Taras Klochko, Espreso TV, May 21, 2014
The Kremlin has chosen a new chief manager for its projects in Ukraine. The only difference between Vadim Novinsky and the other Moscow “residents” is the lack of high-profile political scandals and involvement with separatism.
Yesterday’s vote in Parliament for the Memorandum of Understanding and Peace, despite the document’s complete lack of substance, demonstrated the move to the vanguard of “peacemakers” by Vadim Novinsky, a former Russian citizen and the Donbas partner of Rinat Akhmetov. He, together with Deputy Valeriy Pysarenko, who is a trusted hand of Yanukovych’s former deputy chief of staff Andriy Portnov and the notorious Putin intimate Viktor Medvedchuk, initiated the adoption of the Memorandum, which was the first step toward possible agreements between Kyiv and the Donetsk elites. Moscow’s hand in this process is visible to the naked eye.
It is interesting that the Russian native Novinsky became Ukrainian less than two years ago, having received his citizenship from the former president Viktor Yanukovych for “distinguished services to the state,” and that, within a year, he had already been made a deputy and a member of the Party of Regions faction by virtue of his majority win in a county by-election in the now occupied Sevastopol.
Also this “new Ukrainian” Novinsky, whose assets are estimated at more than three billion dollars, is a longtime partner of Rinat Akhmetov. In particular, the two oligarchs share a joint ownership of “Metinvest.” In this pairing, Novitsky was always considered the “junior partner.” But now that Akhmetov is negotiating with Kyiv in order to remain master of the Donbas and, possibly influenced by Ihor Kolomoysky, is not displaying sufficient determination, Moscow is preparing to move Novinsky into a “senior partnership” role with Akhmetov.
The Kremlin’s logic in choosing Novinsky is obvious. First of all, this is a person wholly subordinated to Moscow. Second, unlike other pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, he is not yet tainted by terrorism. It is believed, supposedly, that dialogue with him is possible. During Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Novinsky, despite his political “residence” in Sevastopol, remained absolutely silent, not making any declaration either in support of the occupiers or against Russia’s actions. Similarly, until very recently, Novinsky expressed no position on the events in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Actually, the Kremlin simply has no more alternatives to Novinsky left in Ukrainian politics. Dobkin, the new “front man” of the Party of Regions, could not overcome his image as a political clown with “idiotic scripts,” as is clearly demonstrated by his meager support as a presidential candidate. Oleg Tsarov, due to his outright support of the separatists, is on the verge of losing his (parliamentary) immunity and is probably packing his bags to flee the country. The master of the Luhansk Oblast Oleksandr Yefremov has also dirtied his hands by collaborating with the separatists. Viktor Medvedchuk, whose fingerprints are all over the Novinsky Memorandum, has remained the “gray cardinal” without even minimal serious support among Ukrainians. Serhiy Tihipko, for the Kremlin, is not a reliable and manageable prospect. Finally, any bets on Petro Symonenko’s communists, long-discredited by political bartering, appear completely ridiculous.
This is exactly why Novinsky has become the “Trojan Dove of Peace” sent by Moscow. The task of the Russian-Ukrainian oligarch is to push through for Donbas, and, even better, for all of “Novorossia” Putin’s version of peace and harmony, in which Kyiv actually loses control over the Party of Regions in the Southeast, turning it into a Bosnian scenario, with semi-feudal oligarchic estates with their own “verticals” of power, municipal militias, judges and so on. So far, this plan is not working — Novinsky’s Memorandum, which was conceived as a covert plan for federalization, has turned out to be a typical declaration of “good will.” This is why the “Trojan Dove” still has a lot of work to do.
Translation: Anna Mostovych