Ukraine Wants to Be Friends: Poroshenko Is Asked to Restore Relations With Russia October 18, 2016 Analysis Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard 01:25:29 18/10/2016 Aif.ru The deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and citizens of Ukraine called on the government to restore economic and parliamentary ties with its neighbours. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will set up a parliamentary group to revive economic relations with the Russian Federation. This was reported on Tuesday by the people’s Deputy of the Ukrainian Parliament Yakov Bezbakh, who believes that without the restoration of economic ties with Russia, the Ukrainian economy will continue to rapidly decline. In the Russian Parliament the statement of Bezbakh was evaluated positively, noting that the Russian parliamentarians are always ready for dialogue with the Ukrainian colleagues and do not have nothing against making contact. Experts consider that until the moment the government in Kiev and Petro Poroshenko stands against dialogue with Russia, the prospects for cooperation with Ukraine are small, but in general the statement of Bezbakh speaks volumes. “We initiated the creation of a parliamentary group on the revival of economic relations with the Russian Federation and began the collection of signatures for the appeal to the President of Ukraine, in order for him to take a step towards the economic growth of Ukraine and begin the process of the mutual lifting of sanctions,” said Bezbakh to Ukrainian journalists at a press conference. According to him, there came a time when Ukraine’s economy is rapidly eroding to zero, and traditional markets for Ukraine belong to the country’s competitors. “The hope for international financial support became less and less, we don’t have the right to refuse well-established economic relations. We have to be realistic and say to ourselves the harsh truth: without the revival of pragmatic relations with traditional economic partners, most of the powerhouse enterprises are doomed to gradual stagnation,” noted the Deputy. Bezbakh believes that the restoration of economic relations with Russia must start with peace in Donbass. This war that nobody needs must be stopped. “Take the statistics: It is America who trades the most with Russia. Those who trample on Russia the most, while at the same time they trade with Russia the most. Ukraine has fallen so low that it is not possible to go any lower,” summed up the Deputy. So we should note that the speech of Bezbakh became the first such loud one at the level of the Ukrainian Parliament. The reaction from the official authorities of Kiev did not follow it up. However, as was reported by Ukrainian media, earlier employees of Ukraine’s largest plant for the production of sports equipment – VASIL – sent an appeal addressing the President of Ukraine with the demand to restore trade and economic ties with Russia, which was signed by more than 1,000 employees. “The gap of economic ties with Russia has led to serious consequences for our company and the industry as a whole. The policy of the government on European integration put the company on the brink of ruin. We are practically sinking,” it is said in the appeal. The document also notes that Russia was the company’s main export market for goods. In this regard, the rupture of relations with Russia had a negative impact on sales in other CIS countries. In the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, interlocutors of Aif.ru evaluated the words of the Deputy Bezbakh positively, noting that they never objected to dialogue with neighbors. “This is a positive signal. In both our Parliament and in Russian society, in contrast to the Ukrainian leadership we have a strong belief that sooner or later we shall again be friends and live together, because we are branches of the same nation. That’s why this breakup is perceived as a falling out of brothers,” said the head of Committee on CIS Affairs Leonid Kalashnikov to Aif.ru. According to him, today Ukrainian propaganda upsets him, which is trying to provoke hatred to all Russians, which as a result strongly divides people. “What this Deputy did reverberates with me. I should thank him for the courage, which, in conditions of steeped-in-hatred Ukraine, does not promote approval of what he did,” said Kalashnikov. “Yakov Bezbakh is a decent man, he always had his own viewpoint, and he had always held the opinion that it is necessary to maintain ties with Russia. He also, like me, opposed Ukraine’s Association with the EU. Maybe not as loudly, but he had his own point of view. I am very glad that he made this statement at a press conference. To make such a proposal, which comes at odds with the official viewpoint of power, takes a very brave man,” said the ex-member of Parliament, former well-known Ukrainian politician Oleg Tsarev. According to him, many people are thinking the same things that Bezbakh said, but are afraid to voice it. As was noted by Tsarev, Bezbakh understands the economic problems of the country, because he worked at industrial enterprises, which have suffered greatly from the rupture of economic ties with Russia. “Yakov Bezbakh is elected by the southern part of Ukraine, that’s why, he understands very well that his voters don’t have a hostile attitude against the Russians, despite the intense propaganda. Many Ukrainians want the relationship with Russia to be improved,” said political analyst Sergei Markov. According to him, it is especially now that the pressure from the West on Ukraine has increased concerning the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This fact of dissatisfaction with Poroshenko, according to the expert, could also serve for a more open resistance to his policies in the Verkhovna Rada. Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.