"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.
Speakers: Steve York, Peter Ackerman, and David Kramer Presider: Robert McMahon
This winter marks the fifth anniversary of Ukraine's Orange Revolution, when over one million citizens took to the streets of Kiev and succeeded in overturning the results of that country's presidential election. Steve York's documentary, Orange Revolution, follows the contest between opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and his adversary Viktor Yanukovych, capturing the iconic images that defined the election and ensuing protests.
Here, after a screening of Orange Revolution, Peter Ackerman, David J. Kramer and Steve York discuss the significance of the Orange Revolution for Ukraine and nonviolent democracy movements elsewhere.