Tag Archives: Road Map

What kind of Eurasian Union might Ukraine be joining? – by Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk

December 9, 2013


photo credit: Ivan Bandura via Flickr cc

photo credit: Ivan Bandura via Flickr cc

Ukraine is again at the centre of global attention after its government failed to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. This failure was interpreted as succumbing to Putin’s pressure to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus instead of re-orienting westward. There is little doubt that Ukraine’s full accession to this Union would be a major trophy for Putin, both domestically and internationally. The details of this volte-face remain obscure, but after years of negotiation, it was unexpected to say the least.

Ukraine has faced a dichotomy: Eurasia or Europe? Either choice carries hefty implications. Not signing was seen in the West as evidence of Ukrainian ruling elites acting on their old rent-seeking inclinations, fearful of the costs of EU-style modernisation. In contrast, Russia viewed the decision as a valiant refusal to submit to EU pressure and a pragmatic rejection of a deal with ephemeral, long-term benefits in favour of current and visible gains.

However, does the rejection of the EU deal in Vilnius mean that membership of the Eurasian Customs Union is Kyiv’s best option? How clear is the commitment and how credible is the Customs Union’s promise? […]

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