MOSCOW, (Alexander Oryol, political scientist from Kiev, for RIA Novosti) - The March 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine will take place in conditions of a deep political and economic crisis, which have replaced the hopes and romanticism of the Orange revolution.
In my opinion, the main reason for this is that the new regime did not know what to do with the country. It thought the revolutionary achievements were enough for Europe to open its door for Ukraine and for Russia to start paying its neighbor's expenses of rapprochement with the West.
The Kiev authorities naively thought that Ukraine's success in the West depended on the speed of its movement away from Russia. Instead, confrontation with Russia has provoked a deep political crisis in Ukraine, which has not abated to this day.
To overcome this crisis and regain the trust of key foreign policy players, Kiev should stop trying to use the Cold War rules in its foreign policy. Ukraine needs a predictable and pragmatic policy based not on illusions but on objective capabilities of Ukraine and its real national interests.
It should revise its European policy that rests on the illusion of Ukraine's accelerated admission to the European Union as an instrument of geopolitical divorce from Russia.
This does not mean that Ukraine should abandon its European choice. But it need not be based on an anti-Russian platform. Moreover, tensions and mistrust in Russo-Ukrainian relations will considerably complicate Ukraine's rapprochement with Europe.
The models of such rapprochement may differ, from a gradual creation of a common Ukraine-EU market (modeled on the agreements between the EU and the European Free Trade Association, EFTA) to the implementation of joint projects in various spheres, as the EU and Russia are doing.
Kiev should ponder possible involvement in EU-Russia cooperation formats. It should not just participate in them but also scrutinize them creatively to gear them to common interests. Despite the many years of Kiev's European integration rhetoric, Russia has advanced farther than Ukraine in the majority of key fields of cooperation with the EU. Moreover, Ukraine simply needs Russia to create effective forms of dialogue with the EU in the spheres of energy security, migration, and readmission, as well as a common market.
Whatever form Ukraine chooses for implementing its European choice, it must consistently apply the fundamental rule, according to which Kiev should be an equally reliable partner of Washington, Moscow, Rome, Berlin, Brussels, and Beijing.
Kiev should do everything possible to normalize dialogue and cooperation with Russia without neglecting the national interests of Ukraine. This is truly a matter of life or death of the Ukrainian state.
One of the main tasks of the new Ukrainian government, which will be formed on the results of the March 26 parliamentary elections, is to do its best to stop Ukraine from becoming the frontline of a new Cold War. The country should use the rare chance to strengthen security and build up trust in eastern Europe.
Despite deep differences between them, the West and Russia are two indivisible parts of one civilization based primarily on Christian values. Ukraine cannot associate itself with only one of these parts of the common civilization and turn its back on the other. This would tear the country in two.
The geopolitical location of Ukraine is a unique chance to become a link in the European civilization by promoting dialogue and rapprochement and smoothing over contradictions.