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Oleg Voloshyn: Zelensky owes his presidency to Razumkov

On the air of the “Ukrainian format” – MP Oleg Voloshyn, “Opposition Platform - For Life”.

- What will the new political season be like?

- My first impression from the first two days of the Verkhovna Rada meetings, in which I took part, is that so far everything is absolutely the same as it was at the end of the last political season. Nothing new has appeared, and contrary to all forecasts, the political situation in Ukraine and around Ukraine is somehow betwixt in-between. I spoke with colleagues from the ruling majority and from opposition parties. And everyone has the same question: what is, as it is, cannot be – the Zelensky regime drove the country into the deepest economic and, obviously, political crisis. An attempt to build a quasi-dictatorship, because I can’t take people who do not understand politics at all as real dictators, and probably not a single serious person can, but of course there is an attempt. Although this is surprising, given that, as a rule, history, which I know quite well, shows that usually dictatorial manners are possessed by people with vast political experience, who have an innate inner thirst for power, they fought for it for many years, strived for it and etc. And not such darlings of fate who have been engaged in show business all their lives: quite accidentally took the President seat and suddenly decided to be a dictator. But I always say that it is not even Zelensky who actually wants to be a dictator, but society, in fact, in its stupidity has presented potential dictatorial opportunities. Let's imagine that Tymoshenko is the President of Ukraine with 73% of the rating, she has 254 MPs, and Sergei Vlasenko is her prosecutor general. How long would all the other political forces hold out in these realities? Or are we, for example, in power? We are modest people, with respect for democracy, but I think that many of our opponents, moreover in the case, have already at least been involved in criminal cases for corruption, etc. By and large, what Zelensky is doing is the result of the society’s belief that Ukraine does not need checks and balances. That you can give all power at absolutely all levels to one team. And this is the result of 2019. So far, everything has started in a similar way: everything that is called for to vote – is voted in favour. But if you look at the agenda, what the Verkhovna Rada votes for, and the agenda was formed by the ruling majority, then today it was about the theater and theater activities, about science parks, about industrial parks, about changes to the law on civil defense, and stuff like that. Are there any other problems in the country? Everyone is happy with tariffs, pensions are growing, salaries are competitive, the conflict in Donbas has been resolved – it’s time to tackle the problems of theater and theater activities. This shows that today the President’s team is not ready to submit truly resonant draft laws to the Rada, not because they are not confident, but because they themselves do not understand which way to move.  

- One feature of the new political season is already looming, and it concerns the speaker of the parliament Razumkov, who, one can assume, is openly in conflict with both the President’s Office and Stefanchuk. How can this conflict turn out for the speaker himself, is his resignation possible?

- We had a conversation this summer, and he knows perfectly well that there is a desire to get rid of him, including due to a personal factor, and I would not write it off. As for any person who is engaged in politics (and I studied at a specialized institute and worked as a political scientist for a long time, worked at the Foreign Ministry), for me the emotional factor should be absolutely tertiary in politics. But in conditions when Zelensky is in power, the personal emotional factor is of great importance. Why does everyone accuse Pyotr Alekseevich of such blatant cynicism? Because he, indeed, as a super professional politician, allowed himself to be above emotions, if it was beneficial to him. A person could tell on the air that Poroshenko was a scoundrel and a bastard. Then come to meet him, and Poroshenko would never have told him: why did you say this about me? For Zelensky, the opposite is true: first of all, he has emotions, personal grievances. So, there is a personal grievance. For some reason, they believed that it was Razumkov who owed them the speaker’s chair. However, I believe that it is Zelensky who owes his presidency to Razumkov, because the latter was the head of the election headquarters, and he was the only person who understood political technology, politics, at that time in Zelensky’s team when they started in the fall of 2018. Therefore, if we say that Razumkov is Zelensky’s man, then we can just say likewise that Zelensky is Razumkov’s man. It’s just that people agreed on the election campaign, formed a common program and drove off. And of course, each of them believes that he has made a decisive contribution to the success of the other. But there is also the most important institutional reason – the obvious desire of Mr. Yermak. We say Zelensky, Zelensky, but it is actually more correct to say that Yermak, who is the engine of all serious big movements, is Zelensky’s right hand, a person who does not leave him alone even at a meeting with his parents. (We remember the photo when they arrived at his home in Krivoy Rog, and Yermak was sitting at the table with his parents.) And usually Yermak spoils relations with someone, not so much Zelensky. I am not personally acquainted with either one or the other, but from what I know from people who are well acquainted with them, for all the emotionality of Zelensky himself, he is not a very conflicting person. He may be offended that he was insulted, somehow one did not speak as one had to, but he is a gentle person. And if someone begins to interfere with Yermak – he begins to intrigue against this person. They say that Trofimov has already been unwanted in the President’s Office, the deputy of the Office, some ministers. Once, the first foreign minister under Zelensky, Mr. Prystaiko, was appointed as ambassador to London, because he did not get along with Yermak. This was the only reason why they suddenly got rid of him. There were no particular failures. And Razumkov prevents Yermak from doing the main thing: to drag any legislative initiatives through lawlessness in the Verkhovna Rada.

They say (and this is beneficial to some speakers associated with the President’s Office) that “Opposition Platform - For Life” supports Razumkov. No, we support the speaker who tries, and not always, by the way, he succeeds in observing the spirit and letter of the law, respecting the rights of the opposition, giving the opposition an opportunity to speak, etc. Yes, I don’t know why, he continues to say: “I ask you to vote”, helping the President’s Office to push for necessary decisions, because these “green buttons” are so stupid that without this phrase they simply will not vote. Even today, when they needed not to vote for an appeal to the US Congress on the issue of an ally outside NATO, he specifically said: “I want to draw attention to the opinion of the Foreign Ministry, to the opinion of the Deputy Prime Minister, which was negative on this issue,” so as not to accidentally think that you need to vote for it. But on the whole, of course, he is well done that he did not commit a single gross systemic violation of the Regulations. Compared to Parubiy, who put draft laws on vote 11 times, he never even did it twice, if, for example, there were not enough votes. In this sense, I hope that both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko will have enough reason, and even Golos will not vote for the resignation of the speaker, without whom we have nothing to do in the Verkhovna Rada. These 250 buttons will simply vote for everything, Stefanchuk will put documents on vote in the first and second readings at once – and done. And it really will be a printer, not a place for discussion. And we will not even be able to block the amendments, as we then delayed the law on land for three months, its adoption, or how Tymoshenko blocked some draft laws related to the looting of land with amendments, and so on. They will try to take it off. But the mood inside the “servants of the people”... fortunately, there are not all “buttons” among themselves. I say this, realizing that I offend you a little, because there are people there who could become MPs without Zelensky, who are also young, also new in politics, who also have some kind of respect for themselves in the first place. Because to vote the way “servants of the people” vote, this is a deficit of self-respect. This is just allowing yourself to be used insolently: you were told – you do so because you were told.

- Told and encouraged.

- And encouraged... probably yes. I can see from our faction: we have big disputes all the time, debates over small stuff. Because a certain number of people gathered with their stories, their biographies, their opinions. And it is not so simple, for example, that if Yuriy Boyko and Vadim Rabinovich said, then the others left, or came, or voted like that. It is clear that there is some kind of factional and party discipline, but, as a rule, we discuss the most resonant topics. For example, we had a big discussion about whether it is worth going to the ceremonial meeting on the occasion of the Independence Day. As a result, people like me, who believe that we are still in opposition to the authorities, but not to our own state, we came. And the rest, who believe that now, in conditions of pressure on the opposition, it is not worth going to any solemn meetings, and this is their personal right, they did not come. But there was nothing that, as Yuriy Anatolyevich Boyko, or Vadim Zinovievich Rabinovich, or Viktor Vladimirovich Medvedchuk would say, and the rest did not even care what they think. It is not in this way. But for the “greens” this is largely the case.

- Recently the faction of “servants of the people” had a meeting, and its chair Arakhamia said that it was very difficult for them to look for people for the posts of ministers. He said that normal people refuse – they don’t want to leave their businesses. If now there are staff changes in the Cabinet and even the Prime Minister is replaced, will this affect anything at all?

- Can you name at least 10 members of the Cabinet? Me not. It’s hard to call me an imprudent person, but we really don’t know them, these are empty chairs. I know Minister Kuleba because we worked with him for many years at the Foreign Ministry, I know Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishina, because my profile committee is on European integration. Malyuska – because of his extravagant behavior. And who is Lyubchenko? What is he doing? It doesn’t matter at all. Just like there are a couple of outstanding committee heads – Dmitriy Natalukha from “Servant of the People”, head of the economic committee; Mr. Getmantsev with his fiscal nature and the soul of a publican. And the rest of the heads of the committees? Faceless people. And this is the result of an absolutely conscious staff policy. I don’t think that no one wants it, everyone just understands that our sun is so small that it is very easy to shade it. So, it is necessary that the remaining light sources are even smaller. God forbid there should be a bright enough star in some position. Therefore, I did not immediately believe that the same Saakashvili, with all my negative attitude towards him, would be given any significant post by someone. Because with his presence in power, he involuntarily, even if he did not want it, would shade this little sun called Zelensky, because it is not difficult to shade it. Anyway, it is difficult to shade Poroshenko, or Tymoshenko, or Medvedchuk, because these are big iconic politicians, no matter how anyone treats them for various reasons. And even Dmitriy Razumkov has already turned into a big serious factor, although not long ago he was still a political scientist. Under normal conditions, he would first have to become a member of parliament, and he could well be the President. He has everything for this – both intelligence and a good origin. Thank God, not from the plow – a real man from the elite, in a good way. But it would still be worthwhile to grow and develop. When I became director of the information department at the Foreign Ministry at the age of 28, Konstantin Ivanovich Grishchenko told me: you have journalist background and have diplomatic experience – the only one in the Foreign Ministry who has such a match. But you would never have been appointed director of another department, because you have not matured yet. But now, at 28 years old, you can be the prime minister, anyone. And then it seemed to me the right position. I came to the meetings of the collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they looked at me there: who is this boy, does he still have his own opinion? You are not yet mature enough to express your opinion. Maybe these are excesses, but in general it commands respect, because this is a school. You cannot jump from rank and file to general. You have to go through all these stages. Now, please, anyone. The girl had a two weeks internship in the European Parliament – please, head of the delegation to PACE. She was an intern in the European Parliament! Of course, “servants of the people”, except for Egypt and Turkey, were nowhere else before the election. Klochko, who in slippers and shorts stood with a flag against the background of the Capitol. A person with education and life experience will not think of such a thing. They will say that Lavrov is a minister for a long time, and maybe, according to European standards, this is a bit too long. But this is what a school is. And look further at who are deputy ministers, ambassadors in Russia, what background, what origin, what biography, how many languages ​​they know: Naryshkin, Sechin, etc. And here: one has learned English somewhere – already an expert. Why does Mr. Yermak think that he is well versed – he once graduated from the same university that I had the honor to graduate from: the Institute of International Relations... He has never worked in this sphere, but graduated from IIR, so he is. You know, it’s like “I have a friend – a professor, with three classes of education, so he will draw a “ten” that you cannot distinguish from the real one”. Therefore, what difference does it make who will be some kind of minister. I once met one of the acquaintances of Sergei Leonidovich Tigipko, whose candidature at one point was discussed for the Prime Minister post. And he said: “Give me freedom of maneuver, give me time and authority to bring the country out of the crisis, let me make decisions myself, and not go make bows”. It’s a terrible thing – what if he succeeds, and Tigipko is the President? This, of course, is the problem of all of us, the problem of what I already hear in political circles: who instead of Zelensky, in the context of the “other Zelensky”? Let’s look among journalists, on the radio, on talk shows, who they love there, but they go further, if Zelensky succeeded, then why not, for example, uncle Zhora? This is terrible. If it goes on like this, then I, as a person worried about the fate of the country, would raise the question of limiting universal suffrage.

If our dear fellow citizens really allow themselves after Zelensky to elect the conditional Monatik, then it is worth to think about whether our society has grown to the right to elect the President. And do we even need the post of President? Let’s move on to a parliamentary republic. This is a madhouse – you can’t just choose the popular one. This is not “Ukraine Got Talent”. And if people do not understand this, then let’s introduce some kind of qualification, of property, education. And in parallel there is a degradation of the education system, the population is becoming stupefied. I often visit Belgrade, there is a bookstore every 4-5 blocks. There are almost none of them left in Kiev. Nobody reads anything. Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket – here’s direct access to knowledge. We are all considering the law on library activities, and no one said that no one goes to libraries. They are discussing whether books of the aggressor state can be supplied there. Yes, let at least something so that people do not forget how to read. They said about me: Voloshyn does not like our people. I love my country, so sometimes I want to protect it from such people. I want my children to live here, and I don’t want them to live under presidents elected by those who don’t read themselves and don’t teach their children to read.

- French senators met with Viktor Medvedchuk to discuss pressure on freedom of speech, political persecution and peace in Donbass. They visited the “Pershiy Nezalezhnyi”. Senate Secretary, Vice President of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Joel Guerriot and Vice President of the Commission on Constitutional Legislation, Universal Suffrage and Rules in the Senate of France Nathalie Goulet spoke with our team. Media workers passed a letter to French senators asking them to pay attention to the unprecedented oppression of freedom of speech in Ukraine. Does it make any sense, can they help us?

- The Senators were very impressed by the meeting with the journalists. They understood everything perfectly, especially since we gave them a number of informational booklets with all the facts. The problem is that a huge part of the European and American political class, in principle, has little interest in Ukraine. While still a presidential candidate, Zelensky visited Paris. Danilyuk later said that he did not want to prepare, and he asked his wife to influence him. This is also an indicator of the "tradesman in the nobility”. And there is also this myth – young, charming, remotely similar to Macron. Macron was also considered not very experienced there, but before becoming President, he was a minister, and before that he graduated from the National School of Management, wrote works on the heritage of Rousseau. In France it is impossible to be President and not be a little bit of a writer. This is a land of great literature. The president cannot be a person who cannot formulate thoughts, who has not read the classics of French literature, who does not use their quotes outright, in debates. And here Yuzik sits opposite myself, and it is funny to me that once it seemed to me that if I can speak well, then it would be logical for me to dream of becoming a member of parliament one day, and now Yuzik is also a member of parliament, and I understand how everything is devalued in this country. I am a PhD in Politics, and it is not clear whether it is worth striving for some kind of formal status, when really worthy people have not received these statuses for a long time. It was hard for the French to understand what was happening here – it’s good that they came, they are very authoritative and influential people. Joel Guerriot is a member of the Senate Bureau – the governing body of the Senate, directly sees the President of the Senate, his colleagues. He is the mayor of the city and is also elected to the Senate. Does not represent any of the main parties, but communicates on equal terms with representatives of all parties. We very much hope that, with their submission, this information will firmly enter the portfolio of materials that will form the basis for preparing Macron’s visit to Kiev. It is not a fact that this will happen for sure, but a serious possibility of his arrival in Kiev by the end of the year is being discussed. And I would very much like Mr. Macron to raise the issue of TV channels in the context, first of all, of the peace process.

After all, the “party of war” rejoiced at the closure of TV channels. Not Zelensky’s party or his entourage, but many of his opponents, “porokhobots” and others who hate him, but for whom it is dangerous that the calls for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, for the return of Donbass, for a dialogue with that part of the country, for the observance of their rights, for the normalization of relations with Russia were regularly voiced on the air of 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK. And this is how we formulate the question to our Western colleagues. I have repeatedly communicated on this topic both in PACE and with the Americans: if you want to resolve the conflict here (the question is whether everyone wants it), you, in principle, should reject the argument that we are at war, therefore we close the media that give a positive picture of Russia. This is absurd – if you want to make peace with Russia, then you must also have mass media where one speaks well about Russia or speaks well, positively about the normalization of relations with Russia. You should not pump up the society with militant rhetoric, but on the contrary.  

- Do you believe that they want to make peace with Russia? Do they have such a task?

- At least the French and the Germans have it, for sure. And I am surprised at this stubbornness and lack of a hard line. At least at the level of Ukrainian society, let the authorities show, if Zelensky himself does not want to say that we must fulfill the Minsk agreements, then at least there will be channels on which others will say this. In 2016, in July, there was a meeting of international experts at the Presidential Administration, and at the suggestion of my former colleague in the Foreign Ministry Konstantin Yeliseev, who was then working with Poroshenko, to the surprise of many participants and experts, I was also invited. I was very tough there in support of the Minsk agreements. Then Poroshenko came up to me and began to say: yes, wherever you enter – “zrada, a minefield", but you need to convey this to society. I told him: this is how you convey this idea, you signed difficult, but right, I believe, agreements. I am offended that you, as President, are wasting your time convincing people like your ideological camp that you have signed the right agreements. That the Minsk agreements are not capitulation, but that the Minsk agreements are escape from capitulation. That it would be a complete defeat, that the Ukrainian army would cease to exist, and it would not be known where the troops of the “DPR ‒ LPR” stopped – at the border of the Donetsk region or as far as Kiev, if the Minsk agreements had not been signed then. If the government wants society to accept, then society needs to be prepared for this. I always argue with my colleagues, including diplomats, including the French ambassador, who all the time say: Russia, Russia. And you hear that on Ukrainian television it sounds like this: if Russia fulfills, we, for our part, will do everything, and we will give a special status, and amnesty. Nothing like this. If you listen to the rhetoric on “Pryamoy”, “Ukraine 24”, then they just do not call to shoot these poor people in Donbass. Is this how people are prepared to compromise? People are being fed with abstractions, and at the same time all the time talking about NATO, that we will be given weapons – all in the opposite direction. And some of our people are imprudent – and they believe.

There is a part of society that a priori understands the tragedy of what is happening and is ready for compromise and reconciliation. These are people from Donbass, who have relatives there, who have close relatives in Russia, but there is a part of society in Central Ukraine (I’m not talking about Western Ukraine – many there would hate Russia, even if Russia did not take away from us the Crimea, but also and would give the Kuban, they would still hate Moscow for something), which, as Bulgakov wrote in his time, hates Bolshevik, Tsarist and any other Moscow, but does not want to fight. If every day from television they poured into their ears that there is no way out, or that tomorrow that tank shaft will come to your village, and if you don’t want it, don’t protest or support the protest, but agree to the Minsk agreements, and then let’s figure it out. This will be our territory, the war will stop, and then we will adjust something, we will agree. There, today the people’s militia is scaring away many – we will find a formula, people will get used to it, they will believe, they will stop being afraid, and they will no longer need this people’s militia. So it was necessary to constantly pump it up, and not vice versa: the Americans will land, the British will help, Putin is weakening, Russia will fall apart tomorrow. And these “vuiks” really sit and believe that we can win. And then you turn on some Russian channel, where the propaganda is crazy, terrible in the other direction. I turned to Skabeeva and asked: “Why are you pushing so much about this NATO resolution? After all, they did not vote, and you are helping our “nazists” to puff out their cheeks. If there were less noise in Moscow, then these people would also be less happy. Because it seems to them that if you are discussing this, it means that you are hooked”.  And she says to me in an imposing voice: “Well, Putin marked the red line, and we would really not want Ukraine to cross this red line, and we would politely, intelligibly, but very understandably, would have a chance to show what would happen if the red line is violated”. Even I would say: you go with such approaches. But the truth is that you don’t like Russia, but you cannot defeat it. And most importantly – why? This stance should be voiced. If the West wanted to fully implement the Minsk agreements, it would be primarily interested in letting not “112”, but “215” be, which would not be touched by anyone. No – those who call for a normal, adequate position are under pressure. For what? For mislead themselves? It’s like they put curtains on horses so that they don’t see and only run straight, and then they open the curtains – and then there is already an abyss. And look, who has already begun to comment on the Ukrainian agenda? Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu. There it just doesn’t happen that the Minister of Defense, especially one as experienced as Shoigu, would comment on relations with other countries. And since he was instructed to do this, it means that this is already an unambiguous hint, as thick as the barrel of a tank.

- Zelensky was in the States, and it is not clear what this trip was about, because there were neither joint press conferences, nor any specific statements. He will fly to the USA again – to the General Assembly, to New York. When will we be able to understand what Biden wanted from Zelensky, what this meeting was about and what the foreign policy vector of Ukraine will be like in the near future?

- First, a trip to the General Assembly is not a visit to USA. And it is a colossal bad manners if the President, who comes to New York, also comes to Washington. It doesn’t work that way. Biden, as the host, will be at the General Assembly, but will not find even five minutes to talk aside. And it will speak more than any words. Foreign ministers of a huge number of countries that are otherwise difficult to meet will meet there: from Africa, from the Middle East, from Asia – that’s where you need to meet. Vladimir Putin said a rather interesting phrase, and for the second time: if Zelensky is elected and finally shows, not in words, but in deeds, his readiness to normalize Ukrainian-Russian relations, then we are ready for such a turn and will even invite him to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok... I don’t think Vladimir Vladimirovich meant the year of 2024. And this is the second time – for the first time he said that Medvedchuk was deprived of political activity on the eve of the elections. And no one doubts that Putin says something by chance. Obviously, there is some understanding of early presidential elections. And against this background, everything that will come before that does not matter. Now, if they have some kind of “brilliant” idea to play that Zelensky is the only patriot of Ukraine, then he will continue to deal with the nonsense that he will be doing. People with a much greater understanding of politics and intellect did not succeed in such maneuvers with such turns on the handbrake in front of the wall. But they probably have such a plan – and then abruptly begin to negotiate with Russia. This is the only sensible thing that looms now. What does Biden want? Three independent members of the Naftogaz Supervisory Board have left today. CNN’s story with the “wagnerovtsy” is a very clear story: take what we want you to do. Large state-owned companies are under Western management, and there is no place to rock the boat, Specialized anti-corruption prosecutor's office (SAP) – as they said, it will be, National anti-corruption bureau (NABU) should not be touched, and in general, if we have our wishes, take them as orders. This is the essence of what was discussed in the closed section, although it was all closed, there was not even a coming out to the press. That’s all that was discussed between Biden and Zelensky, and not about big politics. Now Washington and Moscow are looking closely at each other, an interesting game is going on, but I think that confrontation with Russia through Ukraine is not a priority for the Biden administration, I think everyone is already convinced. Another thing is whether there is an understanding in Washington, Berlin and Paris that it is not enough to say: fight with Russia, and we will help you. It is also necessary to compel here to negotiate. This virus of nationalism and Russophobia has already been driven into society so deeply that in reality there may be several thousand hotheads who will actually go to attack the parliament, if there is no tough position on the part of the West on all who can potentially influence them.   

Poroshenko and others. If this happens, you will go to jail, not ordinary “parasyuki”. Instead of helping people to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder, they constantly escalate it, spin it up. Instead of gradually healing this painful wound, they constantly pour salt there. And we can get a big trouble and a real civil war. Even if tomorrow Yuriy Anatolyevich Boyko or anyone else who holds such a position became President, it would be colossally difficult to cope with this part of society. They really shed their blood, believing that they are fighting for Ukraine, and they sincerely hate Russia for what they believe Russia came to our land. You need to talk to these people, you need to work with them – this is a very painful category of society.

- Arakhamia said Zelensky would talk to Biden in loud voices and will acutely raise the issue of our statehood, in particular with regard to Nord Stream 2. As you know, nothing of this kind sounded. What about our gas transportation system now?

- It will take a long time for Nord Stream 2 to reach its design capacity. But Moscow expressed the only possible, normal idea in this situation: if Ukraine buys gas and guarantees safe transit, “we will certainly use the Ukrainian gas transportation system”. I especially like the argument: Russia will use Nord Stream as a weapon. While all the gas was going on, it was a weapon. Now they have built bypass routes so that, no matter how relations between Kiev and Moscow develop, this does not affect the gas market. They threw this weapon away – they do not need it. But if you want so badly, we can somehow use it together with you, but only if you pay the market price, and that’s enough, there will be no more gas war of 2009. Construction of Nord Stream 1 began in 2010, under Yanukovych, when the term for the Black Sea Fleet presence was extended. Because our authorities have been simply stealing gas for many years. And one smart acquaintance of mine, originally from Ukraine, who was vice president of Lukoil, told me: “I told these comrades when I was in Yanukovych’s team that as long as you don’t guarantee Russia that there will be no illegal take-away, it’s more economically profitable to build a bypass gas pipeline”. There were no political problems. It’s just that Russia thought that Ukraine was too problematic: they either steal gas, or blackmail us with gas and abuse their transit status all the time.

- And then they set such a price and forced us to sign an agreement on the Black Sea Fleet. They also knew how to blackmail.

- These were great agreements. They would still operate, Crimea, Sevastopol would be under the Ukrainian flag, and the Black Sea Fleet would be located there. Wouldn’t it have been better for the Black Sea Fleet to be stationed in Ukrainian Sevastopol? Whoever says no means that he is a traitor and agent of the Kremlin, who wants Sevastopol to be under the Russian flag. We then, the Foreign Ministry and Yanukovych, did everything to stop Russia from shaking Crimea. And everything was quiet and calm. Moreover, there was a deputy Markov in the “Party of Regions” who spoke for Russian Odessa, so he was imprisoned under Yanukovych, and he said that he was an agent of the Kremlin. It’s funny, but in the “Party of Regions” they also found Kremlin agents who were too focused on Moscow, and not on Yanukovych. There was a time when Kiev and Moscow found a common language, but at the same time they also knew the price. Minister Grishchenko and Kuchma defended Tuzla from the Russians. Where is Tuzla now? And when they say now that Kuchma and Grishchenko have betrayed Ukraine – where? Ukraine was betrayed by those, because of whom Tuzla is now under the control of Russia. And when we were in power, it was under the control of Ukraine. We began to demarcate the border: in 2012, the first border marker was placed. Lavrov said at the talks to Grishchenko: “How do you imagine in the soul of a Russian person – a border marker on the border with Ukraine?” And Konstantin Ivanovich says: “Let it be a border tree, we will paint it in a birch, but we need to delimit ourselves”. As Lenin said, in order to unite, we need to dissociate ourselves. We were half a step away from Russia recognizing the border in the Kerch Strait. Yes, there would be a joint exploitation company, yes, the money would be divided in half, but Russia would recognize that the Kerch Strait is a border. And who are the traitors – we, who were engaged in this, or those who eventually led to the conclusion that now Russia does not need to negotiate with Ukraine on the Kerch Strait? It’s just disgusting. If you yourself dismantled this state, then why should I show any super loyalty to your vision of this state? You destroyed it, you handed it out, and now you start telling us how to return Crimea to us. So it was not necessary to waste it – now they do not know how to return it. I doubt that in any foreseeable future this is at all real. That is why I think that whoever puts the issue of Crimea in the foreground is an enemy of Ukraine. Because by doing so, one does not solve all other issues. If we start a dialogue with Putin with a conversation about Crimea, this dialogue will not take place at all. This is perfectly clear to everyone. And only those who do not want this dialogue can offer it. And I know that the Foreign Ministry has enough people who would like us to never have a dialogue with the Russian Federation. Unfortunately so. Although their job is to negotiate. And then they wonder why our Foreign Minister is under sanctions. It seems like there is no such practice. Lavrov is not under Western sanctions, and Kuleba is under sanctions. Because in Moscow they said: “This is not the head of the Foreign Ministry, but the head of the anti-Russian propaganda service”. Therefore, subject to sanctions.

- Thank you, Oleg Anatolyevich.

Опубликовано: 16 September 2021