Russia Set To Win The War For Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Opinion polls show that a pro-Russia politician will probably win Ukraine’s January 17 presidential election. After the 2004 “Orange Revolution” it seemed as if Ukraine had moved toward the West. But polls strongly indicate that Russia will bring the errant nation to heal in January. And, unlike Georgia, it seems that Ukraine won’t require a military campaign to be reconquered by Moscow.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is widely seen as likely to face ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in a run-off election for president. Both are pro-Russian.

The current pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko’s approval ratings are in the single digits. Although we cannot be sure who will win the election, we can be almost certain that it won’t be Ukraine’s only pro-Western candidate. He has worked hard to align Ukraine with NATO, but neither of his more popular opponents, along with 88 percent of Ukraine’s population, want Ukraine in NATO.

The polls predict that ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych will ultimately win the election, beating Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a run-off ballot. Neither of these candidates is expected to garner the 50 percent of votes necessary to win the January 17 elections outright—meaning they will probably face each other in a run-off election on February 7.

But, of course, both of these candidates are pro-Russian. Viktor Yanukovych led Ukraine before 2004, when it was decidedly more supportive of the Kremlin. He had the support of then Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yulia Tymoshenko used to be pro-Western, working with Yushchenko to move Ukraine out of Russia’s sphere of influence. But she appears to be a pragmatist, and has decided that she has a better chance of being reelected by focusing on mending Ukraine’s ties with Russia.

The rest of the world seems to have resigned itself to letting Russia have Ukraine back. The United States appears to have abandoned Ukraine in exchange for more Russian help in Afghanistan. Germany too seems content to let Russia take Ukraine—perhaps as part of an earlier deal that allowed Kosovo to break off from Serbia without too much fuss.

NATO has declined to offer Ukraine a membership action plan, and has instead said that Ukraine’s path to NATO is only going to get more difficult. On the other hand, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Russia’s alternative to NATO, says that if Ukraine wanted to join, it could be a member within a month.

“With us, Ukraine would not have to carry out the kind of overhaul of its entire defense and security system that NATO demands,” said Vitaly Strugovets, CSTO’s chief spokesman. “If you look at it from an overall security standpoint, Ukraine is fundamentally a lot closer to the CSTO’s way of doing things. I’m talking about everything from military hardware to the basic mentality of the officer corps.”

Yanukovych has hinted that he likes the idea. “We are surrounded by strong governments,” he said. “Naturally, this means above all Russia, as well as other Eurasian countries, for whom Ukraine is desirable as a stable country, a reliable link in a system of collective security.”

While 33 percent of voters are undecided—and politics can always hold surprises —watch for Russia to regain control of this vital piece of land on January 17.

In some ways, this victory would be more significant than Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. Georgia is now powerless to oppose Russia, but it is nowhere near joining the csto. In Ukraine, Russia has not conquered territory, but rather won the battle for the people’s hearts and minds.

Over the past several years, Russia has worked hard to isolate Ukraine from Western nations while at the same time trying to win the Ukrainian people over to its side. In doing this, it has used the Russian Orthodox Church and even movies. Russia President Dmitri Medvedev has been careful to direct his criticism of Ukraine at the leadership alone, emphasizing friendship with the people.

As a result, it seems that Russia has a victory more complete than any war. Ukraine is a vital piece of territory for Russia. It is also a key to controlling the Caucasus. In addition to housing Russia’s Black Sea fleet and its continental ballistic missiles, Ukraine is a buffer state in defending Russia’s south.

Without Ukraine, Russia is vulnerable. But with it, the Kremlin will begin to feel a lot more secure. January 17 could bring a major increase in Russian power. And Russia has shown that it is not afraid to invade its neighbors.

This in turn will make Europe much more nervous. “As Russia gets stronger, as the world grows more dangerous, as economic problems escalate, the Germans will be crying out for strong leadership!” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry last year. “They are looking for a king—with a fierce enough countenance to stand up to Vladimir Putin!”

If either Tymoshenko or Yanukovych win the elections, it will amount to a bloodless takeover by Russia. Watch for Russia to increase in power, and watch for Europe’s response.

Source: The Trumpet

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