The Ukrainian government’s decision at the E.U.’s recent Eastern Partnership conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, to decline to strengthen economic ties with the European Union in order to strengthen economic ties with Russia made very little sense because given an either-or choice the country would have become more prosperous by partnering with Europe. That made it appear that Russia had to have been threatening the country, in addition to carroting it, while possibly also bribing individual politicians.
FAZ.net reporting about ship-like natural gas processing and delivery harbors that can replace pipelines has indicated post-Soviet Russian “gas wars” against Ukraine. On 21 Nov 2013 ZDF heute journal reported that Moscow had been waging a bitter trade war with Ukraine for weeks before the decision, with threats to stop investments and throttle back natural gas deliveries just as winter was starting.
Update on 29 Nov 2013: Angela Merkel told reporters at the summit it wasn’t even an either-or decision. Ukraine could have strengthened economic ties with the E.U. and with Russia. And the decision remains open; Ukraine can decide to join the E.U.’s Eastern European trade partnership program at any time. And the E.U. has few enemies in the world that might sanction Ukraine for being friendly with it: North Korea? Syria?
Meanwhile, Georgia and Moldavia did sign the E.U. trade partnership agreements, as a result of which they will enjoy fewer visa limits and lower customs charges.
Update on 02 Dec 2013: Amid fierce protesting, half a million people in the streets, terrible violence in Maidan Square, followed by the resignation of the chief of police in apology for official brutality, President Janukovytsch announced his government might be willing to talk talk about E.U. trade partnership association agreements again. He flew to China to be seen talking talk about non-E.U. trade there.
Update on 03 Dec 2013: Three opposition parties formed an alliance in Ukraine on 02 Dec 2013. The next day, “all” the parliamentary opposition parties brought a no-confidence vote that failed to oust Prime Minister Mykola Asarow’s government, getting only 186 of the 226 votes needed. Apparently Mr. Janukovytsch represents while Mr. Azarov governs.
ZDF heute journal reported that the no-confidence vote’s arguments had been: “the disastrous economic situation,” burgeoning governmental corruption and, last but not least, the decision to turn down an E.U. association agreement. Followed by the new arguments of the terrible police brutality against protesters. It’s too bad press cameras love following ex-boxer Vitali Klitschko, because there are other opposition leaders in Ukraine. ZDF’s correspondent said they mangled, mauled and lacerated each other last year, resulting in Mr. Janukovytsch’s majority.
(Zoh VOLE … alss OW! chh.)