Was Ukraine Betrayed at Geneva?

April 22, 2014 Topic: Global Governance Region: Ukraine

Was Ukraine Betrayed at Geneva?

A Munich for the 21st Century? You decide.


Once the Orthodox Easter truce (such as it is) ends, we’ll know whether the Geneva framework holds up and can enable additional achievements.

Here are the questions to which we’ll soon find answers: Will Russia goad, even if not publicly, the pro-referendum agitators into going home? Are these groups simply Moscow’s tools? Or are they—as suggested by a comment from the head of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” that his organization wouldn’t accept what was agreed on in Geneva—the tail that could wag the Russian dog? Will Vladimir Putin dispense with the rhetoric that calls into question the very fact of Ukrainian nationhood and dredges up revanchist formulations such as “Greater Russia”? Will Russia resort to force if the violence in eastern Ukraine escalates?


If the answers to these questions turn out to be the opposite of what we want, the Geneva effort will have failed. But the failure will not be the result of not having called Russia to account and isolated it at the talks.

Meanwhile, one of the most useful moves Europe and the United States can make is to extend Ukraine the credit it needs over the next two years to avoid default. Progress has been made on this front but not enough. Russia is one of Kyiv’s two major problems. Establishing economic stability is the other. When it comes to this task the West has a lot to offer, and little excuse not to offer it.

Rajan Menon is the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science at the Colin Powell School, City College of New York/City University of New York, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.