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The gas bill: Ukraine

Opinió | 12/01/2011

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Twenty years after independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine still sees how Russia marks the majority of its political and international agenda. The border with the Russian giant, which dominates the energy supply of the former Soviet republic, explains the electoral behaviour, the economic priorities and even the religious faith of the Ukrainians.

The population of Ukraine, a founding republic of the USSR, was initially in favour of maintaining the Soviet federation in 1990. However, after the coup d’état against Gorbachev public opinion quickly turned toward independence.  Although an independent country for two decades, Moscow’s influence continues to mark day-to-day Ukrainian politics.
One of the reasons is the almost 23% of Russian population which lives in Ukraine, speaks in Russian and feels very at ease under Moscow’s influence. 26% of the population belongs to the orthodox patriarchy of Moscow, compared with 50% to that of Kiev. But the main reason for Russian dominance is an extreme economic dependence, caused by a disastrous economic strategy after secession and, above all, by the supply of Russian gas, vital for the industry and population of Ukraine.
It is not difficult to understand that the economic and political relations with Russia represent the most important issue on the internal and external agenda of Ukraine. Despite independence.

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