Die Zeit. The oligarchs resist

The Western community during the last two years supports Ukraine, investing heavily in the stabilization of the situation in the country and in promoting reform. After all, the Ukrainian state in 2014, after the Revolution of Euromaidan and covert intervention of Russia in Crimea and the Donbass, stood in front of the collapse, which thanks to the efforts of civil society in Ukraine and Western financial aid was prevented. But today, Kyiv is on the right path, begins his article in the newspaper Die Zeit, the German scientist and researcher, Institute for Euro-Atlantic cooperation in Kiev, Andreas Umland.

Unlike pictures that sometimes show the Western media coverage of Ukraine, slow but serious process of reforms in post-Soviet country is in full swing, while the Ukrainian politics and society today is no less and maybe more than ever, are under the influence of scandals and accusations. This may create the impression that the situation is worse than it was before. In fact, the aggravation of political conflicts in Kiev reflects the increasing depth, the sustainability and irreversibility of the changes, said the analyst.

Over the past two and a half years adopted a number of new laws, created new institutions to combat corruption. Now, gradually, though often intermittently, begins the implementation of the new economic, behavioral and administrative rules in daily life. It has for some segments of the population — not least for most of the old economic and political elite is an annoying, sometimes painful consequences.

As a result, in the Ukrainian media, the government and Parliament there are heated debates about interests and influence. Weekly there are new allegations of corruption on the part of officials, even against the President. Often these accusations are justified, but sometimes it is a deliberate lie and humiliation. The notorious oligarchs still does not push out of government decisions. They feel that their time is up and more aggressive lean to the reform process.

Umland believes that the transformation will continue despite the opposition of the old elites, and the country will change. This happens not because of a possible change of attitudes among politicians. In addition, yet will continue to buy political parties, the bureaucracy, and the economy will still be partially in the shade.

However, Ukrainian civil society has become a significant factor in the national legislative process and in government decision-making process. Hundreds of former human rights activists, mostly young, now, as members of Parliament, lobbyists, journalists, analysts, lawyers, and officials in Kiev and regions create pressure on the old political class, which still dominates. And this old political class is now trapped in the form of sandwich: on the one hand, civil society is demanding rapid reforms, and on the other hand, international donors attach to these claims weight.

Of course, says Umland, transformation can, as before, and in the future, marked by setbacks, periods of stagnation and zigzags. But the pressure of civil rights activists and funded by fundamental reforms in the end will lead to success.

After about ten years, Ukraine will probably become another country with less corruption, more successful business model, and the best administrative apparatus. Thus, Ukraine will be interesting as a new member of the EU. Sooner or later, the accession negotiations with the EU will begin, says a German scientist.

Ukrainian model against the Putin system — defines Umland further course of events, noting that on this path there are risks. The least likely is the threat from domestic opponents of reform — and the biggest is likely, from Moscow and Minsk. As long as Russia and Belarus did not even begin serious reforms to approach the EU, Ukraine’s progress will be for their leaders political threat. Therefore, a new escalation, especially in the Eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, is not excluded.

Until this fundamental problem of the security of Ukraine remains unresolved, there is a risk that all efforts to reform and billions of dollars in Western aid in the end will be meaningless. In the worst case, the new Russian offensive or concerted infiltration can lead to the collapse of the Ukrainian state, which would mean for the EU, among other things, millions of new refugees from Eastern Europe. Therefore, Western officials, particularly in the EU and its member States should more intensively consider how to solve the fundamental problem of security of Ukraine, emphasizes in his article the German political scientist.

And because of membership of Ukraine in EU or NATO in the next few years can not conceive, Ukraine and also Moldova and Georgia — from time to time will remain in svoeobraznyi geopolitical gray zone. And on this background the tools needed to ensure security of the Ukrainian state and foreign investments in the buffer zone — defense weapons, security guarantees, protection of investments.

Western countries in your rasporyajenii have many options, says Umland. And adds: for example, you can put defensive weapons, modern anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. Besides the Western States — guarantors of the Treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons can give Kiev guarantees of security. The urgent task is the creation of an insurance mechanism for the protection of direct investment against political risks, particularly in the Eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, says Umland.

In addition, Brussels should make it clear to Moscow that the EU has a strong interest in seeing a stable Ukraine. Unlike 2014, the Kremlin must be informed in advance about what additional sanctions he intends to maloit the EU, if the Kremlin re-organize a round of escalation, or if you will behave in Ukraine as in Syria.

Actually, the West needs to signal its support for the formation of the East regional defence coalition between members and not members of NATO. Member States of NATO, such as Poland or Lithuania have a deep interest in the success of Ukraine, and encouraged a closer cooperation with Kiev in matters of security. Given the high European the risks that would arise in the case of destabilization of Ukraine, the creation of these poles and other Eastern European security structures will benefit both the Western European member countries of the European Union, emphasizes the German political scientist.

Die Zeit. The oligarchs resist 03.01.2017

Январь 3rd, 2017 by
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