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A woman holds up a banner during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunisia. A woman holds up a banner during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied, in Tunis, Tunisia, April 10, 2022 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

The EU Will Pay Dearly for Its Neglect of North Africa

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

In the fall of 2012, as Syria plunged into civil war and the Eurozone crisis generated panic across global markets, a parliamentary election in Ukraine signaled trouble ahead to those who were paying attention. The results that trickled out on Oct. 28, 2012, indicated that then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions had secured a strong position through dubious constitutional maneuvers and ballot manipulation.

In the aftermath of the elections, Yanukovych’s corrupt and Russia-friendly clique tried to bend Ukraine to their whims. The simmering discontent among large parts of the population over Yanukovych’s power grab was the first escalation in political battles that ultimately led to the Maidan uprising less than 15 months later. By the summer of 2013, a widespread sentiment had taken hold among Ukrainians that closer integration with the European Union was a final chance to prevent Yanukovych from taking Ukraine down Russia’s path of venal authoritarianism. Yet even as Russian President Vladimir Putin did everything to obstruct Ukraine’s path to closer ties with the West, many EU leaders seemed oblivious to how fast things were approaching a crucial inflection point in Moscow and Kyiv. ...

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