Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych attends a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 28, 2011.
Christian Hartmann / Courtesy Reuters

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has a decision to make. On November 28–29, Ukraine could sign an Association Agreement with the EU that will expand their political and trade ties, security cooperation, and cultural connections. Success or failure to sign the agreement will not only reshape Ukraine’s domestic political landscape; it could force Yanukovych, ever the authoritarian in democrat’s clothing, to change too. If Ukraine doesn’t sign it, Yanukovych may have to fashion himself as an anti-Western autocrat with a political future bound to Russia. If it does, he just might reinvent himself as a pro-Western national democrat who saved his country by bringing it closer to the EU. Each strategy carries risks, but only the second one promises stability.

The Association Agreement is, according to the EU, “a pioneering document” and “the first agreement based on political association between the EU and any of the Eastern Partnership countries.”

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