Khoroshkovsky Presses for New Era of East-West Cooperation

Valeriy Khoroshkovsky is an interesting fellow, and he has been in the news lately. We have discussed him before and noted at the time that Khoroshkovsky’s future appears bright, though with Ukraine’s political future in flux, anything can happen. Certainly, the parliamentary elections this fall will tell us a great deal about the course of Ukraine’s government … but given the political volatility in Kyiv, it’s not clear that they will tell us more than what to expect until the next elections.

Khoroshkovsky has a piece in Roll Call (link requires registration, but there’s a free trial) aimed at an American audience on the occasion of his visit to Washington, D.C., at the head of Ukraine’s delegation to the Ukrainian-American Commission on Trade and Investment. This event comes on the heels of Kyiv’s efforts to crack down on software piracy, and its successes have opened up trade talks again. (Software piracy is an issue that has been a stumbling block to trade discussions in the past, and from personal experience, has made running a software firm in the country unfairly hard on the incredibly talented young programmers you find thick on the ground in Ukraine.)

Khoroshkovsky’s piece is worth reading in its whole, but a few excerpts should suffice to give the tenor.

Ukraine has since made a determined choice to link its future with the West. We are committed to EU integration, a key priority for our country, and we recently initialed a long-awaited Association Agreement with the EU, including the first-of-its-kind deep and comprehensive free trade area. During the past few months, we have settled a long list of issues, which remained outstanding in our relations with the EU for ages.

We have also made it clear that Ukraine is seeking close cooperation with NATO, including the holding of joint military exercises.

At the same time, we are seeking friendlier ties with Russia, which is a key strategic partner. Ukraine would wish the whole of Europe to be without dividing lines. Russia must be a part of the whole European area of free movement of people, goods, services and capital. We must aim for this goal whatever the difficulties we face now. Ukraine perceives its European integration not only as a national choice, but also as a mission to unite Europe, to remove lingering divisions from Cold War times.

What we are doing, in effect, is carving out an independent niche for Ukraine, as a dynamic bridge between the West and the East.

It is in the West’s interest that Ukraine is politically and economically supported in this effort, further strengthening our reform process. Ukraine has made real progress, and for that, we owe a debt to the West. But we need your continued support to help us over the finish line.

What Ukraine is looking for today is a relationship with the United States that is based on mutual respect and shared interests, both strategic and economic. After all, America is only the 14th largest market for Ukrainian goods, far below the real potential in our trade ties. We can do much better.

Ukraine wants U.S. companies to enjoy its business-friendly environment. We are simplifying the regulatory environment, making substantial cuts in the number of bureaucratic procedures and creating a more transparent and enforceable legal environment.

Khoroshkovsky is obviously pushing hard on the themes that Viktor Yanukovych’s Government has advanced — European integration, co-equal bargaining with Russia, increased trade and economic freedom, and political reform — but Yanukovych has clearly made these themes the make-or-break propositions of his administration.

Somewhat oddly, Khoroshkovsky is silent on Yulia Tymoshenko; while Tymoshenko’s trial (and likely further charges) and imprisonment are not as important to American readers as they would be to Europeans, Khoroshkovsky has emerged as Ukraine’s spokesman on all thing Tymoshenko, and has usually been very eloquent and in command of the relevant facts.

Nevertheless, the column is worth reading, and certainly worth burning a trial membership to Roll Call to see.

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