November 25, 2013
The modern history of Ukraine is full of dramatic pages of fight for the ways of development in our country.
The events which we have recently been witnesses of are also full of drama. The decision by the Ukrainian government on the suspension of the preparation for the Association Agreement signature with the EU has shocked many both in Ukraine and abroad. While I am writing these lines, there is no absolute certainty yet that the president of Ukraine has made the final decision on the refusal to sign the Association Agreement. But even if it is true, then it is not only the Ukrainian authorities which should be blamed for the derangement of the Vilnius Summit.
There are many questions left to the leaders of the countries of the European Union and the US. The fact that the Ukrainian authorities would have to face a brutal economic pressure on the part of Russia was known before. Russian powers that be have always ignored the regulations of the international law. There have been many examples of this during the long history of the Russian Empire. That is why in this case an open violation of the WTO regulations would not have deterred them.
It is clear that the drastic decrease in demand for Ukrainian goods on the part of Russian consumers, which can be observed this year, has not only political but also an economic reason. Russia is sliding into an economic crisis despite sky-high prices for energy resources. The plunge of industrial output and the reduction of investment in capital assets, which can be observed this year in Russia, could not help reflecting on demand and production goods, including those from Ukraine. At the same time the political factor for the refusal of Russian consumers from Ukrainian goods is obvious.
Under such conditions the Ukrainian government could not but ask the European partners quite reasonable questions about a considerable financial aid for the period of the foreseen most strenuous pressure on the part of Russia. However, the aid had to be clearly defined and only enough to protect Ukrainian companies and state funds from the collapse. But unfortunately, the Ukrainian government has not heard anything except general encouraging statements from the European leaders.
There were also issues to be solved about ways of solving problems in case of quite a possible restriction of gas supply from Russia. Considerable volumes of gas from Europe to Ukraine can only be supplied from Slovakia. However, Ukrainian companies cannot provide for gas transit through this country this year. It is blocked in the interest of Gazprom. And this is in spite of the fact that Ukraine is a member of the European Energy Community, that this is a serious violation of the European Energy Charter and the Second and the Third Energy Package of the EU.
It should also be understandable that it will be mostly the factories located in the East and the South of Ukraine which are now suffering and will be suffering from the actions of Russia in case of the Association Agreement signature. And these are regions of the basic electoral support for president Yanukovych and the ruling party in Ukraine, the Party of Regions. If the current authorities had turned out to be unable to protect the economic interests of these regions, the electoral losses of their representatives would be extremely painful.
Did the leaders of the EU countries and the US know and understand this? Yes, I am confident that they did. Then why did they not do anything to guarantee the absolutely concrete assistance for the ruling regime in Ukraine in case of the Association Agreement signature? What did they expect? Perhaps, are they simply unaware of Ukraine’s role in the provision of stability in Europe?
It seems that today neither Europe nor the US have leaders with a will to take decisive actions and defend them to the end with all the power of their states. I am not the first who must sadly admit that there are simply no such leaders as Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl in the countries of the western world. That is exactly why incumbent heads of the European states are simply watching as the Russian regime brusquely interferes in the internal affairs of the countries of the former Soviet Union, carries out military aggression and annexes their territories, kills and kidnaps its opponents not only on the territory of Russia but also on the territory of other countries of the world.
I hate analogies but I cannot help reminding that in the thirties of the previous century the lack of political will and the helplessness of the leaders in the European democracies resulted in the disaster.
This year Forbes magazine has called Putin the most influential person in the world. But I think that this importance of the leader of the extremely corrupted regime is a mere reflection of the helplessness of the incumbent heads in the western countries. And the derangement of Ukraine’s signing of the EU Association Agreement can be only an eloquent proof to that.
Author : Borys Kushniruk