Ladies and gentlemen, for the past few days or so there have been significant and now violent clashes between pro-EU protestors in Ukraine and pro-Russian opponents.
One side wishes to embrace the EU and potential economic growth, the other wishes to stay allied to Russia as Ukraine has done since it gained independence from the former USSR in 1991, along with many other ex-Soviet republics.
Ukraine, being the largest nation entirely within Europe at 604,000 square kilometres (2 1/2 times the size of the United Kingdom) and with a population of 45 million as of 2013, could potentially exert much influence in Europe in some years' time (if just because of these factors).
Ukraine does not need either Russia or the EU, in my honest opinion. Russia under Vladimir Putin is exerting uncomfortable levels of influence over nations close to it that should be self-determining, and Russia itself is pretty undemocratic due to frequent and widespread election fraud, as well as infrequent repression of journalists and human rights activists of all types. Partly because of this, similar actions have occurred in Ukraine under its current President, Viktor Yanukovych, of which the unjust jailing of Yulia Timoshenko has been the most shameful.
The EU, especially the unelected and easily corrupted European Commission, would in some ways be even worse for the Ukraine if Ukraine were to join it The pro-neoliberal, 'common market' policies of the EU (e.g. the Common Agricultural Policy) would ultimately cause serious damage not only to Ukraine's economy but also Ukrainian society itself. It is becoming clear that the general public of Eastern European nations overall are not faring that well in the European Union on at least a few levels. Particularly in light of the threat of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Ukraine should stay well out of the EU, as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have wisely done.
I thus believe that the best outcome for Ukraine would be to assert its own, self-determined individual position in Europe rather than either rely on the influence of Russia or rely on prospective EU membership.
Any thoughts on this matter?