Kyiv, 15 March 2014 – “Today’s situation in Crimea is not a matter of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Russia”, said Vitaliy Portnikov, publicist, member of the board of the All-Ukrainian Union “Maidan”, during a briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.
“This is an attempt to stabilize political situation in Russia. Before the Bolotnaya Square events, the Russian government had been backed by the middle class. However, it turns out that, apart from material wealth, people also want freedoms, they don’t want the power to be usurped. Putin has now changed the core of his electorate. Due to the situation in Ukraine, cleansing of the media environment and reformatting of the Russian opposition is now taking place in Russia. The existing state of things is now being preserved so that Russians are left with no choice.
The situation in Crimea has destroyed the myth about the fraternal nations. The message about possible accession of Crimea to Russia has triggered a rise in patriotic sentiment in Russia. At the political level, Russia and Ukraine have had various relations, ranging from very good to very bad. However, up till now our societies have always had mutual understanding.
The most terrible thing is that the exacerbation of relations is now becoming a reality at the social level. Ukraine has not heard any words of sympathy from the Russian society for the Maidan deaths. Today, as we live in anticipation of a war, an ordinary Ukrainian sees that an ordinary Russian supports the war, the war against him.
After the referendum, there will be refugees from Crimea who will view Russia as a country that has broken their lives.
Ukraine and Russia are heading towards a cold peace at best, or a hot war at worst. Now we are witnessing a historic hopelessness of relations between Ukraine and Russia.”
Vitaliy Portnikov is a famous publicist, journalist, member of the board of the All-Ukrainian Union “Maidan”.