Ukraine, between rock and hard place
The ‘revolution’ in Ukraine, as seen in the violent clashes that have been erupting in Keiv since 18 February, is really the surfacing of deep fault lines that have always defined the East European Russia-dependent nation. Trapped between the devil and the deep sea, Ukraine has been undergoing a tumultuous churn, trying to emerge out of the long shadow cast by Putin-ruled Russia on the one hand, while, on the other, is certainly not ready to cast off its unambiguous dependence, economic and political, on Moscow’s largesse, which are neither small, nor not without bigger designs. The current unrest is premised upon Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych’s seemingly unreasonable decision to scrap an energy deal with the European Union to favour Russian gas companies and oblige his long-time mentor, Vladimir Putin. While the post-2004 ‘Oranged’ Ukraine wants to be in step with the rest of Europe and has ambitions to enter Eurozone and partake of its economic benefits, the Yanukovych regime is painfully aware of its reliance on Russia, as far energy subsidies, in terms of cheap gas, as well as other enormous infrastructural assistance that Moscow has ritually showered on Kiev, are concerned. Naturally, Yanukovych is also cognisant of the fact that Moscow wouldn’t take kindly to its European aspirations and therefore would flex its mighty military and economic muscles to ensure that Ukraine doesn’t leave its geostrategic penumbra.