- Posted December 18, 2013 by
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More Ukrainian Demonstrations: which road to take?
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovytch is in a tough spot. As more than hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have rallied in the streets advocating talks with the EU, yesterday he found himself in Moscow discussing a trading deal with Russia.
Russian President Vladamir Putin told Yanukovytch that Russia was willing to buy $15billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds as well as drastically diminish the cost of natural gas. Despite the high offer, the Ukrainian people once again rallied the streets of the capital city to prevent the deal from going through.
Why push talks with EU?
In the midst of talks between the Ukraine and the EU, President Yanukovych unexpectedly turned the other way and started (or continued) talks with Russia, sparking the protest consisting of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in the streets of Kiev. But now that Yanukovych has appeared to reach a deal with Putin, it appears the Ukrainians are now calling for the resignation of the government.
Primarily the demonstrators were bravely enduring borderline freezing temperatures to try to push President Yanukovych to continue with the EU deal, but why would they want to push the Ukraine towards direction of an indebted group of nations? It has more to do with the history than anything else. In 1991, the Ukrainians gained their independence from the Soviet Union. Despite their newly found autonomy, Russia still continued playing a large role in the Ukrainian economy.
Should Ukraine follow the money?
The protests can be justified for historical resentment of the nation; however, talks with Russia should not be out of the equation as far as money is concerned. Ukraine faces an economic crisis like many other EU members, meaning that its integration would only worsen the debt. Needless to say, the EU may not be in the best economic position to continue integrating countries when its own future is quite uncertain.
On the other hand, countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, who also declared their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, have already signed into the Russian Customs Union in 2010 creating the only Common Economic Space. Furthermore, Vladamir Putin’s plan to create the Eurasian Union by 2015 is not too far ahead. If this isn’t an attempt to manipulate the independent countries, the Ukraine may actually benefit financially from joining the new Union (at the expense of its complete independence, of course).
With the ongoing Ukrainian demonstrations and the support of the American government, there’s no telling what the future holds for Ukraine. Only one thing is certain—you can’t put a price on freedom.
Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev - AFP