Neo-Wahhabism as a Military Threat to the Caucasus Regional Security in the 21st Century

Vakhtang Maisaia

[article originally published in: "Nowy Prometeusz" nr 11, 
czerwiec 2018, ss. 11-22]

As it is known, Wahhabism (al-Wahhabiya) was created in Saudi Arabia by Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab – the Muslim Sunni theologian, who lived in the XVIII century in Saudi Arabia. It became the official ideology of this country. Over the past several decades the main and most important aim for them has been, and still is, to spread their religious ideology as far as it is possible. They have spent more than 89 billion dollars on this over a two decade period of time. In comparison Soviet Russia spent 7 billion dollars on spreading communism during more than 7 decades. Saudi Arabia doesn’t focus only on the countries where all kinds of Islam dominates, but also on the regions where there is political instability and poverty in general. An example is the North Caucasus, where in the early 1990s sheikhs, emissaries and preachers from Arabic countries tried to spread Islam across the whole region taking advantage of its unstable political situation. They wanted to create an Islamic state – an Islamic Caliphate “from sea to sea”.

FULL TEXT OF THE INTERVIEW IN PDF

The origins, course and consequences of an intelligence operation held in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, organised by Offi ce No. 2 of the Second Department of Main Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and Georgian Military Organisation in 1930

Grzegorz Gilewski

[article originally published in: "Nowy Prometeusz" nr 11, 
czerwiec 2018, ss. 63-86]

Georgian emigrants, who in June 1931 began to read the fifteenth edition of the monthly journal “Brdzolis Chma” (Echo of the Battle), the social democrats’ official body, encountered an unclear picture of a young man wearing a white shirt with a tie and a dark jacket on page 4. The photograph was an illustration of a short reminiscence by one of them: And today in front of my eyes stands, as if he were real, a handsome and broad-shouldered Artimon, smiling at me from beneath his manly moustache. As if it was yesterday when I saw him off to the fatherland, walking proudly towards the battlefield. A year has passed – exceptionally hard, full of grief and lament for the Georgian nation.

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Georgian parliamentary elections and geopolitical situation in Caucasus. Interview with WAKHTANG MAISAIA

rozm. Aleksandra Gryźlak

[interview originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 10, grudzień 2016, ss. 73-82]

(…) Georgian society is not anti-Russian, but definitely anti-Kremlin. Sentiments against Vladimir Putin and his policies are very strong in Georgia. This was expressed in the recent elections – parties which expressed pro-Russian views and arguments lost, and gained very small numbers of votes. Examples of this trend are parties like, Industry Will Save Georgia or United Democrats. All parties in the new parliament refl ect a very pro-Western vision of the future of Georgia, including the Alliance of Georgian Patriots. The only exception is the one future member elected in constituency representing the Industry Will Save Georgia party. Despite some irritation with the slow process of NATO and EU integration, in all polls, Georgian society continues to express its willingness to join both organizations. Russia failed with its so-called “soft power” in Georgia. The Russia-sponsored think-tanks and media propaganda all failed. Now the Kremlin is conducting more “hard power” projects.

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How to Make Sense of the Donbas in the Russian-Ukrainian Confl ict in the 21st Century

Hiroaki Kuromiya

[text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 9, lipiec 2016, ss. 11-22]

The war Russia unleashed against Ukraine in the spring of 2014, which continues to this day, has brought the Donbas in Ukraine to the attention of the entire world. The ongoing war is being fought almost entirely in the Donbas, an industrial centre of coal and steel, and the fortress of allegedly pro-Russian separatists, producing thousands of casualties, both military and civilian. Unlike Crimea, the Donbas, or the Donetsk Basin, has never been a household name in any country outside the former Soviet Union. The fact that little is known about the Donbas and its past makes it difficult for outsiders to comprehend the present situation, let alone to place it within the wider historical context of Ukraine and Russia. To make matters worse, Moscow’s overwhelming propaganda machine has capitalized on this ignorance to distort the historical and political background of the present war in the Donbas.
This essay addresses the issue of the historical identities of the Donbas and seeks to provide a framework to understand the present war in the Donbas.

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Russian Propaganda and „Soft Power” in Georgia

Dimitri Avaliani

[text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 9, lipiec 2016, ss. 59-63]

The Russian government does not hide that its main goal is to restore its influence in the former Soviet republics and prevent them from integrating into European structures. In an attempt to achieve this objective, Russia is using all available means, including hard power – the direct military invasions of Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014) – as well as “soft power”.
In this struggle, information is Russia’s most effective tool. Moscow started the information war against Georgia a long time ago – when Georgia regained independence in 1991. Since then, Moscow has been trying to turn Georgian public opinion in favour of the Kremlin. Putin’s efforts have intensified dramatically during the last few years.

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Zapis dyskusji „Russian Neo-imperialism. A Myth or a Threat?”

Adam Balcer, Roman Backer, Mikołaj Iwanow, Paweł Kowal, Andrew Nagorski

[niniejszy tekst pierwotnie opublikowany został w: 
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 8, październik 2015, ss. 13-34]

Dyskusja odbyła się 12 lipca 2015 roku, na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim, jako część XII dorocznej konferencji Warsaw East European Conference 2015 „Russia and its Neighbors” zorganizowanej przez Studium Europy Wschodniej UW. Dyskusję moderował Adam Balcer.

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The Gordian Knot: Crimean Tatar-Russian Relations after the Annexation of Crimea

Justyna Prus, Konrad Zasztowt

[text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 7, kwiecień 2015, ss. 23-37]

On 18 March 2014 Russian Federation annexed Crimea, part of Ukraine, after illegally taking military control of its territory and organising an unrecognized referendum on independence of the region. This article’s goal is to analyse how the annexation and following Russification of the political, social and legal system affected the minority of Crimean Tatars and its relations with Russia. Crimean Tatars, in their majority opposing the annexation and Russian policy, have faced political repressions, civil rights abuses and intimidation. Russian policy towards the minority aims at forcing them to accept the ‘new reality’ without granting them freedom of political activities and right to cultivate their cultural heritage, when it’s inconsistent with Russian policy and ideology. The question of Crimea as de facto part of Russia is treated briefly in this article, while its primary goal is to show the developments and complexity of Crimean Tatar-Russian relations.

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Possible Effects of the Ukrainian Revolution for Russia and Belarus – Modern Trends

Liudmyla Datskova

[text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 7, kwiecień 2015, ss. 41-52]

The development of the Ukrainian political situation continues to raise the question of possible similar scenarios in other post-Soviet countries – mainly Belarus and Russia. How do the recent events in Ukraine affect relations between the authorities and society in those countries? Are the societies of those countries ready for changes? What is the level of public support for the current political regimes and political institutions in those countries and what direction of international integration do the societies in Russia and Belarus support?

The continuing and ever-present situation in Ukraine in the last two years has provoked many questions in other countries with a similar political and social situation, as well as a shared past with Ukraine – part of the 20th century Soviet Empire.

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Farther Neighbour: A Critical Estimation on Turkish Reception of Ukrainian Revolution and Crimean Crisis

Hasan Aksakal

[tekst pierwotnie opublikowany w://text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 6, październik 2014, ss. 25-35]

Introduction: Ukraine’s and Crimea’s Representation in Turkey
Ukraine, but mostly the peninsula of Crimea and Crimeans have been one of Turkey’s most important sources in social, political, economic and cultural terms. To write briefly about the historical background; Crimea was conquered by Turks in 1475, remained as an autonomous region within the Ottoman Empire for centuries and was the abattoir and granary of Istanbul until 1774. That same commercial-economic flow continued indirectly until 1877-78 Russo-Turkish War after II. Yekaterina annexed the region in 1783. Within these centuries, Crimean Khanate served as a frontier Beylik against the ‘increasing power’ of Russia. Certainly, when one says Ukraine and Crimea, a big number of people and themes come to one’s mind. One of them is Hürrem Sultan (originally; Roxelana, 1500-1558) who was Ottoman Sultan Suleiman The Magnificient’s wife and originally an Orthodox native of Ruthenia. Not only her but tens of Ottoman Valide Sultans and odalisques had been brought from slave bazaars of Ukranian and Crimean lands to Istanbul and reached the highest points in the protocol of Topkapı Imperial Palace. In addition, Ottoman cavalries consisted especially of Crimeans. Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Dynasty always preserved good relations through bonds of matrimony and in case one day the Ottoman Dynasty had not possessed a male heir, according to the agreement, the Khan of Crimea would have acceded to the throne.

Indeed, the power of Turco-Crimean relations is not limited to the facts mentioned above. If we come back to the present time, we come across to many famous names of Crimean origin having existed since the emergence of modern Turkey. Gaspıralı İsmail Bey [Ismail Gasprinsky, 1851-1914] a pioneer of Turkish nationalism who created the motto of Pan-Turkism having written the phrase “Unity in language, in thought, in work” [“Dilde, fi kirde, işte birlik!] continuously on the newspaper that he published, was Crimean. Cafer Seyidahmet Kırımer (1889-1960) and Yusuf Akçura [Yosif Aqcura, 1879-1935], two of the prominent intellectuals of Turkish-Tatar culture, have an important place in the history of Turkish thought. Of the last Ottoman statesmen, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha (1845-1935), the last Ottoman Grand Vizier (prime minister), was a descendant of the ancestry of the Crimean Khanate.

Refik Halit Karay (1888-1965), one of the crucial writers of the modern Turkish literature, came from a family who migrated from Karaim/Karaites’ region. Infl uental Aziz Nesin (1915-1995) and Çetin Altan (b.1927) were the other two Turkish men of letters of Crimean origin. Probably the most important Turkish actor Cüneyt Arkın (b.1937), famous football player İlhan Mansız (b.1975), NBA star basketballer Ersan İlyasova (b.1987) are the sportsmen of Crimean Tatar origin, the latter two having played for Turkish national teams. Famous conservative industrialist Sabri Ülker (1920-2012) is also one of the best-known faces of Crimean Tatars. In addition, there are three scientists of Crimean-Tatar origin who are greatly respected in today’s Turkey. One of the greatest historians alive, Prof. Halil İnalcık (b.1916) teaching in Bilkent University, Prof. Kemal Karpat (b.1924) from department of History at Wisconsin University, and Galatasaray University’s historian Professor İlber Ortaylı (b.1947) have Crimean-Tatarian origins. Especially İlber Ortaylı is probably the most famous and popular intellectual of our times in Turkey. Considering their images combined with the attention paid to Prof. Ahmed İhsan Kırımlı (1920-2011), Prof. Atilla Özkırımlı (1942-2005) and his son; international expert on nationalism studies Prof. Umut Özkırımlı (b.1970), and once again from Bilkent University, historian Prof. Hakan Kırımlı (b.1958) by academic world, the reputation of people of Crimean origin as human resource means very much to Turkey.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that the relations between Turkey and the Tatar-Turkish community living in Crimea are not as in a high level as they should be. For Turkey, Crimea is not more than the personal representation of Mustafa Abdülcemil Kırımoğlu, The Head of Mejlis of The Crimean Tatar People (Mustafa Abdülcemil oğlu Cemilev (Qırımoğlu), Russian: Мустафа́ Абдулджеми́ль Джеми́лев, Ukrainian: Мустафа́ Абдульджемі́ль Джемі́лєв). Here the paradoxical situation reveals itself: For within Turkey’s population consisting of 77 million people, according to the answers given to surveys, there are 600 thousand to 5 million people who consider themselves Tatar or of Tatar origin.1 These people, who have been inhabited to cities such as Ankara, Eskişehir, Çanakkale, Konya, Bolu and Kastamonu which show similar characteristics to Crimean climate,2 are seen to preserve their tradition and culture through various non-governmental organisations and associations. The most important ones among these societies are Âlem-i Medeniyye (medeniye.org), Bizim Qirim Halgara Cemaat –Bizim Kırım International Organization (bizimqirim.org), Emel Kırım Vakfı (emelvakfi .org.tr), Motherland Crimea (vatankirim.net), Crimean Tatar Cultural and Mutual Aid Association (kirimdernegi.org.tr). The on-going publication tool of Emel Kırım Derneği (emekvakfi.org.tr), journal of Emel Dergisi reached at 241 issues, and Kırım Derneği’s journal Kırım Bülteni reached at 76 numbers. A careful intellectual Turk can understand the writings published on the web sites of these organizations as much as he/she understands Azerbaijani language. It is possible to say that members of these organizations practice both Crimean Tatar nationalism and Turkish nationalism with a dualist sense of belonging, as it has been observed in many other emigrant societies. In brief, in spite of such close cultural-political-historical ties, Turkish society’s overall indifference to Ukrainian Crisis and Crimean issue throughout 2014 has been remarkable. The fact that only over a hundred people attended two meetings entitled “Give Voice To Crimea!” held on 2 March 2014 in Ankara and on 8 March 2014, then 20 May 2014 in İstanbul’s most crowded center, İstiklal Avenue is a clear example of this indifference. While only in Ankara and Istanbul thousands of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian students study at the universities and thousands of Ukrainians live permanently in İstanbul, it is very surprising that almost none of these people participated in the meetings. In this sense, we need to remind that the political agenda of that time was full of the investigation on the alleged malpractices of Erdoğan Government, Syria and ISIS crises and two crucial (local and presidential) elections which were held in 30 March and 10 August.

Views of Ukrainian Revolution From Turkey
The protests that began on 21 November 2013 in Kiev’s Euromaidan Square had the appearance of a peaceful protest against corruption, which had been continuing in Ukraine in acceleration for some time, bureaucrats’ setting up their own cadres in public offices, pressure on media, essential human rights violations, moving away from the European Union membership perspective and Viktor Yanukovych’s increasingly authoritarian traits. This scene would be exactly the same as the one in Turkey if we only changed the date to 30 May 2013, the place to Taksim Square in İstanbul and the leader to Tayyip Erdoğan. Artists like Ruslana became the representatives of the opponent youth on the stage, as it had been the case also in Turkey. Ukrainian people’s principal demands such as social peace, justice and democracy in compliance with Western standards have also been the same as the demands expressed during Gezi protests. However, the difference was that the Yanukovych government acted more patiently than Erdoğan administration; until the crisis began to cause people’s death… Developments were reported in the same way by different flanks of the Turkish media during the very first days. Nevertheless, in the following days, mainstream newspapers and TV channels, which have become completely loyal to Erdoğan government for the last couple of years and which have constituted nearly 75 per cent of the media in Turkey, began to report news giving countenance to Yanukovych with a view to not proving the Gezi protests right. The discourse was aligned with their views during June-July 2013’s Turkey: The phrases such as “Ukrainian marginal groups”, “attempted coup by illegal
organizations”, “a provocation by Western media”, “Soros effect”, “the possibility of a CIA-led operation” were expressed several times by Pro-AKP (Erdoğan’s Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi/Justice and Development Party) commentators on the subject of Ukraine. In fact, after German pianist Davide Martello, who had played songs of peace to the protesters in Taksim Square for two days non-stop, played piano in Euromaidan as well, Yeni Şafak and Sabah newspapers – one is owned by Erdoğan’s son-in-law and the other by Erdoğan’s daughter-in-law’s family – wrote “Pro-Gezi Pianist Showed Up In Kiev” and “Kiev’s Gezi”. The newspaper Star, which is completely in Erdoğan’s control too, wrote “Look Where They Have Made The Copy of Gezi” while Haber Vakti, which makes militant publications, wrote “Dark Hands Have Brought Gezi to Kiev.”3 Journalist İbrahim Karagül, who has many readers in conservatist milieus, wrote in one of his articles in Yeni Şafak: “(In Tahrir as well as in Taksim) masses’ anger was mobilized in favor of Others’ interests. This mobilization proved unsuccessful in Turkey. Now, Ukraine is going through a similar process. Slogans, organization styles, powers behind those people, colors and voices are totally same in two countries.”4 Karagül, who had first praised the challenge by Tahrir protests to a dictator, then saw them as a doomed Western-led operation just because he considered the ones in Taksim as a coup attempt. In fact, this view was shared by many people within Pro-Erdoğan milieus. Tahrir became a bad thing after Gezi and was replaced by the protesters in Rabia Place and the willingness to show solidarity with Ikhwan-ı Muslimin (Muslim Brothers in Egypt). And now, Kiev was the third station. The scenario was completely the same, but the actors were little bit poorer in Ukraine under the circumstances of tough winter climate, so maybe some fractions among Gezi’s ‘illegal’ groups would be in help for Kiev’s angry pro-West bourgeois youth?

However, the shift of the wind changed after Kiev police’s fierce reaction following a long wait and the violence in Ukraine Parliament strengthened the opinion that Yanukovych would lose his seat. Pro-government mainstream media in Turkey began to prepare special news declaring that little progress had been made really in Ukraine on the subjects of democratization and transparency since The Orange Revolution in 2004 and to broadcast some discussion programs, short documentaries and special analysis-news directed at understanding the roots of the crisis. As a matter of fact, Turkish public opinion got a shock after Yanukovych secretly left his mansion for escaping to(ward) Russia. His escape, taking away his bathroom equipments made of gold, collections of classical cars and other details, was a typical behavior of dictators (or at least of authoritarian leaders), and it is possible to say that this situation set Yanukovych’s image to zero in the eyes of all Turkish people, socialists and conservatists alike.5 At the same time, Turkish politics was tense and fist-fights were occurring in Turkish Parliament as in Ukraine. After an opponent leader from CHP was punched, comments took place in social media telling that Yanukovych’s members of parliament (MP) had the mentality as Erdoğan’s MPs and that Turkey needed a couple of people like Vitali Klitschko who has been a leader of the Euromaidan protesters and a professional heavy-weight of 2.03 meters height boxer. Similar reactions were expressed after another view which reminded of Turkish police, who used excessive violence, caused 11 people’s death, over 8 thousand people’s injuries and sexual harassment against woman protesters. When the police humiliated a detained person by making him take all of his clothes while the weather was -10 Celcius degrees, Turkish TV-watchers and social media users showed a transient sensitivity towards what happened in Ukraine. But, as I have noted earlier, the approach to the subject was generally not more than ‘a look from a far distance.’

However, the sudden outbreak of the Crimean crisis and the emergence of several death news caused the content of the news to cover Russian expansionism. Discussions about whether the situation would initiate a ‘New Cold War’ were generally held with a reference to the Ossetia and Chechnya experiences and reviews almost uniformly began to express that Russia, having tested its military power, had given a message to both the ex-Soviet countries and global actors. At this very point, Crimea’s cultural, historical and political importance to Turkey was remembered for the first time. The referendum process generated organizations held by Crimean emigrant associations centered in İstanbul and Ankara, round table meetings of thinktanks, conferences on Crimea organized by universities. But this, as Dr. Vugar Imanov from the International Relations department of İstanbul Şehir Universitesi told during a personal meeting on 6 May 2014, also shed light to how superficial the perception of Crimea and Ukraine was. Newspapers, think-tanks, universities were caught unprepared and Imanov, who is of Azerbaijani origin and who wrote a doctoral thesis on Eurasianist thought, said that many TV channels, universities and associations in İstanbul invited him because they had not found another person with a knowledge on the subject. He was right. The truth is, there was not one expert focusing completely on the study of Ukraine in Turkey…

Analysis of the Turkish Mainstream Media’s Discourse
Then, in the post-Yanukovych period, what are the prominent reviews on Ukraine? When we look at the titles which have been read most and got the biggest attention in various newspapers and news portals, we can say that two different tendencies have become subjects to two separate and superficial
analysis. For instance, it is possible to see, among the news that have been seen most in pro-Erdoğan media, a news entitled “Ukrainian crisis served Turkey” (30.07.2014) by the newspaper Sabah mentioning the rise of the Turkish air transport and an analysis by Gönül Tol on the newspaper Akşam (17.03.2014) speculating that the crisis could be “an opportunity for Turkey” Turkish among the news that have been seen most in pro-Erdoğan media. In fact, the same approach – not surprisingly – is seen on the newspaper Yeni Şafak in this way: “Ukraine crisis will energize Turkey” (16.03.2014). While Russia’s Voice (Rusya’nın Sesi in Turkish), a portal broadcasting from both Russia and Turkey, has made propagandist broadcasts like “Crises in Syria and Ukraine Are Bringing Russia And Turkey Closer” (21.05.2014), the portal America’s Voice (Amerika’nın Sesi in Turkish) put forward an analysis entitled “Ukraine Crisis Is Affecting Turkish Economy” (26.04.2014). Dutch analyst Joost Lagendijk, who is a former GreenLeft Member of the European Parliament and served as the joint chairman of the Turkey-EU Parliamentarians delegation, wrote “There is no exit for Turkey in Ukraine crisis” in his article published in the newspaper Zaman (14.05.2014) while senior writer Sami Kohen (18.04.2014) from the newspaper Milliyet and political scientist and leading commentator Fuat Keyman from the newspaper Radikal (05.03.2014) argued that Turkey has not had the luxury of starting a power struggle over the crisis. All of these recent three writers underlined that one needed to watch future military-political developments more carefully instead of focusing on Yushchenko or Yanukovych, Ukraine or Russia, Europe or Eurasia equations. In fact, new assessments made during Minsk Talks at the end of August 2014 seem to have begun to confirm the rightness of these three writers.

In this sense, it seems possible to draw some conclusions from our collection of news and columns taken from the websites of Turkey’s most popular newspapers Zaman, Posta, Sabah, Milliyet, Star, Akşam and Hürriyet. Accordingly, based on the columns which have been read and shared on Twitter most, we can say that Turkish media has covered Ukrainian Revolution and Crimean
Crisis from the following perspectives:
1) Energy Crisis and energy security
2) Protests, Protestors and linkages to Gezi Park protests.
3) Writings reminding of the need to preserve Turco-Russian relations
4) Effects of the crisis on the tourism in Turkey
5) The position and security of Crimean Tatar-Turkic community

Issues such as analysis on the subject of Ukraine’s territorial and national integrity, the situation of the tradespeople exporting goods and services to Ukraine, Turkish students studying in Ukraine remained in the back-ground almost as if they were merely details. On the other hand, reviews on the flow of natural gas have been the primary theme or among the primary topics on the agenda within the 84 columns out of 140 (published during the period between 1 December 2013-10 September 2014) that we have examined and that have different contexts. As for the number of written and mainly oral declarations made by the government which were broadcast on the evening news of the most popular TV channels, it was 87 between 21 November 2013-1 September 2014. It means that every single review was made per every four days, picturing on its own Turkey’s level of interest towards the region.6

As to the humanitarian dimension of the events, it is perhaps the most neglected part. Within Turkish media, which is proud of trying to take lead in aiding to the humanitarian crises in Syria, Palestine, Somalia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Libya and even Haiti, there has not even been a proposal, throughout the process, to organize an aid campaign for either Orthodox and Catholic Ukraininans or Muslim Crimean Tatars.

Turkish Government’s Approach To The Crisis
From the second half of 2013 onwards, Gezi Park protests, the bribery and corruption operation against certain ministers and Erdoğan’s family, the scandal created by arms sent from Turkey for using in Syrian Civil War, the hostile competition between Fethullah Gülen Movement and pro-Erdoğan milieus, local elections at the end of March, and finally the process of presidential elections in 10 August occupied Turkish Government’s –actually not only the
government’s) agenda.

Within this time period, Ukraine crisis has always been considered less than the subjects mentioned above as and also less than ISIS issue, Israel’s attack on Palestine, the disaster in a mining enterprise in Soma, where more than 300 workers died, and a number of social explosions connected with nearly 2 million Syrians living in Turkey. In addition, it should be kept in mind that Erdoğan Government’s relations with Gulf (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Emirates) capital and Russia has become more close as it has distanced itself from European Union. Today, Turkey has a foreign trade relation worth more than 50 billion dollars with Russia; there are lots of structuring projects in Russia which are made by Turkish companies, also Russia is the basic arrival for Turkish clothing products, beer, chocolate and so on.7 For the last couple of years, nearly 4 million Russian tourists have visited Turkey annually and Russia still continues to be Turkey’s predominant natural gas supplier. It should also be noted that a “Putin fear” has been present within Turkish public opinion who has been watching authoritarian Putin’s uncompromising attitudes for nearly 15 years. It should be kept in mind that Erdoğan, who has been criticized by many people over “resembling Putin” since 2010, has been willing to have good relations with the Russian President and appointed Yiğit Bulut (b.1972), a Russophile journalist, as his principal adviser. Within the context of these conditions, one would not expect Turkish government to engage in Ukraine after all, with which it does not possess very powerful political-economic ties, compared to its relations with Russia. Thus, from the beginning of the crisis onwards, Russia’s steps towards Ukraine have not been considered as a crisis in which Turkey can get involved due to its primarily and directly affected position, as it has been the case in Syria. Aside from having maritime boundaries on the Black Sea, Turkey would be affected secondarily and indirectly from the tension between Russia and Ukraine-for instance when Russia’s revisionist attitude would be considered together with its reflections on the Caucasus. If we look at it from a broader context, the issue has been taking shape within the general balance between the West and Russia. For this reason, The Western World and its institutions stepped forward as the leading actor in the political efforts directed at solving the issue. Turkey will continue in the future to try to harmonize its NATO led Trans-Atlantic security policy and its own regional approach. At this point, it is worth mentioning that Turkey has traditionally followed a policy that has shunned remaining in between during a crisis between The West and Russia.

Similarly, “In the last couple of years, Turkey has compartmentalized its relations with Russia, as it has done with Syria and has been careful to not to be affected by regional crises. Therefore it needs to oversee delicate balances throughout this crisis in which Russia is directly involved.”8

Within the context of the conditions that we have written thus far, let us take a look at how Ankara is approaching to the subject although Turkey has not been able to show an active presence during this crisis. A written declaration made by Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 6 March and with the number 77, on the subject of the referendum decision of The Parliament of Crimea Autonomous Republic related to Crimea’s status, was giving important clues concerning our point. A language as well-balanced as possible was used in the statement and it was declared that referendum would not contribute to the resolution of the crisis, but that it could result in dangerous outcomes which could cause serious splits among different groups in Crimea. Following matters were put forward in the declaration: 1) We are against all kinds of fait accompli in the region. 2) The referendum can cause new fractures and negative results in the region. 3) Turkey is very sensitive about Crimean Tatars with whom we share similar ancestries. 4) A solution which will be “based on the political unity and the territorial integrity of the country, within the context of democratic principles, in accordance with international law and agreements” should be found. 5) For this, an environment of “reconciliation” and “dialogue” should be provided between related parties.9 Turkey, with this declaration, was putting forward in a sense its principal sensitivities connected with the crisis as well as a solution to the crisis. Nevertheless, developments so far have shown that Turkey has not been effective even as a “passive mediator.”

When we look at the general picture, conditions seems to be different this time for Turkey, from those during Russo-Georgia War in 2008 when Turkey’s stance was close to Russia, and developments are pointing out an inevitable choice similar to that in The First Crimean War (1853-1856). But under present conditions, the ongoing confidence crisis in Turkey’s relations with the West and the relationship of dependency within Russo-Turkish relations show that a choice of this kind will not be easy either. What’s more, Turkey’s ongoing internal crisis constitutes a leading factor which makes this kind of choice more difficult. Turkey is almost being attempted to be left out of this new big game through certain internal, artificial and controlled crises, whereas Turkey needs to have an active role in this crisis which directly interests it. At least, as it was mentioned above, Crimean Turks dimension and the security of Black Sea region necessitates it. And also “2023 Vision” which has been referred many times by Erdoğan…10 Let’s not forget that a passive Turkey which is left out of The Mediterranean and Black Sea will not be able to, a large extent, to develop a medium-long term policy! Thus, the “strategic depth” perspective expressed very often by Erdoğan-Davutoğlu duo and their claim about producing proactive foreign policy seem to lead Turkey to take on revisionist Russia which is for a status quo in Black Sea.

Turkey’s Movement Capability
Despite all, “Eurasian Union” -which appears to us in the way of protecting the process of cooperation in Turco-Russian relations, which has not broken down in spite of 2008 Georgia and 2011 Syria crises and which has been identified by Erdoğan government with Shanghai Five after 2010- bears a central importance for this government together with “Turkey’s Sunni backyard.”11 What’s in question here is an effort to form a new balance against the West and to use the common geography as a source of power through cooperation instead of an area of competition-conflict.12 This pursuit of unity, attempted to be brought into being after 11 September 2001 around the axis that joins Russia and Turkey, is now about to sink into the deep waters of the Black Sea because of differences of approach that started to conflict not in Ukraine but in Crimea.13 In this context, Foreign Minister of the period –now Prime Minister- Ahmet Davutoğlu’s statement that Turkey will make any efforts to keep Crimea as a part of Ukraine is very important.14 Here appears a clear differentiation from Russia. Now, what will happen in this situation? How will Turkey answer the questions starting with “which” and “how” that appear in the context of the phrase “any efforts” underlined by Davutoğlu’s statement “We will make any efforts to guarantee Crimea’s future”? This is a question which is bound to remain unanswered for the time being… But it seems possible by the way of “a dual flexibility.” In fact, as Prof. Selçuk Çolakoğlu pointed out, state-owned Turkish Airlines’ (THY) decision of restarting flights to Crimea on 14 April 2014, contain certain political messages beyond being an economic decision. Likewise, “Turkey’s lack of participation even in weaker EU sanctions against Russia can be interpreted as a reflection of the policy of protecting relations with Russia.”15

In conclusion, although Turco-Russian relations move on the way of cooperation through Putin-Erdoğan relations, Russia’s historical demands on the Caucasus, the Black Sea and the Straits still continues to exist and Turkey’s statement, which was expressed at the highest level, on the subject of Crimea’s remaining in Ukraine is being tested in Crimea just as Russia’s imperial power, which is being examined also in Crimea.

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ written reaction numbered 279 related to the conflicts on August shows that in a potential crisis between the West and Russia, Turkey will have to play the role of being “a part of the Free World” and will understand through experience that it will not be able to make a long-running alliance with Russia due to historical and political realities.

Hasan Aksakal, PhD – Researcher at the Faculty of Political Sciences Istanbul University. Editor of a Journal Gelenekten Geleceğe. He specializes in Turkish history 19th-20th cc and contemporary situation in the Black Sea region.

1 According to Prof. Karpat, the amount of Crimean Tatars who fleed to Ottoman Empire from 1783 to 1922 is approximately 1.800.000 people. See at: Kemal Karpat, Ottoman Population, 1800-1922: Demographic and Social Characteristics, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison-Wisconsin, 1985, p.66.

2 Hakan Kırımlı, Turkiye’deki Kırım Tatar ve Nogay Yerleşimleri, Ankara: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2012.

3 http://www.yenisafak.com.tr/dunya/kiev-gezisi-588906 (online), 02.12.2013. “Kiev Gezi’si”, Akşam, 10.12.2013. “Gezi’ci Piyanist Kiev’de Ortaya Cıktı”, Sabah, 23.12.2013, http:// www.haberinvakti.com/dunya/karanlik-eller-geziyi-ukraynaya-tasidi-h35360.html, (online), 09.12.2013. Star, 24.12.2013.

4 İbrahim Karagul, Tahrir, Taksim, Kiev… Ya Dershane Krizimiz?, Yeni Şafak, 04.12.2013.

5 http://www.yenisafak.com.tr/dunya/yanukovic-kacamiyor-620961 (online), 23.02.2014. www.taraf.com.tr/haber-yanukovicin-kalesine-girdiler-149062 (online), 23.02.2014. http://haber.stargazete.com/dunya/fl as-sirra-kadem-basmisti-izi-bulundu/haber-847316 (online), 23.02.2014.

6 I thank ajanspress.com for these statistical data.

7 “Rusya-Turkiye Toplam Ticaret Hacmi 50 milyar Dolar”, Zaman, 10.06.2013.

8 Şaban Kardaş, Turkiye ve Ukrayna Krizi: Suriye Krizinin İzduşumleri, Ortadoğu Analiz, Sayı: 62, (May-June 2014), s.6. Kardaş is an associate professor from the department of International Relations at TOBB Ekonomi Universitesi and the chair of ORSAM, a pro-Erdoğan think-tank in Ankara.

9 http://www.mfa.gov.tr ). http://www.mfa.gov.tr/no_-77_-6-mart-2014_-kirim_daki-songelismeler-hk.tr.mfa (online), 06.03.2014. Also see M. Seyrettin Erol, “‘Ukrayna-Kırım’ Krizi ve‘İkinci Yalta Sureci’”, Karadeniz Araştırmaları Dergisi, Sayı: 41, (Spring 2014), p.10.

10 Erol, p.12-13

11 Kadri Gursel, Erdogan Serious in Turkey’s Bid for Shangai 5 Membership, Al Monitor, 5 January 2013. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/shanghai-cooperation-organizationerdogan- turkey.html (online), 1 September 2014.

12 Ahmet Davutoğlu had mentioned this critical balance in his famous book entitled Stratejik Derinlik in 2001. See more at Davutoğlu, Stratejik Derinlik: Turkiye’nin Uluslararası Konumu, İstanbul: Kure Yayınları, 75th edition, 2011, pp.119-182.

13 Deniz Berktay, a Turkish journalist with Cumhuriyet from Kiev, reminds us of the historical perspective. Online correspondence with Berktay, 09.09.2014. Also see, Erol, p.13.

14 http://turkish.ruvr.ru/news/2014_03_02/Turkiye-Kirimin-Ukraynada-kalmasi-ichin-her-sheyyapacak/ , (online), 02.03.2014.

15 See more in Selcuk Colakoğlu, “Turkiye’nin Ukrayna-Rusya Krizinde Tavrı”, USAK Analiz, http://www.usak.org.tr/kose_yazilari_det.php?id=2288&cat=344#sthash.mz1deFSS.dpuf (online), 20.04.2014.

EU Association of Ukraine vs. Russia’s Counteractions

Vitalii Martyniuk

[tekst pierwotnie opublikowany w://text originally published in:
"Nowy Prometeusz" nr 6, październik 2014, ss. 11-22]

Geopolitical location of Ukraine between the world poles of power has forced the nation to make a choice concerning its future foreign policy direction. Previously, trying to become a bridge between different parts of Europe, Ukraine was balancing and maintained neutral position thus relying upon the international security guarantees stipulated in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Nevertheless, the existing world order excludes the possibility of uncertainty and Ukraine has made its choice – integration into the EU. Starting from the very beginning of Ukraine’s independence, Moscow has been reacting painfully on each Kiev’s attempt to become closer to the EU. Russia understood that its greatness could never revive without Ukraine, and without this Russia could never become a full-scale world actor. As such, the European integration of Ukraine became a red rag and a target for Moscow at the same time. As soon as Ukraine makes a step towards the EU, the Russian side used to react immediately: politically or economically. For instance, right before the launch of the EU Eastern Partnership (May 2009), in the winter of 2009 Russia initiated a “gas war” against Ukraine, as a result of which many European states found themselves on the brink of energy crises caused by the stoppage of natural gas supply from Russia (Moscow groundlessly put the blame on the Ukrainian side)1.

Despite all obstacles, Ukraine has been moving towards the signature of the Association Agreement with the EU. Russian leaders were not waiting lazily and prepared their own scenarios, which they planned to launch if the Agreement was signed. In fact Russia is currently putting into action one of such scenarios. Being under pressure from Moscow the former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych refused to integrate Ukraine into the EU. However, the people of Ukraine, European by spirit, expressed its strive to live in a European state and won the Revolution of Dignity. This urged the Kremlin to launch previously prepared plan directed at destroying Ukraine as a state. The results of the launch of this plan are annexation of the Crimea, destabilizing of the situation in the South-Eastern regions of Ukraine and actual war in the Donbas.

So, why the Kremlin continues to add oil into fire, even realizing that the Ukrainian people will not obey? Firstly, current unchangeable Russian leadership (Putin de facto and de jure rules Russia for the last 15 years) does not reject its plans to transform Russian Federation into “the Russian Empire”, which will look like a car without one wheel without Ukraine.

Secondly, development of democracy in Ukraine creates obstacles for Russian leaders to build authoritarian state with humble population, which could be continuously robbed and exploited.

Thirdly, further economic and technological development of Ukraine with the help of the EU will inevitably lead to reducing dependency of Ukraine on Russian mineral resources (natural gas, oil) and low-technological Russian products. Simultaneously, all Ukrainian enterprises and business will have to start using European standards of doing business and in case of Russian refusal to cooperate with them in some spheres – redirect their products to new markets. That is why Moscow continuously announces that the Association Agreement with the EU will be harmful to Ukrainian economy and cause serious losses, as long as Russia could not possibly have preferential conditions of economic cooperation with the state creating a free trade zone with the EU. In fact, the Russian producers have already been losing formidable Ukrainian market and inexpensive and so necessary Ukrainian-made spare parts for their machine producing sphere, namely
for the Russian defense industry.

Fourthly, Russian capital (it is worth remembering that Moscow rulers in fact control it) has always been trying to broaden its presence in Ukraine, but the European norms of doing business create obstacles to it. As such, Russian capital has not used to operate under transparent rules and as it is better adapted to “black” and “grey” business schemes.

Despite counteractions from Moscow, Ukraine continues its course towards the European integration, and on 27 June 2014 Ukraine signed the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union, which was ratified by the European and Ukrainian parliaments on 16 September 2014. At the same time, Ukraine as well as the European Union will have to take into account the Russian factor in their bilateral relations, the factor that will remain an obstacle.

However, the signature of the Association Agreement opened a new page of deepening relations with the EU, which implies reaching real political and economic integration of Ukraine into the European Community. For Ukraine, this means a step forward towards further development of its political system, democracy, civil society, economy, security and other spheres. This also includes stabilization of the situation in the Eastern Europe, which will settle all problems and disputes by means of negotiations and compromises being inspired by the EU example, without expressing threats and use of arms or other forceful means, which the Russian Federation uses.

It seems that the Ukrainian state and its people are ready enough for drastic changes and transformations envisaged by the Association Agreement with the EU. Firstly, political will of the current Ukrainian leadership is directed at continuing the European integration process in Ukraine. This was declared at the European Council meetings by the Ukrainian Prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk right after the victory of “Maidan” on 6 March 20142 and confirmed by the newly elected President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, in Brussels on 30 August 20143.

Secondly, all previous economic (milk, meat, pastry) and energy wars have already forced Ukrainian businessmen to look actively for other then Russian markets and new suppliers that was stimulated by clear and concrete rules of the European market. Besides, de facto military struggle with the Russian Federation and limiting actions on behalf of Ukraine, including the law on sanctions against Russia adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament on 14 August 2014, force Ukrainian manufacturers to redirect their products to other markets and search new business opportunities as well.

Thirdly, and more importantly, Ukrainian people’s support to the European integration is growing fast. During last year only, the number of supporters to European integration among the Ukrainian population has grown by 10%. According to the surveys made in May 2013, 41,7% of Ukrainian respondents supported integration of Ukraine into the EU, in December 2013 this number grew to 46,4%, and in May 2014 reached 53%4. This was largely caused by Russia itself and its aggressive actions towards Ukraine, which not only united the people of Ukraine but also changed its views. These Russian actions also caused significant changes in the views of the population in the Eastern Ukraine.

Growing people’s support creates a solid groundwork for the successful implementation of the Association Agreement, establishes conditions for achieving positive changes in Ukraine and stabilization of situation in the Eastern Europe.

Political dimension of the Agreement
The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU actually consists of two parts: political and economic. On 21 March 2014, the Ukrainian Prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed the political part of the Agreement that worried Russia much less than its economic part. Political dimension envisages rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU, establishing continuous political dialogue and in fact reforming the country5.

According to the Agreement, Ukraine has to use European norms of administration, rule of law, human rights, protection of ethnic minorities and basic freedoms. Ukraine will obtain possibilities to deepen its participation in policies, programs and agencies of the EU, which will help considering Ukrainian position within them.

Adapting Ukrainian administration system to European standards is expected to increase efficiency of the state agencies, decrease the level of corruption, and improve state financial administration and state and local budget planning processes, as well as to improve existing social policies6. These are changes expected by the Ukrainian people. As shown by the opinion poll conducted in May 2014 by the Ukrainian Fund “Democratic Initiatives”, Ukrainians insist on immediate anticorruption reform (63% of respondents), social services sector reform (50%), healthcare system reform (50%), reform of judiciary and prosecution (45%), law-enforcement bodies’ reform (39%)7.

Public expectations of above mentioned reforms consolidate the Ukrainian society because people on the West and on the East of Ukraine want them. Justification of these expectations as result of successful reforms can become the criteria for the Ukrainian society to assess fulfillment of the Association Agreement and in fact the overall process of integrating Ukraine into the EU. Simultaneously the process of visa liberalization for Ukrainian citizens continues. As mentioned by some politicians in the EU, signing the Association Agreement is expected to fasten this process as long as a separate chapter of the Agreement (Title III) is devoted to this issue8. The document clearly stipulates: “The Parties shall take gradual steps towards a visa-free regime in due course”9.

Arrangement of secure borders is one of the elements of the EU visa liberalization process. With regard to the current situation, the Ukrainian-Russian border is the most problematic part of the Ukrainian border, as long as nowadays Russia uses its imperfection to transport armament and human resources into the Ukrainian territory10. It would be worth deploying EUBM mission on the Eastern Ukrainian border to arrange safe, protected and secure border with Russia.

Significant portion of the association process is security dimension, especially with regard to the current situation in the Eastern Ukraine. Almost all goals of the political dialogue envisaged by the Agreement have to do with providing security11. At the forefront of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU there are tasks of broadening cooperation in international security and crisis management spheres; achieving peace, security and stability in Europe; building dialogue in security and defense spheres; support to principles of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. Their practical performing in the process of implementation of the Association Agreement has to be directed to reforming and strengthening security sector of Ukraine, modernization and supplying new armament to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as joint efforts of Ukraine and the EU to establish probably new security order all over the Europe (possibly in the OSCE framework).

Although the Association Agreement has not yet come into force, existing challenges force both Ukraine and the EU to cooperate in crises management as mentioned in the Article 10 of the Agreement12. This will become one of the first real tests to efficiency of the Association Agreement. United action of Ukraine and the EU to counteract Russian aggression, with the aim to restore territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, is an inclusive part of implementation of the Agreement. Having taken multiple obligations envisaged by the Agreement and meeting all demands of the EU, Ukraine must be sure that the other party will stick to its obligations and will show unity and consistency in accomplishing the EU Common foreign and security policy.

The armed conflict in the Eastern Ukraine erupted for reasons artificially created by one party – the Russian Federation, which is to be held responsible for the destabilizing situation in the Eastern Ukraine – in direct proximity to the European Union. The EU has already done much to settle the conflict including the imposition of three waves of sanctions, active participation in the negotiation process, providing full support and assistance to Ukraine. Acknowledgement of Russian aggression against Ukraine by the EU, stipulated in Conclusions of the Special meeting of the European Council on 30 August 201413, is a very important step in this regard. The EU also took an obligation to provide financial and material aid to Ukraine (by the end of the year Ukraine expects to receive 250 million euro grant and 510 million euro preferential loan) and continues to insist on the fast settling of the conflict.

As long as Moscow has acted aggressively and decisively towards Ukraine, counteractions must be quick and decisive. It is worth mentioning that using negotiation process as the only means to settle 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict has led to the fact that territorial integrity of Georgia has not been restored by now. Diplomatic efforts must be backed by stronger arguments because the current Russian authorities unfortunately use its forceful impact in international negotiations.

The end of Russia’s aggression policy in the Post-Soviet area would be an indication of the EU success and demonstration to European nations, which have already signed the Association Agreement with the EU, such as Moldova and Georgia, that due to integration to the EU they can achieve their important political objectives including preserving territorial integrity, stability and security.

Economic advantages of the Agreement for Ukraine
Economic part of the Agreement envisages the creation of a free-trade zone between the EU and Ukraine, which is definitely a positive step for Ukrainian economy, as long as it will allow further liberalization of Ukraine’s market. According to experts from the Institute of economic studies and political consultations, this will strengthen competition and lead to the improvement of the quality, lower prices and to some extent will slower the inflation14.

Growing volume of mutual trade between Ukraine and the EU is expected to have positive influence on Ukrainian economy, broadening share of Ukrainian goods at European markets, increase of European goods nomenclature at Ukrainian market, which is expected to stimulate Ukrainian economy to improve price policy.

For now, the volume of trade exchange between the EU and Ukraine is almost the same as between Russia and Ukraine. For instance, foreign trade of goods between Ukraine and the EU in 2013 has reached $43,81 billion (27% of the overall Ukrainian foreign trade)15, at the same time trade of goods with Russia equaled to $44,96 billion (27,7%)16.

It is worth mentioning that starting from 2012 the overall trade between Ukraine and Russia began to decrease. So, the trade grew in 2011 by 33,5% compared to 2010, but in 2012 it decreased by 7,4% and in 2013 by 12,6%. This trend was preserved in early 2014. It can be concluded that decrease of mutual trade between Ukraine and Russia is not connected to the signature of the Association Agreement with the EU, that has become a widely speculated topic among adversaries to Ukrainian European integration (first of all inside Russia). This trend began in times of V.Yanukovich presidency, two years prior to the date of the expected signing of the Association Agreement. Probably adversaries to the European integration of Ukraine try to explain decrease of the volume of trade between Russia and Ukraine and hinder economic integration of Ukraine into the EU. The latter has been partly put into existence.

Despite other nations, even post-Soviet Moldova and Georgia, Ukraine is forced to participate in trilateral consultations with Russia and the EU concerning real risks for Russian-Ukrainian relations, possibly arising from the free-trade zone between Ukraine and the EU17. Despite the conduct of several rounds of such talks, including talks on the highest level with the participation of the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and President of Russia Vladimir Putin18, the Russian side continues to send signals of displeasure about the Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, and this signals are even accompanied by threats on behalf of Moscow. For instance, on 29 August 2014 Russian minister of economic development Alexey Ulyukayev stated that Russia will impose protective measures, if the EU and Ukraine reject its proposal to amend the Agreement19.

It is obvious that the mentioned threats and tough position of Russia were partly effective because at the Trilateral ministerial meeting on 12 September 2014 the representatives of the EU, Ukraine and Russia took decision on “delaying until 31 December 2015 the provisional application of the DCFTA while continuing autonomous trade measures of the EU to the benefit of Ukraine during the period”20. The main reason of this decision was ability “to fully support the stabilization of Ukraine”, as mentioned in the Joint Ministerial Statement, that witnessed full desire of the EU not to jeopardize the current fragile state of seize-fire, which was reached by the Trilateral Contact Group on 5 September 2014 in Minsk21, and not to provoke Russia to further escalation of the conflict on the East of Ukraine. At the same time, this decision is not a real obstacle for the Association process of Ukraine. Firstly, according to the Article 486 of the AA, the Parties can provisionally apply this Agreement in part and firstly concerning DCFTA. If the EU took corresponding decision, the Parties might start establishing the free trade area from the first day of October 2014, taking into account that the Ukrainian Parliament ratified the Agreement on 16 September 2014, but experience of the Western Balkans showed that a period between signature of the Association and Stabilization Agreement and beginning of implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement (as part of ASA in Balkan variant) was long to 1,5-2 years. Secondly, a real process of establishing a free trade area, according to the Article 25 of the AA, may last 10 years at maximum starting from the entry into force of this Agreement, that is after ratification by the EU, which envisages ratification procedures in all 28 member-states, the European Parliament (ratified on 16 September 2014) and corresponding decision of the European Council. According to the mentioned experience of the Western Balkans states, the whole ratification procedure in the EU can last several years. Thirdly, the EU tries to save correlation between the EU-Ukraine DCFTA and the CIS FTA to stimulate development of economic cooperation in Europe and push Russia to continue economic and trade relations with Ukraine. Fourthly, nobody inhibits Ukraine to apply unilaterally those positions of the AA, which lead to improvement of its economic system.

Reform of the Ukrainian economy and its adapting to the EU standards, envisaged by the Agreement, continues and, as estimated the Ukrainian minister of economic development P.Sheremeta, will “show the export potential of the state”22. This means that after synchronizing Ukrainian legislation, technical regulation and standards with the EU criteria Ukrainian producers will have a direct access to the European market, which will increase the export volume and thus will help increase the domestic production in Ukraine. According to assessments of the Ukrainian experts, harmonization of Ukrainian standards with European ones by only 50-75% will lead to 0,8% growth of Ukrainian GDP per year23.

This process is not an easy one for Ukrainian producers, as long as negative balance in trade with Russia is $4 billion and at the same time negative balance of trade with the EU is $10,3 billion. In other words, big number of Ukrainian producers is now oriented to the traditional Russian market, operate under Russian standards and will be forced to modernize their production. Due to possible imposing of limiting sanctions by Russia, part of them will be forced to transfer to European standards and search new markets for their products, but part of them will keep possibility to operate in the Russian market.

Those Ukrainian producers who are oriented towards the Russian customers announce the need for a long period (up to 5 years) to prepare themselves before the beginning of operating within the free-trade zone with the EU. Nevertheless, the EU-Ukraine Association Agenda was adopted in June 2009 and in fact became a prototype of the future Association Agreement with the aim of fulfillment of its separate provisions24. This means that Ukrainian producers have already had the needed 5-year term to prepare them for the economic integration into the European Union and had to begin this process at that time.

Implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will have positive consequences for the Ukrainian population. As the experts from the Institute of economic studies and political consultations estimate, the Agreement will lead to increase revenues of citizens, lowering prices due to growing proposal and competition, improving quality of goods and services in the market. The last one is closely connected to harmonizing Ukrainian legislature with the European in spheres of food products security and technical regulation. However, prices for some other products may increase (first of all it concerns goods which are protected by copyright legislation, i.e. computer software, movies, medicament etc.), and law quality workers will be forced either to increase their professional level or to search new job opportunities25.

The Agreement envisages increase of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU on regional policy issues that is aimed at support to development of economically backward territories, and in rural areas policies. The success of such cooperation will mean improving life conditions, decrease of unemployment and growing welfare of separate regions.

Consequences of the Agreement for the Eastern European region
No doubt that signing of the Association Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia is to some extent demonstration that the idea of the EU Eastern Partnership appears to be not only another form of cooperation but a real effective project of the EU to spread European values in the Eastern European region, and as it was mentioned by the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, a signal of effectiveness of the EU policy in the East26. In other words, this puts into action the main idea of the EU Eastern Partnership: strengthening democratic processes in states of the Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus, assisting them in modernization and establishing the rule of law, adopting European standards and creating frameworks for further rapprochement of the Eastern partners with the EU. In future these processes will have to provide political and economic stability in the Eastern European states, which is needed nowadays.

Government administrating procedures, reformed in accordance with the EU standards, straight and understood by the Eastern European peoples, will allow these states not to change their foreign and domestic policy vectors depending on results of every election. This will help stabilizing situation both in every state and the whole region.

By signing the Association Agreement each state, including Ukraine, has shown that their foreign policy is unchanged and aimed at integrating into the EU. This foreign policy vector is considered unfavorable by Russia, which tries to preserve its influence in the post-Soviet space by using the dirtiest methods of destabilizing the situation. Among the six nations of the Eastern Partnership only Belarus has no conflict situation on its territory. This is reached due to support of Russian initiatives in the post-Soviet space by the Belarus leadership (CIS, Customs union, EurAsEC). All other nations have either active or frozen conflicts directly caused by Russia’s actions: Ukraine has Donbas and Crimea, Moldova has Transnistria, Georgia has Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have Nagorno-Karabakh. By keeping these regions unstable and by threatening to quickly destabilize the situation there, Russia still manages to preserve its influence in the Eastern Europe.

In case of Ukraine, Russia did not create conflict zones on its territory just immediately after the USSR collapse because it managed to influence Ukrainian political leadership and effectively use economic means of influence (gas, milk and other wars). At the same time Moscow strengthened gradually economic, information, political and even military influence in the Ukrainian Crimea, a base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, simultaneously trying to tie Ukrainian Donbas to Russia with the use of ideology and economic means. For this Russia used various tools: religious proximity; nostalgic sentiments about careless Soviet past; inclusion of these territories into the Russian Empire (historical factor); Russian language and “the need to protect it”; demonstration of better life within Russia (in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, while hiding miserable state of other Russian regions); stable political system (which role was played by authoritarian regime in the RF), and some other factors. All these were supported by a large number of Russian politicians, political scientists, political technologists and the Russian mass media. When it became clear that Ukraine can ultimately move away from Russia, Moscow used its influence in the Crimea and Donbas trying to transform these regions into zones of instability and hinder Ukraine’s movement towards the EU. That is why signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine, as well as with Georgia and Moldova became shocking news for Russia.

Despite internal disputes within the EU on ways of settling the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine, today the EU shows readiness to cooperate actively with Ukraine in the security sphere that is envisaged in the Association Agreement. For instance Article 9 of the Agreement “Regional stability” stipulates: “The parties shall intensify their joint efforts to promote stability, security and democratic development in their common neighborhood, and in particular to work together for the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts”27. Without doubt this article in the text of the Agreement took into account the conflicts existing at that moment, first of all in Transnistria, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. However it should also encompass the conflict continuing in the Donbas.

The EU and its member-states put much effort to settle this conflict, but positions of some European states can lead to relatively moderate position of the EU, while aggression from the Russian side against Ukraine grows. In this case stability, security, and democratic development can be threatened, thus causing the appearance of new source of tension within the common neighborhood which contradicts basic principles of the EU Common foreign and security policy.

This situation currently is favorable only to one party – Russia, which uses all possible means, from military intervention in the Eastern European states to economic blackmailing of the EU member-states, to reach its goals.

So, the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine is directed at political and economic development of the nation, stabilizing the situation within the state and in the overall Eastern European region. However unwillingness of Russia to lose control over this region and Moscow’s actions, directed at fueling existing and creating new conflicts zones, tend to further destabilize the situation. Russia tries to reach it in order to show inability of the EU to guarantee peace and stability and in order to hinder further spread of the EU values upon the whole Eastern European region.

Vitalii Martyniuk – Vice-president of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy XXI”, Foreign policy expert of the Ukrainian Centre for Independent Political Research. Specialist on EU energy policies, EU Foreign Policy and EU-Ukraine relations.

1 V.Martyniuk, Ukraine and the EU in the Gas Post-Confl ict Situation: Three Development Options, Research Update, Vol. 15, 3/563, UCIPR, Kyiv, 2009, www.ucipr.kiev.ua

2 Statement of the Heads of State or Government on Ukraine, Brussels, 6 March 2014, www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/141372.pdf

3 www.president.gov.ua/en/news/31119.html

4 www.razumkov.org.ua/ukr/poll.php?poll_id=865

5 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Article 1

6 http://tsn.ua/politika/scho-dast-pidpisannya-ugodi-pro-asociaciyu-ukrayini-z-yevrosoyuzom-356568.html

7 European integration of Ukraine: experience of neighbors and prospects of consolidation of society, Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, www.dif.org.ua

8 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Title III

9 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Article 19

10 Андрій Дихтяренко ≪Олексій Данилов: Війна в Україні закінчиться розвалом Росії≫, 07.08.14, ≪Обозреватель≫

11 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Article 4

12 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Article 10

13 Conclusions, Special meeting of the European Council, 30 August 2014, p.3.

14 http://www.eurointegration.com.ua/articles/2014/06/27/7023743/

15 www.ukrstat.gov.ua

16 www.russia.mfa.gov.ua/ua/ukraine-ru/trade

17 http://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ukraine/press_corner/all_news/news/2014/2014_07_14_01_en.htm

18 www.europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-14-0825_en.htm

19 www.ria.ru/economy/20140829/1021874602.html#ixzz3BIROVD2j

20 Joint Ministerial Statement on the Implementation of the EU-Ukraine AA/DCFTA, Brussels, 12 September 2014; www.europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-14-276_en.htm

21 Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group, signed in Minsk, 5 September 2014; www.osce.org/home/123257

22 www.me.gov.ua/News/Detail?id=1714bбс0-6cfd-4f37-8239-2cб19b42a18a

23 www.me.gov.ua/News/Detail?id=1714bбс0-6cfd-4f37-8239-2cб19b42a18a

24 Association Agenda Ukraine-EU, MFA Ukraine www.mfa.gov.ua/ua/about-ukraine/european-integration/ua-eu

25 http://www.eurointegration.com.ua/articles/2014/06/27/7023743/

26 http://www.center.gov.ua/ua/publication/content/812.htm

27 Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, Article 9.