Full text transcript of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev's video blog address re: his letter to Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko: [From Editor - having not found a translation of this online, I went ahead and did it myself. It's not perfect, but I think it captures the tone and gist of the address. The full text translation of Yushchenko's letter in reply to Medvedev is also posted here on EastOfMain.com. My analysis to follow - Andriy]

I recently sent a message to the President of Ukraine. I will say right away - that was no ordinary document. It contains a series of difficult, measured assessments on the actions of Ukraine's political leaders. I would like to explain what prompted this move on my part. That is what I would like to deal with today in my address.

Lately, Ukrainian and Russian societies have been expressing their alarm about our bilateral relations. By Ukrainian politicians' own admission, the level of these relations has hit an unprecedented low - and it's hard not to agree with that. The tension in Ukraine-Russia relations is getting off the scale.

I have often talked about Russia's desire to be a predictable, strong and comfortable partner to its neighbors, especially the country with which we share common historical and cultural roots. [We have] not just neighborly, but, as commonly held, fraternal relations.

If I remember correctly, the great son of the Ukrainian and Russian people, Nikolai Gogol, once said, "There exist no ties closer than comradeship". And when we celebrated his anniversary, we once again remembered his words. That celebration became another vivid illustration of our [two] people's spiritual closeness.

This background adds yet more contrast to the current, to put it mildly, complicated relations between the two nations. Let us look at what's actually happening. The administration in Kyiv has adopted a pointedly anti-Russian position regarding the Saakashvili regime's military attack on South Ossetia. It was Ukrainian weapons that killed the peaceful population and Russian peacekeepers. In contradiction to fundamental agreements between our countries, the course of interference with Russia's Black Sea Fleet continues - daily.

Unfortunately, the campaigns connected to squeezing out the Russian language from Ukraine's mass media and its educational, cultural, scientific spheres have not quieted down.

Their outwardly smooth rhetoric does not mesh with the Ukrainian leadership's twisting of our common history's difficult, complex episodes - the tragic history pages of USSR's big famine, nor does it mesh with their interpretation of the Great Patriotic War as some struggle between totalitarian systems.

The economic relations are a little different. Of course, they are developing, but so far it's impossible to open up their true potential. The reason is once again the same - Russian companies often have to contend with the Ukrainian government's resistance. That's precisely why we plan to open Russian Culture and Science offices in several of Ukraine's cities and to support in every way Ukrainians living in our country in their desire to develop their national culture.

Patriarch Cyril's recent visit to Ukraine was also very meaningful. I spoke to him upon his return and he shared his impressions with me. He said some very warm words. Our thoughts on this question are the same: fraternal peoples cannot be severed; we have the same historical and spiritual heritage.

I'm convinced that our relationship with the Ukrainian people will survive any problems. It can't be destroyed by the greedy interests of politicians, the changes in international discourse, the mistakes of individual leaders, nor can it be drowned in the swamp of pseudo-historical investigations.

I'm convinced a new time must come. But, in the current situation, I have decided not to send our ambassador to Ukraine. He will assume his duties later. The exact timeline will be determined by our relations' dynamics.

I'm convinced that the multi-faceted connections between Russia and Ukraine will return, but on a qualitatively new level - a strategic partnership level. And that time is not far off. I hope that the Ukrainian leadership is ready for this. For our part, we will do everything in our power.

Dmitry Medvedev

The Russian language original source is here

Posted
AuthorWells Stringham