Ukraine needs Codes of Tolerance to cool down

Posted in Ukraine , Europe | 17-Apr-14 | Author: Hubertus Hoffmann

Ukraine is in severe danger of losing its eastern territory. The escalation level is rising to military confrontation with the separatists and Russian special forces and a possible open intervention by the Russian Federation. The approach of the Europeans and U.S. to this crisis in Ukraine is still mainly reactionary, after a committed start by the German, Polish and French foreign ministers during the Maidan Square occupation.

The U.S., the EU and especially influential Germany, with its strong relations to Moscow, should now pursue a more active double strategy of power and diplomacy, including hard and soft factors of peace keeping. I call this fresh approach World 3.0.

Our World Security Network Foundation reports from Ukraine:

The most important aspect for the Russia oriented population in the east and south of Ukraine is the protection of their culture and dignity as well as economic prosperity. Since they suffer economically, many hope for better times through joining the Russian Federation. This is not propaganda from Moscow, but the reality.

It is the Achilles heel of the weak transition government, which acts ad-hoc without clear planning, as well as of the American and European foreign policy for Ukraine, that leaves too much room for Putin’s manoeuvring and anti-Kiev propaganda. We should not criticise him, but the West for not filling the vacuum on this delicate playing field for years.

As the Kiev government now pursues military actions in the east, it as well urgently needs at least a safeguarding mechanism through the very important soft factors within a credible double strategy. So far, this wise approach is missing.

The transition government is unable to cope and does not possess the know-how: it can only come from the West. Brussels and Washington cannot leave it to Kiev - that is naïve. The EU has all soft power knowledge necessary, but utilizes it inadequately and hence remains passive. The same is true for Washington.

This is why it seems to be necessary to once again (see Hubertus Hoffmann: What to do about the Ukrainian Crisis?, March 7, 2014) name soft-factor-proposals to cool down the situation in eastern Ukraine, using our long term know-how from the Baltic States and promoting Codes of Tolerance for Ukraine. 

  1. The OSCE should immediately create a Tolerance Report for Ukraine with clear references to the protection of minorities according to rules of the Council of Europe, the UN and the OSCE. It should be discussed in Vienna very soon.
  2. The transition government should appoint a Minister of Tolerance and Reconciliation from the Russian population. The EU could provide € 50 million for the purpose of reconciliation and its own experts.
  3. After the publication of the OSCE report, the government in Kiev must produce its own annual Tolerance Report, with discussions in the parliament and openly confess to the protection of its Russian population and promote fresh Codes of Tolerance for Ukraine (see our main project 
  4. Several local Round Tables are to be established, parallel to the security measures, in Donetsk and the cities in the east of Ukraine, which enable discussions about the future between all participants.
  5. Germany, Poland and France should guarantee the protection of the Russian population in Ukraine with a Guarantee Declaration according to the guidelines of the UN Charta, the OSCE and the Council of Europe and appoint a Special Representative. The transition government should accept this guarantee. This move is similar to the Austrian guarantee of the protection of the Germany minority in Tyrolia in its treaty with Italy in 1972. 
  6. The transition government should declare its appreciation of Russian as second equal language as part of its codes of tolerance and diversity program and contain anti-ethnic activities. 
  7. The aim should be maximum autonomy for the Russian parts of Ukraine within a federal state.
  8. To keep the Russians in and Putin out, the EU must propose a concept for Ukrainian-Russian economic relations and incorporate it into the free trade agreement.