Wednesday, February 24, 2010


In Moscow Mr Yanukovich’s victory is seen as a victory over the West, and a belated vindication of Vladimir Putin’s decision to back him five years ago. Mr Yanukovich is more at home in Moscow than in Brussels. He will almost certainly offer Russia’s Gazprom (along with a European firm) a deal to form a long-term consortium to operate Ukraine’s gas pipeline system in the hope that this will reduce gas prices and dissuade Moscow from building an alternative pipeline to bypass Ukraine. That said, Mr Yanukovich will zealously guard the interests of Ukraine’s own tycoons, who see their future in the European Union, not in Russia. As one senior Ukranian diplomat put it, “A good relationship with Russia is also what Europe wants from us.” Ukraine’s politics may be operatic, but do not expect a great redemption or a terrible retribution. The next scene is likely to be a muddle, with the protagonists making the best of a bad job.