The time of crisis in the country is a chance not only for significant positive changes, but also for the implementation of negative scenarios. Destructive forces receive a favorable opportunity to throw in their long-harbored plans to destabilize the situation in the country. Conversations about federalization become louder, subversive activities become stronger, separatist statements concerning specific territories appear. “Witches’ Sabbaths happen during the night, that is, during the crisis,” says Oleksandr Lytvynenko, deputy director, National Institute for Strategic Studies. “Why is the issue of federalization brought up? There are forces within our country and abroad, in the Russian Federation in particular, that would like to preserve the current state of affairs and make it impossible for Ukraine to move towards Europe.”
A few examples: the first one. Recently, the trade union of Azov Sea entrepreneurs submitted to the Mariupol City Council an economic development plan for 2014-20, the end goal of which is “the recognition of Mariupol as a city of republican importance with formation of an autonomous republic of Azov region.” Entrepreneurs think the implementation of this idea will lead to “independence from Donetsk,” will allow “forming own budget,” and will create “favorable conditions for investors.”
The second one. On February 9, a rally dedicated to the 96th anniversary of the foundation of the Donetsk and Kryvy Rih Republic was held in Donetsk. It is known that the Donetsk and Kryvy Rih Soviet Republic was organized on the territory of Donetsk and Kryvy Rih basin and proclaimed on February 12, 1918, during the 4th Oblast Congress of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies of Donetsk and Kryvy Rih basins in Kharkiv. During the action, passports of the so-called Donetsk republic were distributed. And in the course of the meeting, activists urged the city and oblast authorities to come back to the question of restoring Donetsk and Kryvy Rih Republic (or Little Russia).
Co-chair of the civic initiative “Prava Sprava” (the Right Cause) Dmytro Sniehyriov addressed head of the Security Service Oleksandr Yakymenko regarding the activity of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine: “Such appeals contain direct threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. I appeal to you, Mr. Yakymenko, with a demand to stop the activity of pro-Russian radical organizations on the territory of Ukraine, because their actions are directed at changing the existing territorial system. I demand to check the activities of the so-called Russian diaspora organizations and ‘Russian centers,’ which are a cover for the coordination of provocative activities of pro-Russian organizations” (h.ua/story).
The third example. On February 19, Crimean parliament intends to consider an appeal towards the Russian Federation. “I propose to include the following to the agenda: the creation of a task force on amendments to the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea and the Constitution of Ukraine; holding a Crimean public opinion poll on the status of the Crimea; adoption of the appeal towards the president and the Legislative Assembly of the Russian Federation; acting as guarantor of the status of the Crimea’s autonomy, and the rights and freedoms of our citizens,” said Volodymyr Klychnykov at the Crimean parliament presidium session.
The Security Service of Ukraine managed to react to the last one, even though a bit late. “According to the application of MP Ivan Stoiko [Batkivshchyna. – Author], information on committing a crime under Articles 15 and 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (preparation for the assault on territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine) was added to the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations. The investigation department of Security Service of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea is commissioned to investigate this crime,” said head of Security Service Investigation Department Maksym Lenko.
And immediately, the ardent defender of the “Russian world” in Ukraine Vadym Kolesnichenko raised the alarm on his Facebook page: “I think these actions of the Security Service exceed all imaginable limits of law and basic logic. Why does the Security Service ignore the current mass captures of administrative buildings in western regions of Ukraine and does not start criminal proceedings on separatism there?”
“This agent of the Kremlin should have been put to prison for anti-state activity and inciting ethnic hatred long ago. And for him not to get bored there, his fellow Tsariov should join him. It is a perfect time for this,” reacts harshly, but with a compliment to the Security Service, Lviv dweller Myron Kolodko on Facebook.
In fact, there are even more examples. Take a look at the meeting of Party of Regions members in Kharkiv, where the creation of the so-called “Ukrainian front” was proclaimed, and where federalization rhetoric was voiced again. However, there was not a single Party of Regions leader at the meeting, so it resembled a gathering of the fifth column. And it received a corresponding assessment from the Party of Regions.
“Many generations of our ancestors fought for a strong unified state. We can see the tragic consequences of federalization on the examples of Kyivan Rus’ in the 12th and 13th centuries, and the Cossack State in the 17th century. Only a unitary state structure will let Ukraine preserve the heritage of many generations of predecessors and will allow the development of civic society,” wrote representative of the president in the parliament Yurii Miroshnychenko on his personal website.
“Why is federation dangerous for Ukraine here and now?” Lytvynenko asks. “Firstly, it will make any political movement of the country in any direction impossible. Secondly, it will create patrimonies with local rulers, who will be even more greedy than Kyiv elite, because they will be beyond any control. Thirdly, this can be viewed as an intermediate step towards the division of our country. But if Ukraine carries out social and political reforms, builds effective state institutions, forms democratic security sector, then federation can be viewed as an option.”
In such critical moments, when destructive forces are fully engaged in subversive activities, appropriate authorities must react. We are talking about the state of Ukraine’s national security. The Security Service of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they all must react. “Unfortunately, we cannot see the activity of these bodies publicly, so we do not know what they are busy with,” Lytvynenko continues. “But I am deeply convinced that the Prosecutor General’s Office must initiate criminal proceedings and investigate appeals directed against the state sovereignty and territorial integrity. The reaction must be immediate and correspond to the threats that appear.”
Clearly, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine must react to separatist sentiments as well, but the state of this institution is a whole separate story. It is known that this Council has not been known for being active in the past few years. It seems that under the current government, the Council does not perform its originally designed functions, but is rather an exile for retired or dismissed politicians. At the moment, the Security and Defense Council does not even have a head. The president did not appoint anyone after removing Andrii Kliuiev from the post. And this is happening in the current grave situation, with which the Council should be dealing directly.
“The problem of the National Security and Defense Council goes deeper,” Lytvynenko says. “This body must produce strategic vision of the political and national security, because we face a problem of security policy today. We see that a concept that was adopted in 2012 is irrelevant today. A lot of work on new adequate approaches towards the country’s security policy must be done.”