Article by: Alya Shandra
The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s law to grant amnesty to terrorists fighting the Ukrainian army in Donbas, and a special status for territories under their control, has evoked suspicious praise from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). On the day it was adopted, September 17 (the same day as the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association agreement), this institution stated that Russia views this document as a step in the right direction, corresponding with the spirit of the Geneva and Berlin agreements. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also positively evaluated the “right of language self-determination for every resident” and the provisions for trans-border cooperation with its country. Furthermore, the Russian MFA views the laws as “a basis to launch a meaningful constitutional process in Ukraine, including the start of dialogue with the aim of enabling national reconciliation and harmony in that country.”
Poroshenko was warmly greeted in his recent official visits to Canada and the United States, however, at home in Ukraine, discontentment grows. The Governor of the Donetsk State Oblast Administration Serhiy Taruta, who was appointed by President Poroshenko, said that he was “shocked” with these laws. Other voices have sounded in criticism of Poroshenko’s parliamentary procedure. With the death toll numbering more than 3,000 civilians and around 1,000 Ukrainian troops and casualties growing with each day of the so-called ceasefire (which was aptly expressed in the joke “Ukraine ceases, Russia fires”), many Ukrainians struggle to understand what it was that these defenders of Ukraine’s sovereignty gave their lives for. Prominent figures such as Donbas Battalion commander Semen Semenchenko are outraged at the unfair treatment of the fighters of his and other battalions. These men do not have the opportunity to remove their brothers in arms who were killed in action from terrorist-controlled territory, and as local patriots fighting native to the Donbas they have nowhere to return now as they would be killed at home.
Dmytro Yarosh: Poroshenko’s election – a mistake
Leader of the Right Sector Dmytro Yarosh is no more amused, calling Poroshenko’s election “a mistake.” The territorial organizations of the Right Sector have called to protest against the law. Yarosh himself in a statement reminds that the protesters on Maidan were also persuaded that victory was impossible against the “all mighty Donetsk power brokers,” but despite this the Heaven’s Hundred and thousands of patriotic citizens stood up to the plans of the “kleptomaniacs.” He goes to explain that the temporary loss of Crimea and losses in Donbas are the fault of political profiteers, including the majority of army generals, that did not give orders to open fire when needed.
These “professionals” did everything in their power to forfeit Donbas to the enemy. Meanwhile, they created a quagmire of bureaucratic red tape and inertia in which the rare competent generals and skilled officers became trapped… As a consequence, hundreds of soldiers perished. What came next was open warfare instigated by Russia, fierce and unforgiving. Such was the background for the decisive presidential victory of Petro Poroshenko. As nation-builders who professed the motto, “don’t self-destruct,” we supported the successful candidate in his new position, notwithstanding his strong past connection to Yanukovych. It was clear to us that during a time of war there must only be one Commander in Chief.Unfortunately, it appears as though we have made a mistake… What we see now bears all the hallmarks of a disgraceful, privileged class and oligarchy: constant partisan, revenge-based politics; devious counter-revolutionary schemes; an increase in corruption, cowardice and bribery behind the front lines and deals with the enemy at the front lines; and the abject lack of desire to take seriously the will of the revolutionary-minded segment of the population. All these combined together have created a scenario for tragedy: as a consequence of lack-lustre military leadership, thousands of the best sons of Ukraine have perished.
Yesterday’s regressive and anti-constitutional “law” was the work of an illegitimate, criminal-oligarchic filth under the auspices of the Verkhovna Rada, who are the successors of those who brought disgrace to the ideals of the Orange Revolution and then tried to sabotage last winter’s National Revolution, and now propose to transfer ownership of ancient Ukrainian territory to our perpetual enemy.[…] Success demands political will, the declaration of a state of war, and the dedication, without exception, of all the nation’s resources for the cause of victory in this, our own Great Patriotic War.”
Yarosh warns that this bill may be the reason for Ukrainians finding themselves another Commander in Chief and President, as they found another President instead of Yanukovych.
Wounded military servicemen undergoing treatment in a Lviv hospital have also spoken out against the laws.
Vox Populi: Poroshenko, talk with the people
Regular Ukrainians are also calling upon Poroshenko for a dialogue with his own people. Posts with the hashtag #PoroshenkoPohovoryZNarodom (Poroshenko, talk with the people) appear in social media, initiated by Maksym Savanevskiy.
“In the most difficult times, real leaders of a nation address the people, explaining the decisions made. The President agreed to something in Minsk. We find out about what exactly through comments of politicians, Western media, and – what is worse – through the media of our enemy. But not through the President of the country.
Yesterday the Parliament voted for the laws on Donbas. The President did not explain what these laws are and why they are needed. As a result – a flood of guesses and speculations. There are those that shout that Poroshenko has betrayed the country, others that he is saving it. Those that say that we should not pay taxes, because they will be used to finance the separatist power in the East, and Lutsenko says – read the laws themselves and not the news headlines.
The President introduced the laws. Let him speak and explain his position.
Are we not worthy of his attention?