Ukraine: The Arab Spring comes to Europe
As much of the world continues to digest what took place in Ukraine. Matters continue to evolve in the country that has seen more revolutions in the last two decades then most will see in a lifetime. Whilst Victor Yanukovych is being compared by some to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi and Ukraine is being compared to Pakistan, there are many issues that have been lost in the euphoria of the moment which warrant some consideration.
There can be no doubt Ukraine has been robbed of real change due to the interference of foreign powers. Similar to the Arab Spring, Britain, France, the US and many Western nations not only viewed events from the sidelines but actively participated in the direction the uprising took. As Viktor Yanukovych struggled with protestors in Kiev’s independence square, diplomats and officials from the West held meetings with opposition figures in support of their course.
On 14 December US Senator John McCain visited the Ukrainian capital and met with key government and opposition leaders. Then on Wednesday 11 December Catherine Ashton the EU’s Foreign Policy Commissioner met with opposition leaders. A telephone call was also leaked of US diplomat Victoria Nuland speaking to the US Ambassador to Ukraine which showed both the EU and the US were relentlessly attempting to destabilize Ukraine. Nuland outlined who should not be the future leaders, and even said “f*** the EU.” In fact the final deal which sealed Yanukovych’s fate was with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland rather than the opposition leaders. This is the same strategy the West has utilized in Syria. The Geneva meetings are the West’s attempt to bring a select opposition together with the al-Assad regime and form a future government irrespective of the demands of the people.
Whilst the EU continues to blame Russia for the instability in Ukraine due to its support for Yanukovych, this hides the fact that EU actions directly led to the current crisis. On 24 February, British foreign minister William Hague, German Chancellor Angela Markel and French officials all confirmed they will shore up the new Ukrainian leadership and in turn its economy by providing aid and loans. Whilst the EU is falling over itself to now aid Ukraine in November 2013 Ukrainian’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov confirmed he requested €20 billion from the EU for financial assistance to shore up the nation’s finances due to its economy being in recession. Despite the dire straits of Ukraine this request was turned down by EU officials. When Ukraine was scheduled to sign a trade deal with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit a few weeks later on 21st November in Vilnius, Lithuania the Ukrainian government refused to sign the deal. This rejection is what triggered large protests on the streets of Kiev.
Whether any leader of Ukraine is a democrat who wants to integrate the country into the EU or an autocrat who wants to maintain ties with Russia, both models have a history of failure in Ukraine. The Orange Revolution in 2005 that ousted the current president (this is not the first time he has been overthrown) ushered in a pro-West government which proceeded to lead the country into economic ruin despite the mantra of potential EU membership. One of the main personalities during this period was Yuliya Tymoshenko, who surprisingly made a return to Ukrainian politics for possibly another go at the presidency. By 2010 the Ukrainian people had had enough and they voted Viktor Yanukovych back, again. Yanukovych’s term as president was characterised with incompetency and authoritarianism. He got the Constitutional Court to invalidate constitutional amendments adopted during the Orange Revolution. He then began targeting those who could threaten his rule; Yuliya Tymoshenko was convicted of abuse of power. Yanukovych jailed many opposition leaders, seized control of the media and made his family very wealthy.
Both democrats and autocrats have failed the people of Ukraine but once again we are seeing the West support individuals who do their bidding irrespective of the demands for change by the people of Ukraine. Russia has already been holding meetings in the East of Ukraine where many pro-Russians reside, whilst the West is promoting names such as Tymoshenko and boxer Vitali Klitschko who have shown their pro-West credentials.
Just like the Arab Spring was hijacked from the people and pro-West groups and individuals were manoeuvred into power, a similar process is taking place in Ukraine under terms such as ‘transition,’ ‘parliamentary democracy’ and the ‘will of the people.’ No matter where we are in the world, the world powers only have one thing in mind, and that is how to continue their subjugation of other nations.