Ukraine Should Choose Russia Over The EU

LONDON, England -- The third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 28 may turn out to be a historic event.

Alexander Clackson, the author of this article, is the Project Assistant at APCO Worldwide and Founder of Global Politics.

Ukraine will have the opportunity to choose whether it wants to move westward towards the European Union or enhance its relationship with Russia by joining the Customs Union.

The decision will no doubt be crucial for Ukraine and will lay out the path ahead for the nation for the next 50 to 100 years.

The West, understandably, is very keen for Ukraine to sign the Association Agreement.

Not only will it allow the EU to flood the Ukrainian market with EU products, they will also be able to exploit Ukrainian land to grow crops and make use of cheap Ukrainian labour.

Most importantly for the EU, it will be another opportunity to weaken Russia, to steal a millennia long Russian friend and to allow NATO to come even closer to the Russian border.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was keen to sign the agreement and it seemed inevitable.

However, over the last few days, the situation has become less clear cut, as Ukrainian MPs failed to agree on the decision to allow former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to be freed from jail, a prerequisite condition from the EU.

Perhaps the meetings Yanukovych had with President Vladimir Putin, his aides and Ukrainian businessmen has opened his eyes to the fact that signing the Association Agreement would be a disastrous mistake for Ukraine for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, Ukraine would lose much of its sovereignty.

The fact that the EU is already pressuring Ukraine to free Tymoshenko, and thus influencing Ukrainian court and justice system, gives an indication that the EU would play a Big Brother role over the Ukrainian political and justice issues.

Indeed, the EU representatives have already made clear that they would require Ukraine to amend many of its laws, regardless of whether the Ukrainian people and members of parliament are happy with these changes.

Secondly, opening up the Ukrainian market to Europe would have a devastating effect on Ukrainian businessmen and producers.

Unfortunately, Ukrainian products cannot compete with Western commodity. 

Ukrainian consumers will start purchasing EU products, leaving many Ukrainian businesses with financial insecurity and, eventually, complete shutdown.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the Ukrainian people would have to adapt to a Western way of life - something that is completely alien to most people in the former Soviet Union republic.

The West has always been viewed as a paradise and a place where many aspire to live and work.

However, the reality is different.

For example, many of the Polish immigrants who came to the UK a few years ago have now gone back to their homeland after failing to integrate into the strange and unfamiliar British culture.

Additionally, Britain, such as the majority of other countries in the EU have struggled economically, leaving many immigrants with no choice but to return to their birthplace in hope of a better future.

The demise of the EU and the West in general is a crucial point to make here.

One would not want to jump onto a sinking ship.

Paradoxically, in hope of a better future, Ukraine would be signing an agreement with a European Union that has a bleak future to look forward to.

Economic, societal and political tensions in the EU continue to rise.

The economy continues to stagnate, the rise of the right-wing and neo-Nazi parties is well documented and political mishaps in countries such as Italy illustrate the inefficiency of the EU machine.

It is simply approaching it use-by date.

Instead, Ukraine has an opportunity to join a new entity with a bright future - the Customs Union.

Russia is undoubtedly on the rise.

With recent deals in China, Korea, Egypt and Iran, Russia is once again becoming one of the most influential players on the international arena.

Recent political success over the Syrian conflict has demonstrated that Russia is a dominant force to be taken seriously.

Furthermore, the citizens of the Western world are growing in admiration towards President Putin.

This was illustrated by a recent poll conducted by the English newspaper the Guardian which found that 88% of respondents felt that Putin was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than US President Barack Obama.

As people in the West grow despondent with the political and corporate elite that rule like monarchs, invading other counties and avoiding tax, Russia has an opportunity to step up as a nation that protects sovereignty, international law and whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden.

Russia must reach out to the people of the West and illustrate to them that the continuous demonization of Russia in the Western media is nothing more than propaganda and lies used to undermine and weaken the ever-growing strength of the Russian state.

Ukraine, as a nation that shares the same culture, religion, traditions, food and language with Russia, should join the Customs Union and become a part of this journey towards a new international political order.

Kievan Rus was where it all began.

Let there be another 1000 years of Russian Ukrainian partnership.

Together we are stronger.



Seeker said…
Sorry yet but another shrill for the Russian Gov't and the Party of Regions. I live here and that is all this article is. It is the Oligarch controlled media and Pravda (true) from Russia. U really going to believe Pravda, a historically know mouth piece for Russian Communism??
Nicholas said…
This article shows the continued pressure that Russia is exerting on Ukraine, not to join the EU. This time, Russia chose an unknown Western voice to carry their propaganda.

Putin’s dream of a reborn Soviet Empire is nothing without Ukraine. Yanukovych knows this very well and is playing with both the EU and Russia. The unfortunate part, in this whole political game, is that the Ukrainian people have no say in their future.
Igor Skakovsky said…
The author of this article is whether has no appropriate knowledge of the real situation in Russia or has being compensated for his article. Russia will stagnate development of civil society. In addition Ukrainian businesses may lose the ownership of their business because off high possibility of unlawful pressure from Russian capital. Ukrainian citizens need laws which will protect them, help them and provide a peas of mind in their own country. EU will be able to push Ukraine in the right direction, and it will be up to Ukraine to develop and negotiate defensive strategy to protect it own way of life and most important revive Ukrainian Traditions. Code of law published in Kiev Russ must be studied by Ukrainian lawmakers in every detail, to understand principals and traditional values, and then adapt those values to modern life. They will be surprised how those values overlap with European values.
At this time in history Ukraine must make this step and move on with AA agreement to become a regional leader. That is what Russia is afraid off. People will move from Russia to Ukraine in big numbers if Ukraine will manage to bring money for small businesses for the adoption process to European standards. Agreement with EU must have a provision that will give a grace period for Ukrainian businesses perhaps 8 to 10 month to be able to export on low tariffs to EU and use income for modernization and adaption. This income must be Tax free for that period if money are used for EU adaption. And perhaps EU should hold the increase in its export to Ukraine for that period of time.