Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ukraine



A brief background
Ever since President Victor Yanukovych declined the pro-EU deal in November last year, the opposition has taken to streets. The protests in Kiev have grown increasingly violent and have even led to Yanukovych leaving Ukraine.
On one hand Russia has blamed the West for fueling the protests, the West has accused Russia of backing the authoritative rule of Ukraine that has forcefully suppressed voices of dissent.
Why Russia cannot do away with Ukraine:
The 46 million strong country has been of great geo-political importance to Russia as it provides geographical barriers against external aggression as well as a route to hot water ports of Black sea that is crucial for Russia’s sea trade as its Northern port are not-navigable for most part of the year.
What does Ukraine’s loss imply:
Ukraine’s shifting towards EU will be a diplomatic as well as economic and geo-srtategic loss to Russia. Earlier Lativa had already joined EU and amidst this shifting sphere of influence, the Russia will not want losing Ukraine.
Also, the Russian influence in Damscus that led Washington to retract back from war to Geneva peace talks, is being seen as Russia’s re-emergence and strengthening its hold in the region. Ukraine’s breaking away from Russian influence may not mean its entry to EU, but it certainly will bring West nearer to Russia.


Is there a solution:
In short run, the opposition backed by the West can gain power (Victor Yanukovych has already agreed for snap polls). Also, it should be noted that the Eastern Ukraine populace is pro-Russia while Western is pro-West.
In the long run, Ukraine might see a partition (saying with enough pain) or Russia’s strong presence inside Kiev. Total shifting of Ukraine towards West may never happen.
Summary:
The present crisis in Ukraine is partly because of the difference of opinion that has been there for a long time between the West and East part of the country. The opposition that has its electroal base majorly in the Western region and in urban parts, has grown increasingly activist against the last year’s decision of Victor Yanukovych to scrap the pro-EU deals and shift more towards Moscow.
The violence that has since then ensued have been strongly criticized by the West as Russian intervention to suppress opposition. Th opposition members got red-carpet welcome at Munich Conference earlier this month, and the West strongly believes that in the case of an early election, the opposition might very well come to power in Kiev.
For Russia, shifting of balance of power in the region has economic, diplomatic, geo-strategic implications and more importantly, post-cold war era it will be the biggest event that will weaken the Russian effort of reintergrating Eurasian region.
The solution in short can be focused n bringing peace and political stability in Ukraine by a free and fair election observed by third party. But in long run the crisis will keep emerging. Russia has fought several battles for the region and Ukraine has been a part of Ottoman and USSR empire already. The bordering nation that lies at the borders of various civilization (West, Arab, Serbs) might very well become a site for one more war unless a long term peace negotiation is agreed upon.


Ukraine Physical Map

Also, most of oil and gas pipelines from and to Russia pass through Ukraine and Impeachment of Yanukovych.. might lead to military coup.

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