In his interview with Hromadske Radio, Professor of Political Science at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Research Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, one of the top political analysts in the country and a frequent commentator for the local media, Oleksiy Haran, shed some light on the controversial bill on Donbas re-integration passed by the Ukrainian Parliament in October 2017.

The law on Creating Necessary Conditions for Peaceful Resolution provisions some compromise concessions in the form of the so-called modus vivendi of self-government in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, specifically in the areas occupied by Russia and pro-Russian proxies. While it has been a complicated and controversial issue in Ukrainian politics since the first Minsk Agreement, it basically sends the signal to Ukraine’s international partners and mediators that Ukraine is ready to negotiate for peace, if Russian troops withdraw from Ukrainian territory.

Initially adopted in the fall of 2014 to last for three years, the law never came into force, because the Russian troops never withdrew from the occupied territories. In 2017, it remained a question of a complicated diplomatic game, as it became increasingly evident to Ukrainian government as well as to its Western partners that Russia had no and continues to have no intentions of keeping its side of the Minsk Agreement. Today, the law is one of the tools the Ukrainian government uses to demonstrate that Ukraine is ready to implement the agreements, and that Russia is the party that undermines them. And for Western leaders this adds additional arguments to persuade their own parliaments, and own public opinion, that the sanctions against Russia should continue.

Another law on Re-integration of Donbas is currently in the second reading at the Parliament, and has been demanded by the Ukrainian society, experts, and by the political opposition since the Russian troops appeared on Ukrainian territories in August 2014. And that demand is to designate Russia both officially and legally as the “aggressor”.

This law creates the necessary legal framework for Ukraine to sue Russia in international organizations and international courts, for Ukrainian army to conduct military operations, and finally it helps to cement sanctions against Russia.

Although these laws in and of themselves will not resolve the conflict, they are an important component of the diplomatic offensive against Russian aggression. “There are different fronts in this war. There is a real front in Eastern Ukraine. There is informational front against Russian propaganda. There is international front with sanctions, with discussion about peacekeepers, which could be sent to the area” – Mr. Haran summarized in his interview.

The Department of Political Science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy is one of the most progressive in the country and consist of Bachelor and Master Programs. The Department partners with its counterparts in Stanford University, University of Minnesota, Northern Illinois University, Edinburg University, Central European University, among others. Its graduates work in government positions, political journalism, political research institutions and civil organizations throughout Ukraine.

Photo: Oleksiy Haran, professor of Political Science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, frequent expert guest on politics for Ukrainian media
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