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Week’s milestones. Groysman’s spring, renaming by Lutsenko, and Saakashvili return

12:20, 05 February 2018
2 min. 272

Ukraine’s prime minister promised "a spring of reform", while his Cabinet laid off fiscal chief Roman Nasirov. The prosecutor general while in Brussels spoke about anti-corruption efforts and while in Kyiv – about the reasons to rename "Boyko’s drilling rigs". The NSDC secretary announced the creation of cyber warfare units and successful tests of Ukrainian-made cruise missiles. The newly-created "National Squads" caused quite a stir in social media. Mikheil Saakashvili, whom the court earlier put on a curfew, resumed mass rallies of his supporters.

Almost simultaneously with a famous Ukrainian weather forecaster, Timka the Groundhog, who testified to an early spring in Ukraine, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman promised his fellow citizens the "spring of reform". The head of government presented 35 bills at the Cabinet meeting, aiming to ensure the transformation in the economy and prove that a parliamentary majority can vote effectively. It is obvious that the sacking of the notorious Roman Nasirov from the post of head of the State Fiscal Service was the first "flower" of Groysman's Spring. At the same time, the prime minister vows to raise wages in light industry and resolve the issue of gasoline price hikes.

The prosecutor general tried to convince European officials of the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts by his subordinates as if entering into a dispute with Ukrainian anti-graft activists and their Western political patrons. Yuriy Lutsenko decided to disavow the phrase "Boyko's drilling rigs" that has become generally common over the past few years by claiming that the co-chairman of the Opposition Bloc, Yuriy Boyko, is in fact not complicit in the scam involving the purchase of mobile drilling platforms that were later seized by Russian invaders in 2014. The PGO now believes that it was Viktor Yanukovych and Serhiy Arbuzov who were the ultimate beneficiaries in the deal where the government overpaid for the rigs (the latter official, together with Mykola Azarov, have been issued new suspicion notices and once again put on wanted list).

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Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, has traditionally positioned himself as a man of state affairs who is above any political skirmishes. Probably, that's why many suggest he is the one most likely to become Petro Poroshenko’s campaign chief. Meanwhile, Mr Turchynov attended the successful test launch of the Ukrainian cruise missile and announced the creation in Ukraine of a cyber-warfare unit capable of defending the country’s virtual domain.

The request for a “strong hand” was definitely what those behind the setting up of the so-called "National Squads" were guided for. A video featuring hundreds of uniformed young men being sworn in in Kyiv sparked mixed reactions in Ukraine, forcing top leaders to respond to the news, including the Prosecutor General, the Minister of Internal Affairs and the head of the National Police. Camouflage-wearing and balaklava-sporting supporters of the "Ukrainian order" draw unpleasant analogies with interwar Germany, so the authorities will not only have to stress that will not delegate the right to violence to any non-governmental organizations (of which Avakov has already spoken) but also amend the legislation on voluntary participation in the protection of public order (Lutsenko). Otherwise, many political forces in Ukraine will be tempted to create their own paramilitary groups.

Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated his attitude to the curfew the court imposed against him by resuming mass rallies calling for Poroshenko’s impeachment. On Sunday, several thousand people took to the streets in Kyiv. The leader of the "Movement of New Forces" does not soften his rhetoric, not only urging Peter Poroshenko to surrender, but also linking the increase in pensions with the president’s resignation. Before the next rally, Saakashvili promised to present the composition of the alternative government and dozens of presidential candidates.

Yevgeny Magda

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