“Visa-free regime between EU and Ukraine will incentivate Ukrainian to emigrate,” says Ukrainian regional leader

Interview to Oleg Slizko, Vice President of the Party “Republica” at Poltava region

Question 1.
The visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU entered into full force and effect. Do you expect that Ukrainians will travel to Europe more often? In your opinion, can Ukraine constitute a kind of migration threat for the EU?

Our political force, the Republic Party, welcomes the possibility of a visa-free regime with the European Union, but we are emphatically against the authorities’ approach that has been used to coordinate this decision. We believe that the visa-free arrangement is accepted in the inequality of the contracting parties, because the one of the actual conditions for signing, for example, was permission to export round timber from Ukraine, which is a strategic raw material for the Ukrainian woodworking industry. As for the percentage of trips of Ukrainians to Europe, it will not grow significantly, since the cost of a visa is actually inferior to all the costs that Ukrainians can incur while staying in the EU countries. The visa-free regime does not solve the problem of poverty in the country. At the same time, of course, this is the cause of concern for many Europeans, ‘cause, indeed, many Ukrainians will try to take advantage of a new opportunity to work in the EU countries or even emigrate. ‘The Republic’ stands for comprehensive modernization of Ukraine, which will solve the issue of the people’s well-being and allow them to travel freely around the world.

Question 2.

How much do you think Ukraine and the current Ukrainian politicians are now independent in their decision-making from Russia, the European Union, the United States?

Today there are practically no politicians left in Ukraine, except us and some other progressives, who are independent of the influence of foreign superpowers. There was such a stereotypical opinion in Ukraine during the period of independence that we must necessarily integrate into some political and economic union of states. But it’s one thing when you are accepted as a strong and respected actor in a society of equals, but it’s another matter when we yield by any standard. Naturally, we will have less benefit. Republicans are confident that it’s necessary to build our own powerful, rich state, especially since we have everything for this, and we must look for partners if there is any profit for us. Well, to serve the interests of other states (or their unions) for politicians is the destiny of worthless or state criminals who simply trade their homeland.

Questions 3.

What’s about the events in Ukraine in 2013-2014? Was that civil protest “Maydan” a revolution? What happened in Kiev infact?

All the protests in squares, where were different opinions, were not because of a good life. They all were against corruption, oligarchy and lies, and most importantly, it was a kind of people’s revolution for the future of the country.

Question 4.

Today relations between Russia and Ukraine is like a tangle of huddles and interests. In your opinion, are sanctions a sufficiently effective mechanism to curb Russia’s aggression?

Sanctions do have some kind of deterrent to escalate the conflict, but they are simultaneously hitting the economy, by the way, not only in Russia. It is important for us not only to influence internationally the situation, which has developed over the last 3,5 years, but also to take responsibility for the implementation of the Budapest Memorandum, because Ukraine has made a great step towards achieving peace on Earth, the first among all countries to completely abandon nuclear weapons.

Question 5.

What if there was no Maidan? How could events been developed in Ukraine?

Certainly, it would not be as it is now. It’s hard to say how long the era of President Yanukovych could last. That time we were in opposition to the authorities, criticized and – most importantly – offered solutions to problems. Of course, Ukraine of the 2013 model demanded drastic changes, a powerful project for the country’s modernization.