June 1, 2023

The Turning Level, Minsk 2013 2013 used to be a quite calm yr in Ukrainian politics. Yanukovych traveled round Europe convincing naïve Europeans that he sought after to sign up for the EU. In post-Soviet Ukraine, this need used to be not anything new. All of Yanukovych’s predecessors – Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor […]

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The Turning Degree, Minsk 2013

2013 was once a relatively calm 12 months in Ukrainian politics. Yanukovych traveled spherical Europe convincing naïve Europeans that he wanted to enroll in the EU. In post-Soviet Ukraine, this want was once now not the rest new. All of Yanukovych’s predecessors – Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma, and Viktor Yushchenko – moreover bear in mind to get Ukraine into the European Union. The Girl in Kherson A minimum of in idea. There was once a smart aspect to consider. No longer most efficient Yanukovych, on the other hand the President’s entire family, the entire govt, and the entire Ukrainian elite of oligarchs and hangers-on in reality did need to be part of Europe, on the other hand in reality only for holidays and so that you can take a look at their global monetary establishment accounts.

Kherson, Ukraine - War with Russia
Kherson, Ukraine – Combat with Russia

Accession to the EU required as a number one step the signing of the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement (EU-UAA). Negotiations between Ukraine and the EU on this agreement had been presented once more in 2007 beneath Yushchenko. The new agreement was once supposed to switch an provide agreement on partnership and cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine and to introduce systemic social and monetary reforms in Ukraine and a large-scale adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to EU norms and rules. The text of the agreement didn’t indicate Ukraine’s changing into a member of the EU as an entire member, but it didn’t deny it the potential of changing into a member of each. The signing of this agreement took Ukraine’s family members with the EU to a brand spanking new level, from partnership and cooperation to political association and monetary integration. Many Ukrainians believed, moreover naïvely, that this meant integration with Europe.

A very powerful a part of the agreement was once the status quo of an entire free trade zone. This prospect made industrialists carefully hooked up to Russian business very fearful. Russia spotted the likelihood as a imaginable possibility, because of changing into a member of the EU was once incompatible with changing into a member of its private CIS Customs Union, which was once dominated by means of Russia. Accession to the Customs Union meant Ukraine’s monetary orientation to Russia and subordination of the Ukrainian monetary machine to the Russian monetary machine. Turning into a member of the EU meant the orientation in opposition to Europe and subordination of the Ukrainian monetary machine to the European Union.

Russia and pro-Russian “business circles” in Ukraine, very similar to “Ukrainian Variety” headed by means of Kuchma’s former Chief of Staff Viktor Medvedchuk, the long-time Vladimir Putin’s associate and KGB-FSB operative like Fundamental Marchuk, had been specifically vigorous in this respect. They presented a PR propaganda advertising and marketing marketing campaign claiming that the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU would harm Ukraine’s monetary machine because of it might lead to a sharp aid of trade and monetary family members with Russia. At the an identical time, in Russia it was once discussed that the advent of a free trade zone in Ukraine would lead to affordable western pieces being smuggled into Russia and hit Russian producers.

On the other hand, in Ukraine a majority of the population believed throughout the govt’ function to look at the path of European integration and supported this idea. A lot of European summits and meetings, consultations, and preparation of the Association Agreement itself seemed to be ensuing within the inevitable – the opportunity of “connected membership”.134 Yanukovych was once supposed to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (similar to the EU agreements with Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina), or an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU of the type signed by means of Macedonia in 2001. The only difference being that Kyiv would sign it in two ranges: first the political phase and then the economic phase.

The aim of signing this agreement was once that Ukraine would undertake political reforms aimed toward bringing the country up to European necessities. Particularly, it was once vital to reform Ukraine’s judicial tool, in conjunction with the place of business of the Felony skilled Fundamental. Ukrainian politicians had been specifically tempted by means of the opportunity of signing the treaty on the free trade zone and visa-free commute. It was once this simplified idea that prevailed. Ukraine would advertise its products in Europe duty-free, attracting European industry to Ukraine, while visa-free commute regime would allow ordinary Ukrainians to commute freely in Europe and art work there. Turning into a member of the European Union looked like a free ticket to a civilized, well-fed and quiet European lifestyles.

The reality was once much more refined. Certain, it may well be possible to commute spherical Europe without visas. On the other hand the proper to art work was once nevertheless prospect. The European labor market planned to offer protection to itself from Ukrainian customer workforce who, consistent with many, already flooded Europe, specifically Italy and Spain, even without Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Pieces produced in Ukraine had to obtain European “prime quality certificates” in advance, which price money. The ones certificates didn’t in itself ensure that Ukrainian pieces may well be dropped at Europe and freely purchased there. For this to happen, crucial Ukrainian producers (there’s now not the rest to say about small ones) had to mix into European purchasing and promoting networks and obtain the proper to advertise their pieces there. After that, Ukrainian pieces, which were up to European necessities, would compete with European in a purely commercial sense of the word.

At this degree, it might transpire that now not all Ukrainian pieces had been competitive, since many European companies won subsidies from their governments and provided pieces to {the marketplace} at prices less than those in Ukraine. Europe was once in all probability mainly in “primary processed” products – metals, grain, fertilizer, and tool. Proper right here Ukraine was once in reality competitive.

On the other hand even the primary enterprises in Ukraine had been struggling to live on, lacking fashionable promoting and product sales markets.135 Since 1991, while value vary had been being siphoned off to line pockets of this oligarch or the other, there were little capital investment in production and power was once outdated. The well known Zaporozhye Automobile Plant (ZAZ), producing bottom-range automobiles, might simply most efficient compete with Mercedes in its space market in Ukraine on account of the very low price of its cars. The well known mines in Donbas, where miners died 12 months after because of antedeluvian labor and coverage conditions, had been untouched by means of modernization with only some exceptions. By way of European necessities, they virtually undoubtedly must have been shut down because of longstanding coverage and environment violations. This tick list of zombie or half-bankrupt enterprises could be extended without end. Over the previous two decades had fallen massively in the back of in Europe.

Inside the monetary sphere, one of the vital number one conditions for Ukraine’s rapprochement with Europe’s monetary machine, was once the imposition of the guideline of thumb of law on opaque business practices. On the other hand shady business was once the feeding floor of Ukraine’s clan-oligarchic tool of power. All of the state tool, from absolute best to bottom, was once built and stored on the kickbacks and bribes. Neither the officials who took bribes, nor the business leaders working Ukraine’s multitude of state-related companies who didn’t pay taxes, had been in fact excited by correct prison and monetary controls over their shady operations. Best the ones which were excited by firms that operated transparently and honestly, and paid taxes to the state ceaselessly, had been ready. There were few who belonged to the latter elegance in Ukraine.

Have been the political govt in Ukraine in a position for this type of radical step: to wreck the tool of bribery and kickbacks for the entire state bureaucracy in trade for the opportunity of membership throughout the European Union? At the end of 2013 it appeared if now not a probability at least a possibility. On the other hand the vital political and monetary reforms might simply take a couple of years, and the time lag of this path depended among other problems on the willingness (or unwillingness) of the government and society to move decisively in this path.

The Charge of the European Union moreover had its private tick list of accession prerequisites: political balance throughout the country; political consensus of all political occasions represented throughout the Verkhovna Rada; a popular vote through a referendum to enroll in the EU and pursue European integration; exact, and now not merely paper protection of civil rights and freedoms by means of the Ukrainian legislation adapted to all-European necessities; independence of courts, topic to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.136


As for the economic requirements formulated throughout the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the position was once a lot more refined and detailed. Ukraine was once supposed to become a country with a market monetary machine.137 In addition to, the cost vary deficit was once to be less than 3 percent of GDP, and the government debt was once to be less than 60 percent of GDP. Stability of the trade price was once required.138 Worth balance was once defined by means of every year inflation, which must now not be more than 1.5 percent higher than the standard inflation price of the three EU international locations that topped price balance.

Regardless of the ones roadblocks, at a practice of the CIS in Minsk, Belarus, in October 2013, Yanukovych nevertheless repeated unambiguously that “Kyiv’s number one priority is to sign the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. This issue isn’t up for discussion”.

On the other hand, Yanukovych returned from Minsk a changed man. All the way through a confidential meeting at the conference, Putin – who had assumed the Russian Presidency another time – made Yanukovych an offer that he might simply now not (or didn’t need to) refuse. At any price, the meeting presented Yanukovych to heel.

Once more in Kyiv, Yanukovych unexpectedly recalled the unbreakable fraternity between the Russian and Ukrainian people and declared overtime was once needed to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. At the an identical time, Yanukovych and the Ukrainian govt began discussing with the European Union the economic package deal deal Ukraine would wish if it had been to enroll in the EU. The figures had been astronomical, if now not utterly unrealistic. Ukraine projected it might lose between $150 to $500 billion in trade with Russia, as Putin would at the very least economically boycott Ukraine (a mild-mannered response) if now not impose draconian sanctions (the worst-case response).

Europe might simply now not give Ukraine such an astronomical financial package deal deal. Russia stepped into the breach as “saviour” and introduced Ukraine $15 billion in loans along with an important aid of gasoline prices in case of Ukraine’s rejection of European integration.

After the Minsk meeting, Most sensible Minister Azarov began shaping public opinion the use of a singular observe, explaining how unhealthy lifestyles may well be without Russia and the way in which unclear Ukraine’s long term throughout the European Union may well be. Numerous what Azarov discussed was once true. The Association Agreement didn’t routinely ensure that accession to the EU. Particularly, the EU program “Japanese Partnership” adopted on the initiative of Poland and Sweden was once aimed toward cooperation with such post-Soviet international locations as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Association Agreement didn’t point out agreement on EU membership, it was once merely the case {{that a}} country that didn’t already have one in place might simply now not hope to be considered for membership of the EU.

Negotiations with European partners to provide Ukraine with this type of grandiose financial package deal deal went nowhere. Russia’s promise of a $15 billion loan led to the main price of $3 billion. And then the EuroMaidan began.

The word “Maidan”, associated with Kyiv’s Independence Sq., had become a national symbol of freedom and hope. It gave the word a decided on despite the fact that intangible moral and ethical which means that that were given right here to incorporate the spirit of Ukraine’s peaceful twenty-first century revolutions. The ones integrated the “Ukraine without Kuchma” movement of 2000, the “Get up Ukraine” movement of 2002, the “Orange Revolution” of 2004. Most likely nowhere else in Europe all through the decade have there been as many light revolutions as Ukraine.

The ones Maidans took place now not most efficient within the an identical location, however moreover consistent with the an identical script. 100-200 meters transparent of Maidan, the oldsters of Kyiv went on with their ordinary lives – grandmothers walked with their grandchildren, mothers and fathers went to art work, youngsters went to schools and institutes. Everyone watched the Maidan on television, each and every in and outside Ukraine. That they’d different catalysts and different consequences. On the other hand they all had one thing in common. They have got been all driven by means of the battle in opposition to autocracy, the usurpation of power by means of certain clans, the disenfranchisement of the oldsters, the all-powerful oligarchy, and most of all rampant corruption.

On the other hand, until 2014, the Maidan revolutions in Kyiv didn’t lead to changes throughout the political tool, the mechanisms that shifted oligarchic power spherical, or the foundation causes of corruption and bureaucracy. In this sense, the ones early Maidan had been now not like primary revolutions of the early twentieth century. Some political occasions and oligarchic clans had been modified by means of others, power was once seized by means of a brand spanking new group of people pursuing their own monetary interests, and the revolutions mild without leading to critical consequences or changes throughout the lives of the electorate of the country or even the capitol.

The primary conclusion that Maidan spectators had gradually come to was once that the Maidan was once now not the rest on the other hand a symbol, {{that a}} Maidan insurrection would now not accomplish the revolution. It was once in the end a harmless crowd of people in a sq., despite the fact that that sq. was once in Kyiv and was once referred to as Independence Sq.. On the other hand the crucial issue was once nevertheless that the political consciousness of Ukrainians was once nurtured by means of the ones half-hearted, incomplete events.



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