Ilya Ponomarev: Putin is interested in leaving the Donbass

Former state Duma Deputy ILYA PONOMAREV, who left Russia because of his protest against the annexation of the Crimea, gave evidence in the case against fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych. In an interview with “Apostrophe” by Russian politician and businessman advised Ukraine to find an alternative to the Minsk agreements, outbid the leaders of the militants in the Donbas and quickly begin to build relationships with a new team of Donald trump, which, in his opinion, it is much better to Kyiv than was the administration of Barack Obama.

— Let’s start with your recent visit to the GPU. What is of interest right now? I understand that you negotiated there earlier in December. But publicly about your interrogation said just now.

— No, why, said in December, the 20-th Lutsenko said the first time. Now he once again spoke, because it gave the testimony of another colleague of mine.

All round this letters Yanukovych and his role in the process of annexation, right?
Well, it’s not the only topic of conversation was. Because the Military Prosecutor’s office is preparing materials in other areas, not only in the case of Yanukovych. But right now, the plot of which they will have to prove to this court, revolves around the letters.

– What do you think, what was the role of this letter?
— The role of letters was very important — the legitimation of the actions of the Federation Council for permit to send troops.

— According to the information that you have and your colleagues, which will bring this case, what are the prospects of this business?

— I believe that it is absolutely straight, clear, simple. Although I, of course, sometimes it is surprising how your courts, so do not undertake to predict.

– What do you mean?
Well, you have a national hobby, in my opinion, people to arrest, then let them go, to say black is white. In Russia, in principle, so, too, the courts are doing, but when it comes to national importance, they work hard for the team. And you have, in my opinion, the more important state task, the less predictability in the court’s decision.

Is to confuse to the end.
— Yes, so that the enemy did not guess what is in the national interest.

But overall, I understand that you positively assess the prospects of the case. There is a chance for the GPU to bring Yanukovych to justice?

— Yes, in my opinion, it’s crystal clear, the plot is obvious, the offense is obvious, all the evidence obtained. There was a moment when he developed the “cunning plan” how, in fact, to this famous letter. But it is received. Now everything is ready.

– Recently the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev began to speak, what sanctions are for a long time and have to learn to live with them. Why do you think has changed the rhetoric? Russians urged to accept the policy of sanctions?
— I think it’s such an understandable political ploy. Here, your President made every month to remind Ukrainians about the visa regime. He believes that it is right every month promise, despite the fact that next month it might never happen, but to support the people hope. From the PR point of view it is quite risky for the rating. In Russia, different style: let the people adjust to the sanctions and don’t expect favors, but when they withdraw, they will say: “We won” and it will be the unexpected joy of all, the subject of admiration for leadership. So we have 85% support Putin. He and his team deliberately keeping expectations low, the promises outweigh the officials of smaller rank, and then any, even small achievement looks a great victory and support the rating.

– Many say that money in reserve funds over Putin’s entourage responds to more aggressive sanctions policy. How do you assess now the impact of sanctions?
— There is a gradual expenditure of funds of the Reserve Fund, but there is still national welfare Fund, there are foreign exchange reserves, so in a stressful situation, the Russian economy can live long enough.

– What a tough Russian economy…
— Yes, Russia is sure to take down — it will just work in favor of the Kremlin, and not in favor of Ukraine. That your economy will die sooner. I think, unfortunately, this is rational.

– Ilya, on the eve of the intensified process in the case Ofitserov and Navalny Kirovles. Do you think what is the reason?
— I think they just want it to finish quickly, because Alexei, of course, replays in terms of information. It is clear that no presidential campaign, he won’t, but he tries to pretend that this court intended to eliminate it from the race, as if he’s already involved in it. Accordingly, the Kremlin decided to put an end to it, so as not to cut off the tail of the dog in pieces, and slash once and finish.

— And why again pulled out a dark box “Right sector”? Sledkov filed a case against five Russians accused of involvement in the “Right sector”(banned in Russia organization, approx. ed.).

Is the current story, there is nothing in this system not. It is a bureaucratic work of investigators who want PIP. Successfully to investigate the activities of a non-existent organization and “stop” it is the most convenient way to do that.

In the last week in the Ukrainian information space is very actively raised the topic of emigration. Some believe that it is time to leave because there’s no future here. Others that need to stay. What is the reaction in Russia? Same as in Ukraine?
— Migration flow is comparable, its dynamics are similar and in Russia and in Ukraine, unfortunately. Although the causes and structure of emigration are totally different. Leave Russia just before the most active part of society — entrepreneurs, because Russia has gone of the ability to conduct business medium and small size, there is a further nationalization of the economy, monopolization. You have more leaves for work of ordinary people. From Russia are not moving at all, and you have a main segment in the stream. The political factor in Ukraine there is the opposite: we have people leave because everything is under the asphalt is rolled and you cause chaos.

In this regard, there are different prospects for the return of emigrants. In Ukraine, going away for a while — to sit out “stupid power”. They have no conflict with the country they want to come back, send money back Home. In Russia leaving, interrupting communication and bringing out the business. I have many friends who go quite, gone out of business and back to Russia even enter do not want. They are afraid that business will come to take away, afraid of accusations of lack of patriotism, fear of new laws on disclosure of other nationalities and incomes.

— As you look at the situation in the US? As you see, after the inauguration of the trump appeared split in society?

— I would say that the split in American society is growing throughout the Obama presidency and even earlier — during the Bush years.

But somehow a lot of sentimentality about the departure of Obama.

— I remember very well when I was at the Obama inauguration, as a huge crowd of people — three million people, probably — sang after departing Bush. There was just jubilation. When the Americans said goodbye to Obama, this was not. Although those who came to Washington not love Obama, of course. But then it was just crazy, and the split was already visible to the naked eye. It was not long before trump. Another thing is that he was not so acute, because the situation on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, where are the mainstream media, and where the lives of the elite, was much smoother, and the power opponents were people more calm and intelligent. And the more radical supporters of Bush, conservatives and the traditionalists were in the center of the country, and as if were not on the radar. Just now it so happened that the Midwest won. And won complete his rejection from the coasts. Due to what happened the victory of Hillary in the popular vote (the total number of votes), but lose in the electoral college (electoral votes). And Trump, of course, it will be hard, because now against him almost all the elite, both Republican and democratic. Just imagine: in the capital, he received 4% of votes! That is literally no one (!) people working in government, did not vote for him.

– The US withdrawal from the TRANS-Pacific partnership is a demonstration of the fact that trump is fulfilling his campaign promises or is it a sign of the shift of US trade policy?
— Of course, this is a clear fulfillment of his promises. He talked about this on the campaign trail. This is just the thing to carry easily, and it follows the path of least resistance, doing the real promises. Another thing is that this action causes me some confusion. From an economic point of view, the existence of the agreement was much more favorably by the United States. And now, when trump comes out of it, in my opinion, wins and wins from this China. China is the beneficiary. There are even some conspiracy thoughts because trump a lot of investment in China, it is actually economic interest in China.

— The question of relations China — United States why trump chose such an “enemy”?

— The confrontation between China and the United States, of course. China is a growing global leader in power who leads an active confrontation, it is objectively competitor States. And the Republican elite that understands and is interested in containing China. But again, I’m not sure that trump, because of their economic interests will go to some kind of direct confrontation with China. I think it will be a combination of carrot and stick. He took in the administration of some of the people who tuned sharply antiquities, but he is much more relaxed position.

— How do you assess the team trump?

— I appreciate it now from the point of view first of all of Ukraine and Ukrainian-Russian relations. And in that sense, I evaluate it very positively. As I said originally, it will be much better than the Obama administration. I associate with this administration a lot of hope. Of course, if Ukraine is to play it right, which I’m not very sure yet.

— And that means “play properly”?

— Then you need to take the initiative. This administration doesn’t know what to do with Ukraine.

– You need to initiate a meeting Poroshenko with trump, or how it should happen?
— Well you know that at the meeting leaders discussed things prepared in advance. The meeting should be the completion of a certain process, passing through the diplomatic agencies and administrations. When everything is prepared, the leaders sat down and shook hands, secured some of prepared arrangements. So I currently don’t see any agreements that Ukraine was proposed. In my opinion, you need to submit a package of proposals, which would have replaced the Minsk agreement, which obviously no longer work. Now the moment when such a package would be through, it could form the basis of the actions of the United States, including against Moscow, of course, if it is intelligently written. But so far I haven’t seen it.

And now Russia has shown initiative in building relationships with a new team trump?
— Yes, Russia is very active, but, of course, any significant contacts during the election campaign was not, it’s all lies and rumors. But now these contacts do line up. The Kremlin does not lose time, doing everything right. And Ukraine is asleep.

– What is the role of Russia in resolving the Syrian conflict? We see that the event was moved to Astana. What played a role?
— It’s just gestures to specific people, in this case Nazarbayev, nothing more. Russia has no long term interests in Syria, Russia is waiting for the Americans will agree with her that we need to do to ensure that Putin has ceased to bother to fight with ISIS. This is purely a bargaining chip.

– The Deputy Minister of defence of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov announced record figures for the construction of military facilities, most of which is concentrated at the Western borders of the Russian Federation. Why Russia started the construction on the border with Ukraine?
— On the one hand, this is a positive fact, because the construction of any kind, military fortifications on the border implies that is not expected of aggression, of invasion. If you’re going to seize the territory, what’s the point on its territory to establish military installations of a defensive character? They need to create on the territory which has been seized. Before the great Patriotic war, the Soviet Union dismantled the fortifications on the Western borders that ended in disaster. So, on the one hand, this statement is the element of psychological pressure, sabre-rattling, the way to show that we can. But on the other hand, is a comforting sign.

— Now Ukraine is actively discussing the so-called plan Pinchuk, who offered to return the Donbass to make a number of concessions — NATO, the Crimean issue. How do you feel about this option to resolve the situation? Does it make sense?

— I think the plan Pinchuk — if not treacherous, it is extremely unreasonable, defeatist, offering a completely redundant, in my opinion, concessions. I believe that Ukraine needs to propose a plan of peaceful settlement from the standpoint of a great and confident country. I believe that Russia would like to withdraw from these territories. This financial burden is the military burden. But the Kremlin it is necessary to strike a bargain on sanctions. Therefore, the position of Pinchuk — it is a position, unfortunately, typical of most of the Ukrainian elite, which has not even the beginnings of a minimal state thinking, which is ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of their own pockets for their own business.

– And your option is what?
— It is necessary to do something to replace the Minsk agreement. I would place Ukraine would offer the design, the opposite of what is written in the Minsk agreement: it is not a special Autonomous status of the territories and direct management from Kiev, not early elections — and a long moratorium on elections of all levels. The only thing I think they have to do something that now makes you in the company of strong resistance — we must rebel leaders outbid on his side. They should be given a way out of this situation, not to drive them into a corner, otherwise the blood will flow for a long time. They should be beneficial to the Russian side in Ukrainian.

— And if Russia, too, will begin to outbid them, this process will not be eternal?

— Russia is unprofitable to outbid them, she wants to abandon those territories, Russia does not need them. She wants these areas offering opportunities to build on sanctions. For Russia a strategic interest in the Crimea. And that’s another story, I would have him at the moment brought out of the brackets, ensuring that the problem is not merged Europeans and Americans. While I was engaged in the settlement of the war in the Donbas and the economic recovery, and then returned to the Crimea with a strong position. But to resolve the war in the Donbass, you need not to give up and to win.