After the Facebook quarrel of president Zelensky and MP Yulia Tymoshenko, the power team came to grips with ex-president Petro Poroshenko. One of the speakers of the Servant of the People faction Oleksandr Kornienko announced the removal of immunity from the former head of state. The reason is a case of the State Bureau of Investigation, which is engaged in one of the many cases against Poroshenko. The news of the intention to deprive Poroshenko of his immunity found him in Turkey. He immediately canceled his meetings and returned back to Ukraine. Poroshenko commented on this conflict to reporters at the airport. "This case has no legal weight," he said.
Well, the Old School politicians dish it out to young (both literally and figuratively) Volodymyr Zelensky.
It would make a cat laugh
In addition to cases brought against persons from Poroshenko’s close circles, 13 proceedings were opened against him. And this is just what is covered by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). The essence of the charges is quite diverse, but in general, everything that Poroshenko is charged with fits into the disposition of the following articles of the Criminal Code: high treason, seizure of power, abuse of power and illegal interference in the activities of the judiciary.
It is noteworthy that not the most vivid episode was selected from a whole heap of criminal cases. For example, the "Maldivian" story of Poroshenko (about a family trip to the resort under fake documents) looks much more piquant, and the sea saga with the capture of our ships by the Russians gives more treason. But a rather boring story about the appointment of judges was taken as the cornerstone for building the charges.
Vadym Karasiov, director of the Institute for Global Strategies, tells that this case "was chosen taking into account that it has a judicial perspective. Because political charges are one thing, and legal subtleties are somewhat different." "This is a purely technical moment - it will be easier to bring evidence and justify the guilt," Bohdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, says.
SBI head Roman Truba would be forced to justify the blame. It was he who was put forward as a battle elephant to attack Petro Poroshenko. Although Bogdan Petrenko believes that Truba isn’t a battle elephant, but an ordinary pawn.
Three nuts for the Cinderella
“The attack on Poroshenko allows Zelensky to solve at least three key problems,” Ruslan Bortnyk, director of the Ukrainian Institute for Policy Analysis and Management, comments. “Firstly, there is a need to respond to a public request to fight corruption, because here Poroshenko acts as one of the most toxic figures. The second is to bring down protests against the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the sale of land, etc. Since Poroshenko (because of his financial and administrative capabilities) is one of the organizers of such protests. And then thirdly, the appetites of the powerful environment should be partially satisfied due to the financial resources of Poroshenko’s Roshen."
“If the crisis in the“ Servant of the People ”deepens, then the likelihood of reprisal against Poroshenko will increase. Poroshenko is an ideal tool to reduce criticism and distract attention from pressing issues,” expert notes.
Political analyst Kyrylo Sazonov voices fourth scenario - the worst of all possible motives of Volodymyr Zelensky. “After Kolomoysky’s interview, they might look with considerable interest in Moscow. They would like to exclude intermediaries and communicate directly with Putin. Moreover, to show him that the authorities are ready to break with the West and apply repression against their predecessors. Such a strategy can take place at least in part of Zelensky’s office, but nothing prevents the president from replaying everything radically at any moment, going out to the public and saying that he didn’t know anything about the persecution," the expert said.
The West will help him...
What can prevent Poroshenko from being put on the altar of Zelensky’s demonstrative anti-corruption measures?
Bogdan Petrenko says Servant of the People has its own supporters of Petro Poroshenko. Let’s recall where Davyd Arakhamia came from.
“Therefore, they need to figure out whether they have enough votes (to lift the immunity, -ed.). Because if there are no votes, and there are attempts to remove immunity, it will only raise Poroshenko’s image. And statements about the prosecution of the opposition will sound even louder,” the expert said.
Ex-President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski really warned Zelensky that you should not touch his former colleague. "This is a bad example for the future, in addition, it will give a signal to the world that Ukrainians cannot get rid of their historical illness – revenge," said Kwasniewski back in September, at the YES Forum.
However, according to Ruslan Bortnyk, people like Kwasniewski belong to single supporters of Petro Poroshenko and generally do not play key role. “Poroshenko is noticeable in the West, but it’s not Saakashvili. Since there was a success story under Saakashvili (from the point of view of the West, of course). During 2017-2019, Poroshenko began to lose support from the West, and that was very obvious during the election campaign. Of course, if he emigrates and seeks asylum, he will find some shelter. But the West will not intervene now," Bortnyk emphasizes.
"The West will react negatively, because the fight against corruption is good, but here is the story of the former president, whom the current government has imprisoned under a rather arbitrary pretext," Kyrylo Sazonov said.
Tymoshenko will stand aside
Meanwhile, the Ze!Team claims that it is not interested in removing immunity from Poroshenko. And although all MPs of the Servant of the People are ready to support the corresponding decision, it will only be a “technical vote,” says Oleksandr Kornienko. "Because from January 1, 2020, when amendments to the Constitution (which provide for the abolition of parliamentary immunity) come into force, such votes will not be needed," he says.
"Everything is not easy here, they repealed the law on parliamentary immunity, but there are no by-laws. That is, a bunch of secondary documents has not been canceled, and so parliamentary immunity has been removed only formally. This scheme still does not work, and this is also a tricky combination of the Servant of the People. The authorities showed the voter that the promise was supposedly fulfilled, but most of the work was not actually done," Sazonov underlines.
Therefore, if they want to remove the parliamentary immunity from Poroshenko, this should be done now. Moreover, the authorities have already carried out serious “preparatory work”.
But this does not mean anything, because the main thing in a criminal case - like in any other - is the result. “If there is a trial of Poroshenko, will he really dot all the “I?” Let's recall the case of Efremov (former member of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, - ed.), who was attracted for separatism, but after five years of “imprisonment”, he wasn't impleaded. Moreover, Poroshenko is not Yanukovych, he has support both in the West and among patriotic forces within the country,” Bohdan Petrenko recalls.
Patriotic forces have not yet spoken out about the possible imprisonment of their leader. Another bright oppositionist, Yulia Tymoshenko, is silent. Of course, she has not experienced great love for Poroshenko since about 2005, but theoretically she could have seen a comrade in misfortune in him. Moreover, she might be next.
“As far as Tymoshenko is concerned, Zelensky might have wanted to put her in prison, but he still hasn’t decided yet. After the public exchange of information attacks on Bankova, they apparently realized that Tymoshenko was too tough for them, and the fight with her could turn out to be very unpleasant. Although certain messages are being promoted, and it’s not without reason that they raised the gas contract of 2009 and other things that had been accumulated under Yanukovych,” Bortnyk says.
“For some reason, everyone expects Tymoshenko to go into sharp opposition to Zelensky. But we know that Yulia Tymoshenko can enter into informal coalitions with anyone from those with whom she once quarreled,” says Bogdan Petrenko.
And his colleague Sazonov even believes that Tymoshenko could go even further and give votes for the arrest of Poroshenko. Assessing the prospects for this issue to go through the Rada, the expert notes: "There will be a lot of votes for this. Servant of the People will vote in full, counting on hype, because their voters will like it for sure. Oppositional Platform – For Life will also totally support the decision."
What will be next? “The scenario according to which Poroshenko will have to leave the country seems quite likely. But in case of his emigration, the Roshen group will simply be torn to pieces - as it was with oligarch Kurchenko at one time,” Bortnyk suggests. However, when it comes to saving yourself, the business is something secondary here. Although this scenario is still very far away.