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20 August, 2013 17:21   ▪  

Olga Shumylo-Tapiola: Putin needs a new PR agency for his relations with the neighbors

Recent trade war announced by Russia made it easier for Ukraine to decide between the EU and the Custom Union

“The current trade war is clearly about the East-West choice. This is Putin’s way of convincing a partner to choose him and join the Eurasian Customs Union. It remains to be seen how long the trade war will last and what the response of the Ukrainian side will be. Will Yanukovych get scared of the short-term economic losses and run toward the Customs Union? Or will he go through the storm keeping head up high and force Russia (which will also be an economic loser in this war) to back off? Or will this trade war scare Yanukovych and Ukrainian oligarchs and push them to seek protection in the EU through meeting all conditions and signing the Association Agreement? These are all open questions,” writes Olga Shumylo-Tapiola for the Carnegie Moscow Center.

READ ALSO: The Mythical Benefits of the Customs Union

Expert also added that taking into account the situation “Putin needs a new PR agency for his relations with the neighbors. The one that would remind him of Russia’s losses during the Orange revolution in Ukraine. The one that would bring to his attention how public opinion in Ukraine—regardless of political views—swings toward support of the country’s leadership once Ukraine is confronted by Russia. The one that would advise him to sit and wait patiently for the Ukrainian leadership to mess up its own country, alienate the West completely, and come to Moscow for the money for the 2015 elections on its knees. Whatever the length and the outcome of the trade war, this time Putin lost Ukraine.”

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