Week’s milestones. Traveling president, prudent prime minister, and tense Donbas

14:40, 04 September 2017
2 min. 22

Petro Poroshenko is trying to cover different parts of Ukraine with his working trips. Volodymyr Groysman has stocked up on some patience ahead of possible autumn shocks. The bill on the future de-occupation of Donbas remains closed to the public.

The Ukrainian president tried to take advantage before the other participants in the political process with a view to the future election campaign, which will fully unfold in 2018. While the rough draft of the presidential address undergoes its finishing touches, Petro Poroshenko last week took time to visit Donbas, Lviv, and Kharkiv regions. The head of state stressed positive trends in the economy and the readiness to fight for Ukraine as a successful state. At the same time, Poroshenko is increasingly using tough rhetoric toward Russia. His shuttle trips look not only as preparations for the political season but also a will to seize the initiative.

Poroshenko’s main challenger, as sociologists say, leader of Fatherland Party Yulia Tymoshenko visited the town of Sarny in Rivne region, where she called for the unification of opposition forces and "return to the right strategy of the country's development." This, apparently, might be the system of coordinates that Ms Tymoshenko adhered to during her tenure as prime minister. Her efforts are being objectively interfered with by the latest moves by former Georgia president and Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been drawing increased attention to his future return to Ukraine. Obviously, some conspiracy theorists coul attribute the recent detention by Kyiv police at the request of the migration service of David Saakashvili [Mikheil Saakashvili’s brother] to the factor confirming the future alliance between Ms Tymoshenko and Minister of Interior, Arsen Avakov, the possibility of which the latter refutes.

The government in the meantime on is all into preparing for the "autumn reforms." Its pioneer is to become Vadym Denysenko - a BPP faction member, who now became a Cabinet’s envoy to the Verkhovna Rada. True, an experienced media professional is unlikely to quickly convince legislators of the need to support the government-proposed reforms. On the other hand, it is useful both for the political elite and millions of Ukrainians to realize that the time for comfortable transformation has already passed, so the reforms will be predominantly unpopular. It remains vital for the authorities to clearly channel to as many citizens as possible the objective news on the current situation.

New vacancies in the executive branch can play into Volodymyr Groysman’s hands. Two ministerial chairs, the positions of Ukrzaliznytsia CEO and head of the State Property Fund create space for political bargaining with various groups of influence. Another question is whether their representatives will want to become "reformers" in the current difficult situation, while what the Cabinet really needs today is the votes in support of its key bills.

Although deputy principal chief of the OSCE SMM in Donbas, Alexander Hug, said that the "school-year truce" in has ended in eastern Ukraine, it still yielded certain results. The intensity of shelling by militants has decreased, while for the past week only one soldier of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army was killed in action. It is extremely important for Ukraine not only to achieve ceasefire in the east of the country, but also not to allow the West to lose focus of what is happening in Donbas.

The bill on the future de-occupation of Donbas is still at the stage of announcements by various speakers from among the political elite, which does not allow to actually consider the proposals allegedly laid down in it. However, the need to legally protect servicemen and law enforcement officials, and to clarify relations with Russia, should prompt the authorities to adopt the optimal draft of the document in the shortest possible time.

The situation with revolutionary graffiti erased from the wall of a luxury furniture store in central Kyiv appears to be rather indicative. Aesthetic views of the outlet’s owner, who has been renting space for his store from the Academy of Sciences, did not find understanding among many Kyiv residents, the most determined of whom made adjustments to the store’s façade afterwards. It seems that the social responsibility of businesses is a category that becomes relevant not only for billionaires.

Yevgeny Magda

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