In September 2014, Ukrainian officials began work on a border 'wall' (really a glorified fence) on the country's eastern border with Russia. When completed, the layered defense system would have featured 1,900 km worth of fencing, anti-tank ditches, observation towers, signaling, communications and surveillance systems, remote control combat modules, and fortifications for border guards.
However, last month, Kharkov Region administration officials announced that work on the barrier, nicknamed the 'European Rampart', had been halted due to a lack of funds.
Eventually, the grand project turned into a laughing stock, with Ukrainian lawmaker Borislav Bereza calling the 'wall' a "garden wire netting [that] "wouldn't even stop a rabbit."
Yatsenyuk resigned in disgrace in April 2016 amid a massive corruption scandal that first broke in February, when economy minister Aivaras Abromavicius stepped down, complaining that the Yatsenyuk government was not genuinely committed to fighting corruption.
Now, 'Yats', who disappeared from the public eye after his resignation, is back. Last week, he reportedly offered to share his 'wall' project with US President Donald Trump, who is actively seeking to build a border wall on America's southern border with Mexico. Speaking at the 5th Youth Kiev Security Forum in the Ukrainian capital last week, Yatsenyuk said that "if needed, we can hand the project over to the United States – it will be cheaper and more efficient."
The ex-prime minister calculated that one kilometer of the American-Mexican border would cost about $10 million, which is 30-40 times more than the Ukrainian analogue.
Yatsenyuk complained that funding for the Ukrainian scheme dropped off dramatically after he resigned. "But over 10% of the work was completed," he boasted, expressing confidence that the great European Rampart will be completed eventually.
"I know that the prime minister, the government, the Interior Ministry and the State Border Service are for the completion of this project. My position is very clear: the border between Ukraine and Russia will be built," the politician stressed.
Upon reaching the Russian audience, which has ridiculed the Ukrainian 'wall' idea from the start, the news of Yatsenyuk's advice for Trump was immediately met with grins, mockery and hearty belly laughs. In a punchy and sarcastic op-ed devoted to the story, Radio Sputnik contributor Daria Cherednik joked that in addition to the technical details, Yatsenyuk would likely try to give Trump some under-the-table 'advice' on how to embezzle funds meant for the wall.
Commentators to Cherednik's story asked what Yatsenyuk meant by the words 'share advice'. "Share as in share the kickbacks?" one user joked. Others sarcastically noted that Trump, who apparently has nothing better to do, is just dying to be given advice from the likes of Yatsenyuk, "and called up Poroshenko to ask for Yats's phone number."
Others were more serious. "You throw them out the door, and they climb through the window with their thieving ideas," one commenter wrote. "They simply aren't capable of thinking in any other category. Or perhaps [Yatsenyuk] has got another bout of delusions of grandeur. After all, he didn't get hit by a US investigation for embezzling US aid [to Kiev]."