Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nearing the Event Horizon

Russia would dearly like Ukraine back in their orbit.

The recent election of a pro-Russian President Yanukovych is going far toward nudging Ukraine into the Russian orbit. Russia has scored a visible success very early:

Russian news agencies report that the presidents of Ukraine and Russia have agreed to extend the stay of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol beyond the lease expiry in 2017.

How long before Ukraine is so close to Russia that not even Orange can escape the gravitational pull?

I remain amazed that an entire nation effectively voted to surrender their freedom and independence.

UPDATE: Ya think?

President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday defended a deal to allow a Russian base to stay in Ukraine until 2042 after it was slammed by his opponents as a surrender of national sovereignty.

Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had agreed to extend the lease of the Russian Black Sea Fleet base in Crimea for another 25 years after 2017, in exchange for Kiev receiving a discount of 30 percent on gas imports.

A surrender of national sovereignty? Fancy that. Yes, that was the point of electing a pro-Russian president. The opposition is naturally upset. We shall see if the people who voted Yanukovych in will think that 30% off gas is worth the sale of sovereignty.

Dreams of "balancing" Russia and the West will remain just a dream. Ukraine has chosen a path to reuniting with Russia in practice. They'll keep their seals, postage stamps, and UN seat (but then, they had one when in the USSR, too, if you'll recall), but Ukraine's brief flirtation with independence has essentially ended after only a generation. Oh, not all at once, of course. But independence will erode and Moscow will gain more and more power, until only the trappings of independence remain.

Ukraine is dead. Long live The Ukraine.