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Vasily Stoyakin: Poroshenko following in Gorbachev’s footsteps

Vasily Stoyakin. http://paralel-media.com.ua/

When analyzing the speech President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko made in the Supreme Rada on June 4, one should keep in mind two things.

The first thing is that Poroshenko is acting in an information space that is developing without his participation. So, even if he tries to say something true, his voters will not understand him.

And the second thing is that he was speaking on the occasion of the first year of his presidency. So, he had no other way but to be positive. Otherwise, what was he elected as president for?

In contrast, he started his speech by saying that there was no single thing he was satisfied with and by urging the authorities to redouble their efforts. Gorbachev also used to start his speeches with calls for acceleration. Then he would use the words “perestroika” (reconstruction) (Poroshenko is speaking a lot about this today – but in some other terms) and “glasnost” (openness) (almost 100 journalists were denied access to Poroshenko’s June 5 press conference – perhaps, because it was not openness but just freedom of speech).

Let’s now consider what will accelerate and what will not.

Eurointergration. This process will hardly accelerate. In fact, it is almost over. In terms of actions:

- The association agreement has been signed but Poroshenko hinted that the Ukrainian economy was still unprepared for that “gift.”

- By Jan 1 2015, Ukraine may have a non-visa regime with Europe. But Poroshenko’s confidence was somewhat suspicious. Later he linked this with his plans to get back Crimea and said that it was a matter of some five years. Besides, the list of the countries enjoying non-visa regime with the EU shows that this has nothing to do with Eurointegration.

- Accession into NATO is no longer urgent for Ukraine. This may be the result of Poroshenko’s contacts with the Odessa governor, who has already conducted a NATO accession referendum.

- Ukraine needs a deputy prime minister for European integration, perhaps, to keep people aware of the country’s strategic goals. You may ask if the coalition will be able to find such a person. Considering its strategy to recruit foreign experts, it will.

Fighting corruption. Here acceleration is implied, but Poroshenko said nothing that would show his belief in such a possibility.

“Corruption-related scandals have become something positive in Ukraine. This is a kind of catharsis – a proof that people are o longer ashamed of corruption.” Yes, I remember that text and I know its author. In Sept 2005, a similar sentence was pronounced by Oleh Medvedev, a well-known Ukrainian political strategist from Tymoshenko’s team. In his speech, Medvedev mentioned corruption cases involving Poroshenko. I objected. At the times of the “anti-national regime” corruption was also existent. Simply, under the “national regime” it became more blatant. And the worst thing about this is that criminal punishment for corruption is no longer inevitable. I remember Yushchenko saying that the prosecutor’s office would find no traces of corruption in team. And it didn’t.

De-regulation? “The Economy Ministry has removed from the list of compulsory certification a number of imported products – from cars...” Here I would dare to interrupt Poroshenko. Certification is one of the no-tariff preventive mechanisms of domestic market. If cars are no longer certified, it means that: a) car production in Ukraine has died and b) nobody is going to revive it.

As far as corruption is concerned, Poroshenko suggests not fighting it but rooting out its hotbeds – by means of privation. What he meant was: we cannot root out corruption at state-owned companies, so, we have no other way but to sell them.

And one more urge from Poroshenko: people, don’t give bribes. This is the only way for us to fight corruption.

De-oligarchization. Poroshenko started this section by quoting Szeptycki (what barred him from quoting Aristotle?): “Tyranny is even more dangerous than corrupt aristocracy or oligarchy.” He better dropped that subject but he continued: “We will no longer feed coal barons with subsidies.” But what we have instead is Ukraine feeding Russian miners and power engineers.

I have already said once that it is the European Union’s and the United States’ plan to destroy big business in Ukraine. Big business is the only thing that can help Ukraine to stay independent. You can find no more big businesses in any Eastern European country. The bosses there are transnational companies.

Tariffs. “Their current growth is the price the Ukrainian budget and taxpayers formerly paid for non-transparent tariff policies.” This sounds like those who have to pay new tariffs today must be sorry for the oligarchs who earlier paid the difference in their stead. “I am going to draft a bill stipulating publicity of tariff policies.” Quite an interesting initiative... This is like forbidding an aggressor to invade a country.

Here we are dealing with two problems. The first problem is that legislatively it was not forbidden to make tariff policies public. And the second one is that once tariff policies are made public, they will contain no special paragraph concerning corruption. Economic expert Oleksandr Okhrimenko believes that before raising the tariffs, the authorities should have demonopolized public services. This would boost rivalry and would force owners to make their tariffs public. I don’t agree with Okhrimenko (at least because the IMF’s requirement was to raise tariffs rather than to demonopolize public services), In any case, Poroshenko did not mention this question at all. So, here we can expect acceleration.

Democratization and decentralization. Here too we can expect acceleration but what matters here is direction.

“I am still an advocate of parliamentary-presidential regime and I am going to be the first president that will not monopolize power but will share it with communities according to our decentralization strategy.”

First of all, parliamentary-presidential regime gives a president enough power.

Secondly, Poroshenko has no powers he can share with communities. If you don’t believe me, look into Ukraine’s Constitution.

Besides, when Poroshenko promises something, one should be on an alert. I have already seen a decentralization bill that made the president’s powers even wider. And the author of the bill was Poroshenko’s administration. Later in his speech Poroshenko confessed that the role of the center would be enhanced (and in spheres like national security it will be absolute).

All you have to know about democratic elections in Ukraine is that “in some regions the Russians are planning to artificially inseminate pro-Russian projects, in others, on the contrary, they are stimulating radical Ukrainian forces so as to scare Europe with alleged Nazism. Their plans are not original. A year ago they hoped that they would work out but now we have revived our special services and their plots are doomed to failure.”

If somebody doubts that the results of elections in Ukraine are determined by the National Security Service, I advise him to listen to what Poroshenko says. He certainly knows what he says.

Peace plan and repulsing aggression. Here there will be no acceleration.

Poroshenko’s peace plan stipulates “withdrawal of Russian troops, establishment of Ukrainian control over the border and conduct of elections as a road to a political dialogue with legally elected authorities of Donbass.”

Until this plan is carried out, “Ukrainian humanitarian cargoes and pensions for those who have got registered in the territories free from terrorists is the most we can accept.” But the official cause of the humanitarian disaster in that region is still the same – the Russian aggression.

The aggression is continued. “This year our trade (with Russia – author's note) has dropped by 2/3. In fact, the real war was followed by an economic one.” The next day after the press conference Poroshenko again mentioned the need to apply sanctions against Russia. It seems that the drop in the trade with Russia was not exhausting enough for the Ukrainian economy.

True, neither the parliament nor the society are ready to hear from Poroshenko anything but just fancies about repulsed aggression. On the other hand, we cannot say that Poroshenko is an advocate of the Minsk Agreements. What he advocates is more like Croatia’s strategy with respect to Serbian Krajina – to wait and to strike. The problem is that the Americans do not want to wait and are pushing Kyiv into unfreezing the Transnistrian conflict. Should this happen, the Minsk Agreements and the very Poroshenko will be no longer needed.

P.S.: about Maidan and Maidan revolutionaries

“Today certain people in Moscow keep talking about the ‘third Kiev Maidan’.” “Some armed men have appeared in the streets, who are committing robbery and racket on behalf of holy Maidan revolutionaries.”

The Moor has done his duty...

P. P. S.: Poroshenko seems to have forgotten what was Gorbachev’s end. Though Gorbashev got off cheap.

Vasily Stoyakin, political consultant, specially for EADaily

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