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Petro Poroshenko: Misty future amid growing political turbulence

Petro Poroshenko. Photo: censor.net.ua

All the Kiev regime is doing today is aimed at preserving itself and its corruptive structure. This is why Petro Poroshenko has paid so many visits abroad over the last few months. For him, this is a shield from his political opponents and an attempt to show them that he is still able to bring resources into his country.

But most of his visits have failed. His 20-minute June meeting with Donald Trump was a fiasco. Quite recently, the White House accused Kiev of interfering into the presidential race in the United States – which is true, unlike the rumors about the “Russian hackers.”

Second, despite Poroshenko’s efforts and his last meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO has not given the greenlight to Ukraine’s IPAP.

Third, the last Ukraine-EU summit in Kiev issued no final declaration as the Netherlands, Germany and France refused to confirm that the EU recognizes Ukraine’s European aspirations and welcomes its European choice. Deputy Head of Poroshenko’s Administration Konstantin Yeliseyev admitted that there was no consensus during the summit. The only thing Ukraine has gotten as a result is a visa-free regime and an Association Agreement.

In the meantime, the West continues criticizing Ukraine for its reluctance to fight corruption. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has even said that “it serves no purpose for Ukraine to fight for its body in Donbas if it loses its soul to corruption.”

In Ukraine, there is no more healthy political competition. The people are trying to survive and do not care for what is going on in Kiev, while the opposition forces are too weak for turning the situation into their advantage. But now that Poroshenko is receiving less and less support from the West, Oleksandr Turchynov, Arsen Avakov and Yulia Tymoshenko may become much more active. And their goal is either to restrict the President’s powers or to organize mid-term parliamentary elections.

No surprise that both the former and the current prime ministers advocate the idea of constitutional amendments. Poroshenko’s friendship with Volodymyr Groysman is a myth. Groysman’s plans go much farther than Poroshenko’s presidency and now that the latter is weak, the former is beginning to collect electoral, financial and other bonuses.

And Groysman is not the only one from Poroshenko’s team who is keeping away from the president. Information Policy Minister Yuri Stets has resigned, Head of the National Bank Valeriya Gontaryeva is on a leave, Tax Chief Roman Nasirov has been dismissed and is facing the threat of prosecution. In Ukraine politicians have never been loyal. As they say, to betray in time is not to betray but to foresee. So, in the months to come, we may see more and more people breaking away from Poroshenko’s team.

The parliament is also getting loose. The Turchynov-Avakov-Tymoshenko bloc is gaining momentum, while the Petro Poroshenko Bloc is losing human resources and may soon prove unable to pass the president’s legal initiatives.

Ihor Kolomoisky is one more problem for Poroshenko. Not only hasn’t that oligarch repaid his debts to the state but he has also initiated a lawsuit for getting back his PrivatBank. Kolomoisky may well try to take revenge on Poroshenko and he still has resources for doing it.

In the meantime, Poroshenko is losing his popularity in Ukraine. As of today, only 11-12% of the Ukrainians support him. Should there be a presidential race now, he would lose to Tymoshenko in a runoff.

Poroshenko’s last political “assets” inside Ukraine are mass media, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the National Security Service, while on the international arena, he has just the West’s low confidence in his opponents and the “Russian aggression” (something he finds increasingly hard to sell especially now that Kurt Volker’s appointment as the United States’ Special Representative for Ukraine is a good chance that the Donbass peace process will be restarted).

Until September, political activity in Ukraine will be low and this will give Poroshenko and his team time for maneuver. Poroshenko still has a chance to avoid the status of a “lame duck” but delay is tantamount to death for him.

In any case, the squabble among Ukraine’s rulers has very little to do with the Ukrainian people, who do not want to see their state economically degraded and archaic no matter who is power in Kiev.

Denis Gayevsky, Kiev

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