Parliamentary elections in Ukraine, held this Sunday, come as the most serious test for Ukraine’s statehood in more than two decades of country’s independence. With unresolved conflict in Eastern regions still bleeding the new parliament would have to uphold fragile truce and define further development strategy, balancing between Russia and the West.
Studio guest Victor Mizin, Deputy Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Assessment, Sergei Stankevich, Russia’s political and public figure and expert of Anatoly Sobchak Fund, and Thomas Heine, observer of Politiken daily and prominent author, speaking from Donetsk, shared their opinions with Radio VR.
What lies in store for our relations with Ukraine after these new parliamentary polls?Studio guest Victor Mizin, Deputy Director of the Russian Institute of Strategic Assessment, Sergei Stankevich, Russia’s political and public figure and expert of Anatoly Sobchak Fund, and Thomas Heine, observer of Politiken daily and prominent author, speaking from Donetsk, shared their opinions with Radio VR.
Sergei Stankevich: After these new Sunday elections I doubt whether we can immediately reach our normal relations. But in the future, yes, I have no doubt that we can. Nobody can convince the opposite side with the reasonable arguments, only the reality can change our minds now.
Can we speak about a 100 percent legitimate parliament?
Sergei Stankevich: There is no such thing as 100 percent legitimate actions in Ukraine at the moment. I think that the Sunday’s elections will be recognized by Russia and the rest of the world. And this is enough. The main question of the parliamentary elections is – will the block of Poroshenko win the simple majority of seats in the Parliament. It is extremely important for President Poroshenko to get the majority in the Parliament, to form the new Government on his own, with no need to create any parliamentary coalition.
If it happens, the new Prime Minister will be man who is personally appointed by the President and controlled by him. And all the key nominations in the new Government will be authorized by the President, if his block wins, of course. If the block of Poroshenko doesn’t get enough votes and is forced to arrange some coalition, it will be bad for the President in any case.
Victor Mizin: Unfortunately, the majority of Ukrainian people are in the state of apathy. They are sick and tired of the procrastination of this turmoil. And some people are even pretending that Ukraine is on the verge of social and economic collapse, and is in desperate need of international assistance. Of course, Poroshenko is the leader of the party of peace. And we have heard that some field commanders think that he has betrayed them. There are some people who can be named as “the party of war”, but I think that they are marginal. And now, according to the polls we understand that Poroshenko is winning with at least 30 percent or 40 percent of the votes.
I know that you’ve spent a whole week in Ukraine. What are the feelings there?
Thomas Heine: There are anti-Russian or at least anti-Kremlin feelings in Ukraine, more so in the western Ukraine and not at all here in Donetsk, where I'm right now. Of course, Donbas is not taking part in the elections. So, we will have to see what the results are in the western part and in the central part of Ukraine.
I would say that the general feeling is the disappointment with what has happened after Poroshenko was elected President. There is a strong feeling that he has not done enough. At the same time, the polls, showing him so strongly up, suggest that there is a silent majority in Ukraine which is supporting him and this reasonably conciliatory policy that Poroshenko has followed so far.
So, with respect to Ukraine’s approach to Russia, I don’t think there will be any changes after Sunday.
What are the expectations regarding this truce? And the second thing is about this “party of war”, what would happen to it?
Thomas Heine: On the truce, the shooting is going on every day on both sides. I don’t feel much truce. It has become more quiet since the agreement in Minsk. And basically, the last two days have been reasonably quiet, with less shelling. But the war is still going on.
As to “the party of war”, there are sentiments among the population, and not least among the fighters who have been fighting on the Ukrainian side in eastern Ukraine, that more should be done. I mean, these areas should be liberated, as they call it. And they are a force. But I would think that the so-called party of peace led by Poroshenko would turn out to be the major power after the elections on Sunday.