DAAD Associate Professor of German and European Studies, Department of Political Science, National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy," Ukraine; Member, Eichstaett Institute for Central and East European Studies ZIMOS, Bavaria.
Russian language is present in Ukraine in everyday life. Kiev remains a largely Russian-speaking city, and of course the south and east of Ukraine will probably remain Russian-speaking. But the Ukrainian language will become more and more relevant throughout the country, and eventually Ukraine will probably end up being a properly bilingual and partly trilingual country
Russia’s democratic movement is not too small, but too multifarious. It has too many rather than too few parties, leaders and factions. Its activists are too proud, too full of themselves and too intellectual to unite with each other across the democratic spectrum for a real fight for political power.
Putin is seen by some of the ultranationalists as such an inadequate part of the Russian national organism. He thus has to be replaced by a “healthy” and “worthy” representative of the Russian nation.
At first glance, the idea of a re-integration of the post-Soviet republics may seem sensible. The economies, societies and populations of the successor republics of the USSR are linked to each other by a multitude of ties. On closer inspection, however, the creation of a new supranational formation spanning much of the territory of the former Tsarist and Soviet empires is hampered by structural and historical constraints.
For almost twenty years now, the LDPR has kept its status as the strongest ultra-nationalist party in Russia. It is thus well-positioned to garner support of nationalist voters. In spite of the many oddities and contradictions in the LDPR’s political history and public behavior, Zhirinovsky and Co. mayturn out to be among the winners of the next parliamentary elections.
Neither the European nor the Russian leaders, nor even the Ukrainian leadership, seem to be clear about the path Ukraine will take in its foreign relations in the near future. Moscow seems to be torn between its obvious aim of seducing Ukraine into a new special relationship – if not a new union – with Russia, on the one hand, and its short-term economic interests, on the other.