Ukraine, then and now

Nine years ago, I thought it was great that Ukraine still had public politics while Russia had almost none but I had little enthusiasm for any of the particular players in the Ukrainian scene. Apart from the brothers Klichko, I am still skeptical about Ukrainian political leaders. But that’s all beside the point now. (By the way, I’m embarrassed to have quoted from Peter Lavelle, who went on to become an RT anchor.)

If I were Ukrainian, I’d be out in the streets with the opposition now. Russia has nothing to offer Ukraine besides cheaper gas and oil, while Ukraine needs institutional reform above all. The EU cannot make it happen but it could still pull Ukraine in the right direction, in contrast to Russia. Then there’s the simple fact that Yanukovich broke the rules of the political game when he imprisoned Yulia Timoshenko. (It’s hard to imagine the court did not act on the regime’s orders.) You have to draw the line somewhere, and locking up political rivals should always be on the wrong side of that line.

It sounds like two and two is four. How could I get so many things wrong back then?


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