The European Autumn – Ukraine’s Future

Until recently many would profess a lack of knowledge towards the state of Ukraine however the recent escapades that have been played out in an almost Hollywood like manner have thrust it into the spotlight. If the Arab Spring was the democratic revolution of the Arab world then this would be the revolution of what that democracy would be in Ukraine.

The media has been full of the violence and corruption displayed by the government forces of the now former president Viktor Yanukovych who started the protests by refusing to sign a deal with the EU while signalling his intentions to grow closer to Russia. Which would be like having a cigarette in a firework factory; foolish, explosive and dangerous. It is worth noting that Ukraine only achieved independence from Russia in 1990 however despite the two decades of ‘freedom’ it seems that Russia is more than happy to reassert its position in Eastern Europe as it has been reported (though not confirmed by the Kremlin) that Putin has ordered a test of combat readiness of troops in central and western Russia. Unless he fears an invasion from Ukraine (think Goliath vs David with David being unarmed and Goliath wearing a suit of armour) this move can only be seen as an attempt to pressure the new Ukrainian government into continuing the pro-Russia policies.

The media frenzy over this situation has produced some memorable highlights including the house of the former President complete with a galleon and a golden toilet; which due to the poverty of the country, where significant numbers are starving or in extreme poverty; can only be described as actually taking the p**s.

Ukraine is in a dangerous position with Russia becoming more overt on its borders, a non-confirmed government in power that not all support as well as ongoing protests over this situation mean that the parallel with Egypt is hard to avoid. Ukraine has the potential to become a solidified player in the international system as well as stable nation for its citizens, but the fastest manner for this would be a Mandela figure to emerge. But seemingly lacking this asset the state of Ukraine faces the risk of being one again subjugated by a foreign power.

What is needed right now is a broad consensus in both national and international institutions in order to move forward into a stable position for Ukraine. Complicated somewhat by both local political divisions and having Russia as the next door neighbour with its eyes on the military send button. Ukraine has economic potential so it makes sense for Britain and the rest of the international community to send non-military assistance into the region.

Jack Fennell

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