Yesterday was my birthday. But instead of receiving warm greetings from my Ukrainian colleagues I received a call for the help. A leader of a regional movement to support EU-Ukraine Cooperation was beaten by police. The worst, in the news appeared information that he has been lost on the road to the police department.
Again Ukraine attracts attention of the world mass media like nine years ago. These days the main Kyiv square reminds 2004 Orange revolution. Just this time flags are not orange. They all are blue-and-yellow, but with two designs: Ukrainian and EU. The main reason of this the biggest after Orange revolution protest is that the President Yanukovich refused to sign a landmark agreement with the European Union in defiance of Russia.
For the most of Ukrainians who went last Sunday to the 50,000-100,000 people (by different sources) protest in Kyiv the situation is simple: we want Europe opens its borders for us that’s why we need to take European course and ignore Russia’s blackmailing. But the real story is much more complicated. First, EU doesn’t invite us to join EU, the negotiations is only about to join European Free Trade Association. By the way, EUTA has agreements with such obviously non-European countries as Colombia, Canada or South Africa. It means signing such an agreement will not provide us with visa-free entry to the territory of EU. A free trade agreement with the EU would mean Ukraine adopting different trade rules. Yes, it can be a step toward European Union. But can be not. Still this is a chance.
From the other side, Russia pressures Ukraine to refuse from signing this document and instead of this to join its Custom union. Custom union today is Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with several more potential members. It is obvious who rules in this company. Today my friends who work on big enterprises cooperating with Russia speak about the worsening of trade relations since the end of August when Yanukovich announced about European course of Ukraine. I cannot find any other word for these actions except of blackmailing.
Honestly, with all my desire to move to Europe (because for the last years we didn’t receive “presents” or “indulgencies” from Russia), I must say that Ukrainian President is in very confusing situation. From one side he must reflect the wishes of the majority, and majority obviously supports EU. From the other side a significant part of Ukraine is tied with trade relations with Russia and now is in a pitiful situation because of Moscow blackmailing.
There is no “correct” answer or choice. But I think finally we need to break this dependence on Russia, and EU should help Ukraine to do this offering its support and protection (I am speaking about more than just “forgive” former Prime Minister undemocratic imprisonment). I want Ukraine be a part of Europe, and also, I don’t support blackmailing in general.
To finish I want to say that my colleague who disappeared was found and he is again in the rows of those who support Ukraine joining EU. He is calling to support him in the court that will take place today. In the police report it is said that the traces of beating on him are because he hit himself with the wall.