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Russian likes and dislikes in Ukraine

MOSCOW. (Vyacheslav Nikonov for RIA Novosti) - Today many experts agree that the Russian factor will not be as influential in the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Ukraine as it was in 2004 and 2006.

I believe this shows that Ukrainian statehood has become more mature. Before, Russia found itself in the center of the election race largely because the main question was why Ukraine was not Russia. Now that it has been answered, Ukraine will have its own agenda for the election campaign.

But the early elections to the Rada (parliament) are not likely to change the situation. Domestic political life will most likely remain unstable. The system by which the government is formed by the parliamentary majority, with stable majority lacking, will automatically program instability into any Ukrainian cabinet of ministers. It is not clear whether the future government will be Orange or White-and-Blue.

Moreover, strictly speaking, the current political crisis, as well as many events prior to it, is taking place outside the legal field. Different political forces are still disputing the legitimacy of the previous Rada's dissolution and the announcement of new elections. The future government's legitimacy may be also called into doubt. Last but not the least, a serious cultural split will persist in Ukrainian society regardless of who is elected. That is more important than any political differences or financial affiliations.

The main question is what comes next. Will the opposing political forces come to terms? How long will the new Rada exist, considering that the dissolution procedures have not been forgotten?

As for the Russian position, I believe that any Russian participation is somewhat exaggerated and is obviously used against Russia, although different political forces will not conceal their preferences in Ukraine this time, either. The Russian communist party will express solidarity with its Ukrainian soul mates, Pyotr Simonenko and Mrs. Natalia Vetrenko. I'm sure that the Kremlin will continue supporting Viktor Yanukovich. Our Liberals will back Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

In short, the preferences of the Ukrainian electorate and Russian political forces have long been established. But there are also dislikes. Tymoshenko's article in the American journal Foreign Affairs, in which she suggested an anti-Russian coalition, has not made her more popular in the Russian corridors of power. Needless to say, those who want to see Ukraine part of NATO as soon as possible do not have many admirers behind the Kremlin's walls.

Likewise, we have reasons to oppose Ukraine's de-Russification because it harms local Russians and our national language. But for all that I'm confident that the Kremlin will deal with any government that the Ukrainians elect. This is Russia's position. In this respect, it is different from the stance of those Western countries, which prefer dealing with pro-Western governments that fit their notion of democracy.

Vyacheslav Nikonov is president of the Politika Foundation.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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