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Gary Cartwright

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Russian ambassador withdrawn.
By Gary Cartwright   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, September 24, 2009
Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009

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Is Russia seeking to influence the Ukraine's forthcoming Presidential elections?

In an extraordinary move, President Medvedev has announced that he will not be sending an Ambassador to the Ukraine. In an open letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, he has accused his neighbours of attempting to sever economic ties with Russia, of glorifying Nazism, and even complaining a bit too much about the Holomodor, the famine engineered by Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had already approved of the appointment of former health minister Mikhail Zurabov to the post, replacing veteran politician Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was dismissed from his job on June 19th. The well known politician had held the office for eight years, but had made himself unpopular with his consistent criticism of the Ukrainian government, and his rudeness.
Of course, there are elections looming in the Ukraine, and Russia is still smarting over the orange revolution of 2004, which, despite alegations of rigged elections and an attempt to kill Yushchenko, swept aside the Kremlin approved candidate Viktor Yanukovych, and paved the way for democractic change.
Yanukovych, convited and imprisoned twice, for robbery and bodily harm, will be standing in next January's Presidential elections against Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.
In what may develop into a tit-for-tat scenario, remeniscent of the cold war, the Ukrainian People's Party has now called on President Yushchenko to recall the country's ambassador to Russia, Kostiantyn Hryshchenko for "consultations". 
The party also suggests that "it would be better for Russia at first to explain the world community how Russia sells weapon to other countries instead of laying claims to Ukraine on sale of weapon to Georgia." 
The Ukraine has been hit hard by the economic crisis, and at such a time might be vulnerable to a regime change. It is in this context that Medvedev's words and actions should be viewed. Yushchenko has never been considered a particularly strong leader, although he is trusted and respected on the international stage.
Disunity between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, both credited equally with engineering the orange revolution,  will be expolited by the Kremlin, as Russia attempte to install its puppet in Kiev. As the west struggles with the question of how to bring the Ukraine deeper into the liberal democratic family of nations, Russia seems to be reverting to the political tactics of previous centuries in an attempt to hold onto control of its near abroad. This is both disappointing and regrettable.
Medvedev's letter can be found here


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