This deal, should it come to pass, should confirm for Europe once and for all that Ukraine is ready to chart a new course in the West.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is playing a dangerous game, but it is one forced on him by a European Union that pushes Ukraine away even as it claims it wants closer ties. Unfortunately, he cannot play this game indefinitely.
If this probe is not merely a prelude to cheaper gas for Poles and Lithuanians and a return to the status quo ante thereafter, perhaps Brussels will finally understand exactly what every Ukrainian suffers to keep the hope of European membership alive.
The European Commission’s action is fraught with geopolitical implications at a time when nostalgic Russian president Vladimir Putin is seeking to reestablish Moscow’s dominance over the former Soviet Union’s once vast empire.
The Financial Times reports that a few funds are balancing remaining corruption issues with Baku’s reform programs and the enormous financial liftoff the country has experienced for the last decade and more.
Anything that breaks Gazprom’s stranglehold over Europe’s natural gas supply — and alleviates Ukrainian suffering — is a positive thing for European energy security, and security in general.
The IMF has issued a report that appears to be a cautious signal that the IMF is open to re-opening the loan program, even though gas subsidies will likely remain in place at least through 2013.
The increasing cooperation between Poland, Lithuania, and wider Eastern Europe on energy could be one reason why Moscow has been seen recently as trying to drive a wedge between the Baltic neighbors.
Wars do not all arise from privation, but markets break and are overrun, and democracy never grows, where men and women starve or shiver in the cold. Baku is learning this lesson over time. Hopefully, Europe will as well.
Baku’s understands what will be expected of it and that it is willing to take steps necessary to forge good relationships with the West. The government must resist the impulse toward control that could curtail its great national potential.