Donbass special status: If you do not vote, it will be hard for West to argue with Russia

Oksana Syroid, Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on voting for extending the law on the special status of the Donbass to 2018.

I was told that they urgently wanted to talk to me from Germany on behalf of Chancellor Merkel, I would bet about the subject of the forthcoming conversation. And I could not be mistaken - they asked to vote for the continuation of the Law on the special status for the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Other representatives of international partners also expressed interest in voting.
To the interlocutors’ credit, unlike in 2015, nobody demanded nothing, nobody threatened anyone, nobody blackmailed anyone and did not humiliate. No arguments like "you lose the war - do what Russia says", "if you do not vote, you will stay alone and have a hot summer", "you want us to take away all the money, then do not vote", were used.
But the remaining arguments are not convincing, to tell you the truth: "if you do not vote, it will be hard for us to argue with Russia that says Ukraine does not want the Minsk part of the political system to be fulfilled". I am sorry, but the law in question was adopted in September 2014, even "ahead” of Minsk 2. That did not influence Russia and its intentions to get away from Ukraine. And it will not influence. Because, as it is said in Ukraine, they do not have a flower to love. Or as US intelligence rephrase this: "Russia continues military and diplomatic pressure to force Ukraine to implement the Moscow version of the Minsk agreements, including changes to the Constitution, which will give Moscow tools to veto the strategic decisions of Kiev". And the Law on the Peculiarities of Local Self-Government in Some Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts is one of such instruments.
Moreover, the foolish proposals to outwit oversmart Putin are attempts to outwit the Ukrainian people. And not only from the Kremlin. The president of Ukraine, hiding behind "the position of international partners," each time, along with the Kremlin instruments, puts up his own to undermine Ukrainian national identity.
On September 16, 2014, in order to vote for the Law on the Special Status of the Occupied Donbass and the Amnesty for the Protestants, the President humiliated the parliament, forcing it to vote during a closed session, which is contrary to the very nature of the parliament work.
On July 15, 2015, the draft amendments to the Constitution, prepared by the Constitutional Commission, were forged in the morning. At the request of Russia, under the pressure of international partners, an article was published on the special status of the occupied Donbass. For this article, the President acquired his powers to dissolve local councils and disperse local leaders at their own discretion. The trade was mutually beneficial, so the threat to Ukraine from these provisions was noticed neither by the Venice Commission nor by international partners.
On July 16, 2015, changes to the Constitution were devoured and sent to the Constitutional Court. And the dependent-obedient Constitutional Court certainly did not find any threats to Ukraine in the document.
On August 31, 2015, an attempt to cram down parliamentary amendments to the Constitution ended tragically and took the lives of three law enforcement officers. This time, the President did not come to look at the shame he initiated and did not take responsibility for its consequences.
On January 28, 2016, the parliament, in order to prolong the life of anti-statist changes to the Constitution, made absurd and unconstitutional amendments to the Verkhovna Rada Regulations, defining that "next regular session of the Verkhovna Rada” is any session of the Verkhovna Rada. The Constitutional Court, by destroying the Constitution, which it should have been advocating, confirmed this absurdity.
And here we are on the verge of considering another instrument that threatens our national identity. A special status itself is the mean of legalization of the Russian occupation authorities in the east of Ukraine. But the extension of this status is hidden in the slums of the transitional provisions of the so-called "law on reintegration". And in the meanwhile, sheltering behind the expectations of international partners, the President crams a sweet-sounding draft law with norms that threatens human rights and freedoms as well as the constitutional system. I want to underline at least two aspects.
In accordance with the requirements of the Constitution, the President had to adopt a decree on the usage of armed forces in connection with Russian aggression and occupation. Only the decision of the supreme commander-in-chief of the military threat can protect the soldiers and officers from persecution, and the army from destruction. If there is no such decision, anyone who has defended and defend us from Russia can be condemned for peaceful use of weapons on peaceful population. And today there are much more of such sentences against our soldiers than the sentences against the so-called terrorists and separatists. Instead of fulfilling his duty of the supreme commander-in-chief, the president proposes to allow "the use of armed forces in peacetime". It is not hard to figure out what the consequences for the armed forces and the state will be.
Consequently, the President as supreme commander does not want to be responsible for the command of the armed forces, but he wants to command local self-government. The president failed to implement it through changes to the Constitution, so now he has decided to achieve an ambition through changes to the Legal Status of Martial Law, giving himself unconstitutional powers to stop the mandates of local councils and their heads. No matter, local self-government is a community right and cannot be limited or canceled under any circumstances. In the event of a martial law or a state of emergency, every city or village chairman has a definite procedure for interacting with state authorities. And mayors-separatists have to be dismissed on the basis of the criminal code, and not the law on the military state.
According to the presidential oprichniks, the bill has already been agreed with international partners. According to my information, some international partners are rather embarrassed by such unconstitutional slander of the President. But has this ever stopped someone?
Therefore, we should prepare for the next presidential assault on the Ukrainian Constitution and national identity.


Follow the link to read original version in Ukrainian.

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