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Europe is weak, Putin is having fun with it, - Yushchenko

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Respondent : Viktor Yushchenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Viktor Yushchenko on Covid-19, lockdown, economic crisis, Donbas issues, and historical matters
11:00, 3 July 2020

112 Agency

You were in strict quarantine. Are you really scared of this disease?

My wife who set this mode because all our children came back home. My first feeling since this quarantine is how Ukrainians shamefully greeted our fellows, who returned from China (case of Novi Sanzhary hospital, where people that came from China were placed for 14-day observation; locals protested against it, - ed.) They were riding a bus, waving Ukrainian flags, and throwing stones at them. It was a moment of shame for me. I didn't think we were like that. For some reason, I thought that we have such a big heart that will accept a Ukrainian regardless of his condition and from which part of the world.

Related: Poland to pay for testing of Ukrainian guest workers for Covid-19

Or maybe you just came up with this big heart? It said that you wasted your chance, that you brought Yanukovych to power. This big heart leaves garbage in the woods, cuts down the Carpathian forests. Not our oligarchs do it, but ordinary people do.

I would like to return to Novi Sanzhary once more. There was one post to this episode that I will not forget: “What is Sanzhary to you? This is when a hundred healthy people cannot be accepted by a sick nation.” This comment is very fair - whether we are talking about the environment, politics, or finance. There are still many domestic issues on the agenda that we as a nation must learn. I will not object too much when someone says that we are on many issues quasi-quantification. I can say that we are not Poles: the Poles are unified. We can't say that about ourselves because we are different. In fact, we have several parallel societies. And so, when we start at least a small business, it usually does not work out for us.

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Maybe the Poles are “united” because they are almost mono-national and mono-religious?

The difference is that the Poles had more time to build their sovereignty. They have been building it for about 170 years, and we have 30 years. The fact is that at the same time we must build our sovereignty, democratize and still have time for the last train to get to Europe. I think it's difficult for the nation. Poles have been building a nation for 170 years, democratized for 25 years, and integrated over the last 10 years.

Does Europe need us? We did so much that we were required to do, and as a result, we got the complete impression that they were not playing a very correct game with us.

I do not like the policy of the European family for the last 10 years. It lost its unanimity, Europe became polyphonic, and therefore indeterminate. And if we talk about our greatest disaster - the Russian war, it is most in Putin's favor. Europe is weak, Putin is having fun with it. It builds bilateral relations that are much stronger and model the political situation much more deeply than relations with the EU. The EU has receded into the background. The bipartisan side is more active, politically more corrupt, starting with all those Nord Streams. This shows that the principles and principles of Europe, which I respect very much, have in many respects received retreating moments. Europe was the mother of two world wars. We live in a time when there are six military conflicts in Eastern Europe: Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, Crimea, Transnistria, Abkhazia, and Donbas. None of the conflicts have been resolved: for 30 years, Europe's political machine has failed to resolve any military conflicts. By the way, all six conflicts are fought by one country - Russia. In every conflict, we step on the same peacekeeping program that does not work. And now we have reached the same result - to "Minsk-2," of course, Putin's creation, which was just announced by Western Europe. Western actors have announced that this is the plan that will bring settlement. For example, I do not know the president who will carry out this plan. I think that I do not know in my life such a person who will say that he guarantees to fulfill this plan of ten points. For Russia, it is a chewing gum that can stretch indefinitely, and its main goal is to keep Ukraine in the early morning hunting. Today Ukraine is wounded by Russian aggression, we do not have a realistic settlement plan. Obviously, who wants such dawn in Europe? Nobody wants such problems for themselves.

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Ruling party representatives assure they would bring peace during their term.

Of course, motives are needed for peace. What is Putin’s motive? Subordinate country. Will we have a president, a government, a nation who will say: we are ready for this - for lost territories, for 13,000 killed, and so on. When we talk about the version of peace, two or three theses must be kept in mind. Achieving peace in our situation is not a one-way street. Russia will never settle until it gets something deeper and more radical in return. You will not find the word "Russia" in the deal itself. It does not respond to this agreement. It always "executes" this plan because she is not there. Are we hitting a donkey or a sack? A donkey in the image of Russia with a halo on his head says: I am a peacemaker. But you are not addressing to Russia. You turn to the unrecognized republics. But we understand that the war is staged by the Kremlin. The format does not write the Kremlin as a party. That's why we are trapped. There is one country in Europe that has documents in its portfolio that no nation in Eastern Europe has. These are the guarantees of the "nuclear club" of 1994 on the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Five countries came together and issued guarantees. Nobody has such guarantees.

Covid-19 has appeared, and it looks like people want to be very obedient to something. Then one African-American dies - and Covid -19 disappears from the American media space. It looks like the information space is extremely controlled, people are simply directed to where someone needs it.

For me, this is a disaster, like a yellow card in football, which attracts the attention of billions of people, and this attention leads us to several parallel conclusions. If we take the history of vaccines, antibiotics, then in the last 30 years we have not invented any antibiotics. We modify some old ones, but there is no new product. Human immunity is the answer to how to organize cohabitation, not because of treatment, which does not exist. If we are thoughtful people, then we must lean towards an answer that involves more strategy than tactics. For me, the phenomenon of quarantine has raised a very big question mark: man, wildlife, the environment. As we live, little will come of it. When we watch monuments being removed in the West and human relations being revised 200-300 years ago, we are asked to remember that we have a conscience. As separate countries, nations built wealth, wealth.

112 Agency

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They are now telling us about democracy.

We must remember how many civilizations have been destroyed. Martin Luther King proposed a very loyal strategy to return to national dialogue - he raised this movement. And now we see the echo. The tragedy of millions of Africans has been treated for generations. This is a long dialogue. This is a topic that leads to a difficult national dialogue in the United States. I do not see this desire now, and each side is playing its card, going to escalate.

Can't it lead to the threat of statehood?

This situation has already led to a threat. You can't play the whole map of historical confrontations with the police. We need to talk about something more broadly.

Related: EU extends economic sanctions against Russia amid situation with Donbas

How many real plans are there that would move the country forward now and that are not being implemented?

On the one hand, if we are talking about today's Ukraine - we are talking about a country of enormous opportunities. We have never had such opportunities. In order for us to get 1% GDP growth, we need 2.5-5% investment growth. If we want to have a rate of 5%, then about 10-12% increase in investment. Given that our gross domestic product is around $ 110-115 billion, we need $ 10-12 billion a year to have the highest economic pace in Europe. In fact, they are pennies. And we have already received them as investments in previous years, starting in 2005. In four years, we have received 37 billion in investments. Every month there were a billion investments. From 2005 to 2008 we had the highest economic rates in Europe. If we want to provide 350,000 jobs a year, we need a 5% increase. If you know where to get 12 billion - you give 350,000 new jobs, salaries, pension contributions, budget revenues. In short, this is the key answer to all the challenges we have today. If you do not know where to get those 12 billion - no matter what you do, you will not succeed.

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How to restore faith in the banks?

If we take the political context, obviously we are talking about legalization in the broadest sense of capital. Capital amnesty, zero declaration. European practice says that if you are 18 years old, you must sign a declaration, a lifetime "confession": how much real estate you have, how much financial property. You handed over to state bodies and you live as a citizen of this state. The second is financial motivation. If you follow the fiscal history of financial market relations, you need to remember one lesson. As the chairman of the National Bank, the prime minister, my goal was to maintain the non-taxation of the income of citizens that they received from deposit practices. Our financial sector is underdeveloped, and the only tools people know are deposit income. So let's make a policy of motivation: how to go, legalize these resources, how to minimize fiscal approaches, taxes. Four years ago, one government introduced a tax on deposit income. I then had an unpleasant conversation with officials: what are you doing? We have kept the single legal sector of the financial market tax-free for 21 years. And now depositors are running away from you, they have already given up their income, and you are catching up with them and introducing a tax. And today this market is taxed, which is not logical at all. Or another interesting topic. War, deep budget deficit, issue, machine. We have received a 350% devaluation of the hryvnia over the last five years because we want to solve big problems in an easy way. And because stable prices and stable money to fight the enemy are the muscles of war. You can't joke with them.

Where are the people who have enough strength to find the right mechanisms?

If we care today about the Ukrainian national interest, all of us should fulfill this logic of national strategy, national breakthrough, be in solidarity as never before, and ensure our victory. We need a victory or we will whistle for five years and roll back again. There is an investment potential that is ready to enter into Ukrainian opportunities. Are we talking about the Kyiv ring road, or about the bridges across Dnipro, or about two oil refineries.

Related: Ukraine's Cabinet wants to shrink into economic nationalism

We are talking not only about the IMF here, right?

The IMF mission is important, it shows cooperation with Ukraine, and that is enough. All the other nuances are not worth paying attention to, because the IMF's mission is to turn on the green light. This is an image. This means that they are working with a domestic investor, with business and will be happy to see an international investor. Come and work according to the canonical rules of the competition and you will be successful in that territory.

If you look at the financial map of the world and if we are not talking about just free money, but mobile, which can be attracted, then I would call the Arab world, the Chinese world, which has money. Japanese and South Korean have credit money. The US financial market is experiencing a certain specificity today, where the president says, "Let's respond to America's domestic challenges." Talk less about external leadership, work harder in the domestic market. And their economy has closed to the problems and visions voiced by the president. But even there, of course, there are financial opportunities. If you search, in addition to internal financial resources, now the task is to find tools to raise it. This is a task for the Minister of Finance, the head of the National Bank, for the banking system. In three years we have lost half of the banking system, for 400 billion human investments. These injuries are very severe. But people's economic memory is short. They are ready to forgive many things.

Related: Zelensky expects Ukraine to survive potential economic crisis

We have lost so much, is it sabotage or a problem with the staff?

I am more satisfied with the first option, although it is wrong. I love Georgians, Lithuanians, Poles. We feel that we are of the same blood, we face the same challenges, and we need to hold on. But when we talk about national reconstruction, we must understand that the Lithuanian will not rebuild what we need. And not because of a lack of knowledge. The biggest disaster we have is weak unity, weak internal integration. We are not alone, because we are just passing the school of forming a political nation. And for the economy, it is very important. You will not find any example where a nation that has not solved the national question - the question of unity, has great economic success, great economic standards. You must solve the national question and live like a brother to a brother. And I'm talking about a political nation, not only about Ukrainians but about everyone who lives on this earth. Because to have a passport of a citizen of Ukraine does not mean to be Ukrainian yet. To be born and live on this earth does not mean to be Ukrainian. We do not have a lack of knowledge - we are self-sufficient. Only when the question arises how to respond to the challenge, and it is necessary to line up millions of people to defeat the enemy or to form a vector of correct policy or modernize internal relations… I will give one example: Poles liberalized retail prices twice, and we did it 18 times. Instead, we have a communist-socialist parliament with an ideology of populism. In the Czech Republic, soft, "velvet" reforms were carried out, as opposed to the Polish brutal ones. In privatization, we followed the communist idea that we had wealth, material wealth, divided it among all those employed, and gave everyone a voucher. Some people did not receive the vouchers, some bought them from people for vodka… We have a sect of oligarchs, owners. The Czechs did the opposite: there is state property, the government sells on behalf of the state, credits the funds to the budget, and then asks the nation where it is better to use these funds. But we lacked the courage to say so with the nation because the populist nation perceived the topic better: give me a voucher - I'll figure out what to do with it. Did not understand.

In my opinion, we have enough knowledge to make a plan for the country. Bring order to security, humanitarian, international, economic issues. We have a strong, wise, unique nation that needs to go through many issues on its agenda.

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