Sunday, September 09, 2012

Can Yanukovych depend on the MIA?

Opposition deputy Hennadiy Moskal, a wily old hand who knows the internal workings of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs well was recently interviewed by the 'ORD' website and asked about the current situation inside this ministry.

Below is a summary of his views:

The current minister, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, [a 100% Yanukovych loyalist]  has gone AWOL, and the situation inside his ministry is 'very unhealthy'. Almost all of the 'top brass' are now 'Donetski'.

The MIA is beefing up its forces, buying in more equipment etc. to deal with any possible public unrest
situations in the near future. A likely economic crash and/or election falsifications could produce such incidents.

Morale is low amongst the MIA forces, experienced career officers are rather poorly paid, and are frequently leapfrogged in promotion stakes by less-compentent and more corrupt 'Donetski'. If serious disorder broke out, the police could well 'go with the people', as they did in 2004.

The SBU [security services] leak constantly information to whoever is willing to pay for it, including the opposition. The SBU have many stooges amongst the ranks of the opposition, but they are known...and ignored.

Parliamentary election candidates are not vetted either by the SBU or the MIA which will permit many with highly dubious or even criminal backgrounds to enter parliament. E.g. the 'boyfriend' of prominent PoR deputy Inna Bohoslovska was alleged to be well-known crime gang boss in the mid '90's  linked to several killings. But now he is standing for election to the Verkhovna Rada elections under the undeclared patronage of Bohoslovska.

[More on the this topic later]

An, IMO brilliant recent Chatham House briefing Paper entitled: "A Ghost in the Mirror: Russian Soft Power in Ukraine" is summarised thus:

"For Russia, maintaining influence over Ukraine is more than a foreign policy priority; it is an existential imperative. Many in Russia's political elite perceive Ukraine as part of their country's own identity.

Russia's socio-economic model limits its capacity to act as a pole of attraction for Ukraine. As a result, Russia relies on its national myths to devise narratives and projects intended to bind Ukraine in a 'common future' with Russia and other post-Soviet states.

These narratives are translated into influence in Ukraine through channels such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the mass media, formal and informal business networks, and non-governmental organizations.

Russia also achieves influence in Ukraine by mobilizing constituencies around politically sensitive issues such as language policy and shared cultural and historical legacies. This depends heavily on symbolic resources and a deep but often clumsy engagement in local identity politics.

Russia's soft power project with regard to Ukraine emphasizes cultural and linguistic boundaries over civic identities, which is ultimately a burden for both countries."

Now Russia is applying ever-increasing pressure on Ukraine to join its Customs Union, which already includes Belarus and Kazakhstan...

Even Saturday's pro-PoR 'Segodnya' quotes an article from the influential 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya', which claims Putin gave Yanukovych a ultimatum at their last meeting...if you don't join the Customs Union in two months, trade relations go into the freezer...

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