Christopher Marsh and I, in our recently published book (Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors and Sectors), sketch out what we term “Putin’s Eurasian dream”—the ambition to create a Eurasian economic and political zone where Moscow sets the overall agenda and is able to hold its own in the global geopolitical competition with the United States, the EU and China—and to have the foundations laid by 2015. A major obstacle to this vision was abruptly removed on Thursday when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych announced that his country would not sign a landmark partnership agreement with the European Union—which Russia had consistently opposed. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, which was to be concluded at the EU “Eastern Partnership” summit in Vilnius this coming week, was seen as the linchpin of a renewed EU commitment to engage with the states of the former Soviet Union. While Georgia and Moldova will still ink their own initial trade agreements with Europe, it has cast a pall over the Eastern Partnership process, because, as Steven Blockmans of the Centre for European Policy Studies notes, “The whole idea essentially falls apart without Ukraine.”
While Russia has not opposed some links between ex-Soviet republics and the European Union, it has opposed the EU Partnership Agreements because these bind the signatories to the EU in such a way as to make membership in the Moscow-sponsored entities (the customs union, the single economic space, and so on) impossible. While such agreements are not an automatic guarantee of future membership in the European Union, they put the country on the trajectory towards harmonizing its institutions with those of the EU member-states and would, over time, significantly reorient the economy away from traditional links with Moscow and towards fuller participation in a wider European market.
Of course, there were two drawbacks for Ukraine in the proffered EU agreements. The first is the requirement for domestic political change—and the expectation that the Ukrainian government would terminate its approach of “selective justice” (highlighting corruption charges only against political opponents of Yanukovych), beginning with a release of imprisoned former prime minister and principal political rival to Yanukovych, Yuliya Tymoshenko. Even the proposal for Tymoshenko to leave Ukraine for medical treatment in Germany, a form of soft exile, was problematic to the Yanukovych team, who continue to see Tymoshenko, whom Yanukovych narrowly beat out to capture the presidency in 2010, as their prime rival. In the short run, keeping Tymoshenko neutralized was more important than signing the EU deal.
Like Turkey, which has also had a rocky road with pursuing closer integration with the EU, the Ukrainian government has sought to secure as many economic benefits as possible while preserving as much sovereignty as it can so as not to have to make significant changes to its domestic institutions. Impelled by the desire for greater access to the European market, Ukraine did take a number of steps to bring its institutions into closer conformity with EU standards, but the Rada (parliament) balked this week at passing the last set of bills that would be needed to bring Ukraine into compliance with the EU—including the one concerning Tymoshenko’s ability to go abroad for medical care.
The second was the announced Russian response. Russia remains Ukraine’s largest foreign investor and Ukraine still remains highly dependent on the Russian market. Ukraine’s push to secure greater energy independence for itself by developing indigenous oil and natural gas projects will not bear fruit for a number of years, and the country remains dependent on Russia for low-cost supplies of energy. On Friday, Ukraine’s prime minister Mykola Azarov bluntly told lawmakers in the Rada that Ukraine could not, at this point, afford an economic rupture with Moscow. “What will be our compensation for the huge losses from losing the Customs Union market, what, I am asking you? Unfortunately, we did not receive a realistic answer to this question.”
Ukraine’s decision does represent a major setback for Western policy. It again exposes the hollowness of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s promises at the end of 2012 that the United States would undertake a major effort to counter Putin’s Eurasian integration plans; the United States continues to rhetorically oppose Moscow’s proposals but is not going to devote much time, energy, and most crucially, resources to the task. It also challenges the EU approach which believed that Moscow would have no choice but to acquiesce to greater EU activism in the Eurasian space, and that Brussels could present Russia with a fait accompli. Ulrich Speck, a visiting fellow at Carnegie Europe, summed up the naivete of this approach: “The EU always saw itself as someone that wasn’t in to playing geopolitical games. But the irony is that Putin’s new assertiveness forced the EU into playing power politics, so this has become largely a geopolitical game.”
For the time being, Yanukovych has acceded to Russia’s principal demand: to torpedo the EU deal. But Yanukovych has also always resisted Moscow’s blandishments and still does not want to see Ukraine fully absorbed into Russia’s Eurasian structures, although he has contemplated, in the past, a looser degree of “association” with the emerging Eurasian Union. Nor does he wish to preserve his country’s continued dependency on Russia—he still would like closer relations with Europe.
In addition, Yanukovych must also deal with unexpected public anger over his decision to suspend the deal. Protests in the capital—attracting more than 100,000 participants—were the largest since the Orange Revolution of 2004 and could easily turn into a major political liability for the government, especially given recent clashes between protestors and riot police. Monday’s statement by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will bolster the position of those who argue that Yanukovych backed down from his own stated commitment to pursue closer ties with Europe in the face of concerted Kremlin pressure: “It is up to Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union. Ukrainian citizens have shown again these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association.”
Yanukovych’s preferred outcome would be to put real limits on any continued economic and political integration with Moscow—while seeking an accommodation with the EU that would help Ukraine’s economy but not challenge his political dominance of the country. When he meets with European leaders in Vilnius later this week, he will have an opportunity to sound out what he might be able to salvage from the wreckage of the deal. He would prefer to continue his precarious balancing act between East and West rather than find himself fully under Moscow’s thumb or answering to EU directives. The question now is whether either Putin or Brussels is willing to accommodate him.
About the author:
Nikolas K. Gvosdev is a contributing editor at The National Interest and a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
Source: The National Interest
It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering. UK retired general and former NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596977/The-outbreak-nuclear-war-year-West-Putin-entirely-plausible-says-former-NATO-chief-promoting-novel-2017-war-Russia.html
My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war. ...
Adolf Hitler and Ante Pavelić. Not many people know about the Ustaše and its leader, Ante Pavelić. Before 1941, the organization was a radical fascist terrorist group. But when Axis powers invaded, it was given control of Croatia by the Nazis. They shared Hitler’s goal of ethnic cleansing
During the Second World War in Yugoslavia, Catholic priests and Muslim clerics were willing accomplices in the genocide of the nation’s Serbian, Jewish and Roma population. From 1941 until 1945, the Nazi-installed regime of Ante Pavelic in Croatia carried out some of the most horrific crimes of the Holocaust (known as the Porajmos ...
40 yrs after Prez Teddy Roosevelt gave Korea to brutal Jap Empire in return for its recognition of Philippines as US Territory, US invaded Korea long AFTER Jap surrender, overthrowing its Korean gov., cutting it in two parts, installing a US dictatorship in its south now documented to have murdered 100,000 of its own citizens.
What Western media calls ‘Communist China,’ is a China governed by its Communist Party since 1949, and lying just across the Yalu River from a Korea, which between 1950 and 1953, was merciless bombed by the US, both north and south, all cities and towns of ...
BELGRADE – Many innocent civilians were killed in American military interventions around the world – from Vietnam and Serbia to Iran and Afghanistan, because of the alleged “errors” or “collateral damage” – without consequences for civil and military leadership. In addition to political, military and every other power, Americans secured itself with legal mechanisms.
Twenty-two civilians, wounded and doctors, among them three children, were killed in the American bombing of a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz. Americans acknowledged the error and apologized. The President of the United States expressed his condolences, the military leadership announced three independent investigations. “Doctors ...
The Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case about the allocation of voting districts will have consequences far beyond the millions of U.S. taxpayers its ruling may deprive of representation. A decision that only counts voters, rather than all persons, will undermine the very foundation of the Republic.
The American Revolution was fought over “taxation without representation,” and those who wrote the Constitution carefully apportioned taxation and representation among the states “according to their respective Numbers . . . of free Persons . . . and . . . three-fifths of all other Persons.” The authors clearly equated We, the People with ...
The recent declassification of over 3800 documents by the Central Intelligence Agency provides detailed proof that since 1953 the CIA operated two major programs intent on not only destabilizing Ukraine but Nazifying it with followers of the World War II Ukrainian Nazi leader Stepan Bandera.
The CIA programs spanned some four decades. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction ...
A report on August 15th from Russian Television alleged that the Ukrainian government that the U.S. installed in February of this year was resorting to internationally banned white phosphorous firebombs in order to help destroy the million people who lived in the now Ukrainian separatist capital of Donetsk. It lands super-hot and starts fires and burns to death almost anyone it touches.
The Ukrainian separatists are the residents in Ukraine’s southeast, where Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian President, was elected overwhelmingly by the votes of the people in this region in 2010. They reject the government that Obama installed, and are therefore seeking independence from it. ...
The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day.
Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center ...
“The main reason for that was not because of warfare or systematic killing, it’s because …diseases, …did not have any immunities, so they perished in large numbers.”
The above statement, if said in reference to the slaughter of Jews in concentration camps by Nazis, would be illegal in most European countries. Individuals like David Irving, who have claimed that “disease” not homicidal gas chambers, killed the victims of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, have been fined and imprisoned. Claiming pure intentions on the part of the Nazis, revising the statistics on their atrocities, and purporting that those who say otherwise have ...
Seventy-five years ago Adolf Hitler launched the biggest and most destructive military campaign in history when three million German and allied troops invaded the Soviet Union along a 1,000-mile front.
Operation Barbarossa – the codename for the German invasion of Russia - was no ordinary military campaign: it was an ideological and racist war, a war of destruction and extermination that aimed to kill Jews, enslave the Slavic peoples and destroy communism. The result was a war in which 25 million Soviet citizens died, including a million Jews, executed by the SS in 1941-1942 – an action which became the template ...
The term “russophobia” (the hatred and/or fear of things Russian) has become rather popular in the recent years, courtesy of the anti-Russian hysteria of the AngloZionist Empire, but this is hardly a new concept. In his seminal book “Russie-Occident – une guerre de mille ans: La russophobie de Charlemagne à la Crise Ukrainienne” (“The West vs Russia – a thousand year long war: russophobia from Charlemange to the Ukrainian Crisis”) which I recently reviewed here, Guy Mettan places the roots of russophobia as early as the times of Charlemagne. How could that be? That would mean that russophobia predates the ...
"Please don’t write about Ya’ir Golan!" a friend begged me, “Anything a leftist like you writes will only harm him!"
So I abstained for some weeks. But I can’t keep quiet any longer.
General Ya’ir Golan, the deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, made a speech on Holocaust Memorial Day. Wearing his uniform, he read a prepared, well-considered text that triggered an uproar which has not yet died down.
Dozens of articles have been published in its wake, some condemning him, some lauding him. Seems that nobody could stay indifferent.
The main sentence was: "If there is something that frightens me about ...
There have been at least two countries in Europe in recent history that undertook ‘anti-terrorist’ military operations against ‘separatists’, but got two very different reactions from the Western elite.
The government of European country A launches what it calls an‘anti-terrorist’ military operation against ‘separatists’ in one part of the country. We see pictures on Western television of people’s homes being shelled and lots of people fleeing. The US and UK and other NATO powers fiercely condemn the actions of the government of country A and accuse it of carrying out ‘genocide’ and ’ethnic cleansing’ and say that there is an urgent ...
Key facts about Kosovo’s Islamic Albanian minority of Serbia and the century long drive by Islamic extremists to exterminate Kosovo Serbs from that region:
1389—Muslims defeat Christian Serb defenders in Kosovo, depopulate the area and invite mountain tribe of Albanians, in exchange for converting to Islam, to take over pillaged land from Serbs.
1594—Sinan Pasha, an ethnic Albanian, who was a commander in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, burned the relics of St. Sava at Vracar, Belgrade. St. Sava is the Saint that brought Serbs into Christianity.
1878—Albanian nationalist leaders meet in Prizren, known as the First League of Prizren, to announce the creation ...
Unless We Learn Our History, We’re Doomed to Repeat It
Preface: I am a patriotic American who loves my country. I was born here, and lived here my entire life.
So why do I frequently point out America’s warts? Because – as the Founding Fathers and Supreme Court judges have explained – we can only make America better if we honestly examine her shortcomings. After all:
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
Only when Americans can honestly look at our weaknesses can we become stronger. If we fail to do so, history will repeat …
While Americans rightly condemn the Nazis as monstrous people, ...
First published on GR in March 2012
The study of world power has been blighted by Eurocentric historians who have distorted and ignored the dominant role China played in the world economy between 1100 and 1800. John Hobson’s brilliant historical survey of the world economy during this period provides an abundance of empirical data making the case for China ’s economic and technological superiority over Western civilization for the better part of a millennium prior to its conquest and decline in the 19th century.
China ’s re-emergence as a world economic power raises important questions about what we can learn from its ...
In late November 2013, the 'Euromaidan' in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine's economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.
The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and "gas princess" Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather ...
Ukraine is an East European territory which was originally forming a western part of the Russian Empire from the mid-17th century. That is a present-day independent state and separate ethnolinguistic nation as a typical example of Benedict Anderson’s theory-model of the “imagined community” – a self-constructed idea of the artificial ethnic and linguistic-cultural identity. According to Anderson, the nation is abstract and firstly subjective social construction that defy simple, objective definition yet have been for the last two centuries the crucial basis of conflict in world politics and international relations, through assertion of their expressed nationalism.[i] However, nationalism is quite ...
Is it necessary to prove that Vladimir Putin is poorly regarded by the western press? He’s so despised that the review L’Express wrote about a report addressed to the Pentagon that asserts that « Putin’s neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy » and that « the Russian President carries a neurological abnormality. » The authors of the report say that “ his behaviour and facial expressions reveal someone who is defensive in large social settings.”
The implicit conclusion of such a report that was acted on by the Pentagon, is that Putin can’t communicate, that he is unable to have an open and ...
Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?
The Role of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia’s Holocaust
Fake News Laundered 1950-53 US Slaughter Of 3 Million Koreans To Maintain US 1%’s Rule Of South
Why US’s “collateral damage” and “errors” are not a war crime?
Voting Discrimination In America
The CIA: Nazifying Ukraine Since 1953
Ukraine Atrocities: The Illegal Use Of White Phosphorous Fire Bombs Against Donetsk Civilians
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Honors In Kremlin Afghan Mujahedin Fighters – Photographs Of Evidence
Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11
Holocaust Revisionism And The Campaign Against Russia
Operation Barbarossa: The 75th Anniversary Of The Nazi Invasion Of The Soviet Union
The Ancient Spiritual Roots Of Russophobia
Parallels Between Israel And 1930s Germany
Kosovo and Ukraine: US-NATO operations. Compare and contrast
Kosovo: Key Dates In The Century Long Goal To Create Greater Albania
Secret History: The U.S. Supported And Inspired The Nazis
China: Rise, Fall and Re-Emergence as a Global Power
Euromaidan: Anatomy Of A Washington-Backed Coup D’etat
Russian Geopolitics from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin