THE PERFECT STORM | Vitaliy Portnykov

You also can read this article in Ukrainian by following the link | I think it is not necessary to explain that the main political and social event of the Ukrainian March was the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic - in this sense, Ukraine is no different from other countries of the world so at the beginning of this article I want to wish my readers in the United States to stay healthy and to overcome all those economic problems that anyone can face as a result of the epidemic. However, it should be understood that the Ukrainian epidemic has its own peculiarities. It is no accident that many observers talk about the real "ideal storm" that the country ended in. The economic crisis, which is now widely spoken of worldwide as the major consequence of the epidemic and the fight against it, began in Ukraine a few weeks or even months before the coronavirus became a real threat to the Ukrainian economy. In fact, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about this when he justified the need for the resignation of the government headed by Oleksiy Honcharuk. Even then, it was clear that the actions - or inaction - of the new government could lead to a sequestration of the budget, which is short of billions of hryvnias every month. Right now, the epidemic and quarantine are only exacerbating these losses. At the same time, a new government was formed - and not in full - just when it was necessary to take urgent measures for epidemic prevention. I do not know whether it is necessary to explain that the new ministers needed to spend at least some time to get into the business. And in some key positions for a long time remained without ministers! Most telling here is the story with the main coronavirus agency, the Ministry of Health. Its minister, Zoryana Skaletska, during the critical period when it was necessary to prepare the country for a pandemic, remained under observation in Novi Sanjary (Poltava region) together with evacuees from China. As it turned out, at the suggestion of President Volodymyr Zelensky himself. In the observation Skaletskaya learned of her resignation. Meanwhile, there are now many questions about the adequacy of the reactions of her successor, the experienced surgeon Elijah Yemets, who has already led the ministry at the time of Viktor Yanukovych. In the situation of aggravation of the economic crisis for Ukraine, the decisive issue was getting assistance from the International Monetary Fund - without this money, the country will not only have to sequester the budget, but declare a default on its debts. However, the main condition of the IMF is the adoption of a law that would prevent the return of previously nationalized banks to their former owners. It is no secret that an important target of this law is the oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who is seeking the return of Privat-Bank. However, the question arises as to how independent in his decisions President Volodymyr Zelensky is when it comes to oligarchic interests. Especially because the head of state reacted to the danger of the coronavirus very peculiarly. Zelensky gathered a meeting of big business representatives - of course, including Kolomoyskyi - and asked them for help. After this meeting, it became known that for each of the participants of the meeting and other big businessmen were assigned regions of the country, in which some oligarchs began to act well almost like feudal barons, often ignoring the appointed by Zelensky heads of regional administrations. So, here's a simple question: how far can decisions be made in this situation that affect the interests of the oligarchs? By the way, this is not only a question for Zelensky. It is also a question to the deputies of his faction "Servant of the People". In preparation for the extraordinary session of Parliament, several dozens of them appealed to their colleagues to support the adoption of the "banking" law. But a few dozens are by no means the entire faction of the majority. By the way, only a few dozens of deputies from the Servant of People faction also signed under the appeal to president to protest against the formation of an advisory council, which should include parity representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and occupied Donbas. And some even withdrew their signatures after meeting with the head of the presidential office, Olexander Yermak. The attempt to negotiate with the Kremlin following Russian scenario - which only exacerbates the crisis in the country during the pandemic - is also part of the "perfect storm". Although the council itself has not yet been formed, because the Temporary Contact Group can only meet in virtual mode because of the epidemic, the decision to form it became the first document under which the representatives of the puppet authorities of Donbass have signed their “representatives of certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk territories. " And it seems that the office of President Volodumyr Zelensky simply does not understand what that means. Of course, people who, along with Russian officials, come to Minsk for negotiations are the actual authorities in Donetsk and Lugansk. But they are not representatives of the population simply because they were not elected, no fair elections in the territory of Donbass after the occupation of the territory by Russia in 2014 were simply conducted. These people are appointed to their posts by Moscow curators of Donbas. The very recognition of them as “representatives of particular regions” is the first step to Ukraine's surrender and lifting of sanctions from Russia. In addition, during the promotion to the next meeting of the Tripartite Contact Group, it was found that the decision to set up an Advisory Board was not agreed with the Western partners of Ukraine, although representatives of France, Germany and the OSCE (together with Russia) should be present in there as observers. Paris and Berlin are still diplomatically silent, and Deputy Prime Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says consultations with Western partners are ongoing. But then why didn't these consultations take place before the decision was made in Minsk? It is not too difficult to answer this question. It is possible that initially the decision to set up an advisory council did not contain any "malicious intent" on the part of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his entourage. The Kremlin has once again used the unprofessionalism of its Ukrainian partners and lured them into a new trap. Zelensky has the idea of negotiating about Donbas with the participation of "ordinary people" - quite in the spirit of the scenario that allowed him to come to power. And among these ordinary people should be representatives of the displaced persons who left the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions after the occupation, as well as "ordinary people" from the occupied territories. Of course, no one knows how to define "ordinality". As no one knows whether Moscow will agree to participate in the negotiations of displaced representatives, even if they can come up with a procedure for their election. But the Advisory Board itself might seem to Zelensky a beautiful scenery that would allow him to tell about protecting the interests of ordinary people of Donbas. This is exactly how the deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak could "sold" the idea of creating an advisory board to Andriy Yermak. And the fact that on behalf of the "ordinary people of Donbass" the document will be signed not by ordinary people, but the puppet power of "people's republics", did not bother anyone in Kyiv. This is another demonstration of unprofessionalism in power and incomprehension that, at the time of an epidemic and an economic crisis, decisions that divide society cannot be made. Especially when the situation in the Donbas does not develop under the script of dialogue. After all, the puppet "power" of the so-called "people's republics" used the epidemic to close the separation line and prevent any movement of people into the free territory of Ukraine. But the border with Russia – remains to be open. The Russian government, which has banned the arrival of any foreigners, even citizens of "union" Belarus, has made only one exception - for residents of the occupied territories of Donbas. Here is your reintegration! We could only hope that the problems which are now becoming major for the country, the Ukrainian authorities will be treated with greater professionalism and responsibility than to the Donbas agreement.

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