Ukrainian Security Sector

Key security and defense challenges and risks in the first half of July 2019

The telemist in the zeal of Ukrainian-Russian relations

The transit of power in the Pechersk hills has created hothouse conditions for Russian intervention in the information space of Ukraine. As in the conventional conflict in the Donbass, Moscow acts indirectly - through its proxy project in the Ukrainian politics. The role of the engine in the mechanism of incorporation into the public consciousness of the Kremlin visions is devoted to the child of the odious policy of Viktor Medvedchuk - "Opposition platform."

An important tactical aspect of the Kremlin's information strategy was the concentration of media assets in the hands of controlled political actors. Several weeks ago, Medevechuk's associate Taras Kozak arranged for the purchase of a regular TV channel. Thus, the main lobbyist of the Kremlin in Ukrainian politics has taken over the third media actuality (the News holding includes 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and, more recently, ZIK). Also on one of the most rated TV channels - Inter (under the number "5" of the "Platform" list in the Verkhovna Rada is the co-owner of the TV channel Sergei Lyovochkin) is playing on the "subscriber" of Oppolatform. Taking into account that for three quarters of Ukrainians the main source of information remains the blue screen, the rate of pro-Russian forces to monopolize the information segment of the television market poses a threat to the resistance of the state and society.

Of course, the horns of the Russian agenda without a voter of the Crimea and the occupied regions of the Donbas are not capable of inclining the scales of power on the side of the party of Medvedchuk. Despite this, spreading the waves of informational noise through controlled media, pro-Russian actors perform a number of important tactical functions, in particular:

- Influence on the flow of votes within the white and blue segment of the electorate. Using the financial and media resources of the Kremlin, Medvedchuk threw water into the holds of a ship going to the elections under the sails of oligarch Rinat Akhmetov ("Opposition Bloc"). Obviously, the Kremlin expects to receive a managed faction in the Council, which is seen as a springboard for further incorporation of its agents of influence in power cabinets. There is no competition in this field.

- Feeding the narratives of the Russian vision of the settlement of the war on the Donbass. The Ukrainian Institute for Sociological Studies named after the Ukrainian Institute of Sociological Studies testifies to a rather alarming symptomatology. Alexander Yaremenko and Center "Social Monitoring» According to the poll, more than half of respondents (54,8%) believe that a direct dialogue between the president and the occupation administration in Donetsk and Luhansk will help restore peace.. The opposite opinion is adhered to by 33%. Also, almost half of the respondents in exchange for peace support or rather support the provision of the ORDLO autonomy within Ukraine. These results indicate a fiasco of the information policy of the previous government. Simultaneously such numbers allow the Kremlin with enthusiasm to play the scenario of returning Ukraine "squeezed" into 2014-15 territories in the "autonomy" wrapper while retaining de facto external control over these areas.

An element of the manipulative game was the so-called TV channel "It's necessary to talk", which allegedly planned to carry the channel "NewsOne" under the control of Medvedchuk's structures and the Russian-1 federal television channel. Obviously, the provocation was aimed at mobilizing a loyal Ukrainian voter to Russia, which, according to the puppet the idea, has to bring some additional points to 21 in July in the "Opposition Platform" treasury. At the same time, the point of an information attack was directed towards the new president's team. Probably the calculation was as follows: the rigid reaction of the authorities to the "telemasters" was in clear contradiction with the expectations that the Zelenist voter of the East and the South of the country would entrust to the Donbass settlement through a direct dialogue with the Russian Federation. A direct consequence of this was the outflow of a certain part of the disappointed voters "Servants of the People" to "Platform".

In these conditions, the authorities got a great opportunity to demonstrate in practice their fundamental difference from the "predecessors". Let's remind you, 4 October 2018 Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution "On approval of proposals for the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)" against owners of TV channels "112 Ukraine" and NewsOne. However, the document lay under the cloth in the National Security and Defense Council, and pro-government commentators continued to appear on the air of these TV channels.

For the consideration of the president and the National Security and Defense Council, the Security Service of Ukraine sent several tools for responding ("Concerning measures to stop anti-Ukrainian activities"). The real consequences for TV channel owners include the following points:

- to initiate before the Verkhovna Rada of the legislature the powers of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting to take decisions on the revocation of the license for broadcasting or the revocation of the license of the provider of the program service without seeking a court if the violations were not removed after the application of sanctions "announcement of a warning" and " a fine ", or in the case of failure to comply with the order of the state regulator in the timeframe established by him;

- initiate before the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine the use of measures to de-monopolize the information space by the media holding "News".

The central leitmotiv of the head of state's appeal to "dear Ukrainians" in response to the Kremlin TV-divergence was the call not to "lead" to provocation. At the same time, Zelensky "drove" on the old-timers of the domestic political workshop with the formula "they are all alike." However, the specifics about how the government plans to counteract the information offensive of the RF has not yet sounded.

According to the experts of the Central Statistical Bureau, the situation requires a prompt response from the state security authorities. Agents of Russian influence, using the pre-election cacophony, created a parallel state dimension in the information space, and from these positions go with petitioners in Moscow. Without a mandate from the official Kyiv, Medvedchuk and Co. meet with the Russian leadership, where they sign a "discount" for a gas discount and mimic the negotiations on the exchange of prisoners. Open and even a cynical demonstration of the depths deep diplomacy Kremlin blackmail inexperienced Ukrainian president, puts the net in which the new Ukrainian government will succumb to the fastest result.

In this way Kremlin drives Zelensky in the framework of non-public communication through Viktor Medvedchuk's mediation. Probably, the Kremlin decided to use the captured sailors of the Navy as a bait for the Ukrainian president. That is why it is unlikely that the coincidence in time of Medvedchuk's visit with Boyko to Moscow and the first telephone conversation between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, which took place the next day, can hardly be regarded as a coincidence.

In parallel, militants in the Donbass resort to the tactics of small provocations in order to undermine the Kyiv's initiative on power dissipation. The indications are the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR MOU), which testify that the Russian command is accelerating the planned measures for the preparation of headquarters and units of the occupational grouping of troops in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. In particular, from August to July, the deadlines for conducting a series of bilateral command-and-ground exercises in 1 (Donetsk) and 2 (Luhansk) of the Army Corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were postponed. So, Moscow puts Ukrainian power ahead of the dilemma - if Kiev continues to insist on removing militants from the negotiation process (in fact, refusing to recognize the war with the Russian Federation as a civil conflict), the conflagration will continue throughout the Zelensky Cadenza (or until the time it rebounds). On the other hand, a direct dialogue with the separatists will destroy the framework of the international strategy of Kiev for the deterrence of Russian aggression and will strengthen its dependence on the Kremlin on the question of reconciliation of the Donbas. In the package, the government will surely receive an internal political crisis that could potentially stem from power struggles in the streets of cities. So at the start of the presidency, Zelensky will have to choose between a bad and even worse scenario of the policy regarding ORDLO. Both options lead to a loss of ratings at the end of the "honeymoon" of Zelensky in power.

Relevant threats should be reflected in the updated National Security Strategy of Ukraine. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyliuk announced the preparation of the document. "Risks change. We would like to receive a modern strategy that really assesses the challenges and threats to national security and policy priorities in this area. And here it is not necessary to go for some clichés, but, on the contrary, to start everything from scratch and to re-evaluate all approaches ", - said the high official during the constituent meeting of the working group on the drafting of the draft National Security Strategy.

You can not smell a chandelier

During the second summer month, President Zelensky continued to build up political muscle. As the man who has the experience of producing television on TV, the sixth president of Ukraine is able to think about ratings. Therefore, his first steps at the post of the head of state are dictated by the logic of increasing popularity, which is especially advantageous on the eve of the election. The "autodafe" of officials in the regions is particularly spectacular (a separate rhetorical question - whether such actions and statements of the president are outlined in terms of his constitutional powers) and the initiative to lighten all the authorities that led the country from 2014 to 2019 years.

In this context, it is worth paying attention to the idea of ​​extending the law on lustration to the current leadership of Ukrainian defense enterprises. According to Valentyn Badrak, Director of the Central Scientific and Cultural Center, restrictions on occupations in the defense industry can only be introduced in a rigid individual format. In other circumstances, it will inevitably lead to the disruption of important programs and the elimination of professional personnel from the defense sector. The expert emphasizes: "Lustration can not be purely mechanical, otherwise it carries serious risks and can lead to negative consequences in the sphere of rearmament of the forces of defense." According to Badrak, an argument can be the cycle of development and production of weapons, as well as the fact that many leaders of domestic defense enterprises were engaged in the development of weapons, regardless of changes in power and political conditions. As an example, a specialist launches a defense program for the creation of a missile shield in Ukraine: "Research work on the missile" Neptune "began after Yanukovych, but went out to the finish line for Poroshenko. At the same time the creation of a new high-precision RSZV "Velyka" was provided with Poroshenko. "

Diplomacy is impromptu

Thanks to President Zelensky, the theme of the scandalous "telemost" received an unexpected plot development on a diplomatic plane. Commenting on this provocation, the Ukrainian president appealed to the Russians to discuss the question "whose Crimea and who is not there in the Donbass" in Minsk. According to Volodymyr Aleksandrovich's plan, the company will kindly agree to form the US president Donald Trump, the British Prime Minister Teresa May (though the conservative leader has already resigned in May 24 and awaits his successor in the premiership, which Conservative party will chose by the end of this month), German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Actually the Ukrainian leader proposed a new, expanded negotiation format involving the United States and the United Kingdom. At the same time, there is a logical question: did such an initiative with Washington and London be discussed? Most likely - no, evidence of why there was no official reaction.

Canadian weapons for Ukraine

In early July, the President of Ukraine made his first overseas visit to Canada. The main news - the countries are working on the conclusion of a contract for the supply of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine. Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister, said: "We already see investment from Canadian companies in the production of ammunition in Ukraine. And we will continue to work with Ukraine so that it will have the support it needs from the Armed Forces of Canada. We will continue the UNIFIER operation and will do everything for Ukraine to get the necessary equipment. "

After meeting with the Minister of Defense of Canada, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov said that the subject of negotiations was the issue of military cooperation, including the purchase of lethal weapons. "We have discussed specific cases concerning the latest armored vehicles and some components of armaments," the minister summed up.

In this regard, it is worth noting - excessive desire to please Western partners can hit the interests of domestic defense. As Valentin Budrak, director of the TsDAKR, notes: "If it comes to expanding Canadian military aid to Ukraine and the modern types of armored vehicles will fall here, then this is one thing. But if it comes to Ukraine being able to buy Canadian armored personnel carriers or tanks, this is a completely different matter, since the industrial community inside Ukraine will meet this message negatively..

However, there is also an unconditional positive. "From a political point of view, it is extremely important that Canada is coming to our meeting. Ukraine has the opportunity to receive technologies that we do not have today ", - stresses Valentin Badrak. "There are a number of technologies that do not come to Ukraine for the reason that the Western community has a very restrained attitude towards the transfer of such technologies. And if Canada, for example, together with the United States, will disperse this situation, we can count on deliveries from European states. "

The main election intrigue

Ukraine has come to the final direct electoral cycle - already in a week we will find out the schedule of political forces in the new convocation of the parliament, which will determine the final configuration of power. On a short distance, the favorite of the race - "Servant of the people" - without much difficulty kept a solid handicap. According to polls, the distance between the presidential list and the peloton, in which the rest of the "passage" parties (Opposition Platform, European Solidarity, Motherland, and Voice) breathe in each other's back, is about 30%. Such an electoral landscape is a unique phenomenon in the conditions of Ukrainian political culture, which tends to party polarization.

The corresponding tectonics formed an intriguing exotic for the domestic political latitudes, connected with the prospect of forming a one-party majority by the leader of electoral preferences. Sociology, which appeared immediately after the Council's early dissolution, recorded an increase in the ranking of "Servants of the People". And although in recent weeks the list headed by Dmitry Razumkov has lost a few points, the preliminary calculation shows - in the national constituency, the "green" will receive about 130-140 mandates. Therefore, the conquest of the top of the parliamentary majority depends on the success of the "Servants" in the majoritarian fields.

The hypothetical scenario of a one-party majority has the only theoretical advantage - in the short run, it will make the state mechanism as manageable as possible when the President's Office, the legislative and executive branches of power will be concentrated in the hands of one team. However, in Ukrainian realities, such a model produces only colossus on clay feet. The experience of the "Party of Regions" clearly indicates that the stifling dominance of one political force is not a guarantee of its stable preservation in power. On the contrary, the effect of dizziness on success gradually clogs up all the holes for the removal of a pair of public discontent, and soon the copper caldron is to be blown away.

In the public plane, the representatives of "Servants of the people" do not show a desire to step on scattered around the rake. Various formats of the future coalition are being constructed in the media space, indicating a rational desire to diversify the risks of government management.

Volodymyr Solovyan
Head of the foreign policy projects of the Central Scientific Research Center of Civil Aviation