Poroshenko’s “Reintegration of Donbass”: Reconciliation or War

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The bill that hasn’t yet been approved “on the reintegration of occupied territories of Donbass” carries a vague, noncommittal formulation. And the more it is discussed, even in Ukraine, the more contradictions arise. Supporters of the “soft power” speak about “privileges” for the inhabitants of the LDPR, while “hawks” prepare a military operation. So what is the sense of this bill? It is possible to form only an approximate picture from the details that leaked out into the media.

So, on the one hand Kiev plans to entice the inhabitants of the uncontrollable territories, to create conditions under which they will want to return to the bosom of Ukraine by themselves. For this purpose various populist “eases” are provided. This is both the simplification of the procedure of receiving Ukrainian pensions, and the recovery of trade, and an increase in the limit on transportation of freights across the contact line…

Poroshenko wants to look like a noble gentlemen in the eyes of the West, who cares for his subjects. While in practice these eases look offensive at minimum. The President of the country deigned the “eases” to the citizens who, in fact, aren’t guilty of anything. At the same time, the lifting of the blockade and the implementation of social obligations to civilians are stated in the Minsk Agreements, which with ferocious persistence aren’t implemented by the Ukrainian side. And also how to do business when you don’t control the radicals capable of blocking the railway and roads. And you, from powerlessness, lead this blockade instead of rigidly dispersing its supporters.

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On the other hand, this bill is perceived by the wing of “hawks” as the preparation for a forcible solution of the conflict in Donbass. It is supposed to finish the anti-terrorist operation, to delegate all power from SBU to the Ministry of Defence, to create operational staff that will be subordinate directly to the President. And, according to Turchynov, the President will be given the right to individually use the Armed forces without the approval by Parliament, which, in fact, is one of the elements of martial law, the supporters of which want to introduce the “rigid force” in frontline areas. It can appear in such cities as Mariupol, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Avdeevka… Martial law also means a restriction in participating in elections. It is very convenient when you know that the Donbass electorate can impair the statistics. At the same time, for residents of the LPR and the DPR nothing changes. Just now every day they will be shelled not by ATO forces, but by units of the “military operation” which is how the member of the Rada committee on the National Security and Defense Council Dmitry Tymchuk christened the new format. It is astonishing that regarding the reintegration of Donbass no word is said about a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Kiev, not the first time, tries to swap new legislative rules for the Minsk Agreements. This time loud statements about the termination of the anti-terrorist operation (which in reality is subterfuge) came exactly on the eve of Petro Poroshenko’s departure to Washington. And the discrepancy of the bill indeed can also be explained by the fact that Kiev isn’t sure to what side the pendulum on Trump’s table in the Oval office will swing. And Petro Poroshenko for the sake of it is ready to dance any dance – both the tough guy, and the peacekeeper. The most important thing is that the monetary valve isn’t shut off.

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