ISSUE 2-2012
INTERVIEW
STUDIES
Rafał Sadowski Расим Мусабеков Сурен Золян
RUSSIA AND UKRAINE
Георгий Касьянов
OUR ANALYSES
Степан Григорян
REVIEW
Сергей Герасимчук
APROPOS
Богдана Костюк


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles and/or discussions are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or positions of the publisher.

TOPlist
INTERVIEW
SANCTIONS AGAINST UKRAINE: PRO ET CONTRA
ISSUE 2, 2012

Ukraine – European Union relationship is resource of interesting paradoxes, however, it is difficult to say how these paradoxes are popular among Ukrainian people and not only among them.

Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, two symbols of the Orange revolution in 2004/2005 and at the same time main gravediggers of its ideals, joined European support and popularity but they were not able to conclude with EU key agreement.

Viktor Yanukovych, who managed to gain back power lost due to the Orange revolution, is not too popular in Europe but he finished negotiation with EU on Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Chance that these documents could be approved by EU countries parliaments are now equal zero because of fatal mistakes committed by current Ukrainian President.

Moreover, there is a serious discussion on possibility to impose sanctions against Kyiv. Pro et contra of such development of the situation was issue of discussion with Roman Bezsmertnyi, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus, Grzegorz Gromadzki, Independent expert, Poland, Dmytro Krykun, Coordinator of the movement We are Europeans, Ukraine, Mikhail Minakov, Foundation for Good Politics, Ukraine, Oleh Rybachuk, former Vice-Prime Minister on European Integration, Ukraine.

The imprisonment of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and further representatives of former orange government has provoked a question how to react on this select use of law. The Association agreement has only a little chance to be approved by EU countries parliaments, presidential summit in Yalta was cancelled and participation of European leaders on Ukrainian part of European Football championship is also under a question.
Moreover, there are voices supporting an introduction sanction against Ukraine likewise against Belarus. Supporters of this idea hope for change of Yanukovych course meanwhile its opponents are confirmed that such measure will lead Yanukovych to the Russian arms.
What do you think should EU introduce certain sanctions towards Ukraine?

Roman Bezsmertnyi, former ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus, Ukraine

Ситуация, которая сложилась вокруг осужденной Юлии Тимошенко, ни что иное, как сведение политических счетов с главным конкурентом. Нынешний Президент Украины, используя несовершенство законов и слабость судебной системы, заключил в тюрьму конкурента по избирательному процессу. И эта ситуация – лишь вершина айсберга.

Избирательное применение закона используется и в делах хозяйственных и административных судов. Такой ход событий противоречит ценностям провозглашенного властью и закрепленного украинскими законами европейского курса. Наверное, такие события не могли не вызвать критику со стороны европейских политиков и Европарламента.

Благодаря неразумным действиям власти Украина потеряла свои ведущие позиции в целом ряде инициатив в центральноевропейском пространстве. Так, европейские лидеры, не приняв указанных действий, отказались от участия в Ялтинском саммите стран центральной Европы, что привело к отмене важного диалога. Этим шагом европейские лидеры продемонстрировали невосприятие ни политики верхушки украинской власти, ни действий Президента Украины, который неоднократно обещал решить данные проблемы.

В действиях представителей украинской власти все чаще проявляются симптомы диктаторского режима соседней Беларуси. Аналогичные и, в дополнение, экономические, связанные с контрактами на закупку газа, причины привели к обострению ситуации в отношениях с Кремлем. За несколько шагов украинская власть рискует оказаться в роли белорусского близнеца. Очевидно, что Европа не могла смолчать. Поэтому целый ряд европейских лидеров заявил о бойкоте Евро-2012.

Сможет ли это повлиять на действия власти? На этот счет существуют сомнения. Они связаны с тем, что естественным путем у Виктора Януковича и правительственной верхушки сложилась своя, отличная от европейской, система ценностей и собственная модель демократического общества, где все держится на проявлениях диктатуры и деньгах.

Несомненно и то, что подобные действия лидеров Европы получат поддержку граждан, более чем 60 процентов которых против такого курса Виктора Януковича, что отразится на результатах парламентских выборов осенью этого года.

Grzegorz Gromadzki, Independent expert, Poland

I don't think that the EU should introduce certain sanctions towards Ukraine now and in next few months before parliamentary elections in Ukraine. It should be strongly underlined that there is still huge difference between Ukraine and Belarus. Political opposition in Ukraine is, all the time, present in official political life – in parliament, local governments etc. what is impossible in Belarus ruled by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Freedom of speech and assembly is still more or less guaranteed in Ukraine in contrast to Belarus. Therefore I cannot agree with Angela Merkel who compared recently the situation in both countries. But it is truth that unfortunately we are witnesses of serious democracy's erosion in Ukraine from 2010 – the beginning of Victor Yanukovych's first term as president. In my opinion parliamentary elections which will be held in autumn this year will be the real litmus test for the current Ukrainian authorities and their attitude to democracy.

The EU, member states should step up diplomatic pressure on Ukraine and explain how important the democratic elections are for EU-Ukrainian relations in the future. Maybe I am a bit naïve but I still hope that after the parliamentary elections we will speak rather about a (difficult) dialogue than about sanctions. Sanctions are the last measure and to some extent a proof of helplessness.

Dmytro Krykun, coordinator of the movement We are Europeans, Ukraine

Я за политическое давление на власть в Украине. Во всяком случае, пока что. Развитие экономической интеграции Украины, сближение людей, культур должно продолжаться. Кроме того, нужно оставить Януковичу возможность для диалога с Россией. Когда он общается с Европой (для него там не окончательно закрыты двери), он имеет возможность маневра в отношениях с Россией. Кучма в свое время уже был таким образом лишен сильной позиции в отношениях с Россией (после скандала с Кольчугами, Гонгадзе и т.п)

Mikhail Minakov, Foundation for Good Politics, Ukraine

EU sanctions against Belarus proved to be useless. The Lukashenko regime is still in place in spite of European countries’ blockade. With no agreement with Russia on Belarus, any unilateral sanction is simply ineffective.
In my opinion, if Europe repeats just very same approach to Ukraine, it would end up with the same very results: authoritarian trends would lead to an institutionalized dictatorship while all democratic forces would flee out of country.

I believe that EU needs to be in permanent dialogue with authorities and pro-democratic opposition in Ukraine. In current situation all measures should lead to support of democratic institutions. At the same time the West may consider impose sanctions against individual politicians and public servants who proved to be champions of authoritarian rule.

EU democratic remedy should be well-measured to not to ruin what’s left from democracy in Ukraine.

Oleh Rybachuk, former Vice-Prime Minister on European Integration, Ukraine

I believe in effective sanctions, but not against Ukraine. Sanctions should be selective and targeting high level corrupted Ukrainian officials. As a person who has international banking and financial experience I would like to underline that technically and politically EU is ready for such steps.

I doubt that this will push Yanukovych into Russian arms because I am quite aware that those arms would squeeze Yanukovych like a lemon. He and his business supporters have no illusions in this regard.

Observing the situation in Russia it is a bit complicated to find substantial differences between state of human rights there and in Ukraine or Belarus but nobody of higher European or US representatives do not speak about possibility to introduce sanctions against Moscow. There are some declarations expressing certain concerns but they are not to impressive. Where should we find a reason of this double standard?

Roman Bezsmertnyi

Ситуация с правами человека в трех соседних странах – Украине, Беларуси и России, существенно разнится. Украина и теперь позитивно отличается на фоне двух других. Но дело в том, что Украина, единственная из трех стран, задекларировала и закрепила законами курс на евроинтеграцию. Только в Украине более 80 процентов граждан считают европейский выбор правильным и поддерживают его.
Украинское правительство подписало, а парламент ратифицировал целый ряд европейских актов, от Энергетической хартии до Договора об исполнении решений Европейского суда по правам человека. В этих условиях и требования к Украине более высокие., ведь никто не принуждал украинцев принимать подобный курс. Мы сами эти решения принимали, и нам их исполнять, ведь украинцы хотят жить , как европейцы. К сожалению, нынешняя власть действует в разрез с желаниями большинства граждан.

Grzegorz Gromadzki

The simplest explanation of these double standards is following – Russia is too big to be punished. Maybe I am naïve once again but in my opinion the stronger pressure on Ukraine can be a proof that Ukraine is perceived by some European leaders as a European country and requirements concerning democracy, human rights, rule of law should be higher than towards Russia. Ukraine declares its will to become EU member state, Russia not. The EU has proposed Ukraine the association agreement which cannot be introduced without democracy, human rights and rule of law in Ukraine.

Dmytro Krykun

Нет двойных стандартов! «Список Магницького» - разве двойной стандарт? Осуждение несвободных выборов или других ущемлений прав человека в России происходит постоянно. Нужно еще учесть, что Россия, в отличие от Украины, не декларирует (ни на словах, ни в законах) евроинтеграционных устремлений.

Mikhail Minakov

Yes, Russia is not a subject of any harsh criticism. There are even worse political conditions in China, a country that is a second biggest trading partner. But this country is not a subject of any considerable value diplomacy criticism either. Russia and China are too important economic partners to be criticized without real economic losses with far-reaching consequences.

To some extent, European political class is also modest in criticism due to a simple fact that they have no hope for real change neither in Russia, nor in China. At the same time, Ukraine remains to be a country of a never-fulfilling hope. There are illusions – within the country and from outside – that there is a good chance for Ukraine to become European-like political regime. Whenever this dream reveals its illusionary status, a ‘Ukrainian fatigue’ or a blockade idea overcomes the European public opinion. This cycle has happened at least three times in the recent decade with no result whatsoever.

Oleh Rybachuk

Head of EU representative office in Ukraine has very clearly answered this question: Russia and Belarus never asked EU for membership, something which different top Ukrainian officials are doing for many years. EU is outspokenly critical about state of democracy, human rights violations and other issues in Russia and Belarus, but cannot demand upgrading of democratic standards to EU level in those countries.

Ukraine is a very different story; Ukraine calls European integration its main strategy and officially takes obligations to introduce EU standards in different spheres, including democracy at large. Therefore EU is monitoring regularly Ukraine's implementation of Eastern Neighborhood Policy. EU recently published such report for 2011 and it is very critical for Ukrainian government performance.

 

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Богдана Костюк
EU’S SANCTIONS AGAINST THE EASTERN EUROPEAN STATES |
Rafał Sadowski
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