Stephen Sestanovich, Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and previously ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union, and Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University–Newark, discuss the consequences of the protests in Ukraine for the country, the region, and the United States.
"To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis."
Authors: Stephen Fidler, Laurence Norman, and Bertrand Benoit
"The deadly violence that exploded this week in Ukraine has another victim: Europe's foreign-policy credibility.
A few months ago Ukraine looked on course to be drawn into the Western orbit through a wide-ranging trade-and-aid agreement with the European Union. Today, Ukraine is advertising Europe's helplessness to influence events even in countries close to its borders."
"Sadly, [President] Yanukovych's ouster won't solve Ukraine's larger problem: Its Russian-dominated past exerts a powerful pull and Europe is nowhere near ready to help the country build a more peaceful and prosperous future."
The latest eruption of violence in Ukraine has brought its protracted political unrest—rooted in a dispute over strengthening ties with the European Union—to its bloodiest phase yet. This roundup of expert analysis examines the conflict and consequences for regional stability.
It is in the interests of the United States to see Ukraine emerge as a stable democracy with strong economic and political ties to the European Union. The United States sides with and supports the Ukrainian opposition—inas much as many of the demonstrators in Ukraine are protesting President Viktor Yanukovych's infringements on democratic practices, his government's use of violence against the demonstrations, and his decision to conclude an economic pact with Russia rather than with the EU.
"What caused the U-turn by the leadership of a country of 46 million people that occupies a strategic position between the EU and Russia? Public and private arm-twisting by Putin, including threats to Ukraine'seconomyand Yanukovich's political future, played a significant part. But the unwillingness of the EU and International Monetary Fund to be flexible in their demands of Ukraine also had an effect, making them less attractive partners."
With opposition to the Russian financial support gaining strength, Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych faces a seemingly stark choice. He can bow to Moscow and its offer of cheap gas and easy money, or to the apparent will of Ukraine's people by resurrecting its agreement with the European Union and re-engaging with the International Monetary Fund. Muddling through—as Yanukovych has done for so long—is no longer an option, write Heidi Crebo-Rediker and Douglas A. Rediker.
"The crisis unleashed by Yanukovich's rejection of EU overtures in favour of closer ties with former master Moscow has cast fresh light on the intrigue and promiscuous politics of Ukraine's post-Orange Revolution elite; like all good businessmen, oligarchs hedge their bets."
With oil supplies tight, regions most vulnerable to oil supply disruptions present a significant economic concern, particularly threats to the Strait of Hormuz and unrest in Nigeria, explains this Backgrounder.
The sentencing of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko reflects her rivalry with President Viktor Yanukovych and could affect Ukraine's eurozone bid, says New York Times Moscow bureau chief Ellen Barry.
Arch Puddington discusses the growing list of governments that are using the criminal justice system to punish former leaders, including Ukraine which recently sentenced former prime minister Yuliya Tymoshenko.
A deal to extend the stay of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea in exchange for up to $40 billion worth of gas discounts stops Ukraine's drift toward NATO, but political-military integration with Russia is not in the interests of the nation.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.