Voice of Russia — Dec 3, 2013
The way that EU officials are talking about protests in Ukraine, it’s almost if the whole of Ukraine has made up its mind and wants to join the EU, Marcus Papadopoulus, the editor of Politics First magazine, told the Voice of Russia. But that’s not the case whatsoever, he added. The fact that there are EU officials and European politicians going to Ukraine and urging for people to rise up, to oppose the government, “that’s completely a violation of state’s sovereignty,” Dr Marcus Papadopoulus explained.
According to latest reports, pro-European Union demonstrators who were holding a rally on Kiev’s Independence Square on Tuesday split up with some of them staying on the square and the rest setting off for the building of the president’s office.
The march to the president’s office, which brought together hundreds, followed an appeal from Oleksandr Turchynov, coordinator of the “National Resistance Committee.” The marchers were going to demand the resignation of the government and early parliamentary elections.
Marcus Papadopoulus, the editor of Politics First magazine, believes that the Ukrainian government “needs to be left alone to decide what is in the best interests of Ukraine.”
How could you comment or how would you comment on some people’s urge in Ukraine to have closer ties with the EU?
I think that Ukraine has come to the crossroads whereby it cannot keep on flirting with the EU and Russia indefinitely and this is being going on for the last 20 years indeed since Ukraine had its independence. But it’s somewhat worrying what we are seeing in Ukraine at the moment because of course Ukrainians need to decide amongst themselves, they are sovereign independent nation, they need to decide amongst themselves whether they want to be in the EU or they want to forge closer relations and become a member of the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. But it’s very unclear as to what level of information is being put out to ordinary Ukrainians about the benefits of joining the EU. All we hear- the EU officials talking about ‘if Ukraine joins a family of Europe, there will be greater prosperity, more democracy, more opportunities and it will save Ukraine’s future’. But that’s a very simplistic approach to make. And I think that it is a bit early, it’s disconcerting because we have a lot of violent protest going on in Ukraine at the moment and the protestors do not represent the whole of the country. But the way that EU officials and western mainstream tenants are talking about these protests, it’s almost if the whole of Ukraine has made up its mind and wants to join the EU. But that’s not the case whatsoever. And on another note, the fact that there are EU officials and European politicians going to Ukraine to a sovereign independent country and urging for people to rise up, to oppose the government. I mean, that’s completely a violation of state’s sovereignty. That’s completely a violation of the norms of the UN. These politicians shouldn’t be travelling to another country and encouraging, I would argue, effectively a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine.
-Well, it does seem like they are doing something strange, it seems like they are asking for an insurrection and it seems that they are egging the people on to continue doing this. Let’s step back for a moment. How would you assess the political and economic aspects of Ukraine stands on the EU?
-Well, that’s been the big question building up to whether Ukraine last week was going to sign the agreement at a summit in Lithuania. What can the EU offer Ukraine? The EU is a dire state at the moment. You only have to look at Greece and Cyprus where the economies, where the banking sectors have collapsed. So what really is in it for ordinary Ukrainians? Even most Ukrainians that are sane and they have every right to hold this opinion, that they want to be at the EU, just how much do they know about the EU? Just how much do they know that the EU will be good for them economically? And then we need to take a brutally realistic assessments of the situation with the Ukrainian economy. The Ukrainian economy is very closely tied to the economy of Russia. That’s the fact. When we hear talking about the Orange Revolution of 2004 and Viktor Yushchenko coming to power in this revolution, the fact that he failed to do anything meaningful in Ukraine shows that Ukraine not just economically but culturally, historically and politically is tied to Russia. And that’s a very important observation here. Because the Orange Revolution is no such thing as a revolution. If it really was a revolution then Ukraine would be probably well on the vote by now to become a member of the EU. That is not the level of anti-Russian sentiments in Ukraine which western mainstream major outlets are alleging. That’s just not the case. You find regions of the Ukraine where there is anti-Russian sentiment, in the western most regions Chernovtsy for example, Galicia for example, but the rest of the Ukrainian population is culturally tied to the Russians, they are part of East Slavic family. The Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are from the same family and they share the same first state in their history – Kieven Rus. So what Ukraine can really get out of the EU is the $64,000 question. What level of information is given out to ordinary Ukrainians about the benefits- is another big question. I mean, I can say being the journalist in Britain, there is hardly any talk about the EU and what’s it about in the British press. The only thing you find in the British press is the criticism of the EU. So one would suspect that if that’s the case in Britain, a major member state of the EU, it’s probably gonna be even worse in Ukraine.
-That’s a very interesting take on a situation. Let’s look forward here and what’s going to happen in the Ukraine? How would this situation in Ukraine develop in the future?
-Ukraine is an independent sovereign country, its president Viktor Yanukovych was democratically elected in 2010. It is up to the Ukrainian population to decide which way their country goes. But it’s completely unacceptable for outside interference in Ukraine and we are seeing that from western politicians. And it’s unacceptable for protestors to use violent methods on the streets of Kiev. We hearing for example the BBC, that there are protests in Kiev for freedom and the police have used violence against them. Well, let’s have a look that we saw yesterday. We saw the protestors driving a tractor into the police. We saw the protesters throwing all sorts of dangerous objects at the police. We saw the protesters gaining entrance government buildings. The Ukrainian government needs to be left alone to decide what is in the best interests of Ukraine. And there can’t be any pressure towards on the Ukrainian government. And as I said at the beginning of the interview, because of a lot of protestors on the streets of Kiev who undoubtedly have been encouraged by outside forces – why does it mean that they are right, Ukrainian government needs to leave office, a new government has to come in and Ukraine needs to join the EU. I mean that’s absolutely ludicrous. I mean, when did that become a rule or a norm when there are protests in a country, the government accepts the protest, accepts the violence and new government comes to power and the new government takes the country in a direction of what some people want. That’s not democracy. We hearing all sorts of nonsense at the moment that the protesters in Ukraine all they want is freedom. Well, in a country where there is no freedom there is no elections, in a country where there is no freedom there is no protests and in a country where there is no freedom there is no government’s offices being taken over by protesters. All three things we have in Ukraine. There are presidential elections, there are parliamentary elections, there are protests as we see at the moment, there are government buildings being taken over. So there is democracy in Ukraine, there is freedom in Ukraine. But of course it’s a Hollywood version of events that’s being put out at the moment by western governments and by EU officials that in Ukraine there was no freedom.
-I would just like you to comment very briefly, you mentioned about the demonstrators and they were throwing objects at police, you even mentioned that there was a tractor. Well, throwing objects at the police sounds like a criminal act to me. And where did they get the tractor?
-I don’t know where they got the tractor from, but you are absolutely right. They are illegal acts and violence should be condemned unequivocally, it is as simple as that. If this was happening in Paris, in Berlin, in Madrid, there would be condemnations from EU officials. Violence should be categorically opposed and condemned.
-Wonderful. And on that note I’d like to thank you for joining us.