25 August 2019, Sunday, 15:42
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Oleh Bilokolos: Time For Us To Influence Processes

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Oleh Bilokolos: Time For Us To Influence Processes
OLEH BILOKOLOS
PHOTO: URINFORM

For 25 years, people are sick and tired of the same politicians.

Ukrainian diplomat, candidate for a member of the Verkhovna Rada, expert on foreign and security policy at the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation, ex-adviser to the Ukrainian Embassy in Canada and Kenya Oleh Bilokolos said this in an interview with the Charter97.org news website.

-You are a professional diplomat with a solid experience, a well-known expert of one of the most authoritative institutions in Ukraine. Why did you decide to run for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine?

- In Ukraine, the public’s demand for new people in politics is not just evident, but very evident.

Therefore, I felt: the time has come to more tangibly influence the processes that occur both within Ukraine and in the foreign arena.

I think this is the main motivator. Ukrainians are pretty tired of those people who have been spinning around our political orbit for 25 years. After several of my interviews and speeches in the press, my friends turned to me: “You are saying everything correctly - maybe it's time to give it a try?”.

- Why did you decide to join the Strength and Honor party of Ihor Smeshko and run under its lists ?

- First, this is a new political force: the people in it are new faces in Ukrainian politics. However, at the same time, they are professionals in certain fields - in business, in state structures - that is, they are not just yesterday's graduate students, but the people who have extensive professional experience.

The second - and no less important - reason: the personality of Ihor Smeshko himself. His personal qualities and worldview are very similar to mine. I am very impressed that he is a leader, but not a “chieftain”: Ihor Smeshko sharply rejects various “chieftain’s” tendencies, reckons with the opinion of the party members and acts as a wise leader, not a peremptory “boss” from whom everyone is waiting for decisions and answers . This is impressive.

- What, in your opinion, should the members of the new Rada change in Ukraine in the first place?

- I want to start with the fact that the parties that have their own ideology in the Ukrainian political field are going through very difficult times. Nevertheless, Strength and Honor immediately stated that it was going to the Verkhovna Rada as a party with an ideological platform and prioritizes the principle of modern conservatism.

This principle assumes the following: the state sets the rules - fairly tough ones - and monitors their implementation, but does not interfere with who will be the winner under these rules. This principle is important primarily for the economy: the Strength and Honor party focuses on economic competitiveness based on clear rules.

As for specific bills, on this issue, I think, we need to get together after the elections and determine what are the key priorities, he most important issues for Ukraine. Because today there is a whole range of internal issues that require urgent solutions, and external issues related to the Russian factor and aggression.

Therefore, here it is necessary to once again conduct a serious internal party discussion so that a consensus is reached on each of the points. Serious laws must be adopted by consensus - I see it this way.

- You have mentioned that Ukraine faces a number of important international issues. here is a question to you as a diplomat: what place in the policies of Ukraine should Belarus take? How the relations with the northern neighbor and the regime ruling there need to be built?

- Here it is necessary to carefully monitor the processes that are currently occurring in the relations between Belarus and the Russian Federation.

We know that on July 18 there will be a Forum of the Regions of Belarus and Russia, with the participation of Lukashenka and Putin. Ukraine needs to closely monitor what kind of discussion will take place there, and make decisions.

A separate issue is the abduction of citizen of Ukraine Pavlo Hryb in Belarus. Frankly, I was very unhappy with the initial reaction of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. In my opinion, in this case, the reaction should be much tougher: we are talking about protecting the interests of Ukrainian citizens, this principle should be a priority. And here it seemed that Ukraine initially tried to silence this question.

Such a “policy” has no right to exist at all. In the situation with Pavlo Hryb, one must frankly say that such actions in relation to a citizen of Ukraine are unacceptable.

Again, I am impressed by the position of Ihor Smeshko, who directly says: many of the troubles today are due to the fact that Ukraine initially did not openly call war a war.

You should speak openly about everything in foreign policy and call things by their proper names. If our policy is clear and predictable, then trust will emerge, and it will be easier for Ukraine both with allies and with opponents.

- Is the Lukashenka regime an ally or an opponent for Ukraine?

- Everything will become clear if the situation with Belarus is viewed as it really is: in the Russian context. We know that there is an agreement on a “union state”.

In this regard, I remember very well the words of the ambassador of Belarus to Ukraine, Valiantsin Vialichka, who was here for a very long time. At the departure stage, he was asked: “But how will Minsk act in case of possible complications between Belarus and Ukraine?” To which he clearly replied: “We will act in accordance with our international obligations.”

And what are these obligations? There are no secrets here: there is a military doctrine, there are many other bilateral documents between Belarus and the Russian Federation. What else does a sane person need to guess the further course of action and understand how we need to build our relationship with the Lukashenka regime.

- How do you assess the current stage of cooperation between the Lukashenka regime and the Kremlin - from the point of view of the Ukrainian security? Has the threat from the north increased for Ukraine, if only because the Russian Iskanders were brought to Minsk for the parade on July 3?

- On the other hand, the provisions of the “union state agreement” between Belarus and the Russian Federation are not a big secret. We are well aware of the Kremlin’s motivation and see that recently the “integration” processes have intensified. Apparently, Lukashenka was made an offer in the Kremlin, which he can no longer refuse. Russia will try to force it to fulfill all the points that are stipulated in the “union agreement”.

I think that the Kremlin can go even further, demanding the creation of common legislation in all areas and the unification of all software in state institutions. That is, it is about creating a de facto single state entity. At least for today, I see this attitude in the Kremlin.

As for the Russian weapons and military equipment on the territory of Belarus, they have always been and will always be there. I do not think that now the situation has changed radically. Experts who know the situation have always understood that Belarus, under Lukashenka, is a military ally of Russia and “will act clearly in accordance with its international obligations.”

- Our website has a rather large Ukrainian audience. What would you like to tell your voters?

- People from different parties participate in these elections with me, with whom I have no fundamental contradictions in our views: many of us want good and prosperity for our country.

I just want to draw the attention of voters to such a detail: when you look through the lists of various parties, remember that very soon these people will enter the parliament and begin to pass laws according to which you and Ukraine will live.

Therefore, just look at the professional level of the future MPs, so that people who are unable to competently evaluate any draft law or some idea will not get into Rada.

As for the fact that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians today want progress, prosperity, peace, security in Ukraine - I have no doubt about that.