The passing week was really frosty. And it’s not just because of the snow, which paralyzed half of the country. The occupied Donbas seems to have been blocked by the wall from “Game of Thrones”, it seems that some clerics (the overwhelming majority) have been in freezing temperatures for too long – they refuse to reach out, and neighboring Moldova can be thrown out into the cold – for lack of activity in reforming the country. More about the main events of the week – in the traditional digest of Opinion.
An artist, Lesia Khomenko, is representative of a well-known art dynasty in Kyiv. Her paintings are a narrative reflection on the topics of the proletarian hero and post-Soviet space, landscape and architecture. Khomenko is a co-founder and member of the art group R.E.P. and the “Hudrada” Curatorial Collective.
On November 11, in the occupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions “elections” of the leaders of self-proclaimed republics were held. Ukrainian authorities have called on people not to vote and according to “official” data of the “authorities” of pseudo-republics, the final turnout in “LPR” was 77%, in “DPR” – 80,1%. “High turnout” is what the occupation authorities gained. Near polling stations in order to “lure” the electorate, they sold food at discounts, offered 100 Russian rubles for voting, and at the checkpoints people were threatened with arrest. It could be funny if it was a comedy film and not a modern reality of the Donbas. The only positive thing is that our politicians use only at least half of these political “tricks” of separatists.
There were no opposition candidates in DPR and LPR. Five candidates claimed for the leader post of the “DPR”: the acting head of the “DPR”, the Kremlin’s protégé Denis Pushylin and 4 technical candidates. In “LPR” the situation is the same: except Pasichnik, the rest of the “candidates” were purely decorative. They are not known to local residents, they didn’t make election campaigns.
These pseudo-elections contradict the Minsk protocol, according to which local elections in the uncontrolled territories of Ukraine are possible only after the political settlement of the conflict, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and OSCE standards.
However, another important thing is that this way separatists try to legalize themselves, if not in the whole world, then at least in Ukraine. By the way, militant leaders have already offered the Ukrainian authorities “to cooperate”. It is interesting, whom “the new authorities of Donbas” will support at the next presidential election in Ukraine?
The next day after “elections” on the air of one of TV channels (guess which one) appeared Viktor Medvedchuk, the “great peacekeeper”. He stated, that in order to “return Donbas to Ukraine and Ukraine to the Donbas”, “the political will of the Ukrainian authorities” and “direct dialogue between Donetsk, Luhansk and Moscow” are needed.
“If there will be no direct dialogue between Donetsk, Luhansk and Ukrainian authorities or other representatives today … there will be no agreements on the return of these territories and people living in these territories”, he said.
According to Medvedchuk, he has his own “peace plan”, which provides for a “special status” for the occupied territories.
“I see this special status in providing them with autonomy, the opportunity to create their own government, their parliament, but autonomy as a part of Ukraine”, he said.
Meanwhile, Russia is an actual party to the Russian-Ukrainian war, although it tries to submit its aggression as an “intra-Ukrainian conflict”. In Russia, they are striving for such an option to resolve the conflict, which would provide support and control by Moscow to the pro-Russian separatists in the occupied part of the Donbas, with the widest independence from the Ukrainian authorities, and with a decisive voice in defining Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy.
The hybrid war has reached new heights among clergymen this week. Criticism of the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate turned into an open confrontation – the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate completely broke the spiritual communication with Constantinople, and the total majority of the bishops refused to join the creation of the Unified Ukrainian Church.
There are 12 paragraphs in the document adopted at the Council, which was held at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on November 13. The process of granting autocephaly is called “artificial, imposed from the outside, which does not reflect the internal church necessity and does not lead to real church unity”, but rather “deepens the division and intensifies conflicts”.
On the one side, one can be outraged, as we don’t need internal enemies. This “spiritual sovereignty” is only in favor of Ukraine: in the case of a boycott of the Moscow Patriarch, there will be no double agents and open collaborators in the united church.
But the main thing on the edge of battle with all the enemies is not to forget, that it is still necessary to work. Because the neighboring Moldova, which is in a similar historical period, is threatened with a termination of a visa-free regime. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution, that sets out a clear direction for the EU’s policy towards Moldova – on the one hand, emphasizing that Chisinau has already lost (in particular, a 100 million dollars in macro-financial assistance, as well as financing of budget support programs), and on the other hand, stressing the risks of the further losses.
The time taken for Moldova to go return to the path of reform is coming up to its end very quickly.
The European Parliament points at the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019, as a “signaling date” when the future of their relations will be assessed. If next year Moldova is able to hold free and fair elections and revive the reforms, then the EU can unlock both the financing of Chisinau and political dialogue.
Among the biggest problems there is a lack of an adequate investigation of the “theft of the century”, during which 1 billion dollars was taken from Moldovian banks, as well as the lack of punishment of those involved; a change in the law on elections and the transition to a mixed Ukrainian-type electoral system, contrary to the negative conclusion of the Venice Commission; holding the election of the mayor of Kishinev on July 5, 2018 invalid for very dubious reasons; lack of independence and impartiality of anti-corruption bodies and justice system.
But Moldavian political elite still believes that the EU is a kind of “ATM” that gives money for an oath in love to Europe. Does this ring any bells? That’s right. In Brussels, they try to put an end to this judgment.
By Kostyantyn Rul