The passing week turned out to be really geopolitical for Ukraine. In Europe, it was recognized, that the Azov Sea is turning into a theater of Russian and Ukrainian operations. Sentsov received the prestigious Sakharov Prize (which, hopefully, will accelerate his release). And our businessmen are now threatened with sanctions. In details about the main thing – in the traditional digest of Opinion.
Maksym Mamsikov is a Ukrainian artist, who is famous not only because for his recognizable painting style but also for his ability to “revitalize” the most everyday stories. The fragments of the usual urban landscapes, which we see every day, but don’t fix them with a peripheral vision, because they are the background of our everyday lives. On Mamsikov’s pictures, these simple plots suddenly come to life and turn into separate frames of full-fledged stories. In addition, his “marginal paintings” are really popular in Europe, where the vast majority of his exhibitions take place.
Petro Poroshenko‘s preparation for the presidential election is going on. Its public part is an advertising campaign with billboards “Army! Language! Faith! “, organizational part – is the change of regional heads. In the near future, new governors will appear in Kyiv, Luhansk, Cherkasy, Chernivtsi regional state administrations. On October 24, the Cabinet of Ministers agreed on the dismissal of their heads, Hromadske writes.
The president started the preparation for regional heads’ “cleansing” a year ago. At that time, the Verkhovna Rada changed the rules for the appointment of regional and district administration heads. Deputies allowed the president to appoint them without a competitive selection, only with the consent of the government. As a result, regional leaders officially ceased to be civil servants and, in particular, were allowed to be members of political parties, which had previously been banned.
In addition, the governors control the heads of enterprises subordinated to the RSA. These powers allowed the governors during the days of Kuchma and Yanukovych to influence the election results. In particular, they demanded the employees of state institutions and enterprises to appear at the election districts and made them vote “correctly”.
Since then, 6 heads of the RSA have been changed. Volyn became the first region: Volodymyr Hunchak was replaced by Oleksandr Savchenko. It is significant that according to the sociological survey conducted last autumn, Volyn was the only region of Western Ukraine, inhabitants of which during the modeling of the second round of presidential elections preferred not Poroshenko, but Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”.
Not only winter but also presidential elections are coming
While our politicians are already playing “who will become president”, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to punish Ukraine with sanctions for “unfriendly actions”. Restrictions will be economical and will relate to business. The Government of the Russian Federation will prepare a list of individuals and legal entities from Ukraine, against which it will introduce “special economic measures”.
It’s not a big deal – a lot of Ukrainians may say because, in their opinion, there can be no business with occupiers. But not everyone is that conscious. From 2013 to 2016, the trade between Ukraine and the Russian Federation shortened by almost 4 and a half times. However, since 2017, it began to grow again. Most of all Ukrainians exported to the Russian Federation mineral and chemical products, machinery and equipment. Also foodstuff, fats, and oils are the leaders among the exports to Russia. Therefore, it is likely that these goods and enterprises this time will be subjected to sanctions of the Russian Federation.
Smart people have already opened their way to Europe – only this year our exports to the EU increased by 27%. However, the beautiful ones were less lucky and they continued their business (or perhaps some other) relations with the aggressor state. Of course, Russians can hunker down and starve – it is not for the first time, and our businessmen will have to look for new markets. But one should not hope that such traders will instantly become conscious citizens. A tiger can’t change his stripes.
While some merchants re-open their trade-routes to Russia, the same Russians block the trade route for us. “Russia is transforming the Azov Sea into its inner lake”, was said in the European Parliament (of course, it would be strange if it was Verkhovna Rada). Russia’s gross violations resist maritime trade, and security there is so unstable, that it can turn into an open conflict at any time. In its resolution adopted on October 25, this European institution urged Russia to stop the traffic blockade and militarization of the region immediately. As for EU, they urged it and its diplomatic service, to have new sanctions, in case of an escalation.
“The Sea of Azov has become a new maritime dimension of Russian military action against Ukraine”, the document states.
The EU has already prepared a new package of sanctions, but unfortunately, it only annoys a bear that will not go into winter hibernation.
Political prisoner Oleg Sentsov became a laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Oleg Sentsov became the first Ukrainian to win this award. The Prize of a scientist, dissident and human rights defender, Andrei Sakharov, was founded in 1988. It is awarded for the outstanding contribution to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In addition to Sentsov, in the finals there were 11 non-governmental organizations rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as Moroccan opposition activist Nasser Zefzafi, who, like Sentsov, is in a jail.
Oleg Sentsov still doesn’t know about the prize and he will be able to find out about it no sooner than in a week or two. Time in prison is not the same as outside of it.
The minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin said that Sentsov will become that kind of person for Russia that Sakharov became for the USSR, a symbol of the struggle for freedom, for human rights and for the light.
By Kostyantyn Rul