Nobody either in Ukraine or, the more so, outside its borders makes an angel out of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. But there is an understanding in Europe that it is possible to make a deal precisely with him about Ukraine’s European integration, and precisely this year. Thus, for many reasons it is in his personal interests and the interests of the big Ukrainian capital. But the most important thing is – it is in the interest of the Ukrainian people. I am confident that democratic pro-European Ukraine is also in Europe’s long-term interests.
Such a coincidence of interests in Ukraine is not permanent; that is why it is important for the leaders of European countries not to attempt to get everything and right now from the helmsman of the Ukrainian state. It is natural that he will not become a democrat overnight and Ukraine will not turn into a democratic country – with independent courts, with professional and efficient law enforcement. It will be able to become such but it requires a consistent policy on the part of European leaders as regards Ukraine. The Ukrainian legal system needs to be reconstructed step by step, which would facilitate the formation of stable democratic institutions, provide for the highest possible transparency in the activity of all the authoritative bodies.
That is why, adhering to the requirements as for the provision of the basic democratic principles in the government activities, European leaders must take into account not only how better any other politician with whom it could be more comfortable to sign the Association Agreement would look in place of Yanukovych.
It is obvious that Russian powers that be will carry on trying to wreck the Agreement. The events in the recent weeks are only a prelude to tougher and more determined actions on their part.
One of the most important and obvious ways to do so – is to thoroughly discredit President Viktor Yanukovych. That means to present him as the one whom it would be impossible to shake hands with or agree on the partnership. It is not ruled out that, perhaps, there even might take place an assassination of a prominent opposition politician or a journalist, which Ukrainian President Yanukovych will be directly accused of.
In the next two weeks I expect a massive information campaign, first of all in Europe, aimed at presenting Yanukovych as a horrible dictator who controls all and sundry in Ukraine and whom all Ukrainian business and citizens are terrified of. Moreover, they say, only he will benefit from the Association Agreement; that is why, they say, it is not worth signing it with him. Although, if we compare condition in which the mass media and the opposition operate in Ukraine with those we can see in Belarus or Russia, it becomes clear to what extent such statements concerning President Yanukovych correspond to reality.
And here the ball is definitely in the court of European leaders and the European community. They have to resist this information pressure and understand to what degree this Agreement will allow for Ukraine to make its final decision in favor of the European direction of development, and how much millions of Ukrainian citizens long for it foremost, and not only politicians.