Authority Without a Change of Meaning: Why Is Ukraine Doomed?

In Ukraine, Igor Kolomoisky and a support group organised a powerful attack against the authorities. It is interesting that all these people, including Kolomoisky himself, made Zelensky president (at least their contribution was decisive). Now they are quite ready to replace him.

They are, however, increasingly critical of “Sorosites” and “external management”, but it is Zelensky who is managed from the outside and it is he who has handed out all key positions to these same “Sorosites”. Of course, Kolomoisky will still be satisfied if Zelensky refuses to cooperate with Pinchuk/Akhmetov, replaces the “Sorosites” with the same grant-eaters of Kolomoisky, returns the people of Kolomoisky to the government and to the Presidential Office, and starts to follow without complaints the instructions of his senior comrade, who made him president from a clown. And if not, then Kolomoisky will fight for a new President to make the necessary changes.

A similar fight is being waged by Medvedchuk. They are difficult to call allies of Kolomoisky, although it seems that sometimes they coordinate their actions. They just have similar problems, and they try to solve these problems using similar tools.

Both Kolomoisky and Medvedchuk were far removed from real power, albeit for different reasons. The Americans disliked Kolomoisky (and there is a bipartisan consensus on him in the US). The Ukrainian right-wing hates Medvedchuk since he’s Putin’s godfather, and the oligarchy fears his ambitiousness. Therefore, any of his attempts to convert the electoral success of his political force (Opposition Platform – For Life) into access, even if informal, to the executive branch run into a wall. It will be impossible to hide cooperation with Medvedchuk, and this will cause concern for too many too influential political forces and politicians, and not only Ukrainian ones. I.e., the costs of such cooperation so far clearly exceed the bonuses that Medvedchuk can provide.

Thus, two politicians who find themselves in a similar situation, simultaneously, synchronously, but not necessarily collectively, increase the pressure on the current government. The minimum program is to get one’s share of power. The maximum program is to get all the power in its entirety. It should also be noted that the hypothetical victory of Kolomoisky will not automatically mean a victory for Medvedchuk, and vice versa. As soon as one of them solves their problem, the second will become an ordinary competitor, especially since even now they are not allies, but rather travel companions.

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However, they are betting on the same electorate – the former electorate of Zelensky. Therefore, the themes and slogans promoted by their media are the same that were exploited during Zelensky’s electoral campaign. The remnants of Ukrainian Russophiles see in these slogans the intention to restore normal relations with Russia. Nationalists shout about betrayal. But in the political position of Medvedchuk/Kolomoisky there is nothing pro-Russian, let alone treacherous. They are simply trying to gain power over the remnants of Ukraine and to extend the existence of this failed project for as long as possible.

Moreover, they probably do not mind getting rid of the features of the current regime that are the most odious and hindering for their business. I think that even those who solve some of their problems with their help are not happy with wild Nazis on the streets. And for most Ukrainian politicians the need to go to Victory Day with pitiful faces gives little joy. Previously, almost all of them wore St. George’s ribbons with pleasure. But the question is: is it realisable?

I have no doubt that the government can be replaced. I have no doubt that the tactics of duplicating Zelensky’s electoral campaign are generally correct. People who voted for these slogans will vote for them once again. Only now it is against Zelensky, who deceived them. I will not say that early parliamentary and presidential elections are easy to achieve, but the last three decades of Ukrainian history show that nothing is impossible in this.

But will anything change if power is in the hands of the current opposition? Nothing in principle. The faces of some ministers will change, the composition of the Rada will change. The office of the President may again be renamed the Administration (or may not be renamed) and the composition of officials will change. At best, they will weaken the persecution of the UOC, but they will not give up the OCU, which means that the schism and the fight of dissenters against the Canonical Church will continue. The persecution of the Russian language may be weakened, but quotas will not be canceled and Russian schools will not start opening, which means that forced Ukrainisation will continue to be a state policy, only the level of violence will decrease. In order to not compromise the authorities and not interfere with the business of those in power, they can jail a couple of Nazis who committed obvious criminal crimes and openly flaunted it so that the rest would be quieter, but the “Azov” regiment would not dissolve, the SBU, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Armed Forces would not be cleansed of Nazis. Let me remind you that the Nazi and bandit Muzychko was killed by “Avakov‘s eagles” in March 2014, just a month after the coup. This did not prevent his less arrogant and odious brethren from flourishing as of this day.

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In foreign policy, they will certainly try to establish relations with Russia. But the DPR/LPR will not give up Crimea either. The goal of “normalisation” in the Russian direction will be to obtain a source of resource replenishment (loans, market access, cheap energy), so that, having stabilised the socio-economic situation, the course towards joining the EU and NATO can continue. Of course, under such conditions, a “normalisation” will not be able to take place.

In a couple of months after the hypothetical arrival of the new government, its leaders, whoever they are, will find themselves in the position of Zelensky. The economy is destroyed, the treasury is empty, and the gold and foreign exchange reserves, if they are not yet exhausted, then will at best allow for one or two debt repayments. Money can only gotten quickly from the IMF. Russia can issue any loans, but only after the recognition of Crimea and the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. However, such concessions will be opposed by most of the state apparatus (including the security forces, who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity), as well as almost all “opinion leaders” (the journalistic and expert community). The majority of the financial and political elite, the “activists” gangs, and a significant part of ordinary citizens who will perceive the rejection of Crimea and Donbass as capitulation will also be against it.

It is necessary to say that the potential replacements of Zelensky declare their unchanged position on Crimea and Donbass, as well as their commitment to the “European choice”. In other words, they will seek external support from the same US and EU.

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Now let’s imagine that the government has changed in Kiev and the new leaders have started a cautious probe of Moscow for “reconciliation”. They will receive an answer that there will be no negotiations over Crimea, that they must negotiate with Donbass independently and directly, and that loans and discounts can be obtained if they are included in the integration processes in the post-Soviet space and on a basis common to all participating countries.

This will be the end of negotiations, and will leave the new government with its Nazis, a devastated economy, an American bipartisan consensus over Ukraine, and a Polish “advocacy” in the EU, which is fatally tired of Kiev. And the new government will work in the same way as the previous one. Because it is a system, and a system that is left unchanged will not change its reactions. For example, Zelensky’s supporters thought he could at least stop the shelling of Donbass. But under him, the shelling intensified. In the long run, it may weaken again, but it will not definitively stop as long as modern Ukraine exists.

It is possible to endlessly watch how water flows, fire burns, and how for decades voters are being caught by the same slogans of the group of Ukrainian oligarchs fighting for power and money. But as long as the voter legitimises the system with their vote, they will continue to be humiliated and deceived, and they will continue to hope. Even such hope as this dies last.

Rostislav Ishchenko

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