-Ramūnas Bogdanas, EN.DELFI.LT.
A year has passed since November 2013, when those who felt mostly betrayed by President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych crowded in the Maidan of Kyiv. The number of active protesters had been diminishing day by day but on Friday, 29 November, around 10,000 people gathered in the Independence Square, or the Maidan. The Euromaidan began, spelling the end to Yanukovych who soon fled the country. On the way out he stopped in Kharkiv, were probably he had to announce the separatist East Ukraine but didn’t dare, and he didn’t show up in the hall in front of the assembled supporters.
Russia took advantage of the mess and of its agents in the Ukrainian army, and took over Crimea without resistance. Then it turned its glance towards Donbass. The battle for Ukraine is going on until now, and it is a furnace that is forging the Ukrainians into a political nation.
Ukraine had to pay a high price for realizing at last that it is not an annex to Russia but rather a sovereign state. The price had to be paid because of, on the one hand, the imperial ambitions of Russia, and on the other hand, more than 20 years devoted not for establishing the state but for creation of oligarchic clans.
After the Orange revolution of 2004, it became obvious that the country was not ready yet, that it lacked the critical mass of citizens and politicians who would make a turn away from regular corrupted ties towards new European standards. Ukraine had to continue to sink before a will to live differently was born. Yanukovych did his job in making the country hit the bottom under his regime, and the resistance engine was started which geared Ukraine in the opposite direction.
Having sunk deep, Ukraine took-off from the bottom. During the last year it proved with blood that the way back is not Ukraine’s way, though Russia tries to push it back. Democratic elections of the president and parliament took place, and the pro-western governing body was formed.
Help the victim
Negative action alone is not sufficient for Ukraine to follow the European path it has chosen. As the French philosopher Bernard-Henry Levy said this October, “Punishing the aggressor is good, but helping the victim is better”. If everybody now keeps on sitting and waiting until sanctions make Russia change its mind, Ukraine can turn into an irredeemable case during that time. While the fat get slender, the slender shall die of hunger.
Back in March 2014, just after Janukovych fled to Russia, the renowned financier George Soros said that Ukraine needed a new Marshall plan. The original one was developed to reconstruct Germany after the war, and lasted until 1951. Starting with food and fuel, later it covered industrial investment and in the end it laid foundations for the EU. It is worth bearing in mind that Germans at that time deserved much worse attitudes than contemporary Ukrainians who are fighting for their European way.
Because of corruption and ineffective legislation Ukraine has turned into a state of feudal capitalism where oligarchs rule provinces like medieval dukes. Ukrainians are not just the victims of foreign aggression – they are the victims of their own inaction. Now they pay the price for drowsing away all the chances since 1991. If the present opportunity is not exploited, another one shall come in the future, but it will be even harder.
The mintage plan for Ukraine
To make a plan for Ukraine, one needs to tick several boxes: (A) the financial source, (B) sectors of priority, (C) efficient supervision of aid. The latter is important because corrupt relations and incompetence are able to destroy any flow of aid.
It seems that Mr Poroshenko is aware of that, as he announced about inviting foreigners to participate in governing of the country. On December 2 the Ukrainian Parliament voted in favour of appointing Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavičius as the Minister of Economy, Natalia Jeresko from the USA as the Minister of Finances and Georgian Alexander Kvitashvili as a Minister of Health. So, Ukraine is sending a message that it is ready to implement part C.
Priority sectors could be defined jointly by the donors and Ukrainian authorities. It is very important not to turn the rescue plan into the plan for Western companies to soak up the aid money, when the aid fund covers only consultations and advise which cannot be realized without investment, and there are no finances left after the consultants are paid.
We have experienced such a faulty trend of aid in Lithuania after 1990. That is why point (A) marks the source – it depends on the amount of money in the fund if the sum is sufficient to materialize the endeavour.
On 14 November, the Foreign Affairs Committee and The European Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian parliament passed a resolution on Ukraine, which proposes how to create the fund. The idea was born in the head of former conservative Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, and it was supported by the committees, chaired by social democrats Benediktas Juodka and Gediminas Kirkilas respectively. It is very important to have a united position of the political elite on such issues both on the national and on the EU level.
The Lithuanian resolution, which is posted to certain institutions around Europe, proposes to allocate 3% of the EU budget for Ukraine’s European fund, and that makes 30 billion euros. According to Ukraine, this sum is sufficient to irreversibly turn the state towards Europe, if the funds are used properly. That would be the task of experienced Western specialists.
Time for positive action
The result shall be Ukraine in Europe, and we would be joined by 45 million inhabitants from rich lands in the East. At the same time, it would provide impetus for Russia to change just like Ukraine did. The change is what Mr. Putin is afraid of, but only such a change is able to bring security for Europe and prosperity for ordinary Russian people.
In March 1939, Stalin explained in the 18th Congress of the Communist Party that the party’s foreign policy goal is “to stay careful and do not allow our country to get involved into conflicts by war provocateurs who are used to poking embers with the hands of others”. In October, he was already dividing Poland between himself and Hitler, in November he attacked Finland.
In November 2014, Mr. Putin explained in an interview: “We do not threaten anybody and we are not to be dragged into any geopolitical games, let alone conflicts.” You know what is going on in reality. To respond to aggression by building would be the most proper step for Europe.
The views are the author's own and do not represent those of Radio Azadliq.