The authoritative Polish 'Gazeta Wyborcza' in an article following the visit to Kyiv of the foreign ministers of Poland, Denmark, Lithuania an the Netherlands, claims the possibility that an association agreement with the EU in November will be signed is growing, even if former PM Yulia Tymoshenko remains in jail.
They claim Germany, the country with the most sceptic attitude to Ukraine's euro-integration, has recently been getting highly 'pissed off' with Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. They see ever-increasing pressure being applied on already weak political opposition, on what remains of independent media, and other independent NGO's. A report by Human Rights Watch states civil liberties are being violated with a brutality not seen since the fall of communism. Even premises of German-funded research foundations have been raided.
Because of all this, the article claims the German foreign affair ministry in particular is ever-more fearful that if the AA is not signed Ukraine may succumb to Russian pressure and enter into a Customs Union with that country, Belarus and Kazakhstan, thus spreading authoritarianism deeper westward.
[Chancellor Merkel thus far has been a staunch defender of Yulia Tymoshenko, even comparing Yanukovych's Ukraine with Lukashenko's Belarus. But fresh elections will take place in September in Germany...]
Your humble blogger does not buy this argument. Increased authoritarianism in Russia should, logically make Yanukovych more accommodating to European leaders appeals, rather than less [unless he wants to go down that route too].
Democratic countries in the western portion of Europe are the ones most uneasy about the systematic roll-back of democracy in Ukraine. Even is some kind of fudged deal is signed in November, ratification in their individual national parliaments is a long way off and is unlikely to take place whilst Yanukovych is president..
p.s In 2012's Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index Ukraine was placed at the 144th place of the 176 countries investigated (tied with Bangladesh, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Syria).
Back in 2007 Ukraine had taken the 118th place...[Source..]
Do any western politicians really think signing any AA with the current regime will reverse this slide?