Andrey Derkach: Ukraine must concentrate on itself

PRAVDA.Ru conducted an interview with Ukraine’s deputy, the chairman of the inter-faction association “In Europe Together with Russia,” Andrey Derkach. Derkach was born in 1967 in the city of Dnepropetrovsk. In 1989, he graduated from the military and engineering school of missile troops of the city of Kharkov and served in the Missile Troops of Strategic Purpose. In 1993, he graduated from the Academy of the Russian Security Service. Derkach was employed in the Ukrainian Security Service in Dnepropetrovsk. In 1994, he was appointed the supervisor of the controlling service of Ukraine’s president. In 1996, he worked at the position of the presidential aid for foreign economic issues; in 1998, he was elected deputy of Ukraine. Andrey Derkach is a member of the parliamentary committee for budget issues.

- In one of your articles, you wrote that “Ukraine must concentrate on itself,” and become a self-sufficient country politically, economically, and psychologically. However, is it realistic to achieve this goal under the conditions of globalization? Especially in terms of the economic aspects of it?

- It is not about becoming isolated from the world; I did not mean that Ukraine must build the Great Chinese Wall and gradually die. It is vice versa actually; our goal is to realize our real place in the modern world, and to get rid of some sort of a “superpower complex,” which Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Union. Ukraine is far from being a superpower even on the European scale. I am certainly not talking about the population of our territory; I am talking about the economic position and real weight in world politics. However, if you read the press or listen to some of our politicians, then you may have an impression that Ukraine is the center of the universe. Then, we get offended when we are not taken into consideration. Our major problem is that we have not yet realized what Ukraine actually is – over ten years of our independence – what our national interests are, and of course, we have not yet learned how to protect them. That is why I think we should not put on airs and pretend we are the brightest, strongest, greatest, and the like. We should have the courage and admit the obvious things: the majority of events happening in the world do not have anything to do with us, and we can no longer exert influence on them. This is the idea I had when I said that “Ukraine must concentrate on itself.” We must not insist on participation in some international events in which we are not welcomed anyway. We have to work on our inner problems, in the economic field first and foremost. If we have some good results in this respect, then we will have the hope that the world will be listening to Ukraine’s opinion.

- Anyway, there is the impression that Ukraine’s intellectual elite does not pay much attention to the issue of globalization. This is a process about the redistribution of strength in its sense, about the control over all kinds of resources, and influence on world politics. For the time being, this redistribution does not bring good to Ukraine. Does anyone forecast the consequences of the globalization for our country?

- This is what I am talking about. We can not hide from globalization nowadays. It is taking us over. However, what do we have to take into the new global world? Like I said, we have not yet developed our national priorities. The Ukrainian elite is struggling because of this issue. Ukraine can not run for a worthy place in the new world if there is no joint opinion of where to go and what to do and how.

- What is your attitude to the “cassette scandal,” to its causes and consequences? (the scandal is about very provoking statements, made by the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, which were recorded on audio tapes by one of presidential security attendants).

- The scandal has revealed the real contradictions in the Ukrainian political field. I believe that the goal of this scandal is to stir up the tense political situation on the threshold of the elections.

- You used to be a military man, you graduated from the academy of the Russian Security Service, served in the security services of Ukraine. Will you please tell us more about that period of your life? How did you come to politics from the special services?

- I have to say that I did not leave the special services and then go to politics. I was involved in private business, and then – in the state service as the deputy supervisor of the presidential controlling service, a presidential aid for foreign economic issues, and then I got involved in politics and became a deputy. The time that I had being a student was the happiest I have ever had in my whole life, I have to say.

- “Working Ukraine,” - the party, which you lead, is called an oligarchic party. Do you agree with such an opinion?

- My attitude to this opinion is normal. I consider it to be a political label. It usually happens like this – when they make up a scheme and then try to adjust the political, public, and economic life to it. It just so happens, that if there are a lot of young and energetic people in “Working Ukraine,” who have had a successful career in business or in politics, then it is an obvious thing to do is to stick “oligarch” label to it, with all negative characteristics coming out. In this case, I may only offer you to open a dictionary and look up the word “oligarch."

- In one of your interviews you stated that the basic activity directions of your party, “Working Ukraine” is to struggle with officials’ despotism. How does your party struggle with it?

- It would be easier for me to say, where there is no such despotism, although it is even hard to recollect anything on the score. The officials in Ukraine and in Russia, in other post-soviet countries are used to the feeling of “being a god or a king” with no laws or regulations to restrict their actions. Their tyranny will exist until everyone realizes that the laws should be observed until the total common corruption is destroyed. This is like cancer for a country. There is only one way for us to struggle with this tyranny of the officials – by means of establishing the efficient legal base, which allows to carry out the requisite arrangements in this field.

- The political bloc “For Unified Ukraine” in which your party is included has not been noticed for its inner integrity. Will it be possible to overcome the contradictions between other parties and partners?

- Of course, there are problems and there is no way around that, for the bloc united different parties and different political forces. However, I am certain that all the contradictions must be put aside for the major goal – to win at the elections. This can be achieved, if we establish close cooperation within the bloc.

- What can you say about the status of a Russian citizen in Ukraine? Or vice versa?

- I have repeatedly expressed my opinion on this matter. It is hardly actual to talk about the Russian language having the status of the second state language in Ukraine. It would require some changes in the constitution, and we have the experience that proved that this procedure is a very complicated one. Therefore, I think that the best variant to choose is the European way of solving this language problem. This is another aspect that proves the necessity of Ukraine and Russia’s integration in the European political and economic structures. The application of the European language norms in Ukraine will allow to protect the Russian language from any attempts to discriminate it. By the way, this is not only about the Russian language, but also about other languages of those people, living in Ukraine.

- Is there independent press in Ukraine?

- No, there is not. The press can be independent only when there is independent economy in the country. There are no conditions for that in Ukraine; they have not been created in the field of legislation either.

- What is your forecast? When is Ukraine – the state - going to stop dealing with its affairs only and start working for Ukraine – the society?

- This will happen only when the citizens finally realize that they are actually the state and not the officials, when they make the adequate conclusions from it.

Andrey Derkach was interviewed by Andrey Lubensky PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine

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Translated by Dmitry Sudakov