The threat of Re-Sovietizing in Ukraine

November 30, 2013

Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC)

Russia and Kazakhstan have had a long and illustrious partnership. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Kazakhstan was the last country to pull out of the Soviet Union and become independent. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazerbaev has been in power for over 20 years, and has been the only leader of independent Kazakhstan. Since President Vladimir Putin came to power after the instability of the Yeltsin years; it seems Russia has been stable economically and even gaining economic clout. Russia has been admitted into the World Trade Organization and has for quite some years been a BRIC nation whose rising economy has attracted a new attention in the international community. Kazakhstan was a very large and prosperous country with rich oil reserves and was able to sustain itself well during the time after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today Russia and Kazakhstan frequently partner together none so prevalent now as the recent pressure that Russia has put on Ukraine to not join the European Union. The focus of my article review will be to highlight the November 2013 New York Times article “German Chancellor makes Plea for Ukraine”, in which the European Union accuses Russia of bullying the Ukraine. And secondly I will talk about Russia’s plans with Kazakhstan to create an Eastern European confederation that will attempt to rival the European Union.

In the New York Times article, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel demands that in light of the Ukraine’s decision to not join the European Union; that the Russian Federation allow its former subjects to excise the sovereign right to form alliances as they choose. She remarked that, “the Cold War should be over for everyone” saying that may Ukrainian citizens wanted to join the EU but the oil and political support granted by Russia and the EEC would be giving far more (in the estimation of Ukrainian Policy makers) than the lure of democracy and being part of the EU could give. There is now an, us against them mentality as far as Russian-EU relations are concerned. Putin even threatened to cut off vital supplies of oil and gas reserves in the middle of winter of there is an attempt at closer ties with the EU.                        

 

  The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) is a single permanent regulatory body of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and the Single Economic Space (SES) of the Eurasian Economic Community. The main task of the EEC is to ensure conditions for the CU and SES operation and development as well as to elaborate economic integration initiatives within the framework of the CU and SES. The EEC is based on the Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Eurasian Economic Commission Regulation which took place on November 18, 2011. The aim is to create a Russian version of the security that the US and EU share.

Ukraine however is then caught in the center of an international issue. Armenia, on the other hand, has succumbed to Russian pressure, including a threatened cutoff of energy supplies, and will now join a customs union led by Russia that includes Belarus and Kazakhstan, Ms. Merkel said. Ukraine is a cliffhanger, the chancellor said: “It is not yet clear whether Ukraine is willing to create the conditions” to sign the association agreement with the European Union, which would open up trade and other economic benefits and make travel to Western Europe easier.

 

When I wrote this article in 2013, I naïvely underestimated how bellicose the actual climate between Russia and Ukraine would become. I felt that Russia’s bark would be worse than its bite. Ukraine had one side of the country supporting relations with Russia and the other side supporting joining the EU. It is true that with all the fighting that ensued, Ukraine was not ready to create conditions to join in a more western style of democracy. Or at least the government under Yanukovych was not ready for a less centralized Putin independent style of leadership. The US, EU and Russia are at an impasse since the Russian invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The threat of sanctions by the west against Russia looms over all diplomatic dialogue.         

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