Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ukraine: Post-modern personalization of politics versus the lost art of people's politics

A number of analysts (from Lavrov to Cassad) argue that Poroshenko does not control all the armed forces deployed by the junta. While, this is technically correct, this argument still at times seems  to assume that Poroshenko is the main decision maker for Ukraine in Kiev, which is false.

On a related issue, the same people recognize, but fail to draw necessary conclusions from the obvious fact that Ukraine is run as a US and NATO protectorate.

Such a protectorate has its formal and official structures, but also its deep state, and the two, not being the same, however, permeate each other.

The deep or deeper state starts where Avakov, Yatsenyuk, Kolomeysky, and the real or true Nazi leaders abide. Poroshenko has the right ethnic profile, he is an oligarch, he served nearly every ruling clique, but none of the evident power-brokers from the deep state seem to have any great respect for Poroshenko. Yet, for some very curious reason, both Putin and Lavrov are not only trying to woo this imperial agent (from 2006?), but they also seem to believe that Poroshenko is in Kiev their best man, however much he slanders and attacks Russia.

Even of Tymoshenko, who called for extermination of millions of Russians, Putin seems to have only good, positive things to say. Thus, back on March 4, Putin had to say the following:

QUESTION: You said that we should make contact with everyone. Yulia Tymoshenko was planning it seems, to come to Moscow.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: As you know, we always worked quite productively with all of the different Ukrainian governments, no matter what their political colour. We worked with Leonid Kuchma, and with [Viktor] Yushchenko. When I was Prime Minister, I worked with Tymoshenko. I visited her in Ukraine and she came here to Russia. We had to deal with all kinds of different situations in our work to manage our countries’ economies. We had our differences, but we also reached agreements. Overall it was constructive work. If she wants to come to Russia, let her come. It’s another matter that she is no longer prime minister now. In what capacity will she come? But I personally have no intention of stopping her from coming to Russia. 

In his article, "Putin's Shrewd Endorsement of Tymoshenko," Evgeniy Kiselyov of the Moscow Times put on this the following spin:

"Putin made it very clear that Moscow would like to see former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko become that country's next president. He alluded to this twice recently, using almost exactly the same wording each time and wistfully recalling their productive working relationship.
Why is Putin endorsing Tymoshenko? Does he want to undermine her chances of winning the presidential elections on May 25 by casting her as the Kremlin favorite? Or does he have just the opposite plan in mind — to help Tymoshenko win the support of the pro-Russian voters who previously stood behind former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych?
The second theory is bolstered by the fact that Tymoshenko holds very close political ties to Viktor Medvedchuk, once the head of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's administration and a man who has long and unabashedly been Putin's personal agent for influencing the situation in Ukraine. Also, Medvedchuk's long-time political and business partner, Andrei Klyuyev — a pro-Russian politician and former head of Yanukovych's presidential administration — was one of the main advocates for unifying the Party of Regions with the bloc supporting Tymoshenko into a so-called "broad" coalition in 2009."

When Lavrov is reminded of the constant vicious attacks on Russia by these men, and here Poroshenko is no exception, he merely says the following:

Question: A technical [sic] question. There is President Poroshenko who is the guarantor of the Ukrainian constitution and who is conducting the negotiations, while at the same time there’s Prime Minister Yatsenyuk making a statement on the country’s unaligned status. I could also mention the Ukrainian defense minister who wrote on Facebook that nuclear weapons should be used against Russia. Mr Lutsenko says that Europe is already supplying high-precision weapons and that the war must go on. What are the implications for the dialogue you’re conducting? Who are the negotiations being held with? How can Poroshenko keep the process under his control?
Sergey Lavrov: The President of Russia has repeatedly said that he is satisfied with how direct contacts with President Poroshenko have been established. We are engaged in a dialogue with him and those who support his position, which is Ukraine’s official policy.  ... It seems to me Poroshenko is interested in a peace deal and needs support, primarily from the West, which was hoping Ukraine would transition from the post-Maidan situation to something more legitimate. This is why presidential elections were announced. I think the West should support Poroshenko’s desire to make a peace deal ...  
Poroshenko does not control everything because, being a figurehead-in-chief, he is only a part of the enterprise. But this does not mean that the enterprise as a whole is not commanded or controlled as such.

The limits of Poroshenko's powers are not caused by the insubordination of the Right Sector, the Naz-battalions, etc. Poroshenko bears full responsibility due to his office, but by the limits of Poroshenko's own role.

So Moscow has been trying to rely on Poroshenko, who, without controlling everything, has still a lot to answer for. In this, Moscow has been relying on the figurehead-puppet-in-chief of the junta.

Looking at this through the prism of the heroic struggle of the working people of Novorossiya, one cannot help but noticing that Moscow's strategy seems to have become victim to a mirror image of Western demonization and personalization of its enemy. Here, when it comes to the Nazi junta in Kiev, Moscow tries to personalize it and then positively spin and polish it in the figure-head of Poroshenko, the supposed more moderate one among all the radicals around--at the expense of what a long time ago Russian or Soviet policy and diplomacy could do--recognizing the importance of the people and a policy relying on the people and not on hostile figureheads and puppets.

In this connection, we might also perhaps recognize the contradiction, glaring inconsistency, in the following statements made by Lavrov about the mechanism agreed between Moscow and the West over the heads of Novorossiya and the people:

That is why the reference in the Minsk agreement to an inclusive national dialogue – that is, with the participation of all stakeholders – is a matter of principle for us. All the agreements on passing a law on the interim status through the Verkhovna Rada are essentially an obligation on the Ukrainian leadership. Lugansk and Donetsk will first of all need to see how the law will be written, but that still does not completely resolve the problem. A lasting solution can only be achieved by consensus through an inclusive national dialogue.

Lavrov says that the "principle" is "an inclusive national dialogue" in Ukraine. However, he then says right away that, "all the agreements on passing a law on the interim status through the Verkhovna Rada are essentially an obligation on the Ukrainian leadership"--the law on the special status for the regions (not even people anymore) of Lugansk and Donetsk(not any more Novorossiya) is "an obligation" (and hence also the right) of the Ukrainian leadership, the junta, only. The law is to be made by the junta--before any national dialogue can even take place and without it. Whether the junta would be nice enough to allow some amendments is one big if. Moreover, the junta made it clear that, by signing on the Minsk Protocol, it has no intention to talk to the leadership of Novorossiya. The junta wants new local elections there , which, as Poroshenko, said would replace the present "terrorists" with some new "real people."

Moreover, the Minsk Memorandum explicitly defines the Contact Group as consisting only of Kiev, Russia, and the OSCE, and Novorossiya was noticeably left out as a recognized party of the talks. Plotnisky's and Zakharchenko's signatures have only their personal names with no titles attached to them--in contrast with the representatives of Ukraine, OSCE, and Russia.  Plotnitsky and Zakharchenko can be thus merely acknowledging what they were being told to do by the three others whose signatures are set apart. The leaders of Novorosssiya thus appear there not only unrecognized in their capacity as representatives of a new political entity, but virtually as private individuals only. And this means not just unrecognition of the status of Plotnitsky and Zakharchenko, but also unrecognition of Novorossiya and the people of Novorossiya--and not just by Ukraine and OSCE, but by Russia as well.

The current Russian leadership has a hard time to recognize what Machiavelli already knew (however, Machiavellian he was) and not this one cardinal insight he put the foundation of all modern politics--namely that power and sovereignty resides in the people. If one loses or offends the people, one loses sooner or later everything--no matter how shrewd or cunning one is.

Understanding politics as the plaything of great leaders only and delegating people to the props is one of the devil's temptations. But the people are not just a "base." All power comes from the people and, ultimately, also returns to the people.

In the case of Crimea, the will of the Kremlin coincided with the will of the people of Crimea and the people of Russia. In the case of Novorossiya, and through the Minsk process, Russia denied voice, agency, and recognition to the people of Novorossiya for Russia agreed to reducing the Contact Group only to a trinity made of Ukraine, OSCE, and Russia--to the exclusion of Novorossiya. In this way, Russia effectively agreed that, for all practical and political purposes, it currently controls Novorossiya--only to assert and recognize Ukraine's de iure and sovereignty over Novorossiya and not the political will of the people of Novorossiya. Under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, as its provisions stipulate, Novorossiya is not recognized as a state formation. It is allowed to exist only in the form of "special" and temporary "regions" as defined unilaterally by the junta itself and he junta's "law." In this case, the will of the Kremlin went on record as being at odds with the people of Novorossiya and Russia too. But it pleases and accommodates Kiev and the West.

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