Petro Poroshenko’s 10 Promises

2014/06/03 • News

And how realistic they are

The Central Electoral Committee has counted 100% of the protocols at the early presidential elections. The end result – 9 857 308 people, or 54.7% of all those who have participated in the elections, voted for member of the Parliament Petro Poroshenko. The inauguration – in the case of early elections the law only gives the newly-elected president five days to take the oath, – it appointed for June 7th.

On the eve of the elections Petro Poroshenko took up a number of obligations – taking into account the special status of the early elections, the high level of support of the candidate and the unstable situation in the country, their realisation will be observed especially closely.

Forbes remembered Petro Poroshenko’s main promises and asked experts to analyse how difficult it will be for the new President to keep his word.

Carry out early elections to the Parliament

Difficulty of realisation: low. Term of realisation: half a year.

The MP’s surveyed by Forbes assure that the early elections to the Parliament are a mandatory component of rebooting the government, they are ready to support this decision, but at the moment there are more relevant tasks at hand. “The first issue we have to solve today is the suspension of military action and prevention of human victims. This is the first tasks that is posed before the Parliament and the President,” says Igor Yeremeyev, representative of the parliamentary group ‘Sovereign European Ukraine.’ “Having stopped the separatist moods in Donbas, we can begin the process of reelections to the Parliament. It we take up this issue all together, this will be quite realistic.”

Andriy Shevchenko, “Batkivshchina” MP, notes that the newly-elected President will be sorely tempted to try and make peace with the current Parliament. “But if he resists this temptation, then we will have early elections and, I hope, with open lists,” notes Shevchenko. “Overall it is quite possible to carry out early elections.”

Meanwhile the practical component of re-elections remains indefinite, therefore the realisation of the promise may take longer: “It will not be easy to hold early elections to the Parliament. Though political conjuncture is for Poroshenko, and society demands it. But the mechanism of realisation itself as of today has not been developed,” emphasised Yevgen Magda, political expert, director of the Social Relations Centre.

Get compensation from Russia for the annex of the Crimea

Difficulty of realisation: high. Term of realisation: indefinite.

It is easy to file a plaint regarding compensation of losses caused by the annex. It is difficult to get monetary compensation. It is practically unreal to receive monetary compensation and retain the peninsula as part of Ukraine. So far Ukraine is preparing for the first, easiest point.

As the Minister for Justice Pavlo Petrenko said in an interview to Forbes, Ukraine intends to petition with the European Court for Human Rights to compensate the losses and impose fines; the court will also examine the issue of the ungrounded high gas prices for our country. The sum that Ukraine intends to receive from Russia, was determined by the Minister of Fuel and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan as “billions of dollars.” The calculation of losses continues – in particular, “Oshchadbank” is documenting the losses that the financial institution suffered in Crimea, in order to include them in the general list.

The weakness of keeping this promise are the undetermined terms. “I will not lie and say that everything will be solved within a month. This may take years,” admits Petrenko.

Another thing is the lack of organisation, as officially Ukraine continues to insist that Crimea is part of the state and thus the compensation of losses can partially legitimise the annex. On the other hand the calculation of losses from the annex is not the same as compensation for the loss of assets.

Conduct his first visit to Donbas

Difficulty of realisation: low. Term of realisation: a month.

An effective step, which will negate the claims that “Donbas is not being heard,” and “the East is not respected.” In theory. In practice the President’s visit may, on the contrary, lead to a new type of conflict – depending on how he is greeted there and how he will react to the reception. Best case scenario – Poroshenko’s visit will not bring about improvement of relations between Kyiv and the East of the country.

“On one hand, realising this promise is easy, because there is nothing technically difficult in flying to Donbas,” says Yevgen Magda. “On the other, going to the East, and doing everything effectively is not an easy task.”

Changing the ATO strategy, stopping armed clashes in the East

Difficulty of realisation: low. Term of realisation: several days (changing the strategy) 

The main problem of the Ukrainian operation in the East of the country is the lack of cooperation between the soldiers within the framework of the ATO, as well as the practice of settling even the simplest decisions with Kyiv, instead of operative reaction to the current situation. “The latter is conditioned by the fact that they are afraid of taking responsibility on location. This is a big weakness,” says Dmytro Tymchuk, head of the Centre for Military and Political Investigations, coordinator of the group “Information Resistance.”

To his mind, the human resources purges conducted by the President will have key significance in the reformatting of the ATO. “People that engage in logistics of provision and preparation of the units have to lead the law enforcement institutions. We are talking about quality changes. This regards the leadership of the ATO as well. The positioning of adequate, professionally prepared people able to take responsibility will influence the form and methods of the ATO significantly,” noted Tymchuk.

Another thing is that nothing is known about the presence of specialists in anti-terrorism on Poroshenko’s team, as well as soldiers – the liberal President has grown accustomed to employ economical methods. “But now he has the opportunity to show himself as an effective manager who, though he is not very well qualified in the issue, is able to find the necessary generals, military officials and law enforcement people, position them at their posts,” says Tymchuk. “This would be a show of the President’s efficiency as the leader of the army.” According to the expert, taking the relevance of the ATO into account, this promise should be realised without delay.

More power to the regions

Difficulty of realisation: high. Term of realisation: a year or more

It is essentially unknown what the President is investing in this promise: whether Poroshenko will support the concept of the reform of local government already formed by the Cabinet of Ministers or propose his own version. In any case, realising this promise will not be easy.

The initiative of decentralisation has long been growing among economists. Experts see one of the key problems in Ukraine’s development as the lack of balance in the political system – exaggerated centralisation and the lack of control over government bodies. One of Poroshenko’s challenges will be the ability to listen and involve key Ukrainian economists in reforms, the majority of which work outside of Ukraine, but who are ready to invest in the development of the country.

“It goes without saying that there is a demand to transfer power to regions now. The instrument of realisation are constitutional amendments. I would evaluate the level of realism of carrying out this promise as difficult,” says Andriy Shevchenko.

According to him, it is difficult to imagine not only what amendments will be done to the Constitution, but the Parliament that will vote for them as well. The realisation of this promise depends on the realisation of Poroshenko’s other postulate: “If early parliamentary elections are held, after this the given reform will become quite logical and absolutely real for the most part,” says Yevgen Magda.

Re-establish working relations with Russia, effectively carry out talks regarding gas

Difficulty of realisation: high. Term of realisation: indefinite.

The realisation of this promise does not depend much on Poroshenko’s position and efforts, therefore the question is skeptical. “A normal dialogue with Russia can happen when a government appears that will view Ukrainian independence not as a historical blunder, but a historical reality,” says Andriy Shevchenko. “This is highly improbably, while Putin and the current Russian elite are in power.”

“It will be difficult, as Russia has quite a harsh stance in regard to Ukraine,” Yevgen Magda agrees with him.

Meanwhile the establishment of dialogue and return – if not to the former, but working relations with the Russian Federation – are a mandatory condition for the development of the Ukrainian economy, the director of the Centre for Transformation, Integration and Globalisation of Economical Investigations, former Minister for Finance of Poland Gzegoz Kolodko is convinced.

“What ‘normal relations with Russia’ are has to be pondered on, but if the relations with the neighbour are backstabbing, non-pragmatic, not directed at cooperation in the sphere of trade, investments, business and so forth, then we cannot talk about Ukraine’s success,” he is sure. According to the expert, in any conditions it would be smart to have the best relations with the neighbour as possible, even if we really, really don’t like this neighbour.

The mass media have already published numerous messages regarding Poroshenko’s unofficial talks with representatives of the Russian government. We will see in the nearest future just how effective these agreements are.

Re-examine the strategy of gas consumption: establish reversal supplies, shorten consumption, increase energy efficiency

Difficulty of realisation: high. Term of realisation: indefinite. 

The fact that the head of state is ready to decrease gas cooperation with Russia may be grounds for the partner to give us some leeway.

“President Poroshenko is either a market contract with Gazprom with an average European price minus the transit, or court investigation with the further refusal of Russian import,” said Ivan Nadin, head of the Committee for Fuel Independence of Ukraine, to Forbes. To his mind, the President is ready to make unpopular decisions in order to decrease the long-term dependence and thus “Poroshenko’s election will slightly decrease the Kremlin’s rancor.”

Yuriy Korolchuk from the Institute for Fuel Strategies emphasises that Poroshenko will be kept away from breaking ties with Russia by European Union representatives as well, which are interested in retaining stable supplies.

“The Russian Federation will not re-examine the current contract. Poroshenko will ‘lead’ the European Union behind him, but they need peace on the gas front, and Russia, which will agree to lower the gas prices on conditions of cooperation in governing the Ukrainian gas transportation system (a consortium or another kind of cooperation),” he thinks.

Establish dialogue with all oblasts of Ukraine, become the acknowledged President of the entire country

Difficulty of realisation: high. Term of realisation: indefinite.

Historically, Ukrainian presidents have had concrete regional representation. The last time someone managed to concentrate national support was 20 years ago, by Leonid Kravchuk. A person who came to power under doubtful, from the point of view of the eastern electorate, circumstances, will have difficulty in repeating this. The good news for the President is that it is difficult to evaluate the realisation of this promise as well.

“I am quite skeptical regarding politicians’ promises, especially if they are not concrete and lack definitive time frames. This promise is very vague and has no precision,” says Taras Berezovets, political technologist, director of Berta Communications.

According to the expert, this promise is very difficult to realise and Petro Poroshenko’s high result at the elections here is irrelevant. It was situational voting – the people wanted to end the elections in one round. Nobody negated regional division, in the future it will show itself. The east will vote for some candidates, the west – for the others,” Berezovets is convinced.

EU membership within two years

Difficulty of realisation: average. Term of realisation: two years.

The direction is correct and realisable, the term is not. “Everything is interconnected. If Ukraine and Poroshenko are able to show swift changes, then the prognoses will be realistic,” says Andriy Shevchenko.

Gzegoz Kolodko, director of the Centre for Transformation, Integration and Globalisation of Economical Investigation, former Minister for Finance of Poland, notes that before starting the realisation of this promise and making large-scale reforms to support it, it should be determined whether this course is the most beneficial for the country. “I am not saying the joining the EU is a compulsory part of success. This is absolutely possible even without joining the European Union,” he thinks.

That Poland said yes to European integration 20 years ago does not mean that this course is the only correct one, the expert is convinced. “But if Ukraine does decide to look to the EU, then you have to remain competitive. For this, you need to have good relations with Russia,” says Kolodko.

Selling Roshen

Difficulty of realisation: high (in the current conjuncture). Term of realisation: a year or more.

Petro Poroshenko could not have chosen a worse time to sell the biggest confectionary producer in the country. “I think that the sale of Roshen, first and foremost, will be a step towards society’s demands,” says Yevgen Magda, saying that this is not a reason “to sell to the first passer-by.”

An anonymous representative of one of the investment banks told Forbes that he cannot imagine who would resort to such a deal now, for its parameters to satisfy both the buyer and the seller. But even if such is found, the deal may be close right at the moment Ukraine joins the EU (see p.9). Only the audit may last half a year, the receipt of agreement from antimonopoly bodies may take just as long.

Source: Forbes

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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