We read in Russian.RT:
“It will be tough for Poroshenko to fend her off”: how Yulia Tymoshenko joined the struggle for the post of president of Ukraine
Kiev needs to abandon the Minsk Agreements and the Normandy format, strengthen the army, and negotiate a cessation of the war in the Donbas on the basis of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. — Yulia Tymoshenko. The politician also called for the adoption of a new Ukrainian constitution in the course of a nationwide referendum. Experts argue that Tymoshenko’s statements are designed to attract the attention of voters and raise her ratings before the start of the presidential campaign in the country.
Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Ukrainian party “Fatherland” made a number of high-profile political statements on the ICTV channel. She called Russia an “aggressor country,” and stressed that the Ukrainian authorities should best beef up the army and seek the representatives of Western countries to strengthen sanctions against Russia. At the same time, the politician called for resolving the conflict in the Donbass with the help of negotiations.
Further, she believes that Kiev should abandon the Norman and Minsk formats and agree on ending the war in the east of the country on the basis of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Tymoshenko said she will discuss this issue with politicians from the United States and Britain.
Recall, the Budapest memorandum was signed in the Hungarian capital by the presidents of the United States, Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The document envisaged the accession of the Ukrainian state to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the abandonment of its nuclear arsenal in favor of Russia. In response, the signatories committed themselves to respecting Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and existing borders. According to the position of Kiev, Russia violated the memorandum by annexing the territory of the Crimea. Moscow holds the opposite point of view. In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 4, 2014 that if the events in Ukraine, known as Euromaydan, are considered a revolution, then it should be assumed that “a new state has arisen on its territory”, for which “Russia did not sign any binding documents.”
In Ukrainian political circles, Tymoshenko’s statements are viewed as the beginning of a pre-election campaign. Against the background of unsuccessful attempts by Petro Poroshenko to settle the conflict in the Donbass, the words of the leader of the “Fatherland” can bring her political points, experts say.
“The end of the war in the Donbass and the holding of negotiations with Russia is a sensible decision that Ukrainians will support. Private sociological surveys show that the population is ready to compromise for the sake of peace. But Petro Poroshenko can not sign an agreement with Russia, because this will be perceived as a surrender,” says an RT source in the Self-help party.
The same opinion is held in the Batkivshchyna Party headed by Tymoshenko.
Yulia Tymoshenko has actually started her election campaign. It focuses on the need to raise the standard of living of the population, reduce tariffs for housing and communal services and to stop the war in the east of the country. All these questions worry ordinary Ukrainians, so Tymoshenko has every chance to win voters’ sympathies and win the presidential race,” an RT source in the Fatherland party believes. Leading research fellow at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Oleg Nemensky also said in an interview with RT that Tymoshenko’s words should be considered solely in the context of the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine.
“However, this does not mean that the statements of the politician are meaningless. Only it is necessary to take into account that the Budapest Memorandum did not give direct guarantees of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. It only contains a provision that in case of its violation, the signatory countries of the document will meet and discuss this issue. And Tymoshenko knows this very well,” the expert said.
At the same time, the expert noted that the Minsk Agreements do not really work de facto. And there is still a need to look for new ways to resolve the conflict in the Donbass.
“The inefficiency of the Minsk format of negotiations is obvious to all. Everyone understands that Ukraine itself does not and will not fulfill the terms of these agreements, since it believes that they are imposed by the Russian Federation and are unprofitable to Kiev. With the Ukrainian leadership’s actual renunciation of the Minsk format it is obvious that we need to look for alternative ways of achieving peace in the southeast of the country,” Nemensky believes.
In turn, the director of the Institute for Peacekeeping Initiatives and Conflictology, Denis Denisov, offers this about Tymoshenko’s wanting to replace the Minsk and Norman formats with new principles of populist negotiations. “This statement should be interpreted as attempts to blurt out a very serious problem on the eve of presidential elections. After all, it must be understood that none of the countries that signed the Budapest Memorandum expressed the desire to conduct at the moment any negotiations based on this document. Hence, they are not interested in this. And there are no prospects to replace the Minsk process with something else.”
According to Nemensky, the words of the Fatherland Party leader about strengthening anti-Russian sanctions only reflect the general mood of the Ukrainian political establishment.
“Many politicians in Ukraine are now making statements about the sanctions against Russia. The general concept there is: the Ukrainian state can not militarily return the Crimea and achieve the return of control over the Donbass. Hence, Kiev should weaken the Russian Federation, and then Moscow itself will be compelled to return the peninsula and refuse to support the LPR and the DPR. And for this, we need to convince the United States and the European countries to introduce new anti-Russian sanctions. In principle, even in the political circles of Ukraine, they have begun to understand that this opinion is mistaken, and sanctions against Russia will not give any advantages to Ukraine. But since nothing new has been invented, they simply repeat the theses on the sanctioning pressure,” the expert stressed.
The new constitution and real power
In addition to statements on how to resolve the conflict in the southeast and sanctions against the Russian Federation, Tymoshenko also spoke about the need to adopt a new Ukrainian constitution. According to her, the current main law of the country was created “behind closed doors by several people in their own interests.” The politician is sure that the constitution must be adopted in a referendum.”The new president has the authority to declare a referendum by his own decree. And a new constitution can be adopted on the basis of a referendum, where the people decide.
where the people decide,” the politician said on the air of the ICTV channel.
As RT source in the Radical Party of Ukraine toldus , Tymoshenko wants changes in the basic law in order to get real power in the country in case of failure at the presidential elections.
“In the new constitution, she wants to delegate more powers to the parliament. The politician understands that it is more difficult to win the presidential election than to hold his companions in the Verkhovna Rada. And then the parliament, when it can form a majority, will dictate terms to the president. So you can get real power without occupying the post of head of state,” says the source to RT.
Denisov believes that the words about the need to change the constitution are put forward by all Ukrainian politicians on the eve of the elections, and Tymoshenko is not an exception.
“We know that Petro Poroshenko also speaks about the adoption of important amendments to the constitution – for example, he wants to include provisions on the non-alternative course for the country’s entry into NATO and the European Union. But we must understand that no one will get rid of tactical moves in the process of changing the fundamental law of the state. It would have to be changed radically. When Tymoshenko presents her ideas on this matter, then it will be possible to talk about this specifically, but for now these are another set of beautiful words on the occasion of the actual start of the election campaign, “the expert said.
The main competitor
RT’s sources in political parties of Ukraine and experts say that at the moment Tymoshenko is one of the main contenders for the victory in the elections and the main rival of the current head of state Petro Poroshenko.
“She is the strongest opponent of Poroshenko. Supporters of the president regularly launch posts in Facebook to discredit Yulia Tymoshenko. But it is not working, and her rating is stable. Now we are working on improving the ratings of the incumbent head of the country and are going to focus on improving the welfare of the population,” says an RT source in the presidential administration of Ukraine.
According to one of the members of the Popular Front party, the fact that she did not participate in the unpopular initiatives of the current Ukrainian leadership plays into Tymoshenko’s hands.
“She did not fall into corruption scandals, did not vote for scandalous decisions. Petro Poroshenko will be very difficult for her to resist,” said RT’s source in the Popular Front.
Piotr Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. AFP © GENIA SAVILOV
According to Nemensky, the upcoming elections for the head of the Ukrainian state will be the most difficult to predict for the recent history of the state.
“This is due to the general fragmentation of Ukrainian society and the absence of the main leader of public opinion in this country. Tymoshenko now has the highest approval rating of all potential presidential candidates, but it is still rather low. On the other hand, if this politician can prove to other countries, and first of all – the United States, that she is a no-alternative candidate, then she will have good chances to lead the country,” the expert explained.
Denisov also believes that Tymoshenko may well take the number one post as a result of the vote, but Poroshenko will have a very serious opposition to her.
“Tymoshenko’s rating is now higher, but Poroshenko has a mad administrative resource. In addition, he has other mechanisms to influence the presidential race. So for the present nothing is clear in this struggle” the specialist said.
He also noted that it is not yet possible to say with certainty which of the two politicians would be better for Russia.
“Poroshenko has already demonstrated that normal relations with him can not be built, if only because he constantly changes his position on most key issues. This does not mean that under Tymoshenko it will be better. Russia must proceed from the real situation in Ukraine and do not link its policies with specific individuals there,” the expert concluded.