Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
After the Council’s power was enhanced specifically for
Turchinov’s benefit, he gained the ability to directly interfere with the
conduct of military operations, which was demonstrated in January 2015.
However, to limit the “bloody pastor’s” power, Poroshenko introduced his own
people into the Council, by nominating Mikhail Koval and Oleg Gladkovskiy as
the First Deputies to the Council’s Secretary [in other words, Turchinov].
Gladkovskiy headed a number of Poroshenko’s business
ventures, such as the Ukrprominvest bank and the Bogdan factory, Poroshenko has
no reasons to doubt his loyalty. This marks yet another round of elite games,
too limited to give hope that for a decent outcome.
J.Hawk’s Comment: Koval, on the other hand, is a Turchinov
loyalist and the former Minister of Defense, prior to his replacement by
Geletey (of Ilovaysk fame). Koval used to be the only deputy to Turchinov, who
now has two, including one personally loyal to Poroshenko.
Poroshenko does seem genuinely interested in getting the
ceasefire to stick—he needs it to stick for Ukraine’s economy to have at least
a glimmer of hope. Let’s not forget it was Turchinov who threw Azov at
Shirokino just as Poroshenko was heading to Minsk and the Debaltsevo saga was
drawing to a predictable close. In all likelihood, Turchinov was trying to
sabotage the ceasefire, because Azov’s attack was, entirely predictably,
reported in the US as a Novorossia offensive, which then led to the discussion of
providing Ukraine with weapons.
Whether or not this move has any effect is
another question. Turchinov still outranks Gladkovskiy. But at the very least
now Poroshenko will know what Turchinov is up to before it happens—I strongly
suspect the Turchinov-inspired battle on the outskirts of Mariupol took
Poroshenko by surprise.