Week’s milestones. Waiting for Nadia, news from Rada, and staff injection into Cabinet
The return of Nadia Savchenko to Ukraine is becoming more real. Parliamentarians will not only get a salary increase, they will also have to increase the intensity of their work. The government’s back office is joined by influential foreigners with a reformist image.
The development of the situation around Nadia Savchenko suggests her relatively speedy return to Ukraine and further active participation in the country’s political life. After the verdict was issued of the Russian GRU officers Alexandrov and Yerofeyev, the prospects of the return of the Ukrainian female pilot has become much more real. At least, Nadia stopped her hunger strike. Her lawyers are full of confidence that the question on the exchange of their client has been fundamentally resolved, and it only remains to wait for the implementation of the agreements.
It should be reminded that Nadia Savchenko is a member of parliament from the Batkivshchyna faction and also Ukraine’s delegate to PACE, which last week has once again expressed support for her release. Prospects for Savchenko’s participation in political life today are uncertain and largely dependent on a few factors. First is the question whether two female politicians with a strong leadership appeal – Yulia Tymoshenko and Nadia Savchenko – can coexist in a single political force. Second is how significant is the demand in Ukraine for its own Joan of Arc and whether Nadia is able to correspond with this image.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian MPs failed to confirm with real actions the existence of the parliamentary coalition. Even the good news of the almost threefold increase in parliamentary salaries did not help confirm the fact that there actually are 230 deputies in the coalition, although Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy earlier vowed to make public the list of the coalition members. Meanwhile, Yulia Tymoshenko is ready to challenge the legality of both the creation of the coalition and the appointment of Volodymyr Groysman’s Cabinet, and she does not even see any prospects for the better outcome at the polls of the Opposition Bloc in the case of early parliamentary elections.
Lawmakers were unable to overcome the contradictions on the appointment of a new Prosecutor General. Yuriy Lutsenko radiated willingness to come and clean up the Augean stables of the PGO, but all in vain – the deputies did not pass the amendments to the legislation which would let Lutsenko – with no degree in law – become Ukraine’s top prosecutor. The issue was postponed until mid-May, and until that time, the Prosecutor General’s Office will continue flogging its former deputy chief, a whistleblower Vitaliy Kasko.
An interesting coincidence was noticed in the statements of Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy. Both officials fundamentally support the holding of parliamentary elections under an open party list principle. The previous coalition was expected to make corresponding changes in the legislation a year ago but it never bothered to do it. It is interesting whether a new Groysman - Parubiy tandem can succeed, as changing the format of the parliamentary elections have long been on the agenda.
The new Cabinet of Ministers held its first meeting, revoking certification of medicines that already passed a similar procedure in the U.S., the EU, Switzerland, Canada, and Japan. It looks like such long-awaited decisions will be the government’s sweetheart moves for the public, as the Cabinet needs to create an atmosphere of trust around its actions. Minister of Finance Oleksandr Danylyuk had to make excuses for the gaps in his tax report, but he is far from deciding to resign.
It is curious to note that the government could not do without foreigners – however, with the status of strategic advisors. The experience of Ivan Miklos and Leszek Balcerowicz is supposed to help in Ukraine’s reform, as well as the work of Wojciech Balczun as CEO of Ukrainian Railways "Ukrzaliznytsia." It might be that the natives of the countries of Central Europe will be more useful to the Georgian reformers focused on scourging corruption.