Nomandy Four: «winners and losers»

Anna van Densky OPINION Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it is inappropriate to assess the outcome of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris in terms of the “winners and losers“.

Everyone pursued the same objective, that is, to resume the work of the Normandy format after a long break and revive real efforts to find a solution to the conflict in southeastern Ukraine” he explained.

Certain steps, important steps in that direction have been taken, but much more remains to be done,Peskov underlined.

It is inappropriate to say here who was the winner and who was the loser at that Summit,” Peskov concluded.

However Peskov is wrong, because not everyone pursues the “same objective“, and the Normandy Summit projects on the broader political context, where there are “winners and losers” in the protracted Donbass conflict, and their numbers multiply each single day.

Zelensky presidency and Kiev government to deal directly with people of Donbass, whom they formally consider their citizens, but the same time also “separatists” or “occupants“, creates a toxic atmosphere, affecting all spheres of life, including investment climate. However it is mass migration that damages Ukraine the most, forcing the active and skilled population to flee instability, and search for jobs outside the country. During last five years of Poroshneko mandate the figures of departures mounted up to 100 000 people a year. Will Zelensky be able to renverse the trend?

When electing Zelensky, the voters massively rejected the belligerent politics of his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, who ascended power by the violence coup d’état, and launched offensive against the Russian-speaking est of the country, calling the operation a “counter-terrorist” raid. The Ukrainian electorate expects from Zelensky the Donbass conflict resolution without delay. In many cases falsely presented as a conflict between Ukrainian pro-Europeans and pro-Putinites, it is about the respect of the fundamental rights of minorities in Ukraine.

“After Viktor Youchenko attributed a statuts of hero of Ukraine (2010) to Nazi criminal and Holocaust ideologist and active participant Stepan Bandera, the assimilation firmly replaced the respect of minority rights.

If later Petro Poroshenko initiated the inclusion in the Constitution of Ukraine the clause on EU integration, the claim stayed totally nominal, while the EU has 60 regional languages, Kiev marched the opposite direction. The European Union was established as a project of peace, while Ukraine decides arguments with artillery.

Suffocated by chauvinism and corruption, the Ukrainian society is in perpetual conflict with all the national minorities who are denied of the elementary individual and linguistic rights.

The slow motion for the implementation of Minks agreements, also projects on the degradation of relations between the ethnic communities within the Ukrainian society, while they realise that reluctance of Kiev to grant Donbass a special status means a denial of their identity as well. Meanwhile the notorious language law, voted by Rada and endorsed by President Porkoshenko causes concerns of the Venice Commission, making a conclusion that it strips ethnic minorities of use of their mother tongue, violating their fundamental rights.

“The language law, breaching international laws and commitments of Ukraine, is a bad omen for Donbass people, and all the other minorities in the country, but it would be naïve to think that it does not rub off the credibility of Zelensky. Silently agreeing to serve as a blunt instrument of the West to deter Russia, through repressing Russian minority in Donbass, he is undermining his own leadership in eyes of around hundred other minorities living on the territory of modern Ukraine.

While the West is cheering Zelensky, encouraging him to oppose President Putin in a Cold War syndrome style, refusing fundamental rights to Russian ethnic group in Donbass, the entire complex of minority rights in Ukraine are sacrificed, overlooked as collaterals in the crusade against Kremlin. However, hostage to Ukrainian radial nationalists with their agenda of total “Ukrainisation” of population, Zelensky‘s target of “de-occupation” of Donbass creates a self-destructive narrative, betraying his own electorate demanding peace, and surrendering further grounds to nationalists, hailing Bandera, the true winners of protracted Donbass conflict.

Paris to host Ukraine Summit

The Presidency of France announced Ukraine Summit in December in Paris with participation of both Presidents – Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky on December, 9.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that all conditions for the meeting of the Normandy four were fulfilled, and the date of the summit is now being agreed upon.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed her participation in the Ukraine Summit of the Normandy Four countries on December 9 in Paris.

Zelensky NATO performance

Anna van Densky OPINION UkrainePresident Volodimir Zelensky declarations at NATO headquaters could be hardly considered as good news for inhabitants of Donbass – joint drills in July with Alliance vessels in Black Sea can not be mistaken for a flight of a dove with an olive branch.

Zelensky is ready to negotiate Donbass conflicts, but only in the context of NATO integration. It means to continue imposing on Russians in Donbass the vector of development they had initially rejected – to choice a camp of Russia’s foes. But not only, it means the complete submission to a totalitarian Ukraine language law, stripping Donbass of their minority national and linguistic rights, destroying their identity.

National identity became a huge problem for ethnic Russian on the terrotries of the former USSR, when a number of former Soviet Republics have chosen for openly anti-Russian policy, eradicating Russian language and identity in contradiction with international law, and European values. Ukraine has taken an aggressive stance against Russian minority, who voted for its independence unaware it would be the beginning of the end of their national identity profile.

President Putin promise to facilitate the procedure of issuing Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens of Russian origin, based on widely used practiced of jus sanguinis, accepted by the majority of the NATO allies, has caused concerns of the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He said it would ”destabiliseUkraine, omitting the fact, that the opposite, namely the attempt to eradicate Russian identity is behind the political turbulence of Ukraine, degrading into an armed conflict.

The denial of the fact that the Ukrainian state, being composed in different political contexts from different territories with autochtone populations, causes tensions fueling into conflict. In rejection of human rights, identity rights, linguistic rights of Russian, Hungarian and other minorities, Ukraine weakens the state, wasting a great deal of time and energy for suppressing the justified claims.

The declared by Jens Stoltenberg Ukraine-NATO drills in Black Sea in July, will serve as demonstration of power to Moscow, senseless and dangerous, enhancing Russia, the nuclear superpower to protect its borders, and assume it role as a guarantor of psychical survival of Donbass populations, threatened to be exterminated by Ukrainian neo-nazi as it happened in Odessa massacre (2014),  where they cremated Russians alive.

The official restoration of fascism in Ukraine took place in 2010, when President Yushchenko attributed status of national hero of Ukraine to a nazi criminal and terrorist Stepan Bandera, who led extermination of 300 000 Jews in Ukraine in a number of huge pogroms.

Jens Stoltenberg underlined that NATO is an alliance of democracies, subsequently the West should require respect of democratic values first, before undertaking rapprochement with Ukraine, contaminated by neo-nazis. The enforcement of Kiev  by NATO without demanding authorities to assume their responsibilities to respect democratic values, and minority rights will also nourish the most marginal political forces, interpreting the rapprochement as la carte blanche to return to Stepan Bandera ideology of Ukrainian nationalism.

Ukrainian linguistic totalitarianism

Ukrainian representative to UN Oleg Nikolenko called Russian request for UN Security Council meeting an “absurd”, insisting recent language law imposing Ukrainian unique status is no different to similar legislation in the other countries. Is it?

Ten years of prison for an attempt to establish multilingualism, and three year sentence for failure to use Ukrainian language in public institutions. Where language laws amount to such a Draconian practice? In what modern state there is such a supervising instance of powerful language inspectors, resembling Inquisition with extraordinary powers to repress?

However the totalitarianism of language  law is impossible to understand without the context of the contemporary Ukrainian nationalist ideology, resurrecting  fascist collaborator, and terrorist Stepan Bandera, glorified by President Yushchenko (2010) claiming his “sanctity“.

The “resurrection” of Nazi criminal Bandera has drawn the vector of development for contemporary Ukrainian nationalist idea, opening the tragic sequence of events from violent Maidan coup d’état, to Donbass conflict, and Odessa massacre.

The imposition of Bandera cult, marked a clean break from the humanist tradition of Ukrainian national idea of the XIX century, reflected in poetry of Taras Shevchenko and Lesya Ukrainka. Modern Ukrainian political elites could turn for inspiration to their heritage, developing national idea through creative spiritual growth, but they have chosen otherwise.

Ukrainian language law nr. 5670 enters open confrontation with the  Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  announcing individuals of linguistic minorities cannot be denied the right to use their own language.

Linguistic rights were first included as an international human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

 

Ukraine prefers Zelensky to Poroshenko

In the first round of the election in Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky (41) is clear winner, leaving behind two heavy-weight incumbent President Poroshenko, and former Prime Minister Timoshenko.

The result means a huge disappointment of the Ukrainians with the results of Poroshenko mandate, but also with the systemic politics, which did not deliver anything close to the promises made.  Choice of Zelensky above all indicates a desire for change, and new generation in leadership.

(Below video with #Zelensky dancing in a show)

On January 21, 2019, the “Servant of the People” party nominated Vladimir Zelensky as a presidential candidate. He studied law in Kiev, but after graduation has never worked in accordance with his professional qualifications, pursuing a career in showbiz.

 

French hypocrites versus Yellow Vests

In prime time indignant Prime minister Edouard Philippe ensures audiences that hundreds of thousands of people in the streets would be not allowed to overthrow the French institutions. He called for new tough laws against the Yellow Vests protesters.

But why French  are so DOUBLE passionately supporting protest movements elsewhere, immediately blaming the leaders in oppression of their citizens? Why cheering at violence of Maidan revolution in Kiev, overthrowing the legitimate, but unpopular President Viktor Yanukovych? He was elected in the procedures, which were acknowledged across the world as democratic.  In Ukraine in the capital the uprising was performed by minority groups, who were actively supported by French government in their fight to overthrow the legitimate head of the state, and the government.  Subsequently the coup d’état in Ukraine was ‘legitimate‘ because it brought to power the pro-Western candidate.

It would be interesting to hear the comment of the oust President Yanoukovich on intention of French government to crush the protests of the Yellow Vests. Does he think the Ukraine history would have taken a different cause, if he had not listen the French hypocrites, applying double standards to themselves, and the rest of the world?..

Quod licet Iovinon licet bovi”,  Romans said, enshrining double standard for the God Jupiter, and his bull. But in XXI century this arrogance of playing Jupiter in guided palace will certainly not pass, serving as a seance of an aversion therapy vis-à-vis French leadership.

Macron-Philippe might scorn the grievances of people, and wrestle down the discontent of Yellow Vest, but they will certainly lose respect of European, despising pretensions hypocrites, claiming leadership: false democrats, false republicans, false human beings.

 

Minsk Agreement funeral

Today, the 2 of September, the assassinated leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko (42) will be lying in state, and the Minsk Agreements are buried together with him.

If, before the assassination many commentators would say, there was no alternative to  ‘Minsk‘, and they were the only road map we had to end  the bloodshed in Eastern Europe, after the terrorist act taking away life of a man, who believed in negotiated peace with Kiev, the Agreement died, because the trust in good will of Ukrainian authorities was definitely killed.

After the explosion in cafe, which took lives of Zakharchenko and his two bodyguards there is no one left in Donetsk who cherishes the illusion of Kiev’s intentions to reintegrate the breakaway Russian-speaking region through the negotiations.

A son on a coal-miner, Zakharchenko was widely appreciated for his integrity and believe in the success of Donetsk Republic independence. As  a soldier he fought against Ukrainian nationalism, defending Donbass people identity. “I’m speechless. Blessed be his memory…”, write Twitter micro blog users. “Heroes don’t die“,  echo the others. “He will go on forever!“. Unfortunately, we can not say the same about the Minsk Agreements. The bomb explosion in the center of Donetsk took live of its leader and trust in ‘Minsk‘. The local media reports readiness to counter-attacks, repelling Kiev troops. War hawks win again. Hoc est bellum – this is war…

EU foreign policy drama

migrants-bodies-on-coast

With flows of migrants from Libyan cost, the EU Southern Neighbourhood, ravaged by Islamic terrorists, and the defrozen conflict in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood with tanks moving along the vicinities in Donetsk, the EU foreign affairs Council, 6.2.2017,  finds itself in the worst situation in years, if not in decades, since the Balkan war.

Both problems have one element in common: the active involvement of the EU in shaping of the future of the neighbouring countries. The zeal of the implementation of the Neighbourhood policy in Ukraine led to the break of pro-European and pro-Russian populations, while the overthrowing of the Libyan ‘tyrant’ caused a turmoil on a half of the African continent.
Due to the EU efforts Libya from a donor became an acceptor, requesting funds to keep the flows of migrants on its coasts. 200 000 euro of taxpayers money were pledged to UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), while the destiny of Colonel Gaddafi’s fortune of 200 000 billion, as reported shortly before his assassination, remains obscure. However,  even if donated as agreed the major question remains if there are structures and institutions able of the implementation of the programme to improve the conditions of migrants, and fight against the smugglers.
GNA hardly controls Tripoli, where recently an explosion next to Italian reopened Embassy brought into focus grave security concerns for corps diplomatique, already shuttered by the tragic death of US Ambassador Stevens.
The EU mission on its page still calls it an ‘exiting’ time:
“It is an exciting time to be in Libya as the country is seeking its path towards democracy and stability. Just over two years ago (! -av), the Libyan people showed to the world that popular will could prevail over a ruthless dictatorship. For their courage and determination, Libyans gained the admiration of the whole world”, – although unlike Italians they prefer to watch if from the safe distance of ‘Prestige Business Center Bloc’ in Tunis.
Obviously impossible to compare ravaged by jihadists Libya with the  ‘Anti-terrorist operation’ (ATO) of President Poroshenko in Ukraine, the latest active fighting at the front line in Avdeevka, next to Donetsk endangered Minsk agreements, showing the fragility of the situation there and a huge ambition of Kiev’s leadership to conclude ATO, even at cost of the devastation of once wealthy industrial region of coal-mining.
Till present on contrary to the EU expectations the prolonged restrictive measures against Russia have not delivered an expected result to force Kremlin to abandon its support to two self-proclaimed Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
However the sanctions have an effect of the European agricultural sector and business, suffering losses as the result of this policy: the rise of the anti-EU forces in old member states is too obvious to ignore even for myopic bureaucrats of the European external action service, risking to lose their jobs soon, while the European nations demand referendums on EU membership from their governments, profoundly unsatisfied with the impact of  EU foreign policies on their lives.

Dutch Parliament to decide EU future of Ukraine

 

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The awaited decision on the fate of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is now at the hands of the Dutch Parliament. The European Council stated that they ‘noted carefully’ the   referendum outcome in The Netherlands, however following the existing legal procedures the Agreement has to be endorsed/adopted by all 28 member states according to national relevant procedures. In case one of the states denies the ratification, the entire Agreement dissolves.

The debate and vote in Dutch Parliament will take place before the election on 15th March 2017.

‘The European Council notes that the Decision set out in the Annex is legally binding on the 28 Member States of the European Union, and may be amended or repealed only by common accord of their Heads of State or Government. It will take effect once the Kingdom of the Netherlands has ratified the agreement and the Union has concluded it. Should this not be the case, the Decision will cease to exist’  (Source: European Council Conclusions on Ukraine 15 December 2016, Brussels).

EU-Ukraine: simply in limbo

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The atmosphere at the EU-Ukraine Summit press-conference was between dull and gloomy, the presidents looked mostly down in their papers, the regular wooden language clichés on democracy and solidarity were distributed generously, probably in attempt to disguise a poor outcome.
President Petro Poroshenko goes back home almost empty handed: one can’t consider 15 million euro for an anti-corruption project and 104 euro for public administration as a big deal for a 43 million strong population of Ukraine (for comparison Georgia received at donor’s conference one billion euro).
However the financial aid for Ukraine is not on the table for the EU in crisis and serious economic problems of Mediterranean member-states criticizing austerity policy.
The visa-free regime would be a absolute maximum the EU can grant to Ukraine for good ‘home-work’ in promotion of reforms and good governance. But it is only a theory.
In spite of promises of the EU’ presidents #Tusk and #Juncker to conclude the issue by the end of the year, it is a clear understanding at the institutional back-stage that granting visa-free for 43 millions Ukrainians will mean a opulent gift to Eurosceptics.
Neither at the moment of Maidan revolution, no today the EU has a plan of an integration of such a big country into the block.
The galloping enlargement policy, neglecting Copenhagen criteria, already bore bitter fruit: the UK voted #Brexit largely in disagreement of a perspective of authoritarian Turkey to join the EU.
The negative outcome of the Dutch referendum on Association agreement with Ukraine  showed the state of mind in one of the key countries of the Union, awaiting the general elections in March. The agreement of visa-free to Ukrainians, notorious for its endemic corruption with the similar to Nigeria index, would push the votes in democratic countries flee the Union, becoming just an assembly of countries based on geographic, but not values orientated principle.
Giving a eulogy to European Parliament’s president Socialist Martin Schulz, President Poroshenko just aggravated a sentiment of a foul game, going on
behind closed doors of European institutions making arrangement with third parties without the EU cititzens’ consent. It is up to the European Parliament to give an approval to visa liberalization until the end of this year,  and certainly  it’s president has influence to exercise.
Taking into consideration Schulz’ decision to leave the EP, the visa-free for Ukrainians might be his last contribution to what he calls ‘the biggest civilization project of the past centuries’. A helping hand to president Poroshenko, and also to Eurosceptics Geet Wilders and Marine Le Pen in coming elections in The Netherlands and France, not least Schulz’ compatriot AfD’s Frauke Petry, whose stakes are also at raise.
Surely it is possible to liberalize the visa regime for Ukrainians until the end of this year, in a certain way it will even facilitate the prediction of the national elections outcome next year. No polls needed. Anyway they didn’t show to be accurate so far.