Journalist and political commentator Hamid Golpira joined Press TV’s Top 5 on February 20 to discuss developments in Ukraine.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Press TV: Amid these talks of truce, sanctions, etc., do you believe that Ukraine has become the scene of a new proxy war between superpowers?
Golpira: Well, yes indeed. There are manipulations going on. You see the West and the European Union have their people there, trying to pursue their interests and realize their goals in Ukraine. You have the Russians wanting to realize their interests. And in some ways, the people of Ukraine are in the middle there… But who is really talking for the interests of the people of Ukraine while these major forces are trying to put forward their own interests in the country?
Q: So how do you respond to accusations that many of these protests that have been staged have been planned well in advance?
A: I think there is some truth to that. There might be, here and there, some spontaneous things, but at the same rate some actions, like these killings of the police, suddenly, as things seemed to be calming down, some things seem a little bit strange and unreasonable. Now… there is a discussion and talk of, OK, now they are going to have some dialogue between the different sides in this dispute. But it seems like there is a little bit of escalation and a little bit much escalation at unusual times on the side of the opposition, or the people on the streets claiming to be the opposition. So that is something a little bit strange there, how that was working out.
Q: But is that really the macro issue here, the U.S. and Russian relations in a larger sphere, because it had been, obviously, cooling down recently?
A: Yes, and there is competition between Russia and then on the other side, the EU and the United States trying to make Ukraine their sphere of influence. I would like to point out that Ukraine is a big country, fairly poor… about 50 million people. Although they might have some kind of association with the European Union, it is not likely that the European Union is going to, in the very near future, bring them into the European Union. So if some of the people there are thinking their economic problems and different problems… are going to be solved by some kind of moving or gravitating a little bit toward the European Union, they should take into consideration that they have a very big country and a poor country, hard to assimilate, and they are not going to be a European Union member in the very, very near future. So they should take that into consideration in their calculations.
Q: And finally I want to stick to the last point you made. I want you to expand on that if you can. You know, the EU has been so talkative about what has been going on in Ukraine. Certainly it wants Ukraine to be part of the EU, does it not?
A: Well, perhaps that might be something to be said over a very long term in time, but over the short term probably not, because they have had enough trouble brining in places like Romania and Bulgaria, which were poor. Then you have other places, some places that are very small like Cyprus or Estonia, they have a smaller population, but Ukraine has a big population, it is relatively poor, its economy is not really booming, and it also has many divides. You have one side talking Ukrainian and [some] are Catholic, and the other group of people are Russian-speaking and are Orthodox, and part of Ukraine was part of Poland just a few years ago. If you look on the map, there are a lot of divisions in Ukraine, and its size and poverty would make it very hard for the European Union to assimilate, to merge with, at least in the short term. In the long term, things could be different, but over the short to medium term, it is not very likely that Ukraine will be brought into the European Union.