Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Poroshenko left for his announced visit to New York for the purpose of participating in the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, but didn’t return to Kiev. He urgently needed to visit Canada. The program of the Canadian visit wasn’t that dense: a protocol meeting with the Prime Minister, negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, meetings with the business community and diaspora. It’s not a lot for a two-day visit, from which we can draw the conclusion that the trip was prepared in a hurry, they organised what they could in the time they had.
Some “business circles” can be gathered for a meeting with any cannibal in a skirt made from palm leaves if he is at least the king or the President. In any country there are enough “new rich” people with an inferiority complex, who dream of sitting nearby or perhaps to even be photographed with some foreign celebrity. The diaspora goes to a meeting with the Ukrainian Presidents the same way they go work (otherwise how to influence the situation in Ukraine?). The Prime Minister, if he is in the country, also can find half an hour for a handshake, a photoshoot, and an exchange of compliments with a colleague who was passing by and who decided to have a chat.
Well, and negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs speak for themselves. In New York Klimkin was in Poroshenko’s entourage. I am sure that he was also taken in Canada. It’s not that he was so necessary there, but there was no sense in making an extra journey just for him — he can return to Kiev together with Poroshenko. So, the format of the Canadian visit is indeed according to Klimkin, and negotiations with Chrystia Freeland is his work. Otherwise, the President of peace and the greatest of the European superstates will soon start to meet only with third secretaries of embassies for a discussion about global problems.
It is precisely the format of the Canadian visit that best of all illustrates the failure of Poroshenko’s trip to New York. If in the General Assembly Poroshenko indeed made an unprecedented diplomatic breakthrough, he wouldn’t need to invite himself for a visit to the Canadians, who won’t offend and will always say a couple of kind words. Their Ukrainian diaspora consists of up to 15% of active voters and always pushes their Deputies into parliament. And also the acting Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland is from there too — from the diaspora. In general, Canadian politicians try not to offend their Ukrainians without reason. Local members of the diaspora are mainly natives from Western Ukraine. Moreover, the post-war wave brought to Canadian land a lot of people escaping henchmen and SS members. Even though they prefer to love Ukrainian “independence” from far away, they hate Russia with every fiber of their being, and it means the more Russophobic the regime in power in Kiev is, the more support and understanding it will find among Ukro-Canadians.
So, instead of rushing to Kiev and reporting about successes, Poroshenko went to Canada on a visit without a program, but nevertheless in full confidence that he will manage to squeeze out from local politicians and diaspora some unambiguous phrases, which can be sold in the information market of Ukraine as expression of unambiguous support towards the country and Petro Poroshenko personally.
Maybe we are biased against the President of Ukraine and try to hide his achievements? So, let’s look at Ukraine’s own reports about the great achievements of Poroshenko in New York.
Poroshenko’s visit to New York was dated for September 18th-21st, and to Canada – September 22nd-23rd. What he achieved in two days in Canada, we already know. But in New York?
Traditionally the plane of the Ukrainian leader was shoved into the airport’s backyard, a little rug from a bathroom of a red, decommunised-in-Ukraine colour lay near the airstairs, and the President was met by the permanent representative of Ukraine to the UN Elchenko. American officials were busy with more important guests. Poroshenko met “investors” in the same traditional way. Although it isn’t absolutely clear who and what can and will want to invest in a country that wages civil war (and claiming at the same time that it is at war with Russia, which for investors is even more terrible); a country that is in a condition of default on eurobonds, which is already recorded by the High court in London; in a country that even the IMF refuses to give money to; in a country whose economy is destroyed, and the sole remaining companies degrade; and in a country where agriculture became the arena of the fight of armed gangs for the crops that weren’t grown by them, and which, thus, will also degrade.
Poroshenko was also received by Trump. This time the US President allocated to Poroshenko not five minutes for money, but a whole hour – free of charge? Besides a photoshoot, he managed to exchange several substantial remarks. Poroshenko bragged about successes with economic growth. Trump with astonishment answered that in general in Ukraine it’s difficult to live, but it is good that you have growth. It sounded like: “nobody wants to live in your hole, but if you like it, I’m glad for you”. Poroshenko bragged that buying Pennsylvanian coal creates jobs in the US (but in general he was elected to create jobs in Ukraine). Trump joyfully reported that America is ready to sell to Ukraine everything that Poroshenko will wish for, and insistently demanded not to offend American companies if they suddenly decide to buy something in Ukraine at a cheap price.
Most likely, the Americans working in agriculture together with Ukrainian partners were subjected to a raid of hired “robin hoods” from the former “heroes” of Maidan and the ATO. Or maybe Ukrainian officials decided to dispossess somebody. And the offended complained to the US authorities. Trump, in front of the television cameras, not simply instructed Poroshenko, but he drew a red line for all Ukrainian politicians: you can kill each other as much as you like, but American businesses must be protected. Bad news for Ukraine. It means that in the market of protecting businesses soon the good American guys will appear, who will become formal co-owners of agricultural companies. After all, every appearance of “heroes” with machine guns will be equated to anti-American activity. While “heroes”, by the way, want to eat. And they will complain not to Trump, but to their leaders.
So the economic part of the conversation with Trump provided to Poroshenko not breakthroughs, but problems. As for the political part, it simply didn’t exist, if not to consider as such the digression of Trump about hurricanes that terribly harm America. Donbass, Crimea, the discussion about peacekeepers, even the problem of passportless Saakashvili, who started his march in Kiev from the US, didn’t interest Donald Trump.
But after all, Poroshenko was in the US for four days. Probably, he communicated with someone else?
Of course. He managed to make a speech in front of a half-empty hall of the UN General Assembly. Those who give a speech are numerous, so it’s impossible to remain seated to listen to everyone. That’s why delegations listen to representatives of the leading countries of the world (Russia, the US, China, and leading EU countries) and regional leaders (Turkey, Iran, Brazil, etc.), and while the others talk about their problems, they [listeners in the UN hall – ed] visit the buffet and communicate in the lobby.
It is precisely such a demarche that Poroshenko did when he went to communicate in the lobby with the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence during Sergey Lavrov’s speech. The fact that this action in general became known, Poroshenko in general has to thank the Russian press, the representatives of which didn’t distinguish between sensation and prostration, between information and provocation. And? So what if the small usurper from an insignificant State – under which the chair is shaking – left somewhere? Such things aren’t usually noticed. And if indeed people write about it, it is done exclusively in the style: “During the joint speech of the Russian Foreign Minister and the Vice President of the United States, an attack of an unknown illness happened, and, accompanied by the employees of the US State Department and an environment of foreign lackeys, he [Poroshenko – ed] was compelled to leave the hall”.
In fact, all the sense of the event lies in the demonstrative refusal to listen to Lavrov’s speech. If not to write about it, the demonstration loses its meaning.
In the same lobby Poroshenko came face to face with the President of Hungary, who gave him a dressing down for the law forbidding education in the languages of ethnic minorities after elementary school, and promised that Hungary will not leave it like that and will terrorize Ukraine, blocking initiatives interesting to Kiev in the EU, NATO, and other organizations.
Here in fact is all what Poroshenko achieved in four days. Roughly speaking, he waited for four days to be received by Trump for one hour, loafing around in the UN lobby.
It is the second time in half a year that Poroshenko flies to the US for a meeting with the American President. It is the second time that his aim is to receive clear and unambiguous signals: The US is happy with cooperation with Poroshenko, and don’t order the intra-Maidan opposition to offend him. It is the second time that the aim wasn’t achieved. And it is the second time that Poroshenko, in order not to come back home completely empty-handed, prolonged his travel. Just that in the spring he rushed from the US to Europe, and now to Canada.
Do Poroshenko’s opponents recognise his failure? Of course. Moreover, they even didn’t doubt that he won’t find support in the US, and that he won’t receive it in Europe either, or even in Canada.
Maybe he will receive a couple of kind words, but in such a situation, with such tone, and with such a facial expression so that nobody doubts that the West doesn’t intend to rescue Poroshenko.
This isn’t even the position of Trump or the US. This is already the position of the collective West. Moreover, the first person who started to turn away from Poroshenko wasn’t over the ocean, but in Europe. Obama still sat in the White house, Clinton was still the favourite in elections, while Merkel already tried to communicate with the Ukrainian President less. If nevertheless she was obliged to do it, she minimized communication with Poroshenko, and with the press – several formal phrases. Macron met the Ukrainian leader once, and it was enough for him. He didn’t want to spend more time for fruitless conversations with a frightened-to-death confectioner, whose flattery becomes more rough and voluminous the stronger opponents shake his power. Now it’s Trump’s turn.
And the matter isn’t in the fact that Poroshenko supported the candidate in the US elections that he shouldn’t have. Politicians are pragmatic and don’t pay attention to such things, at least they aren’t guided by personal feelings while adopting strategic decisions. Especially as in France Ukraine supported Macron, and in Germany they will support Merkel’s party during elections.
Once again I will emphasize that this is the collective will of all the West. And the decision was made not in relation to Poroshenko, but to all of Ukraine. Its use is spent. In those questions where it can still have a use, it concerns not all the West, but separate groups of the political elite of the US and Europe. They can in a private order place a stake on the intra-Ukrainian political game, but they shouldn’t count on State help.
From the point of view of national interests, it is absolutely all the same for Washington, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin who will be the President in Kiev. They understand that either Poroshenko or another one of his successors will further weaken, losing real control over regions, as well as bureaucratic and power verticals. The weaker the authorities will be, the more brutal the regime will be. Weak power always has no space for dialogue. It can’t make concessions, in view of the insufficient depth of its political position. That’s why weak power resorts to repression and armed quelling. The weaker the power is, the higher the wave of repression.
The West also perfectly knows that in Ukraine not only do no pro-Russian politicians remain, but there never were any. Ukrainian politicians were divided into those who agreed to recognize the West as its unconditional master, and those who wanted to pursue a pro-West policy, if not on a completely equal basis, then nevertheless taking into account national interests. The latter were swept away from power. Now, whoever comes to power in Kiev, they will be a complete puppet of the West, tiresomely and falsely droning on about devotion to European values and begging for money.
Understanding that the begun-agony of the regime created by the West will compromise the West, the EU and the US distance themselves from Ukraine in advance, trying to plant in the consciousness of the world community that they are responsible for the success of 2013-2014, but have no relation to the failure of 2017-2018. And maybe, 6 months-1 year will pass and they will demand to bring “the corrupted Ukrainian leaders, who violate fundamental human rights” to responsibility in the court in the Hague.
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