Valeriy Kucheruk on Ukraine

It seems that doubts of some experts in the sincerity of the European aspirations of the Ukrainian authorities over the past few weeks have started to fade away.

Representatives of the political establishment have filed as to Ukrainian society so to the foreign partners a number of messages of that directly point to the fact that Ukraine’s European choice is practically a final decision.

For example, recently the press office of the Ukrainian President has informed of a working meeting of Viktor Yanukovych and Minister of Justice Elena Lukash. During which, according to the press office, President Yanukovych demanded from Mrs. Lukash to inspect the development of bills by the government which Ukrainian parliament has to adopt for the signing of the Association Agreement on the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

“President Viktor Yanukovych has charged the Ministry of Justice to check the status of preparation of bills, the adoption of which is necessary for the signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union on November 28-29 in Vilnius, – the press office of the President announced, – On the eve of the active political season and the start of the Verkhovna Rada’s work Ukrainian President instructed to study the issue of readiness of laws necessary for the signing of an Association Agreement with the European Union in November. According to Lukash, the President drew attention to the necessity to consider the positions of international experts in the process of finalization of these bills.”

No less interesting is the recent “controlled leak” of information that the representatives of the presidential administration ostensibly appealed to the heads of major Ukrainian TV channels with a request to ignore the messages of the member of the pro-government Party of Regions Oleg Tsarev that Association Agreement with the EU contradicts the Ukrainian Constitution. Let us recall that earlier, Mr. Tsarev stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly made it clear to Viktor Yanukovych that he would not support the last in case of signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. According to a source in the presidential administration, whose words have been widely replicated in the Ukrainian media, statements by Oleg Tsarev about support of the Customs Union, as well as the information that Vladimir Putin, in case of signing by Ukraine of the Association with the EU, will not support Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election of 2015, were negatively perceived in the Administration of the President.

“This story allegedly even reached the President. As a result, the higher authorities have made the decision to completely block the emergence of messages by Oleg Tsarev on TV.”– said the source. As was noted, pre-emptive calls were made to the central TV channels. “It has even come to the point that the requests were forwarded to opposition channels not put the syncs of Tsarev on air” – the source stated.

It is noteworthy that the legal assessment of the project of the Association Agreement, referred to by Mr. Tsarev in his conclusions of inconsistency of the document with Ukrainian Constitution, was performed by the company, owned by the former head of the administration of President Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Medvedchuk. Who in his turn, is the fellow sponsor of Vladimir Putin and the main lobbyist for Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union.

It should be noted that the public reaction by Ukrainian authorities to Oleg Tsarev’s statements was immediate. “Any reproaches regarding the inconformity of the draft of Association Agreement with the applicable laws are hollow and pointless”, – said mentioned above Mrs. Lucash. She explained that the Association Agreement with the EU as a whole and all of its content correspond to applicable laws of Ukraine and can be signed whenever the parties are ready.

“Amendments to the Constitution will take place, I think, after we start to substantially and productively interact with the European Union. Their recommendations and standards will require changes in the norms relating to the judicial system and status of judges, improving anti-corruption legislation, improving standards of the public service, norms on the prosecutor’s office functioning, and only by then we are definitely going to gradually change the Constitution”, – she said.

At the same time, publicly appealing to Oleg Tsarev, the Minister of Justice noted: “When I hear these criticisms from people who do not have the appropriate level of professional training, legal education, and demonstrate someone’s else opinion, I always want to inquire: “Who asked you to I say this?” This is the only question that I’ve got for Mr. Tsarev.”

As we can see, the representatives of Ukrainian authorities through these and other messages clearly and unambiguously gave to understand to their compatriots and European partners that they see no alternative to the Association Agreement with the EU. And for the sake of it they are even ready for a tough and public criticism of members of their own party that will definitely have a negative impact on the electoral results of pro-government Party of Regions. To this should be added a possibility of serious confrontation with Vladimir Putin, which may negatively affect the state of the Ukrainian economy.

European politicians should understand that “the ball” is now on their side.

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