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Yanukovych, the EU and Russia: The End of Balancing

  • Rilka Dragneva
  • Kataryna Wolczuk

Abstract

By 2013, Ukraine was on the verge of signing an Association Agreement with the EU. Russia had failed to draw Ukraine into its integration regime despite its concerted campaign. Nonetheless, the economic mismanagement of Yanukovych’s regime — on top of 20 years of neglected reform and institutionalised rent-seeking — had left Ukraine bankrupt and hence extremely susceptible to external pressure. This chapter explains Yanukovych’s ‘twisting and turning’ as he sought to navigate between the two integration offers. His belief that he could balance the EU and Russia, and offer Ukraine to the highest bidder failed when the EU refused to engage in bargaining leaving him in the hands of Russia. In this chapter, we examine the terms of Yanukovych’s commitment to the Kremlin in return for its support and then discuss the popular backlash against his U-turn on the EU.

Keywords

Association Agreement CIS Eastern Partnership ENP EU Eurasian Customs Union Eurasian Economic Union Eurasian integration European Neighbourhood Policy Ukraine post-Soviet integration protests in Ukraine Putin Russia Ukrainian crisis Yanukovych 

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Copyright information

© Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rilka Dragneva
    • 1
  • Kataryna Wolczuk
    • 2
  1. 1.Development and Regional IntegrationUniversity of BirminghamUK
  2. 2.Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES)University of BirminghamUK

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