Sunday, October 16, 2011

Viewing Ukraine From Europe

This past Tuesday, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for “criminal abuse” which occurred during her term as Prime Minister.

 The judge in the case described her actions as “using her official powers to criminal ends and, acting consciously, committed actions which clearly exceeded her rights and powers which had heavy consequences.

These consequences included signing entering into a deal for Russian gas that cost the Ukrainian state gas company Naftohaz $190 million while locking in an unfair price for Russian gas for the next ten years.

Many European observers have called the trial politically motivated and declared that the verdict risks having profound implications on the Ukraine-EU relationship.

The question for Europe is how much do you value Ukraine and why? If your looking for Ukraine to provide a containment type barrier to reasserted Russia power than maybe you should look elsewhere given the substantial population of ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine.

 Right now, the signs don’t look so good for a European Ukraine. Yanukovych has turned increasing autocratic and now that he has used the courts to punish a political rival. Ukraine looks far closer to Russia than Europe. Without European integration, Ukraine will have little choice, but to forge closer ties with Russia, a tragedy for European style democracy.

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