In his first public comments since Ukraine’s Supreme Court found the Nov. 21 presidential runoff fraudulent and ordered a revote Dec. 26, Putin said countries are welcome to help mediate in the crisis but should not meddle.
“Only the people of any country — and this includes Ukraine in the full sense — can decide their fate,” Putin told reporters after meeting Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
I admittedly haven’t followed the issues here closely, but it looks like the Ukrainians are sorting things out perfectly well for themselves. Certainly Russia has much more directly at stake in Ukrainian stability than the US and the appearance is that we are trying to play some sort of balance of power game by encouraging an anti-Russian opposition. On top of that, from my understanding of Russian history the two aren’t really separate countries – Kiev was the original capital of the “Rus”. So, Russian involvement in the Ukraine is not the same in a historic context as Russian dominance in Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia. Finally, though Putin’s Russia is not a shining example of free market democracy, it is not the enemy state of the Cold War either. Granted that the US doesn’t have a record of colonialism in Eastern Europe, but still it behooves us to consider how we would respond to Russian interference in a Canadian or Mexican election dispute. I believe the longstanding Doctrine of the United States is that we wouldn’t put up with it.