The week that passes pushed million of Ukrainians from the informational whirl forcing them to eat Easter cakes, grill shish kebabs and forget the social networks. That’s how the human psyche works – we can’t be turned on all the time. However, there were enough events during the last seven days: given at least Zelensky’s “new co-existence with Russia”. Laconically about the most troubling – in the traditional Digest from Opinion.
Up-to-date photos of the week from CNN will accompany the text. While Ukrainians were relaxing for almost a week, the other world moved forward (or backward). Even though the majority of photos don’t concern Ukraine directly, they accurately render the mood which had been reigning the Earth during these seven days.
The presidential election winner, Volodymyr Zelensky, returned to Ukraine after a three-day vacation in the Turkish Bodrum. He and his family left the five-star hotel in the Guverginlik Quartal on Monday morning. At the Milas-Bodrum airport, he was seen off by Governor Mugla Esengul Jivelek and head of the executive branch of the district, Milas Ehren Araslan, near the VIP-terminal.
A politician flew from Turkey to Ukraine on a regular Turkish Airlines flight.
Zelensky himself said that he went for “shish kebab” on the May holidays and the critics attacked him. Among the “highest”, there was Iryna Herashchenko who said that Petro Poroshenko didn’t allow himself a rest (perhaps, she forgot the scandal with a private island on the Maldives for the president two years ago). Zelensky refrained from answering to the criticism and it finally drowned in the endless flow of Easter cakes and eggs pictures.
However, Mr Zelensky can’t continue to ignore the problems. While he was resting, his opponent (no longer Poroshenko) Volodymyr Putin continued his passport blitzkrieg of Donbas. Russia issues passports to the residents of the occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to legalize the occupation of Eastern Ukraine. They are now not just protecting Russian-speakers, but their fellow citizens.
Zelensky finally made a speech but it could be hardly called decisive.
“We are well aware what the Russian passport actually provides – the right to be arrested for a peaceful protest, the right not to have free and competitive elections, the right to forgetting about the existence of human rights and freedoms… Therefore, one should not expect that many Ukrainians want to become a “new oil”, on which the Russian authorities are trying to transform their own people,” Zelensky said.
He added that he was ready for talks with Putin and expressed hope that Russia would demonstrate readiness for de-escalation at the forthcoming Normandy Format meeting.
“A concrete confirmation of this readiness should be the mutual exchange of our citizens in the format of “all for all” without any exception. On our part, we are ready to discuss the new conditions for the coexistence of Ukraine and Russia with the understanding that true normalization will only take place after a complete de-occupation. Both Donbas and Crimea,” Zelensky summed up.
Will new Ukrainian authorities follow these words? We’ll see it already in June.
Meanwhile, Putin’s ambitions are not getting smaller. The Russian president believes that joint citizenship would make the Russian and Ukrainian peoples stronger and more successful.
He made such a statement on Monday in response to the words of the presidential election winner Volodymyr Zelensky on the issuing of a Ukrainian passport to some citizens of the Russian Federation.
“Really? Did he say so? Well, it’s great. It shows that we will probably reach an agreement,” Putin said.
“If they give citizenship to Russians in Ukraine, and we – to Ukrainians in Russia, we will quickly come to a common denominator and the desired result. We will have joint citizenship,” the Russian leader emphasized.
At the same time, the president of the Russian Federation is convinced that Russians and Ukrainians are the one people, albeit with their peculiarities, culture and language.
“We have lots of in common. If we had joint citizenship, Ukrainians and Russians would only benefit from it,” he stressed.
After that, the incumbent head of the state Petro Poroshenko offered a newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky to coordinate efforts in the face of Russian aggression.
According to him, they arranged a meeting with Zelensky in the nearest future.
“The rivalry in the elections remains in the past. We must not give Putin any chance to take advantage of the transitional period in Ukraine, our democratic process of power transfer. I hope to find the support of such a position in the elected President.”
It’s true, it’s no good relaxing. Even US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expects Russia to try to intervene in American elections for decades.
“We have to expect Russians to do this even in 2050,” Mr Pompeo said.
According to him, intervening in elections isn’t new for Russia.
“It’s no doubt, they threatened our election in 1974, they intervened in the 80s,” Mr Pompeo said.
Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky gave a big interview to “Bihus.info“.
A lot of interesting was said in it. For instance, he said that the war in the east of Ukraine is a “civil conflict”. According to him, in the east of Ukraine “Ukrainians are fighting with Ukrainians”, and Russia “supports one part of Ukrainians, and if it was not, then Ukrainians would make peace.”
According to Kolomoisky, the conflict was provoked and organized by Russia on the one hand, and on the other, “revolutionaries who ran in parliament and abolished the laws” and also “mutual hatred”.
He said he didn’t care about the dissolution of the parliament and promised not to bother Zelensky with requests.
“Requests? I won’t even talk to him, I don’t need anything from him. Kolomoisky is a self-sustained person, he doesn’t need anything from anyone. He never asked for help,” he answered to the question whether Zelensky can “f*ck Kolomoisky off” in case he requests excessively.
“I’m doing business since prepubescence and never requested anyone… we always made our way in this life and the authorities never favoured us – best when they don’t interfere,” Kolomoisky said.
Can we trust these statements? The question goes to the “connoisseurs”: State Bureau of Investigations, Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor General’s Office, National Bank of Ukraine – and a dozen of other abbreviations which investigate Ihor Kolomoisky’s activity.
While Ukrainians are eating Easter dishes, Venezuelan protests don’t subsist: one woman was killed and dozens of people were injured in clashes between opposition supporters and pro-government forces in the capital of Caracas. The military used tear gas and water jets against protesters.
The situation in Venezuela intensified earlier this week when Opposition leader Huang Guaido called on the military and the people of the country to overthrow the regime of President Nicolas Maduro and said that the Venezuelan army was on his side.
The same day mass protests erupted in Venezuela. Clashes with the police resulted in numerous victims.
Almost for a week in the country, there is fighting not only for power but also for not standing in the queue to get some bread for 4 hours or at least have the opportunity to eat it. Because of the president-dictator, the country completely plunged in poverty and whether it will make it through after so many injured and dead – is still unknown.
Text by Kostyantyn Rul