Valeriy Kucheruk on Ukraine

Brussels is continuing consultations with Ukrainian politicians in the view a possible signing of the Ukrainian association with the European Union (Association agreement) at the summit in Vilnius.

This is also the concern of the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule. “Whatever we do in our portfolio right now is of course focused on Ukraine very mush because you know that we have this ambition and this aim to sign the association agreement in November… So, of course we are almost on a daily basis dealing with Ukraine”, – said recently the spokesperson for Stefan Fule, Peter Stano, emphasizing that the European Commission sees the association agreements as “a new generation of very far-reaching agreements.”

“The discussions are going on now between the EU and Ukraine how to make it really possible that the signature takes place. I can just remind you that tomorrow we have Mr Kliuyev (Andriy Kliuyev – National Security and Defense Council Secretary (NSDC)) from Ukraine. Here on Thursday we have three opposition leaders from Ukraine (Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Oleh Tiahnybok,” Mr Stano added.

When what NSDC Secretary Andriy Kliuyev is to tell European politicians is more or less understandable the oppositionist’s rhetoric is not that simple. The fact is that the subject of European integration has always been one of the most important in the public speeches of the oppositionists – in particular Mr Klitschko and Mr Yatseniuk. It has always been convenient for the representatives of the opposition parties to criticize Ukrainian authorities for excessive rapprochement with Russia, absence of progress on the way to European integration and other quite unpleasant actions for Europeans.

However, the situation has dramatically changed recently – the representatives of Ukrainian authorities have clearly declared their European choice, intensified the process of the preparation and enactment of the laws critical for the Association agreement signature, which caused mostly positive assessments on the part of European officials. The result of such activity has become a harsh confrontation with Russia and the nullification of the previous messages by the oppositionists. Now the representatives of Ukrainian authorities can criticize the oppositionist for unwillingness to cooperate with the government for the purpose of European integration and the counteraction against the enactment of the European integration laws in the parliament.

A recent exhortation of the former minister of internal affairs Yuriy Lutsenko (first sentenced and then pardoned by President) to the oppositionists to compromise with the government for the sake of European integration is interesting in this context. “Ukraine must move in the direction of the West. We must return to the European home. This is the requirement of the past and future generations of Ukrainians. Ukrainian authorities, whether we like them or not, want the same, – said Mr Lutsenko in one interview. – Therefore, we must find opportunities to defend the purpose realized by Yanukovych – to defend European integration”.

It must be said that Vitali Klitschko and Arseniy Yatseniuk – formerly active promoters of Lutsenko’s release from prison – diplomatically ignored his exhortation in the public eye. Oleh Tiahnybok, the leader of the right radical party “Svoboda”, turned out to be harsher, stating that there will be no cooperation with the authorities for European integration. As he stated, “there must be a distinction between Yanukovych’s regime and Ukraine, Ukrainian state”. “Compromising with authorities is a crime. If these authorities do something they do it in their own interests but not in the interests of the Ukrainian state. When we are talking about the strategic course of the development of the Ukrainian state we are not talking about authorities or Yanukovych’s specific regime, which is temporarily in power, but we are talking about Ukraine as a whole”, – he remarked. So what are Ukrainian oppositionists to say in meetings with European politicians? We will hear the answer in a couple of days? However, it is clear now that they will not crumble compliments to authorities. And that comes naturally as they are oppositionist for this purpose. On the other hand, European politicians have to understand that de facto an election campaign has already started in Ukraine and the three before mentioned politicians are in fact presidency candidates. And during the election campaign it is uncommon to call the white is white and the black is black, is it not? Quite the contrary.

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