The Crisis in Ukraine: Russian Government and The West

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The hardened positions between the government and the opposition and the spread of anti-government protests to the country's western regions have increased the likelihood of a severe administrative crisis, potentially involving a power vacuum and protracted political uncertainty.
Ukraine, the biggest country in Eastern Europe, is sandwiched between Russia and the West. It is something of a pawn between Russia and the West. For the West, the EU trade deal would mean its reach would spread further east; by contrast, the Russians see the Ukraine as key to holding on to their turf. It was a vital player in the downfall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. But six years later, through the newly elected President Viktor Yanukovych, the head of the Party of Regions, it returned to the grips of its powerful oligarchs and Russia. So the people got neither the rule of law nor the democracy they had imagined. Politics of Ukraine take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. European leaders blamed the Russians for the crisis and even floated the idea of sanctions against Ukraine if more blood is shed. But in the Europe-Russia tug of war the Russians are more motivated.
The EU has, over several years, negotiated the most comprehensive association and deep free trade agreements ever, and it is ready to sign these with Ukraine. They require the country to adopt hundreds of EU laws, regulations and standards, and necessitate much-needed reforms of Ukraine's often dysfunctional political, legal and state institutions. In return, the EU would abolish visas for Ukrainian citizens and open its common market of 500 million consumers to Ukrainian companies, resulting i...

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...ssia—a major trading partner, energy supplier, and holder of Ukrainian debt—probably has more means at its disposal to punish Ukraine.
Yanukovych had to give away the pipelines this year and Ukrainian sovereignty next year by agreeing to join the CIS Customs Union in exchange for Putin's support for his re-election. Russia will therefore play the game in 2015 but I am not sure if the West will. The main problem is not Russia or the EU it is the Ukraine itself. It was president Yanukovych who decided, that he will not sign the agreement because Russia but not the EU can solve his budget problem in short term. He never had the goal to sign the agreement, he only wanted to have a better price from Russia and the EU was the bargaining chip. The choice before Yanukovych is actually quite simple. He can save himself and the country, or he can destroy himself and Ukraine.

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