Ukrainian crisis may bring Russia closer to EU
Director of the Social and Political Research Centre and member of the CIS Institute Vladimir Yevseyev talks about possible ways out of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. According to the expert, Ukraine's economy is degrading and the country will soon become a constant problem for both Russia and the EU.
What is going to happen in Ukraine? The Ukrainian economy is going to decay. The Europeans understand that. The question is who is going to pay for it, who is going to provide for Ukraine. It's clear the European countries are not going to do that. Another question is whether the Ukrainian economy can survive without Russia. In fact it cannot. This means that Ukraine is going to turn into an actual failed state. It will be a constant problem for the EU. Not for us, if only we don't provoke an actual conflict with the EU. The Europeans will have to decide what should be done with this country, a country which is already approaching collapse. Western Ukraine maintains territorial claims on several Polish territories. This means that the Ukrainian crisis is a common European problem. So if we do not provoke a larger conflict, the necessity to resolve this crisis will bring us closer and closer to the EU, despite all efforts made by the US to prevent such a convergence. In such a case we will have a new opportunity to enhance our ties with Europe. I think the collapse of Ukraine has already become inevitable. First of all economic collapse. The conditions are very unfavourable for Russia, but with a wise strategy we actually have a chance to improve our position without reacting to direct confrontation. Speaking about allies, I should say that now Russia has no allies. One may say that the countries of the CSTO are poor allies, but this body is too ephemeral. Our position on the Karabakh conflict, for instance, differs from that of Kazakhstan. There also other points of view. This means that Russia has no allies. Of course we can find some countries which can back us on a particular issue. For instance, in the Middle East Iran is such a country. Iran and the western powers are now trying to improve their relations, but this process will take a lot of time. For example, the US decided to unfreeze $2.5 billion in Iran's banks accounts, but the Shah's government had $25 billion, which is now $100 billion, so that this figure, $2.5 billion, is really pathetic. The US is going to lift the sanctions completely in 15 years. Within this period we will be able to improve our relations with Iran considerably. The US is now facing many challenges. Ukraine is not the only one, of course. If the US cared so much about Ukraine, it would provide financial aid to the country. Now they are only ready to provide limited loans.
I think that Russia has some opportunities, if it doesn't provoke a conflict with the western powers. Still, Russia has to establish successful relations with some European countries. Of course the US is going to pursue its national interests. Of course it's going to put pressure on Poland, but who would like it if gangs from Western Ukraine terrorized the country? And right now it seems quite possible. It would be unwise to believe that the position of the US is unshakable. I think now we have a good chance to improve ties with Europe. To do that we don't even have to give up the Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk - it's impossble - but we have to react to the current situation appropriately. We have to prevent any escalation of the conflict and adopt a wise policy towards the European countries. We should explain to them that Ukraine is our common problem. We also have to work together with other countries of the world, for instance, Iran. In such a case Russia will have a chance of improving its position in the international community, in spite of every action the US may take.