IISWU expert group
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Ukraine is losing fight political support in the post soviet space!?

Ukrainian have declared that the visit of the leaders of six former Soviet republics to Moscow for the Victory day celebration did not have any political meaning and would have no impact on international relations. Because all of the post-soviet leaders, except Pashinyan, did not come to power  by free and fair elections, they should not be considered as the real representatives of their countries, – highly controversial opinion. According to Ukrainian experts and politicians, the visit of Ursula von der Leyen to Kyiv was mach more significant than the Moscow gathering, because it can be regarded as a sign of indestructible European support.

There is no need to discuss the political legitimacy of those post-soviet leaders, who joined Putin for the Victory Day. Because much to the regret of Ukrainian political experts and observers they remain the only internationally (and domestically) recognized representatives of their countries no matter what.  Free and fair elections is a very good thing, but they are not the only way to gain political legitimacy, and Ms von der Leyen may be considered a good example of that. And the fact that six post-Soviet leaders decided to visit Moscow for the celebration has shown that Ukraine has failed to gain the political support of almost half of the former Soviet republics.

The main problem is that neither Ukrainian media nor politicians seem to realize what has been happening and has no intention to correct the mistakes caused by the negligence to the relations with the post-Soviet countries. The Ukrainian government remain convinced that the efforts to integrate to the EU can ensure high international status and national security. It is not so. The EU integration does not disagree with the good relations post-Soviet countries. The efforts should have been made to gain their support instead of denying the legitimacy of their leaders.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities demonstrate such an approach not only to the post-Soviet countries but to the Global south in a whole. The Ukrainian government is losing battle for moral and political support  on the regional level. And this process can spread onto global dimension if the Ukrainian approach does not change. In that case the Ukrainian foreign policy will become a obstacle for the international influence of the EU and can hinder the Ukrainian integration.

Molchanov Kyryl

director of the International Institute for study of the Consequences of the war in Ukraine