The new Rubicon of the Minsk agreement

After certainly positive news about the mode of complete silence in Donbass, hopes for the execution of the Minsk Agreement appear. Local elections in certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions have to become the following point. However this step, most likely, will become new Rubicon of Minsk, which will be very difficult to pass.

The main stumbling block between the countries participants of the Minsk Agreement is algorithmization and sequence of actions in the solving of the Ukrainian crisis which Europe wishes to solve as fast as its possible, having chosen the way of the least resistance.

Certainly, Ukraine has got powerful support from Berlin and Paris in understanding that local elections in certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions have to be held only under the Ukrainian jurisdiction. However, unfortunately, it doesn’t give any diplomatic dividends to Ukraine.

In this way it’s necessary to recall the notorious Morel’s plan which is officially called as “Elements for the temporary law on local elections in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions“.

According to this brainchild of diplomacy Donbass elections will be held after ceasefire under supervision of the ODIHR/ OSCE. Ukraine amnesty is guaranteed for all the participants of the elections. It is expected that the elections will be held under the direction of the temporary local election commissions with representatives of local offices of the parties that were registered before 2014.

These commissions have to possess broad authority. Such questions as the admission /not admission of the parties to electoral process and accreditation of mass media will also be included in their competences. The residential qualification for the implementation of the passive suffrage is also provided. However the most odious in this document is absence of point about disarmament and recurrence of control over state border to Ukraine.

It would be possible to doubt in reliability of existence of this plan, but after the corresponding statements of Poroshenko, and also Foreign Ministers of France and Germany such doubts can be rejected with confidence.

Actually, the last meeting of leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine gave green light to working up the special law for elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions within Tripartite contact group. However we can’t hope that this document will be completely acceptable for Ukraine. The position of the European partners who have made an obvious curtsey towards Russia is the reason for that.

During press conference devoted to the results of the summit in Paris François Hollande accurately describes European image of further implementation of Minsk agreement : Firstly, amnesty and elections, then special status for Donbass, diversion of foreign armed groups and returning of control over border for Ukraine.

We could expect the similar application more from Vladimir Putin, than from the head of the French Republic. However there is nothing to be surprising here. France, and, in particular, Germany, are interested in the fastest settlement of the Ukrainian crisis because the number of internal problems at these countries recently considerably increased.

Firstly, migrants’ crisis actually calls into question unity of the EU as confederative structure, shock resistance in front of external threats.

Secondly, we have to notice the problem of the Syrian crisis, which recently eclipsed Ukrainian question.

Thirdly, obvious desires of the leading EU countries to remove sanctions from Russia as fast as it possible.

Thus, it is possible to claim that leaders of the EU are interested in the fastest solution of the Ukrainian problem, being guided by the principle of speed instead of quality. It is obvious that position of Russian Federation, Germany and France concerning elections to Donbass area are similar. Thus, actually without having subjectivity in the international relations, Ukraine de facto will have to accept the conditions dictated by it.

It’s clear that Morel’s plan will form the basis of the future law about elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. In spite of the fact that negotiations go very tensely within the subgroup for the political affairs which decides the destiny of this law, Ukraine will not be able to get comfortable conditions for itself. Of course Europe and Russia will be compelled to make small concessions for Ukraine during these negotiations, but the main decision will belong to it.

Now according to statements of the president and his administration it already becomes clear that future law will have extremely contradictory character. There is an extremely important question. Will Ukraine be able to achieve active and passive electoral rights for internally displaced persons? The structure of future local authorities in Donbass directly depends on it.

Also Ukrainian diplomats will be fighting for the formulation of the concept of amnesty for the candidates. It isn’t unlikely that they form the norm about implementation of the requirement of disarmament and returning control over the border to Ukraine before the elections. In his last statement Petro Poroshenko declared that in a problem of elections in Donbass he hopes for the support of the Ukraine parliament. Most likely, the president plans to adopt this law until the end of the year. For this purpose he needs absolute majority in parliament – 226 voices.

Adoption of the Constitution in the first reading showed that getting the necessary number of parliamentarians for the president’s party is not a problem. Poroshenko have the voices of the Prime Minister’s party, and the parliament resources of oppositional block.

It is obvious that the Radical party of Lyashko, Batkivshchyna and Samopomich will not vote for the law on local elections in certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. There is high probability that voting for this law will lead to the separation of these parties from the coalition. Moreover we shouldn’t forget that by the end of the year in the second reading of the project of changes in the Constitution have to be voted. Poroshenko doesn’t have qualified majority in 300 voices for it? Anyway voting for these two resonant laws can become the reason of a new round of the parliamentary crisis with much more serious consequences, tan it is today.

Also there is a big danger for the stability of the Ukrainian political system is constituted the reaction of the right forces to the law for elections in certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. It can pour out in a chain of the extremely dangerous events for the Ukrainian statehood.Whether the right groups will go for similar radicalization is a controversial issue.

From the point of view of the reaction of the Ukrainian society on events near Ukrainian parliament after voting for changes in the constitution, it is possible to assume that extremist actions won’t get broad public support. The variant of public protests, military marches and acts of intimidation looks much more probable. A lot of things depend, from political actors who have more legitimacy, than the right forces. It is about Samopomich, Radical party of Lyashko, Batkivshchyna, also Svoboda and UKROP. Will they lead media campaign against these draft bills to the level at which actions of the right groups will cease to perceive as marginal and will get a response in society? Perhaps, but it is improbable because the public regard to the crisis in the Eastern Ukraine negatively. It’s obvious testifies the desire for its fastest solution with peaceful means, even despite the losses of these territories.

Anyway the Law on local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions will become a hard testing for Ukraine.

Expert of the Ukrainian Institute of Policy Analysis and Management.
Nikolay Strebkov