World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Ukraine leaves the USA aside, aims to develop close ties with Russia

The US administration believes that it is useless to invest in the conflict between the two neighboring states

Latest actions taken by the head of the new Ukrainian administration, Viktor Yushchenko, prove that the new president has revised his views regarding Ukraine's foreign economic policy. The Ukrainian government is interested in the Russian business now. Yushchenko believes that Ukraine is going to intensify its relations with strategic partners and take them to a qualitatively new level. The short-term cooperation with the former ideological ally, the USA, is being currently nullified.

The current week can be characterized with new rather important events for Ukraine. Viktor Yushchenko invited leading Russian businessmen and coordinated the date of Russian President Putin's visit to Ukraine as well. In addition, the committee for assignments of the US Congress refused to assign $60 million for Yushchenko's administration for the support and consolidation of historical achievements of the democratic election in Ukraine. The USA halved the financial help for Ukraine to almost $26.3 million. 

It is not ruled out that the West has realized the fact that political and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine are going to improve. The US administration probably believed that it was useless to invest in the conflict between the two neighboring states. On the other hand, the financial cut was probably the USA's way of telling Yushchenko that he was pushing the democratic accomplishment of the Ukrainian nation (the result of the “orange revolution”) into the background. The Ukrainian government, however, has already made several important decisions to become closer to Russia.

Viktor Yushchenko stated at the meeting with a group of leading Russian businessmen that he was intended to sign an order about the establishment of the acceptable environment for running business activities. The environment, Yushchenko added, would be characterized with a civilized fiscal policy and tax system and with the reduction of business registration procedures in Ukraine nationwide. The Ukrainian president also assured the businessmen that their investments in the business of Ukraine would be safe and sound.

It is important now for Viktor Yushchenko to create the image of a self-restrained, civilized and adequate leader, taking into consideration his previous statements about nationalization, close cooperation with Western sponsors and persecution of political rivals. The new president needs to prove that it is possible and reliable to conclude long-term agreements with Ukraine. This perception is especially important against the background of Vladimir Putin's forthcoming visit to Ukraine. It will be Putin's first visit to the neighboring state after Yushchenko's election for the post. Putin intends to use the chance to improve relations with Ukraine: the presidents are going to discuss the strengthening of economic ties between the two countries.

Experts believe that Putin's visit to Ukraine will let the international community know that post-Soviet states always stick together. It is noteworthy that Viktor Yushchenko as the new president made his first official visit to Russia. Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomirdin, said that Russia and Ukraine had a huge potential for cooperation. The annual commodity turnover between the two countries was planned to reach $50-60 billion, Chernomirdin added.