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    Bargaining Chip: What US, EU Store up Ukraine for in Their Russia Strategy

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    Ukrainian authorities have recently been inspired by the EU's decision to lift visa requirements for visiting Europe (the Schengen area), and hope for future membership in the EU. However, the country's former minister of economy Viktor Suslov shattered all illusions by revealing who is using Ukraine in the geopolitical game and the country's fate.

    Ukrainian former minister of economy Viktor Suslov has given a very interesting interview about the future prospects of his home country without a backward glance at the censorship of official Kiev.

    The full version of the interview has been published by Ukrainian news website 2000.ua. Sputnik has chosen the most interesting answers with regards to the geopolitical future of the country and its suggested predestination at the international arena.

    The Worst is Still to Come

    When answering to the question why Russian analysts predict soonest collapse of the Ukrainian economy while the Ukrainian authorities report of the steady economic growth and stabilization of the county's currency, Viktor Suslov explained what mistakes Russian analysts do in their estimates and forecasts.

    "There will be no collapse of the Ukrainian economy regardless of the shape and actual state of affairs in the economy itself. The West won't allow it. It needs Ukraine as a battering-ram in its fight against Russia. That is why it will supply lethal weapons to Kiev, free of charge, as the Soviet-made weaponry is running out, and will train its army. It will also "help" with the military-patriotic upbringing of Ukrainian young people. And will suggest how to re-write history," ex-minister of economy told the website.

    While Russia is waiting for the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, time is working against Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine will be strengthening militarily and politically and thus will be strengthening the bargaining positions of the West. Until a "big deal" is sealed [with Russia].

    As for Ukraine's economic growth, there is currently no growth. Recent data reveals the slump in Ukrainian industry. With the first signs of recovery, the country's authorities had cut off the industrial sector of Donbass with its blockade. Ukraine has lost 33 billion hryvnas ($1,27 billion) of tax revenues per year to the country's budget, lost currency earnings from the metal export, cheap anthracite for its energy sector and a number of enterprises in the region which had been transferred under the "external management".

    "Now we are proud that we have agreed with the US about the deliveries of anthracite. Hell yes! We've got a pat on the back from Trump himself! But let me ask you something: was the blockade set up in the interests of the owners of American mines? Let someone persuade me that it was done in the interests of Ukraine," said the former minister of economy.

    He also commented on the dubious "achievements" in the banking sector: the closure of 90 Ukrainian commercial banks. As the result, hundreds of billions of savings of residents and business companies have been lost. It might be a great loss for some and a success for others. Someone might see it as an intentional cleanup of the Ukrainian banking sector for the international banks.

    "We should however understand that since all the reforms are going on in line with the ideology of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its programs, the worst for Ukraine is still to come," he said.

    Even with the nominal growth of income, the Ukrainians are getting poorer due to the spiraling growth of prices on food and consumer goods, continuous growth of energy tariffs, gas and heating. As the result, very many people are now live below the poverty line. The government, meanwhile, plans to cut budget spending on subsidies to low-income residents.

    "There is massive re-distribution of public wealth for the benefit of oligarchs, monopolists and corrupt authorities. And it will only get worth under colorful propagandistic and ideological declarations," Viktor Suslov said.

    He also noted that since it is the IMF which oversees the economic policy of Ukraine, the country should get used to the idea that it is going to be turned into a resource and raw material colony of the West.

    "As a rule, as a result of such reforms, a country starts specializing either in the agricultural production or in the development of the mining industry and in supply of natural resources to more developed countries, or in the production, which requires low-qualified and cheap workforce,' the former minister of economy said.

    "In simple words, IMF policies ensure the supremacy of the developed western countries in the international economy. No country, which carried out the reforms according to the recipe of the IMF, had been able to become a highly-developed, industrial, rich country," he stated.

    Losers and Beneficiaries

    The country has lost all of its ties with Russia, Viktor Suslov said, they are beyond repair. Russia has spent billions to substitute them, while Ukraine has lost dozens of billions of US dollars. Many unique enterprises and technologies have been lost, lots of highly qualified employees have lost their jobs when Ukraine lost the Russian market.

    Were all these decisions made in the interests of Ukraine, the former minister of economy wondered.

    "All these enterprises can't supply their products to the EU as their technological processes do not comply with the European technical standards and regulations. Ukraine needs massive investments to modernize these enterprises and bring them in line with the European standards, which it does not have. The West, in turn, will never invest in Ukraine, as it has similar productions and it does not need any competition in the sphere of high technologies," he explained.

    The Geopolitical Purpose of the West

    Viktor Suslov explained that the West is very masterly and cleverly orchestrating the geopolitical war with Russia for Ukraine. It maintains simmering crisis in Ukraine while intensively brainwashing its residents, especially young people, which inevitably and effectively brings certain fruits.

    Some processes are irreversible: de-industrialization, destruction of the country's infrastructure, loss of scientific potential, lower level of education, massive immigration, especially of young generation, all this leads to degradation of the country.

    Russia won't even try to fight for such a country. The West will be satisfied: without industrial and scientific potential, Ukraine won't be able to strengthen Russia even if it decides to reunite with it.

    The end of 2013 – beginning of 2014 has signaled political, economic, ideological and cultural re-orientation of Ukraine towards the West. The country started exiting from the zone of Russia's geopolitical influence and entering the zone of geopolitical influence of the West.

    "One will not understand what is going on in Ukraine without taking into account the fight for it between Russia and the West and redrawing of the zones of geopolitical influence. All the leading geopolitical analysts pointed out that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the control over Ukraine will be a very significant factor. For Russia, it means the safeguard of national security, and for the West – a pre-condition for a decisive blow to Russia," Suslov said.

    Crimea's Reunification: "Don't Resist", Big Brother Said

    Finally, Viktor Suslov commented on the reunification of Crimea with Russia, which was more of a political issue for Ukraine rather than an economic loss, he said.

    He said that there was no attempt from the Ukrainian authorities to keep Crimea when it voted for the reunification with Russia in the referendum. He recalls the words of former head of the Crimean government Anatoly Mogilev, who said in one of his interviews that if there was any command from Kiev not to give up the peninsula, it would not have been let go.

    "However there was a command not to resist, not to shoot. And it makes us suggest that it was so intended. And Crimea might have been "sold," Suslov said.

    He also said that in March 2014, many of the Ukrainian authorities used to say that those were the Americans who ordered not to resist.

    The reunification, he said, was of special political benefit to the US: a suggested violation of the international law, a pretext for a war, sanctions and pressure on Russia. Russia had been hooked for a long time, while the US and the EU had strengthened their bargaining positions and moved closer to a big and very expensive for Russia deal. At Ukraine's expense.

    There is another reason for Ukraine, he explained. There is no need for a politician to have any voters who will never vote for him. At different times, the candidates from Eastern and Western Ukraine by turns won the country's presidential elections. This balance demonstrated that the East and West of Ukraine have been in relative equilibrium.

    However, if you want to remain in power for a long while, you need to get rid of those against and leave a steady supporting majority at hand.

    The withdrawal of Crimea and Donbas makes it impossible for a candidate from Eastern Ukraine to win the presidential elections and cements the power system in the country. From now on, the regime will be fully pro-western, the former minister of economy stated. 

    Tags:
    "bargaining chip", geopolitics, European Union, Viktor Suslov, Crimea, United States, Ukraine, Russia
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