The passing week got back to the post-Maidan reality again: an anniversary of the start of protests, deputies cannot pass the budget, and some of them even started to work on the laws of “January 16”. How does the country manage to drop to 2014 for 7 days – in the traditional digest of Opinion.

For visual accompaniment of the text, Zinaida Lihacheva’s works from “Mute” project were chosen – it is about women volunteers on Maidan during 2013-2014. The artist focused on 16 women and their unique stories. It allows you to reconsider the “heroism” and look at this term from a broader perspective. It’s been 5 years since those events, but the work really seems up-to-date, because this week’s events even if didn’t pull the country back, then showed “Yanukovych Ukraine” in miniature.

The first protests on Maidan started 5 years ago. Almost every person this week wondered: “did I act right then?” looking at the current state of affairs. But love is not a waste of the time, if it was true, there is no need to doubt your protest choice if the desire for a change was from the heart.

On November 21, Azarov’s government unveiled the decision of suspending the process of preparation for the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. This agreement has been preparing since 1998, it was supposed to be signed at the Vilnius summit on November 28. However, after the secret meeting of Putin and Yanukovych in Sochi, Ukrainian authorities refused to sign it. From this day the new history of Ukraine had begun. There was and is, and, unfortunately, there will be a lot of losses, but the choice was made, and according to biblical wisdom, we need to go this way to the end. Doors are still open for those, who want to enter.

The authorities every day say, that they stand for the ideals of the Revolution of Dignity on camera. Investigators report that most of the 4700 crimes against Maidan have been investigated, 442 people have been notified of suspicion, and nine sentences have been delivered. At present, more than 15 thousand people, including law enforcement officers, are being examined for involvement in these crimes.

Believe them or not – it is everyone’s own choice. But the real duty is to believe in Ukraine, in its people and its future.

Like a flashback from the times of Yanukovych: the Petro Poroshenko Bloc wants to imprison for defamation. Dictatorial laws are popular again.

The relevant draft law №9306 of November 20 on amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of Ukraine regarding the establishment of liability for defamation was registered in Parliament on November 20.

The authors of the bill were people’s deputies Mykola Palamarchuk, Artur Palatnyi and Oleh Velikin (all from the “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” faction).

They state, that “one of the most recent cases of false information distribution is the case of charges to the people’s deputy of Ukraine regarding involvement in a felony (an attack against a public activist Kateryna Handziuk) introduced by some media resources”.

In particular, the CCU (Constitutional Court of Ukraine) is invited to make an article on defamation, which provides a punishment  for deliberate propagation of misleading information, that defames the honor and dignity of another person or undermines its business reputation with “a fine of 200 to 500 tax-exempt incomes, or correctional labor for a period up to one year, or deprivation of freedom for up to two years”. Among other things, it refers to actions committed through public demonstration in literal works, in the media or on the Internet.

This is not just a restriction on freedom of speech. These are greetings to “United Russia” and the laws of “January 16” in one document. During the times of Maidan, voting for these laws became a trigger for bloody clashes. People’s deputies learned nothing from history’s lessons, don’t they?

The Verkhovna Rada voted for the bill №8487 introducing new excises on customs clearance of cars and for the bill №8488, which introduces restrictions on the number of cars that can be imported without monetary support to the customs territory of Ukraine and increases liability for violating customs rules.

The public organization “AvtoEvroSyla” has declared the beginning of open-ended “meetings of public disobedience” to the abolition of these laws on November 20 in 46 cities of Ukraine.

Participants of the meeting on cars with European license plates blocked the main roads of the country and demanded to cancel the age coefficient for cars from the EU in calculating the value of excise, because the “older”  the car, the higher the rate.

On November 21, the meeting of cars with European license plates was stopped, they opened roads in a number of regions after the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov promised to take action against the meeting’s participants.

And the next day Poroshenko signed this law. According to him, “this is a difficult compromise between the state and the actual owners of cars, between those who have already accepted the inevitability of taxes, and those who only got a chance to become a conscious taxpayer.”

“Without taxes, there is no army, there are no roads without taxes, there is no education without taxes, and the state is built not by the presidents, not by governments, not by deputies, but by taxpayers. This should become an axiom, and the signing of these laws is a step in that direction. Thank you all for understanding and compromise,” added Poroshenko.

It’s great, but I want to recall the words of blogger Karl Volokh that “There is no Ukraine without corruption”. Maybe we should wear not only crosses but also pants (that is, fight against corruption)?

Isn’t it a miracle? MPs worked hard all night and at the six a.m. adopted the budget. As usual, they took time, pressed all the possible and impossible buttons and violated the rules. Everything to fulfill IMF terms and adopt the budget by the end of November.

“For” – 240: BPP gave 108 votes, People’s Front – 72, non-factional – 18, Opposition Bloc – 4, Revival Party – 22. The Radical party abstained at all. The All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”, “Will of the people” group and 14 deputies of “Self Reliance”  union were absent. Apparently, they slept blissfully. The situation was described in short by political scientist Olexiy Minakov.

“If you look at the figures of the budget, then everything is more or less realistic – GDP growth is set at 3%, inflation is 7.4%, 29.40 UAH / USD. Minimum salary – 4173 UAH, and for the military – 10 000 UAH. Also, 1 billion UAH worth Foundation of the President of Ukraine for the support of educational and scientific programs was added to the budget, and for that, he will be criticized by political opponents.

Consequently, the moors have done their job – now every MP can plan New Year’s holiday and don’t worry. Except, of course, those who plan to run for the presidency,” noted Minakov.

But the citizens shouldn’t relax. After all, it is us, who in times of the pre-election storm, will have to watch the people’s money.

By Kostyantyn Rul

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