In the administrative buildings of Kiev there is no toilet paper. Advance keep this in mind, suggest the locals, if you are going to the tax office, administration or any other government entity. This state of Affairs is just one sign prevailing in the Ukraine of corruption. Even small amounts allocated for the rolls of toilet paper, go into the pockets of dishonest officials. Additionally, patients pay the doctors for services rendered; students bribe professors to pass exams; ordinary citizens pay bribes to tax inspectors… in fact many do not care about the taxes, instead working in the broad area of the shadow economy.
Telling me this, two Ukrainian journalists, while we SIP drinks at surprisingly expensive Kiev café. (Local prices is a sign that most of the shadow economy, where real incomes greatly exceed the meager salaries that are specified in official documents.) One of the journalists — let’s call him Michael — my guide. He taught English, listening to the Reith lectures on Radio 4, and says a terse tone speakers Pathé. Mikhailo tells the scandalous story of petty officials, which is in the basement of the house I found a veritable treasure trove of works of art, Antiques, jewelry and suitcases jam-Packed with money. Officials have not planted. “Unfortunately, 80 percent of our judges are corrupt”.
Another journalist — let it be Svetlana works in an information Agency, which covers mainly the events related to corruption among officials, as well as her cousin — organized crime: the work, which, as the sure friends of Svetlana, she is in trouble. With a smile she tells me about a report they did about their own office building — was so corrupt they control the state enterprise. Both journalists say that Ukrainian mafia is connected with the Russian mafia and used by the Kremlin to exert its influence here. They are convinced that war with Russian-backed separatists in the East of the country continues due to the fact that is beneficial to both mafias.
It is this grim picture was expecting a new special envoy of the US State Department on Ukraine. The Obama administration this special envoy was meanwhile appointed to the post man, Kurt Volker (Kurt Volker), known as the foe of Moscow. This fact in itself can be considered unexpected, given the rhetoric that dominates today against trump and the Kremlin. We will meet at the residence of the American Ambassador, the elegant mansion of the 19th century in the old part of Kiev — and Volker immediately refutes Russian assurances that in the Ukrainian conflict they are only outside observers.
“Even Russian officials are unable to contain a smile when talking about it, he said. — Russia’s military presence in Eastern Ukraine is a fact, what is there to discuss? This conflict, in which Russia is involved in a very direct way”. And he continues: “Russia admits miscalculation. The campaign to capture this area really is not very smooth. It is more and more turning Ukraine closer to the West — and this is contrary to what Russia wants”. Volker just got back from the Ukrainian front line. “This is not a frozen conflict,” he says. The ceasefire regime is violated 1000-1500 times per day, and the number of victims last year increased by 65 percent. “The human losses are huge. This year, it killed more people than in the previous two years. It is a real war”.
Obama struggled to put this war to an end, and failed. The Russian annexation of Crimea continues, and thus continues the violation of the Treaty and international law. What could be done differently trump? Volker speaks of “greater persistence” in solving the conflict and attempts to “establish the right strategic dialogue” with Moscow. What is more important, USA when trump considered a move that Obama has ever made: to give the Ukrainians weapons. According to Volker, this “active consideration”.
One representative of the Kremlin, in response, said that American weapons will increase the tension on the front lines and delay the decision of what he called “an internal matter of Ukraine”. Decipher: in the case of escalation from your side and wait for her either. Moscow believes that defending Ukraine’s vital interests, saying that in her hands the fate of millions of ethnic Russians and the security of the homeland. In any oppositions ambitions of the US and Russia regarding Ukraine, of course, wins Russia, I say Volker. According to rumors, brought Moscow to the Ukrainian border the largest tank forces in Europe. Sending weapons to Kiev may be the beginning of what Moscow will end.
“I would say that most likely the opposite will happen,’ he says. — If Ukraine is in a strategically weak position, and Russia is in a strategically strong, it gives Russia the opportunity to conduct along the line of conflict, any kind of military maneuvers. This keeps Ukraine in fear. [American] weapons, which will allow Ukraine to protect themselves, for example, to repel the advance of the tanks, in fact, would help to break this tactic. To say that it will be a provocation to Russia, or embolden Ukraine means to understand the opposite.”
If the United States really will give Ukraine a weapon, does that mean trump has lost control over Russian policy, the so-called “adult”? We are talking about a separate group within the administration, which they say includes the Secretary of state’s Rex Tillerson, Minister of defense James Mattis and foreign policy establishment and considers that Russia is conducting “active measures” on various fronts: from the Ukraine and ending with the presidential elections in the USA. As recently announced by the US commander in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti: “Russia sought to undermine the international system and to discredit those who made it in the West.”
If you believe Trump, this does not correspond to his own beliefs. However, U.S. diplomats understand that, when the President personally met with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit, he insisted on the need to restore the Ukrainian territory. The issue of Ukraine is an obstacle to relations of the United States and Russia, allegedly said trump. Comes to mind a conspiracy theory, according to which America has committed air strikes against the Syrian government. This largely symbolic act was followed by the curtailment of military support that the United States has provided rebels fighting against Moscow’s ally, President Assad. What if now trump makes hard statements, then to make concessions?
Bohdan Yaremenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat ties, said that the Kremlin, perhaps these concessions and is seeking. According to him, the sanctions have not really caused the Russian special harm and conflict with the West only strengthened support in the country: “the Russian conflict in Ukraine as a negotiating tool with the Americans and the rest of the world.”
So what are going to do a trump? There is always the suspicion that he simply invents everything: from one tweet to another. However, its policy with respect to Ukraine may indicate that he is a victim of a false conspiracy about his links with Russia. Taken literally, this policy, of course, does not correspond to the allegations that trump is a puppet in the hands of Moscow. In this case, the peace in Ukraine may depend on a mysterious trump relationship with Vladimir Putin.