ISSUE 4-2003
Александр Куранов
Ярослав Шимов Андрей Белоусов
А. Артем Улунян Сергей Романенко Игорь Некрасов
Виктор Коган-Ясный
Ярослав Шимов

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles and/or discussions are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or positions of the publisher.


The new issue of our magazine deals with the following two topics: the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Eastern Partnership program and elections in Ukraine. The presidential election closely followed by the early parliamentary election caused a revolution in the political make-up of the country. President Volodymyr Zelenskij was thrust into the presidential seat on a wave of popular discontent with the recent development of the country and a desire to give a chance to lead to new people. These two factors also played a pivotal role in the early parliamentary elections announced by the new president in his inaugural speech.

Radical changes in the leadership of the country were achieved through free and fair elections while the transfer of power also took place without delay and in a standard manner which does credit to former President Petro Poroshenko. Indeed, when the Ukrainians inspect Poroshenko's presidency later on they may find, with hindsight, that the new president does not have a magic wand allowing him to improve things overnight and realize how much Petro Poroshenko has done for his country.

Recent weeks have seen repeated demonstrations in Moscow where people call for the right to have a similar opportunity to vote in free and fair elections, at least in local elections. Fearing that the representatives of the opposition might be able to take up seats in the Moscow City Council (Duma), it was decided at the top not to allow them to participate in the election on the pretext of their supporters' false signatures or various formal shortcomings supposedly detected in the filed documents. This has triggered an unprecedented wave of protests in Russia to which the Putin regime has responded by beating and arresting protesters as well as the rejected candidates.

The current Russian leadership has thus once again demonstrated their determination not to allow a change in power through a democratic process such as elections. However, this only leaves one other method, i.e. a violent takeover of power through a social explosion of the kind seen in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014. If there is one thing none of us can wish for, it is this scenario, especially in the country that gave the world the October Revolution of 1917.

Euromaidan 2014 led to the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych to which Moscow responded by  the annexation of Crimea and by unleashing the war in eastern Ukraine. The immediate cause of the radicalization of Ukrainian society was President Yanukovych's failure to sign an association agreement with the European Union at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013.

Right up to the last weeks before the summit, both President Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had defended the signing of the agreement despite Russian objections. The Putin-Yanukovych meeting on the eve of the summit brought a change of attitude. We do not know what means the Russian President used to force his Ukrainian counterpart to change his mind. But we know the reason. Ukraine's European course would pose a threat to Putin for two reasons: it would be a severe blow to Russia's integration efforts in the post-Soviet area, and if Ukraine were to thrive, it would be a dangerous example for the Russians who could ask: if Ukraine can do it, why not Russia?

Having initially underestimated the Eastern Partnership, Moscow realized that it was a dangerous project that could impede its imperial ambitions which it pursues both by force and by means of various integration projects. The main danger the Eastern Partnership presents to Putin and his cronies rests in its effort to promote not only economic prosperity but above all the fundamental democratic values that are incompatible with Putin's regime and therefore dangerous to it, particularly if they were to be established in neighboring countries.

In this issue we also reprint an interview with a Russian expert whose opinion on the Eastern Partnership is radically different. He regards the "Eastern Partnership as a worthless project which is slowly dying due to lack of financial support. What member countries expected from the Eastern Partnership is finance and since that is not forthcoming, they're losing interest. Thus the project is pointless and Moscow treats it accordingly. It is up to our readers to use their own judgment and decide which of the two interpretations is closer to reality.

In the summer months we would deserve slightly lighter reading matter than the kind we are offering our readers right now, however, such is the world we live in. Nevertheless, we wish you all a pleasant time during the second month of the summer holiday.

We would also like to take the opportunity to apologize to our readers in Russia for the inconvenience caused by technology as some of the Ukrainian websites referred to in our articles will not open in their country. The war in the Donbas region appears to be fought on the internet as well.


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