Ukrainian Govt. Campaigns For NATO
MOSCOW, Russia -- Ukraine has begun an informational campaign to popularize the idea of NATO membership. There is $3 million budgeted for the campaign.
The government hopes to reduce the number of its citizens opposed to the idea significantly by December, when Ukraine hope to receive a NATO Membership Action Plan.
The idea for the campaign arise at the beginning of the year, at the same time as Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko stated that a referendum was necessary on Ukraine's NATO membership.
The campaign itself began only in the last few days. Well-known politicians, such as Boris Tarasyuk, chairman of the Supreme Rada Committee on European Integration, have taken to the road to explain the idea to the people.
Ukrainian state television will soon begin showing “positive programming” devoted to NATO.
“NATO's refusal to give Ukraine a Membership Action Plan at the Bucharest summit was a hard blow to Yushchenko's image,” commented Dmitro Ponomarchuk, president of the Free Journalists Foundation. “Now it is a matter of honor for the president.”
According to the International Institute of Sociology in Kiev, only 18 percent of Ukrainians support the idea of the country's membership in NATO, while 62 percent oppose it.
NATO has 39-percent support in Western Ukraine, and 6-percent support in Eastern Ukraine.
“Everything depends on how delicately Russia will behave toward Ukraine,” International Institute of Sociology president Valery Khmelko said.
“It is clear from our statistics how painfully people react when they do not want to consider them citizens of a sovereign state and threaten them with missiles. So the Russian politicians themselves are working toward the likelihood that Ukrainians will vote for NATO.”