Analytical review of the week No. 126 of 15/08/2021.

ANALYTICAL REVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DOMESTIC, FOREIGN POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EVENTS OF THE WEEK

09.08.- 15.08.2021

CONTENT:

SUMMARY AND KEY TRENDS.

INTERNAL POLICY.

 

1. Cleaning up the power structures after the change of A. Avakov. Resignation of the chief of police in Kiev.

2. The story of the persecution of the athlete Y. Maguchikh, as an element of political technology to divert attention from the plight in Ukrainian sports.

3. The Cabinet of Ministers appointed Acting head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" Alexander Kamishin.

4. Sociology. Presidential and parliamentary ratings.

 

FOREIGN POLICY.

 

1. Big press conference of Alexander Lukashenko.

2. Announcement of the visit of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to Kiev and Moscow.

3. Statements by Aleksey Reznikov on the possibility of deploying an American air defense system in Ukraine.

4. Protests in Lithuania.

 

ECONOMY.

 

1. Green Country program to plant 1 million trees in 3 years.

2. Agricultural insurance in Ukraine.

3. The Antimonopoly Committee filed a lawsuit against Prozorro. Sales.

4. The Zaporozhye Titanium-Magnesium Plant was taken away from Firtash.

 

 

SUMMARY AND KEY TRENDS.

 

Summing up the results of the outgoing week, we note that:

Firstly, this week, as part of the strengthening of the presidential vertical of power, the process of cleansing the power bloc of figures that are potentially insufficiently loyal to V. Zelensky, or figures that were influenced by other political or economic groups, continued. The change of the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs provoked a large personnel purge in the structures of the National Police. The Head of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kiev was dismissed, the resignation of the heads of a number of regional departments is being prepared. In addition, the process of bargaining between individual nationalist organizations and the Office of the President for their place in the future configuration of power is unfolding.

Secondly, the government continues the trend to strengthen control over the main state-owned enterprises of Ukraine. Cabinet appointed and. O. the head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" Alexander Kamishin, which in turn should balance the interests of the authorities and R. Akhmetov in this industry.

Thirdly, a large press conference of Alexander Lukashenko, dedicated to the year since his re-election to the presidency, once again confirmed that the attempt to pull Belarus into the western sphere of influence (mainly through the efforts of Poland and Lithuania) by organizing protests and changing the government did not succeed. In addition, by voicing both critical and conciliatory messages to Ukraine, the President of Belarus is trying to preserve some room for maneuver and invite his Ukrainian counterparts to dialogue.

Fourthly, preparations for placing energy transit flows in Eastern Europe under German control have become an urgent trend. The US agreed to this in exchange for Berlin's status as its main geopolitical ally within the EU. For Ukraine, this means that in the foreseeable future, control over its GTS (formal or informal) may end up in the hands of the FRG. This, in turn, will significantly increase Germany's influence on the domestic and foreign policy of our country.

Fifth, the European states continue to introduce "COVID passports" for vaccinated citizens, without which it is impossible to visit public places. Part of the society does not like this, which provokes large-scale protests. At the end of last week, they took place in Vilnius, and a few weeks earlier in Paris. In the foreseeable future, we should expect a repetition of similar protests in other countries. Both in Europe and around the world.

Sixth, the "Green Country" program for planting 1 million trees in 3 years is, first of all, half a billion dollars of profit per year from the export of Ukrainian round timber to the EU with stable demand. True, with a delay of several years.

Seventh, agricultural insurance in Ukraine will not become an effective tool for protecting ordinary farmers due to the tendency for land concentration in the hands of large Ukrainian and foreign-affiliated businesses. By the second reading, the draft law on agricultural insurance had loopholes that allow it to protect market players selectively.

Eighth, the claim of the Antimonopoly Committee against “Prozorro. Sales” may indicate the course for reformatting the impact on this state-owned enterprise in order to redistribute the resources generated by this site for the sale of property.

INTERNAL POLICY.

Briefly.

This week, as part of the strengthening of the presidential vertical of power, the process of cleansing the power bloc of figures that are potentially insufficiently loyal to V. Zelensky, or figures that were influenced by other political or economic groups, continued. The change of the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs provoked a major purge of personnel in the structures of the National Police. The Head of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kiev was dismissed, the resignation of the heads of a number of regional departments is being prepared. The tendency to suppress all major political and economic opponents continues. In this regard, Yulia Tymoshenko is already under pressure: a number of searches are being carried out in companies affiliated with the son-in-law of the Batkivshchyna party leader, Artur Chechetkin, the head of the State Food and Grain Corporation Andrei Vlasenko was detained.

Also, the government continues the trend to strengthen control over the main state-owned enterprises of Ukraine. Cabinet appointed an acting head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" Alexander Kamishin, which in turn should balance the interests of the authorities and R. Akhmetov in this industry.

 

1. Cleaning up the power structures after the change of A. Avakov. Resignation of the chief of police in Kiev.

 

This week, the Ministry of Internal Affairs approved the resignation report of the head of the Main Directorate of the National Police of Kiev, Andrei Krishchenko. On August 11, Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky introduced the new head of the Main Directorate of the National Police in Kiev - Police Colonel Ivan Vyhovsky.

Denis Monastyrsky noted that he expects the new head of the Kiev police to pay more attention to ensuring public safety, especially on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence.

The change of the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs provoked a major purge of personnel in the structures of the National Police. The resignation of the heads of a number of regional departments, including the Odessa and Kharkiv regions, is being prepared.

There are several reasons for these processes. First of all, this is the concentration of power and power resources in the hands of the President's Office and preparation for a possible protest autumn.

In addition, the resignation of A. Avakov provoked another important process - situational pressure on certain nationalist groups. Thus, representatives of the National Corps faced a number of criminal cases, the SBU conducted mass searches and detentions.

Against this background, the leader of the Svoboda party, Oleg Tyagnibok, put forward the "demands of the nation" to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on the eve of his visit to the United States. Among the demands: renunciation of the "Minsk surrender", no special status for Donbass, no elections in Donbass and the "Steinmeier formula", etc.

Within the framework of the threat of "cleansing" looming over the nationalist segment of Ukrainian policy, O. Tyagnibok's statement is a game of anticipation. On the eve of possible criminal cases, O. Tyagnibok is trying to give them the appearance of political persecution in the eyes of the public. In fact, pressure on individual nationalist groups is not at all for the purpose of implementing the Minsk agreements. The reason for this is the concentration of power in the hands of the president and his entourage.

The actions of the authorities fit into a trend aimed at suppressing and weakening those figures that can potentially pose a threat to competition on the street, as well as for financial flows and political influence.

The detention of the head of the State Food and Grain Corporation Andrei Vlasenko and a series of searches in companies affiliated with the son-in-law of the Batkivshchyna party leader Yulia Timoshenko, Artur Chechetkin, fit into the framework of this trend. The National Police reported that they allegedly exposed large-scale abuses of officials of the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine - the amount of damage is more than $ 57 million. Andrei Vlasenko, who now appears in the case of embezzlement of the property of JSC GPZKU, was once lobbied by the leader of the Batkivshchyna party, Yulia Tymoshenko. It is noted that in exchange for the appointment, "Batkivshchyna" was supposed to vote in the hall of the Verkhovna Rada together with the "Servant of the People" for important issues for Bankova. But recently Yulia Tymoshenko has been implementing a purposeful policy of slowing down all initiatives and reforms of the President. In particular, GSP and VKKS are key laws for further cooperation with Western financial institutions and the West in general. In addition, Yulia Tymoshenko can act as an instrument of influence on the part of Rinat Akhmetov to strengthen the negotiating position with Bankova on issues important to him and organize protests.

2. The story of the persecution of the athlete Y. Maguchikh, as an element of political technology to divert attention from the plight in Ukrainian sports.

This week, a scandal developed over the joint pictures of the Ukrainian athlete Yaroslava Maguchikh and the Russian woman Maria Lasitskene, taken at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Y. Maguchikh won an Olympic bronze medal in high jump for the Ukrainian national team, and then took a picture with a Russian woman, who took first place in this discipline. In the network, the athlete was sharply criticized for this act. The situation was reacted by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar, Y. Maguchikh is a junior lieutenant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and in total 60 army athletes are included in the Ukrainian national team. When the athlete returned to her homeland, Anna Malyar met with her. After that, Y. Maguchikh wrote a post on Facebook, in which she explained her hugs with the Russian woman Maria Lasitskene after the competition. From the post it follows that she became a victim of the intrigues of the enemy - that is, the Russian Federation. In turn, the Ministry of Defense said that Y. Moguchykh were satisfied with the "repentance".

Earlier, the champion of the Tokyo Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling Zhan Beleniuk, People's Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the "Servant of the People" on his Facebook, he actually caught the Minister of Sports of Ukraine Vadim Gutsait of corruption. Zh. Beleniuk indicated that the minister did not approve the exact list of the Ukrainian delegation for the 2020 Olympics. As a result, officials were able to travel to Tokyo for public funds, who took advantage of the opportunity to relax at public expense. Due to bureaucratic corruption, Viktor Shevtsov, the coach of the Ukrainian pole vaulter Marina Kilipko, could not fly to Tokyo. Largely due to the lack of coaching support, Kilipko took only fifth place at the Olympics, says the people's deputy.

At the Tokyo Olympics, the Ukrainian team won 1 gold medal, 6 silver and 12 bronze medals. Our country takes only 44th place in the medal standings. This is the lowest position in the history of the performance of our athletes at the Olympics. And only 19 awards won - the second worst result in the history of Ukraine. So far, the worst performance was the Olympic Games in Rio - in 2016, Ukrainian athletes took 31 final lines, having won 2 gold and only 11 awards. These results demonstrate the complete inefficiency of the work of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine. The situation around the sportswoman Y. Moguchykh was specially “promoted” in information terms and was used as a tool to divert public attention from the plight of Ukrainian sports.

3. The Cabinet of Ministers appointed Acting head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" Alexander Kamishin.

This week, the Cabinet of Ministers appointed the acting. the head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" Alexander Kamishin. The day before, the issue of Ukrzaliznytsia's activities was considered by the National Security and Defense Council. As a result, the National Security and Defense Council initiated before the Cabinet of Ministers the introduction of "interim leadership" in Ukrzaliznytsia. Alexey Danilov announced “cardinal, including personnel decisions”. In addition, the government will have to "take immediate action to stabilize the company." Under V. Zelensky, temporary leaders at Ukrzaliznytsia have already changed 6 times.

Prior to his appointment, A. Kamishin held the position of Advisor to the Minister of Infrastructure Alexander Kubrakov.

2006-2008 A. Kamishin worked at KPMG as an auditor. 2008-2012 in the fund Tomas Fials Dragon Capital. From April 2012 to April 2019, he held the position of SCM Investment Manager at Rinat Akhmetov.

Also, the Cabinet of Ministers declared invalid the decrees on the temporary assignment of the duties of the head of the UZ board to Ivan Yurik, and on the temporary assignment of the duties of the UZ board member to Nikolai Ivaniv.

Infrastructure Minister A. Kubrakov noted that as the head of UZ Kamyshin should become an anti-crisis manager and has already set a number of tasks for him. This is the purchase of new trains and locomotives, the purchase of electricity directly from the manufacturer - Energoatom, the attraction of international investors to the Ukrainian market, and the increase in tariffs for freight transportation.

The fact is that the funds of shippers of other classes of UZ subsidize ore carriers. This state of affairs brings the greatest benefit to Rinat Akhmetov's business. All attempts to change tariff distribution have previously failed. Appointment of Alexander Kubrakov and. O. head of the board of "Ukrzaliznytsia" fits into the trend aimed at strengthening the control of the president's team over the main state-owned enterprises of Ukraine - this is a decision that should balance the interests of government officials and R. Akhmetov.

4. Sociology. Presidential and parliamentary ratings.

This week, the Razumkov Center published a sociological poll, according to which V. Zelensky is in the lead in the presidential rating with a result of 29% of those who made their choice. Compared to a study published by the Razumkov Center in June (32%), the president's rating dropped by -3%.

• P. Poroshenko - 16% (did not change significantly).

• Yuri Boyko - 15% (+ 2%).

• Y. Tymoshenko - 11% (did not change significantly).

"Servant of the People" continues to lead in the party rating. Since June, the party's rating has changed within the margin of error (-1%). It should be added that the Servant of the People rating has not changed since May this year. This is followed by:

• “European Solidarity” - 17% (-2%).

• “Opposition Platform - For Life” - 16% (did not change significantly, + 1%).

• VO "Batkivshchyna" - 11%, (unchanged).

Among social institutions, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are most trusted by citizens - 68% of respondents, volunteer organizations - 64%, Church - 63.5%, State Emergency Service - 61%, mayors of a city, town, village where the respondent lives - 57 %, The State Border Service - 55%, the National Guard of Ukraine - 54%, volunteer battalions - 53.5%, councils of the city (town, village) where the respondent lives - 51%.

Mistrust is most often expressed by the Russian media. 79% of respondents do not trust them, the state apparatus (officials) - 76%, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine - 75%, courts (the judicial system as a whole) - 74%, the Government of Ukraine - 72%, political parties - 72%, the prosecutor's office - 71% …

Study of the Razumkov Center and the studies of the Rating and KIIS companies published a little earlier at the end of July 2021 confirm the general dynamics of the direction of the ratings of the power team. For example, according to a study by the Rating agency, the president's rating shows a downward trend. In comparison with the poll published at the end of July, the president's rating was 27.7%, and at the beginning of July - 29.1%. But at the same time, in May, the president had - 30.2% (according to the rating agency). Accordingly, his rating is already showing a downward trend (-2.5%). As for the "Servant of the People", since May 2021, the party's rating stopped growing and did not actually change until the end of July 2021, according to the "Rating" company - 24%.

According to the KIIS research, at the end of July the rating of the Servant of the People party was 20.2% in comparison with the poll conducted by the KIIS at the end of June (21.6%), the rating varies within the margin of error. At the same time, the ratings of “OPZH” (18.3%) and “Batkivshchyna” (16%) are growing, and the rating of the former is actually equal to the “Servant of the People” (20%). For comparison, according to KIIS, the rating of “HLE” at the beginning of June was only 14.7%.

The results of studies of all three leading sociological services of Ukraine confirm the fact that from May 2021 the president's rating begins to decline, while the rating of the Servant of the People is no longer growing.

This may indicate that the effect of the applied measures of suppression and discrediting in relation to the main political opponents is becoming less and less. In the absence of implementation of the basic needs of society, a significant decrease in the ratings of the president and the Servant of the People party may appear in the fall.

FOREIGN POLICY.

Briefly:

Several foreign policy tendencies have shown themselves in the outgoing week.

Thus, a large press conference of Alexander Lukashenko, dedicated to the year since his re-election to the presidency, once again confirmed that the attempt to pull Belarus into the western sphere of influence (mainly through the efforts of Poland and Lithuania) by organizing protests and changing the government failed. In addition, by voicing both critical and conciliatory messages to Ukraine, the President of Belarus is trying to preserve some room for maneuver and invite his Ukrainian counterparts to dialogue.

Another important trend is preparations for placing energy transit flows in Eastern Europe under German control. The US agreed to this in exchange for Berlin's status as its main geopolitical ally within the EU. For Ukraine, this means that in the foreseeable future, control over its GTS (formal or informal) may end up in the hands of the FRG. This, in turn, will significantly increase Germany's influence on the domestic and foreign policy of our country.

The third trend this week is the continuation of the introduction by European states of "covid passports" for vaccinated citizens, without which it is impossible to visit public places. Part of the society does not like this, which provokes large-scale protests. At the end of last week they took place in Vilnius, and a few weeks earlier in Paris. In the foreseeable future, we should expect a repetition of similar protests in other countries. Both in Europe and around the world.

 

1. Big press conference of Alexander Lukashenko.

 

On August 9, a big press conference of Alexander Lukashenko was held, which was called "Big Conversation".

In its format, the event was very reminiscent of the "direct lines" that Vladimir Putin periodically conducts, with the only difference that only the journalists who were present in the hall could ask questions.

The reason for organizing the Big Conversation is simple and clear - summing up the results of the first year of the next presidential term. At the same time, between the lines of Lukashenka’s press conference, the main message was quite clearly read: “I resisted”.

In support of this thesis, the President of Belarus stated that he was ready to bring the army into action if the attempt to destabilize the situation after last year's presidential elections went far beyond the “red line”. But the Belarusian leader also noted that the country coped with last year's crisis. Quote:

“I wouldn’t even have a single muscle flinching to put the army into action if I saw that they had not just crossed the“ red line ”, but had already gone far. But we did it. "

Lukashenka also touched upon the topic of changing the Constitution of Belarus, which became the response of the authorities to destructive protest actions. He did not rule out that in the updated basic law the priority of the legislation of Belarus over the international one will be fixed, following the example of the “elder brother” in the person of Russia. Moreover, Lukashenko is sure that in the new constitution, part of the strategic powers should be transferred to the All-Belarusian People's Assembly, and it is also possible to form the staff of the Constitutional Court through parliament, and not by appointment of the president.

At the same time, Lukashenka promised "very soon" to resign from the presidency, giving up his place to another person. However, according to the Belarusian leader, guessing when exactly he left no post, not worth it.

Most of the dialogue between the President of Belarus with journalists, experts and public figures was devoted to the West, in particular to the sanctions pressure on Minsk after the protests. As well as restrictive measures for the incident with the emergency landing of the RyanAir aircraft in the spring and the migration crisis on the border of Belarus with Lithuania and Latvia.

As for the last point, Lukashenka rejected suspicions of artificially creating a crisis on the part of Minsk and the delivery of migrants from Asia and Africa to the borders of neighboring states. According to him, Belarus does not blackmail anyone due to illegal migration.

It is worth noting here that the Belarusian president is, nevertheless, a little disingenuous. Lukashenka skillfully used the tactic of “letting the flow of migrants go by itself” to create a migration crisis in Lithuania. Actually, in his situation it would be foolish not to resort to this tactic. Especially considering the role of Vilnius in organizing the attempt to overthrow the authorities in Belarus last year.

A lot of interesting things were said by the Belarusian president about Ukraine.

In particular, Alexander Lukashenko accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of supplying weapons to the territory of the Republic of Belarus and training militants.

At the same time, the Belarusian leader assured of his good intentions towards Ukraine and stated that he did not intend to impose any Sanctions against Kiev. Thus, voicing both critical and conciliatory messages to Kiev, the President of Belarus is trying to preserve some room for maneuver and invite his Ukrainian counterparts to dialogue.

Another important statement by Lukashenko about Ukraine concerned the fact that most of the oil products to our country come from Belarus and Russia, and if Moscow and Minsk decided to teach Kiev a lesson by cutting off their supplies, the Ukrainian people would "themselves carry Zelensky out of the presidency."

In general, Alexander Lukashenko spoke a lot about Ukraine in this press conference. Ex-President Petro Poroshenko also suffered from him, about whom the Belarusian leader revealed unpleasant details regarding his contacts with self-proclaimed representatives of the uncontrolled territories.

In general, it should be understood that these statements are a natural reaction of the Belarusian side to official Kiev's support for the attempt to overthrow the authorities in Minsk last year. Apparently, the last straw that forced Lukashenka to respond to the public demarches of the Ukrainian authorities was the joining of Kiev to the “aircraft sanctions” against Belarus, which followed the arrest of the protest coordinator Roman Protasevich at the airport of this country.

One way or another, today it is obvious that Ukraine and Belarus are entrenched in the spheres of influence of different geopolitical players in a state of confrontation (namely, the United States and Russia). This means that relations between the two neighboring countries will continue to deteriorate.

 

 

2. Announcement of the visit of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to Kiev and Moscow.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to arrive in Kiev. According to the press secretary of the Ukrainian president, Sergei Nikiforov, the Federal Chancellor intends to visit Ukraine on August 22. Topics of negotiations: security, bilateral relations and other topical issues.

Despite the fact that in political terms Angela Merkel can already be called not just a “lame duck”, but “a duck lame in both legs”, as she will soon leave her post, the visit of the Federal Chancellor to Kiev could have far-reaching consequences.

In order to understand them, it is necessary to recall the events that preceded this visit.

It was preceded by a meeting between Merkel and Zelensky in Berlin (which for Ukraine can safely be called fruitless and disastrous) and the signing by the German Chancellor and the President of the United States of a joint declaration on Nord Stream 2, which in fact gives the green light to an almost completed project.

As stated in the US-German declaration, the German side undertakes to facilitate the start of negotiations on the further fate of gas transit through the territory of Ukraine by September 1, 2021. It is probably for this purpose that Merkel travels to Ukraine, having previously visited Moscow on August 20.

At the same time, according to a number of indirect signs, one can judge that the American agreement presupposes the complete surrender of the so-called "Ukrainian gas issue" into the hands of Germany.

This means that Berlin is likely to promote the idea of ​​creating a gas transportation consortium, in one form or another. To attract Russia to it, the German side can provide guarantees for the purchase of gas for the purpose of its subsequent sale on European markets, as well as guarantees of its safe transportation through the Ukrainian GTS.

Of course, in this scenario, we are not talking about maintaining the same volumes of transit through Ukraine, and even less about loading the Ukrainian GTS to the detriment of Nord Stream 2, but only about the minimum transit through Ukraine, provided by the growing gas consumption in Europe.

Berlin's interest is to de facto control the Ukrainian GTS with its underground storage facilities and become a gas monopoly on the EU market, reselling Russian gas to its neighbors at exorbitant prices.

At the same time, Ukraine, of course, can “kick up”, as it has been doing in recent years, methodically deteriorating its position as a transit country for energy resources. But in this case, money for the modernization of the GTS and ensuring its operation in conditions of severe underload will not come from where.

In other words, Germany can present Ukraine with a difficult choice: either a consortium, Berlin's actual control over the pipeline, minor transit and partial modernization of infrastructure, or a “gas collapse” in certain regions where the old GTS will not be able to deliver gas under low load conditions.

Meanwhile, transit issues, of course, are not the only topic that Angela Merkel can touch upon in the negotiations.

Since the Ukrainian side declares that it intends to discuss "security issues", it will certainly not do so without articulating Germany's position on the issue of a peaceful settlement in Donbass. And this position, to put it mildly, is not very pleasant for the Kiev leadership.

During a meeting in Berlin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy already had to listen to Angela Merkel's statements about the need to implement the "Steinmeier formula" into Ukrainian legislation.

This contrasts sharply with the course of the Ukrainian authorities' de facto refusal to implement the "Minsk Agreements" in their current form and attempts to agitate for their "rewriting".

In addition, in Ukrainian-German relations, with the light hand of the President's Office, Berlin's rejection of criticism from Kiev for allegedly "insufficient support" is making itself felt.

A couple of months ago, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy directly reproached the German side for not actively supporting Ukraine and not wanting to sell weapons to it. Probably, Berlin did not forget these statements of the Ukrainian president, and therefore have long treated the Kiev authorities without any sentimentality.

 

 

3. Statements by Aleksey Reznikov on the possibility of deploying an American air defense system in Ukraine.

In Ukraine this week another proposal was made to place American military facilities on the territory of our country.

Kiev is concerned about Russia's readiness to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of the annexed Crimea and is ready to deploy air defense weapons on its territory even by deploying US army units. This statement was made by the Minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov during a meeting with the head of the US Jamestown Foundation Glen Howard, according to the website of the Ministry of Reintegration.

Reznikov said that Russia had already "de facto occupied the Sea of ​​Azov and totally changed the balance of power in the Black Sea, completely militarizing it."

"We are especially concerned about the actions of the Russian Federation, which are aimed at preparing Crimea for the deployment of nuclear weapons there," the Deputy Prime Minister added.

According to him, Russia conducts military operations in the Middle East, Africa, influences the Balkans, and relies on the Crimean Peninsula.

Thus, during a meeting with the head of the American fund, the Ukrainian minister allowed the deployment of American air defense systems with American personnel in the country. That is, in fact, he probed the ground for the willingness of the Americans to deploy their military bases in Ukraine.

The reaction of the Russian side to these statements was not long in coming.

On August 10, the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council called a provocation a statement by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Reznikov, who proposed that the United States "deploy American air defense units" in Ukraine.

This was stated by the vice-speaker of the Russian Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev and the chairman of the Russian State Duma committee on international affairs Leonid Slutsky.

This statement by Russian parliamentarians is not accidental. If we analyze the Kremlin's rhetoric on the Ukrainian issue over the past few months, we will see that Moscow takes the prospect of deploying NATO military bases on Ukrainian territory very seriously. Russia perceives such a possibility as an unequivocal threat to its security, as Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken about. In particular, similar statements could be heard from the Russian president during the "direct line" and interview about Ukraine, prior to his meeting with Biden in Geneva. This message was also present in Putin's sensational article "On the unity of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples."

Over the past months, the Russian president has repeatedly made it clear that the deployment of NATO military bases on Ukrainian territory, and in particular a missile defense system, which can be used both as a defensive and offensive weapon, is a "red line". When it is crossed by the Ukrainian and American sides, Moscow is ready to act extremely harshly, up to forceful intervention.

In this regard, a natural question arises: why does the Ukrainian minister make public statements that can provoke a military escalation?

The answer to this question will become clear if the statement of Oleksiy Reznikov will be followed by similar statements by other top officials of Ukraine. If they are, it will be possible to talk about a purposeful policy.

 

4. Protests in Lithuania.

On August 10, protests against antiquity restrictions in Vilnius escalated into riots. The protesters blocked the MPs inside the building of the Seimas, and the police used tear gas.

About five thousand people gathered near the building of the Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday morning. The organizers of the event planned to protest against the restrictions associated with the spread of the coronavirus.

During an extraordinary meeting of the Seim on Wednesday, politicians were going to consider a resolution, according to which, without the so-called "passport of opportunities" - an electronic certificate that a person is fully vaccinated, has been ill, or has just passed a test with a negative result - it will be impossible to visit shopping centers, entertainment events, cafes, restaurants and bars.

The ban on using public transport and receiving non-critical services in medical institutions is also being discussed.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the two-week cumulative incidence of coronavirus per 100 thousand people in Lithuania was 133, which is three times more than in neighboring Latvia.

The Vilnius City Council issued a permit to hold a rally of up to a thousand people from 9 am to 5 pm. At five in the evening, the organizer of the action, Astra Astrauskaite, took the signatures for the dissolution of the parliament to the residence of the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda.

However, at the end of the official part, the people did not disperse and tried to surround the parliament building. Stylized gallows were installed at the place of the action.

According to the Delfi portal, the protesters threw stones and other objects in the direction of the police. One policeman was injured, and an ambulance arrived at the scene.

Several deputies were unable to get to their cars because an aggressive crowd prevented them. Other MPs were locked in their cars. The protesters threw flagpoles at the politicians and chanted "Shame!"

During the clashes between the protesters and the police, Lithuanian law enforcement officers detained 26 people. 10 police officers were injured. It is known that three out of 10 injured police officers were hospitalized. One received a concussion as a result of the explosion, the other two had broken legs.

The news about the coronavirus protests in Lithuania is remarkable for two reasons at once.

First, just a few weeks ago, similar protests (only much more numerous) took place in France. There, too, the authorities intended to introduce "coronavirus passports" and eventually introduced them, despite public outrage. The repetition of history in Lithuania was not long in coming. Coronavirus passports and protests against their introduction are likely to become one of the main trends in the next few months in many countries.

Secondly, the migration crisis adds fuel to the fire of public discontent in Lithuania. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, in response to the unfriendly actions of Vilnius, refused to control and restrain the flow of Middle Eastern migrants heading to Lithuania through Belarus. As a result, in July of this year, the number of illegal immigrants crossing the Belarusian-Lithuanian border increased 100 times compared to the same period last year. The Lithuanian authorities decided to build a refugee camp at the old military airfield, however, residents of the surrounding settlements began to protest against the proximity with migrants from the "sunny southern countries". There were clashes with the police, detainees and victims.

There is no doubt that the migration crisis is contributing to the formation of protest sentiments in Lithuanian society and fueling COVID protests.

 

ECONOMY.

Briefly:

The "Green Country" program for planting 1 million trees in 3 years is, first of all, half a billion dollars of profit per year from the export of Ukrainian round timber to the EU with stable demand. True, with a delay of several years.

Agricultural insurance in Ukraine will not become an effective tool for protecting ordinary farmers due to the tendency for land concentration in the hands of large Ukrainian and foreign-affiliated businesses. By the second reading, the draft law on agricultural insurance had loopholes that allow it to protect market players selectively.

The Antitrust Committee of Ukraine (ACU) claims against “Prozorro. Sales” may indicate the course for reformatting the impact on this state-owned enterprise in order to redistribute the resources generated by this site for the sale of property.

The oligarchs disloyal to the current government in Ukraine will gradually lose their influence and assets, as happened with the loss of the Zaporozhye Titanium-Magnesium Plant by Dmitry Firtash at the behest of the SAP.

1. Green Country program to plant 1 million trees in 3 years.

On August 12, by order of the President, the interdepartmental working group on the conservation and reproduction of forests under the chairman the state of A. Danilova considered the issue of the state of forestry reforming and the implementation of the environmental initiative "Large-scale planting of forest in Ukraine".

On March 23, 2021, the president issued a decree on the implementation of the NSDC decision "On challenges and threats to national security in the environmental sphere and priority measures to neutralize them." It was followed by a presidential decree of June 7 "On some measures for the conservation and reproduction of forests."

In June, V. Zelensky announced the Green Country project with the planting of 1 billion trees in 3 years and an increase in the forest area by 1,000,000 hectares in 10 years, new rules for the sale of timber, an audit of subsoil and water resources, as well as revitalization of the Chernobyl zone.

Taking into account the fact that V. Zelensky plans to plant 333 million trees a year, the estimated minimum cost of this project will be 2 billion hryvnia or 74 million dollars.

On June 24, the Ministry of Economy proposed to cancel the moratorium on the export of round timber - a corresponding bill has already been prepared.

Europe in 2014 (a year before the moratorium was imposed) bought Ukrainian timber in the amount of $ 500 million annually (officially $ 250 million, the same amount as contraband).

The Green Country program is beneficial to the authorities and those close to it for two reasons: for its implementation, 2 billion hryvnias (74 million dollars) can be allocated from the budget, and then half a billion dollars in income from the export of the same timber to the EU (if we assume that that the European demand for Ukrainian round timber remains stable from year to year), with an investment of 74 million dollars, the government and the business close to it can earn almost 7 times more.

 

 

2. Agricultural insurance in Ukraine.

Back in 2012, the Ukrainian government tried to resolve the issue of agricultural insurance through the use of the Agrarian Pool, which was abolished by the new government.

The February draft law on agricultural insurance received a critical conclusion from the expert service of BP. Thus, the expert service drew attention to the fact that the draft law did not comprehensively describe the concepts of force majeure and risks in the conduct of agricultural business. Thus, as of March 2021, the draft law aimed at regulating agricultural insurance actually had loopholes that would not protect market participants.

Thus, in the context of a poorly written law, the implementation of the reform will be entirely dependent on the judicial system. That is, agricultural insurance will work for some players and will not work for others.

In particular, the text of the draft law for the second reading gives the “authorized body” broad powers within the framework of the formation of a general agricultural insurance policy “who to pardon and whom to grant”. The law also proposes to state Clause 1.3 of Article 1 of the Law of Ukraine "On State Support of Agriculture of Ukraine" (Vedomosti of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, 2004, No. 49, Art. 527; 2012, No. 41, Art. 491) in the following wording: “ this Law does not regulate the issues of state support for insurance of agricultural products ”.

 

3. The Antimonopoly Committee filed a lawsuit against Prozorro. Sales.

 

On August 12, the state-owned enterprise “Prozorro. Sales” published on its website a statement that it does not agree with the decision of the AMCU and will appeal this decision in court.

Back on February 22, 2021, the Antimonopoly Committee formulated a requirement for the SE “Prozorro. Sales” provide certain information. The request was sent on March 2. According to the AMCU, the state-owned enterprise did not provide the required information within the specified period (20 calendar days).

This decision of the AMCU may become the beginning of the process of pressure on the state-owned enterprise in order to change the configuration of its influence in the country, pressure on individual people at the head of the enterprise in order to redistribute the influence on this SOE, which specializes in the sale of property.

 

4. The Zaporozhye Titanium-Magnesium Plant was taken away from Firtash.

On August 4, the Zaporozhye Titanium-Magnesium Combine was returned to the state's ownership, previously it belonged to the sub-sanctioned oligarch Dmitry Firtash.

The corresponding decision was made by the Economic Court of the Zaporozhye region. He satisfied the claim of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office against the Tolexis Trading Limited company of Dmitry Firtash and Zaporizhzhya Titanium-Magnesium Plant LLC. It was about the termination of the agreement on the establishment of this company and the return of the plant to the state.

The SAP stressed that the court had already made a similar decision in July 2018. The legality of that decision was also confirmed by the appeal.

However, the Supreme Court remitted the case for a new trial, thus upholding the complaint of Firtash's company.

Now the court of first instance has fully satisfied the claim of the SAP and returned ZTMK to the state ownership.

Firtash's company established ZTMK LLC in 2013. This happened thanks to the victory in the competition of the State Property Fund to attract investments to the plant. However, Firtash did not fulfill his obligations. We are talking about $ 110 million, which the oligarch was supposed to invest in modification of the plant. The funds were spent by the company's management for other purposes.

Ukraine will continue to follow the course of gradually reducing the influence of oligarchs who are not loyal to the current government.

Edited by:

Ruslan Bortnik,

Daniil Bogatyrev.

Authors:

Daniil Bogatyrev,

Oksana Krasovskaya,

Andrey Timchenko.