Russia's Role in the Unification Process of Ukraine to EU: Hinderance or Cause?

Russia's Role in the Unification Process of Ukraine to EU: Hinderance or Cause?

Zafer Yildirim (Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Kocaeli University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1188-6.ch026
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Ukraine's efforts to unite the EU since it gained independence caused some splits in the heterogeneous Ukrainian society. They induced discontent within the Russian Federation as well; because Russia considers itself the inheritor of the former United Soviet Socialist Republic. When Ukrainian President Yanukovych announced that the partnership treaty with the EU was suspended just before the due date for signing, a crisis broke out in Ukraine. Consequently, Yanukovych left the country. Russia reacted to the situation by invading Crimea. Moreover, the EU's Ukraine policy was not clear enough. The main objective of this study is to reveal if Russia was hindering Ukraine's integration to the EU or it was the motive for the process. There are different points of view on that matter. In this chapter, those points will be analyzed under the following subtitles: “Russian Politics of Ukraine”, “EU-Ukraine Relations”, and “EU-Russia Relations.”
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Russian Politics Of Ukraine

Ukraine policy of the Russian Federation has developed on the basis of New Eurasianism after Ukraine had acquired independence.That policy was aiming to regain the status of former the USSR against the West. Pursuant to that aim, Russia tried to keep those countries politically, economically, and militarily under control.Thus, Moscow took the first step politically in 1991 founding Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) which intended to confederate the former twelve Soviet states including Ukraine. (CIS, 2019) As for the first military step, it was taken by the participation of six states in Tashkent on May 15.,1992 by signing up Collective Security Treaty which was aiming to gather all those states under a security umbrella; but, Ukraine preferred to stay out of the treaty; because it was sceptical about depending on Russia at security issues. Leonid Kravchuk, Ukraine’s president of the time, did not want to seem eager to cooperate with Russia, for he thought such an organization which was formed to fulfill Moscow’s demands, would eventually yield to failure. Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma also reported a similar concern and added that they were against a power increase of CIS. Ukraine’s major concern was to lose its new-gained sovereignty under different titles. (Webber,1996, p.101) On 7 November 2002, Collective Security Treaty evolved to a NATO like organization which was based on military cooperation of the member states, so that Collective Security Treaty Organization was established. (Bescotti, 2018) Russia was planning to keep the old Soviet states within its economic periphery as well. In accordance with that plan, Customs Union was founded in 1995 by the participation of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

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