1. It’s no wonder Ukrainians are sceptical
Europe Ukraine Ex-USSR
Not so long ago I was thinking that despite Russian movies and TV series being blocked in Ukraine, Ukrainians don’t lack for entertainment. Ukrainian politics provides all the shades of drama, circus, and tragicomedy that any soap could churn out.
But recently emotions have run really high. The authorities have been responsible for a string of unreasonable actions, the people have called for the president’s impeachment as well as a new revolution, and all sorts of accusations have been flung about. Emotions reached their crescendo on December 5, a day that produced events almost impossible to follow or understand.
- An attempt to detain former Odesa governor and ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili produced an almost immediate protest as a crowd gathered to “rescue” him from the hands of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)
- Ukraine’s prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko accused Saakashvili of taking money from Serhiy Kurchenko, a close ally of former president Viktor Yanukovych, who’s currently in hiding in Russia. That intervention was followed by a lot of international criticism making the case that Ukraine is failing to stick to its course of Westernisation.
Is that actually true? Putting emotions aside and trying to analyse the different layers of recent events, what is really going on in Ukraine?
First, Saakashvili. Honestly, Poroshenko doesn’t seem to be stupid, but is appears that he loses it when it comes to Saakashvili. Granting him citizenship and revoking it later were generally perceived as wrong moves. Many have been wondering what lies behind his strong distaste for Saakashvili: personal enmity or something else?
More dangerous than we thought?
Still, the evidence presented by the Prosecutor General does suggest that Saakashvili could be much more dangerous than we thought. From the tapes released on December 5, we found out that a person close to Saakashvili was receiving money from the oligarch Kurchenko.
In the tapes Saakashvili and Kurchenko were allegedly talking about $300,000 needed for organising meetings and demonstrations around Ukraine…and unrest in Kyiv. The two were discussing nothing other than scenarios for destabilising Ukraine that could lead to early parliamentary elections.
To put it more simply: Saakashvili allegedly took money from an oligarch currently living in Russia to organize demonstrations and provocations that could lead to the internal destabilization of Ukraine.
Many supporters of Saakashvili, who have joined the criticism of authorities during his detention, attempted to take a cooler position when they heard of the charges. If it is proven that Saakashvili indeed took that money, this will be a huge blow not only for him, but for many opposition members who joined Saakashvili in his demonstrations and tours around Ukraine.
On a bigger scale, it also starts an incredibly important discussion about the financing of Ukrainian politicians, parties, and movements. No matter how much one disagrees with Poroshenko, taking money from an aggressor against the country to oppose him is unforgivable and should mean the end of Saakashvili’s political career.
Well, everything is not that simple in Ukraine. Many have serious doubts about whether the tapes presented by the prosecutor general are genuine. And it’s not that shocking that Ukrainians should have those doubts. Last week the Prosecutor General’s Office (GPU) and Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) made a serious attack on Ukraine’s best performing anti-corruption institution, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). The GPU and SBU revealed the secrets of an operation that NABU had been carrying out for the last half a year. Moreover, they revealed the network and real names of many of NABU’s secret agents. Prosecutor General Lutsenko went as far as to say that NABU agents are an illegal grouping and that they should have been employed by an open competitive procedure. Honestly, I still wonder whether Lutsenko fully understands the extremity of the nonsense he comes out with…
It’s no wonder Ukrainians are sceptical of Lutsenko’s revelations about Saakashvili. But the problem here is much deeper than just a lack of trust in some institutions. If the tapes are real, we have a politician that doesn’t mind taking money from whatever sources and then organises provocations that could possibly have a destructive influence on Ukraine.
If the tapes are fake, our intelligence and security bodies are ready to go as far as to falsify and publicly present fake evidence in order to attack a personal political enemy of the president. Whichever scenario turns out to be true, both have devastating results for Ukraine. It will either be a huge blow to the opposition and its legitimacy, or we will learn that our current president completely disregards the rule of law.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at : com