Yesterday the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dismissed Arseniy Yatsenyuk from the position of Prime Minister and appointed the former Speaker Vlamydyr Groysman to the position. Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in the Russian State Duma, speaks about the expectations from Groysman’s activity and his influence on Kiev’s policy toward Russia.
“Groysman is a person close to Poroshenko. He was trying to stay restrained. Groysman has not been distinguished by making any very tough anti-Russian statements, at least no more than any other Ukrainian politician. Groysman is considered to be a technocrat. He should learn some lessons from the activities of Yatsenyuk. Today, ideology is not as important for Ukraine as a practical, sensible, sound economic policy. If he continues on this track, the results of his premiership may be more successful,” Pushkov said.
At the same time, Pushkov admits that he has no illusions about the political orientation of Groysman: “We know him for the long-discussed topic of the creation of an inter-parliamentary contact group within the framework of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The decision was made with the consent of Ukraine in July 2014 in Baku. And for two years, even though the Ukrainian side participated in the first inaugural meeting of this group, it was blocking the group’s work. It was Groysman who gave negative answers, and he repeatedly thwarted all activities that could lead to the creation of such an inter-parliamentary group of the OSCE PA. It started to cause quite a lot of irritation on the part of the PA’s leadership and several national delegations.”
Pushkov concludes that one shouldn’t expect any independent position from Groysman: “He will be a technical and pragmatic Premier, who will try not to act in the logic of Yatsenyuk, but find his own logic. However, it is too early to expect from this replacement any changes in Ukraine’s approach toward the Minsk agreements and the problems of Eastern Ukraine. Yatsenyuk created a negative background for implementation of the Minsk agreements. Perhaps Groysman will not do so. But this, nevertheless, is not the Prime Minister’s responsibility. The Prime Minister needs an effective government, it is necessary to put an end to controversies with demonstrative resignations of ministers, and instead find some sensible economic line.”
Answering the question of this will lead to the beginning of a recovery of trade and economic relations with Russia, Pushkov noted: “This is also too early to predict. Ukraine is still in a phase of acute confrontation with Russia, both psychologically and politically. Therefore, today Groysman will hardly go beyond this general political logic that prevails in Kiev. However, it was difficult to find a more anti-Russian character than Yatsenyuk. So I think the substitution will be either neutral from the point of view of relations between Kiev and Moscow or it will remove those annoying moments and the deliberate policy of breaking contacts, which used to be followed by Premier Yatsenyuk.”