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CFR Media Call on Ukraine with Stephen Sestanovich

Speaker: Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Presider: Anya Schmemann, Director, Task Force Program
December 10, 2013
Council on Foreign Relations

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OPERATOR: Good afternoon, and thank you for holding. Please be aware that each of your lines is in a listen-only mode. At the conclusion of today's presentation, we will open the floor for questions. At that time, instructions will be given as to the procedure to follow if you would like to ask a question. I would now like to turn the call over to Anya Schmemann. Ma'am, you may begin.

SCHMEMANN: Thank you. And hello, everyone. Good afternoon on this somewhat snowy day in D.C. and in New York. Thank you for joining us today. This is a Council on Foreign Relations on-the-record media call to discuss Ukraine, the European Union, and Russia.

I'm Anya Schmemann of American University, and I'm very pleased to be joined today by Stephen Sestanovich, who is the George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He's also the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Diplomacy at Columbia University. And from 1997 to 2001, he served as U.S. ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union.

Glad to have you with us today, Steve.

SESTANOVICH: Thanks, Anya.

SCHMEMANN: I should note for everyone that Mr. Sestanovich has a very interesting piece out today in Politico magazine titled "What Would Holbrooke Do?" And it's timed to the third anniversary of the diplomat's death and an interesting piece that sort of looks widely at the world and at the Middle East. And also I urge everyone on the phone to keep an eye out for Steve Sestanovich's book coming out soon, "America in the World From Truman to Obama, Maximalist."

So Steve Sestanovich...

SESTANOVICH: February.

SCHMEMANN: February, right after the holidays, but it can be pre-ordered, I bet.

SESTANOVICH: Right. Yep.

SCHMEMANN: So we've all been watching, really, with fascination what's been happening in Ukraine. It's nearing a third week now of protesters in the cold and snowy streets in Kiev. Thousands have occupied Independence Square. These are the largest protests since Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004 and have been sparked by the president of Ukraine, Yanukovych's, decision to turn away from closer ties with the European Union, citing a need to strengthen ties with Russia.

And protesters in the streets initially were protesting that decision, but now it seems their grievances have widened and they're calling for the government to step down. Yanukovych just met recently with President Putin in Russia and today, in fact, sat down with three former Ukrainian presidents to discuss a way forward, but it's unclear, really, what will happen next.

So if you could just talk us through, you know, what happened? And what is the situation on the ground right now? And what might come next?

SESTANOVICH: Thanks, Anya. Well, you've sketched the situation well. I'll just remind people that, you know, this is the results of months of maneuvering by Yanukovych that raised hopes in the E.U. that they would actually sign the E.U. association agreement. I think most European officials thought this was a done deal.

As you said, that was an important part of the trigger of these demonstrations, but what really put them into overdrive was the attack on protesters on November 29th. And that was followed by a weekend of very big demonstrations, you know, numbers are unreliable, but 500,000 is said by -- used by many people, and apparently even bigger set of demonstrations this past weekend. And they're continuing. I mean, they're really organized and out there in a number of different places in Kiev.

Today the situation is -- with Yanukovych back in town from his trip to China -- is demonstrating how sort of limited his maneuvering room seems to be and how much -- how little he's really trying to enlarge it. He had the meeting with the three presidents, his three predecessors, as you mentioned, but what came out of it was a statement by him that he -- they would look at possibly releasing a few demonstrators, not too much more than that.

Lady Catherine Ashton is in Kiev, so the E.U. presence and attention are increasing. And she's joined by Victoria Nuland, who has come from Moscow, and they're both -- they've both met with the Ukrainian officials and opposition leaders.

And they're -- you know, there's a continuing high level of Russian interest. The Duma today passed a statement demanding that the West stop external pressure on Ukraine, which is, the Duma said, "a fraternal country for us."

I don't want to make a lot of predictions about the future. I will note that Yanukovych's maneuvering room is limited for a reason. He has got an extremely difficult economic situation to deal with in which he has, you know, the promise of some long-term benefits from the E.U., but nothing very concrete in the short term. I'll come back to that in a moment. And he's got some benefits on offer from the Russians, but he's seeing what kind of public reaction that has created in the -- you know, among the crowds. He will not be able to solve this crisis by saying he's gotten a discount on gas.

Just a few quick points about the -- some of the lessons that we can derive from all this about the state of Ukrainian politics, relations with the E.U., Russia, we have so far not seen a lot of big cracks in the regime. One of the things you want to look for in a story like this is defections. There were a few sort of minor resignations early in this crisis after the beatings, but you haven't had people in the parliament defect in big ways. You haven't had significant calls from within the Party of Regions for people to step down.

On the other hand, it is very hard for me to imagine that within the police and the military there's any willingness to contemplate the idea of a really big crackdown. You remember that in 2004, the unwillingness of the police to intercede and oppose the protesters was pivotal for the success of the Orange Revolution. And I have heard from a lot of people who've talked to Ukrainian businessmen that they're distancing themselves from the regime because a lot of them calculate that their long-term economic interests really is much more promising with Europe, even though the short-term opportunities with the Russians may seem more appealing.

What have we learned about the crowds and the political opposition? Some people say that this is a kind of leaderless uprising. That's sort of true. It is definitely significant to my mind how much Yulia Tymoshenko has receded into the background. Very few people are really talking about her as a pivotal part of this problem. And a poll of people demonstrating showed that 38 percent said they were interested in her release as a way of getting out of this crisis.

The leaders who have come to the fore -- Yatsenyuk and Klitschko in particular -- they're not really riveting, demagogic, charismatic people. They're sort of dull, honest politicians. And it may be that that's -- that it's people like that who can benefit a little bit in these circumstances.

One of the things that's happened in the 10 years since the Orange Revolution is deep, deep disillusionment with politicians. That's what made it possible for Yanukovych to put Tymoshenko in jail in the first place, a kind of sense that they're all really alike. And if what happens in the course of this crisis is that some politicians emerge who are seen to be not really cut from the same cloth as the leaders that Ukraine has had since independence, that will be a significant development. I think this is the hour for dull honesty among Ukrainian politicians.

A last word about the E.U. and then a last word about Russia. For the E.U., this is a real challenge, because they are attracted to the idea of any big country in Europe that somehow finds it, you know -- finds the E.U. a magnet. And it's clear that the attention and the kind of popular support that you've seen in Ukraine for association with the E.U. is deeply flattering.

But what kinds of resources are -- you know, are E.U. leaders prepared to put behind this? Do they really want to bail out Ukraine? The E.U. commissioner for enlargement -- I think that's what his name is -- Stefan Fule said today the E.U. is definitely prepared to support Ukraine's journey toward modernization. There weren't any numbers, and it wasn't very specific. "Supporting a journey towards modernization" is not a, you know, robust policy formula.

And American outlook has been, I think, equally sort of distant. They wish the Ukrainians well and want to be present, urging a peaceful solution, but they're not racing to get the IMF to reconsider its position, revisit Kiev, and so forth.

Finally, about the Russians, this has the makings on the surface of a really big setback for Putin. I mean, he made no real secret of the way in which he was muscling Yanukovych. And to have this kind of popular backlash is quite humiliating.

You would think it would produce some rethinking, and there may be some signs of it. Talked to a Russian official today who was emphasizing the complexity of Ukraine's economic situation, saying, well, of course they have to find some way to, you know, market their goods and reform economically. But, you know, he also said, this is, you know, not something that really for us makes any sense as a -- you know, a sort of zero-sum contest with the West. He said, really, for us, for the Ukrainians to market their goods elsewhere is probably better for us. We would like -- we would benefit from a closer economic association between Ukraine and the E.U.

To me, there are sort of suggestions in that that there's an unhappiness with the way in which Putin has raised the stakes of this confrontation. But he's -- there's a lot of, you know, popular sentiment that kind of backs Putin's view of Ukraine as sort of, you know, such a close cousin of Russia that -- you know, that its movement toward Europe is just inevitably a sign of Russian being isolated. So this is a very tough one for them and so central, I think, really to the way they think about their place in Europe that, you know, it will either lead to a kind of hardening and antagonism or some rethinking about how they themselves ought to be related to Europe.

Anyway, let me stop there, because I'm hoping there are questions.

SCHMEMANN: Great. Well, thank you for that very comprehensive overview. Just quickly a question. So Yanukovych is still insisting that the talks continue with the European Union, that he hasn't closed the door on anything, that he has simply postponed the decision...

SESTANOVICH: Right. Right.

SCHMEMANN: ... that he may even sign at the next summit in the spring, but only, of course, if the E.U. can offer better financial terms. I mean, it seems that one thing that has come through with all this attention to Ukraine is really how poor the Ukrainian economy is doing and what dire straits they're in. They seem to be really in a freefall right now.

And so the question is, really, this crisis is a political crisis, it's also an economic crisis. Will they be in shape to still sign an agreement in the spring? Is it something that the E.U. may still want? And, you know, they will obviously -- one side or the other, Russia or the E.U., is going to have to offer quite a few financial incentives for...

(CROSSTALK)

SESTANOVICH: Yeah, I mean, Yanukovych's whole idea here has been that he's going to get both sides to pay. And what he discovered is that if he pursued that, he wasn't going to be able to get either side to pay, because he feels he needs to have real money, he needs to have real help in averting bankruptcy.

And the question will be whether this crisis has changed the outlook in both E.U. and Russia which has, frankly, been kind of zero-sum. The supreme goal for Putin has been keep them -- keep Yanukovych from signing the association agreement, keep that closer connection with Europe from developing. And for the E.U., the idea that he was going to join the customs union or -- or take whatever steps he was taking toward it -- maybe it wouldn't have been exact membership -- that that was a non-starter for an association agreement.

It may be that with this kind of crisis, there's some incentive for both sides to realize that that's not so viable and that maybe they have to find a formula which allows both the E.U. and Russia to make some concessions to Ukraine, because if it continues on this track, you know, the Ukrainians really do face rather dire consequences between now and March.

I think right now what Yanukovych is saying about how he might sign the agreement in March is mostly to kind of pacify the crowds in the streets. I don't think there's a lot of real negotiating going on. But when the time comes to actually put together some economic package as opposed to a political way out of this crisis, it's going to be -- it's hard for me to see how either of the -- either the E.U. or Russia will be able to get what it had hoped for beforehand, and certainly not the Russians, because joining a customs union would at this point be, you know, throwing a match, you know, into the gasoline.

SCHMEMANN: Fascinating and quite troubling. All right. I know we have quite a few people on the line and, I'm sure, lots of questions, so, Operator, we'll open the line to questions at this point.

OPERATOR: At this time, we will open the floor for questions. If you would like to ask a question, please press the star key, followed by the one key on your touch-tone phone now. Questions will be taken in the order they are received. If at any time you would like to remove yourself from the questioning queue, please press star, two. And once again, to ask a question, that's star, one.

SCHMEMANN: All right. Do we have a first questioner?

OPERATOR: Our first question comes from Contessa Bourbon with New York Times.

SCHMEMANN: Hi. Go ahead.

QUESTION: There are serious human rights violations, as some -- as accounted by the human rights groups, against the demonstrators in Ukraine. What should the West do and the U.S. to pressure Ukraine to treat its -- the protester rights well? And should they -- should they...

(CROSSTALK)

SESTANOVICH: Well, the big line -- the big line taken by American officials has been very generic here, that is, the way forward is to respect peace, human dignity, and a political solution. I believe those are Victoria Nuland's words from today or yesterday.

And all of the statements that you've had coming out of White House spokesmen, State Department spokesmen have emphasized the rights of peaceful demonstrators to be heard, that they can't be beaten, they can't be unfairly, you know, arrested without cause, and so forth. So that has been the push of American officials, echoing E.U. officials, who have basically taken the same line.

I don't think that that kind of pressure is actually the key right now to the resolution of it because there's plenty of that kind of -- that kind of pressure coming from the streets. And it is -- it is the area where Yanukovych has shown himself to be most flexible. He said, you know, nobody should be -- nobody should be imprisoned who, you know, didn't deserve to be and innocent people must definitely be freed as soon as possible.

My guess would be that that -- the first point at which he's going to be prepared to make a concession to the crowds. And that would be to read the situation right. The polls show that that's -- that releasing demonstrators who were -- who are arrested is the biggest single objective of the demonstrators. And if he hopes to try to defuse some of the tension, that would be the way to go. That's a -- getting people out of jail is not been sort of covered as our -- you know, that's not our headline for this event, but on the streets and among the demonstrators, that's a big one.

SCHMEMANN: OK, thanks. We'll take another question.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Thomas Barrow (ph) with BBC.

QUESTION: Hi, I'd like to ask about the decision by Russia to stop Ukrainian imports. How do you analyze that within the broader context of what is happening in Ukraine?

SESTANOVICH: Well, the Russians were putting the squeeze on Ukrainian exports all through the past several months to indicate to them how bad it was going to be if they went ahead and signed the agreement with the E.U. They are talking about, you know, relaxation of those constraints, but so far as part of a -- of an arrangement that moves Ukraine toward the customs union.

That -- you know, if the Russians want to hold to this line that they are going to -- that they're really going to escalate this trade war with Ukraine, you know, they can do that and it will be extremely inflammatory and further increase the chances that Yanukovych, who is right now the leader they're probably most comfortable with, will, you know, be pushed out, be unable to manage the situation.

So, you know, I think the typical pattern that we've seen in the past has been the Russians apply this -- the trade weapon -- they've done this particularly on energy questions -- for a little while, but they don't sustain it, because it's not in their interest to have a real collapse for the Ukrainian economy, or at least I don't think there's the consensus that that's in their interest.

And so, you know, right now, just to kind of repeat the point I was making earlier, I think both the Russians and the E.U. are under some pressure to back down from the more maximalist positions that they've taken before. And it may just be in that respect that Yanukovych, who has tried to have it both ways, may actually succeed only because he's ended up with a gigantic political crisis, political challenge to his rule.

The question is whether he can get that and still remain in power. I didn't get a chance to say it to the previous questioner that, you know, after releasing demonstrators, the next thing that the protesters most want is the resignation of the government. I think that Yanukovych is going to really resist that strongly, but he make a few sort of token sacrifices of people who have become especially controversial, the minister of interior, for example.

SCHMEMANN: OK, thanks. Next question, please?

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Steven Erlanger with New York Times.

SESTANOVICH: Hi, Steve.

QUESTION: Hi, Steve, how are you?

SESTANOVICH: Fine.

QUESTION: Good. So, listen, did the E.U. completely misunderstand what was happening in the last couple of months after Putin decided that the deal wasn't going to fit with the customs union, first question? Second question, did they put too much emphasis on Tymoshenko, who obviously is a scary person with elections coming in February of 2015? And last, given the way Ukraine is divided, I mean, it's -- you know, it's very divided, is it fair to actually expect a government to make what feels like a fundamental choice between east and west?

SESTANOVICH: You know, good questions. I would say the E.U. certainly misunderstood its own influence. I don't think anybody would have predicted that you'd get this kind of backlash when -- when Yanukovych turned against them, but they grossly exaggerated their influence or believed that Yanukovych was just on track.

And, you know, a number of Ukrainians that I've talked to say, it's so clear Yanukovych was, you know, deceiving them all along, he never intended to sign the association agreement. I have no insight into that. But I think what is most likely is that Yanukovych was playing a game where he thought he could maneuver the two of them -- the E.U. and the Russians -- to his maximum benefit, and it didn't work too well. So they -- I think they did misread him.

Did they put too much emphasis on Yulia? I understand from E.U. officials that their final message to Yanukovych was: You do not have to release Yulia before the signing, but we have to know that she's going to be released, on timeframe. So I think they had been telegraphing flexibility on that point, and if he had wanted to sign, that probably shouldn't have been the obstacle. And I'm not so sure she's quite as scary a politician as you say for the future of Ukraine. You know, most -- as I was saying earlier -- this whole generation of politicians have experienced kind of serious drops in support. And I think a comeback for her would be quite difficult.

Finally, it does put a lot of pressure on Ukraine to make a fundamental choice, but I think we shouldn't exaggerate the sort of -- the common picture of -- you know, of Ukraine as being, you know, a house divided against itself. There's a lot of sentiment among people in the east for a good relationship with the E.U. They don't want that to turn into a culture war or a clash of civilizations, but they do want it -- they have enough long-term economic interest in an association with the E.U. that they can be brought along as followers, even though they don't have the emotional identification that you might have in the west.

Crucial thing about Ukraine is the center. Which way does it lean? And, you know, in 2004, the center was clearly for the Orange Revolution. Since then, it's been kind of neutral or disengaged. And I think what you're seeing now is the reemergence of a stronger conviction in the central region that some kind of association with Ukraine is -- I mean, with the E.U. is the only path toward progress, toward kind of creating a country that you can be happy to live in.

And I think that's in some way the big message of the reaction to the beatings, is just, you know, how is this happening more than two decades after we became an independent country? And that -- so in that respect, I think you've got a strong consensus emerging of -- with different motives, east, center, west, for some European orientation, but it can't be -- it can't be a clash of civilizations or else, you're right, then it does tear the country apart.

SCHMEMANN: OK, thank you, Stephen and Steve. Just wanted to welcome any latecomers to our phone call and remind everyone that this is an on-the-record media call with Stephen Sestanovich, senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and also remind everyone that additional resources are available on the Council's website, cfr.org, including some writings by and interviews with Steve Sestanovich. And, Operator, we'll take the next call.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Oliver Grimm with Die Presse.

QUESTION: Yes, hello. I'm with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse. I would be interested in your assessment of the possibility of some sort of roundtable talks that have been, you know, floated by several observers. Do you think some sort of big gathering, some moderated negotiation between the government and the opposition could yield some results? And do you think that somebody should -- some third party should sort of moderate, chair them? And if so, who should do that? And what could be a frame of reaching some sort of tangible results? Thank you.

SESTANOVICH: Yeah, it's a great question, because nobody has come up with a good answer for it yet. The three presidents put themselves forward last week, expressing support for the protesters and calling for a roundtable of the sort that you had in Poland in the late '80s.

There's not an embrace of that idea by the -- by the regime yet. Yanukovych convened the presidents. But for all that they -- their intervention last week had a kind of important symbolism, they probably are not the people who could actually undertake such an enterprise for -- you know, for Yanukovych to rely on them is -- what's the right comparison? It's as though General Jaruzelski decided to call in Edward Gierek and other members of the Polish politburo to undertake the roundtable with Solidarity.

The -- kind of, things have moved beyond a situation where these people can really play a particularly effective role. If I turn out to be wrong about that, I will be extremely happy, but that -- as one tweeter said about the pictures of the four presidents meeting this morning, the only thing about this that represented a roundtable was that the table was actually round.

And could third parties have a role? Good question that you pose there. And in some ways harking back to 2004, you know, suggests that the E.U. might be able to bring people together a little bit. You know, in 2004, Solana and Kwasniewski immediately showed up in Kiev and were pretty important mediating among the parties. But it was a kind of quick process in which the regime really had to back down and agree to another round of elections. It wasn't a negotiation about a sharing of political power or a new way forward.

And I think there'd be a lot of resistance on the part of Yanukovych and really on the part of the Russians to find that the -- that the E.U. was chairing this sort of process. Could you have a sort of joint effort by the E.U. and the Russians to undertake something of the sort? I'm thinking of Strobe Talbott and Martti Ahtisaari and Viktor Chernomyrdin mediating over Kosovo. You know, stranger things have happened. And I would not totally exclude that at some point down the line, even if it's only indirectly, there's a kind of encouragement by both the E.U. and the Russians for something along these lines.

Right now, roundtable is not emerging. Yanukovych is pretty dug in. And the crowds keep saying, we want you to resign, we want early elections, we want the government out. So this is -- this is not a situation in which you see a lot of flexibility among the major participants.

SCHMEMANN: OK, we have time for just a handful of questions. Let's take some quick questions and some quick responses, as well. We'll take the next question, Operator.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Carol Williams with Los Angeles Times.

QUESTION: Hi, thank you. I wanted to know how seriously you think there is a risk of a perpetual split in Ukraine between east and west, the Russian speakers, the Ukrainian speakers? I mean, there's not going to be any resolution of the economic crisis by the next time the European Union meets. Isn't this sort of heading to a very long-term standoff?

SESTANOVICH: Yeah, I think we tend to -- I think we tend to exaggerate this a little...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... add a word, also, about the latest poll results, if you have them?

SESTANOVICH: I'm sorry. Which poll...

QUESTION: I've been reading lots of different poll results, just a sense of where the country is on this issue, how split is it?

SESTANOVICH: Well, I -- I think there is -- you know, there's an obvious difference. You see it in polls. You see it in elections. You just see it visiting any of -- you know, any of the different parts of Ukraine. These are -- you know, these are parts of the same country that have a different religion, they speak different languages.

On the other hand, I would say that broadly speaking, over 20 years, the result of that has been to strengthen democracy in Ukraine. It hasn't necessarily strengthened good governance or brought impressive leaders to the fore, but it has meant that the opposition can't be put out of business and that you can't have one side that wins so totally in politics in the way that has been true in a lot of other former Soviet states.

That kind of uneasy balance has been basically positive for, you know, constitutionalism, if not exactly the rule of law. The rule of law has not taken hold in Ukraine. So even if this split continues in the way that you talk about, it doesn't necessarily mean that the country falls apart. The question is at what point it can become a little more -- you can produce somewhat -- still more constructive results in terms of helping Ukrainians solve their problems, and that's where they have fallen short.

SCHMEMANN: OK, thank you. Next question, please?

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Chandrakant Pancholi with Overseas India Weekly.

QUESTION: Hi. Let me first oversimplify this as an economic problem. And what type of assistance, concrete assistance this partnership agreement with E.U., European Union, is offering? And IMF, what type of concrete money IMF is offering, about $4 billion or so?

SESTANOVICH: Yeah.

QUESTION: And whether -- whether -- and they are dictating that the domestic gas prices should be raised, which will have another revolt in that country. And ultimately, if situations worsen, do you think that Soviet Russia can go and to protect the minority with the claim, Russian-speaking minority, and capture that or put the army there?

SESTANOVICH: Yeah, look, I -- I can't give you an economic package for resolving this. You've described some of the problems well. You're absolutely right that, you know, no Ukraine leadership has been able to solve the problems of energy, although, you know, right now, it's clear that prices are actually going to come down, given the state of European energy markets.

On the question of intervention, we don't use the term Soviet Russia anymore, but...

(LAUGHTER)

... I would say that Putin's Russia is not prepared to intervene militarily or by means of other kinds of force in order to retrieve the situation here. That is -- that is -- would be the kind of measure that would produce a revolt inside Russia, too. And it's a kind of overreaching that Putin, with all of his tendency to overreach, is not going to -- that's a mistake he's not going to make. That would be so much more divisive than anything that he's done so far and so fracture the country, guarantee a kind of breakup in a way that would mean the loss of one of their principal objectives, which is to, you know, hold the countries that were formed out of the Soviet Union at least into the -- in the shape that they were -- that they're in now. So I don't -- I don't foresee that outcome.

SCHMEMANN: OK, thanks. I think we can squeeze in one last question here.

OPERATOR: Our next question comes from Thomas Barrow (ph) with BBC.

QUESTION: How do you analyze all this situation in Ukraine in a broader context of the European partnership on the one hand and Russia's trade union -- a customs union on the other hand? I mean, it's not only a problem for Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan. How do you see the regional problem?

SESTANOVICH: Yeah, most of the other countries that you're mentioning have reoriented their trade more successfully than Ukraine. Ukraine has about the same portion of its trade with Russia that it does with E.U.

Moldova is already much more heavily tilted toward the E.U. than toward Russia, and that's also true of Georgia and I think -- pretty sure of Azerbaijan, as well. So there's a kind of greater practicality for those countries in resisting -- in association with the E.U. and resisting Russian pressures.

None of the other countries have been the -- I mean, they've been the subject of pressure by Russia, but they don't -- they're not quite as big a prize for the Russians, and they're not as -- they're not as big and they're not as intimately intertwined with the Russian economy.

So Ukraine does really stand apart from the others. And so I think that this is -- it's actually a package that it's pretty easy to take apart. It's not a surprise that Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan decided they wanted to -- that they would go forward and resist Russian pressure. And it's not really a surprise that the Ukrainians found it so much harder to do.

SCHMEMANN: All right. Thank you. And with that, I'm afraid we'll have to wrap up. Thank you very much, Stephen Sestanovich, and thank you all for participating. Once again, Stephen Sestanovich, with a "ph" in Stephen, is senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. You can also follow him on Twitter at @ssestanovich, where he's sharing some insights, and you can find additional resources on Ukraine, Russia and the E.U. on the Council on Foreign Relations website. Thank you all for joining us, and have a good rest of the day.

SESTANOVICH: Thanks, Anya.

SCHMEMANN: Thanks, Steve. Bye-bye.

END

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