|Illusions in EU rife|
EXTRACT: True, in the minds of many Ukranians [EU] associate status in theory means the free movement of labour - which, of course, is very attractive to many, especially younger citizens, looking towards Germany as a possible port of call in their hopes for a better future. Many are genuinely enthusiastic about the EU and all it appears to offer. But cruelly it is very unlikely that associate status will lead to the free movement of labour, leaving the ambitious - using that word in the best sense - trapped in a decaying and fragmenting Ukraine. A horrible situation.
After all, what is the alternative facing them? Russia has offered £14 billion in aid (cheap oil, cheap gas, etc) and some sort of ‘common market’ that also includes - wait for it - Belarus and Kazakhstan. It is almost impossible to conceive of a less appealing prospect. By comparison, Greece, Spain and Portugal are near to paradise on earth. Belarus (literally ‘white Rus’) is a truly weird and frightening place, like a cross between Putin’s and Stalin’s Russia - it still has all the old monstrous statues. Kazakhstan, another strange place, has a large Russian-speaking minority. Yet the only thing these countries have in common - or at least parts of them - is an inchoate and nostalgic Slavophilism, which would quickly break down under the cold economic winds.