Integration Rivalry with Moscow

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Because the German government-backed attempt to overthrow the government in Kiev has not taken place, foreign policy experts in Berlin are now discussing cautious changes of course in Germany’s policy toward the Ukraine. Retrospective analyses are now admitting that, had the Ukraine signed the EU Association Agreement, serious economic and social damage would have been inflicted on that country. The foreign policy establishment continues to assert that Berlin should bring the Ukraine into its sphere of hegemonic influence. This therefore places Berlin in an “integration rivalry with Moscow.” To integrate the Ukraine, new proposals call for either bypassing elite circles by fostering contacts to “civil society” or by compelling integration with targeted economic interventions. In any case, the rightwing extremist Svoboda Party has been able to enhance its position within the protest movement during the recent demonstrations. It could benefit from the cooperation also with German diplomats during the agitation against the current Ukrainian government.

The German’s Man

In light of the fact that, more than a month and a half after massive protests began, the Ukrainian government is still sitting high in the saddle, foreign policy specialists have begun discussing cautious changes in the course of Germany’s policy toward the Ukraine. Berlin did all it could, to help overthrow the government in Kiev. This culminated in the appearance of the then German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at a demonstration in Kiev December 4. Westerwelle made his appearance at the side of Vitali Klitschko, the politician of the Ukrainian opposition, seen internationally as “the Germans’ man.” He has been systematically groomed by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation.[1] In their efforts to support the overthrow of the government in Kiev, German diplomats have even met on various occasions with top representatives of the Svoboda opposition party, which has an extremist rightwing orientation and cooperates with the German neo-Nazi NPD. ( reported.[2])

Bypass the Elite Circles

There is wide-ranging consensus in the German foreign policy establishment that Berlin should continue its struggle to anchor the Ukraine within its hegemonic sphere of influence – at times referred to as an “integration rivalry with Moscow.”[9] There are various suggestions for the means to be used. Stefan Meister, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, makes a plea for placing less emphasis on future contacts to Ukrainian elite circles. The “post-Soviet elite circles” are at least partially loyal to Moscow because of their economic and hegemonic interests. “Rather than elite circles, the population and civil society are the EU’s natural partners for modernization,” contends Meister. “The main element of the EU’s strategy” should therefore “be the involvement of civil society in the implementation of reform processes.”[10]

With the Oligarchs

The DGAP recently suggested that sectors of the Ukrainian economy be more closely linked to the EU. Brussels must try “to support the Ukraine’s very important small and medium enterprises,” according to a paper published by the DGAP.[11] “Strategies” must be “developed for those sectors of industry, where it is foreseeable that they would not withstand the competitive pressure of the European market.” Examples of those industries include, to a large part, enterprises of Ukrainian oligarchs, with whom Berlin and the EU must establish a modus vivendi.

Full article: Integration Rivalry with Moscow (German Foreign Policy)

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