Will Military Rule Save Ukraine?
Dmitry MININ | 21.07.2014 | WORLD / Russia & CIS

Will Military Rule Save Ukraine?

The events in Ukraine unfold in such a way that many started to express the opinion that the only way to maintain the country as one is to bring to power a tough military regime as soon as possible. Many people believe the economy is going to collapse entailing social unrest. Western financial flows just prolong the default that has actually has taken place. Besides the money flows from outside are getting thinner due to enormous problem of squandering and embezzlement. According to different estimates, this year the country will need extra $30-50 billion to cover its needs. It’s not the sum the West is ready to come up with. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has understood the hopelessness of the situation and rendered resignation. It has not been accepted by parliament as yet. Perhaps he agreed to be a kind of suicide bomber but everything has its limit. President Poroshenko looks self-confident, but he is losing the credit of trust. He has to spend time and effort to fend off political blows from behind the curtains being attacked by Yulia Timoshenko, the head of Batkivshchyna political party, who is still strong enough, and other oligarchs, first of all Igor Kolomoisky, the governor of Dnepropetrovsk. The growing militarization of economic and social life make a man with a gun a leading figure. The gun may be turned in many directions. There are many hopefuls for a leader’s role. Each of them belongs to a certain group with its own interests. 

The idea of strong hand is supported by widely spread financial abuses related to funding the punitive operation in Donbass. 

«One man's problem is another man's opportunity». As they say in war time «For some people war is war, for others - dear mother» meaning that some people suffer of war; some people make a fortune off it. Alexander Kuzmuk, a Member of Parliament and former Minister of Defense told the parliament that 11, 5 billion hryvna have been allocated for defense needs. The sum has vanished. Money awards mainly go to those who serve in staff positions. According to Kuzmuk, the situation is unusual. The units involved in combat actions are mainly supported by relatives of personnel who send money and foodstuffs. Volunteers are of help providing a lot of things that are needed so much from water to infrared scanners. An inquiry at Zhitomir facility made surface the fact of disappearance of components for 78 vehicles that were checked. Power plants, turrets etc. 225 vehicles lack parts in the Kiev armor factory; four tanks with the total cost of 6 million hryvna are missing. The prosecutor’s office is stunned by the scope of theft. 

Alexander Zhilin, the head of the center for the study of public applied problems, said that during the «anti-terrorist operation» five Ukrainian generals have become dollar millionaires, especially the ones involved in the punitive actions. There are more examples of theft and embezzlement. The dead soldiers stay on payroll making the money fill the pockets of Kiev higher-ups. According to the expert, if such enormous funds will go on being embezzled the war will never end. 

To avoid conscription one has to give a bribe of $500 at a recruitment station. Not so much it may seem at first glance, but the numbers of service dodgers are measured in hundreds of thousands, then it brings in a good profit. Once at the front lines, only a bribe could make a soldier be given a permission to go home on a leave. 

The euphoria after capturing Slavyansk and some other populated areas is evaporating. It starts to be realized it’s not a real victory but rather a serious failure on the part of the leadership responsible for the operation. 

A hvylya.org observer speaks critically about it. According to him, Slavyansk was not seized in battle; it was just left by insurgents without firing a shot. The enemy forces left the city without losses. It’s smokescreen. It’ impossible to eliminate the many thousand strong group with heavy weapons in the City of Donetsk with the population over a million even if network-centric warfare tactics are used. But the Ukrainian forces use the tactics of the 1930s, even more obsolete than the art of war in the days of WWII. 

Another Ukrainian author wrote in the Ukraine on Verge of Chaos article that the worst may happen in the fall when the living standards will go down along with economic collapse, cold and impoverishment, the people will get exasperated and tired of war with its incessant losses, the Donetsk (Afghan style) syndrome will spread among military who have gone through combat actions in the area of Donetsk. Populist politicians will use the situation to their advantage; media outlets will pour fuel on jingoist and militaristic sentiments. The mobs going out of control will attack state offices, conduct people’s lustration and lynch members of parliament and officials belonging to all political forces. 

Even now the relatives of soldiers stage meetings in front of the presidential residence. They are informed by cell phones about the shocking things taking place in the military and commanding officers leaving their subordinates alone on the battlefield. 

The first rehearsal of coup took place by the end of June. 300 soldiers of the battalions organized and funded by tycoon Igor Kolomoisky: Donbass, Azov, Aidar masked and dressed in combat fatigue gathered in the Maidan square of Kiev. They wanted the end of ceasefire, the establishment of military rule in the country, better weapons for volunteers and the permission to use any methods to eliminate Donbass self-defense units. 

That’s what a military coup may look like. Well-armed extreme nationalists of the National Guard will leave the front area to gather in Kiev to join with Pravy Sector and Maidan self-defense units to demand the power change with the corrupted regime having to go. According to Sergey Yuldashev, the head of Kiev prosecutor’s office, 12 administrative buildings, including October Palace and Ukrainian House, are still held by volunteers. 

There may be many weapons inside. As of today, the self-defense units express no desire to leave the buildings. No doubt Igor Kolomoisky would be the key beneficiary in case the events unfold this way. 

Nationalist media outlets warn Poroshenko. They say the army becomes the only legitimate power attribute of the state. Everything else has degraded. But Petro Poroshenko refuses the army. That is he refuses the people. Then who is his ally? Looks like soon he’ll have no one to rely on. He is losing the trust of people. The military starts to hate him. Police and security service have become demoralized and corrupt since a long time ago. The way the situation develops he won’t last even three years as Yanukovych did. There is always sundown after sunrise. By and large the pattern of would-be Ukraine is emerging. According to Yuri Romanenko, «the authoritarian regime will have features of military democracy based on popularity among grassroots. Without solid social base the regime simply won’t stand up to the powerful enemy. Moscow has done everything to convince Russians that a junta is ruling in Kiev. This is the time for the junta to stay tall and show what it’s good for».

Poroshenko starts to realize he is in jeopardy. He is taking preventive measures. The hustle with appointments among top military and power agencies testifies to the fact that he is preparing to face an internal rather than external enemy. 

Valeriy Heletey is a newly appointed Minister of Defense who is personally loyal to the President. He has been chief of State Security Administration (UDO) that specializes in security of government officials. The first thing he did taking the new office was putting an end to distribution of weapons to volunteer (mercenaries to serve tycoons) units from military warehouses. 

Kolomoisky wanted these weapons for his formations but the Minister of Defense told him to go straight to the Supreme Commander. It all instigates the radicals willing to grab power. 

Poroshenko understands that by continuing the war in Donbass he spurs militarist sentiments and personal ambitions inside the country expediting the date of his own overthrow which may be accompanied by bloodshed. 

Economic reforms are impossible under the circumstances. The Ukrainian President is threatened; there are forces who demand the war till the victorious end. But it’s impossible to win a war against your own people. The divisions are not limited by battlefields; they take place in the people’s minds and hearts. No matter how combat actions develop, the divisions will stay. But he demands to continue the war till victory will gain strength becoming more perilous. Does President Poroshenko have the instinct of self – preservation; will he seek truce and compromise with the compatriots? In his case it’s the only chance to remain in power. People would have supported him if he chose this way of action.