reciprocate" - "New York Times"
11. "Interview: Brothers of former world boxing champions comment on the Ukrainian election" - Deutsche Welle
12. "The Historic Split Between the Ukrainian Church and Russia"--Al Jazeera Chinese Website
13. "The "Counterattack" of Russia's "Internet Navy""--China Youth Online
14. "Russian guy's undercover "Internet Water Army Center" exposes how Russian officials manipulate public opinion"--Observer.com
15. "The Scariest Fake News Is Never the Kind of Zhongtian" -- "Shangbao"
16. "Information Warfare: Exposing how the government's propaganda machine masquerades as "independent media" and NGOs to confuse the public" -- Medium
Reference materials in English, Russian, Ukrainian, etc.:
1.Criminal Case Instigated Against Ukrainian Ex-President Kuchma--mosnews
2.EU-Ukraine Summits: 16 Years of Wheel-Spinning--The Ukrainian Wee
3.Key suspect in Gongadze murder arrested; Pukach allegedly strangled the journalist, but who gave the order? (UPDATED)--Kyiv Post(Newspaper)
4. Court clears Kuchma of Gongadze murder charges--Kyiv Post
5Key Ukraine murder trial begins--BBC (English, the same below)
6.Police officials wittingly killed Gongadze--For Um
7.The Conflict in Ukraine--Serhy Yekelchyk
8.Ukraine crisis: Timeline--BBC
9.Profile: Viktor Yushchenko--BBC
11.Half of Ukrainians is ready to deprive Yushchenko of presidency--For Um
12.Yushchenko and the poison theory---BBC
13.The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics--Nathaniel Copsey
14.Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, and Institutional Design--Paul D'Anieri
15.BACK CHANNELS: A Crackdown Averted; How Top Spies in Ukraine Changed the Nation's Path--The New York Times（英文，下同）
17.Transitions from Postcommunism--Journal of Democracy
18.Profile: Viktor Yanukovych--BBC
19.How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy-- Anders Åslund
20.The millionaire revolutionary--The Guardian
21Russia to cut Ukraine gas supply--BBC
22."Ukraine warns EU of gas 'problem'"--BBC
23."Ukraine asks EU to take part in settlement of Ukrainian-Russian gas dispute"--Interfax
24. Yushchenko betrayed Tymoshenko--Pravda
25.Tymoshenko does not regret supporting Yushchenko in 2004
26.Ukrainian ex-PM slams dismissal--BBC
27.New and conflicting details emerge over Mogilevich's alleged involvement in nation--Kyiv Post
28.Ukraine PM Accused of 'High Treason--The New York Sun
29.Tymoshenko faces yet another investigation--Kyiv Post
30.Ukraine's Tymoshenko loses appeal against jail term--BBC
31.Tymoshenko's jailers sentenced to three years in prison--CENSOR.NET
32Ukraine’s Yanukovych: EU ties a ‘key priority’--Kyiv Post
33.Charlemagne: Playing East against West--The Economist
34.EU suspends trade deal talks with Ukraine--The Boston Globe
35.Russian troops take over Ukraine's Crimea region--Associated Press
36.Ukraine Health Ministry: Kyiv unrest death toll reaches 100--Kyiv Post
37.Around 780 people die during protests in Ukraine in reality, say volunteer doctors--Interfax
38.Western nations scramble to contain fallout from Ukraine crisis--The Guardian
39.Is it too late for Kiev to woo Russian-speaking Ukraine?--The Christian Science Monitor
40.Crimea declares independence, seeks UN recognition--RT News
41.Gunfire, airstrikes leave Donetsk Intl airport up in smoke--RT News
42.Evidence of Separatists' Possession of Buk System Before Downing of MH17--The Interpreter Magazine
43.Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine 16 February to 15 May 2019--OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights)
44.UKRAINE Situation update No.7 as of 14 August 2015--OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
45.Ukrainian Investigator Sees Chloroform as Cause of Odessa Deaths--Bloomberg BusinessWeek
46..Profile: Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko--BBC
47.Saakashvili took over as head of the Odessa Regional State Administration--DW News
48. Poroshenko, President of Ukraine--Centre for Eastern Studies（OSW）
49.Eight Ukrainians make Forbes magazine's list of world billionaires--Kyiv Post
50.Op-Ed: Petro Poroshenko the oligarch poised to become Ukraine president--Digital Journal
51.The Return of the Prodigal Son, Who Never Left Home--The Ukrainian Week
53. Yatsenyuk found a wife in a bank, and studied at the same school with the first beauty of Ukraine - Today
54. Biography of the new head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk--Radio Liberty
55. Yatsenyuk Arseny Petrovych--LEAGUE
56.Ukraine’s New Premier, the ‘Rabbit,’ Seems to Be in His Element--The New York Times
57. Yatsenyuk Arseny Petrovych.--LEAGUE
58.Ukraine minister gets "orange" OK for speaker job--Reuters
59..Ukraine Parliamentary Leader Yatsenyuk Refuses PM Post--Daily Trending Search
60.Yatseniuk: Ukrainian must be only state language in Ukraine--Kyiv Post
61. Yatseniuk: Prosecution of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko hinders Ukraine-EU integration--Kyiv Post
62.Yatseniuk: meaningless foreign policy has been conducted over whole period of Ukraine's independence--Kyiv Post
63. Yatseniuk proposes amnesty for Tymoshenko and Lutsenko this year--Kyiv Post
64. Yatseniuk: Prosecution of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko hinders Ukraine-EU integration--Kyiv Post
65.Ukraine bans Soviet symbols and criminalises sympathy for communism--The Guardian
66.Ukraine election: Comedian Zelensky 'wins presidency by landslide--BBC
67.Comedian faces scrutiny over oligarch ties in Ukraine presidential race--Reuters
68 Zelensky Vladimir--LIGA
69. Zelensky intends to demand the resignation of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine--Sevas
70. Actor Zelensky criticized the SBU because of the ban on the series "Matchmakers" - RIA Novosti
71. Zelensky announced his decision to run for president (video)--Ukrainian Independent Information Agency of News （UNIAN）
72.Ukrainian Presidential Hopeful Admits Russian Assets-- RadioFreeEurope
73. Support for Zelensky, Varkarchuk shows popular demand for new politicians--Kyiv Post
74. Actor Zelensky criticized the SBU because of the ban on the series "Matchmakers" - RIA Novosti
75.Ukraine media demands access to runoff frontrunner Zelensky--Al Jazeera
76.The comedian and the oligarch--Politico Europe
77.Oligarch Kolomoisky ready to advise Zelensky--112.International
78.Zelensky and his Studio Kvartal-95 performed in the ATO-KP zone in Ukraine
79.What a Volodymyr Zelensky Ukrainian Presidency Would Look Like--The National Interest
80.President v oligarch--The Economist
81.An Injection Of Rule Of Law For Ukrainian Business?--Forbes
82.Rule by oligarchs: Kiev appoints billionaires to govern east--RT News
83.Ukraine election: Comedian leads presidential contest--BBC
84. Zelensky plans to attract investments to Ukraine through the restart of the judicial system--Ukrainian Pravda
85. Vladimir Zelensky: It is beneficial for us to dissolve the Rada, but we will think and act according to the law--RBC
86.No matter their allegiance, Ukraine’s politicians are ignoring LGBT rights--Open Democracy
87.Letter to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky--Human Right Watch
88.Ukraine's TV President Is Dangerously Pro-Russian--Foreign Policy
89.Pussy Riot gig at Christ the Savior Cathedral--YouTube
90.Pussy Riot reply to Patriarch--RT News
Data sources for presidential and parliamentary elections: Ukrainian Central Election Commission, major newspapers and polling agencies
Sources of economic data and country profile data: International Monetary Fund (IMF) official website, World Bank (WB) official website, CIA "World Profile" and other international agencies, national agencies, and non-governmental organization statistics; Ukraine Data from Ukrainian government agencies such as the State Statistics Committee and the Ministry of Economic Development of Ukraine.
Reference encyclopedia: English, Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian Wikipedia
Bibliography: "A History of Ukraine" - Paul Kubysek "The Russian Road from Gorbachev to Putin: The End of the Soviet System and the New Russia" - David M. Koz, Fred ·Will's "Ten Years of Vicissitudes: Economic and Social Transition and Thought Changes in Eastern European Countries"--by Qin Hui and Jin Yan