Ukraine’s Scissors: between Internal Weakness and External Dependence

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Series Details Number 9
Publication Date March 2006
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Barely one year after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine finds itself in the midst of fresh internal and external dislocations. In one respect, the revolution promises to be enduring. Ukraine is a democratic country with a vigorous political life, and a return to state intimidation and political stagnation is no longer feasible. But the revolution has not fulfilled its central promise: the emergence of authorities who, finally, would govern in the interests of the country rather than themselves. With few exceptions, there has been no attempt to challenge the country's dysfunctional institutional inheritance or replace the culture of patronage with meritocracy. This failing has not only created new internal cleavages, but reopened old international vulnerabilities. The Russian Federation has recovered from its post-orange disorientation and is governed by an elite confident that the country's wealth and energy resources can be used to create a 'sphere of predominance' on the doorstep of the EU. Russia's gas diplomacy in Ukraine, a key corridor to European consumers, reinforces the EU's broader stakes in Ukraine's capacity and trajectory. Without indulging Ukraine's illusions about EU membership, the EU needs to develop channels of integration that are both realistic and mutually beneficial.

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