The complete degeneration of Ukraine’s system

September 29th, 2015

Lug-info – translated for Fort Russ by Paul Siebert

Political analyst Aleksei Blyuminov: “Complete degeneration of the Ukrainian management structure”

* Fort Russ translates for you an eye opening and compelling interview with Blyuminov on the actual and critical situation in Ukraine – highly recommended *

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Lug-Info – Aleksei, what is happening in the Ukrainian politics today?

– The country is steadily sinking into a systemic governmental and parliamentary crisis. Formally, the coalition in the parliament has not disintegrated yet, but everyone understands that there are forces that lead the parliament to early re-elections. Poroshenko is resisting in every way he can, eager to formally preserve the coalition. But the party of Lyashko has already abandoned it.  Now the faction of Timoshenko is next in line.

Lug-Info – In your opinion, who benefits from this?

– Oligarch Igor Kolomoisky is behind all this, if we consider domestic beneficiaries who want to grab their piece. Regarding foreign beneficiaries – this is more complicated, because Ukraine is under external control. If the parliament is dissolved, it means that this decision was agreed to in Washington. If Washington does not want early perturbations and it is satisfied with Poroshenko, then the dissolution of the parliament will not take place. It will be maintained half alive for some time: a month, two, three, four – for as long as it is needed.

Lug-Info – Can we assert that the leader of the far-right “Freedom” party Tyagnibok has been “sent packing”?

– It is difficult to say at the moment. We remember that after Mukachevo Poroshenko was shouting angrily threatening to punish those involved, but no one was arrested, everyone escaped in the woods. In the conflict near the Parliament in Kiev on August 31 it is the same story: the Pechersk court in Kiev will decide whether to arrest Shwaika (former Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine, member of the “Freedom” party). In the coming days we will see how serious are the Prosecutor General, the police, etc. in relation to the “Freedom” party.

Lug-Info – In general, how do you assess the political situation in Ukraine?

– The political situation is absolutely unstable. There are no “fodder reserves” that could maintain stability. Roughly speaking, earlier, for example, under Yanukovych, this stability could be maintained by two things: the first – the legitimate state apparatus, and the second – the availability of some money. Now, both are missing. There are a lot of people who can toss grenades at the prosecutor’s office, and there is no money to cajole them.

Going back to the main problem – the regime is under external control, so all flames of instability are to be artificially extinguished. For example, there was a source of instability in the form Kolomoisky – he was removed after the mediation of the US Ambassador. There was a similar source of instability in the form of Nalyvaychenko: he was also removed. Therefore, external overseers are helping Poroshenko to keep the situation under control and consolidate his regime. Obviously, it cannot last forever, but as long as the Americans are interested in some kind of stability, they will not allow the spread of destabilizing tendencies.

Lug-Info – How important is the factor “of people returning from the front?”

– According to the association of owners of firearms (they are lobbying for legalization of the process), Ukraine is the largest supplier of illegal weapons to the EU. There have been some known attempts to smuggle multiple-launch rocket systems “Grad” across the country to Chernovtsi in order to sell them in Romania. We see that in all conflicts in Ukraine, including Mukachevo, heavy weapons are used. In Kiev, grenade explosions are heard and soon, in all probability, howitzers will be available. In spite of this, a more or less “glossy cover” of Ukraine is maintained yet.

Lug-Info – What about the situation in the Ukrainian economy?

– The economy is dead. According to the official data, the GDP has contracted by 12.5%. This demonstrates that the main branches of industry, which produced income: metallurgy, machine-building, chemistry, etc. – are in deep crisis. What more or less is still functioning to some degree is tied to the agricultural sector and exports through the port of Odessa. That is why, by the way, it is such a contested asset. Even lenders admit it.

Standard& Poor’s rating agency predicts that a default is inevitable. Not such a long time ago a technical default was admitted. But at the same time, due to political considerations, the same lenders say that they will continue to lend to Ukraine despite the fact that its economy is dead. Clearly, this is a purely political decision – to keep the bankrupt regime afloat. It cannot go on for a long time, but for some period they will be able to drag on.

Lug-Info – How will it look like?

– Without external credit borrowings Kiev is unable to form the budget for 2016. For this reason, Natalia Yaresko (Finance Minister) urges the Parliament to vote for all the conditions attached by the lenders as a package, blackmailing the deputies that otherwise default is inevitable. These conditions demand more severe cuts in all social programs, forcing the population to tighten their belts even more. Without this even the agreement about forgiving Ukraine 20% of its debt will not come into effect. But this debt write-off is not a victory. This means credit bondage, only delayed in time. Only the payment of the principal will be stretched for four years while the interest will be charged anyway. But this money will have to be returned by other people. Neither Yatsenyuk nor Yaresko will remain in their positions by then. However, it will be impossible to avoid a technical default. The government will have to impose a moratorium on debt payments in September and October. It is also necessary to return three billion dollars to Russia while Moscow made it clear that it is not going to forgive Ukraine’s debt.

Lug-Info – What is happening in the “social sphere”?

– In the social sphere there is a systematic reduction, squeezing, tightening of all social programs starting from the Chernobyl victims, pensioners, benefit recipients, and children of war. For example, in Kiev the categories of people who use public transportation for free have been significantly reduced. Only those people who have the so called “Kievite’s cards” have such a privilege. But this is a very small group. All other persons, including a huge number of migrants living in the capital of Ukraine illegally, do not have these preferential rights.

– And what about the prices?

– The prices are rising. On the one hand, the authorities caused the collapse of imports, on the other hand, exports crumbled as well. As a result, on paper the budget has reached equilibrium that is called deflation. In addition, without any sanctions and blockades, the assortment of goods in shops has been significantly reduced. For example, in the past there used to be 15 types of yogurt or mayonnaise, but now there are only three. What remains is the cheapest goods. There is no sense to sell expensive ones in mass retail stores.

Lug-Info – You mentioned the migrants. What is life like for refugees?

– Refugees from Donbas have no rights. There is a regime of internal segregation. Formally – you’re a citizen of Ukraine, you have a passport. But you need to be registered as a temporary migrant and receive a huge number of certificates. There are many problems when children go to a kindergarten or school. People also face domestic segregation when housing is not rented to people from Donetsk or Lugansk. I talk to many people, and I have a lot of examples. Plus, there are problems with employment records. In fact, people find themselves outside the legal environment. They periodically organize meetings in order to be legalized, to be given accommodation. If you have some financial reserves – you can rent an apartment, but if not …

– How do you assess the situation with the frozen conflict?

– With frozen conflicts there are no prospects to speak of, because the freezing does not provide a solution but postpones it indefinitely. In the hope that something will change under the influence of some external factors. We realize that the war may end only with a victory of one of the sides, it cannot end with a compromise. It is not possible. Compromise is a truce; it is not the end of the war. The simplest example: Some elements in Ukraine are enraged over the buying of coal from the enemy territory, from Donbas. In fact, these supplies should be legalized. Without this coal power plants will be stopped. The supplies of coal at the Ukrainian thermal power stations are left for only two weeks. That is, energetic collapse can occur at any moment. And the situation is becoming more precarious.

– Can you make any forecasts?

– Actually, it is difficult to make predictions. I personally see only one option – the end of the war. There are two examples of ending wars: the Vietnamese one, when a society is tired of the war and urges authorities to make peace and end the hostilities. And the second one is a military defeat of the enemy. Regardless of the scenario of solving the conflict, it will have different beneficiaries. It should be understood that the current regime in Kiev will never allow federalization of Ukraine. And there is no leverage to force it into it – Minsk agreements are brazenly flaunted by the Kiev regime.

– It seems that everything depends on the resources, including those resources received from the outside?

– From the perspective of an ordinary person who cannot rely on anything, yes. In Ukraine, the situation is worse than in Donbas. Donbas receives convoys with humanitarian aid, volunteers are collecting money. No one will deliver humanitarian aid to an ordinary poor Ukrainian. He has been left alone; there is nothing he can count upon.  He is lucky if he has relatives who can feed him or make money transfers. We also understand that in Donbas, for obvious reasons, in many cases utilities are not paid for, but no one has been evicted.

Lug-Info – Let’s go back to the refugees. Will they come back?

Those ones who are not able to settle somewhere, will look for possibilities to return. People, who are able to integrate in the Ukraine with some success, are unlikely to return. In general, the situation in the country is depressing. We are witnessing a complete degradation of the Ukrainian management structure.

In Ukraine, the Emergency Situations Ministry has been broken up. We have seen three waves of lustration. Thousands of people have been fired. They have been replaced by people from the street. And the results are obvious for anyone: peat bogs are burning, they cannot extinguish them. The system has been destroyed: lack of people, lack of professional skills, and lack of equipment. In normal times any environmental disaster would be overcome within two – three days. Now fires are raging in the Chernobyl forest. It is impossible to breathe with smoke billowing in the streets.

Another example. The police is being disbanded. Seasoned veterans are gone. They are replaced with 22-24 year old boys, with no experience at all, but with huge ambitions. At the same time we see an explosion of street crime: robberies, stabbings, hooliganism. Nobody is dealing with street crime. In front of a camera traffic violation fines are ostentatiously written to a high-ranking bishop or some politician. But this is a facade, and behind the facade …. Some foreigner comes to Ukraine, makes some photographs and goes back to write a book about the success of Ukraine’s reforms. He will not delve into crime statistics. He will make a selfie with a policeman dressed in the second hand American uniform – second hand from Texas Rangers, with American chevrons replaced by Ukrainian – that is all. The usual Saakashvili-style. Total window-dressing in everything …

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/09/ukraine-complete-degeneration-of-system.html

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Vladimir Putin’s interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram

Posted on The Kremlin, February 9, 2015

Excerpt:
In the run-up to his visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the Al-Ahram daily newspaper…

QUESTION: How would you assess the situation in Ukraine and around it? What do you think will be the most appropriate way out of the Ukrainian crisis?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to remind Egyptian readers that the Ukrainian crisis was not caused by the Russian Federation. It has emerged in response to the attempts of the USA and its western allies who considered themselves ‘winners’ of the cold war to impose their will everywhere. Promises of non-expansion of the NATO to the East (given yet to the Soviet authorities) have turned out to be hollow statements. We have seen how NATO’s infrastructure was moving closer and closer towards Russian borders and how Russian interests were being ignored.

Moreover, in the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership Program there have been attempts to tear states which had been parts of the former USSR off Russia and to prompt them to make an artificial choice “between Russia and Europe.” The Ukrainian crisis has become a high point of these negative trends. We repeatedly warned the USA and its western allies about harmful consequences of their interference in Ukrainian domestic affairs but they did not listen to our opinion.

Last February the USA and a number of EU member states supported the coup d’état in Kiev. The ultranationalists who seized the power using military force put the country on the edge of disruption and started the fratricidal war.

Unfortunately, today we can see how the ‘war party’ in Kiev actively supported from the outside continues its attempts to push the Ukrainian people over the edge of a catastrophe. The situation in Donbas has aggravated dramatically. Ukrainian security forces resumed the bombing of Donetsk, Lugansk and other residential areas in the region. They are building up their military presence there. The “new wave” of mass mobilization has been announced in the country; there are calls for “taking revenge” after summer “military failures” and for a forceful “Ukrainization of Donbas.”

Ukraine is militarizing rapidly. We can judge by the statistics: in 2014, the Ukrainian military budget increased by almost 41 percent. This year, according to preliminary data, it will more than triple and reach more than $3 billion – which is about 5 percent of the country’s GDP. And this is happening when its economy supported mostly with international, including Russian, funds is in rather deplorable situation.

We certainly feel worried. We hope that common sense will prevail. Russia strongly calls for a comprehensive and exclusively peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis based on the Minsk agreements which were largely achieved owing to the initiative and efforts of the Russian side.

The most important condition for the stabilization of the situation is immediate cease-fire and ending of a so called ‘anti-terrorist’, but in fact punitive, operation in the south-east of Ukraine. Kiev’s attempts to exert economic pressure on Donbas and disrupt its daily life only aggravate the situation. This is a dead-end track, fraught with a big catastrophe.

It is evident that the crisis will continue until the Ukrainians themselves agree with each other. Until the unbridled radicalism and nationalism are finished with, and the society is consolidated around positive values and genuine interests of Ukraine. To achieve this, Kiev authorities need to listen to their people, find a common language and reach an agreement with all political forces and regions of the country. They need to elaborate such constitutional state system formula that would provide for a safe and comfortable living for all citizens with human rights being fully observed.

In the meantime, it is necessary to do one’s utmost to make all the parties to the conflict gather around the negotiating table. In this context, the Russian side stands for forging sustainable and direct contacts between Kiev and Donetsk and Lugansk, for continued work within the Contact Group. On our part, we intend to actively contribute to that process.

For the full interview with questions on many topics:

http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23575