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The "Kyiv Post's" Survey of German Experts on Ukraine VI: Nina Jeglinski

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[This expert survey was conducted in May-June 2011, i.e. before the trial and arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko, and later partly updated. Abridged versions of the expert interviews were previously published on the website of Ukraine's major English-language weekly "Kyiv Post."]


Nina Jeglinski is the Ukraine correspondent for the major German news agency dpa -- Deutsche Presse-Agentur, and lives in Kyiv since March 2009. Before that, she worked for, among other companies, Volkswagen, Gruner+Jahr and Burda-Media. Jeglinski studied political science and journalism at the universities of Hamburg and Leipzig .

1. How would you assess the results of Yanukovych's first year of   presidency in comparison to those of the previous Orange leadership?

 

I think, that the Yanukovych administration has centralized the power in a way, which is similar to what was done in Russia , Kasachstan and Belarus . A lot of things that the new administration did in the last 16 months did not match the so-called European or democratic standards. The country has a staunchly illiberal government - from its head to the regional and local basic.

2. Should the EU use the Association, DCFTA and Visa-Free Regime negotiations as a leverage and conditionality factor to promote political and other reforms in Ukraine, or should these agreements be signed as soon as possible?

 

Ukraine needs more european standards, but I think, the new government will not provide them. They just want European money, but not Europe 's values. Because of the pressure of Russia , some of the leaders at the current Ukrainian government think, Europe might be helpful. I think many members of the government and some of the advisors of President Yanukovych are not convinced about "the way to Europe " with all the consequences.

But when Europe loses Ukraine at this time, the whole region will be lost for decades to Russia , again. That is what the Russians and strong parts of the Ukrainian elites prefer. Losing Ukraine and a prevail of Russia aren't favourable at all for the EU.

3. Could and should the current pro-Russian German position be replaced by a pro-Ukrainian position? To which degree may domestic political changes in Germany play a role for its future Eastern policy positions?

 

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Unfortunately I don't think Germany will change the position to Ukraine . It did not matter which party will lead Germany or which person will be chancellor. It is hard for Ukrainians to understand, but in Germany the country do not belong to the A-level-countries. Most of the german politicians are quite comfortable with the excuse: "Sorry, but we cannot do more for Ukraine because of our relations to Russia ".

4. Do you have any specific advice for the Ukrainian government to change Ukraine 's image in Germany for the better, and improve Ukraine 's attractiveness for German investors?

 

Do not only talk about fighting against corruption, implement it. Do not only talk about changing law and justice, implement it! Open your market to foreign investors, play hard, but fair. Stop nepotism and let international companies take part in privatisation and business in Ukraine , accepted the international rules of law, business, democracy and open society.

Ukraine is not in a position like Russia or China , even though some politicians and oligarchs seem to dream about it. Ukraine needs to create legal certainty, and modernise its economy and society.

5. Did the decision of Viktor Yanukovych to prosecute the former president Leonid Kuchma for the murder of a journalist add credibility to the current government and improve its image in the West? What are your expectations about how this case should be resolved?

 

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"Kuchma Gate" is a farce. Yanukovych just initiated the case because he wants the Gongdase Case to end. I think it will end with a verdict of "not guilty" for Kuchma. After that, the Yanukovych administration will say: "Look, we put Kuchma in court and the judges said, he isn't guilty." By now, almost everybody in the West realized, that the judges and the courts are not free, independent and transparent in Ukraine .

If Yanukovych manages to taint the reputation of Kuchma's son in law, Victor Pinchuk (what I think was another reason to bring Kuchma to court), this will also undermine the reputation of the current Ukrainian government.

6. Do you think Ukraine will ever enter the EU, and, if so, under which conditions and when approximately?

 

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