Ischenko: Looking Forward, it Makes No Difference Who the Next Ukrainian President Will Be
By Rostislav Ischenko
By Rostislav Ischenko – Russia is a country where democracy rules. Here everyone can have their own opinion on any issue. And they do. The subject of discussion is everything: from roads, to factories, pensions, salaries, the economy, the policy of the Central Bank, and so forth – but foreign policy is in particular demand.
Someone proposes to surrender to America, someone else to seize Ukraine “yesterday”, yet another to forever abandon the idea of returning the Russian lands lost during the collapse of the USSR, someone else fears China, someone fears Europe, someone else still says the US is after us at all times.
All those offering their opinions, as a rule, have one critical methodological error. They all tell how it would be good today if their great ideas were implemented by someone (not them) yesterday. But yesterday is gone already, and they do not say anything about today. Instead they recommend: “We must do something.” The ‘smartest’, under the rubric of “doing something”, are even ready to master budgets of any size! It is wonderful to take several tens of millions or even several billion rubles for “something”.
As for tomorrow’s day, the experts on yesterday generally prefer to remain silent. Meanwhile, the most important question that requires an answer in any strategic planning (as in any planning in general) is ‘what about tomorrow’: and then what?
Well, (in the economy – ed) we reach new highs in the local regions and the countryside. Has this improved our position? Increased chances of a final victory or reduced them? What price did we pay for local success? Well, we built in the middle of the tundra a chicken farm of ten million birds. Will anyone be served by it? Will there be a buyer for its products? And what will be the cost of products obtained in such extreme conditions? This is the same case with everything else. It is not enough to have the desire and opportunity to do something. It is necessary to understand whether there will be real benefit from what has been done. And if so, to whom, and of course when.
In Ukraine, the situation is somewhat worse. There, all the experts and politicians – consumers of expert recommendations – and their hindsight is always 20/20. But due to the peculiarities of the political system, they can not lead a discussion about options. NATO, EU, tomos (the row over Orthodoxy – ed), one language, one nation, one leader. You can only discuss how they will call the leader. And then such a discussion is allowed only at the moment when the previous leader is critically weak.
Now is the moment, and in Kiev they ardently argue whether Poroshenko will be able to extend martial law or not, will elections take place on March 31st or not. Who will be the next head of state? – Tymoshenko, Boyko, Zelensky, or will Poroshenko remain?
These are undoubtedly important and interesting questions, the answer of which the immediate future of several thousand people depends – approximately the number of potential winners in the struggle for power in Ukraine and, therefore, the likely beneficiaries of this victory. But, besides the fact that someone will be able to grab a piece, and someone will have to share a piece, there is also the main question: what then? What then for the whole country, then what for the winning candidate, for the people? What will change if Tymoshenko becomes president (not for Poroshenko personally, but for everyone)? And if Zelensky? And Gritsenko, Lyashko, Vakarchuk?
Only by answering this question can we build both our current relations with the Ukrainian authorities and reflect on the prospects for interaction with these territories, their populations and its official representatives, in the correct way. And we will have to conclude this – nothing matters. It makes no difference who will win the Ukrainian elections (if they will) or will come to power by other means.
Let’s, for the correctness of the experiment, leave out the names and surnames, the pronouns “he” and “she”, and denote the potential winner “President X”. What will “President X” face when entering into authority?
A destroyed economy, destroyed transport and communal infrastructure, empty treasury, overwhelming external debt, cannibalistic tariffs, a shrinking labor market, the resulting population flight and a demographic catastrophe aggravating the economic disaster, the incapacity of the authorities, the decomposition of power structures, inactive laws, neo-Nazi gangs, terrorizing the street and actively participating in the power redistribution of property, the war in the Donbass, confrontation with Russia because of the Crimea, fatigue from Ukraine former allies, completing the Nord Stream 2 and the Turkish Stream, threatening to drain the Ukrainian gas pipe since 2020. The absence of a contract with Gazprom for the transit of gas.
Question: Which of these problems can a new (or old) president solve? The answer is: none.
Translated by and for FRN from Cont