For the Kiev regime 2016 was a total “zrada” (a Ukrainian internet meme standing for “treason,” in other words, something bad). By the end of the year, they in Kiev noticed the first symptoms of “soft” international isolation. One of the causes is the “outstanding” intellect of some of their diplomats, whom they have selected just because of their loyalty and anti-Russian attitude. But there were also some global factors.
Chronicle of new “zradas”
In late 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his visit to Ukraine following that country’s vote for the UN Security Council’s resolution prohibiting Israel to build more settlements in “Palestinian lands” (the West Bank of Jordan). So, it is a big question now if Ukraine and Israel will sign a free trade area agreement and if the Israelis will provide a 20,000 quota for Ukrainian labor migrants.
According to The American Interest, Israel is one of the eight great powers of 2017, the other seven being the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Germany, India and Iran. And none of them is Ukraine’s ally - though the United States and Germany have been ones so far.
But after the Paul Manafort scandal (when Kiev tried to impede Donald Trump’s electoral campaign), Washington’s restrained reaction to the new crisis in Donbass (mostly reconciliatory and not anti-Russian) and the annulment of Oleh Lyashko’s 10-year visa, it has become obvious that the Americans will no longer be benevolent under Trump. A few days ago, the new U.S. President had a phone talk with Petro Poroshenko and, according to reliable sources, advised him to settle the Donbass conflict peacefully and gave him time to correct his errors. If Poroshenko fails, he may lose a financial support that can help him to run for the second term.
As regards Germany, the two years of “Minsk” humiliation have turned Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier away from Poroshenko.
Now that Turkey has improved its relations with Russia, it has become much less active in its contacts with Ukraine and, particularly, in the efforts to sign a free trade area agreement.
Relations with Poland have also been spoiled. The “war of monuments,” the desecration of a Polish cemetery near Kiev, the adoption and the revocation of the decision to proclaim the mayor of Przemysl as a persona non-grata in Ukraine, the attacks on Ukrainians in Poland – all this has resulted in an exchange of protest notes. A few days ago, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski said: "I told President Poroshenko clearly that Ukraine wouldn't be entering Europe with Bandera. For me this is an issue that is absolutely clear because we have demonstrated great patience. But this patience has its limits."
A few days ago, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest against the newly approved Ukrainian bills stipulating total Ukrainization of Ukraine’s population. Hungary is not going to let the Kiev regime encroach on the Ukrainian Hungarians’ right to speak their native language. A similar reaction may soon come from Romania.
On the international level, things are no better. Despite Ukraine’s efforts, the Ukrainian problem was not the highlight of the last Davos forum – unlike two years ago, when Poroshenko was the key newsmaker with his piece of bus allegedly shelled by the Russians. The only thing he got this time was a $100mn Swiss loan but for him and his corrupt colleagues this is just a mouthful.
On Jan 25, PACE adopted a resolution called “Functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine,” which recommend the Ukrainian authorities to revise their laws on lustration and decommunization as both documents violate human rights, to fully investigate the crimes committed on Maidan and in Odessa and to reconsider some of their linguistic projects aimed at narrowing the rights of ethnic minorities. PACE also mentioned corruption and problems with the constitutional reforms. This is a bad sign for Ukraine as until now PACE has been one of the most pro-Ukrainian institutions in Europe. And what is even worse is that Europe seems to have ceased to regard Ukraine as an internally integral state.
One more “zrada” was German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s statement that U.S.-Russia rapprochement might be good for Ukraine. And even bigger “zrada” was German Ambassador Ernst Reichel’s words that “it is not obligatory that the elections in Donbass take place only when there are no Russian troops or the Ukrainian flag is raised at each of the city administrations.” Reichel substantiated his words with the example of GDR, where parliamentary elections were held in the presence of Soviet troops but still resulted in a change of regime. But this was not convincing for some Ukrainian MPs, who called on the Kiev regime to boycott the celebrations of the 25th year of German-Ukrainian diplomatic relations.
Some western mass media are also changing their tone. Suddeutsche Zeitung said recently that the last crisis in Donbass was triggered by Kiev for preventing Trump’s decision to lift some of the anti-Russian sanctions. And for the first time ever, Foreign Policy blamed not only the self-proclaimed republics but also Kiev.
So, we can see that the Kiev regime is becoming more and more undesirable for its foreign partners, who are beginning to ignore its problems – especially now that the highlight is global fight against terrorism.
But the problem here is that instead of forcing the Kiev regime to implement Minsk 2 and to build democracy, the world community may lose its interest in Ukraine and leave it in a kind of political vacuum, which those in Kiev will fill with repressions, manic phobias and more internal and external conflicts.
Denis Gayevsky, Kiev