Predictions and Program for Ukraine for the Next 30 Months

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Aerial view of Kyiv, capital of Ukraine

“Maidan” website is full of texts of “I told you so” genre. We said that Russia wanted to annex Crimea, one of members of MMIC published a book about it in 2009. We wrote that Ukrainian Army was being intentionally destroyed on demand of Moscow. We wrote in December 2005 that Ukraine should stop using Russian gas and quickly find  alternative energy sources. We warned that Ukrainian Parliament elected in 2006 and 2012 would be dissolved before its legal term was over. We had predicted in 2004, that Yanukovych rule would be bloody. However, nobody listened to us.

Everything changed now. VIPs listen to us and we are sometimes heard. Therefore, our NGO will be posting predictions regularly and we will be publicly monitoring whether they come true. Here are my prognosis and programs for Ukraine.

1.    War

War in Donbas will last at least until the spring of 2016. The periods of relative interim ceasefire (as now, in October 2014) will be interchanged with periods of intense military fights.

Ukrainian Army will be strengthened both technically and tactically. International help to the Army will be initially only in the form declarations only and eventually will arrive, but slowly and with obstacles. The following two factors will influence [or force] the West to begin providing real help to Ukrainian Army – a) new reports of threats and hostile rethoric or military manoeuvres of Putin in order to intimidate the free world and b) military success of Ukrainian Army. These factors will come into effect no earlier than spring of 2015. Unfortunately, many Ukrainian troops that could be saved by high-precision weapons will be killed by that time.

Ukraine will win this war. The government of Russian Federation will  be forced to stop providing weapons and money to Donetsk People’s Republic, Luhansk People’s Republic and all other “people’s republics”, that will be declared in Donbas. The war will not reach beyond Donbas.

Russian Federation will try to organize acts of terrorism all over Ukraine, mostly without success. The counterterrorist operations will strengthen Security Service of Ukraine and transform it into the modern successful special service.

2.   Crimea

Current Government of Ukraine will not dare to disconnect Crimea from Ukrainian logistics and will continue to provide transport, energy, communication, water and food streams from Russian Federation and Ukraine into Crimea. This will preserve the status quo in Crimea. Mass violations of human rights will be continuing in Crimea, the creeping deportation of Crimean population who used to have Ukrainian citizenship will increase, they will be replaced with the inhabitants of Russian Federation loyal to the government.

Unfortunately, without disconnecting Crimea from Ukrainian logistics, the situation inside Crimea can not be changed. This will be the task for the next government – both next President and next Parliament.

3.   Energy sector

There will be no collapse of the energy sector in Ukraine.. No mass freezing will occur during the winter seasons in the next three years. The reasons for my optimism are the following: a) the termination{?} of energy consuming industries in Donbas, b) the partial removal of corruption schemes in the energy sector (all corruption holes will not be closed during the period discussed) and c) the support of European Union in alternative routes and sources of gas into Ukraine. The decrease of oil prices on the global scale will also help Ukraine substantially.

4.   Economics

Military and defence production will grow along with all military support and logistics enterprises. Agricultural production and export will grow. All industry involved in energy sector and increase of energy efficiency will grow.

The rest of economy may experience any trends.

There will be no hyperinflation.

5.   Politics

My prediction spans the timeframe until spring 2017 because I think that the newly elected Parliament will  not last longer. Maximum term of its operations is until autumn 2017. The main reason is the necessity of political inclusion of liberated Donbas territories. However, current members of parliament are bound to quarrel among themselves and might break up the coalition because the differences between them are too great and they do not represent the interests of groups of voters.

The Parliament will vote for reformist laws but the quality of these laws will often be dubious. Most new laws will not be responding to the needs and visions of Ukrainian people, as they have no representation in the Parliament. The parties that form the Parliament do not represent any groups of citizens and are based on personal interests and connections to the leaders. Thus, the quality of the new legistation will depend on the experts that will be drafting the bills and lobbying groups..

The danger of adopting the reformist laws, that have no support and approval of large groups of citizens, lies in the unpopularity of their implementation and could soon bring about the rise to power of extra-governmental opposition forces. Undoubtedly, such forces will be getting financial and organizational support from the Russian Federation.

Unfortunately, the danger of a such scenario is high. Our NGO will make all efforts to prevent the adoption of such laws. We have excellent advisers from the EU countries, that implemented such transformations. However, we do not know whether our efforts would be enough to raise awareness of others with regard to this particular danger. We will try to do our best because it is worth the efforts.

6.   Local government

It is highly probable that the government will adopt the worst possible model of local government for Ukraine (the French one). This model would completely ignore the historical differences between the localities – how and when the city, town or village emerged, whether it had Magdeburg law, whether it was built during Ukrainian Cossacks’  rule in 17th and early 18th century or during the Russian Empire or Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Such reform will lead to unnatural obstacles in local development and possibilities of localities. Nobody in new the government will seriously address the necessity of involving the citizens in the decision making on local community’s developments. Local regulations will be adopted only by elected local government officials with only pro-forma participation of the general population. This would lead to great disillusionment of citizens about the new government and would facilitate the resurgence of pro-Russian forces.

I hope to be mistaken in this prediction very much.

7.   International Policy

Ukraine will apply to join NATO; will be granted some kind of special status in relationships with NATO officially. Ukraine will apply to join the EU and start implementing at least the requirements of adaptation of legislative framework to the EU standards. However, in the EU, the breakaway processes encouraged by the Russian Federation will increase and countries like Hungary might even leave the EU. Unfortunately, there are no diplomats in Ukraine currently, who are qualified enough to take advantage of such trends and make our country the independent and interesting player in the political world map.

The education of such diplomats should become the top priority of all who protect the national security of Ukraine.

The reduction of expenses in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is occurring now, will be continued and will seriously endanger the national security.

The government of Ukraine will  not dare to speak publicly about the restoration of nuclear status of Ukraine, which is legitimate after the failure of Budapest treaty that was supposed to provide the security for our country.

8.   Russian Federation

The Russian Federation will not leave Ukraine alone. The attempts to terrorize citizens of Ukraine will continue. The Ukrainian politicians will continue to be bribed and bought, evident and hidden agents of influence of Russian Federation will continue to destabilize Ukraine. There will be another attempt to create a pro-Russian party in Ukraine. However, the good newsnews is that the Russian Federation will continue to do it as clumsilly and inefficiently as before and will again get results just opposite to their objective. The reason for such prediction is that to work against Ukraine efficiently means to understand what Ukraine is and what motivates its people, which means to admit that Ukrainians are very different from the inhabitants of the Russian Federation, and that contradicts the Russian state doctrine. I think Putin is very talented in alienating Ukrainians and would be able even to convert the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchy of Ukrainian Orthodox Church against the Russian state and Russian Orthodox Church.

However, the government of Russian Federation might have better results in Europe and even in the USA. Buying the politicians and businesses by Russian Federation, brutal blackmail of VIPs and opinion makers with compromising materials prepared long ago by the intelligence services of Russian Federation could result in non-favourable politics of these states towards Ukraine, stall the adoption of government decisions needed for Ukrainian reform and military, and obstruct the processes of NATO and EU ascension.

The Russian Federation could start military aggression using Crimea or Donbas scenario against other neighbours, most endangered countries are Kazakhstan, Estonia and Latvia. However, they could choose as a victim any other neighbour, based on who would be least capable to fight back. Im my opinion, the government of Russian Federation aspires to restore the empire within the borders no less than 1913, and will continue the imperialistic revanchist politics as long as they have money and military forces to do that.

Who could stop the Russian Federation? Ukraine could stop them on our own territory and will do that, however Ukraine could hardly influence the events on the territories of other countries. During the next 30 months, nobody will be able to stop Russian Federation from militant imperialism. The Russian Federation will not fall economically and politically because of sanctions and falling oil prices in 30 months, this process will take much longer. Even if the leadership of Russian Federation changes for whatever reason (which is highly unlikely), the international and domestic policy of Russian Federation will not change much. Citizens of Russian Federation have no skills to fight or stand against the government and will not learn how to do it in just 30 months. Ukrainians have been learning this art  for 23 years, or perhaps more than 300 years, depending the historic perspective one adopts.

9.   Human rights

A serious problem during the timeframe discussed will be the difficulty of balancing two parts of our NGO motto “A free person in a free country” – e.g. balancing the personal freedoms of citizens of Ukraine and national security of Ukraine during the war and reforms. Ukraine now faces the challenge unknown in the world history – to perform the systemic reforms and to provide the observance of individual and collective rights of people in the conditions of war. The optimal solution in my opinion will be significant reduction of state functions in economy (except for military production and supporting logistics), implementing the state strategy of involvement of small and medium businesses in military production, and implementation of the Constitutional right of citizens to participate in governance starting at the local level, via participatory budgeting and local referenda. Former businesspersons who work in the Administration of President of Ukraine could adopt such a strategy because it could be presented and calculated as a business plan. However, I doubt that the Parliament could understand and vote for that type of legislation.

Economic rights should be expanded, however the war will require the limitation of some civic and political rights, this necessity should be voiced and addressed immediately.

The definition of freedom of speech should be corrected to include the right of people to obtain truthful, factual and complete information. Is there no such right in the documents? Then, I propose it should be introduced. The counteraction to blatant information war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the whole free world is a matter of national security and psychological health of the citizens of Ukraine and eventually of other countries as well.
Human rights during a war of the new type is an issue for expert discussion. It is dangerous to pretend any longer, that there is no war in Ukraine because the state of war has not been declared officially.

Blatant and mass violations of basic human rights in Georgia led among other factors to the failure of Mikhail Saakishvili’s reformist government. I refer to the freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and prohibition of tortures. In Ukraine now, the key human rights problem will be the observation of the right to non-discrimination during the war and reforms. Real or imaginary discrimination practices, especially in the eastern and southern Ukraine could create social tensions which could bring back to power the revanchist politicians and agents of Russian Federation. Internally displaced persons; people living in different regions of Ukraine; inhabitants of cities, towns and villages; people of different ages and different political views should be having equal opportunities and feeling equally valuable for the new independent democratic country. If these feelings are not created and fostered, then even economic advances would not help to achieve social peace within Ukraine.

For the first time in Ukrainian history, we have the Ombudsman’s office as the leading human rights defender with numerous civic organizations united around it. However, the reforms that will provide the inclusiveness of actual or imaginary discriminated people into normal life would require more efforts than Ombudsman’s office and NGOs can provide. A multifaceted policy of inclusiveness at the state level is required. If this policy is not developed and implemented soon, Ukraine will most probably face a deep social divide, and the Russian Federation will of course happily boost that.

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I do not consider the times of changes a curse as an ancient Chinese proverb says. These times provide a chance to unheard advances of human talent and of the countries these humans create. We have the chance to build the new country, friendly for its inhabitants, interesting for the world, open for friends and safeguarded against enemies. I know Ukraine will make a great use of this chance; the open question is when exactly? The systemic transformations should be implemented quickly; otherwise, reforms could take decades. Ukraine is a part of information society and the changes in human minds, which had always been the most inertial part of transformations, could be implemented quickly. What is needed for such changes is the will and skills of considerable numbers of citizens to work for such changes consciously and consistently.

Civic and patriotic education and enlightenment of all people living in Ukraine, quick teaching of the critical thinking skills should become the priority of active citizens. The war is led not only in Donetsk airport or block posts, but in the minds of people is well. We should win this war too.
Next 30 months for Ukraine will be extremely interesting and difficult. We currently have a chance we can not miss to transform the country.

Nataliya Zubar, Chair of Maidan Monitoring Information Centre

PS. I wrote in January 2005 “The problem is that the system of power (in Ukraine) has not changed and there are no guarantees that the authorities will be implementing their Constitutional functions, without the pressure of hundreds of thousands of people at Maidan”. Today is October 2014 and this problem is still not resolved.

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