Analytical review of the week No. 107 of 03/14/2021.

INTERNAL POLICY.

Briefly:

This week, the struggle for influence on the judicial system of Ukraine continued. The presidential office has tried to do everything possible to establish its control over the judicial system and minimize foreign influence on it, despite the fact that the field for maneuver in this direction is becoming less and less. Despite the demands of Western partners not to hold a congress of judges until the rules for selecting members of the High Council of Justice and the Constitutional Court have been changed, the congress nevertheless took place. 4 members of the High Council of Justice and 32 members of the Council of Judges were elected.

In addition, in continuation of the trend towards administrative suppression of political opponents of the authorities, steps are being taken to ensure comprehensive control of the president and his team over the media sphere, and new attempts are being made to prosecute representatives of the "anti-Western" opposition. At the same time, the president makes it clear that the camp of P. Poroshenko, as a competitor in the “patriotic” electoral segment, will not be left without attention.

In general, the government seeks to establish full control over all key and strategically important areas in the country, while demonstrating to the public that this is being done in order to fulfill election promises. In fact, the implementation of measures that would really improve the life of the population is not taking place.

In the general trend, the government’s orientation toward external Western governance remains unchanged.

1. Forum "Ukraine 30. Culture, media, tourism". Results

This week, from 9 to 11 March, the All-Ukrainian Forum "Ukraine 30. Culture, Media, Tourism" was held. The organizers and participants of the event spoke about freedom of speech and propaganda, the future of Ukrainian culture and creative industries in Ukraine.

The forum was opened by Vladimir Zelensky. During his speech, he signaled to the main opponents of the government that they will continue to pursue the policy of “tightening the screws”, depriving them, first of all, of media resources.

Such actions will primarily be directed against the "anti-Western" opposition.

In support of this thesis, on Tuesday, February 26, the SBU interrogated the chairman of the political council of the Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk in the case of an audio recording of the alleged conversation between Medvedchuk and Surkov. Ex-President Petro Poroshenko was also summoned to the SBU. In addition, the Ministry of Justice appealed to the District Administrative Court of Kiev with a demand to ban the activities of the Sharia Party.

At the forum, V. Zelensky sent a harsh message to V. Medvedchuk that everything possible would be done so that his TV channels would stop broadcasting even on YouTube, while simultaneously sending “hello” to Spain to A. Shariy. He also said that with the support and supervision of Western partners in Ukraine, a Center for Counteraction to Disinformation will be created in which so-called "fact-checkers" will be involved.

From the above, it follows that today the most important priority for the president and his team is to ensure comprehensive control over the information space.

At the same time, the president emphasized that informationally our country is attacked not only from the outside, but also from within. Quote:

“When“ big patriots ”lie to citizens about Novye Sanzhary, about the fact that the defenders at the front are forbidden to shoot, about plates of borscht, or when they call the vaccine a word that actually characterizes the whole essence of their actions.”

By this he made it clear that he would not be left without attention, and so-called. "National-patriotic opposition" headed by P. Poroshenko.

In general, an excessive obsession with the media sphere demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding by the current authorities of how public administration works. Unable to change the real state of affairs in the economy, a peaceful settlement in Donbass, and a number of other important issues, they believe that their own rating can be saved by banning criticism in the media. However, the authorities' miscalculation is that the ban on public voicing criticism will not remove key problems in the economy and other areas. This means that it will not raise the presidential and party ratings to the previous heights. With the help of a monopoly on information and banal PR, it is impossible to stop dissatisfaction with the authorities caused by objective reasons. In order to really raise the rating, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of its fall (that is, to solve the key problems for society), and not to fight with the consequence in the form of criticism from opponents.

2. Meeting of the NSDC and its decisions.

 

At a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, which took place on Thursday 11 March, the following decisions were made:

The SBU will check for involvement in high treason 236 deputies who supported in 2010 the ratification of the "Kharkiv agreements" on the extension of the stay of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. In addition, the council extended the sanctions against two Russian banks and decided to nationalize the Motor Sich plant by paying compensation to investors. In addition, the NSDC ordered an inspection of the Donetskoblgaz company, which was trying to turn off the boiler houses in the Donetsk region due to debts.

Another landmark decision of the NSDC is the creation of a "Center for Countering Disinformation and Propaganda" under this structure. According to A. Danilov, the head of this structure will be appointed by the president, and it should start earning from next Tuesday.

Attention is drawn to the statements of opinion leaders loyal to the Office of the President that the so-called. "Fact checkers". When this word is pronounced in Ukraine, they usually mean the StopFake organization, which works for American and British grants. This organization has the status of the official moderator of the Ukrainian segment of the social network Facebook. There are clear signs of political bias in her work (an attempt to declare everything that contradicts the ideology of the organization as "fake and hostile propaganda"; attempts to call this or that information "false" without providing adequate evidence, etc.). If such a structure is involved in assessing what is considered true and false information at the state level, it threatens to introduce censorship on an ideological basis, which directly contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.

Also, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexei Danilov said that at the next meeting of the NSDC they will continue to consider sanctions against individuals. It is possible that Igor Kolomoisky may be among them. This will largely depend on whether the United States insists on imposing economic restrictions against him.

Regarding Motor Sich, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has already stated that Beijing insists on resolving the issue "in the right way", quote:

"We demand that Ukraine take into account the legal rights of Chinese enterprises and investors."

The new nationalization can negatively affect the situation with the orders and the functioning of this enterprise.

The decisions taken by the NSDC this week fully fit into the previously emerging trend of “tightening the screws” in the information and political-ideological spheres. They solve several problems at once. First, the announcement of treason cases against deputies during the reign of V. Yanukovych allows not to slow down the degree of demonstration of a "strong hand". This is necessary in order to maintain control over the bureaucratic apparatus on the part of the president. Secondly, potential treason cases are a "hook" on which you can keep many former and current Ukrainian politicians, forcing them to accept the president's conditions in everything. Thirdly, the center for countering disinformation can become a direct instrument of ideological control over the information field in the hands of the president.

It is also worth noting that the NSDC plays a role similar to the role of the "state council" or "politburo" - a collective governing body that does not formally have broad powers, but in practice has unlimited possibilities. Despite the fact that the role of the president himself is decreasing, at the same time this allows V. Zelensky to share responsibility for the most difficult decisions that go beyond the law, but necessary for him to put pressure on opponents who created serious information problems and political competition for the authorities.

3. The Congress of Judges elected four members of the High Council of Justice.

 

This week the XVIII Congress of Judges of Ukraine took place, which took place in Kiev at the President Hotel on March 9-11. The delegates of the congress elected 4 members of the High Council of Justice, 32 members of the Council of Judges of Ukraine and could not elect a member of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

At the same time, on March 9, protesters gathered near the "President of the Hotel" demanding not to hold a congress of judges until the rules for selecting members of the High Council of Justice and the Constitutional Court were changed. The action was called "No to the Congress of Judicial Wickedness". Among the organizers were representatives of the organizations "Automaidan" and "Anti-Corruption Center". In the ranks of the protesters, there were also activists who are holding rallies in support of the Odessa right-wing radical Sergei Sternenko and expect to get his sentence canceled.

In turn, almost the same demands were voiced by the G7 ambassadors, who called on the congress of judges to postpone the appointment to the High Council of Justice and the Constitutional Court, pending the establishment of "transparent and credible selection processes".

Nevertheless, the congress and the election of judges took place despite the protests and demands of the Western embassies.

It is reported that four SCJ candidates were previously agreed by all parties, including the Office of the President. From this list, three candidates were approved, and one (Alexander Panasyuk, Vinnitsa Court of Appeal) did not pass. Inna Plakhtiy was elected instead (judge of the Lutsk city district court of the Volyn region).

The above-described congress of judges became indicative of the struggle for control over the judicial system between the Office of the President and Western creditors of Ukraine. Insisting on the conduct of "transparent processes for the selection of judges" (and in fact, on the participation of their agents of influence in these processes), foreign creditors are trying to make Ukrainian courts independent from the authorities, but dependent on themselves. Taking into account the results of the congress (three candidates of the SCJ were agreed with Bankova), it can be concluded that, contrary to the demands of the IMF and international partners, who expect direct access to the selection of judges and control over their work, the Office of the President is actively moving towards strengthening its influence on the judicial system in the country.

4. The congress of the Servant of the People party approved the new edition of the party charter.

 

On Saturday, March 13, the Congress of the Servant of the People party was held at the Parkovy Exhibition and Convention Center during which a new version of the charter was approved and the organizational structure of the party.

The party structure provides for two large governing bodies: the political council - will form the party congress; it will interact with the faction, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Office of the President. It must include 73 members, 62 of whom elected the convention on Saturday. The remaining 11 seats will be able to be completed in the process. And also the National Council of Communities - it will include the heads of all regional organizations. The body will be responsible for regional policy, its leadership includes deputy Alexander Dubinsky, who was previously expelled from the Servant people ".

Vladimir Zelensky was present at the party congress. He called on the Servant of the People deputies to be united and vote unanimously for important bills, saying that he would cleanse the team of "sent Cossacks and random people." It should be said that for the Office of the President, the problem of unmanageability and lack of control of individual parliamentary groups of the mono-majority remains unresolved. The president's message makes it clear that all possible means will be used to "tighten the screws" and establish strict intra-factional discipline.

In addition, the president signals regional officials to take initiative and responsibility.

The main strategic directions of the party's doctrine were: peace in Ukraine and the end of the war, anti-corruption and judicial reforms, decentralization, investment, business reforms, the launch of new markets, "Big construction", democracy. They talk about building "independent media, free from propaganda clichés and hate speech," perhaps, in this matter, in fact, one should expect the continuation of building a system of control over the information space. The course is being set for integration into Europe and NATO. "Servants of the People" want to sign a new association agreement, which will include "sectoral integration" with the European Union. Among the main challenges are called "Russian aggression" and corruption.

The ideology of the party is "Ukrainian centrism". At the same time, it is specified that no ideology can be an object of worship, only useful things will be taken from all. That is, a trend has been announced for more conservative approaches. But the real policy of the authorities, in fact, more and more often gives a tilt "to the right".

The cessation of the war is spoken of in the context of the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, that is, until the Donbass and Crimea return to Ukraine, there will be a complete offensive of peace in the country. In parallel to this, statements are made about overcoming the split in society "to the east and west, into" Natsiks "and" Vatniks, " discrimination and ousting of the Russian language from practically all spheres of life of the Ukrainian society.At the same time, in the event of the return of Donbass and Crimea, the law on "transition period" will be applied, the norms of which in this content provide for the infringement of the rights and freedoms of the population of these territories

The doctrine divides the concepts of gender and gender - both are proposed to be protected from discrimination, in this issue the party is moving forward within the framework of the general Western left-liberal trend. Also "Servant of the People" is launching the "Ze! Women" movement to implement the policy of equality at the national and local levels. Through this alliance, parliamentarians will work to strengthen the participation of women in the political process.

In general, the reformatting of the party's doctrine and structure can be viewed in the context of the president trying to satisfy citizens' demand for a “strong hand”, demonstrating to the Ukrainian society that all important processes in the country are under his control in order to fulfill the main election promises. But in fact, the changes being carried out for the most part do not contain measures or actions that would directly improve the life of the population of Ukraine, on the contrary, they are more often of a declarative nature, and in some cases are aimed at infringing or suppressing individual rights and freedoms of citizens. At the same time, the orientation of the current government towards external control from the United States remains unchanged.

FOREIGN POLICY.

Briefly:

In world politics, the "vaccine race" continues to gain momentum. A variety of factors play a role in it, from transnational pharmaceutical lobbying to the real side effects of certain drugs identified in the course of their use. The countries that were the first to vaccinate the vast majority of their populations will receive clear economic advantages in the post-covid world, since they will be able to lift quarantine restrictions faster than others and return to the usual mode of economic activity.

At the same time, in different countries of the world, attempts are increasingly being made to subordinate American social networks to national legislation, or to block them. This is due to the ideological and political dependence of American technology corporations on the democratic part of the American elite, which was revealed during the recent presidential elections in the United States.

1. Scandalous interview of the former British prince Harry and his wife Megan.

On March 7, a video interview was published between the former Prince (now the Duke of Sussex) Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the famous American presenter Oprah Winfrey. Interest in their personalities was sparked by the fact that at the beginning of last year, Harry and Megan were, in fact, expelled from the royal family for inappropriate behavior. Officially, this was formalized as a "renunciation of the duties of members of the royal family."

Returning to the interview, we note that in it Megan said that during her stay in the palace she felt like a prisoner. Immediately after the wedding ceremony, her driver's license, passport and bank cards were taken away from her.

According to Meghan, she faced the cold attitude of some family members. This coldness touched even the then unborn son of Archie. They refused to give him a title and protection, and one of the members of the royal family asked how dark the color of his child's skin could be, because Megan is a mulatto.

All this led to the fact that Megan felt lonely and even began to have thoughts of suicide. She told Prince Harry about it, but his conversations with the family led to nothing. After that, the couple decided to leave.

This is how the situation looks as described by Megan herself and her husband.

In fact, there is reason to believe that everything was somewhat different. The fact is that the youngest grandson of Queen Harry has always been a black sheep against the background of other members of the crowned family. Either in Nazi uniform he will come to a party, then in some other scandal please. Even service in Afghanistan failed to discipline the prince. He chose a bride to match.

In view of the above, the queen immediately disliked Megan. Even in the photo from the wedding held in 2018, it was noticeable. Later, as Megan and Harry became self-willed, their condemnation from the queen and other members of the royal family only intensified. This ultimately led to the expulsion of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from the palace, after which they settled in California in the United States.

In fact, Megan's claims to the royal family, expressed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, it is worth noting that most of them are frankly far-fetched. For example, she claims that her son was not given the title of duke, but according to British dynastic law, the youngest great-grandson of a king or queen is not entitled to this title.

Or here's the story with the rights: by protocol, members of the royal family always drive in a car. Why she is right in such a situation is not clear.

To the demarche of the former prince and his wife, the royal family responded pragmatically and with restraint. On March 9, on behalf of the Queen, the following statement appeared on the Buckingham Palace website:

“The whole family was upset when they found out how difficult the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

The issues raised, especially those related to race, are troubling. While some memories may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be privately reviewed by the [royal] family. "

In other words, the British royal family decided to release the situation on the brakes, calling it a "family affair".

However, it seems to us that this whole story has a political connotation.

As we wrote above, Harry and Megan now live in the United States. And not just in the United States, but in the most liberal of all liberal states - California. In the British press, they are often referred to as “the Californian couple”.

The former prince and his wife lead an emphatically American lifestyle. Try to talk and dress appropriately. In general, they demonstrate liberal sentiments in every possible way. Raising the topic of the alleged "racism" of the royal family - from the same series.

Considering that representatives of the old conservative elites, whose support is the institution of the monarchy, have strengthened in Britain in recent years and began to pursue a fairly independent policy, it can be assumed that the new American administration is using Harry and Meghan as a battering ram against the British royal family.

Undermining the Queen's authority in British society would mean a decrease in the popularity of conservatives and their ideas, and as a result - a possible abandonment of attempts to restore the old British zones of influence in the Middle East and in other regions, which London began to undertake after Brexit.

Considering the above, we can conclude that the scandal surrounding the interview with Harry and Megan is not just another piece of news from the category of "gossip", but quite a serious information attack by the liberal American elites on the conservative British.

2. Competition in the global vaccine race is intensifying.

 

Last week, a number of European countries immediately abandoned the use of the British vaccine against the AstraZeneca coronavirus. At the same time, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V is being certified and is being used in more and more countries.

Austria was the first to abandon AstraZeneca last weekend. The cause was the death of several vaccinated people, who developed blood clots after vaccination. The Austrian example was followed by Italy, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Thailand - only nine countries, according to Bloomberg, refused the British vaccine.

Germany and France, the leaders of the European Union, consider the fears unfounded and support the continuation of the vaccination of AstraZeneca. And although a few dozen people who experience blood clotting problems after vaccination are a negligible percentage against the background of millions of vaccinated people, the very fact of deaths of people is a serious demoralizing factor when using AstraZeneca.

Against this background, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, on the contrary, is conquering new markets. Last week, the use of the drug was approved by Azerbaijan, Morocco and a number of other African and South American countries. In just the last two months, more than 50 countries have certified and started purchasing the Russian vaccine. In the near future, the official certification of the drug EMA, the relevant department of the European Union, is expected. Production of "Sputnik V" is going to be launched in Italy, China, Serbia, Belarus and Brazil.

Against this background, a negative situation is developing in Ukraine, where the authorities were able to lobby for the supply of only the Indian vaccine "Covishield". In the future, this may cause some problems with the recognition of the vaccination of Ukrainian citizens by a number of foreign countries and, as a result, with their crossing the border. For example, Israel refused to certify the drug used to vaccinate the inhabitants of Ukraine, which in the future may make it impossible for them to visit this country.

It should be noted that the global "vaccine race" is quite natural. It reflects the competition between different countries and their scientific and technical capabilities, reflects an objective struggle for markets, and serves to strengthen the international prestige of vaccine developers. In fact, the struggle for vaccination as such and vaccination with some specific vaccines, in its importance in the media space, surpassed the coronavirus pandemic itself, from which people continue to die.

3. The slowdown of the social network Twitter by Russia marks the continuation of the division of the global Internet into spheres of influence.

 

On March 10, Roskomnadzor began to limit the speed of the social network Twitter in Russia. The reason for the measures introduced in the department was called the platform's failure to remove the prohibited content. Moreover, in case of failure to comply with the decision of the regulator (that is, almost certainly), the social network can be completely blocked on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Pressure on social media to ensure that online platforms comply with national laws in different countries is nothing new. The same Twitter is completely banned in China, Iran and North Korea, periodically blocked in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Venezuela and Turkmenistan. The social network also removed various content at the request of law enforcement agencies in Israel, France, Germany and other countries.

Such requests from governments are explained by the popularity of social networks, reaching hundreds of millions and billions of people, and as a result - by their impact on society. Demands for the removal of certain content by Internet platforms can be prompted by both political and social issues. In the political case, the restriction of Twitter's work is fully explained by the negative experience of using the messenger during the Arab Spring, the Euromaidan events and other protests in a number of countries. Twitter also introduced de facto censorship and limited the statements of conservative politicians from the United States, introducing a shadow ban and deplatforming (deleting accounts on social networks) of opinion leaders up to the ex-President of the United States Donald Trump.

At the same time, the problem is not limited to political issues. Twitter and other social networks are rather dismissive of posting pornography, information about buying and using drugs, inducing suicide of minors, posting personal data of law enforcement officers, etc. on their platforms. In other words, sometimes Internet censorship is conditioned by the interests of not only state, but also public security.

This is what motivated the decision of Roskomnadzor to limit the speed of Twitter in the Russian Federation. Contrary to the predictions of skeptics, the social network did experience serious problems in its work. The tweet feed was slow to load, and images and videos were completely inaccessible. Against this background, Twitter shares fell by 6% over the day.

The actions of the regulator are legally justified by the "law on the sovereign Internet" adopted in 2019. According to him, providers installed special software at traffic exchange points to analyze and filter traffic (Deep Packet Inspection, DPI), which in turn allows Roskomnadzor to completely manage traffic on the Runet. The slowdown of Twitter on March 10 was the first experience of applying this law "in the field."

In general, in recent years, there has been a division of the world into various Internet zones: Western, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, etc. These zones are more or less self-sufficient from the point of providing citizens with access to Internet services. We are talking about Internet search engines (Google, Baidu, Yandex), social networks and instant messengers (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Telegram, VKontakte), antivirus programs, self-driving cars, 5G networks, the Internet of things, ecosystems for the provision of taxi services, delivery, government services, etc.

The West (mainly the USA), Russia and China have strong positions in all of the above areas. At present, against the background of aggravated geopolitical competition, competition and technical competition is intensifying in the sphere of influence of Internet companies on states that have not yet joined any of the platforms. The United States, as the pioneers of the Internet, has an undeniable priority in this area.

At the same time, their solutions, firstly, are more expensive, and secondly, they are associated with the provision of ideological pressure on the ruling regimes. In this regard, Russia and China, which are able to offer cheaper, at the same time, high-quality Internet solutions devoid of imposed ideology, obviously have good chances in the competition with the United States (at least in their zones of political influence). The restriction of Twitter work in Russia and the demonstration of the success of Russian software will contribute to the increased interest of other countries and the borrowing of Russian experience and technologies within the framework of the global division of digital zones of influence.

4. Protests against the coup in Myanmar.

 

On March 3, reports emerged that 38 people were killed in the violent crackdown on protests in Myanmar. Christine Schraner-Burgener, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Myanmar, said this at a briefing in New York. According to her, last Wednesday was the bloodiest day for this country in the past month since the military seized power.

In total, since February 1, according to the UN, more than 50 people have died as a result of the actions of the Myanmar security forces.

Since the military seized power, protests have continued across Myanmar, with national security forces reportedly using deadly weapons to disperse them. Christine Schraner Burgener condemned the use of excessive force by the Myanmar security forces in the strongest possible terms, noting that it led to the death and injury of people. In recent days, 1,200 people have been arrested in Myanmar, she said. Many families cannot find out where their relatives are being kept. There are also restrictions on the use of the Internet.

The British Air Force this week published an article about where the Myanmar military gets funding. And this is not only about the state budget.

According to the newspaper, the Myanmar military - the leaders of the recent coup - are financed from a large part of the national budget. But the military is also generating huge hidden profits from sprawling commercial activities.

The Myanmar military started doing business after Ne Win's socialist coup in 1962.

For years, army battalions had to be self-sufficient. They were encouraged to participate in local joint stock companies in order to generate profits to finance their operations.

Although this practice was discontinued, two military conglomerates were created in the 1990s when the government began to privatize state-owned enterprises.

Both Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) have since become a key source of wealth for the local military, investing in everything from banking and mining to tobacco and tourism. MEHL also operates a military pension fund.

Several military leaders and their families also have extensive business interests and have been subject to sanctions in the past.

For example, Aung Pyae Sone - the son of the coup leader General Min Aung Hlian - owns several companies, including a beach resort, and a controlling stake in the national telecom operator Mytel.

The full extent of these business interests is difficult to quantify. However, the military's business influence remains significant despite recent democratic reforms, and the coup may in part be an attempt to protect these financial interests.

Despite the fact that many experts tried to find a Chinese, or even a Russian trace in the recent coup in Myanmar, it seems to us that its main reasons were, nevertheless, of an internal political nature.

Of course, this does not exclude the possibility that great powers and regional states like India have their own interests in Myanmar. However, the idea that the local military decided to take control of the state after the local liberals wanted to deprive them of their business explains what is happening much more fully than various conspiracy theories.

 

ECONOMY.

Briefly:

Cooperation with the IMF and obtaining new loans from it continues to be a key topic in the Ukrainian economy. The Fund puts forward demands of a political and economic nature, the fulfillment of which will inevitably negatively affect the living standards of the population. For this reason, the Ukrainian authorities are delaying their implementation.

Another trend that has emerged recently and manifests itself both in politics and in the economy is the pressure of the "collective West" on Igor Kolomoisky with the aim of "declassing" him.

1. Failed mission: there will be no IMF tranche in the first quarter.

This week, IMF Resident Representative in Ukraine Josta Lyngman said the IMF was unable to gain more influence in the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) in terms of the regulatory framework for banking supervision. The IMF mission is also not satisfied with the current level of the medium-term fiscal deficit, that is, the shortfall in funds to the state budget from tax collection. Lyngman also noted the IMF's concerns about judicial reform and the preservation of the anti-corruption infrastructure. The energy sector is also among the priorities of the IMF in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Denis Shmygal says directly that in order to satisfy the IMF, Ukraine needs to strengthen its work in the direction of anti-corruption legislation, energy, and fiscal consolidation, that is, collecting more taxes from the population. Only after successfully resolving all these issues to please the IMF, Ukraine can count on the next tranche.

In turn, the People's Deputy from the Servant of the People faction, Daniil Getmantsev, did not see a problem in the absence of the next tranche of the IMF. Getmantsev's optimistic rhetoric regarding the unreceived IMF tranche is more likely him putting on a happy face, that is, it indicates the impossibility of receiving the next IMF tranche without another round of fiscalization policy and, as an immediate consequence, without a drop in the rating of Servant of the People and President Zelensky ... This time, the government decided to maintain its rating and its position (stability on the streets), sacrificing cooperation with the IMF in the first quarter of 2021.

2. The head of the Naftogaz Supervisory Board supported the separation of Ukrnafta from Kolomoisky.

 

State-owned Naftogaz owns 50% + 1 shares of Ukrnafta. This week, the head of the supervisory board of NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine Claire Spottiswood announced the need to split Ukrnafta due to problems with decision-making among shareholders Spottiswood complains about the extreme opacity of financial statements for the majority owner (Naftogaz), which is unacceptable.

The proposals to split Ukrnafta should be considered in the context of the general situation around I. Kolomoisky, the detention of ex-top managers of PrivatBank, the investigation of schemes to withdraw almost 15 billion hryvnia from Ukrnafta in 2015, during the work of management close to Kolomoisky, US sanctions, lawsuits against Kolomoisky in the US, and so on. There is a purposeful policy to reduce the influence of I. Kolomoisky and, accordingly, the sources of his income.

3. The NSDC made a decision to nationalize Motor Sich.

 

This week the head of the Servant of the People party Alexander Kornienko announced the preparation of a bill on the nationalization of the Motor Sich enterprise within 2-3 weeks. The developers of the bill promise to take into account the interests of the company's investors, namely, on the provision of compensation. The Chinese investor has already threatened new lawsuits. At the moment, a Chinese investor (SkyRizon) has already filed a claim for $ 3.5 billion in international arbitration. If Ukraine refuses to comply with the arbitration award, it may order the arrest of Ukrainian assets around the world, namely in more than 160 countries of the world, including Ukraine itself.

Chinese internal media present the situation around the Motor Sich enterprise as an element of the global confrontation between China and the United States. In other words, they do not blame Ukraine itself, which made a decision on the future nationalization of the enterprise under US pressure. Public opinion in China is shaped in such a way as not to create an image of an enemy from Ukraine, but rather reinforces the general anti-American narrative in the Chinese media by presenting Ukraine as a victim of US influence.

4. Credit rating agency S&P has affirmed Ukraine's “B / B” rating with a stable outlook, but some risks remain.

Another signal for Ukraine with an “urgent recommendation” to continue cooperation with the IMF through the fulfillment of the requirements of this organization was the published rating by the credit rating agency S&P regarding the reliability of Ukraine as a borrower. At the moment, S&P has assigned a “B / B” credit rating to Ukraine. The agency hints that Ukraine must comply with the requirements of the IMF, since the agency recorded economic growth in Ukraine for 2020, as well as a positive balance of payments and a satisfactory state of public finances. The increased reserves do help Ukraine to do without loans for some time. The rating of Ukraine may decrease due to the refusal to cooperate with international credit organizations. The very fact of the approval of the next loan by international organizations as the IMF testifies to the confidence in Ukraine. The rating could rise next year if Ukraine accelerates the consolidation of public finances. S&P mentioned the need to ensure the independence of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). Ukraine does not lend money on international credit markets in January-February 2021. As a result, the government borrowed more money domestically. Credit rating agency Fitch has also assigned Ukraine a “B” rating with a stable outlook.

The current Ukrainian government resists the policy of fiscalization, as this will inevitably lead to a further drop in the rating. Instead of the IMF tranche, the government focused on the domestic borrowing market. Both the IMF and now the S&P insist on the continuation of lending in the external market in compliance with the relevant requirements of the IMF, namely the acceleration of the policy of fiscalization, or, in other words, "consolidation of public finances." External forces are forcing the Ukrainian government to choose between support from the West and a drop in the rating within the country.

CONCLUSION.

Summing up, we note that:

First, the Office of the President, acting through the NSDC, continues to suppress the information influence of political opponents. To this end, it was decided to create a “Center for Countering Disinformation”, which, given the practice of the last month and a half, could turn into a body of political and ideological censorship in the media. At the same time, political opponents and potential opponents of the authorities are subjected to pressure through the initiation of criminal cases against them under various articles, including Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (high treason). Pursuing such a policy, the OP “kills two birds with one stone”: it demonstrates strength, which ensures the loyalty and subordination of the bureaucratic apparatus; and also "stimulates the pliability" of various players in the political field of Ukraine.

Second, this week's congress of judges has once again exposed a contradiction between the Office of the President and Western creditors as to which of them will control the judicial branch of power in Ukraine after its reform.

Third, the "vaccine race" continues to gain momentum in world politics. A variety of factors play a role in it, from transnational pharmaceutical lobbying to the real side effects of certain drugs identified in the course of their use. The countries that were the first to vaccinate the vast majority of their populations will receive clear economic advantages in the post-covid world, since they will be able to lift quarantine restrictions faster than others and return to the usual mode of economic activity.

Fourthly, in different countries of the world, attempts are increasingly being made to subordinate American social networks to national legislation, or to block them. This is due to the ideological and political dependence of American technology corporations on the democratic part of the American elite, which was revealed during the recent presidential elections in the United States. The slowdown in the work of the social network “Twitter” on the territory of the Russian Federation that occurred this week should be viewed in this context.

Fifth, the scandalous interview of the former British prince Harry and his wife to the American journalist Oprah Winfrey is not just a "part of the gossip column", but a deliberate information attack by the American liberal elites on the conservative elites, which have intensified in Great Britain after the "Brexit". Unlike the previous administration of Donald Trump, it is much more difficult for the Joe Biden administration to find common ground with British conservatives led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and under the banner of Queen Elizabeth II. Recently, the British have made attempts to restore their influence in traditional zones of interest, including the Middle East, Turkey, and several other countries and regions. Obviously, this policy of London does not suit the American Democrats. The provocation with Harry and Meghan's interviews was obviously intended to defame the royal family.

Sixth, cooperation with the IMF and obtaining new loans from it continues to be a key topic in the Ukrainian economy. The Fund puts forward demands of a political and economic nature, the fulfillment of which will inevitably negatively affect the living standards of the population. For this reason, the Ukrainian authorities are delaying their implementation. Another trend that has emerged recently and manifests itself both in politics and in the economy is the pressure of the "collective West" on Igor Kolomoisky with the aim of "declassing" him.

Edited by:

Ruslan Bortnik,

Daniil Bogatyrev.

The authors:

Daniil Bogatyrev,

Maxim Semyonov,

Oksana Krasovskaya,

Andrey Timchenko.