Valerie Giscard D’Estaing gave an interview to “Politique Internationale” magazine:
What is your opinion of the Crimea annexation and destabilization of the situation in the East of Ukraine on the part of Russia?
— Frankly speaking, as far as the “return” of the Crimea into Russia is concerned, I consider it to be historically justified. I re-read books on Russian history of the 18th century. The Crimea was conquered during the reign of Katherine the Great mainly owing to Prince Potemkin’s efforts, when Russia expanded southwards in the direction of Turkey intending to capture Constantinople. Conquer of the Crimea had been rather rough. It happened not to the injury of Ukraine, which did not exist at the time, but to the injury of the local sovereign, who depended on the Turks. Since then only Russians lived there. When Nikita Khrushchev aspired to give the USSR more weight in the framework of the newly established United Nations Organization, he “invented” Ukraine and Belarus, in order to have two more votes, and granted Ukraine with control over the Crimes, which was unprecedented. Even then I thought that this artificial dependence would be fragile. The latest events had been expected. However, the return of the Crimea into Russia was massively supported by its population. And only when the problems spread to the Eats of Ukraine, they caused concern…
— Many analysts and officials occupying significant responsible positions urge to try to “understand” Vladimir Putin. Although you have always been the adherent of the detente in the relationship with Moscow, in the Cold war epoch as well as today, do you agree with the concept that this way international law can be violated and the country destabilized?
— The rules provisioned by the agreements adopted when the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648, introduced the principle of respect to national sovereignty and borders. In accordance with this principle many people think that Ukraine should fully retain the territory it occupied at the time when it gained independence in 1991. But let us not forget that the breakdown of the USSR was chaotic and led to the wreck of borders! The modus of Vladimir Putin’s actions could be different. Nevertheless today the issue of the Crimea status should be set aside. Contrary to it, the issue of Ukrainian East is much more complicated. Do not forget that Ukraine had been Russian for the long time, and Kiev was the capital of Rus. When I went to the Soviet Union at General De Gaulle’s request as a Minister of Finance, I was received by Khrushchev in Kiev…
In order to clearly understand what is going on, we should ask ourselves what really happened a year ago in the Ukrainian capital. What is the role of the CIA in the revolution in Maidan? What is the aim of the consistent anti-Russian policy carried out by Barack Obama? Why does the United State want to put forward their pawns in Ukraine? Is there an influential Ukrainian lobby in the States? Had not the Americans strove to “compensate” their weakness in the Middle East by the “tougher” policy in regard to Russia?
— Do you really think that the US carries the responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis? Was it not the corruption of the ruling elite full up the cup of patience for the Ukrainians?
— We should take two aspects into account. One cannot deny that Ukrainian authorities had been unbearable and corrupted. It at least explains why Yanukovich had to. Nevertheless the situation remained vague, and we have to admit that the transition of power in Ukraine cannot be called democratic. It is the oligarchic clans that are making the game. As far as the United States are concerned, they had, probably, supported and inspired the rebellion. And then they initiated the policy of sanctions against Russia, the policy that became a violation of the international law. Who, indeed, can assume a right to make a list of citizens, against which the sanctions are enacted, without even talking to them, without giving them a possibility to justify themselves and have legal counseling? Such approach causes concern. As to economic sanctions, which are aimed not against personalities, but against the Russian state, who can ignore the fact that they harm both sides — Russia and the West, disrupting their commerce? Such surge of tension will further ruin Russian economy. By the way, what is the name of the expert, who had foreseen and announced the downfall of gas price? No expert envisaged this development! Whatever the case, today Russian economy suffered greatly die to the attack against the ruble, the rate of which fell to the lowest level after 1998. Are the Americans interested in the collapse of Russian economy? Russians are partners and neighbours for Europe. Taking into account the chaos reigning in the international arena at the moment, taking into account the wave of violence in the Middle East, facing the unpredictability, caused by the Primaries in the USA, it would have been irresponsible to crave the crash of Russian economy.
— What decision would you suggest to try to seek the way out of the crisis?
— Ukraine in the state it exists now is not able to function in a democratic way. Thus it has to reorganize. I would like French diplomacy to head the efforts of Europeans aimed at the search of political settlement in Ukraine. One can get an impression that multiethnic confederation of the kind of Swiss cantons can be a solution for Ukraine, uniting the Russian-speaking part, Polish part and the central part. The system, which is at the same time federal and confederate, financed by Europeans and supported by the UN.
— What will happen to the Crimea as a result of such an arrangement? Will it be written off as a loss?
— I do not like this expression, but the Crimea, conquered — I repeat it — at the times, when it was ruled by the sovereign, who was the Turkish subject, and was a site of the Yalta conference of the WWII allies, should stay Russian!
— If you were a leader, what would you tell Putin in order to make him listen to the voice of reason?
— The way chosen by Vladimir Putin for the settlement of the crisis is unwise. The Russian President would like to make his dream real – to restore the influence the Soviet Union had, although this dream cannot come true, because a part of the Soviet Empire was joined with the use of force, and when the power is not what it used to be, this way is no longer acceptable. Poland and Baltic States put themselves at no risk. Russia will not embark on such an adventure. Nevertheless, where political chaos reigns it is not as obvious. We should recommend Vladimir Putin not to play with fire and try to find reasonable solutions with us. What cannot be doubted is the fact that Ukraine will not be integrated into the European system: it is impossible! It does not possess either political ripeness or the necessary political practice. Its place is between the two spaces — Russia and the European Union, with which it should keep normal relationship. Whereas Ukraine’s joining NATO should be out of the question, of course, and France has the grounds to object to it! And now, do you want to hear my prophesy? Here it is: Ukraine is on the verve of financial bankruptcy. It will ask for aid. Who will provide the aid? IMF, undoubtedly, as the European Union has no mechanism for it.
— Ukrainians were dying on Maidan in Kiev, defending European values and waving the Union flag. How can we deceive the hopes of these people, who believe us so much?
— The strive of Kiev to the EU was a dream. Ukrainians had to dream of something, as they saw no perspectives for them. Nevertheless, let us be realistic: Hungarians, who are the EU members, do not want it any longer, and the Union, after seven years still did not manage to satisfactorily integrate Bulgaria and Romania… For the people who feel abandoned the European Union looks appealing. It is the peaceful zone. However it is not sufficient as the ground for membership. Having been a former part of Russia, Ukraine cannot be a member of the European Union.
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