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In Kiev Biden Was Talking, But Was Anyone Listening?

The US Vice President told the Ukrainians to accept decentralization and local differences, but the post-Maidan parliament dominated by chauvinist extremists has other ideas

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is a popular Ukrainian blogger who also  has a big following in Russia. This post originally appeared at his LJ blog. Translated by Svetlana Kyrzhaly and Rhod Mackenzie

This was the first time the US Veep appeared publicly in the Ukrainian Parliament, where State’s Victoria Nuland has been a familiar figure, (she’s the woman who was seen handing out cookies on the Maidan). Biden’s funeral dirge was heard not only by Ukraine’s President and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and full cabinet but also by the US Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt and the ever present Nuland. Before he arrived, the Ukrainian flag in front of the building was replaced by the American banner, making clear who’s in charge.

<figcaption>Symbols of Ukraine's sovereignty take a back seat when the Americans are in town</figcaption>
Symbols of Ukraine's sovereignty take a back seat when the Americans are in town

Biden  proposed Ukraine be divided into separate federalized states whose governments could solve their own problems. (The leader of the "South-East" movement Yuri Apukhtin is serving a prison term in Kharkov for having made this same demand.) Given that the USA is a federal state, the Ukrainian leaders could only sit in stony silence as Biden intoned:

“It's important to have autonomous, independent states that solve their own problems, determine their own educational system and government in the framework of a united Constitution,"

(Bear in mind that the Vice President’s main job is to represent the President of the United States.) Mentioning the Federal Republic of Germany as an example, Biden reminded the Junta that federalization works fine in Europe, without threatening  national sovereignties or democratic principles.

Biden noted that it’s not enough to create a special office in order to fight corruption. In the two years since the Ukraine campaign began, it has only gotten worse.

While assuring his listeners that the United States would always regard both the Crimea and Donbass as part of the Ukraine, he demanded the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement. under which Kiev must amend the Constitution in agreement with the separatists by the end of this month. The problem is that were Donbass to become part of a federated Ukraine, the Junta would collapse, together with its nationalist ideology and Russophobia. And these ill winds would blow back toward the western borders, confirming  Galicia as a backward region with a strong Polish influence.

Interestingly, Biden drew parallels between what is happening today in what had been the most prosperous Soviet republic and the US Civil War, confirming the fact that Ukraine’s citizens are on opposite sides of a front,

He also remarked that there were outside influences in the US Civil War as well as in the Spanish civil war. No nation is an island; and if it is economically weak and politically impotent, as is Ukraine today, then outside intervention is inevitable.

Is this Piper’s tune, then, a funeral march?

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