Valeriy Kucheruk on Ukraine

If we put aside still unresolved “Tymoshenko’s question” for some time and imagine that that the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Area between Ukraine and the EU is either signed or not, then it is possible to analyze what will occur further on in both cases.

For example, Vladimir Putin’s adviser Sergey Glazyev has hinted recently that in case of signing of the AA and FTA creation with the EU, Russia can introduce the visa regime for Ukrainians. “Ukraine is a big country which we have always lived together with, and it is difficult for us even to imagine that these thousands of cooperation links will suddenly break, the visa regime on borders will be appear …, – he said, adding that Russians “would be very happy to avoid the introduction of visas for Ukrainians in every possible way”. – If we cancel passport and visa control within the Customs Union, after that, probably, more rigid requirements for those who didn’t enter this union will come out. That is, it can formally not lead to the introduction of visas for Ukraine and other states which didn’t become part of our association. But, according to the logic of integration process, there is such a threat”.

Europe has quickly reacted to the statement of Glazyev. In particular, the vice-president of the European People’s Party, MEP Jacek Sariush-Volsky noted that Europe won’t allow Russia to introduce the visa regime for Ukrainians. “The European Union won’t allow to apply the visa regime before we remove the visa regime with Ukraine. Whatever actions Russia applies towards our partners in the East, such actions it will get in reply. We have to protect the countries we have associations with. And Russia knows that it will suffer if it continues this sabotage of the free choice of independent countries”, – he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian political experts and journalists continue to draw apocalyptic pictures connected with the possible signing of the Association. For example, the Ukrainian political scientist Vladimir Fesenko considers that Russians have already reconciled to the fact that the AA will be signed, and now they develop a long-term strategy of returning Ukraine into the area of their influence. “It seems to me that Russians are getting prepared for a long strategic game now. They think that it will be necessary to disrupt the ratification of the Agreement. This is the first boundary, – the political scientist noted. – Secondly, if they don’t make it which is very probable, they will try to destabilize the situation during the presidential elections in Ukraine and weaken any president — either Yanukovych, or the new one”. The expert named “the revenge at the parliamentary elections” as the third scenario of Russia’s actions in relation to Ukraine.

At the same time in his TV shows well-known Russian journalist Dmitriy Kiselyov warns Yanukovych against discharging Yuliya Tymoshenko as a condition of signing of the Agreement. “Yanukovych understands that it’s impossible to overrun free Yuliya (Tymoshenko). Less than year and a half is left to elections, economy is full of problems, the EU won’t give money, they even don’t have money available for that, and Tymoshenko after prison will promptly straighten out as a strongly twisted spring”, – he noted, adding that “Yanukovych will have to hide abroad himself”.

In turn, European experts warn that if the Association Agreement between Kyiv and Brussels isn’t signed, rather gloomy prospects will await Ukraine, and “funeral” – the Eastern Partnership in turn. “In case of the non-signing-scenario, the Vilnius summit instead of becoming the celebration of achievements of over half a decade of the Eastern Partnership existence will turn into its funeral. The Association Agreement has to become the greatest success, and, maybe, the only one significant success, because of the situation with Armenia, ambiguity of the situation with Georgia, political instability in Moldova. It will be extremely difficult to see any future of the Eastern Partnership without Ukraine at all”, – assures Dr Tom Casier, Brussels School of International Studies – University of Kent, UK.

As we can see, according to the Ukrainian, Russian and European experts, both signing and non-signing of the Agreement will have cardinally various consequences for all three parties – Ukraine, Russia and the EU: someone will surely win, someone will lose, and someone will “break even”. Thus, we shouldn’t forget that compromise in requirements, their fulfillment, and also concessions to each other can bring only benefits to those same parties of the triangle.


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