Acting by Putin's principles

Roman Tsymbaliuk
17:50, 05 December 2017
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Opinion

A full-blown showdown between the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Security Service on the one hand and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau on the other will have colossal consequences for Ukraine. It is possible that this spat will become a Rubicon for the West to actually believe that our country at its current stage is simply impossible to reform and, therefore, there is no point in making efforts to support the Ukrainian political elite, who seems to have failed to realize a historical chance that has come upon them.

In general, it is embarrassing to hear that just about any part of public negotiations between Ukrainian officials and their Western partners ends up in the latter reproaching Kyiv for the insufficient fight against corruption. Now, each of the sides of the latest PGO-NABU row has its own arguments, and it seems that they all have their own logic and right to life. It’s only that, in fact, everything is clear here for the Ukrainian public, and it's hard to get rid of the feeling that the "reformers" from the PGO are trying to whitewash certain corrupt officials. Meanwhile, statements claiming that NABU’s undercover agents were not recruited at an open competition for some reason bear the signs of schizophrenia.

It is no secret that the establishment of an independent anti-corruption watchdog, NABU, was something that Ukraine’s partners from across the Atlantic promoted and demanded from the official Kyiv. A strange situation, indeed, when it’s the United States that requires from Ukraine to create conditions under which civil servants would stop stealing and sell out their own Homeland, while those who cannot resist the temptation should be isolated from society or at least be kicked out of their cozy offices.

Now, each of the sides of the latest PGO-NABU row has its own arguments, and it seems that they all have their own logic and right to life. It’s only that, in fact, everything is clear here for the Ukrainian public, and it's hard to get rid of the feeling that the "reformers" from the PGO are trying to whitewash certain corrupt officials

With his latest statement claiming that NABU is nothing but an "illegal group that operates with illegal equipment", the Prosecutor General seems to have spat in the face of the United States. Lutsenko is not comfortable with the fact that NABU conducted a joint operation with the FBI, so he also branded it illegal. Actually, by saying this, Yuriy Lutsenko strikes a colossal blow to the myths of Russian propaganda. The thing is that Moscow has long stressed that the Americans control almost all the Ukrainian authorities, and here we see the Prosecutor General who seemingly can’t care less about Washington in this case. Who can dare say now that our country has lost its subjectivity?!

There is an impression that in a little while, the PGO will go further and state that the U.S. interferes in Ukraine’s internal affairs. This kind of reminds me of what Viktor Yanukovych’s allies were muttering some four years ago, while earlier this year even the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, made similar hints. In March 2017, Putin met with Russian prosecutors and told them that anti-corruption bodies in Eastern Europe were created by "countries claiming global leadership" for the sake of "manipulation in the internal political sphere." At the same time, the Russian president vowed that this would never happen in Russia.

There is an impression that in a little while, the PGO will go further and state that the U.S. interferes in Ukraine’s internal affairs

And now it seems that someone in Kyiv has heard Putin's warnings coming from the North. And the attack on NABU agents was launched. It was not only about the leak of personal data on the highly-acclaimed undercover agent “Katerina” - it’s primarily about a threat to the continued Western support for our country.

It's no secret that the West has grown weary of Ukraine’s lack of strategic thinking, so many people, especially in European capitals, have gained an excellent argument in their dispute of money and principles on why unprincipled businessmen have to lose their contracts and profits due to anti-Russian sanctions while Ukrainians themselves fail to praise such sacrifices... And now the United States is warning Ukraine of a possible suspension of international support.

Now, a low-profile political dialogue has been intensified along the Russia-EU line, and, against the backdrop of difficulties with the formation of a coalition in Germany, the West's fatigue over Ukraine in general could severely undermine the unity of the Western world on the Ukrainian issue. Many, even too many people have long wanted to turn over the "sanctions" page.

We must recognize the “courage” of Ukrainian leaders. It seems they are not afraid to be left alone confronted by a Russian bear. Perhaps they think that they can reach some kind of agreement with him. But they’re wrong. At the first opportunity, the teddy bear will simply tear them apart.

Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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