The people presently in charge of the country hail from the pro-Russian city of Donetsk. While the Donetsk bunch would prefer the nation remain nominally independent and would probably prefer to sign the EU trade agreement, they are spiritually Russian-oriented and rely on Moscow for political support. They have also been placed in an extremely difficult position. The Russians don’t want increased EU/American influence over Ukraine, seeing Ukraine as their “near abroad.” The EU wants glamorous jailbird Yulia Tymoshenko out of the pokey as a precondition of the economic agreement, despite her being considered a criminal oligarch. While she obviously has her supporters, her former Orange Revolution ally Yuschenko not only testified against her in court, he’s also written WSJ editorials denouncing her. The EU also wants complex legal reforms. The EU is offering Ukraine peanuts: 610 million euro of aid in return for taking on a 10-billion-euro loan, letting Tymoshenko out of jail, and radically transforming their legal system. The Russians are offering direct aid in the form of cheap gas, which is what the EU loan would have been used for anyway.
Ukraine’s GDP per capita is at $3,900/year. Influence is cheap in a country so poor. The Russians are obviously interfering in Ukraine’s political process. What is unsaid in the Western media is that so are the EU and the US State Department. The political system is so corrupt in Ukraine, nobody even bothers hiding it. The late pro-Western oligarch Boris Berezovsky admitted to funding large parts of the “Orange Revolution” nine years ago. Ukrainska Pravda, one of the bolder opposition newsletters, is openly funded by the “National Endowment for Democracy,” a US-funded NGO and instrument of the US State Department. The Kyiv Post was founded by the American FEMEN sugar daddy, Jed Sunden, and has been sold to British Ukrainian oligarch Mohammad Zahoor. The US State Department actively solicits Ukrainian journalists who want to further American interests in Ukraine on their website. Spooky NGOs aren’t shy about it, either.
The choice between the EU and the Russians appears to be a choice between two sets of oligarchs, one of which also comes with the spectacle of gay parades and grouchy nekkid feminists. The country is divided as to whether it wants to be closer to Russia or the EU, with a plurality favoring the EU for now. If I were Ukrainian, I’d seriously consider “none of the above,” as 13% of those polled did before the unpleasantness in Kiev.
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