10:38 GMT +319 December 2018
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    Ukraine - normal democracy

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    MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Shusharin) - The first response of the foreign press to the events in Ukraine has followed a familiar pattern, juxtaposing pro-Western Yushchenko and pro-Russian Yanukovich. This is very flattering for Russia but far from the truth.

    The very fact that the nationalist Zhirinovsky has enthusiastically backed Yushchenko makes one think twice before taking the formula for granted.

    There is an amusing detail. The European Youth Union (EYU) is planning to organize an "imperial marsh" in Moscow on Sunday. The EYU is primarily known for the events it has staged in the former Soviet republics. One of its slogans is "Ukraine is Russia.'' In his recent publication an EYU leader put Viktor Yanukovich on the same plane with other "U.S. vassals" ruling on "occupied territories, such as "Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Baltic states."

    Much has changed in Russian-Ukrainian relations since the Orange Revolution and the gas blockade. Official propaganda still attributes the revolutionary events to CIA intrigues. On the one hand, the gas war did not increase Ukrainian prime minister's enthusiasm for Russia - it primarily dealt a blow at his supporters, the business community in eastern Ukraine. But on the other hand, the mysterious RosUkrEnergo, the supplier of Russian and Central Asian gas to Ukraine, which has taken on the responsibility for settling the gas crisis, is said to be linked with Viktor Yushchenko.

    This is why Moscow's very reserved reaction to the events in Ukraine is only natural, all the more so since everyone understands that Ukraine is not Russia. It will not have anything in common with the 1993 Russian crisis, when the confrontation of the institute of presidency and the rudiments of Soviet government erupted into an armed rebellion of the Russian Supreme Soviet supporters.

    After the Ukrainian president's visit was delayed, his secretariat announced that he would soon visit Russia. Russia has not commented on this statement, nor has it refuted it.

    All this deals with how Russia could behave in the Ukrainian crisis. But the crisis has one more important aspect - it is an example for Russian society and politicians. At one time, the Ukrainian orange crush scared the Russian elite to the point that the Moscow government warned the organizers of politically neutral rallies not to use orange color.

    Since then the interest in the Ukrainian events has largely abated. Still, the Ukrainian crisis is bound to attract the attention of Russian politicians, who have been leading an uneventful life in the last few years. The public nature of the crisis, good manners, bordering on benevolence, of the parties involved (Yanukovich, for one, has urged the nation to help the president correct his mistake), and lack of desire to destroy the opponent is an example of how democracies resolve political problems. Meanwhile, Russia is turning into a power-based state, to use the precise expression of President Putin's former advisor Andrei Illarionov. In other words, Ukraine is developing politically while Russia is degrading.

    Indicatively, although Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered to help Ukraine overcome the crisis, the Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) appealed to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). It seems that Russia's political influence in Ukraine is now limited to the gas pipe's diameter. Russia cannot blame anyone for this situation - it cannot be ascribed to CIA intrigues by any stretch of the imagination.

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

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