EU

Ukraine as Antidote

In the wake of the large gains by ultra-right wing parties in the recent European elections, Timothy Snyder suggests in the New York Review of Books that Ukraine could provide an antidote to the problem. A country that actively wants to join the European Union and is willing to work for it could help the body to rediscover its purpose:

In the Ukrainian revolution, people fought carrying the EU flag; in the Ukrainian elections, people stood in line for hours wearing EU symbols. The European Union has been enlarging since its establishment as the European Communities, and it will and should continue to do so. A promise of further enlargement would not be expensive: on the contrary, the incentives for reform and for investment would reduce the need for future aid.

By contrast, Snyder says, the voters who in Scotland, France, England, Greece, Austria, Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe voted for a return to the nation state are living in a parallel universe, and really voted for a “separation from the world”. Their detachment from reality is merely enabling Putin’s scheme for the Russian domination of Europe – the Russkiy Mir – for these nationalists and advocates of “independence” also support Putin’s aims and policies. However, “if Europeans voted the way Ukrainians did, Europe could count on a far more secure and prosperous future.”

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Ukraine: Scenarios

ukreuropeOn his LiveJournal blog Ukraine/Russia specialist Andreas Umland asks:

What happens to Europe should its territorially largest country slide towards civil war and a violent break-up? What happens to the current trans-European security architecture, pan-European organizations and all-European law should the Ukrainian state fall apart? What will happen to the already strained political, yet surprisingly intense economic EU-Russia relations when Moscow accepts possible offers from East and South Ukrainian regions to become, like Transnistria, Abkhazia or South Ossetia, Russian protectorates (if not oblasts of the RF)? I hope that these scenarios are currently being discussed in Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Moscow… etc

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is giving signs that Moscow may not wait indefinitely for the answers:

Russia urges EU “not to interfere” in Ukraine.

Ukraine Approaches Europe

A number of recently-published articles focus on Ukraine’s forthcoming signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union at the November 28–29 EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. RFE/RL’s Dmytro Shurkhalo writes about the fears of a possible trade war between Ukraine and Russia, while Yevhen Solonyna examines a document that purports to be a plan drafted by Moscow and its allies in Ukraine “that outlines a multipronged effort to extend Russia’s influence in the country.” Attention is concentrated particularly on the Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk and his Ukraine’s Choice civic movement, whom some analysts have suggested are responsible for the 10-page document.

In Eurasia Daily Monitor, Maksim Bugriy asks How Powerful Is the Pro-Russian Lobby in Ukraine?, concluding:

While to date, the pro-Russian lobbyists’ activity in Ukraine seems generally ineffective to alter the country’s course, their influence cannot be underestimated. At a minimum, such activity increases the costs for the Ukrainian government to pursue a pro-Western policy. And in the medium term, Russia may increasingly rely on Ukrainian Eurosceptic power players, who will inevitably gain political weight as Ukraine works to accommodate Europe and the West.

Meanwhile, the imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko has sent a greeting to the Ukrainian World Congress being held on August 20-22, in which she says that  the matter of signing an association agreement with the European Union is a matter of the existence of Ukraine, because the accession to the EU will guarantee the country’s independence. From the text of the greeting:

It so happened that forces came to power in Ukraine that don’t recognize the Holodomor as genocide – the Party of Regions and its satellites – the Communists. Instead of honoring the innocent victims of Stalin’s cold-blooded regime, they are trying to rebuild a new regime in Ukraine, destroying freedom, democracy, denigrating our language, history and national pride. 

In the name of the dead, the living and unborn, we must finally break out of this darkness, where famine killed children, where injustice, lies and humiliation reigned. We must escape to the world that has overcome tyranny and authoritarianism, to our historical home – the European community. 

Right now there is no greater priority than the signing of an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union on political association and a comprehensive free trade area. For me this isn’t a matter of my liberty or imprisonment, it’s a matter of the existence of our country, because joining the European Union will guarantee our independence and protect Ukraine from returning to a new empire. 

We must consolidate our historical European choice with a victory of the democratic forces in the 2015 presidential elections and move to full EU membership for Ukraine. We have learned all the painful lessons we should have from 2005-2010. Three parliamentary opposition forces have already concluded an agreement on full coordination of activities during the next presidential elections in 2015. Not a day or hour goes by when I don’t think about the design for the future of our country, about every detail of the plan of changes in Ukraine after the victory of the democratic opposition in the presidential election.