Analytical review of the week No. 111 of 04/11/2021.
ANALYTICAL REVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EVENTS OF THE WEEK
Against the backdrop of a deadlock in all negotiation formats for a peaceful settlement in Donbass, the parties demonstrate strength by moving troops near the conflict zone, and a sluggish positional war continues on the contact line with periodic casualties and destruction.
Also, over the past half month, the epidemiological situation in the country has deteriorated sharply. It can be stated that the government has failed in the fight against the pandemic and is catastrophically lagging behind in terms of vaccination. Ukraine was among the first in the world in terms of morbidity and mortality from coronavirus. Responsibility for toughening anti-epidemic restrictions in Kiev is shifted to local authorities. Due to the lack of the necessary resources for the latter to fully combat the pandemic, this strategy is absolutely counterproductive.
Despite the fact that Servant of the People and the President still manage to keep the first places in the ratings, the political force has no longer a large gap from other parties and candidates. In the current situation in the country, in the absence of concrete steps to resolve the most pressing issues for society, the ruling party may lose its leading position in the ratings.
1. V. Zelensky's visit to Donbass. The situation around the peaceful settlement.
On April 8, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a trip to Donbass. He visited the positions on the front line of the defense, where the largest number of ceasefire violations were recorded. The President's Office stressed that V. Zelensky, as the supreme commander-in-chief, talked with the military in order to maintain their morale.
This week, the losses of the Ukrainian military as a result of shelling increased significantly and, according to various sources, ranged from 3 to 11 people.
Deputy Prime Minister and member of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Alexei Reznikov said that the Ukrainian side will not participate in the meetings in Minsk. In his opinion, at present Belarus “is under the influence” of the Russian Federation and in Kiev “there is no trust in this country.” Head of the Ukrainian delegation at TCG Leonid Kravchuk put forward the idea of transferring the meetings to Poland. However, from a practical point of view, this is unrealizable, since the Russian side will not agree to change the negotiating platform, and representatives of the separatists will not be able to come to Warsaw.
Also this week, President V. Zelensky, during a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussing the situation in Donbass, called NATO membership the only way to end the war. The Kremlin said that this is deeply unacceptable for residents of the uncontrolled territories and will further aggravate the situation.
In connection with the escalation of the conflict, the Ukrainian delegation asked the OSCE leadership to support Ukraine's initiative to convene an emergency meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group. As a result of the meeting of the trilateral contact group, all parties to the negotiations verbally agreed on the need to return to compliance with the ceasefire in Donbass, but it was not possible to sign a joint statement.
In addition, according to Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of the President's Office in charge of international affairs, the Kremlin refuses to conduct negotiations in the Normandy format.
Later, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak said that if Kiev starts hostilities in Donbass, Russia is ready to protect the inhabitants of the region. He noted that Russia is not seeking to "cut the sovereignty" of Ukraine or seize its territory, but "is interested in a stable state at its borders." At the same time, Russia is convinced that the actions of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass are a PR-action, most likely there are no real intentions to unleash hostilities. Earlier, the Kremlin said that the movement of the Russian army along the borders with Ukraine should not cause concern to other countries, since it does not pose a threat to them. In addition, D. Kozak said that the next talks between the advisers of the leaders of the Normandy Four countries are scheduled for April 19.
The processes taking place at the moment in Donbass, as well as diplomatic activity around the aggravation on the line of contact, are associated with the deadlock of negotiations on a peaceful settlement in the "Minsk" and "Normandy" formats. The impossibility of a further peaceful settlement rests on the unwillingness / impossibility of fulfilling the political points of the Set of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015 and the attempts of the Ukrainian side to change the sequence of points in this document, or even completely rewrite it; the tough position of the Russian Federation on the literal implementation of the Agreements.
The demonstration of force by both sides (open movement of columns of military equipment), taking place near the zone of armed conflict, is intended to reinforce their position in the negotiations. Both sides are trying to blackmail each other with a potential attempt to forcefully return the uncontrolled territories. As a result, Russia may have to use troops and be subject to new sanctions from the West (which is especially sensitive on the eve of the completion of Nord Stream 2), and for Ukraine there are risks of the existence of a state (which is why Russian troops are concentrated along the entire border with Ukraine, and not only on the borders with territories not controlled by Kiev).
In fact, neither side is interested in starting a full-scale war. Therefore, the situation on the line of contact in the foreseeable future is likely to remain within the framework of a sluggish positional conflict with regular casualties and destruction. In the absence of a political settlement, any ceasefire agreement will sooner or later be violated. The keys to a political settlement are in the hands of the Russian Federation, the United States and the EU.
2. Quarantine and the situation with the coronavirus in the country.
This week, Ukraine broke all records and took first place in Europe and seventh in the world in morbidity and mortality from coronavirus. The situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the country is getting complicated despite the quarantine restrictions.
Over 19 thousand infections, over four hundred deaths and about 4 thousand hospitalized are recorded per day. At the same time, the number of vaccinated in the country per 41 million inhabitants is 353 thousand people, or 0.85% of the population. Of these, only 5 people were fully vaccinated (that is, received 2 doses of the vaccine).
On April 6, it became known that Ukraine signed a contract with Pfizer for 10 million doses of vaccine. They will be delivered by the end of 2021. The first 117 thousand will arrive on April 14. At the same time, 48 million doses of vaccine are needed to vaccinate 70% of the adult population of Ukraine.
It can be stated that the government has failed in the fight against the pandemic and is catastrophically lagging behind in terms of vaccination. Therefore, one cannot expect that vaccination will somehow help stop the spread of the epidemic in the country in the near future. According to the latest forecasts, the Ministry of Health within a week - 10 days in Ukraine may be up to 30 thousand patients with COVID-19 per day.
At the end of March, the head of the Ministry of Health, Maxim Stepanov, said that the government prefers adaptive quarantine and does not plan to introduce a nationwide lockdown. The government also noted that local authorities can independently introduce additional restrictions.
The strict quarantine restrictions that were introduced in Kiev due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the worsening epidemiological situation may be extended until May 10. Mayor of Kiev V. Klitschko said that the total occupancy in communal medical institutions today is more than 77%. At the same time, a number of hospitals are already more than 100% full. He called on the government to urgently consider introducing a nationwide lockdown. Prime Minister Denis Shmygal refused and called the offer the mayor's political PR.
The introduction of strict quarantine restrictions due to the negative economic consequences of the first lockdown (a drop in the GDP level, the closure of jobs, an increase in unemployment, etc.) are becoming extremely undesirable for both society and the government. Despite the fact that the majority of citizens, namely 65% of those surveyed, support "strict quarantine". The closure of urban and intercity transport is not supported by almost 70% of the respondents.
As practice has shown, severe quarantine causes significant damage to the Ukrainian economy. So, in the second quarter of 2020. The country's GDP fell by 11.4%, and only after the relaxation of quarantine measures, the decline in GDP slowed down in the third quarter and, compared to 2019, amounted to 3.5%. Over the year, Ukraine's GDP fell by 8% or $ 12.44 billion.
Obviously, recalling last year's experience, at the moment the central authorities are trying to shift the political responsibility for the severe quarantine and, as a result, the economic problems of the population, onto the local authorities. From the point of view of combating the pandemic, this tactic is absolutely losing, since mayors and city councils do not have the necessary resources to independently carry out a comprehensive fight against a pandemic, which includes not only quarantine and vaccination, but also the expansion of bed capacity, the purchase of medicines, express testing, etc.
3. NABU conducted searches in the Kiev District Administrative Court. Suspicion of the brother of the UASK chairman P. Vovk.
On April 6, NABU reported that it exposed the receipt of $ 100 thousand of a bribe by two lawyers who promised to resolve the issue in a lawsuit through the head of the District Administrative Court Kiev (OASK) Pavel Vovk.
NABU detectives conducted searches in the courtroom and at the place of residence of the lawyers. As it became known, one of the lawyers is Pavel Vovk's brother Yuri Zontov. He is an employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service; he was suspended from work during the pre-trial investigation. Subsequently, the court sent Yuri Zontov into custody until June 4 with an alternative bail of 35 million hryvnias. In turn, the head of OASK Pavel Vovk called NABU a “circus offender body” and said that “as in all previous“ high-profile ”cases of NABU, there are no legal grounds, proper evidence and perspectives here. Since it will be impossible to prove the fact of transferring a bribe for making a judgment Vovk also noted that he has been living in an atmosphere of pressure from NABU, constant negative information campaigns, searches and selective disclosure of information from the pre-trial investigation for 6 years. Therefore, I have long been accustomed to provocations and violations on their part.
This case is an attempt to put pressure on the head of the UASC Pavel Vovk in a situation where the previous cases against him have essentially collapsed. It is possible that if the parties do not agree, then things will multiply, and the pressure will intensify. The OASK addresses many key issues. In fact, this court performs the functions of political arbitration in Ukraine, therefore it is of particular interest to anti-corruption structures. OASK today is one of the obstacles to establishing control over the Ukrainian judicial system by external players, while NABU is trying to facilitate the establishment of such control.
4. Sociology. Power ratings. The attitude of citizens to the main events in the country.
On April 9, the Sociological Group "Rating" published a study according to which V. Zelensky continues to lead in the presidential rating. 24.9% of respondents are ready to support him. In comparison with the poll published by the Rating group at the end of March (24.7%), the president's rating has not changed significantly. Other candidates also demonstrate relative stability of the rating: P. Poroshenko -13.1%; Yuri Boyko - 11.9%; Yulia Tymoshenko - 12.1%.
In the second round, in a pair of Zelensky against Poroshenko, Zelensky wins with a result of 64% by 36%. In a pair, Zelensky versus Tymoshenko - 57% by 43% (Zelensky wins). In a pair of Zelensky against Boyko - 67% to 33% (Zelensky wins). In a pair, Tymoshenko against Poroshenko - 59% to 41% (Tymoshenko wins). In a pair of Boyko against Poroshenko - almost parity of 51% to 49% (Boyko wins).
The leader in the parliamentary rating is "Servant of the People" - 22.9%. Since the end of March (20.8%), the rating has shown a slight upward trend of + 2%. Potentially, 4 parties will get into parliament, the rating of which demonstrates stability: “European Solidarity” - 14.6%; "Opposition platform - For life ”- 14.2%; "Fatherland" - 12.9%.
The rating of trust in politicians is also headed by Vladimir Zelensky, 45% of respondents trust him, 52% do not trust him. (balance - 7%) The rating has not changed since the end of March, despite the fact that since the beginning of March there has been an increase of + 5%. The rating is stable. The trust rating of the rest of the candidates is also stable and has not actually changed since the end of March.
Attitude of citizens to quarantine restrictions:
Despite the fact that 65% of respondents support "strict quarantine", the closure of urban and intercity transport is not supported by almost 70% of respondents.
Regarding Russia's military invasion of Ukraine:
36% of respondents assess the likelihood of a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine by Russia as high. 31% - assessed as average; 15% - low; 12% say there is no threat.
Regarding the telephone conversation between President Zelenskiy and US President Biden. 50% are positive about this news. And 43% are convinced that relations between Ukraine and the United States will improve after that.
Despite the fact that Servant of the People and the President are still managing to retain their leading positions, the huge gap from other parties and candidates, as it was a year ago, no longer exists. In the party ranking, over time, rotations with a change of leader can be observed. In addition, the growth dynamics of the presidential rating has already slowed down against the background of the stabilization of the ratings of opponents. Therefore, the situation can change dramatically at any time if the authorities do not take more effective actions to meet the basic needs of society.
This week, the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation also published research data within the framework of the “Join in!” Community Engagement Program (USAID / ENGAGE).
According to the poll, citizens do not expect to see positive results of the reforms anytime soon. At the same time, the majority of respondents noted that they had time to feel the consequences of the reforms, but their attitude towards them is mostly negative - 52%. Only 1% of the respondents felt the positive consequences of the reforms.
Citizens expressed general disappointment with the authorities. 87.2% - agree that the people in power do not care about the population. 72% believe that there is no real political elite in Ukraine. And 67.8% want to see a strong leader in power.
5. Sergei Sternenko was released under house arrest.
On April 9, by the decision of the Odessa Court of Appeal, nationalist activist Sergei Sternenko was released under round-the-clock house arrest .
Let us remind you that earlier the court sentenced S. Sternenko to 7 years in prison for kidnapping.
As we wrote earlier, protest activity after S. Sternenko's verdict was launched by Ukrainian politicians and grantees associated with the structures of the US Democratic Party, Tomas Fiala, Viktor Pinchuk, and George Soros. In particular, functionaries of the Golos party, members of the Anti-Corruption Center, and people and structures affiliated with them took an active part in organizing the protests.
Their protest served two purposes.
First, to promote Sergei Sternenko as a political figure and "mold" him into a new leader for the "national liberal" wing of Ukrainian politics. There is a leadership crisis in the Golos party, which was the reason for attempts to grow a leader out of Sternenko.
Secondly, the protesters in support of S. Sternenko sought to present his condemnation as "an example of the decay of the Ukrainian judicial system" and on this basis demanded its reform according to the patterns actively lobbied by Ukraine's western partners (in particular, the ambassadors of the G7 countries) namely, giving international experts a key role in the appointment of judges. Since the Office of the President is trying to carry out its own version of the judicial reform, there the "protests for Sternenko" were perceived as a threat.
Probably, it was the last circumstance that played a decisive role in the fact that Sternenko was released this week. Between the shame of not completing the case to the end and the threat to receive permanent protests from radicals and national liberals, supported from abroad, the OP chose the former.
This week, the attention of Ukraine's international partners was focused on Donbass, where an exacerbation of the armed conflict has been observed in recent months. As Ukraine and the Russian Federation tried to improve their negotiating positions by demonstrating military force, Western leaders became increasingly concerned about the situation.
In a continuation of a series of "visits for the sake of visits", Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Qatar this week, where members of the Ukrainian delegation signed 13 documents, most of which are non-binding memoranda of intent. This situation demonstrates the crisis of strategic thinking in Ukraine. The appointment of the American special envoy to counter the completion and launch of Nord Stream 2 is entirely in line with the trend towards Washington's attempts to regain full political control over its European allies. Nevertheless, in the changed geopolitical situation, it will hardly be possible to do this.
1. International aspect aggravation of the situation in Donbass.
The aggravation of the situation in Donbass remains the main topic of the international agenda around Ukraine. Statements of different levels of militancy and peacefulness emanating from Ukraine, Russia and the West make it possible to interpret differently the positions of the main actors involved in one way or another in the situation in eastern Ukraine. More details about the Ukrainian dimension of the current exacerbation are discussed in the internal political part of this material.
Ukraine's international position in the current situation can be characterized as rather uncompromising. At the same time, the country in its rhetoric relies on Western allies as the only defenders from Russia. In particular, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, April 6, following a conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, called the country's entry into the Alliance “the only way to end the war in Donbass”.
At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories Alexei Reznikov and the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group Leonid Kravchuk simultaneously announced that they would refuse to go to Minsk for talks in the future, since Belarus, according to them, is under Russian influence. and is not a neutral country. At the same time, it was at the initiative of the Ukrainian side that an emergency meeting of the trilateral contact group took place, which, however, did not end with anything.
Russia's position on the aggravation of the Donbas remains fairly transparent. Moscow, on the one hand, marks the "red lines", after which Ukraine crosses, Russia is ready to intervene. On the other hand, the Russian Federation explicitly declares its unwillingness to aggravate the situation and calls on Kiev to restrain itself. In particular, last week, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak, who is responsible for the Ukrainian direction of the Russian Federation, as well as Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov and Speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, made comments on the situation in Donbass.
The general message of the Russian speakers is open threats to Ukraine in the event, as the Russian side interprets, "Kiev's continuation of the aggression in Donbass." Moreover, in this case, the Russian Federation is considering the issue of bringing troops into Ukraine and declaring about "threats to the existence of Ukrainian statehood." On the other hand, this militant rhetoric is based on opposing its actions to Ukraine, and therefore Russia, it seems, does not intend to be the first to start a mobile war in Donbas.
Ukraine's western partners are taking a rather cautious position regarding the escalation in the Donbas. Thus, the US State Department accused Russia of undermining de-escalation, and the White House said that the concentration of Russian troops on the Ukrainian borders is the highest since 2014.
At the same time, the State Department declared their openness to interaction with Moscow on the situation in southeastern Ukraine, and the White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that the decision on Ukraine's accession to NATO will be taken collectively by the entire Alliance (that is, it will not be made in foreseeable future). The German government said that Ukraine's accession to NATO is not on the agenda. In many ways, the ritual statements of representatives of the UK, USA, Germany and other countries about "full support for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine" can be left out of brackets, since this rhetoric has not undergone any significant changes since 2014.
In these conditions, the refusal of all parties to the conflict from aggravating the situation and the achievement of new agreements on a ceasefire is the most favorable, both from the point of view of state interests and from the point of view of the life of ordinary people in Donbass. However, a more likely scenario, as we have already indicated above, is the continuation of a sluggish trench warfare.
2. Attempts by the United States to oppose the completion of the "Nord Stream - 2".
Last week it became known about the new plans of the United States to counter the completion of the "Nord Stream-2". The administration of US President Joseph Biden intends to establish a special envoy for the pipeline, whose task would be to torpedo the implementation of this project.
Amos Hoxtin, a prominent American official and businessman, is being considered as a special envoy in Washington. He began his career with the House of Representatives International Affairs Committee. In the Barack Obama administration, Hoxtin served as a special envoy and coordinator for international energy issues. In particular, he dealt with issues of countering the South and Turkish Streams. Characteristically, in both cases he faced a fiasco. From 2017 to 2020, Hoxtin served on the supervisory board of Naftogaz and was reportedly involved in the gas business of the Biden family in Ukraine.
Hoxton's appointment is backed by Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Under these conditions, the United States is obviously extremely interested in decisively opposing the completion of Nord Stream 2.
The reaction of the key stakeholders of Nord Stream 2 was expected. Klaus Ernst, the head of the German parliamentary committee on economic and energy issues, called possible negotiations with the special envoy, if they talk about stopping the project, "doomed to failure". The Kremlin, however, said that this project has nothing to do with America, and such an appointment would be interference in other people's affairs.
In fact, only Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov, in an article for the Wall Street Journal, called for "uniting forces and abandoning Nord Stream-2 once and for all." In particular, he said that Ukraine would be "irreparably weakened as soon as Russia receives a new direct gas connection with Germany." Thus, Reznikov links the provision of Ukrainian national security with the implementation of Nord Stream 2.
The question is that the German and Russian sides intend to complete and launch the gas transmission project, and in these conditions, the active opposition of Ukraine, urging Germany and Russia to actually sacrifice their interests for the sake of the interests of Kiev and Washington, seems doomed to failure in advance.
3. Visit of Vladimir Zelensky to Qatar.
On April 5, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy paid an official visit to Qatar.
Together with the President, a fairly representative Ukrainian delegation visited the Middle East Emirate, which included: Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Roman Leshchenko, Head of the State Concern Ukroboronprom Yuri Gusev, and even the first deputy head of the State Security Department Vyacheslav Shtuchny.
All of the above officials not only accompanied the president, but signed some documents with representatives of the Qatari side.
On the eve of the visit, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Ihor Zhovkva said that he would become one more proof of the attention that the Ukrainian government pays to the countries of the Persian Gulf to realize the economic interests of Ukraine.
The President's Office says that during the visit, the Ukrainian delegation signed as many as 13 interstate documents, including two commercial contracts. However, the significance of most of these documents is questionable. Among the documents listed on the OP website, we managed to find only three more or less substantive ones.
The first of them is the Memorandum of Cooperation between the State Property Fund of Ukraine and the Qatari Investment Administration. This document is aimed at the participation of Qatari companies in the "big privatization" of Ukrainian state-owned enterprises.
The second important document signed is the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine and the Ministry of Municipalities and Environment of the State of Qatar on cooperation in the field of agriculture and food safety. It is aimed at harmonizing quality standards for agricultural products supplied by Ukraine to Qatar.
The third document of practical importance is the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the State of Qatar on the mutual recognition of diplomas / certificates of a seafarer.
As for the other ten documents, from the point of view of real politics and economics, they are rather pointless and are only memoranda of intent (that is, they do not oblige the parties to any specific actions).
As a result of the above-described visit of Vladimir Zelensky to Qatar, as well as his February visit to the UAE, the problem of empty content is becoming more and more clearly visible.
Most of the visits of the head of the Ukrainian state abroad. It was noticeable back at the end of 2019, when Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a number of Eastern European countries.
It seems that the President's Office values the visits themselves more than their content. Meanwhile, in the practice of international relations and diplomacy, high-level visits are always the culmination of a long and painstaking work on the preparation of proposals that might interest foreign partners. First, at the ministerial level, lists of what we propose are drawn up. Then, through the embassies, they are transferred to the authorities of a foreign state. This is followed by a long diplomatic correspondence and the development of documents. And only at the end of all this a summit meeting is scheduled, during which the heads of state and members of delegations sign the relevant agreements.
Only this approach guarantees the strengthening of diplomatic, trade, and other ties, and also allows the parties to make sure of each other's reliability. But in the case of the visits of the Ukrainian president (including to the Middle East), we see a fundamentally different tactic, namely, the organization of "visits for the sake of visits." And this does not correspond to the interests of Ukraine, since the Middle East is a very promising region, the positions in which definitely need to be strengthened.
4. In Jordan, a conspiracy to remove the incumbent king with the support of the former crown prince is revealed.
Late last week, Jordanian authorities detained the former crown prince of the kingdom and about 20 others as part of an investigation into the threat to the country's stability.
Prince Hamza bin Hussein, the eldest son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife, is placed under house arrest at his palace in Amman. Kingdom officials are investigating an alleged conspiracy to overthrow his older half-brother, King Abdullah II.
The Jordanian leadership believes that at least one other member of the royal family was involved in the conspiracy, as well as tribal leaders and representatives of the country's security forces. Additional detentions are expected.
Prince Hamza sent two videos to the British BBC on Saturday in which he claimed to be under house arrest. In them, he said that a high-ranking official forbade him to go out or communicate with people because of the criticism of the government and the king, expressed at the meetings where he was present.
On April 4, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ayman Safadi said at a press conference that the Jordanian special services had been monitoring the actions and movements of a group of conspirators for a long time, as a result of which they received information about contacts abroad, during which the timing of the coup was discussed.
Safadi noted that, according to the preliminary investigation, people from the prince's entourage contacted representatives of the "so-called foreign opposition" to organize information stuffing and provocations to destabilize national security.
According to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the conspirators were detained at the moment when they were about to switch from planning to concrete actions.
On Monday March 5th, a letter on Prince Hamza's letterhead was posted on the royal court's Twitter account, highlighting the media turmoil over the weekend and emphasizing his support for the incumbent king of Jordan.
This story, with an attempted coup d'etat nipped in the bud, is rooted in family conflicts and issues of succession.
Initially, Prince Hamza was considered the favorite and the main contender to take his father's place on the throne. However, before King Hussein died of cancer in 1999, he named Abdullah (that is, the current king) as his successor, as Hamza was considered too inexperienced and young to become a monarch. King Abdullah appointed Hamza Crown Prince in 1999, but then withdrew the title in 2004.
On April 6, Jordan introduced an official ban on coverage of the impending coup attempt and its suppression. In combination with the published letter in support of King Abdullah, allegedly written by Prince Hamza, this may indicate that the issue with the obstinate former heir was settled amicably, and he is not threatened with prison or execution.
In the domestic economy, there is a tendency to look for additional ways to fill the budget of Ukraine in all conceivable and inconceivable ways.
The Biden administration continues its policy of “pumping” the American economy with money, threatening to provoke inflation both inside and outside the United States. The IMF continues to act as an instrument of Western capital ("old money"), and in the case of the coronavirus pandemic, the fund lobbies and interests of the largest Western pharmaceutical companies producing vaccines.
1. In the United States, they plan to give out 9 thousand dollars each to families for the funeral of relatives who died from coronavirus.
On April 6, it became known about the decision of the Biden administration to launch a nationwide program of material support for families where there are deaths from coronavirus. We are talking about payments of $ 9 thousand per family, and this money is planned to cover the costs of the funeral.
First, the family must have confirmation that the family member died from the coronavirus. Secondly, the Biden administration themselves do not know the final number of families who will receive this compensation, and, accordingly, the budget for the program is still unknown, although it is already clear that it will amount to at least $ 5 billion, given that the United States has already died from coronavirus 557 thousand people.
The decision of the Biden administration to allocate $ 9,000 for each family where there are deaths from the coronavirus fits into the outline of a strategy to "pump" the American economy with money. Such an increase in the money supply in the circulation of the economy without backing it up with an equivalent amount of goods and services will inevitably lead to inflation, although this program, as it were, creates a new type of service, namely, the funeral of the deceased from the coronavirus. Thus, the American government can expect to create a demand for a “new service”, and immediately satisfy it by “driving” money through the economy, as if shifting it from one hand to another, without thus provoking inflation.
On the other hand, this program will help reduce the debt burden on American households, since families will no longer be tormented by the question of where to get money for the funeral of a relative who died from coronavirus. Thus, the risks of this particular program regarding provoking inflation are minimal, which nevertheless does not change the general trend.
2. The IMF considers the purchase of vaccines a good way to revive the economy.
On March 29, the IMF published a report in which the coronavirus pandemic is seen as an excuse to raise more than $ 1 trillion in tax revenue from the developed economies of the world [https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/FM/Issues/2021/03/29/fiscal-monitor-... Full% 20Report]. The organization openly views the coronavirus as an opportunity to make more money and "revive" the economies of the affected countries. And if the coronavirus pandemic can be completely defeated by 2025, tax breaks could be lifted earlier. The IMF also points to the low efficiency of budget allocation for health and education among developing countries, thus hinting that these countries should spend more budgetary funds on the purchase of vaccines against coronavirus.
Along with demands to raise gas prices for the population in Ukraine to the world level, the IMF may also lobby for the interests of specific manufacturers of coronavirus vaccines, such as Pfizer and other Western (American and European) companies.
By 2030, the IMF plans to lend $ 3 trillion to the world's 121 poorest countries for health (vaccine purchases) and education. Thus, the organization helps Western vaccine manufacturers earn more money by imposing loans on developing countries, which in turn redistribute budget funds and may be forced to increase tax pressure on the population, since other budget expenditures also require funding.
3. Danilov: Gosgeonedra must publish all licenses for subsoil development in 2 months.
On March 19, Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree on sanctions against 19 companies involved in the development of subsoil. In pursuance of this presidential decree, Gosgeonedra canceled special permits for the use of oil and gas sites for these 19 companies. The assets of these companies should be blocked, their trading operations are limited, the transit of resources is stopped, licenses are canceled, a ban on participation in privatization is introduced, and so on. On March 25, the president signed another decree, ordering Prime Minister Denis Shmygal to conduct extraordinary checks on companies that received special permits for mining.
On April 7, NSDC Secretary Aleksey Danilov, during his interview with the Left Bank newspaper, said that Gosgeonedra should publish all licenses for subsoil development within 2 months. Thus, the authorities are seeking to deprive the opposition of funding, since the main reason for the imposition of sanctions is declared to be the fight against people affiliated with the fourth president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.
Danilov's statement regarding the requirement to publish all licenses for the development of subsoil within 2 months falls into the outline of a large-scale redistribution of the mining market in Ukraine.
4. In Ukraine, they want to ban the use of slate.
Bill No. 4142 "On the system of public health" contains a provision prohibiting the use of asbestos and slate. The official motivation for banning the use of asbestos is concern for the health of citizens, since asbestos is a carcinogen. However, while the EU has banned really dangerous asbestos of the amphibrole group, another type of asbestos is widespread in Ukraine and the United States - chrysotile, which is much safer, but bill # 4142 prescribes to ban both types of asbestos. Thus, we can talk about the imposition of roofing materials on citizens, 2-3 times more expensive than the usual slate. The draft law does not talk about the forced widespread replacement of slate with metal tiles, but it will be prohibited to use slate on new construction sites or during repairs.
In 2019, a study was conducted in the United States on the safety of chrysotile slate, and it was concluded that this type of slate can be used. Asbestos shows its carcinogenic properties primarily in industrial premises in factories such as thermal power plants, where asbestos is exposed to high temperatures.
In the future, attempts are not ruled out to expand and supplement the existing bill simultaneously with the dispersal of panic in the country's information space regarding the insistence of the widespread replacement of the usual slate with expensive metal tiles.
Based on the data of the 2001 census, there were slightly more than 4 million 750 thousand rural households in Ukraine [State Committee for Statistics of Ukraine - Household of Ukraine. Statistical collection of "Households of Ukraine. Households for the size and characteristics of household members according to the results of the 2001 All-Ukrainian population census]. More than half of rural households (more than 2 million) had 1-2 inhabitants, that is, single pensioners. Taking into account the natural population decline and the absence of new data on the number of residential households, it can be assumed that the number of residential rural households in Ukraine has decreased by at least 2 times since 2001. That is, the potential market for replacing slate with metal tiles covers more than 2 million rural households in Ukraine. houses with metal tiles are 1 thousand dollars. The largest players in the Ukrainian market of roofing materials: the Finnish concern Ruukki, the Polish company Pruszynski ), as well as Staleks, TPK-Profile, and Arsenal-Center. Thus, these five players potentially claim a $ 2 billion market (the minimum cost of roofing all residential rural households in Ukraine).
Summarizing the main trends of the outgoing week, it is worth noting that:
First, against the backdrop of a deadlock in all negotiation formats on a peaceful settlement in Donbass, the parties are demonstrating strength by moving troops near the conflict zone, while a sluggish trench warfare continues with periodic casualties and destruction directly on the contact line. The above is a matter of increasing concern to the international community. However, the military hysteria fanned by the Ukrainian and Russian media looks premature. In reality, neither side is now interested in a resumption of full-scale war. For Ukraine, it would mean the risk of a military defeat, and for the Russian Federation, the risk of blocking the completion and launch of Nord Stream 2. Therefore, the most likely scenario for the development of the situation in Donbass is the continuation of a sluggish trench warfare.
Secondly, over the past half month, the epidemiological situation in the country has sharply deteriorated. It can be stated that the government has failed in the fight against the pandemic and is catastrophically lagging behind in terms of vaccination. Ukraine was among the first in the world in terms of morbidity and mortality from coronavirus. Political responsibility for toughening anti-epidemic restrictions in Kiev is shifted to local authorities. Due to the lack of the necessary resources for the latter to fully combat the pandemic, this strategy is absolutely counterproductive.
Thirdly, despite the fact that Servants of the People and the President still manage to keep the first places in the ratings, they no longer have a large gap from other parties and candidates. In the current situation in the country, in the absence of concrete steps to resolve the most pressing issues for society, the ruling party and the president may lose their leading positions in the ratings.
Fourthly, in the course of a series of "visits for the sake of visits", Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Qatar this week, where members of the Ukrainian delegation signed 13 documents, most of which are non-binding memoranda of intent. This situation demonstrates the crisis of strategic thinking in Ukrainian diplomacy. Previously, similar visits have already been carried out to the UAE and a number of Eastern European states.
They did not bring any concrete positive shifts in bilateral relations with these countries. If this continues, the states with which Ukraine is building relations will cease to perceive it as a reliable partner.
Fifth, the appointment of the American special envoy to counter the completion and launch of Nord Stream 2 is entirely within the framework of Washington's attempts to restore full political control over its European allies. Nevertheless, in the changed geopolitical situation, it will hardly be possible to do this.
Sixth, there is a tendency in the global economy for the International Monetary Fund to lobby the interests of Western pharmaceutical corporations - manufacturers of vaccines against coronavirus. Probably, in the near future, the fund will begin to encourage lending to third world countries to purchase vaccines.