05/24/2014, 00.00
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Ukrainian elections, settling scores with history, listening to Solzhenitsyn

by Vladimir Rozanskij
The favorite for the presidency is the tycoon and former oligarch Petro Poroshenko, who has worked with Timoshenko and later Janoukovich . The urgent need to begin a dialogue with Russia and propose some form of autonomy for the Ukrainian regions . The prophecy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on resurgent nationalism . Putin must negotiate with the outgoing president , after bravado over the Crimea .

Moscow ( AsiaNews) - With the election tomorrow, 25 May, Ukraine faces its first real day of reckoning, four months after the start of the Majdan uprisings, which have resulted in the secession of the Crimea and clashes in the eastern regions.

The outcome of the consultation is both obvious and indecipherable. The designated winner, the politician and tycoon Petro Poroshenko, after having intervened in February in Kiev in support of the protesters, has conveniently kept out of the limelight to avoid compromising his probable victory at the polls: Foreign Minister in Yushchenko's government; head of the Committee of National Security for Yulia Timoshenko; Minister of Economy for Yanukovych, the so-called "king of chocolate"; an oligarch of Soviet style candy, he is definitely the right man at the right time. Able to reconcile the Russians and Ukrainians, East and West, Poroshenko should win hands down in all regions, including those where maybe people can't even go to the polls because of the opposition of the masked Russian "National Guards" or Ukrainian government militias.  He might even succeed in winning in the first round, surpassing the required half of all votes.  In any case his victory in the second round seems beyond all discussion.

The recently released icon of the "orange revolution", Yulia Timoshenko, will have to settle for a place on the podium, maybe not even silver, surpassed by Sergei Tigipko or another outsider . In the end, the desire of most Ukrainians - and not only - is to overcome the unfortunate events of recent weeks, which have brought the country to the brink of civil, war as soon as possible.

What will Poroshenko's Ukraine be like? It is impossible to make any guesses at the moment. The ethno-linguistic node needs to be resolved as soon as possible, in a shared context with Putin's Russia (which surely would prefer to deal with Timoshenko , but should have no difficulty in negotiating with billionaire born on the border with Moldova). As we have seen in recent days, it is really difficult to draw a clear picture of the divisions in Ukraine, beyond ideologies and geographical distinctions; the country is a complex ethnic melting pot and cannot be reduced to a simple East-West confrontation.

Ukraine will have to put up with a lot from Russua and not only because of the hegemonic pretensions of Putin; the jigsaw is a complex one and fitting it together correctly, giving each the right amount of autonomy and security is almost impossible (as the inhabitants of the Crimea are noticing , many of which are already regretting having re-embraced "mother" Russia).

Meditating on these uncertainties in the "meat grinder" of the Soviet Gulags, already more than half a century ago, the great writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had foreseen all of this. In his "The Gulag Archipelago" (Part V , Chapter 2), he writes: "Things will be exceptionally painful with Ukraine... Maybe you will need a plebiscite in each province. It hurts me to write this, because Ukrainian and Russian blood mingle in my veins, in my heart and thoughts. But my experience of great friendship with the Ukrainians in the gulags made ​​me realize just how deep the wound is for them . Our generation cannot refrain from paying for the mistakes of those who have gone before us ... Planting our feet and shouting: ' it's mine! ' would be the easy way out, while it is immensely more complicated to say 'live and let live!' . It is not surprising that the prophecies of the Progressive Doctrine, according to which nationalism would disappear, have not come to pass. On the contrary, in the century of the atom and cybernetics, for some reason it has flourished, and the time will come for us , whether we like it or not, when we will have to pay the price for self-determination , independence: pay in person, without waiting for them to send us to the stake, or drown us in a river or chop off our head. We must show that we are a great nation not through the vastness of our territories , not with the amount of peoples conquered, but with the greatness of our actions. And with the deep plough which we will plow the land that will remain after we have left those who do not want to live with us".

This eyewitness of the Soviet lagers had proposed a plan on "how to rebuild Russia", at the time of Gorbachev and Yeltsyn , paying attention to the aspirations of its various peoples and territories. The plan was that he wanted to start over from the zemstvo, the administration of the Russian lands according to variable agreements with the central power. President Putin , despite his centralist and authoritarian politics, has repeated several times that he considers the author of The Red Wheel as one of his main sources of inspiration. The caution with which the Kremlin today looks at the Ukrainian elections , after the bravado over the Crimea , suggests that they are carefully rereading the pages of Solzhenitsyn , before a further escalation in military and propagandistic terms in favor of the secession of the eastern territories; Russian troops have taken a step back, and Putin has refrained from lauding the sham referendum of Donetsk and Slovjansk. Moscow is waiting for Poroshenko, to settle all the outstanding scores with him.


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