In the months to come, Europe and Ukraine must practice true Realpolitik. With luck, passions will have cooled to the point that good statesmanship is not merely possible, but likely.
It would be easier for Ukraine to take the co-rapporteurs’ suggestion and eliminate the European Union’s last remaining objection to Kyiv. It must not do so. The rule of law is too precious to be cast aside even in the name of national interest.
The ECHR deserves a plaudit for rejecting the most ridiculous of Tymoshenko’s allegations, effectively undercutting Tymoshenko’s narrative of a brutal regime that imprisoned and tortured her in the prelude to a rigged trial.
Today, this week, Europe and Ukraine finally appear to be on a path to eventual union, a welcome development for those who have long believed in the country’s European path.
The real credit, however, belongs to those who advocated continued engagement with Ukraine. Those European dignitaries who continued to act as intermediaries between Brussels and Kyiv are the unsung heroes here.
This thaw is almost certainly a result of the realization that the constant bludgeoning Ukraine took from Brussels over every failure strengthened apologists for Russia against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s hard pivot to the EU.
A hard government need not have a poor economy. It is a testament to Lukashenko and his cronies that they can neither manage functional democracy nor economic growth.
Beyond the concerns over how the government will fare are larger ones about what this means for the rule of law in the small former Soviet dominion.
The undercurrent to this and other recent events is the continuing Europeanization of Ukraine. In fits and starts, Ukraine is adopting the social and legal norms of a European country.
There has been talk in Washington of late of sanctions against Ukraine for the continuing tribulations of Yulia Tymoshenko. This would be a profound error.