Serhiy Teleshun, Doctor of Political Science
Social result of reforms can become a litmus test of ‘Ukrainian project's’ perspectivity and nation’s maturity
17.03.2017 14:32 788

Events in Ukraine and in the world are happening with lightning speed and are unexpected, which makes it very difficult to predict further development of events. What can be opposed to the actions of Russia in this hybrid war, which then can replace the Minsk agreements, how relations in the Ukraine-US-Russia and China-Russia-Iran triangles will develop, and new political world trends - Ukrinform discussed all these issues with Serhiy Teleshun, Doctor of Political Science, Professor, Head of the Political Analysis and Forecasting Department, Director of the Institute of Public Administration and Local Self-Governance at the National Academy for Public Administration under the President of Ukraine.

- Russia has been waging a hybrid war against Ukraine for almost three years. It forces Crimean Tatars to leave occupied Crimea, it continues to deliver weapons to Donbas, it spreads fake information around the world, forming a non-existent reality, and at the same time, trying to influence the results of elections in European countries and even the United States, helping the political forces loyal to the Russian Federation to win. What can be opposed to these actions?

- Desire, political will, non-linear thinking, efficient public management, the qualitative use of all types of resources, the fight against obsolete clichés and clusters of management, social complexes etc. Our competitiveness is determined not only by institutional changes, but also by a socially important result that can reduce the number of social problems and conflicts defined as collective. If there are less problems, we’ll be more competitive, and we’ll be firm in confrontation with anyone.

The Russian Federation pursues an aggressive foreign policy through the prism of ‘civilizational conflicts’. The core of this policy lies in the fact that the Russian Federation offers its services to a part of the Western elites, which faces foreign and domestic problems. Or directly appeals to citizens of other states - offering an ‘anti-crisis service’ on eliminating threats of the world order. Thus, the national political and economic beau monde of these states loses credibility and legitimacy in their own country and is inclined to political and economic conformism. The price is new rules of the game even at the expense of their own principles, agreements and ‘allies’. Also, it’s worth paying attention to a public opinion poll conducted by the Gallup Organization in October-December 2016, which shows that four NATO countries are ready to receive military assistance from Russia in case of aggression, rather than from partners in the bloc. And it's not just a matter of ‘subversive activities’, but also of trust in the capacity, efficiency and reliability of existing security mechanisms of partners.

- Trump's victory. How will it influence the world system of deterrence and counterbalance? Will the new US Administration support Ukraine? Should we expect military assistance? Weapons? Are there any kind of behind-the-scenes agreements between Trump and Putin, let's say, about the redistribution of ‘spheres of influence’ in the world? Or has Russia become a factor in the US domestic policy?

- The world political system has undergone significant changes. It will not be the same as it was five, three years or one year ago. Each of the world's players is looking for the most beneficial configuration of alliances and coalitions that can implement their own vision of national interests for the next 7-18 years. Most of the countries of Old Europe, the United States will be based on a domestic component of the national policy. A part of the young Europeans will try both within the EU and outside the EU to form new strategic alliances. China, India, Iran, Russia, Turkey will balance on systemic and artificial contradictions. As to America, in my opinion, the US Presidential Administration, under the influence of groups of interests, will first complete the nonpublic process of forming priorities in the foreign policy, and only then, depending on the situation, it will form a public - official position.

As to the United States and Russia, they unlikely will become good friends in the near future, but they could become partners on certain tactical issues. I’m stressing again that certain positions, contacts, visions are being specified in Washington and Moscow, and a ‘picture’ of the future on the most painful issues of foreign policy is being formed. Common words, ad hoc resolving of problems by avoiding open conflicts is the formal logic of behavior.

As to Ukraine, much depends on Ukraine itself. The uncontrolled release of ‘plans for the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian issue’ is similar, from different sides, to the probing of society and ‘high sides’ of certain groups of pressure in Ukraine, Russia, the United States, as well as some EU countries (Germany, France, the Netherlands). It is possible that two options for the development strategy will be offered to Ukraine - public and non-public. As an option, the Austrian format: ‘Neutral, independent, non-aligned Ukraine’. The main thing in the struggle for Ukraine and peace in Europe is not to lose Ukraine as a state and people claiming the right to be worthy of their own political and social choice.

- Two years ago you said that, I’m quoting: “From a myth that Minsk agreements will settle the conflict we should move to step-by-step and also real actions on integrating Donbas with Ukraine"... Today there has been such a situation that the Minsk agreements, in fact, are not implemented. What can replace them?

- Efficient public policy, social results of institutional reforms, efficient actions of the national security in all areas of security, a new foreign policy format with a ‘road map’ for changes and the development of a new strategy for domestic political integration: "Ukraine is strong, stable, social, competitive and sovereign."

- Leaders of quasi-formed ‘Donetsk People Republic/Luhansk People’s Republic’ declared about the ‘nationalization’ of all enterprises that are in the occupied territories, but are registered and pay taxes in Ukraine. Later, they stated that the Russian ruble becomes the main currency in these territories. Is this the compulsion of Ukraine to agree on a ‘special status of Donbas? Or, perhaps, Russia decided to annex these territories, like it annexed Crimea? What Ukraine is ready to sacrifice for peace?

- The question is rhetorical and has been discussed in the Ukrainian politicum for years. The society gave the answer to it through the struggle for its state, territory, social dignity. But for the war, Ukrainians, regardless of their political views, would have asked the post-Maidan authorities about the results of its activities. And the situation with the "DPR/LPR" is more like the situation that developed in Abkhazia and Ossetia.

- How do you assess the process of reforms in Ukraine: decentralization, the reform of law enforcement agencies, judicial system? Can you name the biggest successes and failures over the last three years after the Maidan?

In my opinion, Ukraine has no choice regarding reforms. Return to the past in this state is impossiblee. Social result of reforms can become a litmus test of ‘Ukrainian project’ perspectivity and nation’s maturity and political class. In these conditions, we get the result in the form of a successful and competitive state, or Ukraine turns into a quasi-state with limited sovereignty and with external management.

Current difficulties in the carrying out of reforms, inconsistency of the results with the set goals, and public frustration, make it necessary to pay special attention to the processes that are leading to the decision making regarding reforms and the processes of their implementation.

- Experts call the current period the era of world disorder and the era of crisis. Do you agree with this?

- Partially. Most of the phenomena and processes that took place and are developing in Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and the United States have a logical connection and are linked with the search for an efficient model of public administration that can adequately respond to modern challenges and threats. Processes of the destruction of the old system of world order have begun in conditions of the global market, comfortable liberal political and social system of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, formal and informal agreements on the distribution of spheres of influence between the world's major actors and regional groups of influence.

Certain events in the world, which were initially perceived as phenomena of domestic order or technology of loosening the situation by third parties gradually acquired signs of systemacy and recurrence. Events in Syria, the Revolution of Dignity, migration processes, violent border changes, a crisis of identity in the European Union, BREXIT, events in Turkey, ‘hybrid wars’, the strengthening of right-wing radical movements in Europe, the victory of Donald Trump at the US presidential election, spontaneous decentralization and regionalization and many other significant events showed the completion of the old and the beginning of a new era of political relations at different levels.

The fact is that traditional management models could not adequately respond to the next wave of challenges and threats, and the centers of world influence failed to timely form clear anti-crisis policies and programs in the wake of multi-faceted political, social and economic turbulence.

- And what about the European Union? In your opinion, what strategic agenda will be for EU countries in 2017?

- Eventful. This is the topic of a huge article. By my estimation, the EU is facing an agenda of 16 clauses of urgent resolving of domestic and foreign problems. They concern not just the issue of preserving the EU as an influential world formation, but also the developing of the number of policies that can adequately respond to current challenges and threats: from the development of a Brexit strategy to the development of a new algorithm in relations with the US.

However, there are questions (about twenty) regarding domestic intrigues of interaction within the EU countries and the problems of interior policy of founding countries. We are talking about Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, etc. that are deciding and still do not have the final answer.

- How long will the alliance of China, Iran and Russia last?

- It will take as long time as needed to form new situational coalitions and strategic alliances. In the era of national egocentrism, such formations can be illogical and temporary depending on the situation, or can exist in a ‘dormant’, non-public regime for decades. During tectonic social changes, it’s worth paying attention to the systemic, sometimes latent interests of certain groups of influence and their guides who participate in these processes, and to assess the vector of global investmentы in the economy, public spheres of the countries we are speaking about. Giving a prompt assessment, I believe that official and unofficial representatives of these countries, so to speak, ‘are getting used’ to a new situation and possible partners in the alliance. In a word, they are creating ‘psychological profiles’ of their counterparts.

- Thank you for the talk.

Maryna Synhaivska, Kyiv

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