In recent days, developments in Ukraine have reinforced the notion that the crisis in the country is far from over, if anything it continues becoming more absurd.
Published on South Front, July 3, 2019
On the evening of July 2nd, “activists” organized a protest against the participation of blogger Anatoly Shariy and the former head of the presidential administration of Yanukovych’s time, Andrei Klyuev, in the snap general elections that are to take place on July 21st.
The protest was actually called for by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and there were no activists present, the people protesting were nationalists, burning flares and yelling that they were tired of seeing “this line,” on Kiev’s Maidan – the Independence square.
The reason for the protest was the decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Ukraine on the registration of blogger Anatoly Shariy as a candidate for people’s deputies in the early parliamentary elections.
The CEC adopted the decision at a meeting on July 2nd by a majority of votes in pursuance of the Supreme Court ruling of June 30th, according to a statement by the political party “Shariy Party”.
On June 24, the CEC of Ukraine decided to refuse to register for early elections to the Rada of Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Shariy. However, Shariy was able through court to get the cancellation of this decision, despite the fact that he had not lived in Ukraine continuously for five years, as required by law.
There is another very recent precedent of a similar situation, former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili pursued to overturn a CEC decision to not be allowed to take part in the general elections in Ukraine.
On June 26th, the court did, in fact, overrule the decision and urged the CEC to allow his “Ruh” party to take part.
“To oblige the Central Election Commission to reconsider the documents for registration of candidates for people’s deputies of Ukraine from the Rukh New Forces party of Mikhail Saakashvili in the national electoral district and single-mandate electoral districts submitted by the political party Ruh of the new forces of Mikhail Saakashvili on June 20, 2019,” the court decision stated.
Notably, Shariy’s “partner” – Andrei Klyuev was part of the Yanukovich government, prior to the 2014 Maidan and is supposed to be lustrated from any public position, according to the recently accepted law.
But as it has become apparent with some of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s appointments, such legislation isn’t exactly “mandatory.” Especially if it’s not specifically anti-Russian.
Anatoly Shariy further responded to the protest against him. Saying that Poroshenko’s propagandist Matvey Ganapolsky on the Poroshenko Channel’s broadcast asked to support Sinitsyn’s activist and to go to the Maidan against the court decision on Shariy and Klyuev.
“Two – “activists” deliberately added my name to the name of Kluev. This is an extremely cunning move, in the style of collective-farm savvy, however, I would strongly advise the “activists” to shove their boss Poroshenko into the same place as Yanukovich Klyuev’s friend.
And if it will be dark and not crowded there, they will even make friends.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to show that he has no capability of enforcing his authority and consolidating power.
On July 1st, he, for the second time, requested from the Ukrainian Parliament to approve the dismissal of the Chief Prosecutor and the Foreign Minister.
The requests were initially made on June 11th and led to nothing.
“Given the above, and in line with the provisions of paragraphs 12 and 25 of Part 1 of Article 85, as well as paragraphs 10 and 11 of Part 1 of Article 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine, I request that you urgently consider these issues,” a letter by the President’s press service said.
The two motions are as follows:
- Dismiss Pavel Klimkin from the post of Foreign Minister and appoint Vadym Pristaiko on the post;
- Dismiss Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko – on the grounds that the has no legal education.
Possibly to solve Zelensky’s issue himself, Klimkin announced that from July 3rd he would be on “leave.”
“Starting from Wednesday, July 3, the minister is taking a leave. [Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration] Olena Zerkal will act as minister. She is now on a foreign business trip, and upon her return, in a few days, she will take over the leadership of the foreign ministry,” MFA spokesperson Kateryna Zelenko said.
He himself also announced his leave on July 1st:
“No matter what and when the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] decides on my resignation, I have made up my mind to take a leave. I think it will be fair and right. But it’s not just a leave, a leave for politics, since I can’t do things half-way but now it’s time to build a real political team,” Klimkin said.
Even Zelensky’s head of office – Andriy Bohdan appears to be “expressing an opinion” that does not correlate with the president’s, showing the chaos.
But the President’s representative in Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk said that this was simply “Bohdan’s opinion.”
“I believe, this should definitely be interpreted as a personal position of Andriy Bohdan, since this doesn’t correlate with what has been stated in our [Servant of the People] party program at all,” Stefanchuk said.
“For us, the provision of Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine is decisive. It says the only state language of Ukraine is Ukrainian,” he concluded.
Thus, the President’s Head of Office, his childhood friend and “right-hand man” appears to be presenting views that go completely counter to Zelensky’s policy towards the Donbass and Russia.
Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Canada for an official visit between July 2nd and 4th.
“The president’s work schedule for July 2 will be busy. Meetings are scheduled with Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the leadership of the World Congress of Ukrainians and the Congress of Ukrainians of Canada,” the Office of the President of Ukraine wrote on Facebook.
In terms of the Parliament of the European Council (PACE) reinstating Russia’s rights, the hysteria continues.
Prior to announcing his leave, Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said that “Europe’s betrayal huts all of us.”
“Many write about a probable deal between Europe and Russia, i.e. Russia’s return to the PACE for the possible release of our hostages. Europe’s betrayal hurts all of us. But do not go for it. Do not look for such kind of ‘logical’ excuses. Moreover, everybody has heard what the Russian president said in Osaka, Japan,” Klimkin wrote on Facebook.
“In fact, the main problem is not even this one. The worst thing will be if Russia and Europe decide that they can come to terms behind our back and try to impose a different strategy and tactics on us,” he said.
According to him, even now one can hear that Ukraine is a common neighborhood of Russia and Europe, “a shared responsibility, so there must be a joint action.”
“In fact, these will be Russia’s actions, and Europe will be watching,” he said. “Unfortunately, the new team’s lack of experience contributes to this.”
“And before you know it, they will try to serve up an explicit capitulation as a long-awaited victory. If this happens, we’ll find ourselves in the gray buffer zone for two generations,” the minister warned.
The minister said only Ukrainians should decide on Ukraine’s future. “And solutions – no matter how complex they could be – must be chosen by us. Others will help us only if we have our own stand and a strong, very strong will to defend our position,” he said.
“All in all, no one but us, Ukrainians, could make Ukraine truly independent and successful. And I do not want anyone – whoever they are – to decide our future for us,” he added.
And to reinforce how “insulted” Ukraine is from PACE’s decision, on July 2nd, the Ukrainian Parliament announced that it has disinvited the PACE’s delegation to Ukraine.
That is because there would be a representative of Russia in the delegation and that there couldn’t be “agents of Russia’s hybrid war” in Ukraine.
“There cannot be any representatives of the aggressor country, Russia, among international observers, as they will not be observers, but agents of Putin’s hybrid war,” Chairman of the Parliament Andriy Parubiy said in a statement.
According to him, Russia’s impact on the Ukrainian elections is in no way acceptable.
Parubiy shared a copy of the letter sent to the PACE President.
It said that Paruby is forced to cancel his invitation for international observers from PACE to monitor the snap parliamentary elections in Ukraine. Due to the situation around the reinstatement of Russia’s parliamentary delegation at the PACE without significant progress in the implementation by Russia of seven PACE resolutions.
Implementation of the Minsk Agreement appears to also be failing, as on July 2nd there was no agreement reached on the “harvest” ceasefire and the swap of prisoners of war.
“In connection with the position of the Russian Federation, no progress has been achieved both on the introduction of a ‘harvest’ truce and agreement to free captives,” press secretary of Ukrainian envoy to the TCG, ex-president Leonid Kuchma’s Darka Olifer said on Facebook on July 2nd following a TCG meeting in Minsk on the same day.
At the same time, Vadym Rabinovich, co-head of Opposition Platform – For Life party said that Volodymyr Zelensky would never live up to the Minsk agreement.
“Will this government live up to Minsk agreement? No way. They can’t do that. Most of all, they feat a group of radicals, and thanks to them, against the logic and promises, today [we see] all the same, [which looks like] a fancy copy’, Rabinovich said.
“Who read this Minsk agreement? Did anyone read it? Everybody either supports it or slams it these days. The world pushes us, and they’ll make us do it. But who has ever read this Minsk agreement? There are simple things in this Minsk agreements, signed by the Ukrainian state. The first provision would be the full amnesty… economic ties [between Ukraine and the occupied areas], the autonomy of Donbas, it’s all there. Now, tell me, are we for it or against it – now that we don’t even read what we’re talking about? I would not sign Minsk agreement that Ukraine had signed. But since we signed it on behalf of the state, they’ll make us live up to it – no matter who was the President”, he added.
Russia’s position on the entire situation was expressed by A. Yu. Rudenko, Director of the Second Department of CIS Countries at the Special Session of the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference “Ensuring Security and Stability in the OSCE Region in the Context of Events Related to Ukraine”, that took place in Vienna on June 25th.
In his address, Rudenko said that despite efforts by politicians and diplomats the resolution of the conflict in the Donbass seemed unlikely.
None of the points of the Minsk “Complex of Measures” was fulfilled. The agreements of the “Normandy summits” in Paris and Berlin – on the breeding of forces and means in three pilot areas, including in Stannica Luganskaya, and the Steinmeier formula.
Moreover, laws were passed – on education, on the state language, on the so-called. “Reintegration” and others – which, instead of uniting the country, work on the opposite – on an even greater alienation of the residents of Donbass from Ukraine.
According to Rudenko, inside Ukraine, the rampant of radicals and neo-Nazis sponsored by the previous authorities does not subside. The temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) continue to be attacked and seized by government-backed non-canonical church organizations. Since the day of the inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky, at least 13 attempts have been made to seize the churches and parishes of the UOC.
According to Russia the actions that need to be undertaken to resolve the situation were clear:
- to withdraw the forces and equipment from the contact line, starting with the three pilot regions, to withdraw heavy artillery. This will ensure a lasting ceasefire;
- enact the Amnesty Law, coordinate the law on special status with Donetsk and Lugansk by incorporating the Steinmeier formula and then the law on local elections. To consolidate these changes in the Constitution;
- lift the blockade and proceed to the restoration of socio-economic relations;
- carry out the exchange of prisoners on the principle of “all for all.”
He concluded with the following:
“Finally, Russia owes nothing to anybody. Our desire to resolve the conflict is not opportunistic in nature and, moreover, is not the result of someone’s pressure or threats. We are not afraid of them. The early implementation of the Minsk Agreements is primarily in our own national security interests. Russia would like to have at its southern borders a stable, prosperous and predictable Ukraine, cooperating on the principles of pragmatism and mutual benefit.”
The statement was made prior to the failed July 2nd Minsk agreement meeting.