Sunday, November 28

Anniversary of the overthrow of Yanukovych’s regime… Do Ukrainians regret relying on the West to confront Russia?

A Ukrainian analyst expresses his fear of the German-French shift towards re-normalizing relations with Russia, in contrast to what he described as the US disregard for Ukraine’s affairs during the Trump era.

Kiev- With several activities, Ukrainians commemorate the eighth anniversary of the “Freedom and Dignity Revolution”, or the “Euro Maidan” protests, as they were initially called, in relation to Independence Square (in the center of the capital, Kiev), which erupted in January 2013 and continued until mid-2014.

The protests came at the time, in response to the refusal of the pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych, to sign the economic partnership agreement with the European Union, and later led to his overthrow, and to the country’s entry into a radical turn, the repercussions of which are still present today.

The commemoration of the eighth anniversary of the “revolution” coincides with the beating of the drums of war, amid Ukrainian and Western warnings of large Russian military build-ups on Ukraine’s borders.

These developments raise many questions about what Ukraine achieved after the “revolution”, or what repercussions it wrought on itself.

The protests of the so-called “freedom and dignity revolution” in Ukraine managed to overthrow the pro-Russian regime (Al-Jazeera)

rapprochement with the West

The spirit of rapprochement with the European Union – and the West in general – and the desire to be free from dependence on the Russian world in particular were among the most prominent goals of the Ukrainian protests. Today, they are divided over their reality with several opinions.

The former activist in the field, Oleksandr Bali – who is also the author of the book “The Modern History of Ukraine” – says that “the path of rapprochement with the West has not ended, and in it we have achieved a lot. The doors of Europe are open today for Ukrainians without visas, and the European Union has become our first economic partner ( After the Russian market closed).

In Bali’s opinion – in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net – Ukraine has enjoyed broad and serious cooperation relations with the countries of the Union, with NATO and the United States, “we see them through positions of support and support in their various forms.”

Bali believes that the path to membership in the European Union is “difficult” for political considerations in the first place, and “because the country has not yet achieved all the required criteria in the second place, but it (membership) is a matter of time, no matter how long it takes,” he said.

In turn

On the other hand, others believe that Ukraine for the West was a “dilemma” – so to speak – and that it did not realize the extent and duration of Russian plans in it.

In this, the director of the Center for Political Analysis Ihor Kohut says, “The West thought that sanctions would quickly return the Russian bear to its hole, and did not realize that Moscow’s plans went beyond the norm in Ukraine, then in Syria, and then elsewhere.”

Kohut continues to Al Jazeera Net, “We were given European peels to rein in hopes of membership, and we were pushed towards implementing standards for which we are not ready, and our lives became more difficult, in a country witnessing war, occupation and constant tension.”

According to the director of the Center for Political Analysis, and away from political statements, “the West has practically turned its back on us, after a few years of Russian aggression, in search of its interests, with the exception of some regional countries that fear “Russian expansion.”

Kohut refers to the German-French shift towards re-normalizing relations with Russia, in contrast to what he described as the almost complete US disregard for the Ukrainian issue during the era of former President Donald Trump. “And there is talk today about the inevitability of Washington abandoning Ukraine, as it did recently with its allies in Afghanistan.”

NATO ships conduct military exercises with Ukrainian forces in the Black Sea in March 2021 (Agencies)

street view

In February 2019, Ukraine approved constitutional amendments confirming adherence to the “policy of joining the European Union and NATO”, despite the differing opinions on this in the Ukrainian street.

According to a recent opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute in Kiev; It was found that 54% of Ukrainians support their country’s bid to join the European Union, while this percentage exceeded 60% in 2014.

Today, 48% want the country to become a member of NATO, but this percentage exceeded 70% in 2014.

Regret or disappointment?

In light of the occupation of Crimea, the war in the Donbas region, and the resulting displacement and security, political, economic and social crises, a question arises: Do Ukrainians regret their revolution?

Writer and activist Oleksandr Bali says, “Many may regret the stance that brought them together 8 years ago, but what happened confirmed to them and others that Russia is an enemy, not a brother, and that we must struggle to achieve real independence that ends our dependence on it and preserves our freedom and dignity, and that’s how our revolution was called.”

While Ihor Kohut says, “I do not think that the Ukrainians will regret or regret it, but it is certain that they would be very disappointed if the West abandoned them, and were left alone in the face of crises, which Russia obviously creates and holds most of the keys to solving them.”

About 600-700 people participated in the largest demonstration against Assad in Ukraine since the beginning of the Syrian revolutionA demonstration against the Syrian regime in Ukraine at the beginning of the Syrian revolution (Al-Jazeera)

Ukraine and the Arab revolutions

In another context, some wonder about the similarities and differences between the Ukrainian revolution and the Arab Spring revolutions, which may share that their goals have not yet been achieved.

The journalist Mohamed Zawi says that these revolutions are similar in the fact that they were established in order to enhance freedoms and improve life conditions, and were against corrupt regimes, and were met with attempts to distort the Arab and Ukrainian revolutionaries by branding them as terrorist and fascist; “But I think they are fundamentally different in other respects.”

Zawi mentions to Al Jazeera Net that in 2014, the Ukrainian regime did not suppress its people as Arab regimes did, and Ukraine did not witness massacres and coups against the will of its people, no matter how intense the political tension between its components, and the outside and inside did not conspire against the Ukrainians to thwart them, with that size witnessed by Arab countries, on the limit saying.

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