RT: What do you think of this development? How acceptable is it for foreigners to work as national lawmakers?
Anna Van Densky: First of all it is not a completely new experience for Ukrainians because previously they had an American First lady. The wife of President [Viktor] Yushchenko was an American. So they knew how it feels. But if they look at the other countries of the post-soviet space they see that it happened in Georgia, they had a minister of foreign affairs who was a French citizen, they even had a President of Latvia who was a Canadian citizen, and today President [Toomas Hendrik] Ilves is an Estonian-American. It is not something completely new. But of course it is very sad news for regular Ukrainian citizens because it means that the government will pursue not only the interests of oligarchs but also of foreigners. It means it will be much more chaos than before.
RT: They've also said American and German citizens could be up for the jobs. Do you have any particular candidates in mind?
AVD: I read the headlines and they said that there will be certainly a Georgian who will be the prominent figure in the government. My guess that it is Mr. [Mikhail] Saakashvili but probably I’m wrong. I think that the idea to engage so many foreigners at such a crucial moment in the history of the country because President Poroshenko should engage with his own citizens. Now there is "anti-terroristic campaign” which is going on de-facto in spite of the Minsk agreement. That is the major failure he should resolve. And instead of resolving problems he has with his own citizens he starts to engage foreigners serving their interest. It is dramatic because that would create a systematic crisis leading to the next civil unrest or maybe a revolution again. The Maidan revolution was the second, next to the Orange revolution we’ve already faced. And also we’ve had anti-corruption slogans. But they never came true. I am afraid very much that now there are plenty of slogans but the reality is grim because oligarchs and multinationals are serving their own interests and the only loser is the regular Ukrainian citizen.
RT: The president has made it clear several times that Ukraine needs money. But it's got an IMF loan; they've been asking Washington and the EU for more. So where is the money all going, when they don't even have the cash to provide basics for their own soldiers?
AVD: Of course we all would love to know where this money goes. We suppose they go to some corrupted individuals. There is also a black market, for example in armaments and weaponry now. That is the biggest problem: who is stealing money and how to fix a problem when the political opponents are removed. What happens now: the political opponents, the people who didn’t accept the coup d’état, they didn’t accept President Poroshenko, let’s say self-ascendance, these people in Donbass region are excluded from the political process. It is a very difficult situation and I’m afraid that it will lead to further systemic crisis in Ukraine. There is no good to come for Ukrainian citizens because previously international institutions also were borrowing money. But it didn’t do any good because as we know the population of Ukraine is extremely poor and it is impoverished even more by the latest politics, I mean that anti-terroristic campaign of President Poroshenko.
Alexander Mercouris, International Affairs Editor for Russia Insider, agrees with Van Densky on the money issue and the controversy of the bill in Ukraine which will allow the appointment of foreigners to top government positions. "It’s a strange thing to do,” he said, adding that it is unlikely that Kiev has already got any particular candidates.
RT: The president has made it clear several times that Ukraine needs money. They've got an IMF loan; they've been asking Washington and the EU for more. So where is the money all going?
AM: The problem is they are not getting any money. The IMF loan which was talked about apparently there isn’t going to be any more money from the IMF until next year. It is becoming increasingly difficult to say where Ukraine is going to find the money to cover its bills. Some people are saying it needs about $20 billion over the next six months. That is a huge amount of money to just keep rolling on. At the moment it just isn’t seen to be coming from anywhere. The EU has said already it is not going to provide any more, Washington has not being forthcoming.
RT: Poroshenko's party has announced it’s contacted a large head-hunting company to look for the candidates. What do you think of that? How acceptable is it for foreigners to work as national lawmakers?
AM: I’m afraid it is going to reinforce the idea that, firstly, there are problems within Ukraine about setting up with government and finding competent people, and also that Ukraine is increasingly coming under control of outsiders from Europe and the United States.
RT: Do you think they’ve got particular people in mind here?
AM: I think it is unlikely that they have got a particular candidate because if they had we would have probably heard about that by now.
RT: Ukraine has never hid its aspirations to join NATO and the EU, hoping it's almost through the doors. But the German foreign minister has said it's not going to happen. Where will all these lead to?
AM: I think that Ukrainian authorities probably know that already but they are not communicating the fact to most Ukrainians. They are persisting with a policy that has never been a viable one. It has always been clear to people who have observed the situation closely that Ukraine is not going to join NATO and it is not going to join the EU anytime soon. And yet there is that constant pretense in Ukraine that it is. And we see a bill is now going through the parliament to change the constitution, to remove Ukraine’s non-alien status, so that they can one day join NATO. We see the Germans saying that isn’t going to happen. And it is not just the Germans, the French, the Italians have said it, lots of people have said it.