Rostislav Ishchenko: America’s “Red Line” of Legitimacy in Ukraine

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


It is necessary to pay tribute to Kurt Volker. He is a real diplomat, able to express himself in a way that the wolves are sated, goats are happy, and the cabbage is untouched. It is difficult to impress me, but I admired the comment Volker gave concerning the explosions in warehouses in Kalinovka. Laconically, in four sentences, which can sit within three and a half lines, the special representative of the US State Department concerning Ukraine managed to: define the most probable reasons for the explosions; show that the US deeply spits on the intra-Ukrainian conflict, and that they won’t interfere in this fascinating process; define the independence of Washington’s foreign policy in the situation in Ukraine and, thus, he managed to not directly name or offend anybody.

Quote: “We don’t know all the circumstances. Many are interested in the explosions. Also there is a high probability that it was an accident. I think that the US’ decision on granting weapons will be made, proceeding from the purposes of the United States vis-a-vis this question”.

I draw attention to the fact that Volker didn’t support the attempt of some of the pro-Poroshenko media outlets and politicians to once again accuse Russia, which, with the help of its ubiquitous “drones”, over and over again blows up Ukrainian warehouses. At the same time, he also didn’t support the attack of “People’s Front” (the group Yatsenyuk-Turchynov-Avakov) on Poroshenko’s Generals (the head of the General Staff Muzhenko and the Minister of Defence Poltorak), who provide the President with conditional control over the army, and who at least block the possibility of the army’s putsch.

Volker defined the story behind the “accident” that suits him, but directly specified that “many are interested in the explosions”. Many = Ukrainian politicians. If it was about Russia or the DPR/LPR, the specification of “interested persons” would have immediately followed. In fact, the American curator of Ukraine informed his subordinates that the US is aware of their internal war for the Presidency; that they aren’t going to show preference to anyone, but hope that any crimes committed by the sides of this war are written off as annoying incidents or accidents.

However, the real masterpiece is the last phrase of Volker. He didn’t promise Ukraine weapons, but also didn’t refuse. Everyone can interpret this phrase as they wish. Thus, he once again managed to emphasize that events in Ukraine aren’t capable of influencing the plans of the US, which, during decision-making, will be guided only by the purposes of their policy.

All of this is very bad news for Petro Poroshenko. Volker, in fact, tells his opponents: “Let’s at last kill this confectioner, but just present it as if he by himself slipped on a flight of stairs”.

But this is also bad news for his potential replacement. They counted on convincing Washington that Poroshenko is a corrupt official and a bastard, while they are white and fluffy. And that’s why they want the US to grant permission to overthrow Poroshenko, and then provide financial, political, and military support to the new (post-Poroshenko) regime. Four competing projects were even prepared for Washington to choose from:

1. A transition to an open nazi dictatorship on the basis of “People’s Front” (Yatsenyuk — political provider, Turchynov, Avakov — power).

2. A moderate Russophobic regime of the Poroshenko type, with others (Tymoshenko, Kolomoisky, Nalyvaichenko, Sadovy, and also Saakashvili – if he will breakthrough) at the head.

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3. A neutral, pro-European government similar to Yanukovych’s regime, trying to peacefully return Donbass, to settle relations with Russia and, on this basis, to restore the economy. This is the project of the group Levochkin-Boyko and their “Opposition Bloc”.

Similar ideas are expressed by Viktor Medvedchuk, but he personally doesn’t have the resource necessary for any serious actions. For the last ten years he played with Tymoshenko, trying to act at the expense of her resource base. But the group Tymoshenko-Kolomoisky physically won’t be able to deviate Poroshenko’s course because for the sake of the preservation of power it will lean on the same Russophobic forces that he leans on. The most that they can try to do is to end war in Donbass, having really stopped military operations and having agreed to introduce peacekeepers on the demarcation line. Thereby they will be able to freeze the situation, in which the DPR/LPR will remain as unrecognized formations that control from a third to a half of the former Lugansk and Donetsk regions, and the rest of the territory will be consolidated under the power of the regime.

4. The radical-neutral project of Rabinovich-Murayev, which assumes the promotion of two/three “new leaders” who will temporarily postpone European integration and will try to cardinally receive relations with Russia in order to receive financial, economic, and political preferences, which would allow Ukraine to stabilize the political and economic situation in the country, and then return to the policy of “European integration”. The futility of the trips of Murayev’s emissaries to Moscow testifies to the unrealistic nature of the project, but only in the event that the Americans don’t close it (without their good will both politicians and their media would be already a hundred times lustrated, put in prison, and someone could have already jumped out of a window or blown their brains out using twelve rounds from a hunting rifle).

The statement of Volker, who clearly segregated the situation in Ukraine from the interests of the US, suggests not only to Poroshenko, but also to any group featuring his potential replacement to deal with their problems independently.

The US don’t refuse to use Ukraine in their interests, it simply informs Ukrainian politicians that it isn’t going to finance their projects. Let’s agree that “use” doesn’t obligatory assume financing. And in this regard Volker and the State Department on behalf of which he speaks are absolutely right. The US spent a lot so that pro-American politicians came to power in Ukraine. Now there pro-Americans are not only the official authorities and all types of legal opposition, but even pseudo half-background opposition in the person of the leadership of the forbidden Communist Party of Ukraine. And all of them have no place to disappear to. So why then pay them even more?

It is already clear not only to Americans, but even to rather adequate Ukrainian politicians and experts that the Ukrainian State won’t live long and happily. Its mene, mene, terkel, and parsin[in other words, writing on the wall – ed] was traced already in 2004, with the adopting of the decision about the unconstitutional third round of presidential elections. Since then Ukrainian statehood went downhill, becoming more and more illegitimate, economically degrading, and being scattered. Simply already in 2014-2016 the supporters of sovereign Ukraine (any of them: left, right, pro-Russian, pro-American) didn’t want to admit this inside themselves. The hope glimmered that Ukraine will be needed by the Americans as a battering ram against Russia, and that they will save it.

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But Ukraine appeared to be a very expensive battering ram. It is the same as breaking the fortress’ gate using a golden log and to fire arrows with diamond tips at its garrison. The EU association agreement not simply promoted the destruction of the Ukrainian economy, it tore off Ukraine from the vivifying Russian market. In order to at least return the State to the same not-too-prosperous level that it had under Yanukovych, it is necessary to invest in it annually tens of billions of dollars that earlier Ukraine earned in the Russian Federation. Now this money generally remains in Russia.

The West agreed to integrate Ukraine into its structures, but so that Russia pays for this integration. As Russia refused to pay, the interest of the West in Ukraine disappeared. Now Kiev politicians can wriggle out as they want. Washington is absolutely sure that they [Kiev politicians – ed] won’t be able to become unfaithful to the “ideals of the free world” and to jump ship to Russia. They are repeated traitors as well as war criminals, and also are hated by their own people. Even if they dared to offer their services to the Kremlin, its acceptance of such would be similar to the Red Army’s acceptance in April, 1945, of the SS Galicia division for service: there is no sense, no advantages, and you will dirty yourself greatly.

So, Volker says: please Mr Poroshenko, Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Avakov, Mr Turchynov, Mr Yatsenyuk, Mr Kolomoisky and others – kill each other however and as much as you want. Just that it is necessary for the outside to preserve the legitimacy of the processes that are taking place in Ukraine. In such a case, the US won’t give money, but political and diplomatic support (within the framework of the interests of Washington) will be provided.

If, however, Ukrainian politicians will decide that it isn’t obligatory anymore to obey western partners, and if they don’t give any money – then everything is permitted, the West, at the first excess that has the character of an armed civil conflict out of the territory of Donbass (especially in Kiev), will condemn all the corrupt Ukrainian politicum and will withdraw itself from participating in solving the situation. The west has nobody to support in a civil war between proteges of the West and proteges of the West.

So Poroshenko has a chance. The West refused to support him, but he also refused to authorize his overthrow by force. And the quasi-legitimate showdown allows Poroshenko to try to compensate for the power resource of opponents with his powers. He can’t dismiss ministers without the consent of the Rada, however he has the right to discharge them from the execution of official duties if the State Office of the Public Prosecutor still under the control of Poroshenko accuses them of criminal offenses (ministers, unlike deputies, don’t possess immunity from prosecution).

Well, if already Volker himself says that there are many persons interested in the explosions in warehouses in Kalinovka, then Lutsenko can also stop the search for the “Russian drone” and instead find the “organizer of the explosions” among Poroshenko’s opponents.

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This is a very big risk that Poroshenko is unlikely to dare to take, because such actions can provoke opponents to stage an armed resistance regardless of what the West thinks about it. Self comes first. But intercepting the initiative is Poroshenko’s only hope for an outcome of the current Ukrainian internal political crisis that is safe for him personally. Long term he loses sooner or later. But by discharging the law enforcement employees who opponents lean on via accusations of criminal offenses, Poroshenko doesn’t cross the “red line” of legitimacy drawn by the West, at the same time presenting his opponents with a choice: not to use force and to risk losing the political game that was already won, or to spit on the West’s warnings and to refer to the “uprising of the exhausted people” that couldn’t be prevented.

But, even if killing Poroshenko immediately will be successful, the armed rebellion that began without the will of the West will easily transform into a civil war of all against all. Too many ambitious politicians already gravitated towards each other forming competing groups. Too many private armies (including at the regional level) were created besides nationwide power structures. Law enforcement employees are too spread out so that in the conditions of mutiny and an inflaming civil conflict it couldn’t be possible to count on preserving centralized control over them.

Only the West’s unambiguous choice of a specific favourite could temporarily, although not for a long time, stabilize the situation in Ukraine. But the West evades this honourable mission – the more it evades it, the more persistent it becomes. And it means that the question lies in not what will exactly happen, but when the Ukrainian crisis will move into a hot phase.

It will be a symbolic transition, giving a start to the last stage of degradation of Ukrainian statehood, which will be marked by the self-destruction of the oligarchical Ukrainian elite formed in the 90’s. As it is precisely this elite that is the carrier of the idea of Ukrainian “European integration”, with its liquidation the base of the Ukrainian euro-orientated oligarchical republic will also disappear. Furthermore, the civil conflict will develop between ideological nazis, supporters of the maximal terroristic-centralization of power, and the bandit regional formations focused on local self-sufficiency or on joining neighboring States.

The best way to legalize the partition of the remains of Ukraine is to follow the Syrian option and to create an international coalition against the Banderist-terrorists, by analogy with the one that finishes off Islamist terrorists in Syria. It is interesting that the situation develops in such a way that, like in Syria, it is the West who will be obliged to be the first to create a coalition against the Banderists that they themselves fed, like it was obliged in the Middle East to be the first to start a war against the Islamists that they themselves also fed.

However, unlike Islamists, Banderists, judging by everything, will indeed be destroyed without any pity, so that they will even remember the humanity of the Soviet power in general and comrade Stalin in particular. Maybe even Russia will be asked to send in its troops in order to defend the West against European integration aggression.

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