Ukrainian Analyst Ruslan Bortnik: Poroshenko Gives False Hopes About EU and NATO Accession to Boost His Re-Election Chances

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Ruslan Bortnik

Enshrining the course of accession to the EU and NATO in the Constitution is an advertising campaign of the President – manipulation and fraud. After all, in fact, it changes nothing; it only strengthens the political risks.

Instead of summing up the results of their activities and answering questions about why the Western standards of well-being, rule of law, and security have not been achieved, the authorities propose to everyone to “pray for NATO and the EU”. Today’s ritual acts in Parliament remind me of the shamans of the ancient Incas or the healers of the middle ages who, instead of building an irrigation system to fight drought or developing medicines and maintaining hygiene, prayed to the gods and made bloody sacrifices… This is the same senseless ruthless act for the sake of an act, distracting and frustrating the crowd.

Our victims in this process will be:

  1. National unity. After all, as sociology shows, the majority of Ukrainians do not support joining NATO (FOR = up to 46% of the population), and for accession to the EU – from 47% to 56% of citizens. Society is divided on this issue. It should be added that this is sociological data without Crimea and Donbass, and taking into account the opinion of those people, the picture would be even vivider and NOT in favour of the EU and NATO. That’s why it is necessary to honestly say that today joining these unions is supported by a minority of Ukrainians. The Parliament’s decision to enshrine the course of joining them will once again split Ukrainian society, creating an additional element of internal conflict, from which extremism, separatism, and other negative phenomena can sprout.
  2. The status of the Ukrainian Constitution. After all, no EU or NATO country made such changes in their Constitution. It is not necessary to change the Constitution to join these organisations, since these are temporary political unions, while the Constitution is the main law of the Ukrainian state, and the introduction in it of the names of specific political organisations is a humiliation of the main law of the country that should not be used as a fig leaf for pre–election PR and cover the intimate areas of the authorities – corruption, poverty, and the destruction of the legal system. This initiative is an ordinary fraud and advertising campaign of the incumbent President, who decided to write down the words from his billboards into the Constitution, using it as his electoral campaign.
  3. Trust in the political system (after all, today both the government and the pro-Western opposition voted for it [enshrining NATO accession in the constitution – ed]). After all, 2% of Parliament decided to take into account the will of the Ukrainians. But it is obvious that concerning such issues it is necessary to hold a referendum so that they do not become the elements of a split in society. But only after the reintegration of Crimea and Donbass. Without taking into account the opinions of the people living there (this is about 20% of Ukrainian citizens), if these decisions are made, reintegration will become impossible, and this will mean the actual abandonment of these territories.
  4. New victims in Donbass and the inability to integrate Crimea and the non-controlled territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk region. Every deputy today pressing the green button actually voted for the abandonment of these territories (the inhabitants of which consider, at minimum, that accession to NATO is unacceptable) and squeezed the trigger on the front line – after all, this postpones the end of the conflict and will lead to new victims.

Moreover, these changes give the right/authority to the President and Parliament to move to the EU and NATO, but without becoming a duty, and they can be canceled in the future. And considering that the Constitution is filled with duties of executive persons that have long been intentionally ignored, these changes will become one more dead provision that don’t work in practice, but cause conflicts and discredit the fundamental nature of the main document of Ukraine.

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From an electoral point of view, this vote also won’t give anything to the leaders and parties of the coalition “European Ukraine” – they are all together stuck in neutral gear in the electoral niche, limited to 50-55% of the vote. Another story – the “Opposition Bloc” and its partners categorically opposed it [NATO accession – ed] and will be heard by another half of Ukraine. Let’s see whether or not the forecast of V. Novinsky – that in the next 20-25 years Ukraine will not be accepted in the EU and NATO – come true, but it’s not a secret for anybody that neither the EU nor NATO invited Ukraine to join them. In May of last year Hugh Mingarelli, the EU Ambassador to Ukraine, directly stated that Ukraine has no prospect of EU membership.

However, some of Ukrainian society perceives the declaration of accession to the EU and NATO through enshrining it in the Ukrainian Constitution as the beginning of the journey there, although, for example, Turkey declared its desire to join the EU in the 60s, and for more than 30 years it hasn’t managed to do it, despite all its declarations and even the status of a “candidate”. The possibility of joining this or that organisation is determined by the desire of this organisation to accept a particular country. There is no such desire concerning Ukraine – because of corruption, poverty, and the conflict in Donbass, which have all propagated during the reign of the current government.

In any case, before the end of the conflict in Donbass and solving the Crimea question – the EU and NATO will not do anything real for the inclusion of Ukraine in its members. Although they can imitate it – after all, they are afraid that Ukrainians will do a 180 to the East, or, even worse, they will take care of themselves and become competitors of the EU, NATO, Russia, and the CSTO in many foreign markets – as it already happened in our history.

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European, American, Japanese, and Hong Kong standards of well-being and security must be built inside the country and then we will be welcomed guests, not beggars at someone else’s holiday. And it is then that we can maybe join some economic and military alliances as equal partners.

Note: The President of the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) Andrey Pavelko (from the “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko” party) was elected to the UEFA Executive Committee and took part in the 43rd UEFA Congress (see the photo below) on the same day as the NATO vote during a session of the Verkhovna Rada, yet his name is on the voting sheet despite not being in the room….

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