CEPI Ukraine Watch

Week of October 24 – 31, 2014

Photo: CreativeCommons/Sasha Maksymenko

5. 11. 2014
whatsnew archive,
Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /nfsmnt/hosting1_2/3/c/3c26875a-3134-41ee-b080-a5ceda69c68f/visegradrevue.eu/web/wp-content/themes/vsgr/single.php on line 56

This is the latest in a series of CEPI weekly digest of notable local and international news and analyses covering the Ukraine crisis, all available in English. The CEPI Ukraine Watch focuses on domestic politics, reforms, energy and security developments. Published at www.cepolicy.org

 

1. POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT

According to the law, parliamentary elections in Ukraine are based on a mixed-member proportional representation: 225 deputies are elected on party lists and 225 in single-member constituencies. However, given that the elections were not held at 12 single-seat constituencies in Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as at 15 constituencies in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, at most 423 members of parliament out of 450 were elected (225 MPs on party lists and 198 MPs from single-seat constituencies). With 99.90% of ballots counted, People’s Front leads with 22.14% of votes, followed by Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc with 21.82%, Samopomich with 10.97% of vote, Opposition Bloc 9.42%, Radical Party of Oleh Liashko 7.44% and Timoshenko’s Batkivschyna 5.68%. The other political forces have been unable to gain 5% of the vote needed to win parliamentary seats (via party lists). Svoboda has gained 4.71%, Communist Party of Ukraine 3.87%, Tihipko’s Strong Ukraine 3.11%, Anatoly Gritsenko’s Civic Position 3.10%. The distribution of mandates among political parties can be seen here (including the results in single mandate constituencies).

There was no voting in Eastern areas under the control of pro-Russian separatist. The rebels plan to hold their own elections on Sunday, November 2.  Insider has published the excellent report trying to explain who is fighting for power in unrecognized Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Looks like rebels’ held elections are going to be the one without real competition and choice; nevertheless e-voting has been enabled. The locals who have risen to power in these breakaway regions are likely to revert to a Soviet-style system of governance, Balazs Jarabik said for Hromadske TV.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has received 597 reports about events related to the snap parliament election, the ministry’s press service reported. The Committee of Voters of Ukraine has concluded that “voting on Election Day was generally conducted in accordance with the law and international standards”, but “there are some troubled constituencies at which CVU cannot recognize the election results.” No serious incidents which could have affected the outcome of parliamentary elections were reported by local election watchdog OPORA, the group’s head Olga Aivazovska saidon Monday. OSCE’s assessment can be read hereWhite House’s statement on Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine can be found here. Joint statement on the parliamentary elections in Ukraine by the President of the European Commission Barroso and the President of the European Council Van Rompuy is hereMoscow has acknowledged the early elections of Verkhovna Rada as valid. “I think we will recognize this election because it is very important for us that Ukraine finally will have authorities which do not fight one another, do not drag Ukraine to the West or to the East, but which will deal with the real problems facing the country,”  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted.

First domestic reactions

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, one of the leaders of the People’s Front, said he hoped that a new government would consist of professional reformists only. The basis for a new coalition shall be the Association Agreement with the European Union, Yatsenyuk emphasized.  Ukrainska Pravda has written that according to sources close to the Prime Minister, Yatseniuk wants to keep his post, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of the Cabinet of Ministers. The backstage report covering the atmosphere of election’s night in BPP and in PF headquarters can be read here.

Samopomich has announced that it plans to start its parliament activity with a bill depriving deputies of immunity. Samopomich’s Andrei Sadovy has said that party is ready to join coalition under the condition that posts in government will not be distributed by quota, but based on professional expertise.

The leader of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Union Yulia Tymoshenko said that early parliamentary elections had reaffirmed national trust in the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko and the People’s Front.Batkivschyna’s Yulia Tymoshenko said her party was ready to take part in a coalition of democratic forces and that coalition should embrace all the five parties elected to the Rada. The party does not claim a single seat in the new Ukrainian government, Tymoshenko said.

We will offer [participation in the coalition] to very many parties… in order to attain a constitutional majority, President said. Poroshenko said he would start talks on forming a coalition on Monday with the People’s Front, his bloc’s “main partners”. The final result of Sunday’s election is expected in 10 days and this is long enough to complete the talks, president added. Yuri Lutsenko (BPP) said that his political force was ready to vote for the abolition of the immunityBPP wants to seek early local elections in March 2015. Lutsenko said that Arseniy Yatseniuk may retain the prime minister’s post if he shows readiness to implement the necessary reforms. All of the Maidan parties will be invited to join the coalition and to move on along the path of Ukraine’s integration with Europe Lutsenko has said, but he has excluded coalition talks with Opposition Bloc and Ljashko’s Radical Party.

The Opposition Bloc has surprised, outperformed forecasts and is expected to become fourth largest party in Rada. Leader of the Opposition Bloc party Yuriy Boiko said Sunday’s parliamentary elections were the dirtiest ever with regards to the opposition.  The man behind the Opposition Bloc, former Yanukovich’s chief of stuff Sergei Lyovochkin says“I was on the very top of the old power tower, which collapsed too recently. I need time to wait until the dust comes down and people see the true picture of the current leadership. Putin was betrayed by our irresponsible leaders too many times, until he stopped taking Ukraine seriously.”  Levyi Bereg has published report covering the atmosphere in party’s headquarters. Sonia Koshkina’s take on election result can be read here.

The Communist Party did not pass 5% threshold to enter Rada, first time since Ukraine’s independence in 1991.

64 former lawmakers who supported so called “dictatorial laws of January 16” have regained their mandate, either by party lists or via single mandate constituencies. Great graphic by Chesno Civic Movement can be found here.  Insider has published report in which they have tried to estimate number of future millionaires/ billionaires in new Rada.

Coalition’s talks

The Petro Poroshenko Bloc party is negotiating a parliament coalition with the People’s Front. The text of the coalition agreement, which turned out to be “a plan that will unite factions in the new parliament,” will be released by the end of the day, Yuriy Lutsenko said at a news conference. “The agreement will include a shortened version of the presidential program “Strategy 2020,” and will also outline a number of legislative initiatives which will support the parliamentary majority,” Lutsenkoexplained. Poroshenko also met with Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Andriy Sadovyi on Monday.

On Wednesday it appeared that both leading parties – Block of Petro Poroshenko and Popular Frontaspired to lead coalition talks. Petro Poroshenko Bloc published the draft coalition agreement on its web site early Wednesday. Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that the People’s Front Party has prepared adraft coalition agreement of its own. The People’s Front Party, as the leader of parliamentary elections in 2014, initiates the creation of a coalition and proposes the candidacy of prime minister,Yatseniuk has said. People’s Front has invited Poroshenko Bloc, Batkivschyna, Samopomich and Radical Party to public talks on coalition formation. Yatsenyuk has suggested the potential participants of the parliamentary coalition should nominate ministers by November 3 and stressed that each candidate must go through the procedure of public coalition hearings, which will be broadcast live. Volodymyr Hroisman, one of the BPP´s leaders and Deputy Prime Minister said Poroshenko Bloc had won the most support among Ukrainians in the latest elections and would form the largest faction in the new Rada. ”As of today, we have at least two candidates for the post of prime minister,” Poroshenko Bloc’s election campaign coordinator Vitaliy Kovalchuk said on Wednesday evening, answering the question if Yatseniuk was likely to remain prime minister. LIGABusinessInform’s Roman Chernyshev has written the backstage report about quarrel between BPP and PF.  Samopomich Union party said it was ready to take part in forming a new coalition at the new Verkhovna Rada, and it has already chosen its delegates for such talks. A statement released on the party’s Web site says: The text of the coalition agreement should be a joint product of coalition members. Coalition members should be equally represented in the governing bodies of the coalition. Coalition members should have the right of veto on certain issues.”

Samopomich leader – Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy has said that the work of a new parliamentary coalition was discussed at his meeting with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday. Radical Party leader Oleh Liashko has reported that he met with President Poroshenko and discussed establishment of the coalition at new Verkhovna Rada.

On Friday, Petro Poroshenko asked his bloc to support Yatsenyuk’s nomination for the post of the country’s prime minister on the condition of the detailed coordination of a coalition agreement. Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman, said that Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, People’s Front and Samopomich would form a joint trilateral group and begin talks, including on the drafting of a coalition agreement. He added that BPP was open to other democratic forces in the context of them joining the coalition, including Batkivschyna and the Radical Party. Ukrainska Pravda has published report from BPP’s faction meeting. Novoe Vremja has published report covering coalition talks, according sources main struggle is for positon of Interior Minister, both parties – BPP and PF want to nominate own candidate.

Poroshenko dismisses governors of Chernivtsi and Zaporizhia regions: Ukrainian President has signed decrees dismissing Roman Vanzuriak as head of Chernivtsi Regional State Administration and Valeriy Baranov, head of Zaporizhia Regional State Administration.

Interviews

Interview with Hanna Hopko, number one on the Samopomich party list
Interview with Samopomich´ Andrei Sadovy, Lviv Mayor
Interview with Samopomich´ Andrei Sadovy, Lviv Mayor
Interview with Hennadiy Moskal, head of Luhanks RSA
Interview with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt 

2. SECURITY UPDATE

Russia will recognise rebel elections held in east Ukraine Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told Izvestiya. Lavrov said, “We think that this is one of the most important elements of the Minsk accords. We expect that the elections will take place as arranged and we will of course recognize the results… The elections to be held on the territory of the proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics will be important from the point of view of legitimization of the authorities“.[1] Ukraine has denounced Russian stance on rebel vote in east Ukraine as “absolutely destructive and provocative… The Kremlin is consciously making the situation worse … In such an extraordinarily fragile situation, this is an irresponsible step by Russia which can threaten the peace process,” MFA said in the statement. US Secretary of State Kerry has expressed concern about the plans of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to hold elections and has said that it will violate the Minsk agreements. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned an election organized by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. EU External Action Service has deplored Lavrov’s remarks and said EU would not recognize rebels’ held vote. Russian media has reported that the EU may step up sanctions on Russia if the Kremlin recognises elections in the rebel-held Donbass region of Ukraine. Germany and France will not  recognize separatists’ vote in Eastern Ukraine, German ChancellorAngela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have said during the joint telephone conference with Ukrainian President Poroshenko and Russian President Putin. OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter noted that such action run counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and would further complicate its implementation.

Ukraine’s wish to join NATO is not on agenda: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that NATO is not going to consider Ukraine’s joining NATO at the time being.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry has sent another column with “humanitarian aid” for the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The International Committee of the Red Cross is not participating in Russia’s next humanitarian aid convoy, spokesperson for the ICRC’s Moscow regional delegation said. Trucks carrying Russian humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s south-eastern regions successfullypassed through Customs Control at the Russian-Ukrainian border on Friday and delivered the humanitarian aid to Donetsk and Luhansk. Spot report by OSCE can be read here.

Poroshenko signs decree on documents on transfer of state secret to foreign state or international organization.

Eleven Ukrainian captives released on Tuesday: Ukrainian captives were swapped for eight captured separatists near the town of Schastia in Luhansk region.

Weekly update from the OSCE Observer Mission at Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk based on information as of 08:00 (Moscow time), 29 October 2014

Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics refuse to cede control over border with Russia to Ukraine:  The leaders of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have said they will not give Ukraine back the parts of the country’s border with Russia until conflict with Kyiv has been fully resolved and that the bill signed into law by the Ukrainian president granting a special status to the Donbas region is “legally void.”

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Ukraine: Situation Report No. 18 as of 31 October 2014

Ukraine, Russia sign protocol on joint control of Kuibyshevo-Diakove checkpoint: Head of the State Border Service of Ukraine Viktor Nazarenko held a meeting with Acting Head of the Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation, which resulted in the signing of a protocol on the joint control of Kuibyshevo-Diakove checkpoints.

3. ECONOMY & REFORM EFFORTS

Yeliseyev says EU could issue extra 500 million macro-financial aid to Ukraine in November: Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU Kostiantyn Yeliseyev has stated the EU as a whole has positively estimated the parliamentary elections held in Ukraine and is ready to continue support Kyiv, in particular in financial terms.

The Venice Commission has published its Opinion on the Draft law amending the Constitution of Ukraine, submitted by the President of Ukraine, full text can be found here. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published its comment on constitutional reform in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a Police Reform Development Strategy drawn up by the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and the Centre of Law Enforcement Research. The entire system is in need of a major overhaul. The key changes needed are seen in the reform goals set out in the Development Strategy (Optimization of Interior Ministry structure; Rule of Law; De-politicization; Demilitarization; Decentralization; Accountability and transparency; Cooperation with the public; Human Resources optimization).

The volume of decline in exports of goods from Ukraine to Russia since early 2014 amounts to some $3.5 billion and it could expand to $5 billion by the end of the year, Finance Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Shlapak has said.

Ukraine is unlikely to receive a second tranche of a $17-billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund this year as expected, Finance Minister Shlapak said. Kiev had expected that a second tranche, worth $2.7 billion, would come in December after the Fund’s mission was due later this month. Shlapak said the IMF visit was unlikely before a new government was formed. On Thursday, the IMF spokesperson confirmed that decision to provide next tranche to Ukraine as part of a Stand-By Arrangement could be taken next year.

EU is close to approving two new loan tranches worth a total of 760 million euro to be given to Ukraine by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources in Brussels.

Ukrainian GDP Plunges 5.1% in the third quarter (year on year) State Statistics Service has informed. Industrial output sank 12.1 percent from a year earlier in July, 21.4 percent in August and 16.6 percent last month. Central bank reserves have tumbled toward a nine-year low as the hryvnia plunged 36.67 percent this year, the most in the world, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

4. ENERGY UPDATE

GSE Transparency: Weekly Storage data in EU and Ukraine

Gas stocks in underground gas storage facilities decreased by 1 percent or 163.69 million cubic meters between October 20, when the heating season got under way, and October 25, Ukrtransgaz said.

Ukraine should raise financing of around $2 billion to additionally buy 7 billion cubic meters of gas by the end of the heating season, Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak has said. Shlapak said that Ukraine was holding negotiations on borrowing the funds with the EU and the EBRD, although the country had not reached concrete results.

Trilateral gas talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU were held in two rounds in Brussels. The parties have finally reached agreement. The winter package consists of two documentsA binding protocol, signed by the European Commission, the Russian Federation and Ukraine; an addendum to the existing gas supply contract signed by Gazprom and Naftogaz. The package covers the period from now until the end of March 2015 and includes the following main points: Debts(Ukraine would settle its debts based on a preliminary price of $268,5/1000m3 by making payments in two tranches: 1,45 billion dollar without delay and 1,65 billion dollar by the end of the 2014. This adds in total up to 3,1 billon dollar of debt payment. The final price and thus the final sum of debt will be determined through the pending arbitration by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce between Gazprom and Naftogaz) and new gas (Russia will deliver gas following advanced, monthly payments by Ukraine. The price is below $385/1000m3 and calculated according to a formula in the present contract and a price reduction through a discount in export duties by the Russian Federation. Ukraine is free to order as much gas as it needs and is not subject to take-or-pay obligations foreseen in the current contract. Ukraine foresees to purchase 4 bcm until the end of the year 2014, meaning 1,5 billion dollar). Russia will resume gas supplies to Ukraine after Kyiv transfers the first $1.45 billion to Gazprom’s accounts, Ukrainian Energy Minister Prodan said. Naftogaz will receive up to 114 million cubic meters of gas per day from Gazprom, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said. Under the Thursday agreement, Ukraine would buy gas for the rest of this year at $378 per 1,000 cubic metres and at $365 in the first quarter of next year. The EU will provide financial aid to Ukraine if Russia unilaterally increases the prices of gas for Ukraine during the period when the interim agreement is in effect, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said. Ukraine is not going to recall its lawsuit from an arbitration court in Stockholm, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said. The Cabinet of Ministers has approved draft of trilateral gas protocol. The official site of Russian Energy ministry has confirmed figures announced by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk.

Prime Minister Yatseniuk has instructed the Energy Ministry and Naftogaz to commence negotiations on the financing of the construction of a gas interconnection pipeline between Ukraine and Polandwith the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Investment Bank and todraw up the conditions of a public tender to select investors to operate and modernize the gas transport system and underground storage facilities of Ukraine by next week.

5. VISEGRAD NEWS AND VIEWS

A view from Central Europe: Ukraine voted – now what? ( Wojciech KonończukJana Kobzová and András Rácz)

OSW: A strong vote for reform: Ukraine after the parliamentary elections
PISM: Pro-European Parties in Ukraine Win Big
OSW: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s stance on the revolution and war
OSW: Moscow’s stance on the election in Ukraine
Ukraine on Oct 28 imports via Slovakia record 30.7 mcm of gas – Eustream
Hungary wants to complete South Stream stretch by 2017
Ukraine is divided: Interview with Iveta Radičová for Visegrad Insight
Zaorálek: Sankce jsou účinné, vedou Rusko do pekla
Separatist-planned east Ukraine elections ‘illegitimate’ – Visegrad Group

Noteworthy Resources

Scandal erupts over alleged voting fraud at Kharkiv hospitals
Voters in Kharkiv split between East and West
Hromadske International: The Sunday Show. #UkraineVotes. 26/10/2014
The EU and individual member states collected EUR 63 million to provide financial and humanitarian aid to IDPs and Donbas
German exports to Russia tumble as sanctions bite
Tensions Surround Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 82)
Top 10 soldiers which got to the Verkhovna Rada
FP´S Dispatch: Eastern Ukraine’s Fake State Is About to Elect a Fake Prime Minister
Ukraine fighters surrounded at wrecked airport, refuse to give up
Will new parliament stay wedded to interests of oligarchs?
Biletskyi: Encirclement near Mariupol could be worse than in Ilovaisk
Photos: A crazy 36 hours with the man who started Ukraine’s revolution
Can Lviv Mayor Change Ukrainian Politics Once And For All?
An exclusive interview with newly elected member MEP Hanna Hopko for Woodrow Wilson Center
East Ukraine separatists hold vote to gain legitimacy, promise normalcy

Food for thought

Ukraine Votes: United in Diversity by Balázs Jarábik


[1] Full interview with Lavrov can be watched here 

V4 Revue

V4 Revue

is a webzine bringing analysis and commentary on Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak politics and society.