Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dissolved the parliament on August 27. Early parliamentary elections will be held in Ukraine on October 26. Pravda.Ru interviewed President of the Kiev Center of System Analysis and Forecasting, Rostislav Ishchenko, about the current situation in Ukraine and the political struggle between parties.
"How do you assess the decision of the President of Ukraine to hold elections to the parliament? Many are skeptical about it, because the country remains in a state of civil war."
"I'm also quite skeptical about this decision for several reasons. First, Ukraine is in a state of war indeed. Secondly, in the Ukrainian elite, in the Kiev government, there is a complicated and difficult internal struggle going on. Poroshenko does not enjoy a strong position as it may seem at first sight. It is clear that any elections, even in most peaceful times, destabilize the situation, not to mention the elections held in the times of war.
In Ukraine, different factions are fighting with each other for power and influence over resources. Resources in the country virtually disappear, and political power means control over economic resources. In Ukraine, in fact, only one tycoon can remain, but there are two of them now - Poroshenko and Kolomoysky. Therefore, the struggle between them is inevitable.
For Poroshenko, from my point of view, this parliament was not an obstacle at all. The parliament, in fact, was making any laws that were offered to it. The only law that the parliament refused to make was the law about elections on a pro rata basis, but that was, of course, solely about selfish interests of deputies. By and large, from the political point of view, the elections made no sense. In terms of stability, political space has been cleansed of all opponents of the current regime. The Communist Party and the Party of Regions have been removed from competition. In October, the parliamentary elections will be held only for the parties that represent the current Ukrainian authorities. Some of them will be in the opposition, some of them will criticize the government, so Poroshenko will have to face a hefty dose of criticism.
"In addition, many of these political forces rely on armed groups. Against the backdrop of such instability in the country, the situation may evolve into armed clashes within the ruling group."
"Does Fatherland have its armed groups?"
"No, it doesn't. Freedom and the Right Sector do, and most importantly, Kolomoisky does. Tymoshenko has tried to establish a relationship with Kolomoisky on the grounds of their common aversion to Poroshenko. Therefore, any political force in Ukraine may easily find the support of an armed group. They only need to wish for it.
"Poroshenko is not going to win anything, because Ukrainian politicians support winners, whoever the winners are. If Poroshenko's position weakens, they will take the side of his opponents. Poroshenko wanted to rewrite the Constitution for himself to significantly expand the powers of the president. By design, all security forces would be directly subordinated to the president, the powers of the Council of National Security and Defence would be expanded as well. In fact, he could act as an alternative government.
The new Constitution did not work for him. But he relies on the armed forces as the supreme commander during military actions. He relies on the post-Soviet tradition, when the president was seen almost like a monarch. He also relies on the American support. Poroshenko did not want to create more political problems for himself."
"Why hasn't Poroshenko submitted the association agreement to the parliament yet? Georgia and Moldova have done it a long time ago."
"The association agreement is unnecessary. It was signed as a consolation prize, for outgoing European politicians - Ashton, Barroso, who had once lobbied it, but failed to sign it with Yanukovych. They lost their faces on it, their political careers were broken. They took revenge on Yanukovych for it, because they took an active part in plotting and executing the coup in Ukraine, but they can not turn back time. The time to sign the association agreement is gone. Now it's just a consolation prize that the EU does not need.
"The European Union does not receive anything from the association agreement. Ukraine has practically been destroyed. There is no 40-million-strong market there. People get poor and poor. Economic barriers have been set up on the Ukrainian borders. Goods can not penetrate into the territory of the Russian Federation and CIS countries, as it was originally planned.
"The association agreement was worth-while when the European Union was signing the agreement on free trade zone with the United States. In this agreement, the European Union played the role of a victim, similarly to Ukraine's role in the agreement on free trade zone with the European Union. The trade agreement with the United States caused economic damage to the European Union. To compensate for this, the EU had to obtain additional markets. By signing the association agreement with Ukraine, which had a free trade agreement with the countries of the CIS, the European Union could receive a black hole, through which its goods could enter the markets of CIS countries and compensate the European Union for its losses incurred from the free trade agreement with the United States.
"In fact, it was planned that all the problems and losses from these association agreements would be covered by the Russian Federation and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. When it became clear that this was not going to happen, the agreement lost its meaning for the European Union."
"Is there an obstacle for stopping the war in Ukraine?"
"Poroshenko has too much blood on his hands. He will have to pay for that. Any peace process at one point raises one question: who is to blame? Who was giving orders? Who is going to be held responsible for the deaths? Who will be responsible for the destruction of cities? Who, after all, is going to be held responsible for the fact that the army, the supreme commander of which is Poroshenko, was used against its own population without the declaration of martial law or a state of emergency? That is, even if we proceed from the version of Kiev, which claims that Russia attacked and Kiev responded to defend itself, one should declare martial law, one should declare war to be able to have the army involved."
"Why didn't he declare martial law?"
"With the declaration of martial law, one can not hold elections. Since Ukrainian politicians continue to play their election campaign, then this is not profitable for them. In addition, the military situation severely limits the capacity of the state on the international arena. Finally, in Kiev, they can say anything they want, but they can not prove in the United Nations or elsewhere that Ukraine is at war with Russia. In case of martial law, Poroshenko will have to admit that he is not conducting some sort of an anti-terrorist operation against several groups of people. He will have to admit that he is conducting a war against his own people. This is big trouble and legal consequences. Therefore, martial law is not declared. They thought that the fighting would end quickly, but they thought it wrong."
Interview prepared by Lyuba Lulko