Anne de Tinguy (dir.)

Looking into Eurasia : the year in politics provides some keys to understand the events and phenomena that have left their imprint on a region that has undergone major mutation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991: the post-soviet space. With a cross-cutting approach that is no way claims to be exhaustive, this study seeks to identify the key drivers, the regional dynamics and the underlying issues at stake

Gilles Lepesant

One week before the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine suspended the preparation of an association agreement with the European Union, which had been under negotiation since 2007. When the agreement was finally signed in June 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country under people’s pressure, and the integrity of Ukraine was challenged in the East by separatists and their Russian allies. These events came paradoxically at a time when the country's cohesion seemed stronger than in the 1990s. Far from being divided into two parts, Ukraine consists of the pieces of broken empires that all have good reasons to join in the state, as recent as this one may be. Indeed, its geography, electoral or economic, does not show a split between two blocks, but various lines of division that do not necessarily herald the breaking up of the state. Since the independence, this diversity had never been translated into new institutions: for several reasons, the reshaping of the centralized regime inherited from the Soviet era was deemed untimely by the country’s political forces. Presented as a priority by the members of the Parliament elected in 2014, the reform of territorial government is being implemented while Ukraine’s driving regions are either paralyzed or threatened by war.

Ioulia Shukan

Since the Orange Revolution in autumn 2004 which brought the formal political opposition to power behind the candidacy of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine has been undergoing another transition phase. Change is certainly perceptible on several levels, but the economic and political legacy left by the authoritarian regime of Leonid Kuchma continues to weigh on politics in the country. By adopting a combined approach involving a sociology of the actors and an institutional analysis we assess these changes with respect two key issues: the delinking of political power and economic interests and the constitutional reform. The attitude of the Orange governing team with regard to oligarchic power has changed considerably, moving from the threat of expropriation by re-privatization to the acknowledgment of their importance in the national economy. In reviewing the terms of the constitutional reform, it becomes clear that although such reform was made possible by an unprecedented sharing of political power at the highest state level, between a President and a Prime Minister of opposite political bents, it has nevertheless encountered considerable obstacles to its implementation, due to conflicting interpretations and disagreement between the heads of state and government as to the redefinition of their respective roles. These transformations result in a recurrent modification of the rules of the political game and are likely to jeopardize the progress made on the path to democratization.

Alexandra Goujon

Since May 1, 2004, the Ukraine and Belarus have become the European Union’s new neighbours. Moldova is bound to follow suit with Romania’s entrance, scheduled for 2007. Enlargement of the EU to the East has sparked debates on what relations the EU should have with its new border states that are not slated for membership in the near future. The discussion has led to the design of a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) that blends a regional approach based on shared values with a process of differentiation taking into account the specific characteristics of each country involved. Since their independence, the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova have developed different identity-based strategies that the new ENP hopes to address while avoiding the creation of new divisions. These strategies in fact oppose those who wish to incorporate European values into their country’s political model and those who, on the contrary, reject these values. The relationship between identity and politics is all the more crucial for the EU’s eastern neighbours since it involves practices with a low level of institutionalization, in the areas of nation-building, the political system as well as foreign policy. A comparative approach confirms the idea that the EU’s new neighbours constitute a regional specificity due to their common past as Soviet republics and their geostrategic position. It also points up the differences between these states as they gradually transform into discrete political spaces with nationalized modes of identification and politicization.

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