Political activity in Ukraine and political impact of war (01.08-08.08)
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Although the participants of the summit in Jeddah reached agreement that a peace deal on Ukraine should be based on the principle of its territorial integrity and sovereignty, the results of the summit have created new political problems for the Ukrainian government.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Presidential Office, stated ahead of the summit that the Ukrainian delegation in Saudi Arabia would strive to “develop a unified vision” of the Ukrainian peace formula. https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-polytics/3743437-ukraines-strategy-for-implementation-of-peace-formula-has-three-levels-yermak.html
The “peace formula” of Zelensky is in fact a list of demands, which cannot be implemented without a complete Russian capitulation. In spite of Ukrainian hopes “to unite the world around Ukraine”, it was not entirely accepted by the participants, and the main Ukrainian demand, withdrawal of Russian troops from all the occupied territories as a prerequisite for peace, was not confirmed. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/08/04/middleeast/saudi-ukraine-peace-forum-mime-intl/index.html
It was agreed that details of Zelenskiy’s peace formula would be devised by working groups and a parallel ambassadors group would be set up to continue technical work on the issues. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/aug/06/china-backs-further-ukraine-peace-talks-saudi-arabia-summit
Andriy Yermak, who was the head of Ukrainian delegation, said on Sunday “We had very productive consultations on the principles on which a just and lasting peace should be built” and called the talks in Jeddah “positive”. https://www.ft.com/content/b82b533d-ae06-404b-8b6c-73e0ecd9e067
But the government of Zelensky cannot be satisfied with the results of the summit because it needs the clear sign of support of its intention to continue the hostilities until the liberation of all the occupied territories even though it cannot be achieved in the foreseeable future.
In his address to the nation on Sunday Zelensky did not mention the summit in Saudi Arabia, which he described in his previous speeches as an extremely important event.
The president said that “Ukraine needs only strength, only maximum focus on achieving victory” and revealed that the talks with Western allies on defense packages for Ukraine would start soon. https://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/ukrayini-potribna-sila-j-maksimalna-zoseredzhenist-na-dosyag-84753
The most important current goal of the Ukrainian domestic policy is to make the Ukrainian public opinion conform to the idea of an indefinite continuation of hostilities, The government also want to preserve the opportunity to reject any proposals to establish immediate truce until a significant military success is achieved.
This approach determines the international activities of the Ukrainian government, and because of that it has started reacting painfully to any insinuations that the Western allies might not provide unconditional support as long as Ukraine needs.
The words of Marcin Przydacz, the Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Polish President, who said that Kyiv should start appreciating what Poland has been doing for Ukraine, was called “unacceptable” by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and “manipulative”, “treacherous”, and described as “manipulative”, “treacherous”, and serving Russia’s interests. https://www.voanews.com/a/ukraine-poland-call-in-envoys-after-grain-war-support-comments/7207293.html
That incident caused the increase of tension between the two countries, which according to Deputy Polish Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński has become “detrimental to good relations” between Poland and Ukraine. https://www.polskieradio.pl/395/9766/artykul/3219176,poland-wants-good-relations-with-ukraine-says-deputy-fm
Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has criticised Ukraine’s strong reaction to a Polish official’s suggestion that Kyiv should show more appreciation for the help provided by Poland during the war. It was also reported a senior figure in Poland’s ruling party has warned that it will be “much more difficult for Poland to continue to support Ukraine” if there are such disputes between the allies. https://notesfrompoland.com/2023/08/02/ukraine-made-mistake-summoning-polish-ambassador-over-row-says-polands-pm/
More incidents more incidents of this kind should be expected.
The Ukrainian government has to show that Ukraine can count on the Western support regardless of the situation on the battlefield or the economic situation in the EU and US. And it will make a fuss every time this perception is undermined.
Such an approach to the international issues is going to be combined with the populist gestures within the country aimed to persuade the Ukrainian public that the government fights successfully against all social groups that hinder to achieve victory.
The heads of regional military commissariats have become the first targets of the government campaign, because their activity is considered to be the main reason of unequal distribution of the burdens of war among different social strata.
The Security Service of Ukraine and the State Security Bureau started criminal investigations against employees of military commissariats throughout Ukrain. https://telegraf.com.ua/ukr/ukraina/2023-08-04/5802985-kogo-do-sudu-a-kogo-na-front-v-ukraini-oblava-na-viyskkomiv-ulov-vzhe-u-kilkokh-oblastyakh
At the same time, the campaign against the parliamentarians from the ruling party “Servant of the people” has been launched under the pretext of strengthening the responsibility of the Parliament. This campaign can become an effective tool for suppressing the internal opposition in the party and making all the members of Parliament comply with the decisions of the President.
The head of the “Servant of the People” faction, Davyd Arahamiya, told that there are some representatives of party who want to “be popular” and speak out against voting in accordance with government recommendations. He stated that “those who do not want to support the President” have to be made to feel the responsibility for the country and their voters. https://www.rbc.ua/rus/news/poyizdki-kurorti-arahamiya-rozpoviv-shcho-1691059400.html
The forecast for potential development of current trends:
- Zelensky will continue concentrating power in his hands with the help of popular gestures and suppression of the parliamentarian opposition, including the one inside the ruling party. There are no working mechanisms in the Ukrainian political system now that can prevent establishing of an authoritarian rule, which is going to become an inevitable result of continuation of hostilities.
- The Ukrainian government will continue to reject any proposals for establishing immediate truce and will be trying to interpret all the peace initiatives only as gestures of international support, ignoring actual recommendations.
- Ukraine is going to become a difficult partner for its international allies because of the imminent deterioration of Ukrainian political system and growing demands for economic and military support, which is being taken for granted by the Ukrainian government.
Recommendations for European institutions and organizations::
- The only way to make the Ukrainian government acknowledge the necessity of ceasefire is to connect the military support with the willingness to stop the hostiles when the truce is agreed. It should be made clear by the European political circles that the support will not be provided if the opportunity of ceasefire is rejected.
- The deterioration of Ukrainian political system can be prevented only if the EU strongly insist on continuation of the democratic process, regardless of the intentions of Zelensky and his associates to suspend it under the pretext of hostilities.