Not Europe yet

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Five years ago, thou­sands of Ukraini­ans launched the Euro­Maidan Rev­o­lu­tion, which later led to the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. There were two main mo­tives be­hind it. First, it was a rev­o­lu­tion in sup­port of Ukraine’s na­tional iden­tity in its strug­gle against Rus­sian im­pe­ri­al­ism, since Yanukovych was seen as a pup­pet of Moscow.

Sec­ond, it was an up­ris­ing in fa­vor of the Euro­pean val­ues, the main one be­ing a cor­rup­tion-free state, and in­te­gra­tion into the free world.

The first pur­pose has been largely achieved. Ukraine has pulled out of the Krem­lin’s or­bit.

How­ever, the Euro­pean val­ues of the rule of law, hu­man rights and sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers have not tri­umphed in Ukraine.

De­spite visa-free travel and an as­so­ci­a­tion agree­ment with Europe, Ukraine still has no rule of law, no in­de­pen­dent courts and no clean gov­ern­ment. Hu­man rights are rou­tinely vi­o­lated by the au­thor­i­ties and cor­rup­tion is the worst in Europe.

While bang­ing on about Euro­pean val­ues, top of­fi­cials are spurn­ing them and pre­serv­ing post-Soviet law­less­ness and dis­re­gard for hu­man rights.

Un­for­tu­nately, the na­tional iden­tity agenda in­tro­duced by the Euro­Maidan and fu­eled by Rus­sia’s war against Ukraine is used by the au­thor­i­ties as a fig leaf and a façade to dis­tract at­ten­tion from the fail­ures to re­form.

By fail­ing to cre­ate a gen­uine Euro­pean state, Ukraine pre­serves weak and dys­func­tional in­sti­tu­tions and ex­poses it­self to the risk of fur­ther Rus­sian ag­gres­sion. More­over, the val­ues of the na­tion’s elite have more in com­mon with the Krem­lin than with Europe, and it can eas­ily suc­cumb to Rus­sian in­flu­ence again.

Ukraine can only re­sist the Krem­lin if it be­comes a wealthy and strong na­tion with free cit­i­zens equal un­der law and clean and in­cor­rupt­ible state in­sti­tu­tions. This will mark true in­de­pen­dence as a na­tion.

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