9 February 2014, 17:03

Who is to blame for Ukrainian political crisis?

Who is to blame for Ukrainian political crisis?

Ukraine is going through a major political crisis. The US and EU are obviously involved, though it seems like Western politicians didn't expect the crisis to get out of hand. But which of Ukraine's numerous domestic problems has triggered this fallout? Who exactly is to blame? Experts shared theirs opinions with the Voice of Russia.

Ievgen Vorobiov, an analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs:

I think it was pretty clear that both the US and the EU have quite an active engagement with the situation in Ukraine considering that the country is undergoing a major crisis. They obviously need to deal with this. The EU is a big neighbor and a strategic partner of Ukraine and the US is a country which has been involved with Ukraine since the very early days of Ukrainian independence.

These strategic partners are still in the process of negotiating any kind of common stance towards the crisis in Ukraine. And any further discussions of such a cooperation will of course result not only in a pleasant conversation but also in some accusations and finger pointing, and that is quite a normal process I think. No one would expect that to be a smooth and pleasant talk for TV cameras.

Nadezhda Arbatova, member of the Russian Council of Foreign and Defense Policy:

The problem of Ukraine in my view is not so much the lack of money, of course, this problem exists, but the absence of a reliable, responsible political elite who can implement the necessary reforms. So far the opposition leaders have not yet proposed any well-thought plans for the economic reforms.

You know that Arseniy Yatsenyuk asked for the so-called marshal plan for Ukraine. But let me remind you that the marshal plan was the plan of economic recovery for the war-devastated Europe. Who devastated Ukraine? Ukraine was a prosperous republic in the former USSR. It is a corrupt political system.

So, I think that the primary responsibility rests with the Ukrainians, with the Ukrainian political class and Ukraine badly needs new political leaders. I think that there needs to be a person like Mario Monti – a professional technocrat who could form a good team of professionals to pull Ukraine out form this deadlock.

Andrei Kortunov, General Director of the Russian Council on International relations:

First of all, the question is who is going to receive this aid. I was to Munich and watched these consultations of American and European leaders with the Ukrainian opposition, but the point is that the opposition is not a body that can represent the Ukrainian state, at least right now. So, they need to enter formal negotiations with President Yanukovych and his team. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is that there are at least two different types of aid that Ukraine needs right now. First, it needs what I would call quick fixes, because the country is balancing on the edge of economic and financial collapse. And this is something that everyone should understand. The country can default and actually it could have already defaulted if it had not received this package funded from Russia.

It is not the end of story. I think that the financial system of Ukraine is in trouble. Ukraine cannot pay for the Russian energy even at discounted prices that they had agreed with Moscow. So, they need to have a package of emergency assistance.

The second issue is probably even more complicated and controversial. Someone has to fund and to assist deep structural reforms in Ukraine. Because whatever they say about the ultimate benefits of the transition to a more market, to a more open economy, no matter what they say about the need for structural changes, but things are likely to get worse before they get any better. So, you need to somehow soften the pillow. You need to help this transition.

And we know approximately how much money is needed to assist Ukraine in this transition. Unfortunately, it is not a trivial sum of money. We are talking about substantial amounts of money. And definitely, right now neither the US nor the EU are in a position to allocate this money because they have their own problems. They have budgetary issues, they have financial issues and it will require a lot of political will, a lot of commitment and, I would even add a lot of stamina to render this type of economic assistance to the Ukrainian state.

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