Week’s milestones. Grimaces of info war, tariff hustle, and Poroshenko’s second term
Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy and scholar Volodymyr Gorbulin have different views of Ukraine’s current position in the information war. The issue of utility tariffs will most likely dominate in the new political season. The Ukrainian president’s ally announced Poroshenko’s intentions to seek a second term, launching a covert internal struggle for the right to choose a better timing to start the major political race.
Although the situation remains tense in Donbas and the threat remains of the resumption of full-scale hostilities, the main front of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has moved into the information field. It is here where the fiercest battles erupt for sovereignty and identity and the images are formed of the state actors, which claim active involvement in shaping the agenda for Central and Eastern Europe. The world around Ukraine is becoming less and less calm, and this trend is worrying.
Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy expressed confidence that our country is winning the information war with Russia. According to the speaker, this is due to the fact that the European Union prolonged the economic sanctions against Russia for another six months. The position of the head of the legislature is clear and has a right to exist; however, a Ukrainian scholar Volodymyr Gorbulin is much more precise in his assessment of the situation. He believes that the threat remains of a large-scale Russian invasion, and we shouldn’t feed on illusions concerning the imminent collapse of the Russian Federation. The director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies believes that Ukraine needs to act proactively and asymmetrically to survive in its confrontation with Russia.
The Ukrainian officials suddenly remembered about the Ukrainian Navy. Today’s potential of the Ukrainian war fleet is hardly sufficient to play a major role in the Azov and Black seas. However, we clearly should not rush to say good-bye to the status of a regional maritime power. Ukraine needs an efficient Navy, capable of solving military tasks as early as tomorrow, if not today… For example, without creating a strong Navy, Ukraine can’t be serious in the issue of taking back Crimea. Poroshenko appointed Ihor Voronchenko commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine. The man was held for some time in the Russian captivity during the annexation of Crimea.
The Ukrainian Parliament has only two weeks left to work in plenary mode before the vacation period kicks off, although the Speaker did not rule out that the spring session will continue into September, so that the lawmakers, if necessary, could respond to the problems requiring prompt solutions. In addition to the "problem of Onyshchenko,” an MP whom the parliamentary anti-corruption committee agreed to be put on trial, the Rada sees fierce fighting over the size of utility tariffs. I doubt that millions of Ukrainians relaxed after PM Groysman promised on behalf of the state to pay subsidies. Groysman has sufficient public experience, but Yulia Tymoshenko considers the tariff issue an instrument of her own political renaissance. Therefore, the leader of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party has been annoyingly manipulating the facts and figures, calling to "stop the tariff genocide” whenever the opportunity. At the same time, Nadia Savchenko is rapidly losing her status of a national hero as her statements are becoming increasingly contradictory, which does not make them lower profile, though.
Yulia Tymoshenko's increased activity and Nadia Savchenko’s political devaluation are relevant from the perspective of the upcoming presidential elections to be held in spring 2019. There is still much time to go, but the leader of the BPP faction and a trusted presidential adviser Ihor Hryniv has already announced the participation in the presidential race of the incumbent president. The move may seem too hasty but Poroshenko today has no other choice but to use the format of “racing the leader.” The main events in this grueling political marathon, the official start of which the presidential opponents will try not to delay, are still ahead.