On August 23, Press Club Brussels hosted the premiere of a documentary dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence, “Thirty years in a circle of friends”. The British journalist Paul Szczerbakowicz presented his research on the difficult relations between Ukraine and neighbouring European countries.
The authors drew attention, in particular, to the fact that Ukraine managed to enter the quarrel with Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Belarus and even Lithuania due to the policy of total nationalism. The glorification of persons considered to be involved in the genocide in Europe and unjustified blackmail played its role too. Poland, which has always acted as an advocate of Ukraine in matters of European integration, made it clear that with the glorification of the leaders of the OUN-UPA, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, the country will definitely not be allowed to join the EU.
The new language policy of Ukraine gives Hungary and Romania their reasons to be indignant. According to the new legislation, children of ethnic Romanians and Hungarians have lost the right to get education in their native language. Slovakia, which lent Ukraine a hand in difficult times by providing Russian gas by the reverse supplies, got a ‘gas ultimatum’ as a reward. Ukrainian authorities demanded that the Slovaks provide gas with a virtual reverse, without waiting for the consent of Russia, whose gas was actually sold in Ukraine.
Lithuania, which was considered a true friend of Ukraine, has also been backstabbed. The Lithuanian authorities asked Ukraine not to buy electricity in Belarus, since this is an indirect financing of the construction of a nuclear power plant on the border with Lithuania, which causes great concern in the Baltic state.
At last, Ukraine broke ties with Belarus by not recognizing its President Alexander Lukashenko as the legally elected. The fact that Minsk is the platform for settlement of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine was ignored.
According to Szczerbakowicz, the conflicting behaviour of Ukraine actually puts an end to the European ambitions of the country. After thirty years of independence, it managed to quarrel with every neighbour who could help the country become a member of the EU.
According to the authors of the “Ukraine: 30 Years With So-Called Friends” film, the absence of European perspectives is the reason for the recent compliments Ukrainian officials made to the Communist government of China. After all, China can be considered by Ukraine as a substitute for the IMF. Unlike the international monetary fund, China will not demand reforming the country in return for loans.
Paul Szczerbakowicz concludes that in thirty years Ukraine hasn’t turned into a prosperous country, while most of its post-Soviet neighbours have succeeded. Now Ukraine is rather a third world state. Even the United States is beginning to understand it, appointing a meeting of the presidents of Ukraine and the US during the summer break means that such negotiations are deemed completely fruitless.