Poroshenko’s moves applauded in US, Canada, and Russia, but discontentment grows at home



2014/09/19 • Politics

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?

Discontentment is growing. Hopefully, Ukraine’s President will hear the voice of the people as well as he has heard the voice of Donbas.

Translated by: Jeffrey Stephaniuk, Peter Dutczyn
Edited by: Mat Babiak

  • Arctic_Slicer

    Yarosh is Putin’s useful idiot in Ukraine. Someone needs to tell him that his statements play right into Putin’s game.

    • nysq1

      Absolutely correct. But the second one has a point-communicate with the people NOW. People are confused and need guidance. Stick with Poroshenko as he is the one Putin is most afraid of.

    • Bob

      Yarosh is never going to be a political `power house’ but your are wrong if you think he is an idiot. A lot of what he says is correct. Yes Poroshenko has to play a political game, but he is clearly only partially supportive of the `euromaiden’ ideals. And he is clearly also not savvy in his dealings on the international arena. The crit of him not explaining his decisions to the Ukrainian public is perhaps his most glaring failure for which there is absolutely no excuse. He is acting like a corporate boss, not a leader of a country in crises. So in my opinion we need more criticism of Poroshenko from within Ukraine to keep him focussed in the right direction.

      • nysq1

        Yarosh has points about corruption for sure. But he wants to define it as “a national revolution” when in fact it was mostly a democratic revolution, a revolution of dignity, yearning for values as in “normal” European countries-hence it started with EU-trade deal. And he is not himself a great statesman-as if was primarily “corrupt generals” that lost them Crimea. Heck no-keep the focus on the enemy, which is Putin. Peroshenko apparently had to go on this trip abroad -was it necessary? No one knows what got discussed. When back he has to launch major explanation offensive.

  • Murf

    I hate to say this but Ukraine has lost this round.
    No matter how much Ukraine throws in to the fire Putin will always up the ante.
    The West under the current leadership is not going to help in a meaningful way.
    What is lost is not essential.
    What has been lost can be regained.
    Putin will not last forever.
    Ukraine needs time and solidarity.
    Deal with the corruption and incompetence.
    Get the economy moving.
    Get the army straightened out.
    Get ready for the next round.

    • Arctic_Slicer

      Putin lost on February 21st; every that has happened since then is Putin trying to cut his losses. By the end of the decade in 2020 it should be much clearer that Ukraine has won and Putin has lost.

      • nysq1

        I think you are right-good framing. Let’s hope so. Ukraine needs to not shoot itself in the foot though.

      • Murf

        The irony here is had Putin turned Yangku over to the ukrainians along with a a certain amount of “recovered” stolen money, He could have said “No hard feelings.”
        For a portion of what he has spent on this mess, he could have turned Rostov on Don into a first class Naval base and quit worrying about Sevastopol.
        But he is a “zero sum gain” kinda guy so win win doesn’t enter into his thinking.

    • Brent

      Have to agree with you. One step back now by Ukraine can hopefully strengthen the country for a recovery and then give Ukraine the ability to regroup. I also don’t see the ceasefire holding much longer as the terrorists are trying very hard to recover the Donetsk airport and the rest of the Donbass.

      Ukraine was sold out by the useless Western leaders who refuse to at least provide it with the hardware to defend itself. They will be the first victims of the fallout, even before Putin. Obumbla has 2 more years of ‘trying not to make a mistake’ and hopefully be replaced by someone who is a real world leader and who will do more than paint red lines for Putin not to cross, then ignore them. He’ll continue to give great speeches and not follow through on them. Merkl is near the end of her tenure and with Russia’s continuing aggression in Ukraine sabre rattling in the Baltic countries, eventually Europe has to take the threat of Putin’s continuing annexations seriously. Cameron was preoccupied with Scotland’s vote in his backyard, and he’s shown the most spine, but there has to be more willingness and Putin is not going to stand pat so eventually Europe will have to engage him.

      I don’t think Ukraine will fund the Donbass terrorists as is feared because the terrorists refuse to recognize the ceasefire. This will show Europe that Poroshenko was willing to negotiate and seek a political compromise like the West was pushing him to do, but the terrorists would not abide by the negotiated ceasefire YET AGAIN. They will implode from within as there are too many warlords who want to seize control.

      • Murf

        Don’t get me started on Obama’s foreign policy failures. I am just counting down the days until this farcical administration is regulated to the trash heap of history.
        Under the best of circumstances the DPR/ LPR are not economically viable. Those clowns will not be able to run the place worth a shit.
        Failed state won’t even come close to describe the mess they will be in in side of a year.
        Time is on Ukraine’s side.

    • http://euromaidanpress.com Mat

      Putin lost. He got a rump of Ukraine’s most subsidized and criminal regions, but he lost Ukraine.

      • Murf

        Oh I agree 100%! All he has gained is part of two rust belt Oblasts that have nothing he needs and a port he already had access to.
        I am still not sure he is as smart as people think.
        But militarily UA has taken it on the chine hard and needs time to recoup.

      • Edison

        I agree that Putin has lost Ukraine, whose people are brave, resourceful, and moving into the future. If a frozen conflict is his goal, the economy of Donbas will be frozen in time and poverty. He can build a water pipeline to Kerch for 2.0B USD, but he needs to spend $20B (not $2.0B) on the current canal system to get water to agricultural areas and cities. Crimeans are having their civil rights taken away, pensioners will get inflation with their increased pensions, and tourism and trade with NATO, EU countries, including Turkey, and Ukraine, will be suppressed. With a lease on Sevastopol bay, and up to 45,000 troops allowed, it’s mind-boggling why Putin needed to annex Crimea for any military purpose. Meanwhile, the EU and USA, as well as Ukraine, and many other countries, will keep the pressure on Putin and his fragile economy, until he leaves Ukraine and Crimea. The west is already on the edge of supplying serious military support. Further Russian invasion towards Kherson and Odessa will probably put them over the edge.

        • http://euromaidanpress.com Mat

          I think it would have made more sense to just annex Sevastopol. Keep his military hub, avoid the sanctions and war and inevitable gas/water cutoff that will isolate the entire region. He could have avoided all of this if he only wanted a slice and not the whole pie.

          Militarily the only thing that matters is the port in Sevastopol, not having all of Crimea. As long as he could keep his arms shipments running to Egypt and Syria, it would be business as usual. Is there a benefit of keeping NATO out of Ukraine or northern Crimea? No, the principles of MAD ensure that neither side will attack the other, and any thought of a land invasion of Russia is pure fiction in this day and age.

          Plus, last time I checked Riga is as close to Moscow as Kyiv, and the Baltics & Finland all border Russia as well – if Putin needs a “buffer” to prevent a 19th century war, then maybe he should go invade Finland too.

  • Dave Ralph

    These guys like Yarosh are just whining because they know that most Ukrainians oppose their radical pro-war positions. They can make a lot of noise but they can’t pass the 5% barrier to get into the Verkhovna Rada. Their only chance is to ally with Putin and the FSB to try to overthrow Poroshenko in a coup – hardly a patriotic plan for Ukraine.

  • Dave Ralph

    As for Taruta, his industrial assets are located in the occupied territories, so of course he wants Kyiv to send Ukrainians to continue fighting and dying on his behalf to help recover his personal wealth. The interests of the oligarch and those of the nation do not coincide here.

    • nysq1

      Yeah I also have him suspected for less than patriotism when I read his comments. Sounded good though. Politicians playing games-when will they understand the cries of the people and rise to the challenge and unite the country?

  • Dirk Smith

    Poroshenko made the right move at this point. This buys the Ukrainian military time to grow, gain arms, and puts the onus on the muscovites. To continue on now with subpar equipment and minimal training would be suicidal. Next round will be a different story for the muscovites. Live to fight another day.