УКРАЇНСЬКІ ВИБОРИ ПРОДЕМОНСТРУЮТЬ, НАСКІЛЬКИ ЗРІЛЕ НАШЕ СУСПІЛЬСТВО
– Поговоримо про українські вибори. Центральна виборча комісія спростила порядок тимчасової зміни місця голосування виборця без зміни його виборчої адреси. За результатами дослідження Національної системи моніторингу “Ситуація з ВПО в Україні”, 31% вимушених переселенців не знають, що мають право брати участь у виборах, 60% – не розуміють, як цим правом скористатися. Ви не вважаєте, що люди, які схочуть маніпулювати результатами парламентських виборів на Сході, точно знають про ці нові рішення і їх використовуватимуть?
– Насамперед, я задоволений тим, що ваше агентство поширює результати цього дослідження. Національна система моніторингу – це спільна справа нашого міністерства, Міністерства соціальної політики і міжнародних партнерів, зокрема, Міжнародної організації з міграції. І за цими даними ми бачимо, що люди дійсно не знають, що можуть скористатися своїм виборчим правом. Це вимагає роз’яснювальної роботи. Адже в нас навіть деякі депутати в телеефірах розповідають, що внутрішньо переміщені особи не мають права голосувати, плутаючи загальнонаціональні вибори і місцеві.
Але знати, що ти своїм правом можеш скористатися, – це лише перша частина питання. А друга – його реалізація. І для переселенців вона була ускладнена бюрократичними перепонами, тому що від них вимагалися додаткові документи з місця проживання. Цей запобіжник з’явився після ситуації з відкріпними талонами для голосування, які у 2004 році використали, щоби спотворити результати президентських виборів. Тоді по всій країні їздили автобуси з людьми, яким заплатили за голосування за «правильного» кандидата.
Але з тих часів ситуація змінилася. Було створено реєстр виборців. І якщо раніше треба було пояснювати, чому ти голосуєш не за місцем реєстрації, і це було пов’язано з якимись виключними ситуаціями, то зараз у нас велике внутрішнє переселення, викликане зовнішньою агресією і збройним конфліктом. І ці півтора мільйона виборців не мають пояснювати, чому вони змінили виборчу адресу. Але це не дає можливості для маніпуляцій, адже в реєстрі ти є, приходиш із паспортом і голосуєш все одно особисто.
– Це стосується тих, хто справді переїхав. Але ж є й ті, хто зареєстрований як переселенець, а живе на окупованих територіях. Вони приїдуть – і проголосують за тих, за кого їм укажуть.
– Якщо їх збирають, привозять, інструктують, дають гроші за голосування – це кримінальний злочин, це треба розслідувати і притягати винних до відповідальності. І це не стосується тільки Донбасу чи Херсонщини. У нас далеко від окупованих територій деякі депутати гречку роздають, гроші. Мені здається, правоохоронних механізмів достатньо, щоб запобігти таким випадкам. Вибори – не тільки день голосування, це тривалий процес. Треба виявляти і блокувати схеми підкупу, притягати до відповідальності організаторів злочинних механізмів. Я вже чув заяви, що Нацгвардія захищатиме виборчий процес, поліція. Сподіваюся, і Служба безпеки заявить про свою готовність. Тому, думаю, ми можемо заблокувати будь-яку злочинну активність абсолютно нормально. Але позбавляти когось права голосу – це не вихід. Ми ж демократична країна.
Нас і так багато експертів, зокрема й міжнародних, критикують за те, що для отримання соціальних виплат ТПО необхідно мати довідку переселенця. Так склалося, тому що ми зараз маємо закони, які протирічать один одному. Вони приймалися у 2014-15 роках, коли ми ще не уявляли – скільки триватиме така ситуація в країні, вони не завжди між собою узгоджені, і з цим пов’язана інколи складність реалізації. Саме тому Центральна виборча комісія спростила цей механізм. Але це не означає, що вона дала індульгенцію на порушення виборчого законодавства.
А стосовно того, що хтось проголосує не так, як би вам чи мені хотілося… Кожен має право на власні переконання. Деякі досі вірять обіцянкам від політиків, які вже давно себе зарекомендували як люди, що взагалі не думають про Україну. Але у будь-якому суспільстві такі є. А в нас, я вважаю, значна більшість громадян однозначно зараз мають розуміння – хто намагається Україну дестабілізувати, а хто хоче її процвітання. У кожного кандидата на виборах своє пояснення, як вони хочуть цього процвітання досягти. Інколи ці пояснення фантастичні, інколи популістсько-брехливі, а інколи реальні. І мені здається, це відображення зрілості нашого суспільства.
Ольга Опанасенко, Київ
Фото Сергія Аніщенка, Укрінформ
On the eve of the investment forum “Tavrian Horizons”, which is held in Kyiv by the Kherson Oblast administration, Ukrinform correspondent spoke with the Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine Vadym Chernysh about the challenges facing the region. Our conversation is about the role of Kherson region in the future de-occupation of the Crimea, about people on both sides of contact line, as well as about elections, pseudo-elections and democracy.
KHERSON OBLAST HAS WAHT IT TAKES TO BE A HUB IN THE TRANSITION PERIOD
– At the presentation of the investment forum “Tavrian Horizons”, held in Ukrinform, you called Kherson region a future hub, through which, after return of Crimea to Ukraine, the now occupied territories will be revitalized. How exactly do you think it will look like?
– Crimea’s infrastructure has always been largely focused on Kherson region: supply of water, electricity, etc. Even after the Russian aggression, it did not change immediately. Therefore, after the de-occupation Kherson region will play an important role in the revival of the Crimean peninsula, which is currently neglected by the occupation authorities of the Russian Federation.
For example, now in northern Crimea, energy is barely sufficient to support existence, but not for development. At which time our country is cooperating with private investors who are building wind power farms in Kherson region. I hope that with time their power will be enough for the north of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to use when the peninsula returns.
The same is true for agriculture. Previously, Kherson region gave Crimea large volumes of produce. Now the Crimea is supplying agricultural products from Russia, quality of which is considerably inferior to the Ukrainian ones. Kherson produce is known for its quality all over the world. We use advanced technologies in agrarian sector, because agriculture is not limited to the growing as such. It is also seeds, livestock, high technology processing and contemporary business methods: from the agronomic component and to the logistic principles of work.
Investors come to Kherson oblast. That includes foreign ones. And it is not just words – contracts worth millions are signed, land plots are allocated, including not far from the administrative border with the temporarily occupied Crimea. Large investments come in energy-saving technologies of growing and harvesting, agrochemicals which protect and do not harm the harvest. Winemaking is actively developing – and this is a serious technological industry, it cannot develop in countries with low culture of agrarian production. All this combined means that Kherson region has specialists, growing and processing technologies and selling and promotion tactics that include foreign market.
The matter of transportation is also important. Kherson oblast should act as a transport hub. Let’s say a person from the temporarily occupied territory crosses the administrative boarder – and can reach any city of Ukraine. The same happens in the opposite direction. Road infrastructure should develop – there should not be a narrow path like before, but a highway.
Kherson oblast has large capacities to be a hub for various activities in the transition period.
– Electric power, agricultural products, transport – and what else?
– When we return control over Crimea, local businesses will require a lot of legal procedures. All companies will have to be re-registered in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. And this is not done quickly: look, Russia has been demanding for all the car number plates to be changed for several years, but still many people on the peninsula have the Ukrainian ones.
In Kherson region, all firms are registered in accordance with Ukrainian legislation, so after de-occupation it will be easier for them to begin their work in Crimea. Companies registered in Ukraine will not have problems with re-registration. This will be useful for the transition period. And later, one will be able to register on the spot. This does not mean that someone will be discriminated; there will just be this opportunity.
WE NEED TO GIVE CRIMEANS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FIND WORK IN UKRAINE
We have the law on free economic zone of Crimea. And I believe that such regime for people who want to do business with simplified mechanisms should be not in the occupied peninsula, but in Kherson region, due to its special situation. This will later allow business to easily return to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The social function of business in transition period is much more important than purely economic one. Socially oriented business must have privileges from the state to quickly return and provide Ukrainian citizens with everything they need. In addition, in my opinion, it is necessary to give Crimeans an opportunity to find work in Ukraine.
– Will the occupants allow that?
– Hundreds of people From Kalanchatsky raion went daily to work at “Crimean Titan”. And I believe that we must take care of people in the north of the peninsula, which the occupation authorities now left without work, and make sure they could go to work to the territory under control of the Ukrainian Government. First of all, of course, it is necessary to provide jobs for Kherson citizens, to show that the region is developing – in fact that is the reason why the investment forum is held. And if the jobs are created even with excess – I do not see a problem in that.
In Donbass, for example, there are people who cross the disengagement line every morning, work in the territories controlled by the Government of Ukraine, and in the evening they return to the occupied ones. And nobody puts obstacles in the way because there is no work there. It will be the same in Crimea, as long as occupying powers are there. There will not be enough work there, judging by the “pace” taken by the occupants. Apart from may be for military and security officials. The depletion of labour and natural resources by the owners of Russian enterprises operating there under cover of local “authorities”, neglect of the problems of local residents tell us that people sooner or later will have to migrate or at least look for jobs somewhere else. If people live a few kilometres away from the free territory and see that the occupying power does not provide work, there is no place to go – who will stop them?
IT IS NOT ONLY THE SECURITY SERVICE OF UKRAINE WHO MUST COUNTERACT THE PROVOCATIONS
– Indeed, the issue of return of the occupied territories concerns not only business and economic development, but also the human factor. Do not you think that there are still too many pro-Russian-mined people around the border with the occupied territories?
– We can debate on this one. Based on our joint research with international partners, I am referring to the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Index in Ukraine. We participated in the formation of the tasks and methods of this study, in the analysis of results, etc. 10000 people were interviewed throughout Ukraine. And if we look at the comparative analysis of the polls in 2016 and 2018, we will see in the southern and eastern regions a significant reduction in the group of “hostile minded” – to almost none. These “hostile” people are now categorized as “distant” and “tolerant”. Speaking about the South and East of Ukraine – the dynamics is striking.
But such a positive dynamics does not mean that we can quit dealing with this problem. Together with our partners from NATO, the National Institute for Strategic Studies, the non-governmental expert organization “The Centre for International Security” and MTOT, a “Safety Passport” has been drawn up for various regions, including Kherson, which highlights the issues of security, stability and different kinds of threats, including the hybrid ones, etc. Last year, all the authorities, including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, were invited to adjust their own plans and actions in order to respond to the challenges in Kherson region. So the myth that “the authorities do nothing” is just a myth.
The passport identifies a number of problems that sometimes begin to be deliberately thrown out of the occupied territories in order to create a conflict situation. We see it. Although society believes that resistance to such provocations is the job of SSU, it is, in fact, a task for all authorities. Because that is what hybridity is – most unfriendly or hostile activity is concentrated combined in non-military and military spheres. Threats in non-military spheres are no less serious for the existence of the region and the state as a whole. So, we monitor the situation, offer solutions, some of which – unfortunately for journalists – but, fortunately for us, we do not disclose, because we immediately experience the counter-measures on part of the Russian Federation.
We cooperate with local administration and contact communities when we see a series of conflict situations near the contact line.
As for military activities, you may want to inquire in the relevant structures, but we are also monitoring this and we can say that in the past two weeks a series of intensive military exercises have been conducted involving the Marines, border guards taking measures to defend the administrative boundary in case of provocations from the Russian Federation side.
All this should give investors the confidence that Kherson region is protected.
– Next week the work of educational centres “Crimea-Ukraine” and “Donbass-Ukraine” is over. How many entrants from the occupied territories used their services?
– We are not going to announce any numbers until the end of the campaign. Ministry of Education and Science requested it too. As soon as the final figures become known, we will organize a press conference with the Ministry of Education and will make this information public. I think the number of entrants who used the simplified system of admission to Ukrainian universities will be no less than last year.
But I can say that this year we have moved further – we took care not only about educational process, but also about the material provision of the admission. I myself, with the leadership of the regional state administration, visited “Crimea-Ukraine” educational centres in Kherson oblast. We checked if it was possible to get to the educational centres, and if the border guards worked fine. In addition, travel, accommodation – all this is not cheap. In Kherson region, at the expense of the reserves, which regional authorities had, they tried to reduce costs for people. The applicants at the time of submission of documents and entrance examinations were accommodated in dormitories free of charge.
INFORMATION ABOUT A NEW EMISSION IN ARMYANSK MIGHT HAVE BEEN DISPERSED BY THE ACCUPANTS
– What is now known about the ecological situation in Armyansk? We have the information that on September 13, local residents in social networks reported new emissions.
– According to the analyses at our disposal, there are no bursts indicating a new emission. We also monitor social networks, and on September 13, we did not observe such a surge of activity, like after the emissions of August 23-24 and September 8. On the contrary, information about emissions was widely dispersed by occupation “authorities”. That presents a strange situation: the first release – the occupation “authorities” are silent, people in social networks actively talk about it, second release – same thing, the third so-called release – the population is almost silent, and occupation “authorities” are beating the drum about it. Therefore, we assume that perhaps the local leadership needs a formal reason in order to obtain budget funding due to an emergency situation.
It is very strange though: just after the emission, they did not introduce an emergency situation, they liven up only 2-3 weeks later, when Ukraine spoke about it and basically forced them. So it seems to me that for them it’s just a chance to engage emergency mechanisms for an emergency they did not introduce, trying to conceal what happened. Although at that time they were doing some work there, they did not allow staff to work places. This is evident from the satellite photos: in July, when we were taking photographs as part of scheduled monitoring, on a work day, the car park of the plant was full of employees’ cars. But, look (the minister shows a photo that MTOT presented to journalists at a briefing on September 13 – author’s comment), shooting of September 9 – there are almost no cars in the parking lot and not near the acid storage – the parking lot near the administrative buildings of the enterprise is empty. We cannot be sure, of course, and this is only one of the versions.
– Was anything unusual recorded on the territory of the Kherson oblast those days?
– Nothing strange was recorded except for the usual pollution that has been there for several years. No deviations were found to indicate the release and excess of the maximum permissible concentrations of hazardous substances in the raions of Kherson oblast adjacent to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Taking into account the fact that mobile laboratory of the Donetsk regional administration worked there, there is now a laboratory from the Poltava oblast, from Kremenchuk. You see, other oblasts help, and the border guard service is equipped with gas analyzers, the Ministry of Health constantly sends out its groups, regularly sampling soil and water. Monitoring from the territory of Kherson oblast did not confirm the latest emission, which is claimed by the occupation “authorities”. But we are inspecting everything to prevent the insinuations of the occupants who want to cover their own blunders.
QUASI ELECTIONS IN ORDLO (Separate Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions) DO NOT AFFECT THE CONCEPT OF DEOCUPATION
– Earlier in a conversation with Ukrinform correspondent of you spoke about the civilian component of a peacekeeping mission in Donbass – the creation of interim administrations for the gradual restoration of Ukrainian state administration in these territories. After statements about the November elections in ORDLO – does the concept of returning the occupied territories change?
– It absolutely does not affect anything. Anyway, international mission with the mandate of the UN Security Council should enter this territory. First of all, from the disengagement line to the Ukrainian-Russian border the withdrawal of forces must be ensured as well as disarmament, the so-called demilitarization. But we not only are talking about the land, but also about the citizens who live within this territory. These pseudo-authorities they try to elect cannot work under such a mandate. In the transition period, international experts will be in charge, and the transfer of responsibility for the functioning of all sectors of economy in this territory to the Ukrainian authorities will gradually take place. Which means the concept does not change.
Moreover, during the four years of occupation and Russian influence on Ukraine in whole no positive experiences worldwide has appeared, except those already known to us. One of them is the Croatian experience of Eastern Slavonia, where peaceful reintegration took place by a such scenario. And the delegation of our ministry visited Slavonia several times to find out how it works in practice. We visited the smallest villages to see what kind of relations there are now between people, how the schools were rebuilt there, how the Croatian authorities gradually took over interim administration, how people were elected for this, how they moved in the territory where they were not initially perceived. Of course, there were attempts to destabilize the situation by means of allegedly indignant population. It was difficult, but Croatia has been through all this.
Regarding elections in ORDLO, I can say that it is quasi-elections, because we still know that the Russian Federation appoints people there. And by simulating such elections, they want to show that there seems to be a “legitimate power” with which we must communicate. So, the Russian Federation is trying to say “this is not us” while having one hundred percent influence on “occupation administrations”, and when they need to they give their puppets a necessary signal.
The second component is laying “mines of delayed action” in a peaceful settlement. Because a few days ago on one of the Russian resources (we will not advertise it) there was an article by one of the close persons of the Russian “ideologue” Surkov. And the author explains that the Minsk process regulates only so-called “municipal” or “local” elections, and those assigned in ORDLO in November – they are “quasi-state”, that is, the kind Minsk agreements do not regulate. So, they say: you fully implement Minsk agreements, elect local authorities – and what about the “state” what to do? They are chosen by people! This is an attempt to lead the situation to a dead end, to provoke Ukraine to abrupt reaction.
- So what is our reaction?
– We have already voiced it: nobody will recognize these elections – neither Ukraine nor the world. For world community and for the settlement models these pseudo-elections are of no importance. It’s just a Russian scenario, it’s obvious in all the aspects. Another example – the Russian side left the JCCC (Joint Centre on Control and Coordination of issues related to cease-fire and stabilization of the disengagement line – author’s comment) – and stated that representatives of these two quasi-formations should be there. But we say – no. Because we know who controls this process – the Kremlin.
UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS WILL SHOW HOW MATURE OUR SOCIETY IS
– Let’s talk about the Ukrainian elections. Central Election Commission has simplified the procedure for the temporary change of the voter’s place of vote without changing his election address. According to a survey of the National Monitoring System “Situation with IDPs in Ukraine”, 31% of internally displaced people do not know that they have the right to vote, 60% do not understand how to use this right. Do not you think that people who want to manipulate the results of the parliamentary elections in the East know everything about these new decisions and use them?
– First of all, I am happy that your agency spreads the results of this survey. The national monitoring system is a joint matter of our ministry, the Ministry of Social Policy and our international partners, in particular, the International Organization for Migration. And according to these data, we see that people really do not know that they can use their electoral right. This requires explanatory work. Indeed, even some deputies on TV say that internally displaced persons do not have the right to vote, confusing national elections and local ones.
But to know that you can use your right is just the first part of the question. Its implementation comes second. And for IDPs, it was complicated by bureaucratic obstacles, because additional documents from their place of residence were required. This appeared after a situation with absentee ballots that were used in 2004 to distort the results of the presidential election. Then there were buses all over the country with people who were paid for voting for the “right” candidate.
But since then, the situation has changed. Register of voters was created. And if you had to explain why you vote not at the place of registration, and this was due to some exceptional situations, now we have a great internal migration, caused by external aggression and armed conflict. And these 1.5 million voters do not have to explain why they changed the election address. But this does not allow for manipulation, because you are in the register, you come with a passport and vote in person.
– This applies to those who really moved. But there are those who are registered as IDPs, but live in the occupied territories. They will come – and they will vote for those they will be told.
– If they are gathered, brought, instructed, given money for voting – this is a criminal offense, which is necessary to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. And this does not apply only to Donbass or Kherson region. We have cases when deputies give away buckwheat and money far from the occupied territories. It seems to me that law enforcement mechanisms are enough to prevent such cases. Election is not only a voting day, it’s a long process. It is necessary to detect and block the schemes of bribery, to bring to justice the organizers of criminal mechanisms. I have already heard the statement that the National Guard will defend the electoral process, the police. I hope, and the Security Service will declare its readiness. Therefore, I think we can block any criminal activity. But depriving someone of the right to vote is not an option. We are a democratic country.
Many experts, including international ones, often criticized the fact that to receive social benefits IDPs must be have a relevant certificate. This is the case, because we now have laws that contradict each other. They were adopted in 2014-2015, when we did not realize how much this situation would last in the country, they are not always consistent with each other, and sometimes difficult to implement. That is why the Central Election Commission has simplified this mechanism. But this does not mean that it gave an indulgence for violating the electoral law.
And in relation to the fact that someone will vote not to your or mine liking … Everyone has the right to own beliefs. Some still believe in promises from politicians who have long proven themselves as people who do not think about Ukraine at all. But there are people like this in any society. As for us, I believe, a significant majority of citizens now have a clear understanding – who is trying to destabilize Ukraine, and who wants its prosperity. Every candidate in the election has an explanation of how they want this prosperity to be achieved. Sometimes these explanations are fantastic, sometimes populist and false, and sometimes real. And it seems to me, it is a reflection of the maturity of our society.
Olga Opanasenko, Kyiv
Photo by Sergey Anishchenko, Ukrinform