Week’s milestones. Anniversary with aftertaste, thirst for strategy, and parliamentary pirouettes
The events dedicated to the Heavenly Hundred heroes this year were both filled with political overtones and stretched in time. Dmytro Firtash is unlikely to return to Ukraine anytime soon and neither is he in a hurry to be sent to the United States or Spain. The demand for the strategy of the return of uncontrolled territories to Ukraine is becoming increasingly apparent. MPs last week made great efforts in individual performances and team work.
Late February, Ukraine remembers the victims of the Euromaidan carnage. Those who once contributed to the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych over the three past years have distanced themselves from one another, ultimately failing to set up a joint gathering, at least to remember the fallen protesters. The signing of a Unity Declaration by BPP and the Radical Party is rather a decoration ahead of the April show titled "The Fate of the Cabinet" than the reincarnation of a "Maidan Coalition." Both signatories seem to be too pragmatic and concerned with their ratings. Political expediency late February pushed some politicians toward exercising petty foul tactics against law enforcers, while others – to bring nationalists to the streets, to voice mainly leftist slogans. Those forces eventually failed to undermine the situation from within – both due to the concerted efforts of law enforcement agencies and as a result of the opposition lacking a unified action plan. Yulia Tymoshenko chose to skip this wave of “managed people's anger,” apparently waiting for the one she will be able to ride for sure.
The authorities will also have to draw lessons from what is happening today, aiming to enhance the effectiveness of their dialogue with the public. It seems that merely a presidential signing of the Doctrine of Information Security will not be enough. It seems that it’s not only the usual external enemy, which is Russia, who is playing against Ukraine these days, but also the confusion of the European elite and the excessive pragmatism of the establishment on the other side of the Atlantic, to whom MP Andrey Artemenko (Radical Party member until recently) unexpectedly decided to appeal. His backdoor pseudo-diplomatic efforts are apparently a tool of more powerful players who don’t rush to reveal themselves and flop their cards.
The kaleidoscope of events surrounding Mr. Firtash, who is now balancing between being extradited to Spain and the United States, shows that the Ukrainian political life will be nothing but calm this spring.
The Ukrainian gas tycoon not only stores a large amount of sensitive information, but also owns an impressive number of assets in Ukraine, which will become subject to a fierce fight once the oligarch is definitely put behind bars. Of particular interest is his Inter TV channel, which allows influencing millions of voters. Meanwhile, the Opposition Bloc will shortly declare the earlier announced divorce, and we are yet to see how civilized the process will be.
All of this, coupled with the Day of Crimea marked in Parliament and the March of Solidarity with the Crimean Tatar people, highlights the need for an adoption as soon as possible of a strategy to return the temporarily occupied territories to Ukraine. Until Kyiv reports distinctly and clearly to the whole world of its plans for the return of Donbas and Crimea, it will be forced to fend off numerous plans emerging from various directions for the settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict without Ukraine’s participation.
Meanwhile, the Verkhovna Rada tried to show that it was able to make decisions, and sometimes – even socially important ones. The process of adjusting the "Savchenko Law" has started, the Prosecutor General's Office has received the required permit to indict Viktor Yanukovych in absentia, and a Parliamentary Day of Crimea was held. Moreover, certain forces failed to recover the obsolete tax police. Meanwhile, Samopomich faction couldn’t care less about voting and set out do Donbas to support the trading blockade. The abduction of MP Oleksiy Honcharenko turned out to be an SBU bait for the perpetrators, while MP Nadia Savchenko’s trip to the militant-occupied Makyivka and Donetsk does not seem to meet the expectations of her “supervisors.” However, that was about it, and the people’s deputies took another pause in a legislative process, apparently not noticing the increasing public displeasure with their uneven performance.