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Europe's Failure in Ukraine

Published: January 23, 2014 (Issue # 1794)


The protests in Ukraine have been a powerful inspiration for European politicians, many of whom have flown to Kiev to address the jubilant crowds. The demonstrations quickly turned into an attempt to stage another "color revolution" and overthrow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The protests have come to symbolize Europe's political weakness, not its strength. After all, the European Union lost control of its strongly anti-Russian Eastern Partnership program when it handed the reigns over to irresponsible politicians from the Baltic states.

Second, the Euromaidan protests demonstrated the EU's economic weakness. The EU was unable to make its Association Agreement attractive enough for Ukraine, and when Kiev requested financial compensation to make up for the billions of losses the agreement would have entailed, Brussels could not come up with the necessary funds.

Also by the same author: How Russia and EU Can Build a Greater Europe

Third, Ukraine's political turmoil has definitively exposed the moral weakness of Europe. For many years, the EU held influence over Eastern Europe and Eurasian states by virtue of its use of "soft power" and its moral authority. Just the word "European" signified a high level of development and responsibility thanks to its rule of law, democratic institutions, excellent education and developed social welfare system. All of that remains, but the EU's policy toward Ukraine has cast doubt on its claim of moral leadership.

The problem started with the EU making protracted arguments as to how the Association Agreement was beneficial to Ukraine. And when Yanukovych refused to sign it, Europe, along with the U.S., became hysterical, making countless allegations that Russia was exerting undue pressure on Ukraine when, in fact, Moscow behaved with the utmost restraint.

In reality, it was the EU that blatantly interfered in Ukraine's internal affairs. Politicians from EU member countries threatened Kiev with sanctions for not signing the agreement, although it is the sovereign right of the Ukrainian president to make that decision. What's more, EU and U.S. politicians took part in the anti-government rallies, lending support to angry crowds from the stage. This was outrageous behavior and a gross violation of established diplomatic protocol.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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