Now suppose you're the rather thuggish Prez of the Ukraine, and that part of turning towards Europe involves cracking down on your own corruption, not to mention being forced to free the previous
Prez PM, who you've banged up on spurious charges. Whereas Russia, in the person of Putin, doesn't give a toss about civil rights or corruption.
And so the scene is set for an exciting clash. Just like in Syria, just like in Uganda, the interests of the people are different from the interests of the leadership. Hopefully the people will win. Hopefully and likely this won't turn into a civil war. That would be a bad result. See Hobbes, or Brian on Syria or even me on Syria sort of.
Note that blue and yellow are the colours of the Ukrainian flag, so the armband in the pic is their colours, as well as by a happy coincidence those of the EU. The EU flag in the pic is the EU flag, of course. I don't know what the white flag with the red horizontal stripe is - ideas? [Update: its the political party Batkivshchyna, led by the imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko; so that makes sense. The white-with-red-cross-and-crosses visible in some other pics is Georgia, another victim of Russia.]
Astonishingly, there's not a word about this on R4 news tonight. They're rubbish: leads are some unimportant helicopter crash in Scotland and a similarly unimportant train crash in the USA.
* Ukraine pro-EU protests: Police forced to flee as 100,000 demonstrators take over central Kiev - Indie
* Clashes amid huge Ukraine protest against U-turn on EU - Aunty
* Ukraine police and protesters clash in Kiev - in pictures - Graun
* Ukraine sees biggest anti-government protests since Orange Revolution - Torygraph
Don't forget that Ukraine has - in it's eastern parts- a sizable Russian (or ex-USSR multiethnic) minority, who, in addition, work predominantly in dying industries, like coal & steel.
There is no interest of 'the people' versus 'the corrupt Prez',
probabely. And all might end with some ugly war like in Yugoslavia.
I think, 'my' chancellor Ms. Merkel (for whom I certainly didn't vote) did right in saying that trying to join the EU doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop good relations to Russia.
Before you get too triumphal consider the case of Montenegro which has sold out to the Russians. Where was the EU?
[You're not expecting me to defend the EU as some paragon of virtue are you? The EU has many flaws. But faced with a choice between the EU and Russia, the choice is easy -W]
The EU depends on Russia, for gas & oil.
A map shows that it is not so trivial for the Ukraine if Russia puts on the pressure, which it is (google - ukraine russia trade war). Eli recalls not so many years ago multiple instances of disputes over natural gas. If Russia turns off the tap, the Ukraine freezes in the dark.
[And parts of Europe, too. The counter-side, though, is that if Russia shuts off the gas tap then all that lovely money flowing in the other direction disappears, and Putin stops being able to buy votes -W]
If you look at that map, there is this thing called China on the left hand side with a large border with Russia and a need for energy.
Its Ukraine not "the Ukraine"
The latter plays into the Russo-soviet centric view that Ukraine is not a country but rather a region, literally "the borderland."
Tymoshenko was PM, not President (ran and lost for that).
[Thanks: updated -W]
Any thoughts on nordhaus's new book