Destinations Magazine

Russia and Ukraine: Putin’s Expensive Victory

By Stizzard

ANOTHER victory for Vladimir Putin, another defeat for the West. That is how the outcome of the battle for Ukraine, the country between Russia and the European Union, is being portrayed in Moscow and in many Western capitals.On December 17th, after a meeting between Mr Putin and Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president, Russia agreed to lend Ukraine $ 15 billion and to slash the gas price from $ 400 to $ 268 per thousand cubic metres, as a reward for Mr Yanukovych’s ditching of an association agreement with the EU. Unsurprisingly, the mix of money and political cover for theft and violence proved more enticing to Mr Yanukovych than the EU offer of the rule of law, free trade, competition and reform.Yet look closer, and Mr Putin’s victory and Europe’s loss seem less obvious. Probably Mr Yanukovych never intended to sign an agreement with the EU—certainly not without being paid for it. By keeping up the pretence, he was able to bargain with Mr Putin, who has now agreed to provide money without Mr Yanukovych having signed a deal to join his Eurasian customs union.And neither Mr Yanukovych nor Mr Putin nor EU leaders factored in the response of Ukrainians, who have been pouring into the streets for the past four weeks. Angered by Mr Yanukovych trading the country’s future for his own benefit, they were bolstered when he used violence against students. What started as a modest-sized…

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog