By Mick Krever, CNN
Russian President Vladimir Putin has no incentive to interfere militarily in Ukraine and cannot be blamed for “inflaming the situation” that led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrassov told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“Why would Putin want to have instability in Ukraine, which is bordering Russia?”
“The infighting has started” in the new interim government, Nekrassov said. “It will continue.”
Nekrassov worked for President Boris Yeltsin during the massive upheaval of the 90s, and more recently he's been an advisor to the Russian Government on closer ties with the west.
Ukraine remains in the grip of crisis three days after a popular uprising drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power.
The opposition has again delayed naming a new interim government after pledging to do so Tuesday.
There are discouraging reports of political disarray and parliamentary squabbling, and the ousted president is still missing.
Yanukovych “had only one year left in office,” Nekrassov said. “He would have probably lost that election. Why was there need for sudden change of power?”
“You know, President Hollande of France is even less popular. We don’t call on him to be removed.”
As if to say, ‘You made your bed, now lie in it,’ Nekrassov said that Russia cannot be blamed for not worrying about instability in the new Ukrainian government.
“I’m sorry, they decided to take power. They ousted an elected president. He can be a bad president, some people say, but he was elected.”
Near-constant protests in Ukraine were sparked last November when then-President Yanukovych made a sudden decision not to sign a trade agreement that he had negotiated with the European Union.
“The European Union started this debate after the deal was not signed by Yanukovych,” Nekrassov told Amanpour. “The EU started blackmailing the government in Ukraine, and saying you have to choose between Russia or us.”
Russia itself pledged the financially wrought Ukraine a $15 billion loan after Yanukovych backed out of the EU deal.
The EU-Ukraine trade deal, Nekrassov said, was a “very bad” one.
“I was advising the finance minister. I read that agreement. It was terrible. It would have destroyed Ukraine’s industry, and it would have caused a lot of grief. So that was his legal right not to sign it.”
Russia has in many ways been Ukraine’s lifeline, including a deal to give the country cheap natural gas. Now that Yanukovych is no longer president, Nekrassov said that could all be off the table.
“The agreement with the previous regime was, yes, that the gas prices were, would be 30 per cent lower. Now this new regime has not discussed anything with Moscow.”
“So we don’t know what is going to happen, and Russia has all the right to sell the gas for world market prices.”
Acting Ukrainian President Olexander Turchinov warned that his country is “sliding into the abyss,” facing a catastrophic default because it is in such a deep financial hole.
“They are not professionals,” Nekrassov said of the interim government “I don’t really see how they are going to change anything.”
“The worst thing that could happen is that if it finds problems in raising money or getting a proper unity government, they will start using this sort of threat of attack by Russia as a policy, rather than just statement.”
“That would be dangerous.”