On December 13, John Brannen published a longer article where he cites some of the comments I sent to him. The interview, which is available here, appeared in The News, the newspaper of New Glasgow. Here is an excerpt:

Russia, EU watch as Eastern European country sees protests erupt in Kiev

NEW GLASGOW – Philip Krakowski of New Glasgow remembers the stories his parents would tell him of life back in Poland.

Under a harsh Communist regime and the watchful eyes of the Soviet Union, his educated parents, originally from Poznan, sought a better life elsewhere. With the help of the Canadian embassy in West Germany they filed as political refugees, and immigrated to Canada and settled in Halifax…

According to Dr. Lavinia Stan, a political science professor at St. Francis Xavier University, this tug-of-war between the EU and Russia is nothing new.

“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and especially with the Eastern enlargement of the European Union, Ukraine and the western republics of the former Soviet Union have been caught in between the European Union and Russia,” she said. “There are significant segments of their population that believe that rapprochement with either the EU or Russia is best for the republic.”

Several former Soviet republics, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have already become EU members. Others, such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, have opted to stay in Russia’s orbit. The toppling of a statue of Lenin in Kiev, while symbolic, shows the great divisions that exist between the people and politicians of Ukraine.

“Ukraine stands thus by itself, remaining a Russian outpost at the edge of the EU… the protests also show that the people have a voice, and the political project they envisage for their country contradicts the one supported by their politicians,” said Stan.

Recently, Yanukovych indicated he would revisit the earlier decision to reject the EU after promises of more aid came from the 28-country bloc. A positive move, said Stan.

“But the underlying issues of representation, accountability, reform will continue to be there as long as the Ukrainian democracy remains unstable.”

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