Duda and Zelensky: Collusion Between Two Totalitarian Regimes

I don’t question who is in charge of Zelensky’s foreign policy. I don’t even wonder who’s in charge of his internal policies. In my opinion, even the “fighters against the Poroshenko regime” who campaigned to vote for Zelensky in order to “remove the confectioner”, guessed that Zelensky had a worse problem with this than with the answer to the question: “Who raised Pinocchio?”

“At first it was Father Carlo, and then nobody”. Zelensky didn’t even have Father Carlo. No one taught him the sacraments of politics, and no one will teach him.

But many still say that the clown and his “Quarter” are a team of brilliant PR workers. So it is interesting to me – where are they, these geniuses? Who are these people? Who made the poor boy come to Israel and not go to Yad Vashem? There, not only was there Putin, whom Zelensky allegedly ignored, although he requested a meeting with him. US Vice President Mike Pence, who is beloved in Ukraine, spoke there. By the way, if the Democrats push for Trump’s impeachment, it is Pence who will serve as president until the election. French President Emmanuel Macron, the most likely candidate for pan-European leadership after Merkel, was present there to try to be a patron for Ukraine. A large part of the world’s elite gathered there. Zelensky should have been glad that he was allowed into this hall at all, but he didn’t come.

This is like a guest that you invited to your festive occasion – he comes to your floor, in front of your eyes rings the bell of the neighbouring apartment, and disappears behind the neighbour’s door, and just in passing tells to you, to paraphrase: I won’t crowd you, I know that there is not enough space in the apartment. Zelensky did not forget to emphasise that there is Jewish blood flowing in him, but instead of honouring the victims of the Holocaust – a central event of Israeli politics, he banally went to pray at the Western Wall, in which all those who are not lazy, including pagans and agnostics, stick messages.

By the way, Zelensky’s statement – that he was there praying for peace in Ukraine – is the peak of hypocrisy. He is an atheist, how can he ask God for anything at all if God demands faith first? I.e., he turns to the One who he doesn’t believe in to ask for peace? And after all this, the poor leaders of Israel had to believe that there was no anti-Semitism in Ukraine, because here is a Jewish president who is even afraid to appear at the central event dedicated to the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust. After all, the descendants of Nazi collaborators who directly participated in the Holocaust are in power in his country. And they will not forgive him if he is present when an “anti-Ukrainian” version of history is presented at Yad Vashem.

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In general, Zelensky had two options: to not come, or, since he arrived, to go to the end and at least try to earn himself points, flickering against the background of world leaders and taking pictures “on one’s feet” with Putin. Of course, Ukrainian nationalists would not be happy about it, but they would not eat it up with giblets. But he could count on Israel’s understanding and support, and Putin likes to deal with people able to make a decision and roll with the blows, not with fugitives from a leather ball factory (as the wolf called the little pigs fleeing from him in a Soviet cartoon). Zelensky looks more and more like this Nif-Nif, quaking in a house of straw, waiting for the nationalists who are about to come and “Holocaust” him.

With his Israeli voyage Zelensky only made the situation worse, both his own and Ukraine’s as a whole. But someone prepared this visit and during it someone made a decision to change the program. In Kiev it is said that the Assistant President for International Affairs Andrey Ermak is responsible for everything. However, the visit was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs has free access to the President (if he does not, then he is not the Minister, and it is thus unclear who the President is). And even if Minister Pristayko had not been included in the delegation (and in such a situation it is necessary to have the Minister of Foreign Affairs at hand), then there is an Ambassador of Ukraine in Israel who had to lie down his life, but push Zelensky to the event. After all, he will continue to work there – he must understand how difficult it will be after such a presidential stunt.

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There were many people around Zelensky (including the chief rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine, who was literally obliged to explain to Zelensky the pernicious nature of his behaviour, in terms of developing relations with Israel). All of them had the opportunity to convey to Zelensky their position and to prevent him from making a gross mistake. But they didn’t.

At the same time, they understood that they were making a strategic mistake because they immediately tried to correct it by agreeing with the Poles to celebrate the Holocaust in Auschwitz “for two”. The whole world is in Yad Vashem, and Duda and Zelensky are in Auschwitz. Symbolic, especially considering that no one slashes Jews during World War II (and after it) with more enthusiasm than the Poles and Banderists. When the Germans killed Jews, they simply scrupulously followed orders. They did not seek to save anyone, but also did not accept “counter plans” – they killed as many as they were told to kill. But the Poles and Banderists acted with zest, were inspired, and continued to deal with this affair not only when it became clear that the days of the Reich were numbered, but also after the Victory.

Zelensky could not have spit in the face of the Jewish people twice in three days with more relish than he did by swapping the Israeli event in Yad Vashem for a hastily organised meeting with Duda in Auschwitz.

Thus, relations with Israel are damaged, Europe and the United States look like fools, and Russia has never experienced illusions. At home – in Ukraine, Zelensky once again deceived the hopes of anti-Banderist circles seeking to restore civil peace in the country (and they make up the vast majority of his voters). Can he at least establish relations with Poland?

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No. Duda, of course, was grateful to him for the breakthrough of the diplomatic blockade in which Poland found itself because of the confrontation with Israel over the recognition of Polish responsibility for the Holocaust. But the Sejm, represented by the ruling Law and Justice Party, did not express joy at the arrival of the President of Banderist Ukraine. From the leading Polish politicians, only Duda met with Zelensky, and immediately outplayed him rhetorically.

Zelensky said everything Duda needed. He mentioned the equal responsibility of the two totalitarian regimes, the historical points of unity of the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, and even (in defiance of Putin, who proposed to convene a conference of permanent members of the UN Security Council) offered to unite the entire world community against anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism.

In turn, Duda bypassed the painful topic of the Banderisation of Ukraine (on the eve of Zelensky’s visit to Poland, another monument to UPA, which not only Russia, but also Poland recognises as a criminal organisation, was desecrated). On the other hand, he focused on Polish-Ukrainian cooperation in the fight against communism, indirectly proposing to Zelensky to make the main hero of modern Ukraine the anti-Semite Petliura (who actually gave the Poles Western Ukraine up to the Zbruch), instead of the anti-Semite Bandera (who actively exterminated Poles as well).

Zelensky, stood next to Duda, looked colourless, like an ingratiating boy. The visit to Poland, which has extremely tense relations with Israel, immediately after the demarche in Yad Vashem, only stressed Zelensky’s boorishness in Israel. Some changes in Poland’s position on Banderism, in exchange for Zelensky’s help in breaking the diplomatic blockade, could not be achieved either. And familial Ukrainian nationalists still hate Zelensky.

Everything is clear in terms of politics, but where is at least some PR?


Rostislav Ishchenko

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