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Pogrebinsky: Volunteer battalions have no chances to assault Kiev

Mikhail Pogrebinsky. Photo: from-ua.com

On June 18, the Supreme Rada dismissed Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, which has triggered strong reaction from both the media and Ukrainian politicians. To find out what is behind the dismissal of the major instigator and sponsor of the Maidan-2014, EADaily requested comments from Mikhail Pogrebinsky, a Ukrainian political analyst. 

What political consequences may Nalyvaichenko’s dismissal have? Who may be the next?

I consider Nalyvaichenko’s dismissal in the light of the president’s efforts of the past two months to consolidate the grip over the security forces. The president’s fight for control over the judiciary and his efforts in the Supreme Rada to push through the idea of stripping the deputies of their immunity fit into that logic too. By dismissing Kolomoisky from the post of the Dnepropetrovsk governor, Poroshenko has managed to consolidate the grip over the volunteer battalions that were kept on the tycoon’s funds.  This process continues and, I suppose, the president has achieved much therein through either negotiations, persuasions or the prosecutor’s office.   

Nalyvaichenko is an active participant in the Maidan. As head of Ukraine’s Security Service, he gained a reputation of an uncompromising politician whose Russophobia ran high, which, in fact, met Poroshenko’s views. What could not meet his views was Nalyvaichenko’s double-triple allegiance. It was widely rumored that the head of the Security Service had links with both Department of State-FBI-CIA and Klitchko-Firtash.  Nalyvaichenko admitted his close cooperation with the U.S. security services. Meantime, the president needs the one on the post of the Security Service chief that would be loyal to him only.  The talks on “mismanagement of the department” were just a chance to fire him, not the reason.  Logic suggests that the next one to face dismissal should be Interior Minister Arsen Avakov who is loyal at least to the two: the prime minister and the president – to the prime minister first.

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As to the consequences, everything depends on how the president will behave after gaining control over the security resources, which is quite possible, I guess. He may try to make his policy reasonable by seeking compromise with Donbass and Moscow, which would meet not only Ukraine’s national interest and expectation of the overwhelming majority of the population, but also Poroshenko’s own efforts to retain power. Yet, there is another possible option: after consolidating the grip over the security forces and enlisting the U.S. support (receiving weapons), Poroshenko will try to settle the crisis in the southeast by force.  No good will come of it, of course. However, I do not know what Poroshenko thinks of it.

Igor Kolomoisky has founded a new political party called Ukrop (this is how supporters of Ukrainian patriotic and Maidan ideas are called in Ukraine). Many volunteer units are still under his control. Can one define these actions of Poroshenko and Kolomoisky as a new level of confrontation between them?

Nalyvaichenko’s dismissal shows that we are witnessing a new level of relations between the Ukrainian top officials. Now, the president is proactive. Kolomoisky so far uses his media assets against him and advances his political projects. “Ukrop” is just one of his projects. As to the volunteer battalions, they are likely to fall under the president’s control eventually

Will the government manage to disarm the battalions that are not under its control? Is there any likelihood that those armed units that are on the verge of “merger” will assault Kiev?

I guess the battalions have no chances to assault Kiev. They have no resources that the government would not be able to suppress.

Will Nalyvaichenko be able to give the government a good run for its money, considering that he has what he calls serious incriminatory evidence against the president and his team?

First, no smear is able to surprise anyone in the country, to put it crudely, this method of political fight works here only when it is backed with a range of adequate conditions: support from outside the country, the situation on the frontline, the hryvnia rate, budget crisis (non-payments) etc. So far, there are no adequate conditions for a smear war.

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