A divided Ukraine: between Russia and the EU

Комментарии 19 декабря 2013 14:00

Комментарий директора ВЦСИ для приложения The Daily Telegraph, подготовленного RBTH .

Opinion in Ukraine has split in two over whether the country should sign an Association Agreement offering trade and political links with the EU or move closer to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Some, such as Roman Travin, a political scientist from the eastern city of Kharkiv, are already calling it a “cold civil war”.

The barricades are back on Kiev’s Independence Square, known as Maidan Square, where an estimated 200,000 gathered on Sunday at a pro-Europe rally to demand the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

US Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, told them: “We are here to support your just cause, the sovereign right of Ukraine to determine its own destiny freely and independently. And the destiny you seek lies in Europe.”

Supporters of Mr Yanukovych held a rival rally nearby at Mariinsky Park, though far fewer people attended. Speakers insisted that they would win the battle for the country’s future.

Yevhan Magda, a political analyst in Kiev, argued that many of the anti-government protesters “speak not for European integration, but against violations of their civil rights by the authorities and security forces.”

An opinion poll on December 2 by the Gorshenin Institute found a similar picture. Some 56pc of those surveyed were at Maidan to demand the resignation of the president and the government. Only 28pc were there specifically to support the Association Agreement with the EU.

“The signing of the Association Agreement is not a choice between Europe and Russia. This is a question of the viability of the state,” Sergei Kaplin, an MP with the Udar party led by world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko told RBTH.

“We are overwhelmed by corruption, our state has a lot of problems. I see the only way to solve them is to adopt the legal standards of European countries.”
A survey by the Ukrainian company Research & Branding Group found that 49pc of respondents supported the Maidan protests while 45pc were hostile.

Opinions were divided on a regional basis. People in western and central Ukraine overwhelmingly supported the demonstrations, by 84pc and 66pc respectively, while the Russian-speaking east and south of the country were equally strongly against, by 81pc and 60pc.

Eastern Ukraine is Mr Yanukovych’s electoral heartland but its residents are not taking to the streets in any great numbers to support him. Mr Travin explains: “Yanukovych greatly disappointed his own electorate. Relations with Russia are poor and the quality of life has fallen.”…

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