Moreover, the meager results had been rather predictable since the Ukrainian government had not indicated any intention to ease its multifaceted pressure on civil society, nor had the EU looked ready to condone Kyiv’s increasingly authoritarian behavior.
Yet, the drama under the title “Ukraine–EU Association Agreement” had been played for so long and by so many actors, that most of the viewers could not merely give it up. Some expected a miracle, but many more simply watched the ship sinking, taking down with it sheaves of toughly negotiated documents.
Still, the Ukrainian crew looked surprisingly cheerful and the foreign guests apparently unworried. Unlike the viewers, all the participants of the performance had got what they wished. Ukraine’s friends like Poland or Sweden left the door open, i.e., the agreement negotiations pending, albeit at the lowest speed possible and with the slimmest chance of being completed in any form in the foreseeable future. Ukraine’s opponents, like France and Germany, got a plausible excuse not to initial the Agreement they had not wanted to sign anyway. And the Ukrainian president got one more opportunity for publicity photographs with the EU big bosses and could display them ad nauseam on all the loyalist TV channels and newspapers. Now, he can continue his “European” rhetoric with even greater confidence.