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27 February 2015


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Sir, I appreciate your clarification that all parties will needed some "profit" if we are procure a peaceful solution. How much will be sufficient? History tells us only that we will never know enough to be able to determine what is the perfect amount. Disappointing but there you are. How much will be sufficient to satisfy the rebels? Definitely much less than the cost of fighting a major European non-peace. On to a far more urgent matter. How much profit do we, the US, need? Is there any combination of "good results" that will keep our elites happy and out of WW3? These are the same elites who have served us so poorly recently and it does not look promising.


As a European I see NO way that all EU member states would agree, as necessary, to accept Ukraine within the EU.


Besides that the question must be asked if becoming a member of the EU would be good fro Ukraine.

The answer, for economic reasons, is no!

Opening the Ukrainian markets would see EU industries rush in and trounce any Ukrainian company. Farming would be the only think left in Ukraine but would be owned by multinationals. All the industrial businesses in east Ukraine would go bankrupt as their market is Russia and Russia can not, and will not, allow open borders with the EU.

The offer (and bribing) to join the EU was rejected by Yanokovich exactly because he could see the economic catastrophe it would cause. Ukraine, said reasonable economic estimates, would need to invest $160 billion in its industries to be EU competitive. It does not have the money. It can't join without further ruining itself.


The problem with your plan is that it seems to be pretty close to an unconditional surrender by Russia. Not only are you suggesting they should turn over Ukraine to the EU (and by extension to the US) you also seem to be suggesting they should give back Crimea. I can't see the latter ever happening. Moscow has declared that Crimea is now part of the federation. Were they to go back on that, I can't see how anyone would ever take them seriously again. Other parts of the federation would then start thinking that Moscow wouldn't defend them if the going got tough. It would be the end of Russia as we know it.
And what would they get for this act of prostration? Some promises from people who have already demonstrated that they are completely untrustworthy.

Peter Hofmann

Some clarifications about the economy of the ukraine: http://guralyuk.livejournal.com/2002010.html

João Carlos

Dr. Polk

IMHO Greece shows that there is no economic future for Ukraine at EU. EU will want Ukraine have big austerity measures that will bring NO economic growth, just the contrary.

If Russia will accept Ukraine enter EU, the answer is clear. No. Yanukovich had an agreement to join eurasian economic zone with Russia, then US made a coup there (yes, we need tell the truth, sorry), and Russian knew it very well, so Ukraine join EU, as other commenters pointed it, is the same that Russia surrender, and Russia will not surrender.

For now Russia will accept a federalization of Ukraine. If Ukraine joins EU, Russia will start to broke the country at two halfs, and they will make all effort for get Odessa at the east part for give to Ukraine no open access to Black Sea.

With relation to Crimea, there is no discussion too. It belongs to Russia and they will not accept any "cosmetic" agreement about it, so Crimea will never return to Ukraine. And Russia will go to war for Crimea.

It is good to remember that when the Turkey pipeline is completed, Russia will stop to use Ukraine for transport gas to Europe. That is 55% of gas that Russia send to Europe. So, take note, Russia started to try to undermine Europe economically.

By the way, Russia and Cyprus just made a military agreement. I don't doubt Russia will try to make a military agreement with Greece (that is a NATO member!) after Greece get out eurozone. Well, Russia hate the idea that baltic states are NATO members, so they will start to play hard. Very hard.

The train is moving and the only way to stop it is if Europe and US concede more than your plan offer. Russia is moving its economy to China and don't fear a second cold war. Economic sanctions just made Russia resolve go stronger and they saw that Russia counter-sanctions made a huge damage to Europe economy.


Mr. Polk,
"Ergo, the only feasible agency to advance these goals is the European Union"

Some of my concerns, off the top of my head:

EU member state Bulgaria is so corrupt that from one point on Europe repeatedly stopped paying development funds payments and subsidies because they would only get lost. Ukraine is very probably much worse.


"the fight against high-level corruption and organised crime was not producing results and the Commission had to act to protect taxpayers' money.

"Therefore, the Commission has taken the decision today to formalise this suspension (of aid) and withdraw the accreditation for two government agencies in charge of managing these pre-accession funds,"


"The European Commission has temporarily suspended payments of several million euro in regional development funding for urban development and tourism projects after an audit found problems in management and control of the funds.

Notice of the suspension of the funds was given in a June 3 letter and the suspension will continue until the irregularities are corrected."

The EU's capability to transfor nations is limited once they are members. The conclusion drawn by the accession of Romania and Bulgaria was that the donkey moves by dangling the carrot in front of its nose, not by having him eat the whole sackful right away. If accession comes to pass, Ukraine will not be granted membership but get accession candidate status.

Judging by the premature membership of Bulgaria and their record, Ukraine will at the least quarter of a century of state building before it will work. And as for what that means practically:

Ukraine's culture is corrupt to the core, but at the root of it lies the cleptocratic oligarchs that stole their wealth. For EU membership to work, Europe would need to break the Oligarchs first. Since they are the feudal overlords of Ukraine right now, that would mean replacing the power structure at the top without conquest.

They perhaps could be bought off, and US and EU multinationals may be more than pleased to pounce, but still. Who'd fill the vacuum? What about popular resentment in case of a buyout? There is no occupation force to help them along as in japan or post-war Germany.

I will not delve into my distaste about the EU paying to fix the destruction of war that US indulgence of Ukrainian folly has caused. I am a firm believer in the 'Verursacherprinzip' (i.e. you broke, it you fix it).

European integration is though legal integration and faithful and voluntary application of Eurpean law. Ukraine's Ministries are corrupt.

Ukraine has zero tobacco exports to Australia and join into a lawsuit against Australia at the WTO? Despite Ukraine experting no tobacco to Australia? That's sovereignty to let in practice.


Ukraine's judstice system is corrupt. You believe that integration by law, i.e. transformation of Ukrainian law into European law and faithful execution of these laws will work? As they said in the Army: 'I have seen horses puke ...'

Who would pay for all that nation building Ukraine? Germany? The German taxpayer? Europe proper? The US taxpayer? What do you think that 40 billion a year for a quarter of a century or so will do to the acceptance of the European model in the member states?

One of the unmentioned understandings of the EU association agreement was that Ukrainians would not gain freedom to travel into Europe. If they did they'd depopulate Ukraine and flood Europe's labour market. If that was seriously proposed, let alone if it ever happened, the UK would leave the EU.

What about European values that Ukrainian Nazis now trample? The vanguard of Ukrainian nationalism on the right is so toxic that the EU parliament before the Maidan issued the following statement:

"The European Parliament ,
A. whereas the 2011 EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv recognised Ukraine as a European country with a European identity, which shares a common history and common values with the countries of the European Union;
4. Stresses that effective cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union can only be realised on the basis of a clear willingness on the part of the Ukrainian authorities to carry out and implement the necessary reforms, in particular that of the legal and judicial system, with the aim of fully adhering to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, minority rights and the rule of law ...

5. Is concerned about the misuse of administrative resources and the system of campaign financing, which fell short of international standards as set by the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) ...

6. Calls on the Government of Ukraine to address the electoral irregularities ...

7. Expresses its concern about the problems relating to the counting and tabulation of votes in a number of single-mandate constituencies ...

8. Is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda Party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada; recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles ..."



This sounds like a very rational way forward.

However, if I remember correctly, this is more or less what the Europeans proposed after Russia seized Crimea, but before the unpleasantness in Donbass.


Russian actions since then might be taken as a not-so-polite "no".


and yes, the Uklies (and the west) would have to accept the secession of Krimea.

Norbert M Salamon

I am greatly impressed by you analysis and additional clarifications.
I agree to many of your points. IMO neither EU nor NATO can be part of the solution for:

1., RF will not accept NATO under any and all circumstances.

2., there is no hope that all of the 28 EU members would look positively to Ukraine's entry -- reflect on Turkey's journey in this respect,
3., The finances necessary for Ukraine to become anything but a failed economy is not in the possible budget of the EU [having a deflating economy and numerous interior financial problems -Greece, Spain etc.]nor is it possible for the US with over 40 million on food stamps.

4.,Even if by some miracle the necessary funds would be available to bail out Ukraine [US, EU, IMF or China]without the precondition that the oligarchs are defanged and economically destroyed with the concurrent elimination of their private armies [by force, if necessary] the end result would be a failed state of kleptocracy - in other words a post "liberated" Libya in the center of EUROASIA.



'I am a firm believer in the 'Verursacherprinzip' (i.e. you broke it, you pay for it).'

Patrick Bahzad

First of all, thank you Prof. Polk for your views on the issue and the insight into similarities with the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think what is important to understand is that even if both these situations have their specifics, they're also both serious enough to have serious implications on the future of all parties involved, to the point where even peace itself could be at stake.
Regarding your ideas, I think they're basically the expression of common sense and reason: Ukraine only has a future as a State and within Europe, if it can serve as a bridge between East and West (and that includes the US of course). That some people's interests might be different to what common sense dicates it obvious from developments on the ground.
Be that as it may, it's important to work towards a solution by which reason is going to prevail in the long run, while making sure things are not going to get totally out of hand in the short run. That is the fine line we have to walk.
Regarding EU membership as such, as a sort of compensation prize for those who were aiming for NATO integration, but also as the way forward for Ukraine, the idea of membership had been endorsed by both presidents, Yuvchenko and Janukovich.
The procedure for such membership however is long and tedious. Lots of administrative, legal and economical reforms will have to be carried out in Ukraine, which may be very costly to the Ukranian industry in particular. Temporary help packages and financial help will be required in any case, to entertain even the idea of a smooth move into the EU.
It is definitely a process that is going to take years, which might be a positive element for Russia as it would have time to adjust to dealing with a Ukraine that's member of the EU and try and turn this into a win-win situation.
Needless to say, as long as no peace agreement is found, negotiations about EU membership will be put on ice, as the EU does not hold negotiations with countries in war or in protracted situation of civil war. This could be an incentive both for the reformists to shut down the radicals, but also a weapon that the radicals can use against the legitimate Kiev governement. Because of this, it is all the more important to reach a peace deal that accomodates security concerns of all Ukrainians, while avoiding to inflame the situation further with regards to Russia.
The probably most difficult element to manage will be those in the pro-Kiev camp that are hardline supporters of NATO membership, backed by American sponsors. Porochenko, the realists in the political establishment and the civil society in Ukraine will have to stop their unhelpful meddling at some point.
Finally, regarding ratification of Ukrainian membership by current EU member States, this is the last peace in the puzzle of the membership procedure. Ratification method can vary from one country to the other, either by referendum or parliamentary approval. If negotiations can to that stage, it is hardly imaginable that a country will oppose this move.
But you can never discount that possibility, especially in countries where referendums will be organized. Also, EU member States that do or will entertain good relations with Russia at the time of the membership ratification (Cyprus maybe, or Greece, maybe Hungary or Bulgaria) might hold such a Damokles sword not just above the head of Ukrainians but also about the EU bureaucracy in Brussels, attempting to get some sort of kick-back for giving their blessing to this new membership.
But it will be years before we reach that point, so let's not micromanage the issues at stake and try and see the bigger picture instead, i.e. where do we - in Europe - want to be in 15-20 years. Let's not forget that failing to engage Ukraine and offer it some form of deal with the EU, which is for better or worse the only non-military international alliance that is relevant in the world, Ukraine will become a truly failed State with all the dangers this entails both towards the East and the West.

FB Ali

The basic problem with Dr Polk's proposed solution is that there is no trust remaining between Russia and the EU. The latter has shown itself to be a handmaiden of US policy.

Another problem is that under no circumstances will Russia relinquish the Crimea. For them, apart from other factors, it is a matter of national security.

David Habakkuk


I very much agree with what you say.

A digression, which may head back to some of the points you make.

Something which Oxford University does rather well these days is mafia studies. They have two splendid Italian professors, Diego Gambetta and Federico Varese. Among other things, these have demonstrated that, on occasion, 'rational choice' theory does have its uses, if used with a sensitivity to the contexts in which people actually make decisions.

As Varese put it in his 2011 study 'Mafias on the Move':

'A relatively recent body of research has shown that mafias emerge in societies that are undergoing a sudden and late transition to a market economy, lack a legal structure that reliably protects property rights or settles business disputes, and have a supply of people trained in violence who become unemployed at this specific juncture.'

Turning the argument round, a well-functioning liberal society presupposes legal codes regulating property rights and market exchanges, and state institutions with the capacity to enforce these.

It is also greatly helped by a culture of respect for law, which in turn is more likely when there is a general acceptance that the existing distribution of property is at least approximately legitimate.

That there were formidable obstacles to creating both the institutional and cultural preconditions for a well-functioning market society in the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire was something of which intelligent Tsarist statesmen were all too well aware at the time.

One might perhaps also say that a range of features of the Soviet system did not exactly help alleviate these problems (irony alert.)

However, the kind of Western economists from whom the Russian 'reformers' in the 1990s were foolish enough to take advice had simply never reflected seriously on the institutional and cultural preconditions for a well-functioning market economy, and had small grasp of economic history.

Instead, they believed, like Fukuyama, that contemporary Western society was somehow the natural end to human history, and all was required to produce it was to clear away the obstacles presented by the malevolence and stupidity of those involved with the old system.

The fact that such people were dripping with intellectual condescension did not make it easier for them actually to come to grips with the problems involved in exiting from the disastrous communist experiment.

Accordingly, the Russian 'reformers' were encouraged to adopt policies which made already intractable problems very materially worse.

In essence, 'shock therapy' meant that for members of the 'nomenklatura' and outsiders in fortunate positions, 'rational action' was looting: and the proceeds of successful 'looting' could be absolutely astronomic.

As the population at large did not regard the means by which property had been acquired as legitimate, the 'rational' strategy for the looters was then to salt as much as possible of the proceeds away in the West.

Here, they could rely on the assistance of crooked Western experts in money-laundering, and the readiness of Western elites to see particularly unpleasant 'compradors' as bringing 'freedom' and 'democracy' to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

In any case, with something approximating to Lenin's dream of a 'withering away of the State' actually happening, and proving a total nightmare, property rights had to be protected by private force. The new property-holders did not have the option of being benevolent.

Another aspect of this 'withering away' was that the vast military, intelligence, and internal security apparatus of what has been aptly termed a 'counter-intelligence state' was subject to headlong demobilisation.

Accordingly, 'rational action' on part of all kinds of different people led to the creation of what were in essence private security forces controlled by the oligarchs. There was demand, from oligarchs who needed such forces, and supply, from trained people suddenly thrown out of a job, or baited with the temptation of salaries far in excess of those any Russian state employee could command.

And, likewise, 'rational action' led many former members of the military and security services into the service of organised crime. This, of course, is the kind of 'rationality' which refined Harvard economists find a bit difficult to understand. It is all a bit too vulgar, really.

That nothing whatsoever was learned from the shambles which 'shock therapy' produced was amply demonstrated by the enthusiasm of the Bush Administration for simply disbanding the Iraqi army – what in creation did they expect a large force of people with military training and experience suddenly thrown on the scrap heap to do?

All these problems remain serious enough in Russia, but more serious still in Ukraine. To read people lectures on the need for abolish corruption actually gets one precisely nowhere – what is required is a hard-headed look at how far both 'rational' incentives and culture can be changed, and if so how.

Instead of this, however, West Ukrainian nationalists have been encouraged to fall again for the same delusion that afflicted Russian 'liberals' in the Nineties – that simply opting to make some kind of 'choice' in favour of the West would provide a miraculous antidote to the legacies of their history.

The predictable result has been that the disintegration of Ukraine into a 'failed state' – something which has been on the cards for a long time – is now happening, and seems quite likely to become utterly irreversible.

It may be that, as it were, Ms Nuland and her friends have brought Iraq to the heart of Europe -- although, alas, with a great deal of cooperation from Europeans.


Another afterthought - assuming that Europe can do it (and actually I believe they could, in principle) - would the US be able to restrain themselves for as long as that will take?

I am specifically thinking of folks like Viccy 'Fuck the EU' Nuland around, who appear to have their very own ideas about what should happen in Ukraine.


And I am speaking purely politcally. In the US Ukraine is treated as a domestic political issue and pols are running to position themselves as to not be weak on Ukraine.

I believe that McCain's lady friend Lindsay is pondering so loud on running for office specifically as to push his competitors to the right on matters like Ukraine.


I echo confusedponderer above.

Further I see very little consideration - to put it mildly, of the interests of the EU's citizenry in this.

May I also point out that accession of new members requires referenda in current member states.

As I have no desire to see yet another viciously and monstrously corrupt sinkhole joining the EU I can assure you Dr. Polk that the moment the proposal is mooted I will start campaigning energetically against.

The Government of the USA were and remain prime movers in this mess Dr. Polk. You broke it you fix it and you pay for fixing what you broke. It'll probably cost a bit more than the US$5 billion that your government admits to having spent to subvert the country to start off with but thems the breaks.




It is a breath of fresh air to read a rational plan to get us of this mess and save mankind. I also agree with the comments. Hopefully the pull back of heavy artillery from the frontlines in Eastern Ukraine continues and this gives time for sanity to return to return to the world. But, there are two problems. Europe has to divorce itself from the transnational elite and govern for the benefit of the people. That means returning sovereignty to the states and the waning of NATO and Eurozone. Secondly, there is the USA. Joe Biden (VP) has appointed himself as Viceroy of Ukraine and his sons as princelings. The multi-nationals will not give up plundering foreign riches and war profits without a fight.


"However, the kind of Western economists from whom the Russian 'reformers' in the 1990s were foolish enough to take advice had simply never reflected seriously on the institutional and cultural preconditions for a well-functioning market economy, and had small grasp of economic history. "


I strongly, very strongly, recommend Bruce Scott's work. He stresses, and stresses, that capitalism is a ***system of governance***, and not a bloody holy market that magically governs itself.

The Concept of Capitalism, by Bruce R. Scott
ISBN-13: 978-3642031090
ISBN-10: 3642031099 Edition: 2009th

His analogy is organised sports, take football - in which you get the NFL that sets the rules, the sportsment and the referees that sanction misconduct. He emphatically stresses that THE PLAYERS DO NOT MAKE THE RULES.

In Ukraine, to stay in the analogy, they did. In Russia Putin reasserted NFL authority over the game.

When in the US regulators maintain that it is not their job to regulate Wall Street because the market will self-regulate that's a sign of rot.

When they then are not tarred and featherd and run out of town for saying so openly that shows that the rot is not merelyy superficial.

It also suggests that in the US there is little actual awareness what their vaunted caputalism actually is about, or perhas was about, once, back in the day when governance was taken serious. Back in the day before the idiocy of 'The govetrnments that governs least is the government that governs best' ...

William R. Cumming

Extremely interesting additional comments [claifications?]!

My problem comes down to defining and analyzing the Ukraine as a modern nation-state. Is it or isn't it?
What are the arguments either way?

Charles I

Seems like common sense, least bad of any workable option, but its not going to happen. Russia is not giving up Crimea and there will desultory fighting until they have their little southern land bridge. Through which they will divert the bulk of energy exports.

That this may lead to a failed state and permanent chaos on their border is still viewed from the east as fruits of a plot and proof of perfidy rather than a future cost they are responsible for. Russia will only negotiate for real gains, token concessions, especially of territory in hand. A cosmetic fix maintaining some kind of federalized Ukraine in its present borders is lipstick on a pig that ain't gonna fly, even within Ukraine.

And then as if the EU with or without U.S. and/or Nato is capable of funding and nation building Ukraine. Friday it saved Greece for four whole more months - just into the 3rd quarter, wow. I take that as a sign that sell in May, go away is going to be good advice this year, but not as evidence of any nation building capacity.

As well, for whatever reason fighting the terrorists seems more newsworthy than avoiding nuclear war and fixing Ukraine to everybody's specs. Many above noted EU members leery of another eastern influx from less developed economies and legal cultures, but they're marching in the streets of Paris against the jihadis/ISIS. Although if we had any smarts we'd attempt the least worst settlement it tout suite so we can focus on ISIS.

If Ukraine couldn't sort out their minorities problems by politics or other means, and can't defend themselves, it seems they must compromise - even the almost unconditional surrender demanded above of Russia and the rebels as noted above, except reversed.

Or buffalo us into fighting a war there, not even the second least worst option, as again, it seems agreed we are already going to ramp up on ISIS.


The classic 'three element' formula by Jellinek that they treat you with when you study law in Germany in the first semester is this:

* One territory, with clearly defined borders
* with a core population
* governed by a state authority

That is very general, but still useful:

IMO the problem in Ukraine arises over fundamental matters of identity.

One of the problems with Ukraine is that the western Ukrainian nationalists hold that there is nothing Russian in a distinctly western Ukrainian (Galizian?) ethnicity, and that, if anything, they were heroes in fighting the Russians and victims of Russia tthough the Holodomor and subsequently communist occupation/administration.

There also is an insistence that the Holodomor was a horror rivalling (if not much worse in their view) the Holocaust inflicted deliberately and not merely the result of blundering central planning.

And while at it, Ukrainian conplicity in Nazi war crimes or the holocaust - that's all commie propaganda. Paul Himka's is quite illuminating on this.

They have consequently rewritten history to reflect their preferrences.

In my impression of Ukraine, over that basic question there is no consensus of the governed.

As a result of that basic disagreement abiout what sort of state Ukraine is ethnically there came fissures, which now question both the sate authority (Ukraine arguably doesn't exercise any, nor governance) and borders in places like Donbass.

Andrey Subbotin

To a Russian, the idea that Ukraine joins EU but promises not to join NATO translates as "They lie and will accept it into NATO a few years later, just like they did with Germany and Kosovo". I see no way to make this promise credible.

The second problem that the author does not even mention is the fate of russian-speaking population. The current Ukrainian-nationalist government is committed to the same program of de-russification that is in effect in Baltic states - Russian-speakers are to be 2nd class citisens, they are not allowed to have effective political representation, they are under constant pressure to de-russify, cannot have good education in russian, cannot have career, their children are indoctrinated in schools etc. We cringe but endure it in baltics, but Ukraine is just too large. Without some kind of regime transformation that guarantees ethnic Russian rights we cannot have good relations with current Ukraine.


Thank you. A minor addition: There could be no viable economic reforms without law enforcement. Actually, this is a very expensive proposition. For those habituated to a functioning legal system, the idea that economic prosperity needs more than change of government and presence of managerial skills is not easy to contemplate. The greatest problem for the former Soviets states has been the creation of a strong egalitarian judicial system that works consistently. Such system requires a lot of money and expertise.
As for a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis, such solution is not in the interests of its designers. The neocons need a festering bloody wound on a Russian border as a pretext for punishing the Russian Federation with economic sanctions (illegal) and draining her resources for a support of refugees from Ukraine in Russia as well as for the suffering population in east Ukraine. The unforgivably childish parlance of the US representatives--the demonization of Russian president and the disinformation and lies re Ukrainian conflict--only emphasize the US' determination toward achieving the neocons' goal of crashing and dismembering the "regional power" which possesses too much valuable mineral resources and which has been getting too much political capital.
How come that the country that used to be an aspiration for those living in totalitarian states, has been losing its moral authority be means of intellectual pettiness and moral depravity... It is depressing to compare the giants of the American revolution with the intellectual and moral dwarfs in the current Congress.


It seems that creation of a failed state in the heart of Eurasia was the goal of the $5bln investment announced by Mrs. Nuland-Kagan.

Norbert M Salamon

In reply to Mr. Cumming:

IMO there is a similarity of Ukraine to Sadam's Iraq, to Tito's Yugoslavia with respect that all had the appearance and characteristic of a nation state [if we consider that Ukraine SSR was a legal entity] -as long as a strong ruler [be it Khrushchev or someone else] managed to hold the diverse religious, cultural or linguistic groups in enforced peace. There is a similarity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, also, where numerous minorities co-existed.
However, in all the cited countries it took a small spark [Sarajevo] or foreign meddling to produce chaos.

So I respectfully suggest that Ukraine is not a nation state at the present. There is fracture from Russian speakers in the East, Hungarian descendants in the West [Hungary gained over 100 000 new citizens from Ukraine in the past 12 months]the Crimean group in the South, with Polish influence in the North-East, plus small odds and ends all over. All ruled in theory by a criminal oligarch [as revealed by Snowden documents of US] who has very little actual power, being a slave of US policy helped along by a Finance Minister freshly out of US government bureaucracy - and somewhat opposed by the ambitious Yats. Ms. Nuland's protégé.

I do not know if the pieces could be put together along Mr. Putin's aim of a loose federation. This would require a strong leader interested in the welfare of all citizens who is capable of taming the various members in present ruling clans.
The above can only occur if the USA gets away from any meddling in East Europe.

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