Those who keep power in Ukraine are a bunch of criminals who will advocate criminal methods in keeping their ill-gotten gains, with the West supporting this farce, Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor at Chronicles Magazine, told RT.
RT: Let’s say Donetsk and Lugansk declare they are now autonomous after the referendum. The vote will still be considered illegal by Kiev. What will happen then for the people in the east?
Srdja Trifkovic: Maybe [the people of the region] do not quite know what they want, whether to be autonomous within Ukraine or to join Russia, but certainly know what they do not want. If you look at the respondents, what they have in common is the absolute categorical rejection of the legitimacy and legality of the regime in Kiev. So I think that after the referendum it will no longer be possible for the regime in Kiev to say that they do not want to negotiate with the so-called "terrorists" because it will become obvious that the political consensus within at least the Lugansk and Donetsk regions and unfortunately in Kharkov we haven’t been able to see what the mood there really is, is such that that they cannot no longer assume to speak for Ukraine “as a whole.” The second important point to make is that since they went ahead with it in spite of Putin’s request that they postpone it, it looks like his influence is on the decline because after all these people had expected more resonate response to the atrocity in Odessa 10 days ago and also to the possibility that there will be an escalation of military action here. Plus, Kiev will be faced with a difficulty of claiming that these people are deluded, manipulated, missing the point and in some way or another "cajoled by Moscow's agents" into acting against their own interests. So I think the political consequences of this will be more important than legal or constitutional ones, which are really rather moot.
RT: The interim government's military operation in the east appears to be continuing. At the same time we see that public opinion has become a real force now. So would it increase tensions and lead to civil war as some suggest?
ST: At the very least, and I don’t think they are willing to admit this public manifestation of the collective will, they will be forced to acknowledge internally that they are facing the level of agreement among the people of these eastern regions that will prove it rather difficult to deal with by force.
RT: Does the West still support the Kiev military operations in the east of the country?
ST: Absolutely. And after all, let’s face it, it was not Kiev’s own military operation. It was the military operation approved and advised by Washington, because we have CIA director John Brennan, then vice-president Biden come to Kiev, and it is not the Kiev regime that has any autonomy of action. They would not do anything without the approval of Washington.
RT: Will the presidential election take place against the background of military action? Will it be legitimate?
ST: Unfortunately, it will go ahead but it will not reflect the democratic will of the people of Ukraine and I do not think it will produce a leader with democratic credentials with whom Russia can do business. It will produce another puppet like Petro Poroshenko who advocates further violence, who advocates liquidating Russian as a second language even in the regions where the Russian speakers are the majority. It will give a cloak of the legitimacy to the regime which is unfortunate because it will continue to be a puppet regime hell-bent on violence and using the Western Ukrainian Galician narrative in defining Ukrainian identity.
RT: Those in Kiev who are in power, lack legitimacy themselves. Do they have a right to call the referendum illegal?
ST: Of course they don’t, but they are way beyond the issue of rights. [The Kiev authorities] came to power by violence and by extra-legal, illegal and unconstitutional means, and so effectively they are a bunch of criminals. So of course they will advocate criminal methods to keep their ill-gotten gains. It is really a matter of a clique of conspirators accusing others of conspiracies, and for as long as the West is completely committed to the continuation of this farce, in my opinion, it is essential for Russia to increase its own support for the eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters, because perhaps that is the right term to use in this context. The West has been accusing Russia of instigating and supporting these protests and since this is already so, the Russians should response in a way that would at least correspond to the level of accusations leveled against them.
RT: The West doesn’t want to accept the will of the people in the southeast of Ukraine. How will it accept the results of presidential elections when there is ongoing bloodshed and violation?
ST: The way they have done before. Remember the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991-92. The referendum in Bosnia and Herzegovina was held amidst complete chaos and the collapse of public order. It was unconstitutional because it meant that two of the constituent nations, the Croats and the Muslims, ganged up against the Serbs and yet the US recognized it because it provided the propagandistic fig leaf that they needed in order to provide further political and military support to the mujahedeen government. And likewise in Kiev’s case, when someone like Poroshenko is elected by maybe 28 or 32 percent of the total vote of Ukrainian citizens, it will be hailed in the West as a great and glorious victory of democracy. Mark my words, even if it’s completely boycotted in the east, even if it is only partially successful in the south and the center, they will claim that Ukraine now has a legitimate head of state. And that head of state is a man who is committed to violence and to the abolition of Russian as a second language, even in the areas with the majority of Russian speakers. It is a man who is a thief and corrupted oligarch and a puppet of the West.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.