The legitimacy of Ukraine’s presidential elections scheduled to take place on 25 May 2014 is non-existent, but everybody knows that the West is recognising them as legitimate. Judging by opinion polls, the chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko – a close confidante of Viktor Yushchenko, who is godfather to Poroshenko’s daughters – is going to win. He has not been seen in Ukrainian politics for the last 2-3 years, but suddenly emerged on the wave of Euromaidan as the top-rated candidate. The polls even suggest that Poroshenko has a chance of winning the elections in the first round (which has only ever been achieved by Leonid Kravchuk in 1991).
According to published opinion polls, 32.9 percent of Ukrainians are prepared to vote for Poroshenko, and 48.4 percent of those who are intending to participate in the elections. For comparison, Yulia Tymoshenko has 9 and 14 percent respectively.
Following the nomination of presidential candidates and the withdrawal of Vitali Klitschko, who refused to run for the presidency in favour of Petro Poroshenko, it became decidedly clear that the West had changed its favourite.
During the three months of active confrontation on Maidan Square (December-February), Poroshenko skilfully lay low behind the scenes, keeping away from any unprofitable (from the point of view of his reputation) protests such as signing agreements with Viktor Yanukovych or announcing the results of these agreements before a tense Maidan Square. Afterwards, however, all the benefits of a leader of the opposition flowed to him in one fell swoop.
Poroshenko’s role in the bloodiest episode of the Maidan protests – the simultaneous shooting of dozens of street protesters and law enforcement officers in central Kiev by unknown snipers – requires careful examination.
It is clear that the chocolate bunny belonged to the Maidan group; he was trusted by all the coup’s organisers and leaders. At the same time, the method behind his actions differed from the behaviour of those who loved to be seen in public, lounging around between meetings on Maidan Square, talks on Bankovaya Street and press conferences.
Poroshenko was surreptitiously tilling the soil for the presidential elections, and if he may have been involved in financing the Banderites, then he must have also shouldered the cost of hiring the snipers. The chocolate candidate did not shine anywhere, and he kept his ambitions for power skilfully hidden, giving the impression that he had ended up near Maidan Square accidentally. At the same time, judging by the vast behind-the-scenes work he also carried out among Ukrainian political and business circles in the West during the Maidan protests with his eye clearly on the presidency, then part of this work most likely involved pushing for a denouement to the street fighting on 18-20 February 2014.
On the whole, Poroshenko’s path during these months is like the whole of his previous political career – a path of deception, intrigue, treachery, and possibly murder. That is already a job for criminal investigation and the courts.
Now, however, having driven every potential opponent away from the coveted seat of power, he is getting ready to win the elections in the first round. Verbally, he is a proponent of everything that may please voters in both western and southeastern Ukraine. On the official site of the Central Executive Committee, however, is his pre-election programme, which quite unequivocally shows how Poroshenko envisages Ukraine’s future.
It is clear from this programme that Poroshenko is ready to violate all the agreements on de-escalating the Ukrainian crisis that have been signed by the members of the current junta. «I guarantee to preserve the recently restored parliamentary-presidential form of rule whereby the Government is formed by a coalition of factions and deputies. I will not lay claim to powers greater than those with which you elect me», the programme reads.
Poroshenko also states that the Constitution will not be changed during his presidency. This violates agreements that have already been signed, in accordance with which a new Constitution is needed that virtually all political and business circles in Ukraine agree with in one way or another. Everyone except Petro Poroshenko, apparently.
The chocolate candidate also states that «Ukraine will remain… a unitary state». So shut-up, Southeast: there is not going to be any kind of federalisation!
Poroshenko’s attitude to the Russian language is also abundantly clear. If he becomes president, Russian will never be given the status of a second state language: «I will act on Article 10 of the Constitution, which defines Ukrainian as the state language… With a view to securing the unity of the Ukrainian political nation, the existing status-quo regarding the language issue must be preserved».
Further on in the programme, Poroshenko states that «a single humanitarian space in the cultural-linguistic sphere, education, and the policy of historical memory will be preserved and enhanced». It is not difficult to imagine what a nightmare a «single humanitarian space» will look like under a person who helped bring the neo-Nazi Pravy Sektor party to power. It can already be seen in the statements being issued by the chocolate monster regarding events in the southeast: «A powerful government must learn to speak the language of force, not organise roundtable discussions with separatists and terrorists, not search out some way to deal with them. We must have an absolutely clear language that they will understand. They do not understand the Ukrainian language… They understand the language of force». That is what the «reconciliation» and «taking into account the specifics of the regions» mentioned in Poroshenko’s programme looks like.
The programme also contains a thesis from the realm of fantasy: «By the end of my term in office, I expect to achieve the necessary policy decisions from the EU and begin talks on Ukraine’s full membership in the EU».
It is interesting that the programme does not mention anything about Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Yet the chocolate king refers to it in his public statements in no uncertain terms: «Integration with NATO is at the top of the agenda». He does acknowledge, however, that less than fifty percent of the population are in support of this idea.
With Poroshenko, Ukraine is risking the political reincarnation of his daughters’ godfather Yushchenko, but without musings in the spirit of rural ethnic romanticism and a love of bees. Cruelty, a thief’s instinct and the ability to betray have given Petro Poroshenko the opportunity to make millions and hold his ground in Ukrainian politics. Exploiting these qualities has provided him with his current rating as a presidential candidate, as well as Pravy Sektor, which he has funded and which serves as his private army.
Citizens in the southeast of the country who are still wondering whether to take part in the spectacle known as the elections or not, and if so then who they should vote for, must clearly understand that when there is mention of the crimes committed by Pravy Sektor, what is really meant is the crimes committed by Petro Poroshenko. When there is mention of the overthrow of the country’s legitimate president, then this is also referring to the activities of Poroshenko. When the country’s citizens are called «separatists» and «terrorists» for standing up for their constitutional rights (civil, political and cultural-linguistic), this is a reflection of Poroshenko’s attitude towards the people.
Petro Poroshenko as the West’s main favourite to become the president of Ukraine is a gamble on the radical and nationalistic restructuring of Ukraine as a forced unitary political entity in which there will be absolutely no room to consider the interests of the millions of Russians and Russian-speaking citizens in Ukraine…