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    February 19, 2015

    If not Poroshenko...then Biletsky?


    By Yekaterina Roshuk and Petr Terentyev

    Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

    [This is an excerpt translation. The first 2/3 of the article focus on everything that’s wrong with Ukraine (and it’s a long list), and on the likelihood Poroshenko might simply resign his post (he has diabetes, after all). The last part concerns the crucial question of succession.]

    Who instead?

    Azov is the best organized and staffed battalion. This battalion has been known to use Nazi symbology and adhere to the Nazi ideology.

    But for all its playing at being Nazis, the Azov battalion showed its positive aspects at Mariupol. Its troops were among the first to show up with the city was hit by a barrage of rocket fire which killed 30 and wounded 100 civilians. The situation was caught on video which then went viral on the Ukrainian media, thus enhancing the battalion’s heroic status.

     Kievans have also expressed their support for Azov, electing its commander Andrey Biletsky to the Rada.

    During his time at the Rada, Andrey has done nothing that would indicate he is for sale or a supporter of any political or oligarchic clan. He is reserved in his interviews and always talks business, instead of spreading propaganda. Incidentally, Biletsky’s diploma work was on the operations of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army—he has an academic degree.

    Andrey was in Mariupol when the city was shelled, and his photograph in combat gear was skillfully shown to the electorate through the mainstream media.

    He is the ideal military leader with corresponding education who can rally the protesters around himself and make a crushing move against Poroshenko.

    Biletsky did not appear out of nowhere. Andrey is closely tied to the current MVD head Arsen Avakov. This is not by accident, since Azov fighters have appeared at various MVD leadership posts.

    We should note that Avakov likewise has not been noted in any recent scandals, tries to avoid populism, and is a dedicated minister. He is actively reforming his ministry.

    Therefore the police statement that the Maidan activists Sergey Nikoyan and Mikhail Zhiznevskiy were not killed by the MVD, as claimed by Maidan activists and leaders. MVD announced that the activists were killed using weapons not issued to the MVD. Investigators are considering the possibility that the killings were performed in order to escalate the situation and enable the protesters to use their own weapons.

    This fact forces one to think that Avakov has decided to cut himself off from all former Maidan leaders and to clear the police from accusations of subjectivity and falsification which have been leveled a year ago. Therefore Avakov may well have personal ambitions in the event of a power transition.

    In conclusion we should note that the change of the guarantor of the Constitution would be extremely bad for Ukraine.

    Nothing good would come from an early departure of Poroshenko, rather the opposite—it would deepen the country’s political crisis. After all, it can’t be taken for granted that the world community recognizes the coup and the new government. It would mean the end of economic and political cooperation.

    For all his weak spots, Poroshenko’s strong spot is his predictability. Moreover, he is someone who is acceptable to both Russia and the West.

    The president and his team ought to work on their mistakes and prevent unrest in the country. Rocking the boat in various directions may lead to it sinking.

    J.Hawk’s Comment: One of the curious aspects of this article is how warmly they speak about “Andrey”, who comes across as an educated, erudite war leader who only pretends he is a Nazi. Seriously? Who can be that blind? Or maybe desperate?Moreover, it certainly does seem remarkably...fortuitous...that Azov and Biletsky himself just happened to be on the scene of the shelling of Mariupol, so that they could appear as heroes against the general background of Ukrainian military defeats.

    Still, it’s clear we are seeing something of a three-way tug-of-war between Semenchenko, Biletsky, and Yarosh, for the three really don’t seem to be working together very well, probably for reasons of ego and personality conflict. Semenchenko’s “Coordinating HQ” does not appear to include any Right Sector formations, the Right Sector is doing its best to woo the volunteer battalions to its side, and then there’s Biletsky who only happens to have Turchinov and Avakov—and the MVD—on his side. Plus his own personal attributes are superior to both Yarosh’s and Semenchenko’s.

    I guess my money is on Biletsky, he clearly has the advantage in this match-up. Should the Right Sector and whatever it is that Semenchenko thinks he is heading be decapitated (by some timely arrests by the MVD), most of their followers would most likely rally around Beletsky, just as the decapitated SA rallied around Hitler.

    The commentary at the end of the article is spot on. An outright Nazi takeover of Ukraine would be hard for the West to accept, and it would greatly strengthen Russia’s international position. Therefore the more likely outcome is that Poroshenko will stay on, diabetes and all, but most of the decisionmaking will devolve to someone else. Who that someone else will be is another question.
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