The Devil Is in the Details: What Is the Real Reason Mogherini Came to Visit Poroshenko?

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


For the Ukrainian authorities the sudden visit of the Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini became the main event not only of a certain Monday, but also for all the past months, since New Year. Politicians of such a level already practically stopped coming to Ukraine, that’s why from the point of view of the prestige of Bankova Street [the Ukrainian equivalent of Downing Street or Capitol Hill – ed] the arrival of a high-ranking envoy of the EU is, of course, a joyful event.

And Mogerini herself in the public space did everything to strengthen the joy of the masters in Kiev. She sang the praises of the Ukrainian reforms and blamed Russia for a gas war, and promised non-recognition of elections in Crimea and a PR campaign of the European Union in Ukraine. And only at the end of the signora Vice President’s visit did she mention the purpose of her trip. I.e., about the demands for the adoption of the law on the Anti-corruption court.

The Anti-corruption court became the main subject on the agenda in relations between Ukraine and the West. So why was it easier for the authorities to make a decision on raising gas prices twofold than to create a court that doesn’t interest most of the population?

Third element

The point of view of the European Union, in general, is known. Brussels forced the creation of NABU, but the Ukrainian authorities found ways to turn it into an ineffective body, concerning which there is more noise than actions. Brussels forced the creation of an e-declaration system, but the Ukrainian authorities took in its hands the body that the efficiency of this system depends on – the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC). I.e., Bankova nullified all methods that the European Union used to try to bring Ukrainian corruption under control. That’s why a logical proposal appeared – to seal the entire anti-corruption system in such a way that it doesn’t depend on the Ukrainian authorities.

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But even here Bankova decided to give their own “answer to Chamberlain”, having written a law that would make the Anti-corruption court dependent on it in the same way that NAPC is. However, the heavy artillery was engaged: the EU threatened to suspend the visa-free regime for three months, and the IMF threatened to prolong the delay concerning allocating a new tranche.

Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Groysman, and Andriy Parubiy’s synchronous press conferences, during which the top trio of the authorities amicably spoke about their readiness to create the Anti-corruption court, became the result of this pressure. However the devil, as always, is in the details. The West needs not just an Anti-corruption court, but an independent Anti-corruption court, which doesn’t follow the bill adopted in the first reading at all. And it is this that Mogerini came to speak about.

There are no innocent persons, only those who aren’t under investigation

This is the point of view of the EU. But Bankova sees the situation differently. The authorities understand that the creation of an Anti-corruption court isn’t just the end of the closed cycle of combatting corruption, but the creation of an alternative center of power that is completely under the West’s control. If to imagine a situation in which one grant-receiving body conducts an investigation and the second one makes accusations, then there will benobody left in the country who can avoid prosecution guaranteed.

For the last quarter of a century an economic and fiscal system has been built blindly in Ukraine. Everyone who received at least 1 hryvnia and didn’t pay taxes on it automatically becomes the potential client of NABU. And these are tens of millions of people. Including NABU itself and the Euro-optimists supporting it. And here a question arises about the choice of victims.

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Of course, NABU isn’t interested in the entire population of Ukraine. It is interested in governance at all levels. And in a system with a closed anti-corruption cycle, it becomes the governor itself: after all, how thoroughly this or that government official candidate will be verified depends precisely on NABU. The subordinated power vertical being built by Bankova will automatically shift under NABU. And it is precisely this that the US tries to achieve, applying pressure via the IMF. It isn’t enough to have a loyal regime – it must also be under control.

Fighting law with law?

So the question about the Anti-corruption court is a question about power. Such a court can be created only in the form that is stated in the draft bill of the President. From the point of view of Bankova, of course. For the West, everything is on the contrary. That’s why war will be waged against every correction that will be introduced by Euro-optimists, accompanied by the statements of ambassadors, the IMF, and the EU.

The authorities will be obliged to sidestep. Ukraine needs money from the IMF, and it necessary to keep the “visa free”, but not at any cost. That’s why the law can be adopted in the form that the West wants only if it neutralised by another law or a bylaw. The leading lawyers of Bankova and the Cabinet of Ministers already received such a task.

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