Events happening in Kyiv streets have been one of the major topics of discussion among foreign political quarters. And on Saturday, February 1, the issue of Ukraine sparked bitter exchanges between EU, US and Russian leaders at the Munich Security Conference, established to promote "peaceful conflict resolution and international cooperation". In turn, acting foreign minister of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara confirmed Ukraine's European foreign policy course, but expressed concerns over the rise in extremism levels in our country.

Ukrainian opposition was also present at the conference, but without the leader of political party "Svoboda" Oleh Tyagnybok, not very welcomed in the EU.

On the eve of the conference, as you know, the so-called "laws of January 16" were abolished and the law on amnesty was passed. However, the opposite party did not make any concession in return, though Arseniy Yatseniuk promised to announce the position of the opposition later. "We will read and analyze the law and will announce our position later in Maidan," he said answering the question whether the protesters would clear the administrative buildings. Well, as we see, the Hrushevski and Instytutska streets are still blocked, and administrative buildings still serve as warming centers for protesters.     

According to the statements, published on the official website of "Batkivshchyna", the opposition went to Munich to "regulate the conflict for Ukrainian protesters to see and feel changes." And reporting the results of the visit, the opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatseniuk in particular, informed Europe was allegedly ready to provide financial help. However, no details about what conditions Europe sets in return or who will pay back the debts were specified. "We asked out foreign partners for financial assistance, we provided a financial plan and they said they were ready to help," Yatseniuk explained rather vaguely.

The questions on what this plan is and who developed it remain open. To clarify the situation ForUm has asked experts about what means are in question and what consequences of such financial assistance should be expected.  

Yaroslav Zhalylo, president of the Center for anti-crisis research:

- It is unlikely that the EU and US will provide financial support not asking anything in return. Most probably there will be certain conditions like repayment of foreign debts, reorganization of some power branches, ministries or law enforcements. The financial support may also include a loan for reconstruction of utilities sector, infrastructure, etc. Moreover, the support package may include not only money, but also investment obligations or other propositions. I wonder if Europe is really ready to provide a size of assistance, comparable to Russian financial support.  

At the same time, realization of declared financial assistance will create certain balance between the major sources of foreign support - Europe and Russia, but each source wants to be sure of timely payback, which in turn suggests certain political "requests".     

Oleksandr Okhrymenko, president of Ukrainian analytical center:

- Arseniy Yatseniuk got it wrong. I believe he meant the possibility to obtain IMF loan. But the fact is that Azarov's government could get this loan two years ago. Actually, IMF can give this loan right now, but the problem is the conditions of this financial assistance.

IMF demands to freeze the rise of salaries and pensions, to double tariffs for utility services and to cut outside expenditures. Yes, we can take this loan, but the question is whether it is worth it. Wouldn't it be better to develop the economy and gain money thanks to growth in export and trade with China, Russia, etc.?

Yevhen Leshan, political expert:

- I would not take the talks of the opposition about money for real money. I think it is a part of the propaganda. At Munich conference our opposition was clearly recommended to stop aggression and violence. Europe is not interested in escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. Moreover, only legal government is authorized to negotiate on foreign financial assistance. When Europeans start talks with our legitimate government, then we will learn about details of the loan, if any.

At the moment, if leaders of the opposition try to dismiss the protests, people will give them the finger. Maidan has not reached its goals, the problem has not been solved and people are still disappointed. Ukrainians want changes, but the opposition cannot give them. People are tired but have no intention to go home. I believe the opposition understands it is losing people's trust, thus does not make any attempts to dismiss Maidan for now.

Volodymyr Tsybulko, political scientist:

- The opposition may ask everything it wants, but we must take into account that financial issues at the state level can be decided with the legal government only. If the opposition asks for money, it means its leaders agree to form a government. A week ago Yatseniuk refused to take the post of the Prime Minister, but these talks about financial assistances prove the opposition has changed its mind. At the same time, we must understand that a new government cannot be 100% oppositional, for we will bargain one trouble for another.

Kost Bondarenko, chairman of the board of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:

- In fact, money was promised not to the opposition, but to Ukraine. There are no grounds to speculate that the EU will allocate financial assistance only when the opposition comes to power. The EU always holds financial talks with the authorities, not the opposition. Europe has finally understood that those 15 billion Yanukovych was talking about on November were not just a whim, as Yatseniuk tried to present, but a reasonable necessity.

Moreover, Europeans will never give money without a plan. Any means will be allocated for specific projects and will be tied to the signing of the Association agreement. The usual practice of loans is as follows: Ukraine signs the Association agreement, the EU calls a meeting of donor-countries and decides on the scheme of tranches. And in this situation it does not matter who the President or Premier are. The matter concerns relations between Ukraine and the European Union.

But first, Ukraine must prove its stability, meaning the power, opposition and Maidan must reach a consensus. Then there will be the turn of the Association agreement, and only then we can speak about financial assistance.

My point is that it is not said that Yatseniuk has brought the money or that Yatseniuk has been promised money. Yatseniuk was just a participant of the Munich conference, at which European partners explained the situation and possible plans of cooperation. Yatseniuk was just the first to make the statement, thus claiming the achievement to be his.

At this point I believe it is too early to speak about possible consequences of this financial assistance, as we do not know any details and conditions.

Mykhailo Pohrebynski, director of the Kyiv center for political research and conflict management:

- The fact that leaders of the opposition appeal to Europe proves they do not have enough support here in Ukraine. I will give you a simple example. There are many ways to prove the society supports the claims of the opposition, for example a two-hour-long strike. But any attempts to organize strikes failed, proving these so-called followers of the European choice do not stand a chance. Besides that they do not control the crowd in Maidan, they do not even control their own brains.

They openly say: "We want to get power, we want to go under the European Union and United States, and for this we want Europe and the US to impose sanctions on Ukrainian oligarchs."


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