Before the bubble had burst with the “suspension” of talks for signing the association agreement by Ukraine’s government, eight days before the scheduled signing for Nov. 28, the play-acting and obfuscating was helping the Yanukovych regime deflect attention of democratic agenda strategists and the public from the number one need — an expeditious ending of that regime.
After the world was “shocked” by Yanukovych’s decision to torpedo the scheduled signing the deal, a second shock was delivered by Ukraine’s president, on Nov. 26, by publicly explaining that the proceedings were suspended because the EU had “humiliated” his country by not putting some real money on the table. According to Yanukovych, $20 billion a year is needed for several years. This is a kind of language meant to scuttle any substantive dialogue with the European Union.
It is no secret that Ukraine is facing a financial default and economic collapse under the weight of its debts in the very near future. The debt to Russia alone is close to $20 billion. Ukraine’s debt restructuring is held up by the IMF mainly because of the government’s foot-dragging on unpopular issues such as reducing residential gas subsidies. Gas politics in Ukraine are fraught with rampant corruption in oligarchic circles, carried over from the 1990s days of gangster capitalism.