In Digest, Ukraine

New Cold War.org, Oct 25, 2015

The Financial Times reported on October 22 that Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has yanked candidates of his political machine from the municipal and regional elections that are taking place across Kyiv-controlled Ukraine today, October 25. The reason for the decision is to avoid inevitable, embarassingly-low results.

Petro Poroshenko (L) and Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Petro Poroshenko (L) and Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Support to Yatsenyuk’s “People’s Front” has sharply withered. Two polls recently published (IFIS and IRI) show very low support for Yatsenyuk himself among Ukrainian political leaders. Just one year ago, the “People’s Front” won the most votes of all the “party” slates in the legislative (Rada) election–22 per cent. Yatsenyuk was able to hold onto his position as prime minister thanks to those results. But that support has since evaporated due to the calamitous state of Ukraine’s economy and due to the highly unpopular civil war that Yatsenyuk and his government are waging in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv has been obliged by its European Union and IMF masters to more or less observe a ceasefire since September 1. But its economic blockade against the rebellious eastern regions continues. Kyiv refuses to talk to the duly elected political leadership of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and find a political settlement to the conflict. This is in defiance of the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement which Kyiv signed on Feb 12, 2015 (and which was ratified by no less that the UN Security Council five days later!). And it is urging the EU and North America to continue their threatening and hostile policies towards Russia.

Kyiv is trying to set an “example” of continued hostility to Russia by refusing landing rights on its territory for air passenger travel emanating from Russia. Russia has been obliged to respond in kind by banning landing rights for Ukrainian airlines. Ukraine’s air travel ban officially commences today.

The Financial Times is one of the very few Western media outlets to report the story of Yatsenyuk’s decision to withdraw from today’s elections. The newspaper reports on Oct 22:

Judging by the reaction of Petro, 32, a city worker in Kiev, who — until recently — was serving on the eastern front, Mr Yatsenyuk’s party will not be missed on Sunday. “He did the right thing by not running in this elections. They have lost trust,” said Petro, who had been called out to fix a broken water main that left a gaping, muddy hole. “Where are the reforms?”

The aforementioned poll by IFES (the International Federation of Electoral Systems) reports that only 20 per cent of Ukrainians think the country is headed in the right direction to improve its economy and social conditions. Fifty six per cent say it is not.

Sixty per cent of Ukrainians have little confidence or none at all in President Petro Poroshenko. Only 20 per cent express any confidence in Yatsenyuk. One year ago, Poroshenko scored a 69 per cent positive rating and Yatsenyuk scored 60 per cent.

By far the largest issue of concern in the country today is the civil war campaign of the government in the east of the country (83 per cent of respondents in June 2015, 70 per cent in September 2015). And yet, the government continues with its hostilities there.

Concerning the original goals of the ‘Euromaidan’ movement of 2013-14, today, only 14 per cent of IFES respondents think it has improved democracy in Ukraine and only five per cent think it has limited the power of the despised class of tycoons (‘oligarchs’).

In a genuine democracy, such deep unpopularity of a government and its leaders would be cause for alarm and change in political course. In many Western democracies, it would at least prompt a semblance of concern. But not in Euromaidan Ukraine. A spokesman for Yatsenkyuk told the Financial Times that his boss is “perfectly aware” of what he faces and is “not concerned by temporary political party ratings”.

The Financial Times is one of the few Western media outlets to report the polls by IFES and IRI. No Western media at all is reporting the polls rather frequently conducted and published by Ukrainian pollsters. That’s because the all the polls flatly contradict the Western media’s propaganda line of Russian “interventions”, “invasions” and so on as being determining factors in Ukraine’s political situation.

Western media likewise self-censors its reporting of the very seriously degraded state of democracy and civil rights in Ukraine.

*****

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