Pre-election time and political manipulation in Ukraine
…by Alla Pierce
[ Editor’s Note: We have been getting no corporate media news about the Ukraine elections, so I got in touch with Alla Pierce and asked her to give us an overview for VT readers. Despite being down with a bad winter cold, she obliged with the detailed review below.
Alla had been a VT reader while she was living in Florida, and after she moved to Belarus, safer than living in her native Ukraine near her WWII-veteran dad, she gave us a solid stream of reporting on the Donbass conflict.
Ukraine has joined the growing list of destroyed nations used as cannon fodder in the New Cold War, or as national-asset food for Deep State operatives. The list of international violations in doing this, along with the traditional organized crime statutes has been pretty much ignored by international citizens.
Frankly, their attitude has been a defeated, “doo doo happens”, not seeming to realize that the bad things that happen to people far away can come home to roost. Only then will people scream, “Somebody has to do something to stop this”, but it will be too late for them.
Everybody that can get out of Ukraine already has. Those left are a new form of citizen prisoners, not only of their corrupt leader jailers, but even “security groups” like NATO, the UN, and the EU.
Ukraine will eventually default on its Western debt, probably picking the time to do so during the next international financial crisis when it can blend in with everyone else defaulting. They will suffer the additional pain of having to look over the border to Crimea, which wisely jumped ship to save itself, a lesson for others to remember.
The allegedly democratic West has not recognized what can clearly be seen in retrospect as an act of national survival by Crimea. That gives us a big clue as to how low the West has sunk, despite the pretty but meaningless words about freedom, etc. … Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … December 30, 2018 –
As we know, the Ukrainian presidential election should take place on 31 March 2019. Currently, Poroshenko has third place in the ranking of candidates for the presidency of Ukraine. We’ve reviewed some of the latest political events in Ukraine in a frame of pre-election time.
Yulia Tymoshenko The sign says, “Blah-blah-blah”
So far, according to polls, she is gaining the most votes and her long-cherished dream can finally come true. In this case, nothing will change for Ukrainian people since Tymoshenko is also an oligarch — unprincipled, greedy and tough, who is not disdaining any dirty methods to achieve her goal.
Tymoshenko has a very good sense of conjecture and will promise what people want to hear from her and do everything for her own advantage. To achieve her goal, Julia as an experienced politician seeks financial and political support.
It is believed that Yulia has strong support in Europe, but she is clever enough to understand that since Ukraine is under the direct management of the US, to get American support is at the top of her priorities.
Tymoshenko, apparently, concluded a successful trip to the United States this year, and if she really gained support there, then her cooperation with American political consultants which was mentioned in the media would be completely logical.
It is known that she proposed a transition to the chancellor type of a parliamentary form of government, which will allow the Ukrainian oligarchs to maintain a certain balance of power. Judging by what is being documented in the press, currently Tymoshenko is supported by the following oligarchs, Colomoyskiy, Firtash, and Taruta.
For ordinary people (most of Yulya’s electorate are residents of small towns and villages) her usual populist speeches and promises to dismiss the present cabinet of ministers could be sufficient. The reforms she proposed in the form of government could be perceived as possible change for the better.
After Poroshenko’s governing, any changes will be met by the expectation of hope for a better life by people, except those who realize that Tymoshenko is not much different, and she is just another oligarch with dishonestly acquired capital and after having seized power she will continue to plunder and sell Ukraine.
However, despite attempts to keep up with the times such as registration in social networks trying to get the votes of young people, Julia is associated with the old times, from which these young people are trying to dissociate themselves.
Oleg Lyashko, the leader of the Radical Party, regardless of a large number of votes he has gathered, is not viewed as a serious candidate for the presidency, but more as a spoiler that takes votes away from Poroshenko’s main competitors.
His electorate also consists of residents of small towns and villages, basically similar to Tymoshenko’s. Many Ukrainian sources emphasize that the goal of Lyashko is not the presidential seat of power, but the opportunity to attain a stable seat in parliament through participation in elections and a good result.
It is believed that in the shadows behind Lyashko stands the oligarch Akhmetov. He is even called Akhmetov’s clown, due to his sometimes outrageous actions.
The Opposition Bloc consists of former members of the Party of Regions. Until recently, the Opposition Bloc was headed by the co-chairs Yury Boyko and Boris Kolesnikov. Boyko represented the group of oligarch Firtash and Kolesnikov represented the group of Akhmetov.
In early November on this year, Boyko and President of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, Vadim Rabinovich, who left the Opposition bloc in 2016, created an alliance named “Opposition Platform – For Life” and nominated Boyko as a presidential candidate.
By the way, a journalist of the Ukrainian Pravda Roman Kravets notes that political consultants who are working with Boyko are the Ukrainian Center for Political Decisions and Americans company named Clear Path Strategies.
Previously, the American political consultant was Paul Manafort, who has now “big problems with justice”, so now new foreign specialists appeared, such as representatives of the company Clear Path strategies, says Ukrainian Pravda, “Three American technologists are working with Boyko at the same time – David Bluestone, John Garrett, and Kate McCartney, and they regularly fly to Kiev.”
Thus, there was a split in the party “Opposition bloc”. The eighth congress of the OB party, which took place on December 15th in Kiev, decided to nominate Alexander Vikul for the presidency.
At the congress, changes were made to the party regulations, according to which the party is now not led by two co-chairs, as before, but by the party’s political council.
Kolesnikov was elected to be Head of the political council. The political council included leaders of regional organizations and people’s deputies from the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov’s group.
As a result of the Congress, which some members of the party consider illegitimate, the entire leadership of the party passed onto the group of Akhmetov – master of the game of shadows.
The Opposition bloc is interesting enough for consideration. It is among the top five, if not the top three, political forces in Ukraine.
Anatoly Gritsenko, the former Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the current leader of the Civil Position party, has a high rating.
The leader of the political party “Civil Movement ‘Khvylya’” Viktor Chumak supported his candidacy and thus Gritsenko became the representative of the united opposition democratic forces.
His statements that “Under the President Gritsenko there will be no oligarch in the country ” along with his the proposals for criminal liability for bribes and overcoming corruption are very attractive for the electorate, but he is accused of weakening the army during his tenure as defense minister. It’s believed that he is backed by George Soros.
A characteristic fact for the Ukrainian absurd reality is the rating of the comedian Vladimir Zelensky (his party is “Servant of the People” which he has created).
He overtook Poroshenko, and his rating continues to grow. Behind Zelensky is the oligarch Kolomoiskiy, who predicts that he will enter the second round along with Tymoshenko. Poroshenko discredited himself and is he no longer trusted. Recent polls only confirm this.
According to the Institute of Sociology, Poroshenko is heading the anti-rating of politicians, “more than half of the respondents would not have voted for him under any circumstances”. The data of the Institute of Sociology for December:
21.2% – Yulia Tymoshenko,
14.6% – Vladimir Zelensky,
11.6% – Petro Poroshenko,
11% – Yuriy Boyko,
8.7% – Oleg Lyashko,
8.2% – Anatoly Gritsenko
Rating of parties possible to go to parliament:
23.4% – “Batkivshchyna”,
13% – “Servant of the people”,
11.3% – “Opposition Platform – For Life”,
11.2% – “Petro Poroshenko’s Block”,
9.1% – “Civil position”,
8% – Oleg Lyashko’s Radical Party
Still, we should take into account the fact that Poroshenko controls all power structures, the army, and volunteer battalions. Recently, the Russian side has publicized the list of sanctioned entities, which included the Akhmetov’s group of the Opposition bloc, including A.Vikul, the presidential candidate mentioned above.
Since those Ukrainian politicians were opposed to the course Poroshenko pursued, against the war in the Donbass, outrageous nationalism, and advocated the normalization of political and economic relations with Russia, the sanctions deprive the political platform of their party of viability and meaningfulness. Poroshenko’s chances to get into the second round thus increase.
In accordance with the Constitution, Ukraine is a secular state, and the authorities cannot engage in religious affairs. Nevertheless, we can observe more than the active participation of President Poroshenko in the process of creating a supposedly “independent church,” which in fact simply has no basis in reality.
President Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew I
Poroshenko has lost his peoples hope and trust in his presidency and is trying to use the old method, the one that should be a “fail-safe” technique of strengthening patriotic spirit, and therefore support at the expense of the usual russophobia, political speculations, and outright provocations. As a matter of fact, there is nothing more left for him.
Prior to these events, there were three Orthodox communities in Ukraine — the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Only two of 90 bishops have adopted the new structure. So, the new union has failed. Tough measures by the SBU did not help either. In addition, the definition of a “secular state” does not really correlate with summoning priests for interrogation by the SBU.
The newly created religious structure is now becoming part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the status of a metropolis. The level of submission is very tough. They are essentially more dependent than the existing Kiev Metropolis.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople has the authority to intervene in the affairs of any local Orthodox church and there can be no talk of any kind of independence.
Recently, three bills were submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which proposed to reflect in the title the originating country which has direct control of the church.
According to it, the UOC MP (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate) should reflect in its name that its management comes from the Russian Federation, i.e. called the “Russian Orthodox” church. The emphasis on the word “Russian” in the conditions of the russophobic rampage in Ukraine looks like a match thrown into a fire.
So, as a result of all these actions, a new metropolis appeared in Kiev, directly subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This process is accompanied by chaos and schism, which could lead to persecution of the parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church and new armed conflicts in Ukraine, which most likely was the only meaning of the process.
Why Poroshenko needed another tense situation in the country on the eve of the presidential election campaign is clear.
Events in the Kerch Strait
Another action took place and probably not the last one in which the current president of Ukraine had the same goal and used the same methods. On November 25th, Ukrainian ships invaded Russian territorial waters, which had belonged to Russia before the reunification of the Crimea and Russia.
The interrogation of the sailors and the security officer of the SBU that were on board confirmed that they knew perfectly well that they had violated the border, but just followed orders.
Here is a brief recount of the conflict from the words of a Ukrainian sailor. Ukrainian ships left Odessa, heading to the port of Berdyansk through the Kerch Strait and strayed into the waters of Russia.
According to regulations, Ukrainian ships had to file an application to enter the port of Kerch but failed to do so. On the contrary, the commanders of the Ukrainian ships said they were not going to pass the strait.
At the time of the transition, the Ukrainian ships had small arms on board, as well as machine guns with ammunition. Entering the waters of the Russian Federation, they raised gun barrels by 45 degrees and aimed them towards the Russian ships.
They received commands to stop moving and to wait for further instructions from the Russian side but they did not comply. Russians used flares, then further radio communication, then, after exhausting all measures to no avail, they warned they would open fire.
Ukrainian ships stopped communicating and continued to move towards the border of the Russian Federation. Then Russian patrol boats used weapons. Some people on the boat Berdyansk were wounded and asked Russians for help.
So, as we can see the actions of Ukrainian ships were very provocative. They were forcing Russian border guards to take active steps and then declare Russian aggression. This was a clear provocation, which was gladly accepted by the West, receiving trump cards to continue the anti-Russian information campaign and pressure on the leadership of the Russian Federation. Who cares if this is a fake card?
The further this game unfolds, the more the West reaction resembles a theater of the absurd. Everyone plays the role assigned to this show. It doesn’t matter what Russia will do since the role of the aggressor is assigned to it, so any of its actions will be interpreted as aggressive.
Ukraine was assigned the role of a poor victim and no matter how ridiculous it is to define its behavior this way it will be considered exactly this way in the ‘Kerch show’ designed by Poroshenko and his puppeteers. It reminds me of a small dog, which stealthily bites a big bear, incited by a pack of dogs and as soon as the bear brushes off its bites, the pack shouts “He hurts our puppy!”
By the way, in the summer the Ukrainian ships passed through the Kerch Strait in compliance with all maritime rules and regulations. Clearly, they have no problems following maritime protocol when they want.
In the current situation for Poroshenko it is useful to ignite a small military conflict with Russia which can increase his rating within the country, as well as the reason for imposing martial law. It was not very reasonable to call for martial law now but if it was established for 60 days, it would give Poroshenko powers to cancel the election, concentrate power in his hands and establish full control over the media.
But these are all just “cookies” for Poroshenko. Far more serious is the fact that his overseas owners acquire a reason to establish a military base in Odessa, to deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine, and to get an excuse to sail NATO ships on the territorial waters bordering Russia.
There is one more important aspect of this situation. The Turkish and North Stream -2 projects run in counter to the interests of both Ukraine and the United States.
According to Ukrtransgaz, in 2017, 80.8 billion cubic meters of Russian gas was transported to Europe via Ukraine with revenues amounting to $3 billion.
“If capacities at 110 billion cubic meters (Nord Stream and Nord Stream-2) and at least one conduit of the Turkish Stream at 15 billion cubic meters are reserved,” says Valentin Zemlyansky, director of energy programs at the Center for World Economy and International Relations, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,“ than I see no reason for optimism and no reason to believe that anyone will suffer more than Ukraine. We will have a significant reduction. According to my optimistic forecasts, the transit per year will be 30 billion cubic meters “, with revenue of approximately 1.1 billion dollars.
Zemlyansky notes that there are not only monetary problems. To keep the CTA in its current condition will be unprofitable since it will generate losses. There will be problems with gas distribution for consumers on the territory of Ukraine.
Let’s recall that the launch of the North Stream-2 is scheduled for the end of 2019. Gazprom’s contract with Naftogaz expires in the same year.
For the United States, which has its own energy interests in Europe as well as for Ukraine, a complete ban on the construction of the Northern and Turkish pipeline under the guise of sanctions in response to the “Russian aggression” would be ideal.
Thus, the provocation in the Kerch Strait could have the intention to cause new sanctions that could lead to the closure of Russia’s energy projects.
Ukrainian type of “Marital Law”
Expressing his opinion on the situation in the Kerch Strait, Aleksandr Turchinov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, said that it was the first time that Russia had formally attacked the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I would want to ask how his statement corresponds with all the previous statements about “regular troops of the Russian army fighting in the Donbass?”
We have heard so many accusations against the Russian Federation in having its regular forces fighting against valiant Ukrainians in Donbass. Ukrainian media and social networks were giving us specific names of Russian divisions that are fighting inside Ukrainian territory.
I also remember the stories about evil Russia testing its latest weapons on poor Ukrainian civilians. So, all those fables that they fed everybody since 2014 ended up with the statement that Russia attacked the Ukrainian Armed Forces for the first time.
Detained ships of the “Ukrainian Armed Forces”
However, Martial Law was announced but as we know Merkel and Stolterberg intervened and had it reduced to 30 days, which does not allow Poroshenko to implement the plan to cancel or postpone the election indefinitely.
In addition, Martial Law was declared only in the eastern regions and not to the full extent. Another farce played out in Ukraine.
On December 26th, President Poroshenko announced that the cessation of the Martial Law regime previously imposed. As the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov said, it was the end of something that never took place.
What kind of Martial Law could we talk about if there was no threat from the Russian side despite whatever the Ukrainian “government” says? All that happened was an attempt by Ukrainian maritime vessels to cross the sea border of the Russian Federation by ignoring the rules and regulations.
The intention of Ukrainian sailors to appropriate the status of prisoners of war is as ridiculous as the whole situation with the “Martial Law”. They simply can’t be prisoners of war since there is no official war.
Poroshenko himself successfully continued his trading with the Russian Federation during the so-called “Martial Law”. In his attempts to boost his rating Poroshenko has suddenly recollected his interest to Crimean Tatars.
Earlier, he had already come forward with a proposal to create Crimean Tatar autonomy in Crimea, and now he recapped this idea hoping to get votes in his support. Concurrently, perhaps, it will be possible to incite ethnic conflicts in the Crimea.
The place that is really under threat is Donbass, where provocation can take place with the subsequent escalation of a military conflict.
Possible scenarios of the upcoming operation under false flag pretenses, which may occur within period prior to, or on January 7th (Orthodox Christmas), are published on the Cyberberkut website. They noted that special units from the United States and the UK arrived in Kiev for preparing the operation.
The press of Donbass informs about the planned attack on one of the industrial enterprises of Mariupol, where the storage of chemicals will be vulnerable. As a result, there should be a powerful release of toxic substances. Sergei Lavrov, in turn, noted that Poroshenko is preparing a provocation on the border with Russia.
The presidency brought Poroshenko huge profits and made him a very rich man. Do not be deceived by the image of a miserable man with an outstretched hand. Ukraine is a poor country, but not its president.
“In response to Russia’s dangerous escalation and unjustified November 25 attack on three Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait, the Department of State, subject to Congressional approval, will provide an additional $10 million in Foreign Military Financing to further build Ukraine’s naval capabilities,” the State Department said in a press release.
Well, 8 million will be stolen right away, and two later in lower echelons of power. Ukraine is divided between the oligarchs and there are schemes in which money flows in their pockets in continuous streams. War is only a way of enrichment.
Review of the latest political events in Ukraine shows that Poroshenko has no way of getting his goals through an honest election. During his political activities, Poroshenko never hesitated to use dirty methods. Being a man without honor and conscience, he won’t stop at anything to solve his internal political tasks and not too lose his power.