Ukraine on the way to Europe

There is such an argument in the Russian language in the debate between a theist and an atheist, “Do you see a groundhog? No. But it’s there”. The same story is with Vladislav Surkov, whose surname has the same root with the word “groundhog” in Russian.

When the Kremlin’s unchallenged grey cardinal (ideologically) of many years left the post of Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Russian and not only analysts made guesses about where President Putin was going to find an application for his vis-a-vis. At first Surkov was fixed up in the government, but, it seems, work in the executive power turned out to be quite petty. He wasn’t seen or heard of – just like a groundhog from the saying.

But there was a clap of thunder – and Ukraine finally moved to the European Union. And the Russian media immediately carried insider information on Surkov’s return to the Kremlin. And in no lesser position than Putin’s Aide responsible for supervising problematic border countries, including Ukraine.

Sources from Russian newspapers inform that Vladimir Putin made such a decision in the view of completely failed work with Ukraine. They say, the trade turnover decreased and Ukraine got out of hand as well – it is about to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. And Surkov’s task is to straighten the relations with Kyiv and prevent the signing of the Association.

They also say that Surkov will have to help Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov who does not cope with the tasks at hand. It is not clear yet how Putin’s new-old assistant is going to do so.

But Vladislav Surkov, beyond any doubt, is quite capable of managing such a difficult assignment. He did hold back the protesting electorate in Russia for so many years, setting up fake youth and civil movements.

If the publications about Surkov’s appointment turn out to be true, Ukraine and whole Europe will have to expect a much more skillful game on the part of the Kremlin as regards Ukraine. Tested pseudo-social movements will be brought into play. The power of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is definitely to be fully put to use (and its influence on the minds in Ukraine should not be underestimated).

A large group of cultural visitors from Russia should be expected – in Kyiv, Paris, Berlin etc. It is not for no reason that Surkov made friends with Boris Grebenschikov and many other characters from the Russian rock get-together and bohemia.

On the other hand, Surkov, as an experienced negotiator, will be able to rebuild the broken down communications between Moscow and Kyiv. And when the bridges are reconstructed, who knows, what promises of rosy skies will be made from the side of the White-stone.

Although, it is quite possible that Vladislav Surkov will happen to be powerless to change anything in the existing situation. And then Putin again will send him to some no-sweat but lucrative job.

It is interesting, how often do they remember the now deceased Viktor Chernomyrdin and Yevgeniy Primakov? They used to be the ones who really understood the Ukrainian specifics and knew how to play such a fine game that Russian business felt freer in Ukraine than in the motherland and Ukrainians were happy about the relations with the northern neighbor.

Today it must be admitted that the Russian diplomacy thoroughly failed the Ukrainian direction and does not fully understand what to do with this. And that is because, as my political engineering friend from the Russian Federation told me back in the times of the “orange revolution”, “You, Ukraine, is absolutely absent on the foreign policy map of the Kremlin. You have been and will always be absent from there”.

It seems, it is already there and will definitely stay. Because when neighbors are being treated so disdainfully, they have to remind about themselves by any means.

And Ukraine’s European choice is, perhaps, the best reminder about its existence – both for Russia and for the whole world as well.


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