Sunday, September 20, 2009

Medvedev's CNN interview

Below is part of the transcript of today's interview with president Medvedvev on CNN.

See video here

"F.Zakariya: Talking about Ukraine, when you say they should hold a referendum there, we should note that Ukraine is a sovereign state, and it’s free to enter any alliance it wants. There is no constitutional requirement for Ukraine to hold a referendum. Even though many believe that Russia is not satisfied with Ukraine being independent, as it believes Ukraine is still part of Russia to a large extent, that it cannot put up with the fact that it has lost Ukraine. In any case, we believe Ukraine has the opportunity to join any alliance; and according to the Constitution, it doesn’t need our direction on whether to do it or not.

D.Medvedev: You’re right. The question is that I am not making any recommendations to Ukraine; I just believe that Ukrainian politicians should think about it. I am not an expert on Ukrainian legislation. But we are talking about entering nothing else but a military bloc; and we had all been within one military bloc called the Warsaw Pact, which used to be NATO’s direct opponent. So if I was to make such a decision, I believe I would have to consult with the population on such issues. This is certainly their sovereign right; but as far as I know, a significant number of politicians hold the same position as me: that a referendum is required before acceding into NATO. The fact that the current Ukrainian president doesn’t think so is his own business. This is what I believe we should remember.

Regarding our attitude towards Ukraine, it’s a hearty and friendly one. We all have relatives and friends in Ukraine, and we have a need to communicate. Ukraine has been going its own way; it’s an independent state now, so let it develop itself. Ukraine has been experiencing economic difficulties and their own national problems; so let our colleagues deal with them.

What is it that I dislike? It’s something I had talked about in my recent address and in my letter to President Yushchenko. There is only one thing I dislike: that the anti-Russian position has become the main policy of the current leadership, meaning the country’s president, my colleague. Whatever they say, I am absolutely convinced this is their key policy. It’s a shame, and it’s wrong. Our nations have been so closely tied together that anyone who tries forcing a wedge between our two nations would be making a mistake, if not a crime, for the sake of future generations. So my address had only one meaning: to make Ukrainian politicians – and their president first of all – start to think about their policy. I really don’t like it that Ukraine has been heroising Nazi criminals, so to speak. [As a lawyer, Medvedev would certainly be aware he was deliberately making an erroneous sweeping generalisation here..LEvko] We had all actually fought against Nazism at some point. Other countries understand it, but the Ukrainian leaders are not willing to realise it for some reason. I have the right to make such assessments, as this is a common challenge, a common threat. Nazi criminals used to be judged by the Nuremberg tribunal.

So there are things that are truly crucial for the future of our relationships. We are not forcing anything on anyone; we are not addressing anyone. I’ve particularly emphasised that I wasn’t even appealing to the Ukrainian nation, because this nation has its own leadership. But as this country’s leader, I have to express my standing to my colleague. Considering everything that had been – and still has been happening there – I had to make an unpleasant decision and to delay sending a new ambassador to Ukraine, so that our Ukrainian colleagues would actually think about the consequences of such a policy."

In three of four months time president Yushchenko will be out of office, clearing his desk and packing a furniture removal truck. So why so hostile? Today was Medvedev's 44th birthday. Maybe he just didn't like the birthday prezzie from his Ukrainian counterpart...

'Segodnya's' "take" on this is: "Head of the Russian Federation has again criticized our president over [his] anti-Russian policies"


Will of the people denied said...

Yushchyenko has demonstrated his level of contempt for democracy and the will of the people of Ukraine.

Under Ukrainian law and Ukraine's Constitution the President is obliged to conduct a referendum on the question of Ukraine's NATO membership. Ukrainian courts have ruled as such yet Yushchenko has failed to fulfill his Constitutional duty.

If you take time to read Yushchenko's proposed constitutional reform referendums on NATO membership would be prohibited. so much for his commitment and respect for the will of the people.

Why does Yushchenko consider is membership so important then say association? The reason can be found in Ukraine's Constitution which prohibits foreign military bases being established in Ukraine. If Ukraine joins NATO then it is not a foreign military base.

UkrToday said...

There is a constutional requirement to hold a referendum on NATO.

Under Ukraine's Constitution a demand for a referendum signed by 3 million citizens of Ukraine must be held

Yushchenko is obliged Constitutionally to hold such a referendum.

The courts have ruled as much.
See google NATO Ukraine Refereundum Court

Yushchenko is in breach of his oath and continues demonstrate that he has no respect for democracy or the will of the Ukrainian people.

Anonymous said...

UkrToday has obviously not read the Courts decision, here it is in part to clarify the decision for all.

Deciding on this issue, the Constitutional Court takes into consideration that neither the Constitution nor the Law “On an All-Ukrainian and local referenda” No. 1286-XII dated July 3, 1991 with further amendments (in the part it is effective according to item 1 Chapter XV “Transitional Provisions” of the Constitution) envisage time limits for proclamation of an All-Ukrainian referendum upon popular initiative. Since the organisation and procedure for conducting referenda are regulated exclusively by laws (Article 92.1.20) the term within which the President of Ukraine is obliged to issue a respective Decree shall be determined by a law. It is impossible to eliminate this gap by mere interpretation of constitutional norms.
Thus, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine held:
1. In the aspect of the constitutional petition the provision of Article 106.1.6 of the Constitution according to which the President of Ukraine proclaims an All-Ukrainian referendum upon popular initiative is to be understood as reading that the President of Ukraine is obliged to proclaim such a referendum if it was initiated in compliance with the requirements concerning the organisation and procedure for conducting an All-Ukrainian referendum upon popular initiative.
2. To terminate constitutional proceedings in the case upon the constitutional petition of 51 People’s Deputies of Ukraine for official interpretation of a provision of Article 106.1.6 of the Constitution regarding definition of a term for proclamation by the President of Ukraine of an All-Ukrainian referendum upon popular initiative on the grounds of Article 45.3 of the Law “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” – the issues raised in the constitutional petition do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.