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Russia’s fifth column in Ukraine

Russia’s fifth column in Ukraine
Article by: Mykola Kniazhytskyi
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

A corrupt pro-Russian fifth column coordinated by Dmytro Firtash and Serhiy Lyovochkin (former chief of staff for Viktor Yanukovych — Ed.) is the main instrument for provoking unrest in Ukraine.

The economic and political development of Ukraine according to the European model represents the biggest threat to Russia. This was one of the reasons for the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the war in Eastern Ukraine.

The brief ceasefire that Ukraine could have used to increase its defense capabilities and implement economic reform has not been used effectively. Of course, it is to the government’s credit that the demands of the IMF have been fulfilled and credits or financial support from this and other international organizations have been obtained. Ukraine has avoided default and financial collapse, and pensions and salaries are being paid.

However, Russia’s plans call for destabilizing the internal situation in Ukraine this spring. How does Russia plan to achieve this? Through external pressure, anti-Ukrainian propaganda in Europe and the US, the hidden corruption of European governments — as was the case in Hungary through credits given for atomic energy projects or in France through support for the (extreme right-wing party) of Le Pen. However, the main instrument for disturbances inside Ukraine is the corrupt pro-Russian fifth column that is being coordinated here by Firtash and Liovochkin. Their security is supposedly guaranteed by agreements on immunity and mutual non-aggression reached in Vienna with president Petro Poroshenko before the elections.

Their influence is wielded through several political projects, including the Opposition bloc (representing former Party of Regions members — Ed.), a number of deputies in the Petro Poroshenko bloc faction, the People’s Will faction and several other factions. Criminal cases that have been initiated against members of this new “immune” group, such as the case against (Yevhen) Bakulin (former chairman of the national gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy, accused of massive corruption under Yanukovych — Ed.) regarding purchase of the towers are being successfully closed down by the prosecution.

This group manipulates the public through numerous media resources, of which the main one is the Inter channel. Under public pressure, Inter supposedly registered an unknown company in Cyprus which supposedly bought out the percentage owned by Russia’s Channel One. In fact, this deal is fictitious and, according to sources, no funds have ever been received by ORT (Russian Public TV) for this deal. That is why it was important to immediately pass a law on transparency of media holdings, which would have protected society from the manipulations of Russian propaganda and the Ukrainian oligarchs in the service of a neighboring country. But Lyovochkin’s  lobbyists in the Verkhovna Rada are doing everything to kill the bill. As Olha Chervakova, former Inter employee and now a Ukrainian deputy explains:

“Our committee studied the bill on media ownership and transparency introduced by Kniazhytskyi and Denysenko about four weeks ago and rejected it as meaningless and completely unprofessional.”

In fact, the law is professional and badly needed. The only way to avoid anti-Ukrainian reprisals is to unmask those who are manipulating the public. Serhiy Lyovochkin, one of the leaders of the pro-Russian revanchist forces, a politician who calls himself the owner of the Inter channel and who is shaping its editorial stance, revealed the plans for realizing this retribution. In an interview with the Apostroph publication he answered the question on possible “paths” to new parliamentary elections:

“We have the experience of 2007 when the president dissolved the parliament. Another possibility granted by the Constitution is to respond to conflicts in the coalition. I wish they did not exist and for the coalition to work for a long time and effectively. But, unfortunately, they do exist. And this is not in the interest of the parliament and the Ukrainian people. The next time we will have what we have seen already:  society using civic mechanisms — protests — to put pressure on the political system. I do not exclude such a scenario in the event that the parliament does not perform its functions effectively.”

What does this mean? It only means that Lyovochkin and Firtash will put pressure on Poroshenko to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada, that they will undermine the coalition in order to spread unrest and that they will finance various social organizations and movements to organize various protests. All this will happen against the backdrop of a possible attack by Russian and pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The fact that such an attack is being prepared is indicated by the constant delivery of weapons to the occupied territories. And if the rifle is hanging on the wall and the propaganda channel with unknown ownership has its mouth open already, they will undoubtedly both shout and shoot.

Note: Mykola Kniazhytsky is a member of Verkhovna Rada elected on the People’s Front party list. He runs the Ukrainian Internet television station Espreso TV, which was one of the main media sources to broadcast news on the Euromaidan protests last year.  

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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