Week’s milestones. Nadia’s prospects, ministerial impotence, and electoral dress rehearsal
Immediately after returning to Ukraine, Nadia Savchenko became a political player, who will have to be taken into account by Ukraine’s more sophisticated politicians. Public statements by the minister of information policy produce a depressing effect. Intermediate parliamentary elections in single-mandate constituencies will be a dress rehearsal for the big electoral play.
The political situation in Ukraine can perk up sharply due to the return from the Russian dungeons of Nadia Savchenko. The long struggle for the most famous Ukrainian POW resulted last week in her exchange for two captured Russian GRU officers, who stopped playing the role of members of “LPR militia” immediately after their release and return to Russia. Hero of Ukraine Nadia Savchenko has shown reluctance to spend time on rehabilitation after hunger strikes in a Russian prison and a willingness to proceed with assisting the Ukrainian authorities in solving the problems of the army and the release of the remaining hostages.
Although Nadia Savchenko enjoys a high level of public trust, she is in no hurry to make staggering political statements. She explained her readiness to potentially run for president with the need to master the knowledge yet unknown to her. The process of her conversion from the heroine to an effective politician is rarely an instant action, as international experience shows. Nadia will have to work hard to find herself in the modern Ukrainian politics, where the number of those seeking to use her in their own interests is higher than the number of genuine allies.
Poroshenko can claim the exclusive role in Savchenko’s liberation but he also made it clear that he is not going to rest on laurels, intending to continue to fight for the release of the Ukrainian citizens who remain in captivity of the militants and the Russian Federation. The public will have to admit that the talks on the exchange will be more effective if held behind closed doors, while the process of the return of the hostages to their Homeland bears little resemblance to the conveyor belt.
The president is in no hurry to celebrate the second anniversary of his tenure, preferring to count it from the inauguration date. Probably, everything will be confined to a big presidential press conference, where the Head of State will not only be answering the questions about companies in offshore jurisdictions, but also report, for example, on the successful adoption of the judicial reform. However, in this regard, much depends on the Verkhovna Rada. But its political expediency traditionally takes precedence over the national interests.
The Government has approved its priority action plan for 2016, intending to ensure the growth of industrial production and the destruction of obstacles for doing business. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman predictably relies on Rada’s support, which in today’s coalition format is more like a lottery.
It is not clear what are the hopes of the minister of information policy. The tone of his recent statements by Yuriy Stets casts doubt on the ability of his subordinates, whose small number seems to be a subject of his personal pride, to solve the problems of ensuring communication with the occupied Crimea and the militant-controlled areas of Donbas. The lack of adequate funding is a problem for all agencies, not only the Ministry of Information Policy, but only Yuriy Stets is trying to call it a single justification of the ministry’s inefficiency.
Political parties and self-nominated candidates have begun preparations for the elections in seven majority districts, which will be held July 17. Experts are already reporting signs of a dirty competition and the low turnout. But on a national scale, these small campaigns can become a dress rehearsal for the possible early parliamentary elections. This makes it possible to call the mid-summer elections a process that is more important than the outcome.