Archive for January 21st, 2014


Ukrainian politicians talk, EU makes statements, USA sanctions…….

January 21, 2014

And so, following the events of yesterday and the collapse, either temporarily or permanently, of the peaceful persona of Euromaidan the following has occurred today.

Opposition leaders and representatives of the current authorities meet to negotiate a way forward.  That seems incredibly unlikely when points for negotiation are presented as demands as the opposition always seem to do.  There is far too much use of the zero sum terms “demand” and “must” to allow for meaningful and effective negotiation – even if both sides have a genuine will to negotiate in good faith – and it seems much more likely that at least one side of the negotiations will be doing so in bad faith.

It does not seem at all clear where the positions, interests and needs of the opposition will coincide with the positions, interests or needs of the current authorities.

Skipping past the usually unattainable opening “positions” which are obviously not the same for both sides and are rarely left standing unmoved at the end of any negotiation, there seems little commonality in the “interests” of both sides that can be met on a nicely compromised middle ground – currently at least.  Whether the “needs” of either side coincide, which are the lowest common denominator of any negotiation,  is also a subjective question in the current circumstances – and it is circumstance that often has sway of some significants when it comes to finding common ground within “interests” and “needs” in a toxic and volatile atmosphere.

It seems unlikely that much of significants will come from the Ukrainian political dialogue – for now anyway.

Meanwhile the EU has made a statement.

Clearly no overt sign of sanctions on the table across the entirety of the 28 Member States.  But there are a lot of questions to answer prior to answering the sanctions question.  Even if there were consensus – and there is not – is now the best time to apply them – or would it be wiser to apply them closer to the 2015 elections to more and more individuals as electoral norms are breached one after another in the run up to, and in the aftermath there of?  For how long do you keep your powder dry vis a vis a premature sanctions ejaculation leaving everybody less than satisfied with the result?

The USA, however, it seems, has begun to implement sanctions by way of Visa refusal/revocation effectively adding specific people to its persona non grata black list.  Minor as this may be in the grand scheme of things it is a sanction taken against a senior Ukrainian government official, even if the symbolism far outweighs the actual effects on the individual.

In the meantime angry young men remain squared off against the police in central Kyiv.  The situation a tense stalemate at the time of writing – though that can revert to the violence of yesterday in a moment.  The raft of odiously civil rights repressing legislation remains signed, despite it appearing quite unconstitutional.  The entirely ineffective Delegation of the EU to Ukraine now has protesters outside demanding the EU impose sanctions – when the EU cannot impose sanctions without the agreement of all 28 Member States.  Perhaps they would be better placed picketing embassies of the most reluctant nations such as Germany?

All in all, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a sprinkling of these and a splash of those.  It doesn’t really seem like the right recipe to put democracy in Ukraine onto the swiftest path to recovery – but then what do I know, I was never much of an alchemist.

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