Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Putin will give nothing [update]

Putin has always behaved as a bully toward Ukraine. He has forced Ukraine, both under presidents Yushchenko and Yanukovych to allegedly pay the highest prices in Europe for gas. Since the summer Putin has conducted a trade war against Ukrainian importers..And as everyone knows, when a bully smells weakness the bullying inevitably increases...

Yanukovych has sat in the middle of the see saw playing off Russia on one end against the EU on the other. Now the president has pushed the EU off their end, Ukraine will be even more vulnerable to Putin's demands.

Russia has its own financial woes and capital is short. There are rumours that the Russian state pension fund will soon start raiding the country's private pension funds. Any loans from Russia will have to be paid for, as a former British PM once said, by Ukraine "selling off the family silver". There is no guarantee exports from Ukraine to Russia  will pick up either.

What of the Europeans? The chief negotiators of the European Union and Ukraine initialled the text of the Association Agreement, which included provisions on the establishment of a DCFTA about nine months ago. Everything was agreed and ready ...then last week's dramatic volte-face by the Ukrainian side..

Yanukovych is as a result can now be considered 'damaged goods' - an unreliable and unpredictable interlocutor. Next autumn Europarliamentary elections take place. The new boys will not be as friendly and understanding as the current lot.

There are reports that despite this mess, behind the scenes negotiations are still taking place between Ukraine and the EU.

Rinat Akmetov is allegedly suggesting to Yanukovych that if the EU provides 7-8 Bn Euro stabilisation money and improves quotas for Ukrainian metallurgical products, a deal could still theoretically be done in Vilnius later this week. His big-selling newspaper, 'Segodnya', unlike state broadcasters, seems to have been most objective when reporting recent events.

I watched portions of yesterday's anti-maidan. The PoR speakers....tired political geriatrics like Anatoliy Kinakh,  looked like yesterday's men. Half of the audience that had gathered had their backs to them as they spoke and stuttered...they all dispersed very quickly..

As for the true Euromaidans, these are student-dominated. A countrywide general students strike is currently being seriously discussed; if it comes to fruition, an significant new civic force will have been created.

The president's first official response to Thursday's Cabinet of Ministers' bombshell [poorly translated here] is vague and confusing waffle. The freezing of the AA is not mentioned at all.

He says: "The will of Ukrainian citizens have always been, is and will be decisive for every my decision." Well, we will see..

p.s. Petro Poroshenko has done a half hour interview on BBC 24's HARDtalk with the excellent Stephen Sackur, who was at the recent YES summit. It may be available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03mkby1

1 comment:

Bernard said...

So, even though EU was so eager to sign the AA with Ukraine that they were prepared to accept a "solution" of the Tymoshenko issue where she would remain a political prisoner but at least get proper medical treatment at a German hospital, Yanukovych anyway decided to block the AA. The mismanagement of foreign policies by the current mafia/communist alliance is spectacular; relations with Washington, Brussels and Moscow are at an all-time low. In Washington there is talk even about sanctions, Brussels feel betrayed and humiliated, and Moscow has launched an economic war on Ukraine; under Yanukovych Ukraine has become increasingly isolated, which has had a disastrous effect on the economy. A very good analysis of the situation is provided by Anders ├ůslund.

It is also a huge mistake when Ukrainian "analysts" (Kost Bondarenko, Vyacheslav Pihovshek) now try to find rational reasons why Yanukovych is blocking the AA with EU. There are three major reasons why Yanukovych is blocking the AA with EU, and none of them is rational:

1/ He is weak and scared of political opponents, and in particular Tymoshenko; he is simply afraid to let her out of
prison as the EU has demanded
2/ He does not see the money for himself and his family in the AA deal
3/ He is not intellectually capable of understanding the meaning and implications of the AA deal

The huge demonstrations now indicate that people are finally fed up with the astonishing imcompetence, selfishness and
sheer stupidity of the current mafa/commnunist alliance, led by an imbecile "president"; let's hope this will lead to a definitive downfall of the disastrous PoR rule.