The president has long lost control of the parliament and on the eve of the elections his opponents will think three times before creating a precedent for the Rada’s consolidated vote for the president’s proposal. Moreover, Poroshenko’s opponents are building their election campaign on the basis of the theses on the need to end the civil war and normalize relations with Russia. It is clear that the denunciation of the Treaty of Friendship … will not contribute to the achievement of these goals. It is just in the mainstream of the Poroshenko’s radical nationalist electoral program. Denunciation of the treaty will show that the Verkhovna Rada has rallied around Poroshenko, as around the leader of the war party. It can untie his hands to attack the opposition.
And I am absolutely sure that there is no other goal than creating the conditions for the power suppression of the opposition in Poroshenko, demanding the breaking of the Treaty of Friendship …, no.
First, Ukraine could have broken it long ago. In 2014-2015, the mood in the society was much more favorable for this, and the parliament was ready for a proper vote, and even Western partners were perplexedly interested in Ukraine as it manages to assert that it is at war with Russia if the Treaty on Friendship remains inviolable. Now the situation has radically changed and the corresponding actions of Kiev will not receive either internal or international support (which Poroshenko is perfectly aware of).
Secondly, the break of the Treaty does not give anything to Ukraine, but it expands the space for Russia’s maneuver.
Let’s start with the banal. It is this treaty that recognizes the inviolability of existing borders, the parties undertake to respect each other’s territorial integrity and not to use their territory to the detriment of each other’s security. Ukraine, however, accuses Russia of violating these provisions, but Moscow has much more grounds for making claims to Kiev. In 2014, Ukrainian troops repeatedly fired Russian border checkpoints, as well as border settlements from artillery and small arms. There was even at least one dead citizen of Russia. At the same time groups of armed Ukrainian soldiers on armored vehicles several times violated the Russian border (not yet with the intention of surrendering, as it was later).
However, it is unlikely that Russia will immediately submit territorial claims to Ukraine. Even the issue of recognizing the republics can be postponed in connection with the overall geopolitical situation. But the contract is not accidentally called the Basic. Declaring a strategic partnership between the two countries, it is in fact the basis for agreements regulating Ukrainian-Russian relations in all spheres. Economics, finance, science, culture, rights and freedoms of citizens of the two countries, nothing escapes the scope of the Treaty of Friendship …. With the reference to his denunciation, any agreements in any spheres (or suspended their effect) may be ruptured.
With the denunciation of the Treaty of Friendship, both Russia and Ukraine, each arbitrarily, can arbitrarily restrict the crossing of its borders by the citizens of the other party, their right to work, acquire property and conduct business on its territory. Only if Ukraine already used this option (in those aspects in which it was able), Russia has not even started yet. Now Kiev itself is trying to create Moscow’s international legal grounds for any actions against itself.
Poroshenko’s plan is understandable: by denouncing the treaty, it will provoke Russia to take violent actions, such as the nomination of territorial claims and thereby rally around itself radical nationalist forces, and raise the degree of patriotic hysteria in society, if not to the level of 2014, then to some of appreciable magnitude. This should reduce the electoral base of his opponents, while simultaneously increasing the base of Poroshenko’s votes. In addition, under such conditions, the opposition will find it much more difficult to argue with the demand for normalization of relations with Russia.
Only after all, Moscow in recent years has all the asymmetric matters resolved, and from this the future is even more painful. It may be that instead of Russian claims, Poroshenko will receive a return to Ukraine of millions of migrant workers who will lose the grounds for working in Russia, and the conditions for their crossing the border and stay on the territory of the country will require additional negotiations and a new agreement. I think their “love” for Poroshenko, who deprived them and the family of a piece of bread, will be so hot that Peter Alekseevich will have to think not about elections, but about flight (well, or about the soul).
The range of opportunities for reaction in Russia, in the case of denunciation of the Treaty of Friendship is broader than ever. Ultimately, this treaty is something like a constitution of bilateral relations. There’s little more to it, the rest of the contractual and legal basis is sagging. But, as was said at the beginning of the article, one should not forget about the interests of the Ukrainian opposition, which is not interested in letting Poroshenko unleash a conflict with Russia (even if not hot) at the close of his reign. After all, they will later have to restore the destroyed legal basis of bilateral relations. And times have changed. Yeltsin no longer demanded that Russian officials hardly wake up to think “what did you do for Ukraine” that was the head of Russia when the treaty was approved by the parliaments of the two countries and signed. The terms of the new agreement will be much more stringent. Yes, and give Poroshenko the opportunity to seize the initiative in the domestic political struggle, the opposition is also not interested. So the first thing that the initiative of Poroshenko-Klimkin will lead to is an increase in internal tension in Ukraine, and the rest only afterwards.