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1 August, 2013 17:24   ▪  

Ukrainian-Russian relations: facing Cool Winter

Putin’s visit left the impression that Ukrainian-Russian relations will remain stagnant, writes Maksym Bugriy in Eurasia Daily Monitor

Putin’s visit raised questions about whether such stagnation in Ukrainian-Russian relations might lead to a future crisis in relations between the two countries.

In fact, on July 29, the Russian sanitation authority Rospotrebnadzor banned imports from the Ukrainian confectionary producer Roshen, whose key shareholder is Petro Poroshenko, a likely Kyiv mayoral and presidential candidate. Poroshenko is known as an avid supporter of Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the European Union. 

“The Russian leader’s public statements sought to persuade that spiritual values make Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians a “single people” (http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/5783), hence implying that Ukraine’s strategic choice lies with the Eurasian and not the European integration project. However, Yanukovych’s administration evidently presented an alternative scenario, in which Kyiv was assuming a leadership role in bringing not only Ukraine, but also Russia and Belarus closer to Europe,” reports Eurasia Daily Monitor. 

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“An important question, however, is whether Yanukovych’s government will be able to afford the rejection of the planned, Russian-led Eurasian Union. Ukraine’s economy has yet to recover from a double-dip recession. In the first six months of 2013, industrial output declined 5.3 percent year on year (ukrstat.gov.ua), and Ukraine’s fiscal deficit is on the rise,” says economist Maksym Bugriy.

It does not seem very likely that Russia’s illustrative coercive economic actions or Putin’s outdated Eurasianist political philosophy will significantly alter Ukrainians’ attitudes. In the end, this adds even more uncertainty to the outlook of bilateral relations and Russian foreign policy.

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