Specialists of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CDCAA) offer their analysis of key trends in security and defense in the second half of April 2019 year.
"Phenomenology" of the Sixth
The general battle, Vladimir Zelensky, won with an incredibly high result for Ukrainian "election traditions" - 73,2%. Under this option, the sixth president of Ukraine with a significant separation bypassed all the predecessors and led to talk about "the phenomenon of Zelensky."
According to talks about the exclusivity of the history of the rapid convergence of yesterday's showman to the powerful Olympus, it's easy to hide the underestimation of his chances, which at the beginning of the campaign was traced in the calculations of the headquarters of other candidates and expert community. However, after the announcement of the results of the first round, the formula for the success of Zelensky became the object of lively interest. Its components are described in detail and placed on the shelves of political analysis. So now, let's just outline key issues.
Antitrust of the current government has become "concrete", which is poured into the foundation and built up by the holding structures of electoral support ex-comedian. The technology of the newly-elected president managed to focus the campaign on the de facto "referendum" on trust not only to the team of the current president, but also to the entire old political elite. Over the years, frankly abused the methods of show business to influence the minds of voters. But when it became a true "master of the shop", none of the candidate-representatives of the old establishment had a chance to win. Even if in a jacket pocket, the administrative resource is disrupted. Therefore, traditional political technologies, however successful and creative, in view of the practice of previous campaigns, did not look, but only harmed the pro-government candidate. Petro Poroshenko's attempt to go all-in-one - to play on the opponent's field (an epic with analyzes and a scandalous debate at the NSC Olympic) - was predictably unsuccessful. On the contrary, the chaosing of the agenda of the campaign of the current guarantor after 31 March, bringing to the absurd of its key messages, activating the black PR - all this was only compromised by the diligently elaborated national-state pathos of Peter A. rhetoric.
In addition to the political-technological miscalculations of competitors, the "played" and non-standard format of communication with Zelensky voters (communication with Ukrainians was conducted exclusively through short videos and posts in social networks, and "traditional" channels of influence - TV shows and campaign tours around the country - were ignored. trips to some extent offset the concerts "Quarter 95"). The Zelensky team managed to cross the finish line, without spreading specific answers to the key issues of state-building. An intolerable interview on the eve of the election day, the presentation of his team in the air of a loyal TV channel and the exchange with the opponent of the inflammatory slogans at the stadium (an act for some reason called the debate) - that's all the "material for reflection" about what the future president's policy would be.
The dosage of information has led to the fact that the arrival of Zelensky in Bankova began to be viewed through the prism of the trend of populism, whose manifestations are increasingly flaring on the horizons of world politics. In the Ukrainian press, you can find Zelensky's comparison with Donald Trump, Beppe Grillo (the founder of the Movement of Five Stars - the Italian party that joined the pro-government coalition in 2018, delegating its representatives to the government), Jon Gnarr (eccentric ex-mayor Reyk ' Javica) and even some Latin American leaders, including President Guatemala Jimmy Morales. In this case, only two parallels can be traced - similar biographical facts (all came to politics, making the name as comic actors or real-life characters) and positioning themselves as a representative of the anti-establishment forces. However, such comparisons relate to external attributes and images, but do not shed light on the program of action of Zelensky himself.
By limiting communication with the press and the voter to a minimum, Zelensky escaped hasty promises of radical changes in the socio-economic and international politics (unless one considers such green boards of the "end to the era of poverty / greed"). Zelensky himself still does not offer recipes for a radical change in the economic situation, and representatives of his team are already beginning to remove pink glasses from the noses of their voters, reminding that the president does not have sufficient powers to carry out all possible "zabaganka".
The skillful flirtation with the masses in a language understood by them does not yet make a zealous politics-populist. In fact, the lack of "fat reserves" in the economy and the stubborn destructive policy of the Kremlin do not leave space for a new power for a broad maneuver. Obviously, after the inauguration of Zelensky, the state will depend on external lenders, and Putin is unlikely to find a good will for the return of Ordel to Kyiv, not to mention the occupied Crimea. (Incidentally, this configuration is clearly captured in the West, for example, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, stated: "I listened very carefully to the statements of the elected president and found no significant difference between him and Poroshenko in the case of Russia. The fact that he is striving Moscow does not help to complete the war in the east of Ukraine ").
The Ukrainian voters learned bitter experience - politicians forget about generously distributed promises as soon as polling stations are closed. The revolutionary events of five years ago have not changed the situation. More, the society has come to realize that in conditions of the powerful influence of external actors on the formation of state policy, the Ukrainian government, in whose hands it would not have appeared, can not be the guarantor of their own vows . Therefore, the request to come to power from outside of the system found such a lively response, and, eventually, this idea finally captured the folk imagination. Nadia Savchenko and Svyatoslav Vakarchuk did not pass "casting" due to various circumstances. Volodymyr Zelensky succeeded in disrupting the coffin. Almost three quarters of voters have decided that they would trust a candidate who, in large measure, did not promise anything, is a justified risk in a situation where "nothing is lost" or "worse still will not happen."
Similar attitudes are characteristic of revolutionary situations. Comparing the results of the presidential election with the electoral Maydan is a fairly accurate representation of the real processes. Accordingly, the victory of Zelensky can be interpreted as a change in the vector of the Revolution of dignity. The maximalist visions of the Maidan, which proved to be inaccessible on a practical plane but convenient for manipulating public opinion, are supplanted by a moderately pragmatic position. The new goal-setting allows consensus on specific issues of foreign policy or national memory in exchange for accelerating economic growth and material well-being of an individual citizen.
Therefore, the roots of the "Zelensky phenomenon" should be sought on a national basis, not international tendencies.
Parliamentary elections or the third round of presidential elections?
Getting power into the hands of a non-systematic newcomer is stress for the country's political system. Despite this, the loss of control over the situation is not discussed. First, Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as Petro Poroshenko in the 2014 year, managed to sew the electoral map of the country, regardless of local political orientations. Election failures were not highlighted on the ballot box of the Central Election Commission, which divided the country in half by 2014. (The only dark-raspberry color of the propaganda products of Petro Poroshenko) a piece on the country map - Lviv region - where the current president twice walked Zelensky. But "hostile" to Zelensky Lviv region also will not name, as evidenced by almost 34,5% support in the region). It devalues the possible scenarios to undermine the legitimacy of the new president through the erosion of the conflict of regional identities.
On the other hand, there is currently no reason to speak of dissatisfaction with Zelensky by the domestic "oligarchic regional committee". Vice versa, The readiness of the Council of Deputies to "reformat" under Zelensky testifies to the interest of the financial and industrial groups in co-operation with the newly-elected president, even though his proximity to one of the following structures - the so-called "Privat" group. Obviously, a new oligarchic consensus is waiting for Ukraine, and President Zelensky must be the guarantor of his compliance. The scale of the corresponding role is incommensurate with Volodymyr Aleksandrovich's producer experience. Therefore, it is possible that shortly thereafter an influential figure in the "regent" may appear on the skies of Ukrainian politics, perhaps even in the premier's chair.
The presidential administration's loss of control over the parliamentary majority substantially changes the rules of the game. Zelensky won the battle, but the question of the winner in the war is still open. The high rating of Zelensky is primarily a result of the protest vote, which means that its support can quickly "dissolve". The situation of the new president is complicated by the fact that in his cloth there is no solid party structure. Although sociological measures predict a pro-presidential political force ("Servant of the people") a quarter of the votes of voters, it is currently a phantom party. The party leader of the preferences of Ukrainians does not even have a site, let alone a well-known team of people who can be included in the electoral list.
In this situation, the miscalculations of the Zelensky team will automatically hit the "Servants of the people" positions. Aware of the fragility of the situation, Zelensky's technologists are peddling the idea of early parliamentary elections. Obviously, the calculation is made on the fact that in the case of an operative holding of parliamentary elections, the list of Zelensky will receive a solid representation due to the electoral takeover of his leader. This scenario looks as close as possible to the "success story" of French President Emmanuel Macron. Elections to the national assembly of France took place a month after Macron's accession to the post, which on the wave of his own popularity managed to provide the majority of his fast-paced political force "Forward, Republic!". It is possible that at the headquarters of Zelensky French experience was on the ears. To establish a solid faction in parliament, not "frolic" with such trifles as party building, is a seductive prospect.
Meanwhile, recognizing the defeat in the elections, Petro Alekseevich has already promised the winner a "very strong opposition", which, obviously, he plans to head. Poroshenko succeeded in cementing his electoral core due to the second round. However, the chances of preserving the current level of "Solidarity" representation in the newly-convened parliament may well be tantamount to the time of elections. On the one hand, the corruption ploy that stretches in the immediate surroundings of the president has already hit him a significant reputation and cut off several points from the rating. One can not rule out the possibility that, after the departure of the power of Petro Poroshenko, law enforcement agencies who always "hold their nose in the wind" will try to make the new government a pleasure - to open on the eve of parliamentary elections a case against Zelensky's predecessor.
On the other hand, the defeat of the current authorities sounded gong for Poroshenko's political satellites-the time has come to be determined: to follow his leader in the opposition or to try to play his own party in hopes of seizing a golden share. Taking into account the actions and statements of a number of figures from the presidential team, which will shortly make up their powers, there will be a lot of them. So, even despite the failure of the idea of early parliamentary elections Zelensky will have a wide choice of potential allies in the new convocation of the Verkhovna Rada.
Putin's passport of Ukraine is the first challenge for a new president
The Kremlin "congratulated" the Zelensky Presidential Declaration on the "passport war". In April 24, the Russian president signed a decree to simplify the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to ORDLOs. Infrastructure is already in place in Russian regions bordering pseudo-republics. In the first place, Russian passports will be received by militants and representatives of the occupation administration. In this way, Russia buys the loyalty of those sectors of the population that ensure the Kremlin's presence in the ORDLO. Also, the distribution of passports to the population of Donbass provides Moscow with an argument for further interference in Ukraine's internal affairs, since now it is not about protecting "Russian speakers" (this concept went bankrupt after the election of Zelensky), but Russian citizens.
At the same time, the government of the Russian Federation does not aim to raise the level of material status of pensioners in the occupied territories. The pension can be arranged only if you move to Russia. On the one hand, it opens a window for corruption, when occupiers will trade the right to receive a Russian pension. On the other hand, it provokes a discussion in Ukraine about the expediency of automatic deprivation of Ukrainian citizenship of those who will receive Russian passports using Putin's decree. Thus Kiev faces an inconvenient decision - to pay a "double" pension (in addition to Russian) to the ORDLO pensioners (causing the irritation of a part of society) or to deprive citizens of such a category of persons and thereby cause the thunder and lightning of the West.
It is also worth noting that the Kremlin was preparing for passport sabotage in advance. The right to provide citizenship under the simplified scheme of the president of Russia appeared after the introduction of amendments to the federal law "On Citizenship of the Russian Federation", which entered into force 29 March 2019. So regardless of the outcome of the election, the Russian leadership would do exactly that.
Actually, the idea of certification of the occupied territories of the Donbas is not new, as well as the practice of certification of territories of neighboring states. Mass issuance of Russian passports to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia began on 1 June 2002 year after the adoption of the new law on the citizenship of the Russian Federation. If before the law began, the number of Russian citizens in Abkhazia was estimated at about 30%, while in South Ossetia it was slightly higher than 40%, then in 2008 this figure reached 85% and 90%. In Transnistria, with 500, thousands of people in an unrecognized republic, about 213 thousand people received a Russian passport under a similar procedure.
As for Ukraine, the "passport" appetites of Putin's Russia are traced from August 2008 year. Then the domestic Foreign Ministry reported that the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Simferopol issued Russian passports to the inhabitants of Crimea. In 2014 year, due to the annexation of the peninsula, a complete transition to passports of the RF in the republic took only nine months. Over this period, over 1,56 million documents were issued. Also, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation from 2014 to 2018 year, an additional 360,3 thousand Ukrainians received Russian passports. At the same time, during these years Poroshenko has deprived citizenship of more than 28 thousand people.
So the certification of the occupied Donbass (and Putin allowed the distribution of a simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for all Ukrainians) will be the first serious test for Zelensky in the area of relations with the Russian Federation. In addition, this issue needs to be resolved at the level of national legislation. In this case, the corresponding initiative should belong to the new president.
Head of the foreign policy projects of the Central Scientific Research Center of Civil Aviation