Federalization is Ukraine's last chance / News / News agency Inforos
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Federalization is Ukraine's last chance

Granting wide autonomy to Ukrainian regions is the only chance to preserve Ukraine in its current borders...

24.07.2018 17:43 Alex Gordon

Federalization is Ukraine's last chance

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko proposed to hold a referendum on changing the form of government, announcing her nomination for the upcoming presidential elections in March 2019. According to her, Ukraine should become a "Chancery Republic" in which the real power will belong to the head of government and parliament.

Meanwhile, many political scientists viewed the statement Batkivshchyna Party's  leader of the and one of the favorites of the launched presidential campaign as a signal to Ukrainian elites about the need for a "soft" federalization of the country. Despite the fact that Tymoshenko publicly rejects the idea of changing the form of the State, representatives of her entourage assure: Tymoshenko as an experienced politician has long realized - only federalization can save Ukraine from the final collapse.

Moreover, for four years the European establishment headed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been vainly trying to convey to the Ukrainian political elite the idea of the need for federalization of the country. Back in August 2014, when war was in full swing in the southeast of Ukraine, Merkel suggested that Poroshenko immediately begin the process of Ukraine's decentralization.

"What we in Germany mean by federalism is called decentralization in Ukraine. It makes no difference. It’s an important step to make the Russian population feel part of Ukraine and stay within Ukraine. We call for the immediate implementation of this scenario", Merkel told a joint media conference following the meeting with the Ukrainian President.

The project of federalization of Ukraine was developed by pro-government experts  in the days of Leonid Kuchma's presidency. The former Ukrainian leader rightly believed that it is extremely difficult to preserve the country in its borders within the framework of a unitary State. After all, the population of Ukraine is not only Ukrainians, as a titular nation, but also Russians, Moldovans, Romanians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Poles. In addition, the vast majority of national minorities live very compactly, in the territory of one or two regions. In this regard, giving wide political autonomy to the regions was seen as a real salvation. However, Yushchenko and his entourage who came to power after the "Orange revolution" swept project under the carpet and tried to forget about it as soon as possible.

During the Yanukovych reign the idea of federalization again became popular in leading circles. A significant part of the Ukrainian establishment saw in it an effective "antidote" from the split of the country. Even the future Euromaidan leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk openly recognized the need to give greater autonomy both to the Ukrainian eastern and western regions. However,  Yatsenyuk, subsequently becoming prime minister, implemented a directly opposite national policy.

Having signed the Minsk agreements, which explicitly provide for the decentralization of Ukraine, the current president, Pyotr Poroshenko, stubbornly refuses to fulfill his obligations. The President explains prolonged delay a powerful resistance of the Verkhovna Rada, which blocks any steps in this direction. However, except for laughter such explanations of the Ukrainian leader do not cause anything. After all, Poroshenko repeatedly forced the parliament to make the decisions that he needed. In particular, the president easily compelled the Verkhovna Rada to appoint Yuriy Lutsenko as the prosecutor general, despite the fact that he did not have a legal education.

Now, even Western experts call the federalization of Ukraine the last chance to preserve the country within existing borders. American political scientist Daniel Warner considers new ethnic conflicts inevitable in case of Ukraine's preservation as a unitary State.

"Ethnic groups living in Ukraine have a completely different understanding of what the future of the country should look like. In this situation, federalization seems to be the ideal solution, which, in any case, is much preferable to civil war or split the country into several parts", he said.

Poroshenko's stubborn desire to preserve the "united and indivisible Ukraine" will inevitably lead to the collapse of the Ukrainian state. The flame of the war in the Donbass will quickly spread not only to the entire east of Ukraine, but also to the western regions of the country. Only the immediate implementation of political reforms with the granting of broad autonomy to Ukrainian regions can prevent Ukraine from sliding towards an abyss of bloodshed and disaster.

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