Operation "Reintegration". What do the main presidential candidates of Ukraine plan to do with the war and the Donbas?, 2019.01.31, 14:51
In Ukraine, the presidential elections are approaching. And each new candidate first of all speaks about how he will solve the problem of Donbass and the end of the war. This question interests the Ukrainians most of all - so say polls. And, if very few people pay attention to the traditionally rhetorical promises of candidates (“investment”, “wage growth”), then the topic of Donetsk and Lugansk is a litmus test. After all, without appeasement in the region, there will be no distinct economic growth and investment. So, the position on the Donbass is key to understanding whether the victory of a candidate brings real change. “Country” has figured out what the main contenders for the head of state are talking about.
What is written in the Minsk agreements and what is actually happening
The main plan of reconciliation is the so-called Minsk agreements of February 2015, which were approved by the decision of the UN Security Council.
On the one hand, they envisage a cease-fire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of demarcation. On the other hand, making a special status for the uncontrolled part of Donbass in the Constitution (local authorities form the courts themselves, the prosecutor’s office, the “people's militia” units, determine the status of the Russian language, and have separate relations with Russian regions) and an amnesty for the separatist movement called the political part of the Minsk agreements).
At the same time, a full-fledged restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over the territory (through control over the border with Russia) should begin immediately after the local elections and end with the entry into force of amendments to the Constitution on special status.
That is, the main condition for the peaceful reintegration of Donbass, according to the Minsk agreements, is the fulfillment by Ukraine of their political part.
The tactics of the Ukrainian government - the war seems to be there, but there is no war
At the same time, the official Kiev from 2015 actually sabotaged the process.
Amendments to the Constitution regarding special status were adopted on first reading, but then put on the shelf. For the current Ukrainian government from all points of view it is beneficial to continue the current situation - when there is no big war (and therefore there are no new shameful boilers and many thousands of losses), but there is some kind of war. So you can always say that "during the war, the commander-in-chief is criticized only by traitors." And while earning on the development of bloated defense budget and smuggling through the line of demarcation.
And in order not to renounce the Minsk agreements directly, Kiev put forward a condition - the implementation of the political part is possible only after the transfer of the border to Ukraine’s control (or alternatively, by establishing control of international forces over it and the whole “DNR / LNR” territory) Moscow and the separatists do not want to go, as they believe that in this case, the Ukrainian authorities will simply arrange a sweep of the territory and there will be no special status and amnesty.
Therefore, negotiations are stalled so far. And Poroshenko is quite satisfied with this situation for the above reasons. And the return of Donbass in the future, the Ukrainian authorities are more likely to associate not with the Minsk agreements, but with hypothetical upheavals in Russia itself, under the guise of which it will be possible to regain control over Donetsk and Lugansk by military means. Or the fact that Russia capitulates under the yoke of Western sanctions and she will leave the Donbass. And this, of course, you can wait forever.
The only way to achieve rapid peace in the Donbas and its reintegration into Ukraine is Kiev’s implementation of the political part of the Minsk agreements. But Poroshenko and Co are not ready to go (including due to the fact that he is not interested in participating in the election of several million Donbas opposition voters to him).
As well as other leading candidates - Yulia Timoshenko and Anatoly Gritsenko.
Gritsenko, for example, believes that the uncontrolled areas of Donbass can be returned within five years. But now there are no conditions for this.
“We have prepared our plan for diplomatic balances in resolving these issues while using the military police mission, etc.” But there are no political conditions. And what’s happening now only complicates things, the politician said in an interview with Dmitry Gordon.
Tymoshenko at her congress declared essentially the same as Poroshenko. According to her, to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the new government will have to strengthen the diplomatic front, expand the Budapest Plus negotiations and create a modern army according to NATO standards.
That is, both politicians do not speak out loud about the procedure prescribed in the Minsk Agreements. And from their words it follows that the return of the region is an indefinite process. It is only clear that both Tymoshenko and Gritsenko are going to ask the West to put more pressure on Russia. However, the same thing now does Poroshenko.
In addition, the support group for both candidates (again, as well as the current president) interpret any concessions to Russia in terms of a compromise on the Donbas as a betrayal of national interests.
Vladimir Zelensky, however, speaks of peace and negotiations with the Russians. But judging by how quickly he denied his business in Russia and generally any ties with Moscow, he is unlikely to fulfill the political part of the Minsk agreements, as he is afraid to incur the wrath of the "patriotic public."
Autonomy of Donbass - what is it and why
Of all the candidates who retain chances of reaching the second round, only Yuriy Boyko and his supporting Opposition Platform For Life support the implementation of the political part of Minsk and direct negotiations on peace with Donetsk, Lugansk and Russia.
At the last meeting of the Opposition Platform on Tuesday, January 29, one of the leaders of this political force, Viktor Medvedchuk, announced the details of the peace plan.
"We need to negotiate in the" quadrilateral "- Kiev, Donetsk, Lugansk and Moscow. Our peace plan involves the creation of the Donetsk autonomous region within Ukraine. We propose amendments to the Constitution, which will consolidate this status," said Medvedchuk.
Autonomy of Donbass is a rather important point, which complements the Minsk agreements. They had two unresolved points.
The first is that “local elections in certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” were registered there, after which the local authorities elected for them will receive expanded powers according to the “special status”. But local authorities are, relatively speaking, city and district councils. The Minsk agreements do not spell out who, in fact, will manage the entire region, which will receive such a wide self-government.
Creating Donetsk autonomous region solve this problem.
The second question was related to the fact that the Minsk agreements dealt with "certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions". That is, according to the logic - about the current territory of the “DNR / LC”. At the same time, it is clear that the normal economic functioning of these areas (not to mention their recovery) is impossible apart from the rest of Donbass (which was created as a single economic complex).
Therefore, it would be right to give a special status to the whole Donbas. Which would provide the possibility of its rapid revival after the war. Creating an autonomous region on a scale of two regions is completely logical from this point of view.
And formally, this also does not contradict the Minsk agreements, according to which the "list of individual regions" determines the decision of the Verkhovna Rada (and theoretically it can include the entire territory of two regions).
At the same time, it is clear that such ideas can only be implemented if the configuration of the Ukrainian authorities is completely changed. And not only during the presidential elections, but also of the parliament (in the autumn of 2019).
Will this happen - see by the end of the year. It is then that it will become clear whether Ukraine will have a real chance for the rapid achievement of peace and the reintegration of Donbas.