Week’s milestones. Calculated escalation, overhaul by Groysman, and imitation of mobilization
Russia is prudently escalating the situation in Donbas, while trying to remain publicly beyond the conflict. Volodymyr Groysman spoke about the country’s overhaul by his government. Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for a balance in power, reminding of his own political ambitions. Yuriy Lutsenko publicly criticized his subordinates in Dnipro. Against the backdrop of the parliamentary holidays, several parties tried to show off their activity.
Donbas remains a pain point for the whole of Ukraine. The aspiration of the leader of the self-styled “DPR” to set up “Malorossiya” (or “Little Russia”, the term which has not been used in any adequate discussions for about a century already) proved to be supported by the significant increase in militant attacks in eastern Ukraine. In several sections of the contact line, Ukraine’s positions were shelled from heavy weapons, while in some areas terrorists went for sorties and combat reconnaissance missions. It seems that in this way Russia seeks to maintain tensions in Donbas, combining these types of acts with an open desire to obtain a "reset of Kyiv authorities," as reported by SBU chief Vasyl Hrytsak.
It is extremely doubtful that Putin has any intention to go at least to some symbolic concessions on Donbas, based on the fact of Russia is crawling into the presidential campaign. It is even sadder to see that the latest Donbas escalation caused little to no response from the Ukrainian deputy corps, as if Ukraine is not a parliamentary-presidential republic. This time, legislators spat no promises to "resolve the problem" ASAP.
The government submitted a performance report on the six months of its work, titled "The Country’s Overhaul." Quite an interesting title, though unlikely to be a winning one from the perspective of the Cabinet’s image, due to the secondary nature of its actions. If the excess of budget revenues over the target figures in the first half of the year amounted to almost UAH 30 billion, they should have found a more effective way of applying their efforts. Besides, the prime minister's initiative to create an advisory council from former heads of government is unlikely to see any a positive effect, given the presence on this list of Pavlo Lazarenko, Mykola Azarov, and Viktor Yanukovich. Another former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was greeted by the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption by initiating a full audit of her e-declarations for 2015 and 2016.
During a festive meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian government, former Prime Minister and leader of the Popular Front Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for balancing the system of power and adopting the necessary constitutional changes. A number of experts considered Yatsenyuk’s statement as an extraordinary challenge to the current Cabinet head, as if the Popular Front chief had not been part of the "strategic eight" and had no idea about the prospects of adopting constitutional amendments by the current Verkhovna Rada.
Yuriy Lutsenko tried to use the latest success in his work with the deputy corps during a meeting with his subordinate prosecutors in the city of Dnipro. Not only has he promised to raise salaries, he also publicly expelled from the meeting the prosecutor of Berdiansk. Such moves are well picked up by the media but they have practically no influence on the effectiveness of the fight against crime.
Verkhovna Rada’s summer vacation period prompted various political projects to have their say. "Social and Political Platform of Nadia Savchenko" obtained its registration certificate and released a promo video featuring four female figures related to the new movement, including both Savchenko sisters. Mikheil Saakashvili announced the creation of "joint action headquarters" with Spravedlyvist [Justice] movement of former SBU chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, who until recently remained in the orbit of Yulia Tymoshenko.
At the same time, the increase in the number of political projects in Ukraine is not capable of settling the existing issues or contributing to the emergence of a major and effective party. However, it helps to boost self-esteem of those politicians who call themselves party leaders.