Chase kicks. How the West is forcing the Ukrainian government to work

Гонят пинками. Как Запад заставляет украинскую власть работать

Ukrainian delegation in Davos

Deputies continue to generate legislative ideas of dubious quality, and that’s vital for the state’s decision to not vote in a hurry.

The bride in Davos. The bitter taste of revenge from the controversial personnel decisions. The law on de-occupation of Donbass. Warning signals from the financial authorities — that the mood of the second half of January, says Valery Litvinski in number 2 of the journal Correspondent. Oh yeah, the next release of frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation into the Maidan — as the same without him on the anniversary of “laws of January 16”.

“The country is under external control”, “losing sovereignty” is the most mild of statements are heard from influential circles circles. What happens? IMF firmly made clear that the promises of the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill their obligations — a little. Need results. But they are not, and they are not even from the narrowed list of obligations-“beacons”, which the government has managed to get himself in the summer / fall of 2017.

Anti-corruption court, the independent operational activities of the NEB, real pension reform — the points about which the IMF and our other partners have questions. Don’t like that from the outside interfering in the formation of government agencies and public financial management? Show yourself what you are capable of. The list of tasks in principle, small: GDP growth from 6% a year inflation to 8% a year, devaluation is moderate to low. Does not work? Will have to listen to advisers and creditors.

And, of course, not only in the economy. Each successive anniversary of the Maidan — the chance to revise. What has been done? Is there a risk of revenge? What’s next?

Laws — not a year ago

Since the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the so-called dictatorial laws on January 16, four years have passed. Part of the rules, then voted by the Parliament, has adopted already the new government, although, of course, they look different and the reasons for their implementation are fundamentally different. The deputies continue to generate legislative ideas of dubious quality, and that’s vital for the state’s decision to not vote in a hurry.

16 January 2014, the deputies voted by show of hands for the laws, which then seemed to expand the opportunities for persecution of participants of protests in Ukraine. The adopted rules are forever entered in history as “dictatorial” and led to the beginning of the military confrontation in Central Kiev and first victims of Euromaidan. By the beginning of 2018, some (smaller) part of these rules, albeit modified, is valid and does not cause public outrage.

For example, in 2014, the possibility of in absentia criminal prosecution was considered as a measure against activists, in this case, it would be easier to prosecute, even without calling the court. Now the correspondence production is the main tool of power in an attempt to punish someone for the crimes against Euromaidan. Or the ability to restrict access to certain Internet resources in 2014 was seen as censorship and an attack on freedom of speech, and in modern Ukraine for six months as blocked a number of once popular websites and portals.

Гонят пинками. Как Запад заставляет украинскую власть работать 

Of course, the most repressive of the “dictatorial laws”, such as: arrest for violating the order of organizing the rally, the installation during a rally tent or scene without the permission of enforcement, blocking of the state authorities, politicians were not returned. Not going to be responsible for collecting information on police and officials, failure to meet the “legitimate demands” of SBU or public denial and justification “of the crimes of fascism”. Although for appeals to violent change of power and mass disturbances is now the penalty even tightened compared to the “dictatorial laws”. Instead of three years in prison for it is now possible to obtain a life sentence.

In addition, some of the ideas of the “laws of January 16” arise periodically from the politicians, but their implementation never came. President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly stated that he supports the ban on the wearing of masks-balaclavas in public places, even going to submit a bill to the Parliament, but has not yet decided. Although in 2014, the rule banning masks at rallies called one of the most disturbances.

The idea of introduction of criminal liability for libel in Ukrainian politics arise constantly, with each new case of corruption of officials, so that here “dictatorial laws” were not original. But on the mandatory registration of mobile subscribers on the passport in 2017 even made a separate bill to the Parliament. In the “laws of January 16” was also such a rule, but to vote for her recovery, the Parliament has not yet reached.

Bubbling ideas

Among the current deputies — 64 people that voted for “laws on January 16” and was easily pereizbrali in the new convocation of Rada. But without them in the Parliament are enough of those who clearly do not give rest to the glory of the predecessors with their odious solutions. On the eve of the anniversary of the vote for “dictatorial laws” in the Parliament appeared the idea of a law to combat “fake news” and misinformation. The initiative came from the representatives of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko. Who and how will determine the level of phishing web news, MPs have not decided yet, but said that the proliferation of fakes we need to increase liability. Sad analogy with the “dictatorial laws” of Yanukovych suggests itself. Then, as we recall, has already introduced criminal liability for libel. So in the Ukrainian society immediately started talking about the next attempt of attack on freedom of speech.

Although the reason for raising the issue with fakes deputies was quite serious: in January followed a series of fakes, with a clear Russian trace. First, the Georgian TV channel Rustavi-2 was released supposedly appeal, according to the FSB from 2007, in which he promises to act in the interests of Russia. This wonderful news was picked up by a number of Ukrainian online media. But in the presidential Administration of Ukraine said that “appeal” is a “shoddy forgery and a fake.”

Later, citing the press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov, the Russian media spread information about “non-public contacts” Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin. The AP responded with another denial, saying that no bilateral meetings with President of Russia Poroshenko not conducted. Then most sand had to justify himself: they say, it is not well understood.

In any case, the fight against fakes and information attacks in the “hybrid” war with Russia is unavoidable. That’s just to start it is with expert discussions on measures to counter like they do in Europe, which also suffers from the Russian fakes. Not sentences someone to prosecute, as do our members.

Another idea of parliamentarians, which angered the society also came from BPP and their colleagues in the coalition of the popular front. MPs neither more nor less offered to cancel criminal liability of officials for illegal enrichment, that is to decriminalize the offense. And this, incidentally, one of the “favorite” articles of NABOO. Activists immediately started talking about that under the threat of closure will be hundreds of anti-corruption cases.

MPs propose to exempt officials from liability for the purchase or transfer to other persons of property whose origin they cannot explain, and be punished only for illegal acquisition of property — for example, without a proper agreement or a power of attorney from the owner. That is where you got the money for a particular purchase, no need to explain, you just have the documents to properly prepare. Such proposals MPs — it’s arrogance or greed? Or maybe the abuse of the right of legislative initiative?

The indignation of the partners

With the anti-corruption legislation in power in 2018, in General, has not yet formed. For several years Ukraine is waiting for the creation of an anti-corruption court, require Western partners. The President has finally submitted a bill to the Parliament, but deputies with three attempts could not even include it in the agenda, and the West harshly criticized the content of the document.

Such strong statements from Western partners in relation to the Ukrainian authorities was not long ago. The head of the IMF mission in Ukraine, Ron van Roden sent a special letter to the presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Parliament, which explicitly demanded from Poroshenko to change the submitted bill “assumed obligations.” The IMF insists that Ukraine must provide to the Public Council of international experts a crucial role in the election of judges of the Anticorruption court and the right to block the appointment of judges, to which there is a claim.

And to allow the Council on selection of judges should not only representatives of international organizations and donors, i.e. IMF, world Bank and others. The project, proposed by the President, the Council was allocated a purely Advisory role.

Also among the demands of the IMF not to delay the full launch of the anti-corruption court, clearly identifying the minimum number of judges whose appointment is necessary to begin its work, and to download anti-corruption court cases, which neposredstvennym NABOO. The representative of IMF has made it clear that without the fulfillment of these conditions the Fund’s collaboration with Ukraine will not resume.

Similar requirements for Ukraine has advanced and the world Bank. Later on the importance of correct creation of the anti-corruption court and spoke in the European Union. The official representative of the EU even hinted at ending visa-free regime for Ukraine, which is so proud of the power, in the case of non-compliance on anti-corruption court. And so said, “the creation of the court also requires the European Commission in the framework of the monitoring mechanism of visa suspension”.

Due to the absence of reforms already lost 600 million Euro macro-financial assistance (term loan) from the European Commission. Now threatened tranche of $1.9 billion from the IMF and $800 million of Bank guarantees, which should provide Ukraine with the world Bank.

The risks are serious, but the problem is that the Ukrainian political elite seems willing to go on them. After all, the question of creating an anti-corruption court in fact turned into a question of its survival. The highest anti-corruption court (SAC) established under the requirements of the West, closed vertical anti-corruption in the country: SAP — NABOO — YOU. Vertical independent, beyond the control of politicians.

Guarantees of inviolability, security of assets acquired in various ways, will now not be able to provide one. Usually, in such situations, the Ukrainian ruling class instinct of self-preservation. Therefore, we have started talking about the fact that “there is nothing to tell us how our country is governed,” and without the IMF will live. “Of course, I also want Ukraine to be independent and move forward without assistance, but many of those now talking about it, and have other goals. They do not want reforms and changes, many want to get rid of the IMF, to preserve the current situation in favor of their personal interests”, — said Minister of Finance Oleksandr danyluk, who has already predicted that cooperation between Ukraine and the IMF may be terminated.

Bravado in the spirit of “we do not need to specify” we have heard from the previous government when she refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. Remember how it ended.

High bride

Poroshenko will continue the discussion of the law on the anti-corruption court with the IMF at the world economic forum in Davos. There he will meet with U.S. President Donald trump. To come empty-handed and negotiate with key partners, the President could not. That’s just part of the fight against corruption have nothing to boast.

Or is there? Happy still something was able to adopted a law on privatization, satisfying one of the requirements of the West. Experts say, really have something to rejoice: all is transparent enough, when you purchase is large objects will act English law that will protect investors, small privatization will take place through ProZorro. Another bonus of Poroshenko in front of the Davos — after nine months, he has nominated a new head of the national Bank.

As expected, the Parliament has nominated the acting head of the NBU Yakov Smoliy. For the market and West candidacy is understandable and acceptable, so what will Peter Alekseevich trump at negotiations with the IMF. You only have to hold a candidacy Smoliy through Parliament and Valeria Gontareva quietly to rest to spend, and then violent head to Parliament to demand its public report.

Alas, not with all personnel matters, it turns out so smoothly. For example, the competition for the position of head of the state service for the Affairs of war veterans and ATO participants won one Valentine Manko. A person is considered the representative of the dobrobat Dnepr-1, and later had been accused of offences listed in the international wanted list through Interpol and testified in court against the former Deputy head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional state administration Gennady Korban. To make the final decision on appointment of the head of civil service with such a biography must now Cabinet. The Minister of internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, representing people’s front, has made a categorical objection.

On January 23 in Kiev came the US special envoy Kurt Volker. He held a number of important meetings with Ukrainian officials, including late in the evening, he held talks Volcker with President of Ukraine Poroshenko. What he was talking about? In an official statement, the main theme is called “consolidation of sustainable and comprehensive ceasefire and the withdrawal of Ukraine from the Russian occupation troops”. Of course, in a peaceful way. Probably discussed the contents of the draft law on de-occupation of Donbass, which as of the evening of 24 January was in the signature of the President.

After a visit to Kiev by the Volcker scheduled another round of talks with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. Earlier, they were busy talking about the introduction of peacekeepers in the Donbas. The success of the project and I don’t really believe himself Walker. That quick decisions on the Donbass will not clear for a long time, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop seeing each other.

And while the Ukrainian ruling elite is thinking about how to negotiate with the West and get support, it would not be worth it to forget about calls within the country. According to surveys, 68% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine needs new political leaders. However, only 18% believe that new leaders already, but the trend is clear. The demand is there, suggestions yet, but sooner or later it should appear.