Caliph for an hourCaliph for an hourCaliph for an hour

Caliph for an hour

Sergey Kirichuk
Caliph for an hour
”Self-Defense Forces in the Eastern Ukraine are not going to give up, the economy is rapidly collapsing, and any attempt to stabilize the situation, to negotiate with the rebels and establish peace – can meet a threat of right-wing military coup”


The pompous presidential inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on May 25 has caused some embarassment to his supporters and elsewhere in polite society since it was held against the backdrop of civil war and the rapid impoverishment of the country.

The inauguration was actually designed to demonstrate the strengthening and consolidation of the regime. But the position of the "winners” from the Maidan protest movement are as weak and tenuous as ever. The economy is the collapsing, the regime is waging a civil war in the east, the treasury is empty and prospects of a financial default to the country’s lenders have scared many politicians. Some have begun to think about they can evade responsibility for the crumbling of the country.

Millions of Ukrainians have seen the disgusting and cynical pictures from May 25 of a VIP-party celebrating the inauguration of new president. Oligarch Rinat Akhmetov hugged with oligarch Igor Kolomoiskiy and exchanged easy jokes with Yuriy Lutsenko. “Popular oppositionist” Bogoslovskaya and “popular chief” of a Maidan paramilitary unit “Sotnya” Volodymyr Parasyuk, together with “popular oligarch” Alexander Yaroslavsky, gladly posed for cameras. The carnival was to show the country that the ruling class is united and solid as ever and  Akhmetov’s “strike” is best forgotten. Eastern Ukraine will see soon the collective fury of the elites unleashed.[1]

It is significant that as soon as the new president came into office, the oligarchic feast began. Low-cost airlines which have become a real bridge to Europe for many poorer Ukrainians are leaving the Ukrainian market. The airline "Dnepravia" has come to replace them. It is owned by the above-mentioned oligarch Kolomoisky. Earlier, he brought another airline, Aerosvit, to bankruptcy, throwing the employees out of their jobs without any compensation or warning. However, the members of the trade union at Aerosvit voice patriotic slogans over and over again, to the great delight of the fat cat who has robbed them. Meanwhile, ticket prices to most European flights will rise significantly.

Recent attempt to release the notorious ex-MP Lozinski, a friend of former acting president Oleksandr Turchynov, former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko and current prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who liked to shoot “serfs” in his “lord’s lands”, has shaken the entire country because nobody actually doubts his guilt.[2] 

The new political leadership of Ukraine acts as if testing the country for stability and being unopposed the leaders become even more impudent with every single day. Against this background, we are witness to a growing political role of the various paramilitary groups, also known as "territorial defense battalions."[3] They are not only terrorizing residents of eastern Ukraine and even members of the regular army, they also brandish threats against the fledgling president.

Press reports about the conflict between Poroshenko and rightist Donbass battalion show that the new "leader of the nation" (who was seen as "a hope" by some average citizens) is not in full control of the country.

So Poroshenko, a man who for years nurtured dream of top government positions, turns out to be just a Caliph for an hour. Time is working against him. Self defense forces in the East are not going to give up their fight for autonomy. The economy is rapidly collapsing. Any attempt to stabilize the situation by negotiating with the rebels and establishing peace brings the threat of a right-wing military coup.

The bitter irony is that Poroshenko, one of the richest men in the country, a person who managed to gather billions in wealth by producing and selling sweets, cannot himself enjoy sweets and cakes because he suffers from diabetes. Similarly, the same person when elected for president cannot actually govern a country that is increasingly drifting out of the control of Kiev authorities. The more pompous the celebration of his inauguration, the more rapidly it presaged his fall.

Sergey Kirichuk



Translation by Dmitry Kolesnik


[1] In May, Rinat Akhmetov tried to organize a ‘strike’against the demands of the autonomy movement in eastern Ukraine among the employees of his enterprises in the east. Notwithstanding the laughable reports in western media of “tens of thousands” of workers answering his call, the effort was a dismal failure and served only to display the declining support and credibility of Ukraine’s class of super-rich.

 [2] In 2011 Dniprovsky District Court in Kyiv has sentenced former Ukrainian lawmaker Viktor Lozinsky to 15 years in prison for the murder of Valeriy Oliynyk, a resident of Holovanivsk district in Kirovograd region, as well as for the illegal possession and use of firearms and ammunition. 

 [3] These units (battalion Azov, Donbass, Sich, Dnipro etc.) recruite mostly from members of far-right organisations like the Svoboda Party, Social-National Assembly and The Patriot of Ukraine. 


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