21 October 2016

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Ukrainian interest. Transatlantic intrigue, Putin’s machinations, and EU under attack

The U.S. presidential campaign has determined the main contenders. The president of Russia abolished the "Crimean Federal District", showing his puppets their real place. The Kremlin has decided to change Mikhail Zurabov, who has been an ambassador to Ukraine for seven years, for someone less annoying to Ukraine. Angela Merkel calls for taking joint anti-terrorism measures at EU level.


The Republicans and the Democrats in the United States have decided on their candidates for the presidential post. The GOP establishment has failed to stop the onslaught of Donald Trump and his team. The Donald offers many Americans what they want, at the same time playing up to isolationist sentiments. Democrats had no problems bidding on an experienced political player Hillary Clinton, who is seeking to complete her run from being the first lady in 1992 -2000 years to becoming, herself, a leader of the world’s most powerful state.

The pre-election saw a nasty scandal when hackers published a bulk of DNC internal emails, which make it clear that the party ditched Bernie Sanders in favor of Ms Clinton. The officials are now talking about a possible "Russian trace" in this cyber attack. Of course, the leak is far from becoming another Watergate, but still it is a very delicate situation for the Americans.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on the eve of his rotation to Athens said that Kyiv is much more efficient than Moscow in fulfilling the Minsk agreements, adding that the escalation in Donbas is connected with the continuing Russian military presence in the area. The United States handed over to Ukraine another batch of unmanned aerial vehicles and radars, however Washington refuses to provide lethal aid. Pyatt stressed that Ukraine has managed to destroy Russia's energy weapon, by getting rid of its dependence on Gazprom supplies.

The Kremlin expects to use the change of its ambassador in Kyiv in its own interests. Mikhail Zurabov was dismissed, while Moscow is considering with ostentatious determination the candidacy of Mikhail Babich, whose track record suggests that he would be a far more worthy nominee for the post of the Russian intelligence’s chief of station in Ukraine. Russia very openly provokes Ukraine to demonstrate unconstructive approach in bilateral relations, in order to tell the whole world about it whenever it has a slightest chance. At the same time, as a bonus, it launches the next wave of popular discontent in Ukraine, manipulating the Ukrainian society, which grew so sensitive to the current events.

Putin abolished the "Crimean Federal District", transferring the annexed Crimea and Sevastopol under the operational control of the Southern Federal District, which is now headed by former Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov. It is doubtful that this decision will cause any protests in Crimea, especially because a controversial governor of Sevastopol, Sergei Menyailo, who had been at odds with the local promoter of the “Russian Spring” Alexei Chaly, was removed from office. Besides, it is even more doubtful that there is a critical mass of the population in Crimea, capable of any action against the occupation authorities and Putin’s regime.

In anticipation of the holiday season, the European Union witnessed a series of small-scale, but nonetheless prominent, terrorist attacks, aimed not so much at killing a large number of people but rather at creating an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. Angela Merkel, who plays not only the role of the federal chancellor, but also the pan-European leader, has called for common EU anti-terrorism measures. The idea is not bad, but its implementation may be delayed. Meanwhile, the terrorist attacks will most probably continue. The search for consensus in matters related with the restriction of any rights and freedoms has never been a simple process for the European Union .

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