By Christoph Dreier
27 November 2014
Five fractions in the recently elected Ukrainian Parliament agreed on a coalition pact November 21. Although the coalition still has to agree on the division of posts, it has already announced that it intends to step up its aggression in the east of the country and exacerbate Kiev’s confrontation with Russia.
The coalition chose the date of the one-year anniversary of the Maidan protests to announce its program. The demonstrations on the Maidan were supported by Western governments and led to a bloody coup that brought right-wing, pro-Western forces to power. The coup then led to the development of separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.
Now, one year on, five parliamentary parties, all of which supported the Maidan protests, have formed a coalition that plans to intensify a policy of war and enforce vicious cuts in social spending.
The five coalition partners agreed to increase military spending to three percent of GDP. They plan new methods of military mobilization and a renewal of the country’s security strategy. Their proposed “most urgent task” is NATO membership for Ukraine.
Up to now, the Ukrainian constitution guaranteed the nonaligned status of the country. With 285 seats in the 423-seat parliament, the new coalition now has the two-thirds majority necessary for the constitutional change, which would permit the country’s integration into the Western military alliance.
On Monday, President Petro Poroshenko confirmed these plans and announced a referendum on joining NATO within six years. Until then, all the criteria for inclusion in the military alliance are to be met.
Just a few days earlier, Poroshenko had decided to slash all state funding and pensions to the areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. As a result, schools, hospitals and emergency services will no longer be funded, and pensions and benefits will not be paid.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is likely to remain prime minister, rejected any negotiations with the separatists. “We will not conduct direct negotiations with Russian terrorists,” he said.
The ruthless program of the new government is reflected in its personnel. The groups involved in the coalition are right-wing and ultranationalist forces. The Block Petro Poroshenko, with 127 deputies, constitutes the largest fraction in the new coalition.
Included in the ranks of other coalition partners, the Popular Front (76 seats), the Self-Help Party (34 seats) led by the Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyj, and the Fatherland Party (23 seats) headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, are numerous right-wing extremists.
Amongst the ten leading deputies of the Popular Front are three commanders of extreme right volunteer militias (Andrij Teteruk, Arsen Avakov and Yuri Beresa), which fought alongside the Ukrainian army against the separatists and are held responsible for serious human rights violations.
In addition to these three, Andrij Bilezkij also entered the Ukrainian Rada as a candidate of the Popular Front. Bilezkij founded the notorious Azov Battalion and was a longtime member of the right-wing grouping Patriots of Ukraine. According to the Kiev-based German historian Andreas Umland, Bilezkij is an “expressly biological racist” who “openly propagates the Aryan myth.”
The fifth coalition partner is the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko, with 25 seats. Prior to the election, Lyashko had abducted and tortured suspected separatists in many parts of the country. The human rights organization Amnesty International has accused Lyashko of breaching international law. During the election campaign his party called for Ukraine to have its own nuclear weapons.