Week’s milestones. Tymoshenko's decision, Groysman's prospects, and Kasko's somersault
The rest of the October promises to bring some real heat into the Ukrainian politics. Yulia Tymoshenko was the first among political heavyweights to announce her intention to run for president. Mikheil Saakashvili continues his game of cat and mouse with a Ukrainian passport. PM Volodymyr Groysman is pleased with the increase in pensions. Ukraine’s right-wing forces boasted their human resources over the weekend. The Prosecutor General's Office named the mastermind behind the Kyiv assassination of former Russian MP Denis Voronenkov. The latest NABU raid resulted in high-profile arrests in the defense ministry and even made one of the anti-corruption watchdogs to "change suits".
Preparations for a mass rally on October 17, which has many organizers, including parties, nongovernmental organizations, and individual parliamentarians, are accompanied by rising tensions and some not-always-clean methods. We should only recall the claims by certain MPs that "people are ready to shoot, while we give them a peaceful option", although the demand for "a big political reform" cannot be satisfied within 24 hours, purely technically.
Yulia Tymoshenko which has been jumping in and out of the media space lately, has not dared support the October 17 event, realizing that she simply has no right for a mistake. However, she moved to announce her intention to run for president, claiming that the issue of ruling the country cannot be entrusted to anyone else. It should be recalled that both of the previous campaigns by Lady U have failed.
Former Odesa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili, who recently forced his way through the Ukrainian border with the assistance of allies from among Ukrainian MPs, is seriously considering the upcoming rally as a decent PR platform for himself. He has already put forward demands to Petro Poroshenko and continues an incomprehensible game around his Ukrainian passport. It's time for Saakashvili to decide whether he applies for political asylum in Ukraine, or he is a full participant in the country’s internal political process. Saakashvili was visibly upset this week over the entry ban against Georgian MP Koba Nakopia, who media reports brand the former Georgian president’s sponsor, and the scandalous politician even suggested that he himself could be "deported or even killed."
Representatives of Ukraine’s right-wing forces on October 14 took to Kyiv streets on a "March of Heroes' Glory," boasting a crowd of 10,000 to 20,000 people. Except for the usual visual effects in the form of torches and fireworks, there were no serious excesses during the March. The rightists also vow a revolution and show discontent with the Minsk agreements and the very attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to adhere to them. The right-wingers intend to join the rally on October 17, while "Svoboda" adepts standing alongside "Samopomich" members will look rather weird, given the history of relations between the two political forces.
The Prime Minister is pleased with the increase in pensions and now intends to focus on another trump card, which is road repairs. It seems, Volodymyr Groysman realizes that now it is a period of accumulation of political capital, which he will not be forced to spend as early as tomorrow.
The Prosecutor General's Office said they had completed the investigation into the murder of former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, who was gunned down in Kyiv in March, 2017. The law enforcers believe that it was Vladimir Tiurin, former partner of Voronenkov’s wife Maria Maksakova, who had orchestrated the murder. However, the fact that the mastermind behind the assassination was revealed is unlikely to facilitate his extradition from Russia.
NABU detectives have detained Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Pavlovsky and several of his subordinates on charges of fraud in fuel procurement. Pavlovsky is not the first high-ranking military chief who in recent months became an object of NABU’s interest, while the damage inflicted by an allegedly corrupt official also looks very impressive. Another interesting aspect in this case is that a member of the board of Transparency International Ukraine and concurrently ex-deputy prosecutor general Vitaly Kasko preferred to give up anti-corruption efforts for the sake of protecting in court of representatives of a company involved in the probed scheme, Trade Commodity. Of course, this is in his right to do so, but the question arises in the appropriateness of previous high-profile public statements of a prominent anti-corruption watchdog. It seems that Kasko and some of his colleagues misunderstand the destructive nature of such somersaults.