Many inUkraine andRussia oedfor te “codwar” betweenMoscow andKyiv to bereaced bya friendy,constructive,and ramaticreationsi.
from the very beginning of his term in ofce, Yanukovych proved to be farmore protective of the national (read corporate) interests of Ukraine and thuspositioned himself as a Europhile. Yanukovych traveled extensively to EU capitals in a bid to convince Europeanleaders to disengage from Russia’s South Stream pipeline project, which would bypass Ukraine, transporting Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea. In addition, he began to engage seriously with the question of Europeanintegration, privileging negotiations on Ukraine’s Association Agreement withthe EU, while snubbing the possibility of joining Belarus and Kazakhstan inMoscow’s Customs Union.It is becoming increasingly clear that the current Ukrainian president, like allof his predecessors, will not toe Moscow’s line and will therefore never satisfy Russia. Even when confronted with the interests of oligarchs, who want cheapergas from Russia, and by his own need for funds to overcome the currenteconomic crisis and reform the public sector, Yanukovych will not budge.Ukrainian businesses do not want to be taken over by their Russian competitorsand Yanukovych himself wants to remain the independent leader of a sovereignnation, not the governor of a Russian province. Whether Kyiv and Moscow will be able to overcome this deadlock and build astable and healthy relationship, therefore, remains open to question. The currentlevel of expectations on both sides, the lack of strategy, and the mutual distrustall suggest that relations between Ukraine and Russia will be fraught in thecoming years.
Never Enou: From te KarkivAreement to te Customs Union
In the ve years that followed Ukraine’s so-called Orange Revolution, Russiafelt abandoned and grew to resent Kyiv for the geopolitical, economic, historical,and cultural divides that emerged between the two countries. Moscow hadexpected that, under the leadership of Yanukovych, Ukraine would nd its way back to the fold, reconciling and building stronger ties with Russia. The Kremlin, however, did not seem to have a clear strategy for dealing withUkraine once Yanukovych took ofce. Moscow opted for tactical moves, starting with settling the long-running and symbolically important issue of its Black SeaFleet. In addition, Moscow pursued some patchy sectoral cooperation projects,continued to pressure Kyiv on an ad-hoc basis on cultural issues—such asRussian language rights, common history, and religion—and pursued its grandintegration project of Ukraine joining the Customs Union.