But they can create incentives for union, not independence. “
The West also had to test the seriousness of Gorbachev’s intentions to reform the USSR “from above.” Zbigniew Brzezinski noted that “a real confederation or commonwealth would be the best option for all stakeholders: for Russians, for most non-Russians and, of course, for the ‘outside world’: in this case, the West” must really help this experiment. “
But the most important reason for the cautious official position on popular movements in the USSR was Washington’s unwillingness to initiate a dialogue with Gorbachev on a wide range of security issues.
American diplomacy has already chosen a new, “revolutionary” approach: to go “beyond the containment” of the USSR (as President George W. Bush declared on May 12, 1989), to test Soviet “new thinking” and, if the reliability of the new Soviet course is proven, to help the main the enemy in his desire to transform. The United States was also concerned about the possible expansion of Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia. In the early 1990s, a new argument in favor of stable relations with Gorbachev was the problem of paying off a huge Soviet debt.
The consequences of the practical of the above problems for American foreign policy began to be felt in 1990. After the Republican elections in March, popular movements became increasingly inclined to the idea of the idea of (Ukraine’s independence was de facto declared the goal of the Movement in October 1990).
But US government officials and many leading Soviet scholars still saw Ukraine and Belarus as key supporters of the Kremlin’s attempts to preserve the Soviet Union. This created a serious gap in the approaches of the Ukrainian national movement and official Washington. Until 1990, there was no contradiction between American rhetoric in support of self-determination of nations and program documents of popular movements. Now the differences became apparent.
The official line of the United States was to expand contacts with the republics. At the same time, answering questions about the prospects of recognizing their independence, State Department adviser Robert Zoellick said: “We do not support the” collapse “of the USSR, and I can not think about the criteria under which the United States could” recognize “the independence of communities. another situation may arise, of course, with regard to the Baltics, whose desire for independence we support.”
The American Congress was obviously better than the administration prepared to understand the aspirations of the Republican people’s movements. First, for many congressmen, the support of ethnic communities has traditionally been important. Second, many members of Congress in the 1970s and 1980s participated in the protection of human rights in Ukraine.
This campaign united the Liberal Democrats and the fierce anti-Communist Republicans. They knew the situation in Ukraine relatively well, they knew about many former political prisoners who have now become leaders of several national democratic organizations. They did not have stereotypes about these people, which were spread by propaganda from the Kremlin.
Congress then approved a number of documents on Ukraine, including: a Senate letter dated November 15, 1989, to President Bush demanding that Gorbachev legalize banned Ukrainian churches; resolution of the two chambers on the week of remembrance of the victims of the famine of 1932-1933. The visits of the leaders of the National Democrats to the United States were also of great importance. They helped to overcome the effects of Soviet propaganda, which portrayed the organization as nationalist and dangerous.
During a meeting with Bush in July 1991, Gorbachev repeatedly mentioned the war in Yugoslavia: he tried to convince the US president on the eve of his visit to Kyiv that the secession of Ukraine could lead to war. Bush was worried that “Gorbachev’s achievements could be lost in all this talk of independence.” As a result, he personally made several inserts into the draft of his famous Kyiv speech, which, in his words, were to make it “more sensitive to Gorbachev’s problems.”
According to Beschlos and Talbot, the American president was greeted quite differently in Kyiv than in Moscow, “where a large part of the population regarded him as another high-ranking foreign guest who came to pay tribute to the most unpopular man in the Soviet Union . ” But this did not change, and perhaps even strengthened, his intention to support Gorbachev.
Speaking in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Bush compared federalism in the United States and the Soviet Union: “We, as a federation ourselves, want good relations, better relations with the republics.” He hoped that “republics will combine greater autonomy with more active voluntary interaction – political, social, cultural and economic – instead of embarking on a hopeless path of isolation.”
The US president stressed that “Americans … will not help those who encourage suicidal nationalism that stems from ethnic hatred.” It is clear that this was directed against Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, “but Bush also knew that such ethnic sentiments existed in Ukraine, and his warning was intended for listeners in Kyiv.” This indicated a lack of understanding of the Ukrainian movement’s policy towards national minorities.
But a month after the coup in Moscow, attitudes toward the independence of the republics are changing. Disputes arose in the administration over how to gain more influence in the new states: through rapid recognition (R. Cheney) or recognition as a reward for meeting certain requirements (J. Baker). Congress also advocated quick recognition.
A Senate resolution on November 20 called on the president to recognize Ukraine’s independence if the December 1 referendum reaffirms the Act of Independence passed by the Ukrainian parliament. This was largely due not only to the awareness of new geopolitical realities, but also to the approach of the 1992 elections.
During a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora at the White House on November 28, Bush noted that the United States recognizes Ukraine’s independence after the December 1 referendum. Gorbachev’s recognition of Ukraine’s independence was not seen as a necessary condition for this step. It was a shift in Washington’s policy.
However, when Gorbachev called Bush and said he was “disappointed” by the “premature” US move, Baker told aides that Gorbachev’s complaints about the US position on Ukraine’s independence were well-founded and that the move was a bad precedent for US policy. … Scowcroft agreed: “I think we have created the impression of a more supportive policy than we actually meant.” He warned the president that by changing his position so drastically, “we can make relations between Kyiv and Moscow more biased”.
But these changes were balanced by taking into account Boris Yeltsin’s new role: the United States promised not to recognize Ukraine’s independence until Russia did so. Washington has made it clear that Ukraine still needs to “deserve” the recognition of its independence, convincingly confirmed by the December 1 referendum.
On December 8-9, 1991, the leaders of the three Slavic republics first informed Bush and only later Gorbachev about the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, causing his indignation. Since then, the US administration has been reluctant to support Gorbachev. She expressed support for the creation of the CIS.
In November 1991, a group of influential nuclear security experts emphasized that “it is in the interests of the United States to prefer as little disintegration as possible … The United States has little leverage to influence the disintegration process. But it can create incentives for union rather than independence. ” “.
On December 12, J. Baker arranged the American priorities related to the recognition of new states in the following order:
military and especially nuclear security; democracy; market-oriented economy.
Having received a positive response from the Ukrainian leadership on these principles and Ukraine’s international obligations (as one of the successor states of the USSR) to the Treaty on the Reduction of Conventional Arms in Europe and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the United States recognized Ukraine on December 25. as well as Russia and other states that joined the Commonwealth.
A breakthrough in bilateral relations
The first years of Ukrainian independence were marked by difficulties in the development of bilateral relations. Washington relied on relations with Russia on most of the problems inherited from the Soviet Union. In its relations with Ukraine, the United States was primarily concerned with nuclear security, maintaining the balance of power in Europe, and Kyiv’s practical actions in this direction for some time raised questions in the West in general and in Washington in particular. The turning point in Ukrainian-American relations was 1994, and finally literacy narrative ideas declared “Ukrainian” in the United States.
The signing of a tripartite agreement on Ukraine’s nuclear-free status was the impetus for improving US-Ukrainian relations. But the main, deeper, and long-term factors of American attention and commitment to Ukraine were:
understanding that with the end of the Cold War, the situation in Europe has become more complicated in some respects, and that Ukraine, as a country in the center of the continent, is important; gradual growth of great-power tendencies in the political life of Russia; perception of the validity of Z. Brzezinski’s idea that with the return of Ukraine to Russia, the latter mechanically becomes an “empire”; awareness of the relationship between the stable development of Ukraine and security in East-Central Europe, the interest in which is traditional in the United States.
At the same time, important factors remain that hinder the realization of the potential of bilateral relations. First of all, we are talking about socio-political uncertainty in Ukraine, the ongoing confrontation “at the top”, the nature of which creates uncertainty in the Ukrainian perspective. We should also note the far incomplete and inconsistent progress of Ukraine towards a democratic state governed by the rule of law, the weakness of democratic forces. The inflexibility and inconvenience of certain principles of Ukrainian foreign policy in terms of building security systems and at the same time increased hopes for economic assistance are also evident.
The tendency of Washington to reduce budget expenditures on international aid and the weak interest of American private business in cooperation with Ukraine as a result of these problems, as well as insufficient legal guarantees for foreign investors.