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Ukraine’s game of chess: one win, one loss & one draw

Article by: Valeriy Pekar
Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Events in Ukraine are moving faster and faster and becoming more and more complicated. We need an appropriate, but simple picture of what is actually happening in this country. Here it is…

Ukraine is currently playing three chess games on three different chess boards: one related to economy, the second to the war, and the third to justice. These are the key topics on Ukraine’s agenda. The games are being played by three separate teams with different motivations, experience and competence.

  1. The “economy” game is headed by the Ukrainian government, and Ukraine will win this game thanks to good strategic policy and professionalism. Economic growth will be achieved; opening the land market, large-scale privatization and other measures will definitely work.
  2. The “war” game is being played by the president and his closest aides. This is the game that Ukraine will lose due to general incompetence and Russia’s hard stance. The president has no military or diplomatic advisers, and he himself truly believes that he will be able reach a mutually beneficial agreement with Putin.
  3. The “justice” game is being played by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Bohdan and other wheeler-dealers. This game will end in a draw. Democracy, which is directly threatened by the concentration of power in the Ukrainian parliament, also applies to this game. Pressure exerted by foreign partners and civil society will not allow the government to make too many concessions to certain interest groups, but a fair and independent justice system cannot be expected. (True, some experts believe that recent events will lead to a losing game, but personally, I don’t think so.)

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) is not a player in these games. It is a technical tool that sits quietly on the sidelines and ensures that the games on all three boards are being played: a win on the first board, a loss on the second, and a draw on the third.

In the end, it seems that we arrive at an overall draw: one win, one loss and one draw. But, it’s not so…

The fact is that the chess games (boards) are not the same. There is an older game and there is a newer/younger game. Seniority has more power and influence, of course.

War is the oldest game. If the game is lost, everything else will become useless and irrelevant. If the terrorist “republics” are integrated into Ukraine, there will be neither justice nor economic growth.

Justice is the second game. If there is no honest justice system, if there is pressure from the “sylovyky” (influential figures in law enforcement and security agencies-Ed), there will be no economic growth.

Economy is the newest/youngest game. However, to play correctly and win, Ukraine must be well positioned on the other two chess boards.

It should be noted that each game is played at a different speed. In the war game, things can change in a matter of days. In the justice game, the pace is lower, and can be measured in weeks, maximally in months. The economy game is played at the slowest pace; it takes years to change the outcome.

Such is the general picture.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that civil society is – more precisely, it is meant to be – an active player in the second game, and probably in all three.

(This text first appeared as a Facebook post; subsequently, it was discussed with other persons and significantly expanded).

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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