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20.01.2014

Vedomosti: Belarusian course is Yanukovych's final choice  ? 34

8:03, — Politics
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Vedomosti: Belarusian course is Yanukovych's final choice

It remains to understand whether Ukrainian society wants to follow the course chosen by him.

As an outside observer may notice, Ukraine differs from Russia and Belarus. The export of the reaction won't be painless, the newspaper Vedomosti (Russia) writes.

On January 16, the Verkhovna Rada broke the time limit and adopted a package of repressive laws, which, to a great extent, copy the relative Russian legislation: NGOs as foreign agents, tightening responsibility for mass disorders and criminalisation of defamation. The country's president signed these laws on Friday. Opposition called the step a coup and discussed the further actions on the square yesterday. A resolution refusing to recognize the new laws, on setting alternative authorities and calling the constitutional meeting was adopted despite the absence of clear aims and weakness of the leaders. Activists tried to block the Verkhovna Rada yesterday. Clashes with the police began.

Tightening the legislation wasn't obviously just good advice from Moscow to Kyiv. It was a necessary, as Moscow thinks, measure to protect investments: Yanukovych must at least preserve his power (personnel decisions agreed with Moscow are likely to follow). But his position is shaky and his victory at the 2015 elections is not guaranteed.

It's also clear that Yanukovych says good-bye to the EU by signing these laws. Europe unanimously condemns the laws. Though the rhetoric of readiness to go to Europe may be continued by official Kyiv, adding that Europe should blame itself for not agreeing to admit Ukraine to the EU on Kyiv's conditions. Will the export of the reaction be successful?

Moscow successfully used imported from Belarus legislative bans to struggle with dissidents. Ukraine uses them now. Ukrainian society differs significantly from Russian and Belarusian ones. Russians want to consume like Europeans, but want the country to be an independent player in the global arena. Ukraine has the generation who wants to be in Europe, politologist Aleksei Makarkin says. In addition, Ukrainian oligarchs are strong, and Yanukovych has to decide how to win the Fronde. We also shouldn't forget that Ukraine is geopolitically divided into West and East.

The literal adoption of the Russian-Belarusian experience will be a political anachronism for Ukraine in the current situation. So, the political crisis will go on.

The export of the reaction (or the re-export from Belarus) to Ukraine has a commercial meaning for Russia. The relations between Russia and Belarus can, to a great extent, be referred as a megaproject forming the basis for Russia's corrupted economy. This is the project like the Sochi Olymics or the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation], but a long one. Or like financing the North Caucasus from the state budget. The common features are the following: the projects receives billions from the budget, or tax preferences, or goods (oil and gas); people close to the project can earn on kickbacks or gray business schemes. There are variants with taking control over assets (in Belarus's case, both local and Russian, let's recall the Uralkali incident).


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