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Wouldn't a referendum on national unity make sense now?
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on post-revolution Ukraine, drafted and published on Feb. 26, 2014
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): After the fall of the Yanukovych government in Ukraine, there
appears to be a wide-spread consensus among politicians in the Ukraine and elsewhere that a division of  
Ukraine, for sure, needs to be prevented. Nevertheless, today’s clashes in Simferopol (Crimea) between pro-
and anti-Russian demonstrators show that
Ukraine is far from being a united country. What does Noah denkt™
think about the future of Ukraine?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Well, we can’t quite understand either why none of the relevant politicians in and
outside Ukraine wants to discuss the option of a national referendum on unity in this post-revolution scenario.
After all, everybody on the Maidan and elsewhere agrees that Ukraine cannot continue to operate in the same
the way it has done ever since it reached its independence. Could it not be that some of Ukraine’s problems
with inefficient bureaucracy and widespread corruption have something to do with a lack of national cohesion?
Is it not true that dual-language countries have a hard time to rally all their regions behind a national effort of
reform and progress? And is it not correct that a pro-unity outcome in this national referendum would provide
an undisputed basis for sustained nation-building in the Ukraine?

AE: Obviously, there are fears among Ukrainian patriots that the Russian speaking regions in the East and the
South - which by the way are of fundamental importance to Ukraine's economy - would rather prefer to
associate themselves with Russia than to be part of pro-Western reform strategy which at least in the short-
term will create a lot of social hardship and upheaval!
Nd: But shouldn't these Western Ukrainian patriots equally consider the fact that a smaller, more united Ukraine
would stand a much better chance to economically re-invent itself and thereby lay the foundations for a more
prosperous and more Western future?

AE: How could an independent Western Ukraine be economically successful if it doesn't have the industrial
power-base of the East at its disposal?
Nd: All slender and quick-footed entities have a huge potential to attract foreign investment, if they can get their
public administration in order. Just take
Latvia or Estonia as a shining example in this.

AE: It wouldn't be in the interest of Russia to have a Western Ukraine converted into an ally of NATO member
countries. That would only reinforce Russia’s sense of being surrounded and encircled by potential enemies.
Nd: Clearly, it doesn't help at this point that the West has recently made it one of its preferred past-times to
engage in public Putin-bashing. After all, it would be of utmost importance now, to have a positive working
relationship with Russia. But it, unfortunately, seems a lost cause to instigate the Western public into at least
trying to understand the complicated and yet magnificent Russian soul. (Just think of its wonderful ballet
dancers and ice skaters).

AE: Isn't it naïve to believe that a more positive working relationship with Russia would in deed help to have
Russia accept an independent, pro-Western Ukraine so close to its own borders?
Nd: Russia has nothing to gain from a chronically instable neighbor to the South. After all, it does have its
hands already full with the separatist and Islamic movements in the Caucasian region. So why should it block a
move that would enhance its sphere of influence if in deed the Eastern regions of Ukraine were to opt in favor
of an association with the Russian homeland?

AE: It is hard to see though how any Ukrainian patriot could accept the loss of the Crimea. Especially the
Tartars consider it their homeland. We would, hence, be opening a can of worms if these Tartars were forced
to live under Russian reign.
Nd: Certainly, the Crimea poses quite a problem in a possible division of Ukraine. A very deftly managed
special status would probably be the solution here. But we admit that we do not have all the answer to these
difficult questions.                 
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Keywords:

cultural division in Ukraine, East vs West in Ukraine, referendum on national unity in Ukraine, re-invent the
Ukrainian economy, national cohesion in Ukraine, rallying all Ukrainian regions behind a national project of
reform, pro-Western influences in Ukraine, Russia and Ukraine  
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