ICPS within the project "Modeling the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the support of strategic advisers to MinTOT, supported by the International Fund "Renaissance" held a public discussion "The settlement of the conflict in Donbas: model and price" in Kramatorsk. The conflict in Donbas remains a primary challenge to Ukraine’s national security. The peaceful settlement of the conflict is hampered by the lack of a state strategy for reintegrating the particular districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (uncontrolled Donbas) as a result of disparities among the political elite.
Analyst Yevgen Yaroshenko noted the international experience of conflict resolution. There are four possible models. The Bosnian model is based on preserving the state’s territorial integrity in exchange for its federalization. The Bosnian model may bring peace to Ukraine, though it will not contribute to resolving the causes of the conflict. Such a scenario is more favourable for Russia and the West as it will not divert additional resources from them in the confrontation over Ukraine. The Croatian model provides for an alternative solution to the Minsk process, relying on unilateral actions and the military advantage of government forces.The Pakistani model arose from prolonged and deadly conflicts when the state either realizes that it cannot defeat separatist forces by military means or concludes that resources invested in retaining disloyal territory enormously exceed potential benefits derived from reintegrating these areas. The German model provides for the returning of lost territories on pre-war terms by means of peaceful negotiations with external players involved.
Senior economist Vasyl Povoroznyk said about costs of Donbas conflict settelement. A basic economic assessment of the implementation of one or other model of conflict resolution in eastern Ukraine should take into account the role of the region and its contribution to the economy of Ukraine in the pre-conflict period, an assessment of actual losses of the region as a result of conducting ATO and also the costs of conducting full-scale military operations in the ATO zone.
Anatoliy Oktysiuk presented the positions of Ukrainian political parties regarding Donbas conflict settlement: "Ukraine’s current political forces have essential differences in attitudes towards resolving the conflict in Donbas. The ruling political parties demonstrate a vague vision of how uncontrolled Donbas should be reintegrated, avoiding decisive steps in this area for fear of political destabilization and early parliamentary elections. At the same time, oppositional and non-parliamentary forces enjoy larger room for maneuver and are more active in advancing their proposals for reintegrating uncontrolled Donbas".
Mariana Savka: reading-performance “I Know, You Are Different”
On December 1, 2017, in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community, famous writer and UNDP Tolerance Envoy Mariana Savka held a reading-performence, “I Know, You Are Different”, which took place in Odessa. During the event, Mariana Savka spoke about her own creative work, her publishing activity, the project “12 incredible women” and the importance of a proactive social position. The text of Mariana Savka "I Know, You Are Different" is her own attempt to communicate with those, who society characterizes as different. “These texts are of a universal value. Each of the stories is about the real person who is next to us. And I am not sure whether they can be called others. For others – we all, each of us, with its unique experience, challenges, victories and personal traumas. We do not live in the heavenly valley; it is not easy for us. So let's strive for good-neighborly relations, respect each other, and then our existence will beсome a little easier”, -said Savka. Especially for this project, a well-known artist from Riga, the master of the sand show Tetyana Gavrilenko created a video with her own sand animation. The United Nations Development Program project “Reinvent respect” aims to reduce the polarization of public opinion and strengthen dialogue among various social groups, promoting respect, tolerance and mutual understanding.
On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany
On November 16, on the occasion of the International Tolerance Day, a famous Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze held a lecture «On tolerance in the language of art, physics and botany», which took place in Slavyansk in the framework of communication campaign “Reinvent respect” with the support of UN Development Program in Ukraine. According to the UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Alevtina Kakhidze, in her works through art, she tries to reveal the notion of mutual respect to each other. “In the animal world there is a concept of murder, there are also quite aggressive species in the plant world, but at the same time it is a very vivid metaphor that helps us to distinguish certain parallels both in political and social lives. It was through the botany that I spoke about the notion of tolerance in a society”, - said Kakhidze. During the lecture, the artist also drew attention to the laws of stable and unstable systems in modern physics, among which striking parallels with modern political conflicts can be found. There was also a joint work of the artist Alevtina Kakhidze with the participants of the 7th floor Theater. During the class, the children created scenery for the performance “Prince and Predator” by Mark Twain. The events are dedicated to the International Tolerance Day and are the part of the ICPS communication campaign on promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding in the community with the assistance of the UNDP in Ukraine, the Swedish Embassy and the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine.
The draft law on Donbas reintegration: pros and cons
On October 4, 2017, the text of the draft law “On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” became available in an open access. The document (known as the draft law on Donbas reintegration) which was presented on the initiative of the President of Ukraine, aims to improve the legal regulation of the situation in eastern part of Ukraine, but does not provide a set of necessary actions for achieving this goal. “Pros and cons” of the draft law “Pros”: First, the draft law, if approved by the Verkhovna Rada, will be the first document, which at the legislative level recognizes the non-controlled areas in Eastern Ukraine as temporarily occupied territories, Russia is designated as an aggressor state with regard to the situation in Donbass, and pro-Russian militants are equated to the pro-Kremlin “puppets”. Second, the draft law on Donbas reintegration eliminates legal contradictions, in particular by allowing to abolish the ATO regime and transferring management in the front lines from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Third, the draft law defines that state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories should be based on political and diplomatic means. “Cons” of the draft law: First, despite the defined objective, the draft law does not provide specific mechanisms for the restoration of state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories. Second, the draft law does not take into account the human dimension, particularly the mechanisms for ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens residing in non-controlled areas, such as retirement benefits, social security, administrative services etc. Consequently, serious problems can arise for Ukrainian citizens residing on these territories. Third, the preamble of this draft law refers to the evidences of Russia's aggression in Eastern Ukraine (based on the UN General Assembly resolution “Definition of Aggression”, which is a non-binding document), but ignores the undeniable facts of Russia’s aggression in Crimea. The reference to the annexation of Crimea and the inclusion of the Crimean “components” could help Ukraine achieve international recognition of Russia as an aggressor state. Four, the draft law contains a "sliding" reference to the Minsk agreements (the state authorities of Ukraine “ensure the priority of implementing the security provisions” of the Minsk agreements). Consequence, the question arises whether there is a legal contradiction in this document: the Minsk agreements recognize particular areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as a conflicting party while this draft law designates Russia as a conflicting party. Generally, the main point in the Donbas reintegration draft law is that it rather resolves operational tasks, but does not contain effective mechanisms for achieving goals of the draft law themselves, in particular the liberation of DPR/LPR-controlled territories and the protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of people, who have suffered from the armed conflict.
Discussion “Benefits of a tolerant society and the ways to build it in Ukraine"
A panel discussion on the “Benefits of a tolerant society and the ways to build it in Ukraine” was held today within the framework of the communication campaign “Reinventing Respect” with the participation of the UNDP Tolerance Envoys Pavlo Vyshebaba, Andriy Kulykov, Katya Chilly, Liubko Deresh, and ICPS Senior Advisor Vasyl Filipchuk. The key topic of the discussion was importance and relevance of tolerance in society in all the possible variations and manifestations. Besides, Vasyl Filipchuk drew attention to the practical measure of tolerance, having analyzed the level of GDP per capita, and making a conclusion on that the higher the welfare society has, the more tolerant society is. Co-founder of NGO “One Planet” Pavlo Vyshebaba noted that the respect for others begins with the realization of the unity together with all living beings. “Tolerance is a certain side of culture, which needs to be built in the society. We should realize that we depend on one another. If we try to build such a logical chain, when we realize – this what the tolerance is, the next step is respect, and then love. That’s what enriches us”, stressed Liubko Deresh. Wrapping up the event, moderator of the discussion Andriy Kulykov gave a very simple, yet meaningful remark – tolerance is power.
Bulletin of the regional transparency. Issue 2
We offer to your attention the second issue of the analytical-information product of the International Centre for Policy Studies, "Bulletin of the regional transparency", which was developed in the framework of the project "Transparency, financial health and competitiveness of the local self-government in Ukraine" being implemented by ICPS and Slovak non-governmental non-profit organization INEKO with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. The Bulletin contains the review the work of the Project, as well as a variety of materials devoted to increased transparency, financial viability and competitiveness of the local authorities, as well as issues related to the coverage of the decentralization reform. In this issue we offer to your attention materials on: Presentation of transparency rating in 22 regions of Ukraine by experts of ICPS (Ukraine) and Transparency International Slovakia; A violation of the procedural issues in Khmelnytsky City Council during preparation for the next session; Procurement of Chernivtsi City Council with used trolleys in emergency condition; Analysis of the position of the city of Odessa in the transparency rankings of the cities; Abuse in the city Kropivnitskyi in the greening of the city; Exposing individual schemes, discrimination of bidders in public procurement; Recommendations to local authorities on how to improve the transparency and openness of budget processes with participation of citizens. Full version of the Bulletin is available here: /assets/uploads/images/images/eu/nl_02_07_17_.pdf
Elections to United Territorial Communities: Results, Trends and Prospects of the Parliamentary Political Parties
The first phase of local elections to UTCs was won by the party of power "BPP-Solidarity", which with the help of technological projects "Nash krai" (eng. Our Land), "Agrarian party" and non-affiliated candidates will form its majority in a significant number of territorial communities. With high probability, the government will use this winning scheme in the next parliamentary elections. Second place went to the party "Batkivshchyna", which was able to take a clear niche of opposition against Petro Poroshenko. "Batkivshchyna" received high scores due to the operation at the local level, pension and land reforms. However, against the background of the campaign of the Radical party of Liashko and the Opposition bloc, technological projects of power – "Nash krai" and "Agrarian party" significantly strengthened their positions, and maintaining the existing electoral dynamics they have a good chance to get into the new parliament. The presidential administration went to the elections in several columns, which allowed the authorities to obtain very good results. In particular, in the East and South of Ukraine the project "Nash krai" showed very good results, which allowed to get ahead of the "Opposition bloc", which is in the midst of the organizational, ideological and financial crisis. In turn, new technological power project "Agrarian party" was able to impose electoral fight to the "Batkivshchyna" and the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko, whose voters are concentrated in villages and small towns. "Agrarian party" also criticized land and pension reforms, which allowed it to compete for voters in the opposition. The presence of significant financial resources and strong human asset on the ground, allowed the "Agrarian party" to get the high fourth result. Also, the presidential administration can record the considerable part of deputies-independent candidates who, after winning the election will come in the ruling party, or will support "BPP-Solidarity". According to the data of CEC, totally 269 of independents won in the elections. Thus, the results of local elections in the UTCs a landslide victory was obtained by the ruling party "BPP Solidarity", which with the help of independents and party-affiliated projects received about 60% of the seats in local councils. Second place was awarded to the party "Batkivshchyna", which at the local level had a successful campaign based on critics of land and pension reforms. It is also worth noting that the party "Batkivshchyna" has one of the strongest party and organizational structures in Ukraine, which for the past 15 years regularly took part in election campaigns. The analysis of the results of local elections shows that the best results belong to the party of Yulia Tymoshenko in the central and southern regions of Ukraine. In these areas small and middle-sized farms are particularly developed, they very painfully react to the sale of land that is actively used by the party "Batkivshchyna" in the process of political competition. The low results of the elections in the communities were also demonstrated by the Radical Party of Liashko, whose main competitors were "Batkivshchyna" and "Agrarian party". Also the parliamentary party "Samopomich" and "People’s Front" also took part in the electoral process and they showed very weak results. This is due to the overall drop in ratings of the parties of Yatsenyuk and Sadovyi, as well as very weak institutional and party structures. It is interesting to note that "People’s Front" decided to keep distance from "BPP", and in some regions still prepared their candidates who won the election. The party "UKROP" demonstrated very good performance in its base region Volyn and Western Ukraine in general. The relative success of the party "UKROP" was due to the failure of another nationalist party "Svoboda", which failed to gain a foothold in Central Ukraine. Another player on the right wing – "National Corps" of Biletskyi did not participate in local elections. The new party of Valentyn Nalyvaichenko "Sparevedlyvist" (eng. Justice) appeared, and it received 20 seats in the community. The party of Nalyvaichenko was trying to push the maximum number of its candidates for all districts, thereby demonstrating its desire to participate in the next parliamentary elections. One of the main trends of local elections is the participation in the election campaign of regional political projects, such as "Cherkashchany" or "United center", focused on the regional elite, with large resources and strong influence in the certain communities. Elections were held in conditions of mobilization of the administrative resource by the party authorities, who tried at the expense of independents to maximize their representation in the local councils. Local elections in the UTCs demonstrated the fact that political parties have actively fought for financial sponsors who are already eyeing the potential of successful projects that can be funded in the next parliamentary elections. Thus, without exception, all political parties consider local elections to UTCs as a rehearsal before the parliamentary elections. The administration of the President can count on the continued electoral success through independent candidates, the project "Nash krai", which competes with the Opposition bloc and the "Agrarian party", which is seen in Bankova Str. as the main electoral opponent of Radial Party and the "Batkivshchyna." For Yulia Tymoshenko, this election showed that her party is perceived as one of the few opposition alternatives regarding the structure of government of Petro Poroshenko. The ideological and organizational weakness of the Opposition bloc, voter fatigue from radicals and nationalists opens for "Batkivshchyna" a good electoral prospects. The first results of elections in UTCs also showed the increased influence among nationalist voters of the party "UKROP" which gradually absorbs the people’s and organizational network of "Svoboda" and other right-wing parties.