tisdag, december 28, 2004

Is Orange the Colour of Dawn or Dusk?

Viktor Yushchenko's victory is greeted as good news, and indeed it is. "We have been independent for 14 years but we were not free ... now we can say this is a thing of the past. Now we are facing an independent and free Ukraine." Thus Yushchenko to his supporters. Many Ukrainians also hope that now their country will leave Moscow's orbit, and join the EU sooner rather than later.
It's been a humiliating setback to Putin's ambitions to maintain a Russian sphere of influence in the "near-abroad", as obviously demonstrated by the sour tone in some Russian media.
Putin's a despot, but more of the enlightened kind like Peter the Great or Katherine II than Stalin or Ivan the Terrible, and like for them, the expansion of Russia's borders, which now are more or the less same than in the early XVIIIth century, is a major long-term goal. And like them, his view of the long-term is at least several decades; so, to quote another historical character, "this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning".
My opinion is that serious negotiations about Ukrainian membership in the EU should start as soon as possible; ideally, its adhesion should be simultaneous with Turkey's. And if Russia wants influence beyond its borders, it can join the EU too like everybody else.