How will the situation develop in Ukraine in the near future? Is there real opposition to the Poroshenko regime in Ukraine? Who can, not in words, but in reality, make up a real, and not imaginary, competition to those in power? Similarly – what will be the essence of the ‘Russian game’ in Ukraine in the next year or two?
I’ll start the story with a very interesting point. On Saturday 11th November, in Kiev, the People’s Front (NF) congress was held, headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the two main political pillars of the current regime. The event is very remarkable and is an interesting marker of the planned changes. Yes, it is planned and approved backstage.
The NF has it all (or almost all): money, influential patrons, PR and media representatives, and even a large part of the power in the country. They merely (!) lack support from voters.
NF is overall an interesting party in Ukraine. As early as 2015, their rating dropped below ground level, where it still is today. At the same time, NF remains one of the most influential political forces in the country. At first glance, this seems abnormal. But it is this situation that is convenient for Petro Poroshenko, which in many ways was “guilty” of the sharp drop in the popularity of the Yatsenyuk party, in the first year after the Maidan.
The president very cleverly managed to dump all the negative “economic reforms” of 2014-15 years on the leader of NF, Yatsenyuk. Thus, he killed two fat hares at once (Yatsenyuk does not count, he is skinny.) First, he completely tied up the hands of the “NF soldiers” to his political force.
With a rating of less than 1%, to aggregate re-elections would be natural political suicide.
Largely thanks to this “coincidence”, Poroshenko was able not only to retain power in a very difficult time, but also to defeat many of his opponents, including the “unconquerable” Igor Kolomoisky.
But all good things come to an end sooner or later. Whatever one may say, it is necessary to prepare for the presidential elections, because only a year and a half remains before the planned event. And then the parliamentary elections – the latter may well turn out to be unplanned …
Nuances of future elections
The changes recently adopted in the first reading of the Rada, are fully working for the presidential pool of “parties”, plus the NF.
Which is understandable, otherwise they would not have been voted in.
Moreover, these changes were made according to the established Ukrainian tradition of creating a specific political situation. The authorities are going to abandon the voting thresh-hold, and lower the barrier for smaller parties to get in to parliament. And another norm, which the government itself adopted two years ago, is also being abolished. Governors of regions and other officials may now be in parties.
Why is this being done?
Ukrainians in 2018 will see a sharp rise in prices and a sharp rise in the level of infrastructure construction (!)
These two factors will become the main drivers of the economy, and it is on the successes of the construction boom that local officials will try to convince voters of their professional suitability. And, as we understand, “by a strange coincidence of circumstances”, this boom will be represented by Block Petro Poroshenko (BPP) and NF.
Why is the voting thresh-hold barrier being lowered? No, not to let the NF into parliament. They will be let in regardless. So much money will be poured into them that even if no-one in the country votes for the NF soldiers, they will still draw a result. But for the authorities, it is important to bring in their “opposition” clones, which will not be able to gain even 5% of the vote.
In fact, the “opposition” in the new parliament is going to be diluted with pseudo-opposition parties, the creation of which has been going on for a long time.
Here we will see “For life”, “Our land”, and the “renewed” socialists with the “agrarians”. All of them will fight against Block Yulia Timoshenko (BYT), “Oppoblok” and Saakashvili.
Unequivocally, the parliament will include the main political “reformer” of Ukraine and true support pillar of Poroshenko in parliament, Oleg Lyashko. Where to without him!
BYT today has the most political force in terms of ratings. This is shown not only by secret polls (which are true), but even public ones (which distort the truth). President Poroshenko will have to do something about this.
The simplest way to blur BYT ratings today is to create competitors for her. The competitors are the parties named above.
Particularly gratifying to Poroshenko is that even Saakashvili, fighting against him, will in fact be fighting also against Tymoshenko, and so let him run around for now and make people laugh.
“Oppoblok” has every chance of collapsing into a “pro-American” party under the patronage of Levochkin and a “pro-Russian” version under the patronage of Novinsky.
Actually, this amuses me very much. To have two such antagonistic principles and stick together, and hold on precisely because both heads are afraid that after a breakdown of the party, they will lose the remnants of their influence in the country.
But if the “pro-Russian” part is almost certain to survive, then with the pro-American side, everything is much more complicated. Washington, according to the good old tradition, can simply write off no longer necessary people.
Although personally for Levochkin, of course, they may make an exception. His services to Washington and the Maidan are indeed invaluable. In fact, he was its father and mother.
Ukraine 2017 – is Ukraine 2013 backwards
The main battle in the upcoming elections in Ukraine will be between the two main blocs, which can be called conditionally “pro-Poroshenko” and “pro-American.” For the population, they are all American proteges, and this situation is actually very beneficial to Moscow.
The biggest trouble for Vladimir Putin in 2010 was the appointment of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as Ukrainian president, by none other than Washington. His headquarters at that time were headed by the American specialist Paul Manafort.
As we all remember, Russia supported Yulia Tymoshenko in those elections. What for? It’s all very simple. The mess that remained after the reign of Viktor Yushchenko, Washington wished to drain onto Moscow’s head. And they did it.
Now the situation is much the same. Washington, having lost a lot of control over Poroshenko, will want to bring another “pro-Russian” candidate to power.
I am sure that this is exactly what Kurt Volker is now offering to Vladislav Surkov, presenting this as a mega-favour to Moscow.
But Moscow, like in 2010, will not see this as favourable. And if back then Vladimir Putin could not achieve victory on the Ukrainian front, now he has almost all the cards in his hands.
And he really does not care who wins the Ukrainian throne in 2019: Tymoshenko or Poroshenko. Even Yatsenyuk would do the trick. A Nazi coup would actually be a jackpot.
The situation is such that any real variant of the development of events is beneficial for Russia. For Washington – any move will only worsen their situation.
Moscow has to only wait until Ukraine is fully sick of the pro-American course of “development,” and it will instigate preparations for a real political return of Kiev. And then a completely different game will begin.
Inessa Sinchougova is an Editor and Journalist at Fort Russ News, as well as a research fellow and translator of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. She was educated at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the field of Political Science and was previously employed in Marketing and Communications Strategy for a Multi-National Corporation. She runs a popular YouTube channel for translations of key Russian Foreign Policy figures and appears regularly on other alternative media channels.