Kyiv Post: How would you assess the results of President Viktor Yanukovych’s first year of presidency in comparison to those of the previous Orange Revolution leadership of ex-President Viktor Yushchenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko?
Andreas Umland: Overall picture is bleak – and perhaps even worse than a year ago. The previous Orange leadership largely adhered to democratic standards, but damaged Ukraine’s development and image by its constant infighting. The current one has done away with structured political conflict by way of simply curbing democratic institutions. The creation of the Azarov government in spring 2010 was only possible by a de facto revision of the 2007 parliamentary elections results, i.e. through defection of numerous MPs, who had been elected on the Orange ticket, to the Party of Regions.
KP: Should the EU use the association agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and visa-free regime negotiations as a leverage and conditionality factor to promote political and other reforms in Ukraine, or should these agreements be signed as soon as possible?