Relief has been expressed on the streets of Kiev, after Russia and Ukraine agreed to compromise over gas prices. The attitude in the Ukrainian capital generally seems to be that prolonging the dispute would have been detrimental to both countries. “This ended the way it should have,” one resident said. “Two civilised countries have solved their problem in a civilised manner.” “My reaction is positive. Only positive,” one Russian speaker exclaimed.
Another woman simply gave the thumbs-up. However some analysts warn that Russia may yet try to influence Ukraine’s politics. Masha Lipman of the Carneige Endowment in Moscow said: “Russia has not lost hope of taking revenge for the humiliating defeat it suffered (in the “Orange Revolution”.) “In March Ukraine will have a very critical parliamentary election and Russia apparently hopes to meddle in Ukrainian politics once again, using energy as a tool.” The upcoming election could see a comeback by Viktor Yanukovich – the Kremlin hoped he would win the presidential election in 2004 but he was defeated by Viktor Yushchenko, who vowed to steer ex-Soviet Ukraine towards NATO and the European Union.