INTERNATIONAL – On February 12 in Minsk the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany declared a cease-fire. Two months and dozens (hundreds?) Of deaths later, it is clear that this truce is only partly respected. The fighting sparse, but always dies near the Russian border. If the birth of the Ukrainian conflict is to put on the account of a territorial and identity crisis, its extension in time is partly justified elsewhere: squalor in which gradually plunges the country Poroshenko due to the insecurity there. The challenge of the coming months will be to try to break this vicious circle, by revitalizing the economy.
Wednesday, April 8, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) required, as part of a statement that the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebel cease to intimidate its observers. Deployed in the heart of the theater of operations, the 400 OSCE officers to oversee the cease-fire. Ironically, they are themselves victims of a real harassment by belligerents. Tuesday, April 7, a rebel fighter has even “open fire on an OSCE patrol,” Ilkka Kanerva as President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the organization.
Far from being anecdotal, this event shows that part of forces has nothing to do with the cease-fire, and there would be even more hostile. A zeal shared by both sides, since the Ukrainian army can count on the active support of hundreds of volunteer fighters, joined the ranks of anti-separatist units around Donetsk. Units consisting of men who have never done much for their military service, or even held a gun before enlisting, and regarding any salary.
What can encourage as many young (and not so young) people, regardless of their camp, to risk their lives away from home pro bono or for a pittance ($ 150 or less for a Ukrainian military )? Of course there is the conviction to serve a just cause, belief shared by both sides, but that’s not all. If so many armed men remain mobilized in full cease-fire, it is also that this presence on the front, although it refers them peanuts, does not represent for them shortfall.
And for good reason: the sanctions against Russia have considerably impoverished the population, as for Ukraine, the economic situation is crepuscular. Peaking at 40% of GDP in 2014, the Ukrainian government debt is expected to reach 90% this year.GDP is falling (-6.8%), inflation peaked (24.9%). The currency is in constant devaluation, exports fell drastically, the state is on the verge of bankruptcy, and the projections are not encouraging. The worst case scenario reported a 12% decline of GDP in 2015, and an inflation rate flirting with 40%.
These macroeconomic data have tangible repercussions. According DerjComStat (Institute of State Statistics), the average wage, already low in 2014, fell by a further 22 euros from last year , reaching 138 euros. This even as current expenditure, especially for energy and food, are ever more important. In light of these figures, we understand that a number of fighters are reluctant to return home. To build what future? If money is the sinews of war, misery is often that of a vain perduration conflicts. War as a way to forget the poverty that we promised, the war because we have anyway nothing to lose, nothing better to do.
A Marshall Plan for Ukraine cut?
Ironically, if the bankruptcy of Ukraine partly explains the stagnation of the conflict, the stalemate is also the leading cause of bankruptcy in question. To break this vicious circle, a number of voices, inciting more investment in the country Poroshenko.Starting with that of Aivaras Abromavicius, Minister of Economy, who was trying there is little in Paris to reassure potential investors. With the help of the OECD, the Ukrainian government wants to create indeed an air call by putting in place more transparent procedures and yielding a number of non-strategic state enterprises.
The hopes of attracting foreign capital to focus specifically on the areas of new technologies and transport infrastructure, and already translated into concrete commitments. The American financier George Soros has said so ready to inject one billion dollar s (922 million euros) in agriculture and infrastructure projects, that is if the gesture is supported by the involvement of Western countries . He estimated 50 billion financing needs of Ukraine.
A large sum, yet still largely insufficient in the eyes of German Christian Democrat Karl-Georg Wellmann (CDU), which for its part considers that the country “needs a Marshall Plan (…) a few hundred billion euros “. Wellmann account on the Agency to modernize Ukraine (AMU), he co-founded along with the British Conservative MP Lord Risby of Havervill and the French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy, to orchestrate a constitutional restoration, financial and Legal country able to encourage foreign investment, which will not happen if rampant corruption is not fought. € 300 billion are expected , in a special fund investments.
Spearheading the project, the Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash account take on a strategic role in the adventure. Co-owner of RosUkrEnergo, Firtash is known to have managed masterfully supply Ukraine and Europe with gas, getting a cheap deal in 2006, before his efforts are unraveled and that the price of dual gas. But if Firtash is expected on this matter is that it has the advantage of being listened to by the Europeans and the Russians, and therefore seems able to reconcile the interests of both sides … for the benefit of the Ukraine. Concretely, it will encourage the participation of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or to Russian investors, up to 25% maximum.
For this is indeed what it is. If Russians and Europeans wish to strengthen their proximity to the country Poroshenko, forge close ties with him would be meaningful only if it is a strong economic partner, not if it consists of a field of ruins. For this, the parties to the conflict would be inspired to stop tearing Ukraine, to begin to try to recover.