What are the deeper roots of the current conflict in Ukraine? Should outside actors get involved? Would a stronger involvement of the EU solve the problems?

(Sasha Maksymenko/Flickr/Creative Commons)

  1. Andrey Makarychev 9 months ago

    Actually it was Yanukovich’s proposal, immediately supported by Putin, to start a trilateral dialogue on Ukraine as soon as the crisis began. The EU rebuffed this idea as allegedly conducive to giving Moscow a veto right on the negotiations between Brussels and Ukraine, which is not necessarily the case. In fact, the EU itself put aside multilateral diplomacy, one of its key international brands. It is unlikely that the Kremlin would make this proposal again – the time for it has gone.
    Yet ultimately it is Russia – not the EU – who is in the most vulnerable position. The likely decomposition of the Yanukovich reign – either due to the growing brutality of the police, or because of the progressing weakness of the authorities – will reverberate much more strongly in Russia than in the EU. By too closely identifying Russia with Ukraine (politically, socially, culturally, historically), Putin may have found himself trapped, since nowadays all negative scenarios in Ukraine will bear obvious symbolic meaning for his own rule. It is his fellow ally who faces the revolutionary scenario. And since the Kremlin associated itself with Kiev, the degradation of the Ukrainian regime will certainly be interpreted by many as heralding hard times for Putin’s rule.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 9 months ago

    Deeper roots of the conflict are in the duality of conscience and perception in post-Soviet states. There is a segment of Soviet perceptions among the population which is reproduced among the youth; there is a segment of archaic perceptions; there are less modern perceptions of economic and political life, but with illusions that changing individuals who are compromised by corruption and misgovernance may help. And there are also problems with the inadequacy of social-political access in the new competition between irresponsible democracies and responsible authoritarian regimes.
    There are also other factors: irresponsibility, corruption, misgoverning, and manoeuvres between clans. Contradictions between the EU and Russia on the destiny of Ukraine are only aggravating the situation. A combined strong and constructive EU-Russian involvement may solve the issue, though. This joint involvement may be oriented toward new elections and the evolution of a new coalition government, augmented federalism and a responsible Ukrainian democracy instead of a super-presidential republic of irresponsible authoritarianism.

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3 Comments

  1. Boris Markovic 9 months ago

    The main reason for the conflict is a deeply divided Ukraine. Ethnically, religious, and politically. A third of its population are Russians. They´re looking East. The West of the country, especially younger people, are oriented towards the EU. And the EU and Russia are playing geostrategic games. Russia wants to remain control over one of its former Soviet republics. The EU is planning further expansion. Unfortunately, both powers don´t support progressive forces. Russia is with Yanukovych. The EU, especially Germany, is backing neo-fascist parties like Swoboda. Reminds me of the German support for neo-fascist forces in Croatia in the early 1990´s. Ukrainians should beware of Greeks wearing gifts!

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  2. Klaus Segbers 9 months ago

    what is relevant here, is not the “russian” or “european” position. what matters is the deep division of the ukrainian society. the task of the eu is not to heal deep rifts of neighboring countries. the eu is interested in export and maintain stability. this requires first of all a minimal consensus in those societies to accept eu norms and rules. this consensus is not at hand in ukraine.
    it would be a grave mistake of the eu to get involved into a competition with the russian federation about buying out ukraine. rather, the ukraine society and the political actors have to think about where they want to go from here, and where they see their future.
    the offer from the eu is and remains on the table: to conclude the association agreement. but it is the ukraine’s obligation to develop a constructive and sustainable position.

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  3. Michaela Laussegger 8 months ago

    In this context, I would like to recommend an article by Timothy Snyder on this issue, especially on the role Russia: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/
    The article also answers the point made by fellow commentator, Boris Markovic, that the EU is supporting fascist parties…

    I still think that the EU needs to play a more supporting role, at least in words if not in deeds, of the Ukrainian opposition on this issue, which is only happening now after the serious death toll of the last few days… As mentioned in the article above, Russia is not a quiet bystander in this conflict which, in my opinion, requires some counter action from the international community.

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