Article by: Serhiy Hrabovsky
Ukrainian politics made yet another strange move. The soldier on the front who are currently defending their Motherland from pro-Moscow marionettes and Russian troops will be unable to vote at the parliamentary elections not only because of resistance on part of the communists, the ‘regionals’ and the ‘strong Ukrainians,’ but also as a consequence of the position of the members of the highly-patriotic party called Batkivshchina, which is led by the ‘prisoner of consciousness’ during Yanukovich’s presidency and the recent contender for the role of Ukraine’s now Joan of Arc, Yulia Tymoshenko.
So: the Verkhovna Rada on October 20 was unable to find enough votes to even include the according bill #5157-1, authored by Leonid Yemets, in the daily agenda. After a number of attempts, the Rada was also unable to include bill #5157 on the agenda as well, which also dealt with the elections in the ATO zone, despite the fact that its author, David Zhvaniya, emphasized: this document has been fully accorded with the CEC and passed the profiling committee.
It is clear that these bills met resistance on part of the members who are running with the Opposition Block and ‘independent’ parliament members who are close to this block, who are running in majority districts, plus representatives of some other groups. However, everything is clear with them a priori (the member of the Party of Regions faction Bezbakh who voted in favor is only the exception which confirms the rule), as opposed to Batkivshchina.
Discussion bills: arguments and facts
The arguments of Batkivshchina spokespeople came down to the fact that the bills included norms which allow to falsify the polling results. The arguments of the Rada Chairman Olexandr Turchynov that the bills should first be added to the agenda and then amended according to the demands of the bills’ critics, as there is no other way to solve the problem, went unheard. It seems that the members of Batkivshchina were given early orders to do everything in their power to prevent these bills from passing, and they obediently carried out their orders. Meanwhile knowing very well how indignant the people with weapons will be as a consequence.
They resorted to openly mocking common sense: as such, Olexandra Kuzhel said about Yemets’ bills that “to prevent the merry-go-rounds that are currently being planned,” it is necessary to conduct a census of all the fighters that are currently in the ATO zone. I wonder where she was a month or two ago? And how to hold this ‘census’ within several days, if rotation is constantly going on, if the wounded withdraw from battle, if it is only possible to reach some units at the risk of one’s own life? We can totally agree with President Poroshenko, who commented on the situation in the following way: “I think it is amoral for the members of the Parliament to rid the best sons of Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers, of their constitutional right to elect their own government. They are more worthy than anyone.” However, Batkivshchina decided otherwise…
Even though this faction, despite losing many members, has enough professionals to quickly, within an hour or two, remove or correct the lines in the bills that evoked possible doubts and resistance.
We can react to this event emotionally, like Svoboda member Olexandr Myrnyy, who predicted that now the ATO fighters will have the right to come to the Verkhovna Rada bearing arms and “vote” appropriately, after which “trash containers will seem like Heaven.” We can also try to reasonably analyze, at least at the first glance, what preceded Batkivshchina’s position, and that of its leader (whom Serhiy Kaplin from UDAR directly addressed to no avail: “Call your members that remain the Parliament hall, make them vote…”) and what this may lead to for Ukraine and the ‘most patriotic party.’
Behind-the-scenes figures and dangers to the country
Some of my colleagues already expressed the assumption that the main factor here were… the surnames of the bills’ authors. They say that Leonid Yemets left Batkivshchina for People’s Front, and David Zhvaniya does not have the best reputation, which is why Tymoshenko decided to punish these Parliament members, along with the current government they support. However, can strategies and tactics of the influential party come down to the caprices of its leader, even if she is Yulia Volodymyrivna? I think things are quite a bit more serious here.
The matter is that 50 thousand Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts pose as the center for the crystallization of anti-separatist, anti-oligarchical and anti-Kremlin forces in this region. Their influence there is much bigger than their arithmetic numbers; it can be said that we are talking about the higher mathematics of politics. If Ukrainian soldiers vote, all those who are not used to going to the polls will attend, with the reasoning that they cannot change anything: we are few, everything has been paid off, everything is predetermined. And those who voted for the local ‘landowners’ on inertia, would also come to think, maybe for the first time since 1991 having received the possibility of free choice and having an example personified by young men in uniform, to whom these ‘landowners’ are nobodies. So what then? The freed districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts see in practice that the nobodies in the sense of civil rights are those who spill their blood for Ukraine, and the ‘landowners’ remain landowners, nobody touches them. And what political power do these ‘landowners’ belong to? Almost every one of them, openly and not, belong to the Opposition Block, behind the scenes of which the media see the silhouettes of Akhmetov and Putin. Or Putin and Akhmetov, to be more precise.
In other worst, Batkivshchina, by accusing the current government of the intent to falsify the elections, significantly played to the benefit of these two people and the politicians in Ukraine who depend on them. Not only by doing this, but also by undermining the mission of the front-line soldiers in the eyes of society and provoking their discontent, which can really lead to attempts to defend their dignity and civil rights with arms in hand. This is serious internal destabilization on the eve and during the elections, which will have a very negative resonance both inside the country and the rest of the world.
Under any circumstances, the voters, including those in Donbas, have to do their civil duty, taking into account the recent events in the Rada. More so when the head of state and Parliament’s speaker in the next few days, judging from their statements, will try to come up with something to ensure the legal opportunity to vote for at least the majority of the front-liners (however, I feel that in some offices on Bankova and Hrushevskoho, there are people who are scared of armed patriots…). So it is quite possible that the situation may be diffused somewhat based on fair and legal grounds. However, how will Yulia Volodymyrivna and the members of her faction who will run again be able to explain the war Batkivshchina declared on October 20 against the defenders of the Motherland?