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Servant of IMF: Ukraine under Zelensky remains a country with external governance?

Author : Ihor Valsky

The recent departure of the IMF mission without agreeing on a new program displeased many
18:20, 10 October 2019

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The recent departure of the IMF mission without agreeing on a new program displeased many. It would not be easy for the government to solve current problems without another tranche. But, probably, this is an occasion to reflect on whether we live correctly - in constant financial dependence on the West. And not only financial. Ukraine is too deep loaded in the need to receive approval from our sponsors. At a certain stage, the stage of "maturing" of statehood, when the country is weak and dependent, this order of things can still be allowed. However, pulling the strap of addiction for the third decade is at least irresponsible. And in front of their own citizens, and even in front of foreign partners. They also get used to looking at our country as their own patrimony. And it’s difficult to get rid of bad habits.

Related: Zelensky's reforms: What 'servants of people' want to change in Ukraine?

"IMF Servant" or Trump's Servant?

There are many reasons for such thoughts. It is enough to recall at least a conversation held in July between the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and his American counterpart Donald Trump. Zelensky assented to his counterpart in everything - both in assessing American aid and in leveling the merits of Europe. Trump literally suppresses the interlocutor, and he only offers him laudatory odes. And this is not the only example.

One more is the post of MP Oleksandr Dubinsky that Servant of the People party would be more correctly called the “Servant of the IMF.”

According to Dubinsky, Dmytro Razumkov, the Speaker of Parliament, removed from the parliamentary agenda the decision to create a temporary investigative commission that would investigate the activities of the National Bank and the Deposit Guarantee Fund - and removed it only at the request of the IMF. So supposedly Razumkov himself explained to his colleagues.

In addition, Dubinsky continues, head of the Anti-Corruption Committee Anastasia Krasnoselska said that she is coordinating amendments to the laws with the IMF. “It is interesting that the name of Krasnoselska also appears in the episode with the consideration of the bill on liability for illegal enrichment. The meeting of the relevant committee interrupted the phone call, after which the lower limit of the amount of illegal enrichment, with which criminal liability ensues, was halved. Further, the bill was generally withdrawn from consideration and work on it was thus disrupted. They called, according to Krasnoselskaya, from the same IMF. If not directly, then indirectly, through a local mediator. The incident was removed and laid out yen on YouTube - so that everyone can appreciate both the naivete of the head of the committee and the degree of parliament’s dependence not even on Kyiv, but on Washington authorities.

Related: Servant of the People MP Yasko apppointed as Ukrainian delegation Head in PACE

Is the current parliament really adjusting its work to the expectations of the International Monetary Fund? And if so, is it an “excess of a performer” or a coolly thought-out intention? However, it should be taken into account that the previous government liked to mask many of its mistakes or corruption schemes with “IMF requirements”. Former Prime Minister Groysman, for example, said that raising the price of utilities was part of IMF requirements, which was, to put it mildly, untrue. However, now it does not matter which fables are composed within the walls of parliament. Ukraine is very tightly hooked on lending by foreign donors.

Fatal attraction

Ukraine receives loans from a number of sources. But the IMF is the most recognizable brand, and the pernicious "fixation" from the IMF is indicated primarily in presidential circles.

Andrei Bogdan, the head of the presidential office, blames Petro Poroshenko for everything. "The dependence of Ukraine comes from the past government, from their decisions - a very big dependence on the IMF and other organizations... In this case, we are put in such a coordinate system when we must coordinate these or those decisions," says Bogdan, otherwise there might be "implications in receiving credit and banking policies."

That is, the head of the President’s Office also admits that the new Ukrainian authorities are also coordinating their decisions with do not understand anyone in Washington.

In fact, each president of Ukraine has contributed to this bondage. The only trouble is that so far, Ukraine has no way of dictating its terms to the IMF.

Related: Servant of the People MPs Poturaev and Chernev headed delegations in OSCE and NATO Parliamentary Assemblies, - Yaremenko

Financial analyst Oleksiy Kushch notes the following: “I have always been an opponent of long-term cooperation with the IMF. Yes, there are positive experiences of countries that used the Fund's loans during the acute phase of the economic crisis. These are Turkey, South Korea... But they carried out fast reforms, began to develop dynamically, returned loans and didn’t return to cooperation with the Fund. Ukraine has been cooperating with the Fund for decades and resembles a patient who was brought to the hospital on an intensive care unit, but does not want to get out of it. All the treatment protocols that the IMF prescribes for its “patients” are designed specifically for the acute phase of the crisis, therefore they are associated with tight budgetary discipline, temporary desocialization of the state, that is, a sharp reduction in social spending, etc. "In the short term, when you need to make tough savings and carry out reforms, this is normal, but when such a policy is implemented for years, decades, it simply leads to the destruction of the economy."

Playing cat and mouse?

However, is there still any, albeit hidden, the reason why Ukraine is so open about the West? Unfortunately, it exists. After all, the current Western world (and, above all, the American one) influences not only the monetary side of the issue, it is also big politics. The idea that the United States has a tangible impact on the course of events within our country has spilled over into the famous Washington Regional Committee meme. But jokes are jokes, and the fact that the United States is a certain moderator of public outbursts in Ukraine is an obvious thing. And this is also recognized by many.

“All our Maidan protests were successful when they enjoyed the support of our geopolitical partners. Even if there is no tacit support. And if there is no such support, then nothing will happen. There were no Maidans at the time of Poroshenko or Yushchenko because the then Western allies were completely on their side. Although local protests took place," political analyst Vadym Karasiov points. So it is: for example, "Ukraine without Kuchma" protests, which erupted in 2000, enjoyed sympathy in the West. But - only with sympathy, therefore success was relative, and it consisted in the fact that Leonid Kuchma did not advance (as planned) for his third term.

Related: Razumkov resigns from position of head of Servant of the People Party

But our next Maidan - "Orange revolution" – was supported by the West. It was the West that helped to resolve the crisis, including the parliamentary one, as a result of which the Constitution 2004 was born, and the prospect of the presidency opened up for Viktor Yushchenko. Approximately in a similar way, it happened in 2013-2014. In this regard, we can recall the scandalous audio recording of the former assistant to the US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and also the former American ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette. The interlocutors, not even trying to somehow camouflage their intentions with delicate formulations, openly and directly discuss the question of who should lead the Ukrainian government and which figures should not get into it. When Payette points to the EU’s position, which diverges from the US, Nuland sends her notorious wishes to the Europeans.

The revelations of former US Vice President Joe Biden are also known, telling how he conducted tough negotiations with the Ukrainian authorities for a good purpose. "I am desperately excited about the regression in the fight against corruption in Kyiv. Here is one specific example. I was given a task regarding Ukraine. Therefore, I remember how I went there to convince our team that we must provide Ukraine with long-term credit guarantees. I went to Kyiv 12-13 times, and in the end, I had to announce that we are offering another billion dollars of loan guarantees. I received promises from Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk that they would take steps in relation to the prosecutor general (at that time - Viktor Shokin), but they didn’t do that," Biden recalls. After that, he said at a press conference that Ukraine would not receive the loan.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv in November 2014
shutterstock.com

After that, the “son of a bitch” Shokin (Biden's words) was nevertheless dismissed from his post, and the son of an American official, Hunter, was introduced to the leadership of the Ukrainian oil company Burisma. Perhaps this is pure coincidence. Like the fact that the block of anti-corruption laws was also written with the filing of exactly the Americans. It is not surprising that these laws, artificially transferred to Ukrainian realities, simply do not work, although this is a completely different story.

The subsequent, much louder scandals (to take at least the one in which Trump and Zelensky are now involved), and a smaller resonance, only confirmed the thesis about Ukraine's subordinate position with respect to the West.

Related: Servant of the People MPs offers to allow foreigners to buy Ukrainian land

For example, the ambassador of the United States spoke out about the need to conduct an international audit at Ukroboronprom state defense concern, to replace anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky. It would be very strange if such words were uttered by an ambassador, for example, the United States in Poland. In Ukraine, the American envoys feel safe. Even Russia hardly once had such an impact on the Ukrainian government, as the United States has today.

“Ukrainians have been always selflessly fighting for Ukraine to have the right to be an independent, sovereign strong power, capable of self-organizing by its own people. But now it looks like part of the sovereignty aimed at self-management of processes in our power is transferred to the management of external forces, which represent the global financial oligarchy," Yulia Tymoshenko said in May 2018. Her example concerned the situation with the National Bank, which, "is in a system of illegal and absolutely destructive external management."

There are many similar examples, but after realizing the problem, it is necessary to proceed to its cure.

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