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Ukraine will give China a chance

China is "the largest beneficiary of the Ukrainian crisis"

Ukraine will give China a chance

Parliamentary elections in Ukraine marked the beginning of a new period. Ukraine has chosen the governing bodies, thereby putting an end to the period of unrest preceding the elections. The current situation makes us think about the future of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and China.

After the February revolution, Ukraine again returned to the parliamentary-presidential model of government, and on October 26, elections to the Verkhovna Rada were held ahead of schedule for the eighth time. The election results were as follows: a total of 6 parties entered the Rada; the first place was taken by the People's Front of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk with 22,17%, the second place was taken by the Petro Poroshenko Bloc with 21,81%, the third place was taken by Andrey Sadovy's Samopomich (10,97%), the fourth - by "Opposition bloc" (9,38%), which was formed by members of the "Party of Regions", the fifth - from the "Radical Party" Oleg Lyazhko (7,44%), "Batkivshchyna" took the last place with 5,68%.

Thus, the positions of supporters of European integration have intensified, as more than 90% of parliamentarians support the policy of rapprochement with Europe. The two parties that traditionally supported the course of rapprochement with Russia (the Party of Regions, CPU), for the first time since Ukraine gained independence, could not go to the Rada.

Traditions and new horizons.

The Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that before the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Poroshenko had already decided to use negotiation tactics to resolve all sorts of issues in post-crisis Ukraine, including negotiations with Russia over Donbass. However, this initiative Poroshenko faced resistance from the Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, supported by America. Poroshenko’s calculation was based on the fact that Yatsenyuk would not be able to enter the new government, but this calculation did not come true. According to the results of the election, the Yatsenyuk party went to parliament, receiving an 22,17% of the vote, and this means that Poroshenko will have to negotiate with Yatsenyuk. In addition, the creation of a new cabinet is possible only in a coalition with the party Yatsenyuk, so the question whether Yatsenyuk will retain the post of prime minister can be considered resolved.

In the parliamentary elections, no one expected that Yatsenyuk’s party would overtake Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc and take 1-e place, because according to polls, People’s Front lagged behind the presidential party by 10 percentage points. According to people close to Yatsenyuk, after the change of power in Ukraine, he already had quite strong political ambitions and did not want to remain a behind-the-scenes politician, so for the first time he participated in the elections independently, and not from the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc. A tougher stance on Russia's actions allowed him to get more support than Poroshenko, whose support rating fell from 53% during the presidential election to 30% during the elections to the Rada.

One convocation of the Verkhovna Rada consists of 450 deputies, half of whom pass through lists of parties overcoming the 5-percent barrier, in proportion to the number of votes given for these parties. The second half - deputies from single-mandate districts. According to one of the Kiev political scientists, "Poroshenko's Block" won a decisive victory in single-mandate constituencies. Thus, "Poroshenko Bloc" received about 130 seats, "People's Front" - about 80, the opposition block - about 40, "Self-help" - about 30 places, and "Fatherland" - about 20. However, about 150 seats were won by independent deputies, and if they united into an internal parliamentary faction, they could become a key force in the parliament. Since, according to the Ukrainian laws, after the election a constitutional majority consisting of at least 300 deputies should be formed, it means that Poroshenko will have to negotiate not only with the largest friendly parties, but also with the opposition and with independent deputies, in order to ensure normal legislative activity. Thus, the situation when, in the 2009 year, during the confrontation between the "orange" and the "white-blue" Bloc of Lytvyn, which only occupied 20 seats became a "key minority", it could hardly be repeated again.

Farewell to the "orange revolutions"

After the first "orange revolution" in 2004, Ukraine faced a situation of political confrontation between the "orange" and "white-blue" forces, as well as the geographic division of the "east-west" type. This situation did not correspond to the expectations of the voters, as well as the political situation in the country at that time. The political struggle entailed the growth of centrifugal tendencies and the radicalization of social and national conflicts. The confrontation between the "orange" and the "white-blue" has repeatedly created explosive situations, which caused the population of Ukraine to dream about stabilizing the situation. After 10 years, this situation could no longer be maintained, so that the crisis that erupted at the beginning of the year became a kind of breakthrough or the final confrontation between the "orange" and the "white-blue".

Surveys twice conducted after the crisis showed that the forces supporting rapprochement with the EU won a landslide victory, but the composition of these forces is fundamentally different from the composition that was present on the Maidan in the winter of this year. During the presidential election in May, Euromaidan leaders — the leader of the Freedom Party, and the leader of the Right Sector, Yarosh — did not even get 1% of votes, and Tymoshenko, who is an old-timer of Ukrainian political life, was able to gain only 13% because of her right-wing commitment glances. This suggests that right-wing rhetoric does not find a response from ordinary Ukrainians. The parliamentary elections demonstrated this once again - the parties Yarosh and Tyagnibok could not overcome the 5% barrier. Elections held after the change of power, clearly indicate the breakdown of the old system based on the opposition of the "orange" and "white-blue" forces. Now in Ukraine, a normal political landscape is being formed, created by the confrontation between left, centrist and right forces. The support of electoral centrists suggests that Ukrainians want stability and that centrists have a more powerful voter base. The fact that centrist parties got the majority in the Rada gives grounds for hope that Ukrainian political life will not be radicalized and that in the future Ukraine will have a normally working presidential-parliamentary system.

Chance for China

In 2011, after establishing strategic partnership with China, Ukraine has become the country with the fastest growth of Chinese investment. China has become Ukraine's largest trading partner, ahead of Russia (not including energy supplies). The relations between China and Ukraine have always remained economic, without the addition of political factors to them. The change of power in Ukraine forced people to ask questions: "How to ensure the preservation of political guarantees and stability for intergovernmental projects of cooperation between China and Ukraine? Is it possible to further develop cooperation on projects approved by President Yanukovych? Will the new government, after signing an association agreement with the EU, once again realize the importance of Ukrainian-Chinese economic cooperation? "

Among the many memoranda of economic cooperation between Ukraine and China was one that affects investments in the Crimea, with the aim of creating the most important section of the northern line of the “Great Silk Road”, and maybe opening a new sea route for exporting Chinese goods to Europe. In the situation of the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation and economic sanctions of the EU and the USA for the Crimea, China’s participation in economic projects in the Crimea was under threat. The annexation of the Crimea to Russia also threatened the creation of the northern line of the “Great Silk Road”, since it undermined the ties between the Crimea and the EU.

After the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, China had to make considerable efforts to preserve and develop relations with all interested parties: Russia, the United States and the EU. In addition, China did not participate in the application of unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation, which, on the one hand, stems from the basic principle of China’s foreign policy of non-alignment, and on the other hand, is a sign of support for Russia. The Financial Times and The New York Times even stated that the signing of the Russian-Chinese gas contract suggests that China is “the largest beneficiary of the Ukrainian crisis.” Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Glazyev also said that China is like a smart monkey sitting on a mountain, while the tigers are fighting, and at the right moment will intervene and benefit.

In fact, China faces two problems in its relations with Ukraine. This is by no means a choice between Russia and Ukraine or between Russia and the West. This is a deeper contradiction between common sense and the desire to gain. Today, when the situation in Ukraine is stabilizing, it is time for China to realize the potential of trade and economic ties between the two countries.

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