Recently re-elected Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is making maneuvers to get closer to the West and distance himself from Russia. But Moscow is not worried: it knows that his fundamental values differentiate him from Western countries.
The merger of President Poroshenko’s party with the UDAR party of Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko is another step in the consolidation of power by the Ukrainian leader. Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front may be the next in line for absorption. But recent Ukrainian history shows that these big united parties have all ended in failure.
If the Eastern Partnership were all about the EU, money, and visas, it would have made sense. But it’s just a useless attempt to fill the void along the EU’s eastern borders. The only real goal is to divide post-Soviet Europe into Russia and “not Russia.”
Ukrainian society—particularly sectors that pushed for greater accountability and transparency during the EuroMaidan Revolution—and Western governments, particularly the United States, are pushing Poroshenko to rein in the oligarchs.
The conflict in Ukraine is anything but frozen. The dynamics of this conflict are driven as much by Ukrainian domestic affairs and local commanders’ decisions in the conflict zone as they are by any Cold War-style stand-off between East and West.
Old totalitarian practices can reemerge with new symbols, from new directions. And a struggle against the symbols of past unfreedom isn’t enough to protect against a lack of liberty in its latest incarnation.