viewpoint-east.org

Simple-minded portrait of Ukraine

Category: by sophie engström, EU, NGO, ukraine
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It is intrigues to note how international media is covering the aftermath of the Ukrainian Presidential election. I am not considering the political battle, or the long and protracted death struggle by Tymoshenko, but actually how international media looks upon the result. First of all, it seems to me that many journalist in “old media” (to use a concept from the Swedish Pirate movement) seems to have a predilection to depict Ukrainian voters as a hopeless passive group, like silent masses that never would be able to protest against possible violations against human rights or freedoms of speech. In most articles the voters does not even exists! (One example from the leading Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.) It seems to me that many international journalists actually nurse the idea that the orange revolution was created by some kind of misstake. NOT as a protest against something that the Ukrainian voters actually felt humiliated by. This rather retarded interpretation of the situation actually leads to that many journalists seems to think that it is EU that must “save” Ukraine from itself. I would say that Timothy Garton Ash in guardian.co.uk actually nurse this particular perspective.

From his perspective it is important that Europe (which seems to be the same thing as EU for Ash) somehow secure the Ukrainian freedom. In one respect I must give him right, it is really important that EU understands the importance in having good relationship with Ukraine, and it is also important for EU to try to work faster and less obsessed by bureaucracy. But when he diminishes Ukraine to be only its politicians, I am wondering if he actually has understood what has happen during the past five years.

What we have been witnessing during this election is a triumph for democracy, and I am not sure that we should thank EU for that! I fear however that Ash would have preferred a complete capitalist integration, in that extent that Western interests should control all affairs and political life in Ukraine. Some kind of weird capitalistic interpretation of democracy. I can admit that I am as fond of Ash and trust him as much as I like Anders Åslund, which implies serious skepticism. For me it is just too obvious that the iron wall is really high and thick in their minds!

I, however, believe that democratic movements and freedoms of speech will need help during the next coming years, but I also believe that EU is not necessarily the guarantee that we will keep and develop that! What I am hoping for is grassroots initiatives, actions and connections over our boarders! It was actually grass-root movements that made the orange revolution possible, so let’s hope we together can create the best environment for freedom of speech and human rights in Ukraine.

(UPD: Thank you, Olha Wesnjanka for highlighting the article by Ash.)

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Is there a greater Scheme? – About Swedbank in Ukraine: Part 2

Category: business, by sophie engström, economy, swedbank, ukraina, ukraine
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Yesterday I wrote a short summery on what has been said in Swedish media about Swedbank’s engagement in Ukraine. Today I will continue with a possible interpretation of why Swedbank stays in Ukraine even though they loose a lot by staying.

On the 12th of December Dagens Nyheter, one of the leading newspapers in Sweden, denoted that Swedbank not only looses a lot by staying in Ukraine, but possibly also having a very unique position in comparison to other international banks. Through the the Finicial Cooperation for the World Bank, IFC, Swedbank has got a loan on about half a Billion Swedish Kronen (≈€48 000 000). And even the fact that Swedbank actually violates and working on a high risk level, IFC have no intension in breaking their cooperation with the Swedbank. For instance, 42% of Swedbank debts are risky or even bad. Moreover, the bank also has too much exposure and loans to one single customer. It is however not clear who it is it, but several observers mean it is Sergey Tigipko. This is a clear violation against the agreements with IFC. All this is very agrivating facts and also leads us to the question why Swedbank stays in Ukraine.

Knut Kainz Rognerud imples in his book Det stora bankrånet (The big bank robbery) that Swedbank, and many other Swedish banks, did in fact make the crash in the global finical crisis bigger because the banks gave unwise and very unstable loans. One might ask oneself if this could be the irony of it all. Today it looks like the banks are losing and actually risking a lot, but in a longer perceptive Swedbank will possibly be one of the only international banks left in Ukraine – and will possibly own a great deal of Ukraine’s resources. I would say that this interpretation is not too paranoid, but are only based on the simple fact, that no bank will stay in Ukraine just from pure generosity. Of course they have a greater plan with their engagement, possibly not a “scheme” but at least a plan. And that plan is not open for either of us, but concerns our well-being.

If you have any comments of thought about this let me know. It is possible you have some information I have not, and I would highly appreciate if you would share it with me.

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Surprised by the Ukraine-EU summit

Category: by sophie engström, EU, ukraina, ukraine
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I have to admit I was really surprised when I opened my weekly issue of one of the leading newspapers in Sweden this saturday and found a small note about the Ukraine-EU summit. I was not as surprised by the actual agreement. Of course there where no real change in order to improve the relationship between the Ukraine “the EU’s closest cooperation and trade partner”, as the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said, and EU. I think, that even though I am a sceptic, pessimist a real misanthrope in these circumstances, I am probably not alone when say that one of the priority issues during the Swedish Presidency, The Eastern Partnership, is perhaps a real fiasco. It has actually been so little talk about this priority, so I started to imagine that they perhaps had moved it out from the priority list… Anyway, I wonder, really wonder, what the chairman of EU, Mr. Reinfeldt, and Chairman of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, hopes to achieve when their main focus is to pressure and lecture Ukraine, pointing on that Ukraine’s reforms are too slow or not democratic enough? The only achievement I can see is that they follow wishes from IMF like little doggies? • woof woof •

I am especially worried, because it seems like EU has run out of any creative ideas about how to cooperate with, for instance, Ukraine. And it is possible that this inanity actually affect the relationships in a many negative ways. I can’t say I have any constructive ideas right now on the issue, but I at least do know that even though the EU leaders congrats themselves, the whole agreement is painfully worthless.

Or? Any objections?

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