On the internal and external situation of Ukraine
The Great People of Ukraine!
Distinguished and venerable newly elected people's deputies of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine!
Esteemed foreign guests!
Challenges and threats Ukraine has never faced since the World War II and the post-war massacre of the Ukrainian national movement… At the same time, a unique chance given by the responsible Ukrainian people to our state after electing the pro-European constitutional majority to the Ukrainian Parliament for the first time - these colossal opportunities have never been available for us before. This is a complete characteristic of the internal and external situation. Our task can be explained with a simple formula: to avert the threat and use the chance.
These days, Ukrainians celebrate the anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, heroic insurrection against tyranny. Only 365 days have passed and the Earth has only once rotated around the Sun. But it seems that the entire epoch has passed – that's how significantly the country has changed and how different the world has become.
Tomorrow will be the year since Vilnius. On November 28-29, 2013, Ukraine was to sign the historical Association Agreement. But the former pro-Russian regime blatantly tried to bury the European perspective of the great European nation. In fact, the discussion about the choice between the European Union and the Customs Union has been nothing but trickery. I am confident of that. At that moment, our neighbors together with the fifth column inside Ukraine have been dismantling the Ukrainian statehood at a quickened pace.
Ukraine has been enmeshed with unbearable debts. They have been deliberately ruining the army. Those who are sitting today in this hall can confirm that. Special forces have been destroyed under the guidance of the Russian citizens. If the regime ruled for another year or two, there would be nothing left from Ukraine. Our historical end has been programmed. But the Revolution of Dignity has destroyed that hellish computer together with its diabolic program!
We as people have disrupted the plan of silent liquidation of Ukraine a year ago and the enemy has unleashed a war against us. Military threat; attempt on our territorial integrity; disregard of the international law by one of the largest countries in the world. Crisis of global and European security system and attempts to again resort to historically bankrupt policy of appeasement. The lack of reliable external security guarantees that does not allow us to fully rely on the existing international legal instruments to protect national interests. These are the main external challenges of Ukraine.
One shouldn't frighten us with the World War III! In fact, nobody is going to begin it. It should also be taken into account in the analysis.
So, we are living in war conditions. It certainly impedes our plans. For example, how can we convince investors to invest money in the country, which is in a state of war? How can we ensure sustainability if part of the economy has been physically destroyed? We must find the answers to these questions together.
However, I am sure that my Peace plan as well as the Minsk protocol and the Minsk memorandum based on it will bring peace to the Donbas in the end. As the uncontested base for the political settlement, this document has been recognized by the entire world – including the Russian Federation, which has signed the Minsk memorandum by the way.
However, looking to the future, we clearly see that peace in the Donbas doesn't mean getting rid of the military threat from the East. Unfortunately, this threat is viewed in a long-term historical perspective and will continuously require great efforts and huge resources. It is a reality Ukraine has realized too late; we can hardly change it, but we must learn to counter it… We should even sleep with a gun under the pillow, for the so-called brother is at the gate!
By the way, the enemy fears our success in reforms even more than our victories at the front. That's why they are shooting not only with "Grad" artillery. Another powerful weapon is economic aggression aimed at weakening Ukraine until complete exhaustion. And wreaking mistrust, depression, discord and chaos in minds is a task of modern disciples of Goebbels mobilized for the information war against Ukraine.
Speaking of the key internal challenge, to my mind, it is corruption. I would like to mention poverty in this context as well, but it is clear that the root cause of the extremely low level of life of the majority of Ukrainians is total corruptness of the state apparatus. Incompetence and inefficiency of public administration. Mercantile, so to say, unprincipled corruption is much stronger ally of our external enemy than his ideologically motivated fifth column.
Unemployment, poverty and social injustice are now threatening not just with the growth of protest mood in society. They can and will be used by the enemy to destabilize the situation in the country.
Here I would like to put aside the black paint and describe the unique opportunities the Revolution of Dignity has opened to the whole country. To those who took part in it and to those who looked at our revolution out of the corners of their eyes, sometimes even with hatred. To the part of the room, which merged into a new coalition, I welcome and thank you very much for this, and even to those who remain in the opposition.
"Blessing in disguise," the Ukrainian proverb says. "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," the third Newton's law teaches. Thus, the aggression against Ukraine from the East has mobilized the world to support Ukraine.
Yes, they didn't enter the war for us. Nobody should protect us, except ourselves. Especially when in the middle of the 90th our state and then-authorities haven't joined NATO, the most reliable collective security system. Later, some people had fun inflating balloons in this hall… We all remember that. But our western neighbors from the post-soviet group have used this opportunity in the 90th.
But despite that, we have received colossal support and trust of the whole world. The Revolution of Dignity, heroic resistance of Ukrainians against aggression, the return to the path of democracy, the holding of democratic and free presidential and parliamentary elections – all this has raised the international authority of Ukraine, the level of our partnership relations with the G7 countries, the member-states of the EU, more than a hundred of states who strongly support Ukraine, inter alia in the international organizations and the UN General Assembly sessions, to the incredible height.
This authority, the faith of the world in the potential success of the Ukrainian project, the readiness to assist in its implementation must be converted by us in a broad inflow of foreign investments in the Ukrainian economy, which together with the hard daily work will begin raising the social standards of Ukrainians to the level of the European standards
Dmytro Dontsov wrote: "It is a historical fact that not a single nation has been liberated solely with its own forces. It managed to fulfill its political goals only after bringing them to the broader circle ideas related to the interests of other states". That's what we will do now.
Speaking of our internal possibilities, one of the main factors of sustainability has been formed within a year – stable democratic Ukrainian political community. This is what our neighbors – Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic states, have already had at the beginning of the 90th. This is what we've been missing to successfully begin the reforms. Now, we've finally formed the nationwide consensus on our goals. We are only discussing the better details.
Shaky ideological balance, in which Ukraine has been balancing between East and West for 23 years, has been replaced with a full clarity. Almost 100% of people stand for the united country. Constitutional majority of Ukrainians wants the country to be unitary, not federative! It is a message to those people from West and East who advised us to "federalize". You can advise, but Ukrainians are against that! We are the government that can hear and make the dreams of the Ukrainians come true. I sincerely hope for that!
The majority of Ukrainians finally supports the Association Agreement with the EU and the idea of joining the European Union. Dear colleagues, we must use this chance. The number of those who stand for the Ukrainian language to be a single state language has reached the record level. In the course of the last year, due to the actions of Russia, the number of those who support the idea of joining NATO has also been increased by 3-4 times. Still, this issue remains the last one among the so-called complicated topics on which in several regions the rate of polar opinions stays equal.
But in general, mainly artificial division of Ukraine on geographic, ethnic, linguistic and religious grounds have finally been overcome and this division will stay in the past. Ukraine has never been as united as it is now!
The enemy is willing not only to revise the border. The goal is different. Nobody wants Donetsk, Luhansk or the Donbas. We clearly know that the purpose was to split the country or completely wipe it off the map. To destroy us as the European people. But the enemy has grossly miscalculated. Ukrainian political nation has been finally formed in all corners of Ukraine. It has united representatives of various ethnic and linguistic groups. With their participation in the Patriotic War 2014 for the independence of Ukraine, our Russian-speaking compatriots have demonstrated that they love Ukraine just like the Ukrainian-speaking citizens. I am proud of courage and responsibility of our fellow Ukrainians!
We have together become a single organism that can withstand all internal and external political manipulations and pressure. It is another precondition of successful reforms.
The creation of political preconditions for changes has been finished with the early elections. I am absolutely confident that I've made the right decision to dissolve the previous parliament, notwithstanding the fact that the given decision has been severely criticized. Fair, transparent, democratic elections have renewed the Parliament by more than a half for the first time in our history. It is a pleasure for me to see among you those who have a great political and reformatory experience, who have overcome hard challenges. But I am especially pleased to see such a big number of new young faces, for you are the fresh blood the Ukrainian policy required! Welcome to Verkhovna Rada!
I sincerely congratulate you on being elected the people's deputies and taking the oath. I call for our joint work for the benefit of Ukraine! As President, I am convinced: we will succeed.
You've elected the Chairman of Verkhovna Rada with a record speed, especially in comparison to 1998. Some of you remember how long it took then. I am confident: we will choose the Prime Minister promptly as well. We cannot waste time. I congratulate you, dear Volodymyr Borysovych, on being elected Chairman. We have promptly formed the coalition and I think we will promptly and responsibly form the Government. It seems to me that we are gathering the speed necessary for taking off right from the start. I urge everyone not to slow down.
It is important that politicians haven't been sharing the posts when forming the coalition. They have been elaborating a detailed plan of fundamental changes in the country. I was pleased to watch that. These large-scale transformations must become the next phase of our Revolution. They must gradually result in the efficient reformation. As initiator of this approach to the coalition agreement, I would like to express gratitude to you for such a responsible and profound elaboration. I hope that this hall will be working over its implementation as enthusiastically as over its elaboration. I think that the practice was impressing.
I have read this agreement attentively. There are things that I would probably have written differently. For example, in the procedural part. Doesn't the principle of consensus decision-making by the council of the coalition "only unanimously" remind us of liberum veto in the medieval Rzeczpospolita? When one could block any decision with an expression "do not allow!". I think, Polish historians could tell us a lot of interesting things about this experience.
But it doesn't change the essence. I am a reliable ally of the Parliament in the implementation of reformatory, pro-European coalition agreement. I will be guided with the Constitution of Ukraine, which clearly, or relatively clearly, distributes powers and responsibilities. I am convinced that it is only with efficient cooperation that we will manage to achieve the results desired by the people of Ukraine and I will do everything possible for the coordinated work of Verkhovna Rada, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. The surname of the new Prime Minister could be heard in the hall today. I have suggested it the day after the elections. I thank the faction for supporting this proposal. In a few minutes I will make a respective submission to Verkhovna Rada.
I and Arseniy Petrovych have learned the lessons of the recent history. We've been working since June in a way that the country has noticed that we are running in the elections in different columns only a few days before the elections. But the parliamentary coalition team must be single and united. I am confident of that.
I remember the words of one of the founders of our independent Ukraine who has also been sitting in this hall – Vyacheslav Chornovol: "Parliaments, Prime Ministers and Presidents come and go. Only the sacred issue of our historical revival, the issue of democracy and state independence remains. May God allow us to love Ukraine more than anything today, when we have it, for us not to love it bitterly after having lost it".
He also said: "We need reforms, not revolutions; the power of law, not the law of power; the welfare of people, not the nationwide poverty; public harmony, not rampant discord; democracy, not dictatorship".
I think today it is time to make the words of Chornovol come true.
The National Institute for Strategic Studies involving the NSDC has prepared a draft analytical report "On the internal and external situation of Ukraine's national security." This is not the ultimate truth but a thorough basis for broad discussion and your participation in the relevant committees. This material will be useful to us when making strategic decisions and drafting laws.
Now I will only briefly outline some crucial issues of our common strategy that concern the national security in its broader sense.
The worst situation is in our judicial system. The representatives of the previous government have appointed their people in the courts who are now transforming these courts into the bar to protect the rights and interests of the odious representatives of the former regime.
The talk of the town was the decision of the judge to release from custody the commander of "Berkut", who is accused of shooting the Heavenly Hundred. I draw this example not because it is rare, but because it is too expressive.
The judiciary, which more than anything needs rehabilitation and catharsis, is resisting this purification.
As President, I have no right to put pressure on specific courts and I will not do so. But the voters have not only allowed, bur also ordered us to change the system. That's why the judicial reform should be one of the first. I will submit respective draft laws as extremely urgent. For only those who have troubles with the law can feel safe and secured with such courts. And law-abiding citizens should stay away from these courts. There is no truth in there.
The reformation of all law enforcement bodies, first of all the Ministry of the Interior and the Prosecutor General's Office, is definitely tangent to the judicial reform. I am grateful that this chapter has been clearly laid down in the coalition agreement. I am grateful to the militaries who are here in the Parliament today. I can feel their professional approach. I'd like to remind you that the old parliament have adopted the new law on public prosecution pursuant to my insistence.
It will soon enter into force as well as the law on the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. I have a concrete proposal regarding the determination of the head of this bureau. I offer to appoint a foreign person as head of the given bureau. This person will have one advantage – absence of ties in the Ukrainian political elite. This person will be a technocrat equidistant from all political forces. Such a leader will definitely ensure the efficient work of the bureau.
Reformers of all times and nations were not ashamed of involving foreigners in their initiatives. Nowadays, a lot of foreign consultants help our agencies. But it is not enough. My idea is to involve foreigners in the civil service up to the membership in the Government. We can adopt relevant laws or broaden the circle of persons to whom the President may grant the Ukrainian citizenship in the accelerated mode. This decision may bring twice as much benefit: involvement of professionals with western experience and insurance from corruption.
Due to the resonance in media, you have probably heard about the beginning of several major anti-corruption processes. Some people advise me not to wash dirty linen in public, but I do not agree with that. The bigger the resonant, the sooner people will see that the authorities are intolerant to corruption. Moreover, one can suffocate in that dirt.
Still, I do not want to generate a false impression that corruption can be overcome only by repression. Until there is respective humus, more and more corrupt officials will emerge. It is much more efficiently to fight against the reasons of corruption, to destroy its mechanisms. One can do nothing with the human nature, but deregulation and reduction of the role of bureaucracy are a powerful instrument in fighting this epidemic.
I have thoroughly analyzed the majority of decisions on deregulation adopted in recent years. There was an interesting invention. The agency is eliminated, but its functions are distributed among other ministries and institutions. And does the entrepreneur care what officials has come for extortions? It is not deregulation, it is profanation.
Real deregulation and tax reform must launch the economy and resume the process of growth. We will definitely succeed in that.
Defence Reform must also become part of tectonic change: army, intelligence, military industrial complex. The world has believed in the prospects of peace too much. We have believed in the "perpetual peace" too early as well. Now we are reaping the bitter fruits of someone's aggressiveness and our irresponsible pacifism.
I think you all understand that we have no other choice but to increase military spending. And very soon you will see appropriate draft budget. Foreign soldiers near our borders are like locusts. And in the coming years Ukraine has to rely primarily on the combat capability of its Armed Forces.
To do this, we must first invest funds and efforts in upgrading and reequipping the army with precision weapon, modern exploration and communication devices, new armor. We must increase the quantity of the army aviation.
During the ATO, we've faced the inefficiency of the old system of logistics, technical and medical support. We are changing it on the go - with broad involvement of volunteers not burdened with dead and sometimes just silly instructions of the World War I period. Those who can not cope are fired, those who stole should be imprisoned.
To ensure the funding of military-industrial enterprises, we are starting to draft the state defense order not for one year, but at least for three years. And we need even broader horizon of planning.
Certain militarization of society is inevitable. Even the initial military training must become one of the main lessons in school – the foundations of military-patriotic education are laid there.
We have no choice but to give up full transition to contractual recruiting. Neighbors have amended our plans. Military conscription is required for now.
Today it is clear that non-alignment status of Ukraine proclaimed in 2010 couldn't guarantee our security and territorial integrity. We must abolish it.
This position has led to serious losses. That's why we've decided to return to the course of NATO integration. We are enhancing cooperation with NATO, working over operational compatibility with the armies of NATO members, focusing on NATO standards in the defense-security sector. But I call on everyone to realize that political speculations over the immediate membership in NATO postpone the date of joining NATO. We must achieve the criteria necessary for NATO membership. We should also consider cautious attitude of our several international partners to this topic. We've made a statement and immediately received the answer that Ukraine will never be a member of NATO. It should be decided not by them, but by the people of Ukraine. We must start not with loud statements, but with real practical reforms. By the way, 96% of reforms and criteria laid down in the plan of actions on NATO membership are similar to the reforms and criteria of the Association Agreement. Let's build and implement the Association Agreement with the EU.
Dear Ukrainians! Distinguished people's deputies!
Democracy is also an instrument of ensuring the national security. Parliamentary coalition is in fact the constitutional majority. It contains 302 deputies. We haven't had such a coalition before. I have no doubt that we can increase it. It creates a huge temptation not to listen to the minority. I would like to warn you from that as well.
My ideological associates are those who joined the coalition. But I am not the President of the coalition. I am the President of the whole country. The President of all Ukrainians. Thus, I must listen to the opposition as well.
The unity of the country is our unconditional value. Thus, it is even more important to reckon with the presence of ideological minority in society. Many people, unfortunately, still look towards the Customs Union, support the idea of the second official language and so on. To be honest, we will not allow such people to veto geopolitical and civilizational decisions of the convincing majority, the presence of which has been demonstrated during presidential and parliamentary elections. But decentralization of power planned by me and supported by you will provide impressive opportunities to take into account local specifics. Including the matters of faith, historical memory, language, religion, ethnic traditions and expression of otherness. We must respect all these manifestations.
It is also related to the issue of language. The main difference between Ukraine and Russia is not in language, but in political culture. It has been demonstrated in the course of the elections and the Revolution of Dignity. This difference is in the type of relations between the authorities and the public, in the attitude to freedom and democracy.
The given changes do not exclude the support of the Ukrainian language and the measures called in the European political culture "positive discrimination". It is a form of supporting those who have been subjected to persecution and harassment for a long time. Ukrainian language is an important consolidating factor of society and the state.
The issue of national security is also related to the problems of church. It is an extremely sensitive area that needs careful approach; sharp movements are not allowed here. But with recent experience we will never forget that sometimes preparation to absorb the country begins with the shared prayers or religious processions. We all should remember the love to the Homeland, love to Ukraine and I'm sure it must be our first priority.
Dear people's deputies!
We do not choose the time to be born or die. But we decide ourselves what to do at this interval. It all depends on us. We will either stay in the history as victims of internal discord and foreign aggression, or build a different successful country.
Our policy must be aimed at gradual movement from the country of the Revolution of Dignity to the Country of Dignity itself. I want you to remember those who sacrificed their lives for Ukraine every time you enter this hall. It is also related to me when I enter the administration on Bankova Street. You must remember those who died hundreds of kilometers away and those who died a few blocks away from here, on the Heavenly Hundred's alley.
You must also remember those who are alive and need efficient governance, successful reforms, developed economy, social guarantees and justice. I think we will manage to build such state.
We have no time to talk. The Ukrainian people can confirm that. The coalition has been formed! There is a political will to make changes. There is a clear plan of actions and the coalition agreement. We have a chance to fulfill it. So let's start working, for us to be able to apply for membership in the EU in 5 years.
And the last but most important. Gospel teaches us that the kingdoms divided from inside will fall. So let us be united, for the moment to unite in a struggle for Ukraine has come. It is time to unite for peace and reforms.
Glory to Ukraine!