Yanukovych-Putin Agreements Fail to Answer Ukraine's Real Needs | Freedom House

Yanukovych-Putin Agreements Fail to Answer Ukraine's Real Needs

Washington

Russia’s promise of financial aid to Ukraine will not restore Ukrainians’ trust in their government and does not respond to their demand for closer ties to the European Union, Freedom House said today.

“The deal announced in Moscow shows President Yanukovych is putting his own interests ahead of his country’s,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House. “His agreement with Russia is more about keeping himself in office than resolving his country’s political and economic crisis. The only way forward is for Ukrainians to be able to pick their leader in elections, and that can only happen if Yanukovych resigns.”

On December 17, President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced a Russian financial assistance package that includes $15 billion in loans and a temporary, 30 percent reduction in the price Ukraine pays for Russian natural gas.

Ukraine and Russia gave no other details about the agreement, which has not resolved the grievances that have fueled public demonstrations. The protests have focused on the public’s lack of trust in government, the government’s turn away from closer integration with the EU, rampant corruption, human rights violations, and a system where the well-connected become wealthy and enjoy near total impunity.

In late November, Yanukovych unexpectedly decided against signing new agreements with the EU . In response to the protests that began, police injured dozens of protesters and more than 50 journalists who were covering the actions. The EU has suspended negotiations with Ukraine.

“It’s clear that Yanukovych is not serving his country well,” Kramer said. “It’s important for the country’s business leaders and government officials to insist that the president reverse course.”

"From his snubbing of the EU, to his use of force against peaceful protesters, to his secret agreements with Putin and threats against protest organizers, Yanukovych is threatening Ukraine's democratic and European aspirations,” Kramer said. “It’s important for the country’s business figures and government officials to decide which they favor – a corrupt, increasingly authoritarian regime or peaceful, democratic, Euro-oriented protesters.”

Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom of the World 2013, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

To learn more about Ukraine, visit:
Press Release: Ukraine President Should Resign; Sanctions Warranted if More Violence Against Protesters, Press
Special Report: One Step Forward, One Step Back: An Assessment of Freedom of Expression in Ukraine during its OSCE Chairmanship
Nations in Transit 2013: Ukraine
Freedom in the World 2013: Ukraine
Freedom of the Press 2013: Ukraine
Freedom on the Net 2013: Ukraine
Blog: Freedom at Issue

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Photo Credit: www.kremlin.ru

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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