George Soros Ukraine, the chairman of Soros Fund Management and a well-established figure in the hedge fund industry, has repeatedly come out publicly in favor of decisive EU action in Ukraine. Soros believes that EU action is necessary to counter the ambitions of Russia in Eastern Europe, and particularly in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Russian president Vladimir Putin has proven that one of his major foreign policy goals is to destabilize Ukraine and invalidate the revolutionary government attempting to reform the country’s civil service and federal governance. The European Union, as the other powerful state organization in the region, must act to ensure that Ukraine has the freedom to decide its own future.
The new government in Ukraine is in desperate need of financial assistance, and there are few potential sources for this monetary infusion other than Europe. Soros argues, in forums such as the New York Times and other major news sources, that without this financial windfall, Ukraine will be unable to combat Russia’s destabilizing influence. The loss of Ukraine could lead to an advanced Russian presence on the world stage or even a general reconstruction of the Soviet-era “iron curtain” sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. Allowing Russia to coerce its neighbors into trade agreements and pacts by using overt force sets a dangerous precedent in the region, and could diminish the ability of the EU to influence its eastern neighbors.
George Soros also talks extensively about the need to transform the perception of the Russian population. Although the ability of outside actors to do this is questionable, largely because of the outsized influence of Russian state-sponsored news and television programs in the country, Soros claims that the Ukrainian situation can be used as a signal to the Russian populace by the West.
George Soros – The New York Times
If, he argues, the EU provides Ukraine with the stimulus package that it needs in order to survive and combat Russian military and political aggression, it will be more difficult for Putin to demonize the West to the Russian people. Russia is currently in the midst of a financial crisis and a capital flows drain, and Putin is effectively claiming that this calamity is the result of Western political strategy and banking collusion. If the EU demonstrates its financial commitment to Ukraine, the Russian people will be forced to confront an example of active Western financial assistance right at their doorstep.
Transforming Russia from a foe into a friend is, of course, sure to be a difficult task, but the short-term goals of Soros’ strategy are not nearly so far-fetched. Ukraine is utilizing democratic elections and tools to attempt a massive transformation in its society — the European Union is obliged to encourage and abet this transition into truly democratic rule. One of the best ways to do this, as George Soros and others have repeatedly said, is to give the fledgling government the financial freedom to focus on nation-building. The future of the EU project and Russian-Western relations may hang in the balance.
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