2013 THE END OF UKRAINE’S BALANCING ACT

Kyiv Post, Ukraine, on February 7, 2013, reported in an article according to Askold Krushelnycky, that President Viktor Yanukovych’s performance has been increasingly wobbly since his election in 2010, and this year could well see the acrobatics end with a painful plunge. Excerpts below:

Ukraine has trod a precarious political tightrope since it emerged as an independent country from the rubble of the collapsed USSR in 1991. Balancing between Western Europe and Russia, successive Ukrainian presidents have conducted their high-wire act with varying degrees of political acumen and cynicism, playing off the European Union’s desire for a closer relationship against Moscow’s efforts to bind the country into some form of Russian-led bloc.

the West cannot look on with passive bemusement. Ukraine, which boasts a population of 47 million, is Europe’s largest country by territory, and its eventual choice will determine Europe’s geopolitical complexion for decades hence.

It’s getting harder for Kyiv to play the old game. Last month Russia slapped a $7 billion penalty gas bill on Ukraine, continuing its recent tradition of using crippling gas prices to push the Ukrainians into entering a Kremlin-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. At the same time, the clock is ticking on the completion of a historic association agreement with Brussels called “a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.” The agreement is actually more far-reaching than its title suggests: Aside from stipulations on trade, it also entails a commitment to extensive reforms to harmonize Ukraine’s economy with the European Union’s as well as to establish democratic standards in the spheres of politics, human rights, and the rule of law.

Passing those tests would represent Ukraine’s most significant step towards eventual E.U. membership. (Needless to say, membership in the Customs Union — which consists entirely of authoritarian states – entails rather different preconditions, making it well-nigh impossible for Ukraine to choose both options at once.)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: