Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s Major Decisions in Office

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree dissolving the country’s parliament

 

MOSCOW, September 14 (RIA Novosti) – As Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is marking Sunday his first 100 days in office, the nation is looking back at what has been done so far.

He took the post of Ukraine’s fifth president with firm intentions to integrate Ukraine with Europe and NATO, bring back Crimea, and become a strong rival to Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the eyes of his Western allies. However, the cordial welcome Poroshenko received from the West has so far failed to net him any tangible financial aid.

EU ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT

On June 27, President Petro Poroshenko signed the economic part of the EU Association Agreement at the EU summit in Brussels. The agreement is designed to gradually bring Ukraine and the EU closer together on the basis of common values, promote trade and economic relations, and enhance cooperation in upholding freedom, justice, and security.

The economic component is the top priority, in particular the provision on the Ukraine-EU free trade area, which will ensure the gradual integration of the Ukrainian economy into the EU internal market. The agreement also outlines principles of cooperation in a number of areas, such as energy, industrial policy, entrepreneurship, taxation, and tourism, as well as the procedures for granting EU financial assistance to Ukraine.

AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION

On June 26, Poroshenko submitted to parliament draft amendments to the Constitution that would decentralize power by replacing local state administration with elected district councils and executive committees. The president would appoint an envoy to each district or region, and local authorities would have the right to grant special status to Russian and other languages within their administrative borders, though what this status involves is not explained.

Poroshenko also proposed enshrining in the Constitution the concept of “the parliamentary opposition” and abrogating the imperative mandate. He wants to give the prime minister the right to submit to parliament nominees for the positions of defense and foreign minister, and to authorize the president to dismiss the prosecutor general and the head of the Ukrainian Security Service without the approval of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament.

PEACE PLAN FOR SOUTHEAST

On June 20, Poroshenko signed an executive order on the peaceful settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s Southeast as part of a process that would last from 10 p.m. (18:00 GMT) on June 20 to 10 p.m. on June 27, 2014.

The plan consists of 15 steps and provides security guarantees to all participants in the talks, including the release of hostages and amnesty for those who have laid down arms and have not committed serious crimes.

EARLY ELECTIONS TO VERKHOVNA RADA

On August 27, Poroshenko signed an executive order dissolving the Rada, with early elections scheduled for October 26. He has spoken repeatedly on the need for early elections, because in his view the current Rada does not reflect the political attitudes of Ukrainian society.

ENDING BENEFITS FOR OFFICIALS

On August 4, Poroshenko rescinded a number of resolutions from 1992 to 2010 on material support and security for top government officials. Resolution № 977/2014 of August 4, 2014 declassifies and rescinds resolutions on services and security for Ukraine’s former Prime Ministers Viktor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Viktor Yushchenko, Yevhen Marchyuk, Pavlo Lazarenko, Valeriy Pustovoitenko, Vitaliy Masol and Anatoliy Kinakh.

The resolution of May 17, 2006, providing a life-long stipend as well as financial, medical, transportation and other services to former Rada Speaker Volodymyr Litvin, was also rescinded, and benefits were canceled for the former head of the National Bank Vladimir Stelmakh, former Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko and the former head of the Supreme Court Vasyl Malyarenko.

On August 4, Poroshenko also signed an executive order ending benefits for army and internal service generals, as well as councilors in justice that were dismissed upon completion of their service. They will no longer receive stipends and the transportation and medical services they were entitled to in their government positions, or free stays at health resorts.

On August 1, Poroshenko ended benefits for residents of elite neighborhoods in the suburbs of Kiev. About 40 million hryvnyas had been spent on them every year.

REFORMING GAS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

On September 8, the media reported that Poroshenko signed a law on reforming Ukraine”s gas transportation system (GTS). The law retains state ownership of the GTS and underground depots but allows specially created companies to run them.

FOREIGN POLICY

According to experts, no Ukrainian president has been in such close personal contact with world leaders as Poroshenko. According to his official website, from the moment of his inauguration to September 11, Poroshenko has spoken by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel 32 times; US Vice President Joe Biden 15 times; President Vladimir Putin 10 times; French President Francois Hollande 9 times; Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko 4 times; President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso 3 times; British Prime Minister David Cameron 2 times and US President Barack Obama 2 times.

On August 26, Poroshenko held talks with the presidents of the Customs Union countries – Vladimir Putin, Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) and Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus) – which were also attended by EU officials. Putin and Poroshenko held a bilateral meeting.

On August 30, Poroshenko traveled to Brussels where he met with Barroso, Merkel, Cameron, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Finnish Prime Minister Alex Stubb, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

On September 4, Poroshenko took part in the NATO summit in Wales and held meetings with five G7 leaders on the sidelines: Obama, Cameron, Merkel, Renzi and Hollande. He also had a separate conversation with President Obama.

 

Ukraine Passes Bill on Amnesty for East Ukraine Independence Supporters

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Oleh Tyahnibok is the leader of the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist political party Svodoba, currently one of the five major parties of the country. Three members of the party hold positions in Ukraine’s government.

Topic: Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

KIEV, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – The parliament of Ukraine passed Tuesday a bill to declare amnesty for eastern Ukraine independence supporters who committed administrative or criminal offenses in their regions starting from February 22.

The initiative was approved by 277 lawmakers with the required minimum of 226 votes. It will enter force once signed by the president and published by the official media.

The discussions were held in a closed regime. It is currently unknown whether the initial bill was amended during hearings.

The bill, submitted to the parliament by President Petro Poroshenko, envisages that militia members and their supporters “are freed from criminal responsibility on the condition they do not hold anyone hostage, laid down their weapons and explosives, does not occupy administrative or other buildings or block state structures and organizations.”

Those who agree to the terms, will be freed from criminal responsibility or fines.

However, the bill does not apply to people suspected of grave crimes and those whom the Kiev government accused of involvement in the MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine (the MH17 jet was downed by the Ukrainian army!)  or posed hindrances to the investigation.

Donbas Leaders Play Down Ukraine’s Bill on Special Status

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko

Topic: Situation in the South-East of Ukraine

Updated 14:58 p.m. Moscow time

DONETSK, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – Leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Tuesday played down the importance of the law granting the self-proclaimed territories a three-year period of special status within Ukraine with wider autonomy.

Poroshenko should sign it first, it should get published and come into force. Then we will translate it into Russian, study it and give our opinion,” DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko told RIA Novosti.

Zakharchenko’s first deputy Andrei Purgin added that the republic views the bill “only as a point of contact for future dialogue, not as a legislative act.”

“This is nonsense when the Rada of Ukraine passes bills not for Ukraine, but for Donbas. We have our own parliament for this purpose,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, approved a law submitted by President Petro Poroshenko to introduce self-administration in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The bill states that local elections are to take place in the regions on December 7 and also guarantees the right to use Russian or any other language in Ukraine.

The law is a part of a 12-point peace plan, signed by Kiev officials and representatives of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR) in southeastern Ukraine during the Trilateral Contact Group meeting in Minsk on September 5. The sides also agreed on a ceasefire that came into force the same day, but numerous reports said that both sides have fired weapons since then.

The status of Ukraine’s eastern regions remains a stumbling block to settlement of the country’s crisis. DPR and LPR leaders said they lay claim to the whole territory within the borders of the respective administrative entities in Ukraine. Kiev, however, said it was ready to grant special status only to areas currently controlled by independence supporters. The DPR and LPR also said they want full independence and will not agree to any status that sees them as part of Ukraine.