President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has made his annual address to the Supreme Rada.
His supporters whose number keeps shrinking have welcomed the address and praised Oleg Medvedev, who writes his speeches. To make an argument for their stance they say that the deputies applauded for president 22 times (within 50 minutes of his speech), let alone the ovations at the beginning and at the end of the address. What could the deputies and Poroshenko’s fans like in his speech?
The president started with remarks about the 25th independence anniversary of Ukraine, the more so as the parliamentarians did not have the trouble to gather in the parliament on that occasion. They were not even present at the parade and were reprimanded by Poroshenko for that. Further, in his speech, the president addressed one of his favorite topics – the EuroAtlantic aspirations of the country’s leadership. “Our strategic goal is NATO membership,” the supreme commander said and even slammed his fist on the table. Yet, Brussels appears to have no idea of his plans.
Then the orator segued into the civil war that continues for a third year already, the war he promised to end within few days yet in May 2014. “Peace in exchange for territory is completely illusory. This approach will bring neither peace nor territories. There will be only shame and ever-smoldering conflict,” he said.
To the next paragraph of the president’s speech the parliamentarians listened in silence, since Poroshenko turned to less pleasant topic – anti-corruption measures and the task of the attorney’s office to jail all the corrupt officials (who will remain in control of the country then?) Yet, the servants of the people could laugh at such naïve plans of the president. There was statistics too. The lawmakers were evidently happy to hear that more than one thousand and two hundred idols of Lenin were demounted under the law on de-communization. The president forgot to specify how this would help increasing the pensions or correcting the exchange rate of hryvnia.
What the parliamentarians liked most is that Poroshenko promised, “Not to observe indifferently the interference of another state into the church affairs” and thanked the parliamentarians for their address to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with a request to found an autocephalous church that will obey to Kiev. It is noteworthy that neither president nor the people’s deputies were embarrassed with the fact that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has repeatedly rejected such requests by the so-called Kiev Patriarch Filaret (recommending him to apply to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church) and that discussion of religious issues is not within their competence.
The second thing that encouraged the parliamentarians was the growing number of Ukrainian songs on radio and in the future on television too. Yet, neither the orator nor the audience care if the people will be listening and watching all this or not. All they overwhelmingly speak in Russian at home and with each other…
What do experts think about Poroshenko’s keynote speech? Hardly any expert has approved it. As for the comments of users in social media, I cannot cite any for ethical reasons.
The Ukrainian president believes that the reason why the living standards shrink in Ukraine is the loss of the Russian market (about $15 billion damage). “Meantime, it was Ukraine that imposed ‘sanctions’ against Russia restricting trade, wasn’t it? It was the Ukrainian militants that blocked highways for the Russian trucks, wasn’t it? It was Poroshenko that shout down everyone saying ‘we got off the Russian needle’ and ‘reoriented our economy to the West’, wasn’t it? It was he who declared ‘a great patriotic war’ against Russia, wasn’t it? The Ukrainian politicians declared on television and on the maidans that Ukraine would get rich after signing the Association Agreement with the EU, didn’t they?” says political analyst Vladimir Kornilov. “The most important is that before that agreement and Maidan Russia had (repeatedly) warned Ukraine that the agreement would have disastrous consequences for Ukraine’s economy and the Russian-Ukrainian trade relations.”
Here is how political strategist Vasily Stoyakin has responded to the president’s address in Rada: “I have read Mr. President’s speech. Summary: our regular reader from Kiev, Petro, asks our regular reader from Rostov, Victor, if he feels bored there and if he needs a company to play ‘literball’ (alcohol drinking competition)?” the strategist says ironically.
In his speech, the president said there are 38.5 thousand-strong “Russian terrorist troops in Donbass,” but he forgot to compare his data with the ones of the Security Service of Ukraine. Poroshenko said that there are 600 tanks and 1,250 armored vehicles on the part of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. In the meantime, on September 2, Vasily Gritsak (head of the Anti-Terrorism Center of Ukraine’s Security Council) said there are “4,000-6,000 career military men” (do not confuse with ‘Russian terrorist troops’ – the author’s note) in the territory of Ukraine on a permanent basis and more than 700 tanks and about 1,400 armored vehicles,” Vasily Stoyakin recalled. He added with irony that the difference in data by some 100 tanks and 150 armored vehicles is nothing. “This is simply the armored brigade of the Russian army Ukraine is fighting against (there are 5 such bridges in Russia in addition to the Kantemir Division),” he went on.
“Petro Poroshenko probably sought to look solid, peaceful and confidence – to give a kind of signal to the people and the parliament, but, in fact, he looked confused, non-confident in his own words, tired and trivial. There was an impression that the president was not yet back from vacation. I could not help thinking that ‘with such face, he would hardly get money,’” says Ruslan Bortnik, a political analyst. “Poroshenko as usually tried to mislead us speaking about humanitarian ‘victories’ at Orwell’s war against 150-year-old Lenin, Russian language, church, ‘enemies’ etc. flavoring it with very speculative statistics (growth of trade with the EU) and extremely disputable and propagandist statements.”
At the time, the president omitted such pressing topics as price hikes, transfer of funds to offshore bank accounts, anti-corruption “measures,” devaluation of the national currency, shrinking living standards, budget deficit, implementation of the Minsk agreements, large-scale migration, restrictions of the freedom of speech and others, the expert says. Instead, the president used agitation phrases, speaking of invented and future “victories.” I’d like to add much more things the president “forget” to speak about (or the press-office thought it impossible to mention them in the president’s address). For instance, when will they continue the indexation of salaries and pensions frozen since Nikolay Azarov’s government? When will they recognize the “reforms” of the Interior Ministry and Ukrzaliznitsa JSC as invalid and dismiss their legionary-leaders along with the health minister – the naturalized Ukrainian American– who makes tests on Ukrainians at the request of the pharmaceutical companies of the United States? When will the absurd de-communization end and when will they stop wasting budget funds on useless renaming (since the next government will have to restore the status quo by the demand of the people)? He failed to promise visa free travel by the end of the month for the 1,313th time and admission to the EU for the 666th time, though Ukraine protects it from “the aggressor” by all means possible.
The president neglected the latest display of “democracy” in the country – the attack on the Inter TV Channel. The guarantor of the freedom of speech has nothing to say about it… Actually, a day has passed after the attack before he summoned the security forces and gave them some unclear charges. He summoned Arsen Avakov whose men had probably organized an act of intimidation for future raid and seizure of the TV channel. In such situation, he really had nothing to say. Nor has he commented on the growing crime rate while the interior minister is leaving posts in social media and the police fire at the detainee in handcuffs and fail to detain two drunken men.
The president is at an ultimate stage of distancing himself from the country and the people. At present, Poroshenko is at the same state as Yanukovych was in 2012-2013 – sees nothing, hears nothing. He is engaged in geopolitics and building ‘family’ in business and government. It is a dangerous condition. Meantime, Rostov is not elastic…” Vasily Stoyakin says for conclusion.
Ruslan Vesnyanko for EADaily