Week’s milestones. Aggravation by Turchynov, officials standing surety for Martynenko, and farmland sales as battering-ram
NSDC Secretary does not exclude Russia’s full-scale invasion into Ukraine. After the detention by NABU detectives, former MP Mykola Martynenko was bailed out in court by a number of parliamentarians and ministers. The issue of the sale of agricultural land is predictably shifting away from the economic plane toward political PR.
Oleksandr Turchynov, whose recent public vow of returning Donbas and Crimea has made the Kremlin considerably nervous recently, continues to please the fans of his political talent. This time, the NSDC Secretary said he didn’t rule out a full blown invasion by Russia, which continues to flex its muscles on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Turchynov also recalled the upcoming Zapad-2017 [West-2017] military exercises to be held in Belarus this autumn, which could develop into a scenario unfavorable for Ukraine. Unfortunately for many Ukrainians, the "Bloody Pastor," as the netizens had once branded the NSDC Secretary, chose not to elaborate on how the Armed Forces are actually preparing to repel the aggressor. It is possible that this is topic will highlight Turchinov's next media appearance.
Meanwhile, more dark colors were added to the recent escalation in Donbas. The Easter ceasefire was not actually a thing, except that the intensity of militant artillery fire dropped for a short time. On April 23, a patrol vehicle of the OSCE special monitoring mission blew up on a mine in the militant-controlled part of Luhansk region. The deadly incident took a life of a U.S. citizen and left two other monitors – from the Czech Republic and Germany – injured. The OSCE stated its intention to thoroughly investigate the incident, which is unlikely to radically change the organization's approach to the Donbas settlement process.
Mykola Martynenko, Ukraine’s former MP and an ally of ex-prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, spent two nights in the remand facility before the Solomensky court released him as his “Parteigenossse” from the People’s Front stood surety for him. A number of Ukrainian MPs and ministers vowed that he would remain a law-abiding citizen in his procedural relations with the anti-corruption watchdog NABU and the Ukrainian judiciary as a whole. It should be noted that Martynenko's behavior in court was strikingly different from the former tax chief Roman Nasirov's tactics. Besides, this high-profile defendant is much more experienced than the former head of Ukraine’s fiscal body. At the moment, it is difficult to claim that NABU chief Artem Sytnik received a pleasant gift for the second anniversary of the bureau’s creation. It might as well be that this nut will be just too hard for NABU to crack. It becomes clear that in such high-profile cases it’s not only the sky-high bailout charge is required but also the strong legal basis for the accusations put forward.
Taking advantage of the current vacation of Ukrainian MPs, PM Volodymyr Groysman has somewhat taken down his public activity. Now it is important for the prime minister to prepare for a public annual government report, reserving up his sleeve some trump cards for the Verkhovna Rada, which has long ceased to have a stable majority. The agreements between the Lviv city authorities and the executive branch on the algorithm for solving the garbage problem that has plagued the city for several months are also worth considering in this context.
While Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk harbors hope for a synchronized launch of land and pension reform (the Cabinet believes that the relevant decisions will be voted before the summer holidays), Yulia Tymoshenko (Batkivshchyna Party), joined by Oleh Tiahnybok (Svoboda), initiated a referendum on banning farmland sales. Batkivshchyna even launched a special website "Ukrainian land is not a commodity", thus casting doubt on how much she actually deserves her degree in economic sciences. However, there is obviously not so much economics in this initiative - the referendum issue is being promoted solely for political mobilization of the electorate.