The week’s milestones: The government’s results of 2014 and the Donbas for Europe
The summaries of 2014 given by Ukraine’s president and then by its prime minister were no more than moderately optimistic. The coalition in the parliament has still got plenty of problems to deal with, amid ongoing international maneuvers to seek a resolution to the crisis in the Donbas.
In the current situation, the parliamentary-presidential model forces the heads of the state and the government to be allies, and not to oppose each other publicly. It’s no surprise that Petro Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatseniuk both gave end-of-year addresses, which coincided in assessing the most important political events of 2014. Both the president and the prime minister underlined the expedience of adopting the 2015 budget, while keeping in mind the talks with the International Monetary Fund and inevitable revision of the country’s main financial bill. Both officials stress the complexity of the situation in the Donbas (the visit of the secretary for the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov to the area of the anti-terrorist operation on January 3 was not a random occurrence). The premier has also acknowledged that there is no easy, or short path to the recovery of Crimea.
Poroshenko looked comfortable when answering questions on the prospects of selling his Channel 5 (which are vague) and his corporation Roshen (which have been delayed), Yatseniuk demonstrated unshakeable confidence in the government’s achievements and also publicly criticized Vladimir Demchyshyn, Ukraine’s energy minister, who was nominated for office under the president’s party quota. I suppose, the both parties in power will be “lost in translation” on some issues, but historic circumstances will make them keep on holding hands – at least in public.
The coalition is to discuss the problems of cooperation as early as during the Christmas holidays, that is if the members of parliament are tricked out of their skiing and beach vacations. Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of the president’s party, underlined the shortcomings of the 2015 budget but also called on MPs to abstain from dramatizing this fact and to consider all of Ukraine’s political circumstances. Known for his ability to get on the team which seems the most right and promising at the moment, Lutsenko will still have a hard time as a moderator for a coalition comprised of two large and three capricious factions. The public promise not to suspend from the presidential party those “lone heroes” who put their principles ahead of vital needs, may provoke a series of parliamentarians’ revolts, as the difficult debates on the 2015 budget are not over yet. At the moment, the coalition resembles a hobby-club that is too hard to pin down ideologically.
Meanwhile, the Russian “spetsnaz” is consistently killing the chiefs of local insurgents in the Donbas. The murder of Bednov (aka “Batman”) with his guards has made Girkin (aka Strelkov), a Moscow-based self-proclaimed Novorossiya military guru, resentful. The European Union still insists on restoring the peace talks in the Normandy format. It seems that reaching peace in the Donbas is the EU’s planned goal in foreign policy this year. The difficult economic situation in Ukraine and the drop of oil prices, critical for Russia, may contribute to this. Alas, Ukraine’s steep obligations to the EU may be broken by the severe reality of the events in the Donbas, and this has to be taken into consideration.