Staunton, November 26 – Russia’s latest act of aggression in the Kerch Straits show two things, Timofey Milovanov says. On the one hand, Vladimir Putin has no plans to stop such actions as long as Ukraine exists. And on the other, Ukraine can’t count on genuine support from the West and the international community.
As a result, the deputy head of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine says, Kyiv must recognize that it “is not in a position to stop Russia. It doesn’t control the course of events. It is short-signed and focused on immediate tasks, and it has put off the carrying out of fundamental reforms” (nv.ua/opinion/kak-pobedit-rossiju-shest-shahov-2509519.html).
The only positive way forward, Milovanov continues, is to clearly recognize that “Russia’s goal is to subordinate the Ukrainian government to itself or to replace it by one Moscow controls. In a word, it would like to teach Ukraine a lesson: the country must surrender and uniting with the EU must be taken off the agenda.”
To effectively counter Moscow then, he says, “Ukraine must convince Russia that it has finally and irreversible ‘gone West.’” It “must demonstrate that there is no path backward, despite the intensified efforts of Russia” in that regard. And given this understanding, it must “create stimuli for Russia to end the conflict.”
The banker proposes “six steps for Ukraine thanks to which it will win a victory over the Russian Federation,” and he pointedly notes that “the majority of them are in no way connected with military action”:
· First, “the Ukrainian people must continue to insist on the transparency of the government. Secret agreements with Russia by Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and also within the Ukrainian government itself must be cancelled.”
· Second, attract into the government, including the military, “as many pro-Western specialists as possible,” people “who have lived or received their education abroad.” Such people are a precondition for breaking entirely from the Soviet and Russian pasts.
· Third, “weaken Russia’s business prospects by having Western companies sell off shares offering the slightest benefit to the Russian oligarchs” and “introduce a visa regime and strengthen border controls over trade with Russia.”
· Fourth, bring charges against Russia in international courts.
· Fifth, “arrest, charge or at least remove those who in government positions display criminal inactivity. The country is at war!”
· And sixth, “continue essential reforms,” including guaranteeing the right of property in Ukraine, focusing on the security of financial structures, reduce “ineffective government expenditures,” open the country to more direct foreign investment while closing off channels for money from Russia, protect the most socially defenseless, bring more foreigners into the judicial system, and privatization process, and change laws so that other countries can go after the corrupt.
“As in 2014,” Milovanov writes, “Ukrainians must unite and fight the aggressor without waiting for the reaction of the West or of their own government. Ukrainians must show the world that the Russian king is naked. One cannot fight with the enemy only half way. Either we struggle or we [will be compelled to] surrender.”