The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

44 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL people as a weakening superpower senses its own peril. That the potential of his ideas may not be realized is understood most fully by Gorbachev himself. —Daniel N. Nelson, November 1987 Helping Russia Reform Our attitude should be one of partnership on a very long journey of trial and error—not to impose our vision of the Good Society on Rus- sia, but to improve life for the Russian people in ways they consider helpful. If we are perceived to be a concerned, friendly country without an ideological axe to grind, we will bemore successful in addressing the problems in our relationship, which will inevitably arise. We should continue to treat Russia as a great power, without condescension. …The Russian leader needs to be treated, how- ever, as someone who is cooperative with the United States for his own hard-headed national reasons and in no way someone we can take for granted. The Clinton Administration should assume that: It may well end up paying more to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus for implementation of START I and II and the storage and destruction of nuclear weapons than it anticipated, but it will be a small price to pay for maintaining forward momentum in our arms control programs. —Thompson R. Buchanan, April 1993 New Era Beckons for Ukraine When Leonid Kravchuk was head of ideology in Soviet Ukraine, he would arrive at his office at 9 a.m. At 9:30 a.m. he would receive a phone call fromMoscowwith the day’s instruc- tions. After the call, he would pick up another phone, pass the orders to the party cadres, and his work for the day was done. As president of an indepen- dent Ukraine, Kravchuk laments that the problemwith Ukraine is that the phone fromMoscow no longer rings. This story, while apocryphal, does underscore the many challenges Ukraine faces. It is a new country devoid of much of the infrastructure necessary for organizing and leading a country. Its leadership, products of the Moscow-centered decisionmaking of the Soviet era, is more comfortable with carrying out rather than creating ideas and goals. Long known as the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine had been an economic mainstay of its colonial rulers, most recently the Soviet Union. Many believed its size, its location and its agricul- tural and mineral resources destined it to be a leading regional actor. Thus, as Ukraine moved towards independence, there were high expectations that its leaders would quickly take advantage of its potential and blossom politically and economically. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, defended by no natural borders and blessed with rich agricultural soil, Ukraine has historically been the target of aggression or the site of empires fighting out colonial drives. None of the occupations have been conducive to Ukraine’s development. Indeed, they have aimed at destroying Ukrainian identity. … Ukraine’s concern regarding Russian intentions is understand- able. But there is another dimension. Pressed from various sides, Ukraine has historically sought to maintain its security by appeal- ing to or allying itself with outside forces, since it never has had the internal experience or resources to maintain its own security. —Roman Popadiuk, June 1994 The Plummeting of Yeltsin’s Star In fact, the terrible performance of the Krem- lin in this war [Chechnya] has dramatically changed the political situation in the former Soviet Union. …The developments in Chech- nya also have uncovered deep disarray of the Yeltsin administration. …Numerous times in the last month, the administration has proclaimed victory, even as Russian casualties continued to mount. …The Chechen war has also drastically damaged the international image of both Rus- sia and Yeltsin. —Vladimir Shlapentokh, April 1995 Oral History in Real Time: The Maidan Revolution “Bearing witness to the fact that this was a movement of the people for the people, a movement of dignity, self-organized—to bear witness to what the government’s troops were doing or not doing. … I think it was an extraordinary time, when you saw resources and people coming together, and to explain that and to convey that to Washington was important. [It was important] to say it’s not just any old protest. And to explain also that there were some fundamental values that people were supporting, and why it was in our interest to help make sure that there was a space for people who were protesting, that there was a democratic way to do this. That’s what I think our role was—and the role of the diplomat.” —Joseph Rozenshtein, April 2017 (quoting Deputy Economic Counselor Elizabeth Horst, 2014) n