Developments in Ukraine have grown into a competition between the West and Russia

Karen Ghazaryan
Public Radio of Armenia

The developments in Ukraine have grown from a conflict between the opposition and the authorities into a competition between the West and Russia, Director of the Regional Research Center Richard Giragosian told a press conference today.

The analyst believes that the victory of the opposition and the demonstrators in Ukraine may actually save the Association Agreements with the EU. “That means Georgia and Moldova will no longer be isolated and alone,” he said.

According to Giragosyan, the events in Ukraine could give new energy to the Eastern Partnership. Besides, the victory of the demonstrators in Ukraine was an example of how they defended, defined and vindicated the European values.

Speaking about the events in Ukraine on the Russian Federation, Giragosian said: “There are many negative impacts, but there are also some positive impacts for Moscow. “The first negative impact s that it will build the limits of Russian influence,” he said, adding that the second negative impact was losing Ukraine as a potential Customs Union or Eurasian Union member.

According to Giragosian, the third negative impact was the personal embarrassment for President Vladimir Putin. “It revealed Putin’s position of weakness, showing to other Soviet states that they could say ‘no’ to Moscow like Ukraine.

The future of new Ukraine is threatening the Russian interests in terms of the Russian base in Crimea at Sevastopol and in term of Russian natural gas going to Europe through Ukrainian pipelines, the analyst said.

As for the positive outcomes for Russia, Giragosian pointed to the fact that Ukraine lost the leader Russia had never trusted and never liked. Another interesting aspect, according to him, is that even the West admits that the future of Ukraine depends on the behavior of Russia. “The short-term loss of the Russian influence may be transformed into a longer-term victory for Russian significance.”

There are three important challenges to the next Ukrainian government – the danger of breakup or collapse the weakness of the new government and the possible economic collapse.

As for the implications for Armenia, Richard Giragosian said “Ukraine is very different than Armenia, although there are some similarities like economic inequality or public discontent.”

He considers there are many lessons for both the Armenian government and the opposition.  “The first lesson for the Armenian government is that Ukraine reveals it’s very dangerous to underestimate the street power or the people in the streets, and dangerous to overestimate the use of force.”

“The second clear lesson for the Armenian government is that it’s dangerous to ignore popular demands for change and expectations of reform,” Giragosian said.

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