Row your boat yourself! (English proverbs and sayings)
Vampires and ghouls
Events in neighboring Ukraine began to acquire the character of the modern Ukrainian epos, reformatted in the multi- historical series, oversaturated with political nightmares and fears. Events in Kiev remind us a remake of the first Soviet horror film «Viy», a story by Nikolay Gogol, written in its time on the base of Ukrainian folklore. There can be little changes in the new scenario: Viktor Yanukovych in the role of seminarian Khoma Brut, who is reading the Association Agreement with the European Union in the church, periodically jouking from flying in a blue coffin Pannochka - Yulia Tymoshenko. It would be unfair not to mention in the remake numerous vampires and ghouls, who take the political scene in order to spoil Khoma's mood. Manuel Barroso could successfully replace Viy and appeared at the right moment with yelling «Raise my eaves!».
Maidan is a corner of the European Union in the center of the Ukrainian capital, but it is moving steadily towards deadline, trying to adjust to the European schedule - since Monday, December 23 all structures and institutions of the European Union will stop its activities because of the Christmas holidays. So, the appearance of the EU top officials on Maidan in the early part of this week is understandable. After the meetings with political opponents European officials started traditional and well known to them political process –mediation.
By the way, three weeks of continuous Maidan gave Brussels an excellent opportunity to achieve several objectives:
- Maidan has softened the failure of the European bureaucracy, which could not persuade the Ukrainian leadership to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. In fact, Maidan performed the role of the Belarusian «Square» on December 19, 2010, when it covered the failure of Germany, Poland and Lithuania, when they tried to drew Alexander Lukashenko over the other side of the geopolitical split between East and West ahead of the presidential elections;
- Maidan has showed that the considerable part of the Ukrainian political class wanted to join the European integration zone. This fact raised the status and image of the European integration in the European Union and made eurosceptics silent for some time;
- Maidan has limited geopolitical maneuvering of the official Minsk, helped the European Union to «fence» the Ukrainian authorities, kept Yanukovych and Azarov in a political deadlock, until the main «hunters» from Brussels arrived in Kiev. So, the European Union managed to brought its plan in Kiev into action, but failed to did it in Minsk three years ago. Speaking about the Belarusian variant, we should admit that the European politicians did not take into account the rigidity of the Belarusian authoritarian regime and Moscow's willingness to participate in auction for geopolitical future of Belarus; Moscow proposed duty-free oil in the framework of the Customs Union instead of $ 3 billion proposed by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.
Returning to Ukraine, it should be noted that there are no unilateral political processes. Of course, this rule touches upon the interests and goals of Ukrainian political forces and, first of all, the Ukrainian opposition. It is clear that on the one hand Maidan has become a tool of the hard pressure of the EU and the U.S. on Viktor Yanukovych. It was a specific continuation of the Summit in Vilnius, where the European politicians made every possible effort to persuade the President of Ukraine to sign the Association Agreement ( the demand to release Yulia Tymoshenko was removed at the supreme moment). But on the other hand, the Ukrainian opposition used the European Union to force Viktor Yanukovych to resign - after November 30 the European integration issue has become a cover for domestic political crisis, which was based on the struggle for power;
- Maidan was like a guard fort, aimed to block the moves of the Ukrainian leadership towards the Customs union by the means of street protests (in this situation both Brussels and the opposition had the same interests). It was believed that only Moscow might help Viktor Yanukovych and Mykola Azarov to break the deadlock. It should be noted that in principle antagonism against Russia is a consolidating factor for the Ukrainian society. But of course it does not apply to Russian resources that are essential for Ukrainian confidence in the «shadow» of the European integration project.
But the Ukrainian leadership also used Maidan in its own interests in the Eastern direction. Official Kiev presented itself as a victim of a collusion between Europe and the opposition, which prevented Kiev's accession to the Customs union. One can say that Viktor Yanukovych used solid geopolitical experience of Alexander Lukashenko creatively. In this sense, Maidan was not only perfectly embedded in the policy of balancing of the Ukraine, but also acted as an integral component of the geopolitical game of Kiev.
Moscow is also interested in Maidan as it allows the Kremlin to play for time demonstratively, explaining its passivity on the Ukrainian issue by the political crisis in the country and the inability of the authorities to bring the situation under control. Indeed, why should the Kremlin help Viktor Yanukovych, who continues to declare the desire to keep the country in the wake of the European integration project? Perhaps, such way of thinking («the government should show the character») overwhelmed the Ukrainian elite, when it tried to disperse Maidan severely on the Belarusian sample of 2010. However, there was not enough will, as the sides were not ideological supporters, but certainly companions. As a result we saw a bloody hoax.
It is clear that there is another «fact», that unites the Ukrainian government and the opposition - the need to find external financial and resource support at whatever cost. In principle, the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition used Maidan and showed intransigence in the first attempts of the EU representatives to made them to negotiate with the authorities. In such a way they indirectly assisted to the solution of this main task.
Last week we saw a «light at the end of the tunnel» from the West. Of course, Brussels would like another head of the Ukrainian state to sign the Association Agreement, but apparently, for various reasons Maidan would not be able to do it. In particular, for three weeks of confrontation in the center of the Ukrainian capital, opposition leaders did not explain how they wanted to dismiss Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions from the power. In this regard, Vitali Klitschko and others did not differ from the leaders of the Belarusian «Square» on December 19, 2010.
But at the same time it is worth noting that if the Belarusian «Decembrist» on the tip from provocateurs did not take control over the building of the Council of Ministers, the Ukrainians did it - a number of government buildings in the center of Kiev were occupied. However, provocateurs were there too. But later the Ukrainian opposition clearly waited and was persistently appealing to external support.
No doubt that Brussels would not have any problems with Kiev if Yulia Tymoshenko took Viktor Yanukovych's place. But Tymoshenko is still in prison and none of the opposing parties want see her in Kiev or demand her liberation. In modern conditions populist energy of Yulia Tymoshenko ( Ukrainian analogue of Alexander Lukashenko ) could lead to the civil war. And external or internal political players of the Ukrainian ballet are not interested in it. Any force scenario does not solve the main problem - a failed budget.
The republic has no sufficient financial resources for 2014. And this is the most important, shaping factor of the November crisis. The threat of default is some kind of Yanukovych's «armor». It is clear that the opposition will be ready to come to power only if it has the money or at least guarantees of financial assistance from the European Union, because in this case you can forget about Russia.
In general, Viktor Yanukovych «outsitted» Maidan on the principle of «you will not get anywhere ...». The visit of high ranking European officials to Kiev last week, who started active mediation between political opponents, proved that Kiev has forced one of the parties of the geopolitical triangle to went on spending. On December 12 the European Union in the face of the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule declared about the readiness of Brussels to support Kiev in its aspiration to obtain IMF loan. Amount of credit ( attention!) - $ 15 billion.
Curiously, but just a couple of hours after the meeting in Brussels in the format «Stefan Fule – Sergei Arbuzov», when it became clear that Kiev could count on a loan, the Ukrainian capital talked about 20 billion and even more ... It is clear that the appetite comes with eating. But the sum of 15 billion dollars was mentioned after the meeting between Viktor Yanukovych and Vladimir Putin in Sochi, where the Ukrainian president flew after the visit to Beijing.
In its turn, in China Viktor Yanukovych was looking for an opportunity to borrow all the same $ 15 billion. No doubt that the talks in Moscow, scheduled for December 17 and widely advertised by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on December 13 at the rally of the Party of Regions, will once again raise the issue of the same amount of 15 billion dollars. Mystery...
One can involuntarily come to the conclusion that the amount of money has a sacred character for the Ukrainian authorities, but there is no mystery here. As it has been noted in the international media, Kiev hoped to receive from the EU $ 15 billion annually during 10 years for the modernization of the Ukrainian economy and bringing it technological level to the required standards. Total sum is about 150 - $ 160 billion for ten years.
Such calculations are widely known in Belarus. It will be recalled that last year Alexander Lukashenko was concerned about calculations of billion, required for modernization of the Belarusian economy. Alexander Lukashenko believes that Moscow should provide this money. Supreme State Council of the Union State, which was held on 15 March 2013, was the apotheosis of these fantasies. According to Alexander Lukashenko, he would be able to replace the structural reform of the economy, including privatization, with the authoritarian modernization by means of Moscow to the amount of $ 5 billion. Of course, these tricks failed...
Continuation of Ukrainian Marleson ballet
So, let's back, as they say, to the prose of life. As it was noted above, the European Union and Ukraine have confirmed their intention to continue the preparation of the Association Agreement on December 12. Moreover, the Ukrainian side confirmed it would necessary sign the document. In addition, it was a hope to receive the IMF loan. Just a day later, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who apparently received good news from Brussels and Washington and relied on the conclusion of negotiations with Moscow, demanded from both Brussels and Moscow to «respect» Ukraine, of course, for their own account: «We want to achieve stronger positions for Ukraine in talks with the EU and talks with Russia. Only then will they respect us». At the same time Azarov does not hide who will finance an association with the EU: «When we made the decision to stop association, we thought of you. We understood that signing would make us bankrupts. We need to improve trade relation with the Russian Federation. Moreover, at last, after long talks we’ve agreed on the removal of all disagreements with Russia. On Monday, we’ll complete these talks and we’ll sign a range of agreements that’ll get our businesses back to work. (http://www.rosbalt.ru/ukraina/2013/12/14/1211383.html).
At the same time, the Ukrainian Prime Minister does not explain the reasons for the expected concessions from Moscow, but do not forget to criticize the EU for same-sex marriage.
The next day, already on December 15, Stefan Fule said that the preparation of the Association Agreement with Ukraine has been suspended, as the requirements of Kiev «have nothing to do with reality». As they say, in less than 48 hours… It is clear that Ukraine is bulling, blackmailing both West and East, like former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in due time… It is worth recalling that Bakiyev cаme to a sad end. But today we can say that the Ukrainian ballet is in full play, the apotheosis is closer and closer and the time is up...
And what about Belarus?
Official Minsk is monitoring the situation in Kiev with great attention. Alexander Lukashenko was amazed that on November 30 Ukrainian police was unable to break the resistance of Maidan, as it was made on December 19, 2010 in Minsk. And in the future, the passivity of Ukrainian Interior Ministry and security agencies, unusual by the standards of Belarus, had depressing effect on the Belarusian leadership. It is clear that the security services of the Republic of Belarus are presented in Kiev to some extent. They fix «Belarusian context» of Maidan.
It would be naive to listen to the official Belarusian media, that not only supported the suspension of Ukraine’s association with the EU on November 21 , but even began to predict an early entry of Kiev into the Customs Union. In fact, the suspension of the Ukrainian association has alarmed the official Minsk.
If we speak about real, but not propaganda position of Belarus, we must admit that it has only a selfish character. First of all, the inner circle of Alexander Lukashenko believed that Ukraine’s association would facilitate the dialogue between Minsk and Moscow: if Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the possibility of Kiev's way to the EU, he would receive all financial and resource support immediately.
It is believed that if Kiev decides to turn into the Customs Union, then Minsk will immediately take the second or third place in integration priorities of Moscow in the «quartet». It could lead to the economic and then political disaster for Belarus. In addition we should remember that despite the oligarchic context, Ukraine is still democratic country and its joining to the Customs Union will give Eurasian integration completely different political complexion.
In addition, it is worth noting that the Belarusian leadership was unpleasantly surprised by Moscow's tenacity during the negotiations with Kiev. According to the Belarusian policy of balancing, the Kremlin had to succumb to Ukrainian blackmail long time ago, but it turned out that Moscow was distancing itself from the «besieged» Kiev. Concern of the official Minsk is clear – Moscow may use the experience of talks with Yanukovych and Azarov on the Belarusian direction. Belarusian prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich could feel it during the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State in Moscow on December 12.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev openly called actually the main reason for stagnation in Russian-Belarusian relations: «stagnation of integration processes» in Belarus. Apparently, the Belarusian ballet has performed its mission ...
А. Suzdaltsev, Moscow, 15.12.13