"Keystone in the Arch - Ukraine in the emerging security environment of Central and Eastern Europe" by Sherman Garnett is a well researched book, published under the auspices of The Carnegie Endowment for the International Peace. [Permission to place this article here granted by the author himself.]

Foreword, by Morton I. Abramowitz     vii
  The "Great Divide" 15
  Not One "Divide," But Many 18
  Intra-Regional Competition 20
  Constraints on Russia 21
  The Direction of Ukrainian State-Building 22
Crimea 26
  The Weakness of the State and Its Governing Class 28
  The Economy 32
  Conclusion 36
  Ukraine's Russia Problem 41
  Internal Distractions and Constraints on Power 43
  Basic Factors in Ukrainian-Russian Relations 45
  Russian and Ukrainian Perspectives on the Relationship 49
  The Influence of Russian Domestic Politics 55
  Recognition of Borders 57
  CIS Integration 61
  Energy and Economic Ties 69
  The Black Sea Fleet 72
  The Russian-Ukrainian Military Balance 76
  Conclusion 82
  Relations With Other States of the Region 85
  Ukrainian-Polish Relations 85
  Ukrainian-Romanian Relations 91
  Moldova 94
  NATO Expansion and Western Institutions 98
  Russian-Belarusian Integration 105
  Conclusion 111
  The Spring 1993 U.S. Policy Review 115
  The Conditional Ratification of START I 119
  The Trilateral Agreement 121
  Recent Trends 125
  Toward a More Regional Approach 128
Suggested Readings  139 
Acknowledgments  143
About the Author  145
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace  147
Other Carnegie Books  149 



In his 1915 essay on "The Historical Evolution of the Ukrainian Problem," Mykhaylo Hrushevsky - Ukraine's greatest historian and president of the short-lived Central Rada government-predicted that "if present events do not bring about a solution," Ukraine "will remain a source of new convulsions."' These convulsions, Hrushevsky said, would come if the Ukrainian people were deprived of a state of their own and had to continue living as part of larger empires. The attempts of several Ukrainian governments-the Central Rada, the West Ukrainian Republic, and the Hetmanate - to establish an independent state between 1917 and 1921 could not, however, withstand internal chaos and external pressure from the German, White, and Bolshevik armies. The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) that was later created served not as a "source of new convulsions," but as one of the industrial, agricultural, and military pillars of the Soviet state. In the ultimate irony, the reunification of the Ukrainian lands was effected not by followers of Hrushevsky, but by Stalin.
Unlike Poland, which was partitioned before Europe's eyes in the eighteenth century and intruded quite forcefully on Europe's attention at key moments throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ukraine remained largely unknown in the West. Kiev was not on the grand tour. Most Westerners-like Russia's own historians-have viewed Ukraine as an integral part of Russia. The Hapsburgs, the Romanovs, and other neighbors had to contend with Ukrainian national aspirations, but Western Europe was never pressed to do so. There never was a "Ukrainian question" to add to the European diplomatic agenda together with the Polish, the Czech, and the South Slav "questions."
At a time when other national movements attracted the attention of Europe's intellectuals, Ukraine's seemed mute or part of the larger struggle for the Russia-to-come after the fall of czarism. Ukraine was a largely peasant and provincial land. "One is struck by the fact," writes the historian Marc Raeff, "that at the moment of its subordination to Muscovite Russia, it was Ukraine that enjoyed and exercised a clear cultural predominance; much later in the nineteenth century, at the birth of modern national consciousness, Ukraine had the status of a peasant culture adjudged inferior and harshly repressed." The czars sought to keep it that way, banning the printing of all but a handful of books in the Ukrainian language. Only in the first decade of the twentieth century did the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences admit that Ukrainian was a language and not a dialect of Russian. It is no wonder that for the Western statesmen who gathered at Versailles to redraw the map of Europe, there was no "Ukrainian question."
This general ignorance and neglect of Ukraine by the West continued throughout the Soviet period. Preoccupation with Ukrainian national aspirations was reserved for either emigre circles or Soviet ideological and police forces. Only the imminent collapse of Soviet power brought Ukraine and the other captive nations of the Soviet Union into prominent relief. These nations appeared to many in the West as if from a mist, and, like all ghostly apparitions, they-most of all Ukraine-stirred fear and anxiety. On the very eve of independence, in August 1991, President George Bush traveled to Kiev and delivered what was widely and correctly seen as a warning to Ukraine that" ... freedom is not the same as independence. . . [Americans] will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based on ethnic hatred." This implicit characterization of Ukraine as a land of "suicidal nationalism" was both impolitic to make in Kiev and just plain wrong. Nationalist organizations were active in the Ukrainian independence movement, but they were hardly the dominant influence in Ukrainian politics. No outburst of nationalism could alone have brought about independence. Rather, from the very beginning, the driving force behind Ukrainian independence was an alliance of forces suspicious of Moscow; in addition to nationalists, this alliance included those who sought to insulate Ukraine's relatively higher standard of living from the instability of Moscow, as well as large segments of the leadership of the Ukrainian Communist Party. President Bush's embrace of an image of Ukraine as a land rent by ethnic division fueled other; equally anxious perceptions of Ukraine as a country bent on conflict with Russia, a nuclear renegade, or even a state so torn by inner divisions and turmoil that it could not survive.
The appearance of Ukraine represented a strategic discontinuity par excellence that inspired anxiety about an unknown and risky future and recalled Europe's complicated and dangerous past. In light of this anxiety, it is not surprising that the West's first images of Ukraine were characterized by a sharp apprehension about this new state-and all of the former Soviet Union. Despite five years of independence, nuclear disarmament, and the beginnings of economic reform, these images continue to influence Western, and especially European, thinking on Ukraine.
Yet it is as dubious strategically as it may be comforting psychologically to cling to such first reactions, or to try to shoehorn Ukraine and the region as a whole into familiar patterns. It is the thesis of this book that the emergence of an independent Ukraine represents a great departure from the accustomed patterns of political life in Central and Eastern Europe. The old patterns of empire may not be forever vanquished, and the small- and medium-sized nations may not be guaranteed success, but it is clear that the chances for both propositions will be greatly increased if Ukraine remains independent and stable.
How likely is such an outcome? Ukraine's vulnerabilities in 1993 led many observers to see it as a doomed state. Although agreements on nuclear disarmament and the start of economic reform have softened this judgment, many still believe that Ukraine has no alternative but a choice between Russia and the West. In Europe especially, the majority view remains that Ukraine is very different from Poland, and still not a serious candidate for the West's main institutions. These doubts about Ukraine's place in Europe are usually linked to the view that Ukraine is somehow Russia's problem. While no one wants a militarily significant redivision of Europe, there are many who believe that a politically and economically significant division is inevitable, and that Ukraine belongs in the East. The term "Finlandization" has even been resurrected to describe a possible "end game" for Ukraine and Russia.
Even in the United States, where appreciation of the strategic significance of an independent Ukraine is much greater than in Western Europe, support for Ukraine has had to overcome two great obstacles. The first was the presence of nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, the elimination of which was such an obvious and overwhelming interest of the United States that it brought a high level of political and economic engagement. This level of engagement paid off. The last nuclear warhead left Ukrainian soil in June 1996, and the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship is still riding on momentum generated by this success. The second obstacle is American confusion about the role of the United States in post-Cold War Europe. Many different voices are competing to define this role. Some urge a greater domestic focus; others, a turning away from Europe toward the Pacific. Even among those who stress the continued importance of U.S.-European ties, the vast majority focus on Western Europe or, at best, an expanded NATO. They have yet to grasp the importance of states like Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and even Belarus to European stability-particularly if Western security obligations are to be defined by a new front-line on the eastern edge of Poland.
These perceptions and attitudes toward Ukraine, rooted in the past, have potentially serious consequences, since the greatest challenges to a stable security structure in this region of Europe lie ahead. Ukraine has enjoyed an unprecedented freedom from external pressures-a "breathing space to address the internal challenges of state-building and regime consolidation. But now both Russia and the West are asserting themselves in Central and Eastern Europe. Russia has concluded the latest in a series of agreements with Belarus designed to deepen integration. These agreements include military provisions, which are increasingly discussed as part of an eventual response to NATO expansion. Russia continues to embrace a view of all of the former USSR as a zone of its vital interests appropriately safeguarded by integration among the Soviet successor states. No serious difference of opinion on this issue emerged during the Russian presidential elections. Indeed, President Boris Yeltsin publicly made integration the centerpiece of his campaign by signing two agreements in the spring of 1996 to deepen integration's scope and pace by creating a "Community of Sovereign States" with Belarus and an economic union with Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. NATO is also on the verge of expanding into the region. Ukraine does not fit easily into the security system implied by either Russian or NATO policy, yet its fate is crucial to the shape, costs, and consequences of both.
Ukraine's importance to a secure and stable Europe, obscured for some time by Western concentration on the crucial matter of nuclear disarmament and Kiev's hesitant economic reform, is only now becoming apparent. What has been obvious in Moscow from the very beginning has only slowly dawned on Western observers: Ukraine is the keystone in the arch of the emerging security environment in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a state that is too large and too geographically central to this emerging security environment to be ignored. Key issues of Russia's own long-term evolution are bound up in its relations with Ukraine. Russia's definition of itself as a state and international actor is significantly shaped by its long-term ties with Ukraine. It is a matter of particular importance whether a new era of normal state-to-state relations can replace a long and complicated history of Kiev's subordination to Moscow. Whether Russian-led integration on the territory of the former USSR will pose a serious, long-term military challenge to the West depends in large part on the role that Ukraine plays or is compelled to play within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). As Zbigniew Brzezinski has succinctly stated, "It cannot be stressed strongly enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire." The vulnerability of NATO's new front-line if the Alliance expands also depends in no small measure on Ukraine-both on Ukraine's internal success at stabilization and on its ability to maintain a friendly, engaged neutrality toward the Alliance.
What is needed in the West is analysis of Ukraine and its security policy as a means of fully understanding the potential opportunities and risks that lie ahead. The West cannot afford for Ukraine to remain an "undiscovered" country. This book is intended to fill in some of the gaps that exist in the study of Ukraine and the security environment of the region as a whole.
Chapter 1 analyzes the domestic roots of Ukrainian security policy, particularly the still unfinished task of building a stable state against a diverse ethnic, economic, and regional mix. Ukrainian security policy is wholly bound up with securing independence and establishing a stable and workable domestic consensus that will support that independence. Despite great strides made since 1991, Ukraine continues to face challenges to its stability, including internal divisions, the lack of sustained economic reform, and weaknesses of both political institutions and leadership. The West often exaggerated these challenges in 1993-94 (the period when Ukrainian recalcitrance on nuclear weapons was at its height), concluding that Ukraine might collapse. In fact there are also sources of stability that many analysts underestimated and that to date have been stronger than the disintegrative forces-although Ukraine at the same time continues to be threatened by the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few and by the slow progress toward market reforms. The country's future depends on averting economic collapse and external pressures that would give these internal challenges new life.
The rest of this book treats the three main preoccupations of Ukraine's security policy: Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the West. All three are closely linked to Ukraine's internal focus on state-building and independence and the dictates of geography and history. All three also relate to maintaining the existing "breathing space" and ensuring a stable region. The West does not directly challenge Ukrainian independence, but policies such as the expansion of NATO could end up placing Ukraine in a "gray zone" or worse. In addition, some form of Western support is crucial for Ukraine if it is to maintain internal reforms and to stabilize its relations with Russia.
Chapters 2 and 3 look at the problem of Ukraine's securing stable relations with Russia, at the basic forces shaping those relations-including the history and psychological attitudes of both sides-and at the key, unfinished topics on the Ukrainian-Russian agenda. This relationship has, against all expectations, maintained a core of great stability and pragmatism-which could, nevertheless, still unravel. Both the parties themselves and the outside world need to work to help create a momentum for the resolution of outstanding issues and the basis for normal, state-to-state ties.
Chapter 4 looks at Ukraine's security environment in Eastern and Central Europe as defined by three major forces: the increasing power of each state in the region to shape its own destiny; the pressure of outside forces; and the states of the region themselves. The reconstitution of Russian power in anything like its former dimension is a problem for the far future, but a possible basis for such a reconstitution is being laid. The chapter focuses on the crucial role that Russian-Belarusian integration could play in the region, both in shaping the security environment and in advancing or slowing down integration among the states that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Ukraine has to be concerned about the after-effects of NATO expansion-particularly about the possibility that it might trigger Russian military countermeasures that would reverse the decade-long trend toward lower levels of nuclear and conventional forces in the region. Ukraine must also deepen its links with Poland, resolve growing problems with Romania, and contribute to the stability of a weak and internally fractured Moldovan state.
Chapter 5 examines the beginnings of Western policy toward Ukraine, reviewing the lessons of the West's pursuit of Ukrainian nuclear disarmament. Chapter 6 looks to the future: it argues that the current momentum that underlies U.S. policy toward Ukraine is a product of the disarmament process and is not yet securely anchored in a coherent definition of U.S. interests in post-Cold War Eurasia. The chapter summarizes why a more comprehensive and vigorous approach is needed and suggests the main elements of a "post-nuclear" U.S. and Western policy toward Ukraine and the region.
Ukraine already plays a much larger role in the security of Europe than either Western commitments or analyses currently reflect. Hrushevsky may have been a poor prophet as to the consequences of denying Ukrainians a state of their own at the beginning of this century, but he offered an apt warning about the consequences of Ukraine's failing to secure a place for itself in Europe today. There is a great difference between the time of the Versailles Treaty and today: the statesmen of the 1920s made decisions that determined which nations would become states and which would remain stateless. Today's diplomats have no such power. The current political geography is not their work, but that of disintegrative forces that unraveled the Soviet Union. Ukraine now has a chance to be the security keystone for this part of Europe; its failure to become that could mean a collapse of peace for Europe as a whole.

This book can be ordered for $14.95 from Brookings Institution Press, Dept 029, Washington DC 20042-0029. Or by phone at 800-275-1447, ISBN 0-87003-101-5.
When ordering, please mention the book's code number: TKS 3.
Library of Congress designation: DK508.849.G37


Local Links:

Icon Return to Lemko Home Page

Document Information Document URL:http://lemko.org/garnett/index.html

Page prepared by Walter Maksimovich
E-mail: walter@lemko.org

Copyright © 1999 LV Productions
E-mail: webmaster@lemko.org

© LV Productions  Originally Composed: Friday July 18th, 1997
Date last modified: Wednesday October 13th, 1999.