March 5, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
The special status of Donbass, provided by the Minsk memorandum, should provide Donetsk and Lugansk republics with the right to secede from Ukraine. This was stated by the Deputy Chairman of the People’s Council of LPR, Vladislav Deinego.
“We see this special status as a possibility of full autonomy, starting from the budget allocation and formation of local government, while a part of Ukraine, to a written guarantee of a right to secede from Ukraine,” – he explained to Interfax.
Until the end of the year, Ukraine must reform the constitution, providing for a significant decentralization of state administration. This condition is found in the 11th point of the document, which was signed by the participants of the contact group on conflict settlement in Donbass, signed on February 12 in Minsk. The document, by the way, talks about an adoption of a permanent law on the special status “of certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions”.
The preparation for the constitutional reform has already begun. On Tuesday, March 3rd, the President of Ukraine, Peter Poroshenko has signed a decree on the establishment of the constitutional commission, headed by the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Vladimir Groisman. And until March 12 an expert group must be formed, which will develop amendments to the main law of the country.
But Poroshenko’s decree stressed – the commission must preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And suddenly Kiev is told about a right to full sovereignty…!
How will the architects of the new Ukrainian statehood react to this? And what maximum concessions are they willing to make on the question of the status of the unrecognized republics?
– The leadership of DPR and LPR is not talking about secession from Ukraine – says Kiev political analyst Victor Pirozhenko. – On the contrary, they want to remain a part of Ukraine. This is what they are talking about. This is what the Minsk agreement is about. The only question is about the status of these Ukrainian territories.
“SP”: – Then why do they want to receive a right to secede?
– This right, in fact, comes from a referendum on sovereignty, which was held in the republics of May 11th last year. How should they use this right further? They want to remain part of Ukraine, but to retain the right to secession, as a certain guarantee of protecting their ethno-cultural interests and identity from the encroachments of the central government. I understand that we are not talking about them willing to immediately take advantage of this opportunity. The agenda of DPR and LPR aims to somehow restore the socio-economic ties with the rest of Ukraine. Lugansk and Donetsk are only trying to secure the opportunity to use the right for their sovereignty as they see. By the way, Ukraine itself became a state based on this principle. As well as the other former Soviet republics… [so there is a chance? – KR] First they obtained sovereignty at referendums. And then decided how to use it.
“SP”: – Will Kiev agree to LPR’s under the current circumstances?
Under the present circumstances it is quite a constructive offer. And (if the center would accept it) it would defuse the entire situation and would preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Although Kiev, will most likely say no.
But this is a question of negotiations. The coordination of positions in the framework of the contact group between the Kiev government and the leadership of DPR and LPR through intermediaries, including international. They need to work it out and talk about specific parameters and the form of autonomy, about the legal status and the rights of these territories inside Ukraine.
“SP”: – Will the representatives of Donbass be included in drafting a new constitution?
Such a necessity is obvious. The representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk republics must be included in the constitutional commission of Poroshenko . Moreover, they must be full members of the expert group. Must be able to influence its work, the format of decentralization and state composition of Ukraine.
– The project of constitutional reform in regards to regional rights in Ukraine must be developed in consultation with the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics – it clearly flows from the Minsk agreements, – said political analyst, Dmitry Kulikov. – Therefore, the statement of Deinego should be considered as an attempt for public participation of the republics in the process. Yes, they have their own demands and preferences. And all of this must be subject of negotiations. And, if you will, the political trade off – in the best sense of the word.
The problem is that Kiev, I think, is terribly far from real negotiations. Maximum that they will try to do is to create visibility, imitation of such constitutional process. In reality they are not willing to provide any real power, any real autonomy to the regions.
Therefore, for now, they are not on the same page. So I would consider the statement of Deinego as a public invitation of Kiev to negotiate with Lugansk Republic – no more then that.
The Chairman of the Committee of State Building of Novorossia, Vladimir Rogov, in turn, does not believe in the willingness of Kiev to negotiate with Donbass:
– Kiev, of course, will do anything that it will be told by its Western partners, especially the US. But their rhetoric and actions show that that they are not preparing for peaceful life. Especially, not for a long-term peace. Kiev is preparing for war.
Negotiations on the supply of weapons, the arrival of paramilitary units from the USA, Canada and Poland to Ukraine – are these the “elements” of civil society and decentralization? No, foreign instructors are preparing the Ukrainian punitive troops to continue military operations.
We see that Kiev not only did not begin paying pensions or restoring the banking system of Donbass – which is also provided by the Minsk agreements, but also blocked the supply of gas, while shamefully explaining to Russia what is Ukraine, and what is not part of Ukraine. And which gas they will pay for and which they will not.
That is, in fact, the people sitting in Kiev who call themselves “the government”, do not accept the residents of Donbass, as their fellow citizens. And what comprehensive constitutional reform can we talk about in these circumstances?