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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

What should the response to annexation be?

Consolidation and reforms, or Eight top priority measures
24 March, 2014 - 17:52

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill

 

The great Englishman said these words in October of 1940, when the Royal Air Force won the Battle of Britain against Hitler’s Luftwaffe. A lot of challenges lay ahead, but the first step towards the victory was taken back then. When the Fuehrer was ecstatic from defeating France in July of 1940 and offered peace to Great Britain, he received a firm refusal, to his surprise. “England will fight, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.”

Russia annexed a part of our territory on March 16. This occasion brings much joy to official Moscow. But it should not. The last word has not been said yet. And the crisis Vladimir Putin so thoughtlessly dragged the whole world into, is not over. It is not even the end of the first act yet.

However, everyone should realize that the annexation took place, it was consolidated in an illegitimate way, and more and more Russian troops with the most up-to-date armaments are being sent to Crimea.

We have already received the answer to the very complicated question about further actions of our heroes in Ukrainian army garrisons in Crimea. We additionally received the answer about the aggressor’s possible actions in relation to our southeast oblasts. As soon as Ukrainian troops were authorized to use weapons, the belligerence of those blocking and storming the garrisons rapidly decreased. Unfortunately, one person was killed, and another was wounded. However, it is reported that the blockade of our military units is being either removed or taken further away. It can be diversionary tactics, but it is highly probable that it is fear of escalating the conflict and letting it grow into an uncontrollable phase. If the latter assumption is correct, which is possible, then it foresees not only unwillingness, but fear of full-scale invasion of southeastern regions of Ukraine. Moscow started realizing it has come too close to the brink, with all the corresponding consequences.

On the other hand, there should be a clear understanding of the fact that our brave men will not be able to endure a full blockade for a long time. Their supply of food, water, and ammunition will last for about a week. Then they need to be taken out of there, and their families have to be evacuated before that. They performed their role excellently, they made the aggressor mind our troops, which found themselves in very complicated conditions.

The main thing that must be done is the execution of profound internal work for reforming of the country. Yes, the enemy is at our gates, but it does not cancel the urgency of reforms. On the contrary, it demands the implementation of the deepest changes immediately.

It is said that the total unity for the protection of the country is necessary in times of military danger. Nobody argues this point, such phenomenon does exist. But it does not cancel the comprehensive control over the government. A number of new people came to the government, but the whole system of executive branch operates in an old way. If young wine is poured in old wineskins, it will go sour very soon.

Governmental appointments remind of 2005. An old deck of already infamous for their corrupt actions officials is being shuffled, and they are again appointed to new posts. They have only one excuse: personnel shortage. As Stanislavsky would say, “I don’t believe you!” Experts and professionals who were fired during previous regimes are not welcome to join. Young and promising people who received education at the world’s best universities and are ready to work for the good of the country for minimal wages or even for free are not being hired. This is no personnel shortage, it does not exist, it is simply systematic wasting of the nation’s intellectual potential. In the case of an attack on our country this may be viewed as undermining of defense capability at the very least.

We will never be able to defeat the aggressor with the Soviet system of governance. It must be drastically changed to governance of the European style. However, nothing of the kind is happening.

There has been a lot of talking about the constitutional reform. And what do we see? A task force consisting of some MPs was created. Not scholars and experts in constitutional law, but MPs. It is obvious what draft of the Constitution they will write. They will do their best to leave everything as it is. There is no point of holding early parliamentary election without a completely different Constitution. We will receive a new Verkhovna Rada, which will not be any better than the existing one. The “reload” of government is out of the question in such case.

As a result, we have an artificial explosion of separatism, which our hostile neighbor is trying to use. Regional elites try to preserve their status, go on with plundering, and they want to blackmail the central government. Instead of providing a firm response, the officials in Kyiv maneuver and do not want to call them to account. As a result, Party of Regions members repeat lies fabricated by the Russian leader from the Verkhovna Rada rostrum. Separatist disturbances have been shaking the country for two weeks, people have died, and the government demonstrated complete helplessness. Instead of harsh measures, the inactivity of the police looks like connivance of thugs brought in from the neighboring country. Why citizens of a different country who allow themselves to tear national flags from administrative buildings have not been arrested? Moreover, they captured those buildings and caused material damage. If some of them were arrested, the insolence of the rest would have decreased. Besides, curious details about the masterminds and those who funded such impudence would have come out. So much was written about the so-called Putin’s tourists, but they are being detained only now. What was all this wait for? It resembles some backstage games to harm the country and achieve some personal political goals.

If we do not achieve consolidation on the basis of profound reforms, we will not be able to protect the country.

The army occupied the indicated position, and the danger of invasion decreased for a while. But what next?

First. It is necessary to immediately adopt a package of documents recognizing Crimean Tatars as the indigenous people of Crimea, and recognizing their right to self-identification within Ukraine. All necessary legal procedures must be carried out, in particular, a referendum, if needed. This should be done quickly and immaculately for everything to be approved by the international community. Reliable connections of Crimean Tatars with mainland Ukraine must be ensured. Moscow will try to not let this happen, which makes the realization of the wish of the long-suffering nation even more important. This is one of the most crucial tasks for our government.

Second. All our diplomats must be recalled from Russia, only technical workers must be left there to look after our property. Putin said he has no one to talk to in Kyiv, we have nothing to talk about with him either, until he withdraws his troops and gives Crimea back. It should be clearly understood that this is a long-term process.

Third. The border must be fortified and strictly controlled. Penetration beyond the official crossing points must be resolutely counteracted, up to bringing down fire for effect. The border must be shut and locked. This is not a figure of speech, but a severe necessity. At the same time, visa regime should not be implemented. Let Moscow be the first to do it. On the other hand, the process of giving political shelter to Russian democrats must be simplified. Ukraine must become a safe shelter for everyone persecuted by Putin’s regime. Political effect of this will appear quickly.

Fourth. The removal of the corruption compound will make our economy attractive for investments, Russian ones in particular. Their influx to modern technology and energy efficiency sectors is especially important. Everything must be done for the reconstruction of our industry to be carried out, with the use of Russian money in particular.

Fifth. Negotiations with the United States on providing military and technical aid, like in the case with Israel, must be started. This money must be used for purchase of modern military airplanes and ships for the navy. We will build them ourselves later, but for now we have to buy them. We must arrange for the number of our officers that study at American and English military academies and schools to be increased. If necessary, additional funding must be allotted for this, later it will pay off as the country’s security increases. If possible, the same should be done for the secret service.

Sixth. Considering the situation in the southeast, the issue of joining NATO should not be brought up, but the military and technical cooperation with the Alliance must be strengthened. The amount of joint exercises and maneuvers, especially in aviation and navy, must be increased. We must participate in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Seventh. Our defense complex must receive an order to rearm the army and fleet. This will bring up science-intensive industries. The export of armaments must be intensified.

Eighth. Information counterattack must be launched. The world must learn about Ukraine not from the false picture from Russian television channels. The number of information TV channels in Russian and English, and if possible, other languages with access to satellite broadcasting must be increased. The necessity of this is obvious within the country as well as abroad.

The listed measures are the ones that should be implemented in the first place. They will bring us closer to the expulsion of occupants from our territory.

By Yurii RAIKHEL
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