That, at least, is the verdict of Ukraine’s most influential news magazine, Kiev-based Dzerkalo Tyzhnia.
Its concern: The domino effect of a Scottish vote on the breakaway regions of the old Soviet Union.
“It seems most Scottish politicians are not concerned by the indirect risks that would arise if their country declared itself independent,” the magazine reported this month. “First of all, this could provoke separatism in other parts of the United Kingdom.
”Further it could have an impact on separatist sentiment in Canada, Belgium, Spain, and France and so on.
“And, finally, unrecognised statelets - including those in the post-Soviet space - will actively use Scotland in an argument as they seek official recognition for their independence.”
The Ukrainian state, of course, is only coming of age itself. Later this month it will mark 21 years since it peacefully declared independence from the then crumbling Soviet Union.
But that doesn’t – any Ukraine watchers would stress – necessarily make it an automatic friend of other nations aspiring to do the same.In fact, Ukraine is one of many nations which have refused to recognise the former Serbian province of Kosovo.
And it is looks equally uncomfortable with giving its official blessing to wannabe nations – some de-facto independent – close to its own frontiers.
That is where Scotland’s independence referendum comes in.
Take Transdnistria. This tiny slither of eastern Europe separates Ukraine from Moldova, clinging to the east bank of the River Dniestr as it flows in to the Black Sea.
Officially Transdnistria doesn’t exist. It’s just eastern Moldova as far as other nations are concerned. Unofficially, however, the statelet, often mocked as a living museum to the Soviet Union, has its almost everything a normal state would have bar a seat at the United Nations. And its people speak Russian, not the Romanian of Moldova.
Its long-term strongman, Igor Smirnov, was voted out of office at the end of last year. But not before the Sean Connery lookalike made his interest in Scottish independence clear.
Transdnistria used military might to carve out its de-facto freedom from Moldova. That hot shooting war, however brief, remains one of the former Soviet Union’s so-called “frozen conflicts”.
Ukraine hopes it will stay that way – or come to some kind of peaceful end. It doesn’t want the conflict to warm up again on its borders.
So do they want somebody to set a precedent for a vote to recognise such a statelet? No, but Dzerkalo Tyzhnia does seem to like the sound of a bit Devolution as a solution for Transdnistria and the other similar de-facto states across the Black Sea in the Caucasus.
“Scotland’s current option of co-existence within the framework of Great Britain,” it reported, “could be something of an example for the unrecognised republics wanting independence.”
The magazine, however, isn’t convinced a Scottish referendum would work in Transdnistria. The territory, it suggested, just hasn’t got enough democratic pedigree.
“The Scottish option wouldn’t work for Transdnistria unless it goes through 400 years of representative democracy first,” it concluded.
That, I happen to think, is a telling line.
Has Scotland really had 400 years of representative democracy? Not in any modern sense, of course.
But here’s the thing. England, as most in the former Soviet Union would refer to our island, is held in great affection. So, rightly are wrongly, are its democratic institutions.
That – and this is a wee pet theory of mine – means two things.
It means media and political leaders in the former Soviet Union are a little bewildered that there are Scots who aspire to independence.
(Dzerkalo Tyzhnia pointedly opens its article by stressing most nations seek independence because their rights are being infringed or their identity threatened – but that Alex Salmond simply wants more powers to “realise Scotland’s potential).
But this affection and respect for “English” democracy also means the Scottish independence referendum is taking tremendously seriously.
And in Ukraine that could be a big deal. Because – and this is not mentioned by Dzerkalo Tyzhnia – this is a state whose territorial integrity is far from certain.
Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula, only became part of the old Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic back in the 1950s. Its population is largely Russian. Some talk of Crimea going back to the old country. Could they want a Scottish-style vote one day?
In fact, Ukraine is a nation that should – but probably does not – appreciate the complicated politics of national identity in the British Isles.
The country, whose very name can be understood to mean Borderlands – has seen its own sense of self ebb and flow over the centuries.
Its territory has been chopped up among other states as diverse as Austria-Hungary, Poland, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.
Ukraine also has recent experience of the practicalities of a multi-national state being dismantled. This shows through in the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia article as it concludes that there will likely be two, not one, successor states to the UK and discusses a range of divorce options you will never see in the Scottish press.
So how will Ukraine welcome a new Scottish state?
Dzerkalo Tyzhnia has nothing to say about this. But it doesn’t even hint at Kosovo style problems for Scotland.
“Will the international community support Scottish independence?” it asks. “Yes. In the US there are between 10 and 25m people of Scottish ancestry.
“This is a significant lobby, which, when the time is right, will have its say.”
Ukraine is paying attention to us. Should we now be paying attention to Ukraine?
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