While Ukraine is preparing for the inauguration of the sixth president, Russia has decided not to waste time. Vladimir Putin not only issued a decree on the simplification of the procedure for granting Russian citizenship to residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions but also publicly expressed his readiness to spread this practice to all citizens of Ukraine. Such a step is unprecedented, and it is a sign of a new stage in Russia's hybrid war. The process of issuing passports in the territory of satellite states is a technology far from new, and it had been used earlier in Transdniestria and South Caucasus, but this time the issue concerns a state with a population of several tens of millions of people. The civilized world has not yet made an antidote against Russia's interference with the election process, and it is being offered a new challenge, indicative against the backdrop of Donald Trump's struggle against green cards and the debate on the prospects for reforming the Schengen area.
Putin last week outlined the agenda for communication with Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky in various ways, recalling the need to resolve the conflict "in the south-east of Ukraine" and a very high price for natural gas paid by Ukraine. Let me remind you that there is no well-wisher in modern diplomacy, and this should be realized by the new president of our state.
His friend and colleague, French President Emmanuel Macron, became a victim of Russian pranksters posing as Zelensky who talked to him last week. However, this unpleasant incident did not affect Macron's desire to publicize new initiatives that should be an answer to yellow vest protesters. However, the readiness of the president, who did not even cross the equator of his term in office, to resort to changes in social and political life, did not satisfy his opponents, who again took to the streets of French cities on April 27. It seems that Macron would have to look for more weighty arguments than just the willingness to simplify the referendum process initiated by citizens and the promise to make the French tax system more acceptable to the middle class.
Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States in 2009-2017, announced his plans to challenge Donald Trump in the presidential election next year. The first post-announcement poll showed that an experienced overseas politician leads the incumbent president by six points. Trump responded promptly to the emergence of a new competitor not only with a tweet but also with a reference to an investigation into the interference of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) in the 2016 election. The Ukrainian context is clear: Biden's son, Hunter, is a member of the board at Burisma, a company operating in the Ukrainian energy market. A year and a half before the voting day, making predictions solely on the basis of Joe Biden's nomination would be a big mistake, since the configuration of American politics is somewhat more complicated than it appears at first glance.
Yevhen Mahda, the Institute of World Policy
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