Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

"5th Russian column" in action: how Viktor Medvedchuk takes advantage of "useful idiots" from "Parliamentary dimension of Normandy Format"

The visit of Viktor Medvedchuk and a delegation of MP's from the "Opposition platform-For life" to a meeting with State Duma deputies and the Russian President on March 10, 2020 was a landmark. Just on the same day when Putin, with the help of the same State Duma, received the presidency for life, Ukrainian deputies came to talk about some "new mechanisms" designed to simulate reconciliation between Ukraine and Russia. And as such a mechanism, Medvedchuk and his company are trying to present the initiative of the "Parliamentary dimension of the Normandy Format". The "Parliamentary dimension" is an initiative of Medvedchuk, who is doing everything possible to maintain political influence in Ukraine, and thus to demonstrate his usefulness in the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin expectedly supported this initiative. After all, the purpose of these negotiations in Moscow, was to demonstrate the presence of an alternative power in Ukraine, a political force that stands for restoring peace and friendship with Russia. This is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants from Ukraine. In this regard, Medvedchuk is a real asset of Putin in Ukraine. “With the help of this asset all Putin can do is to demonstrate the image "Ukrainian boyars came to bow to the Russian tsar" to the Russian audience. This is especially nice and necessary on the day when Putin officially became Tsar”.[1]

It is worth noting that Medvedchuk had developed a strategy even before the newly elected Parliament of Ukraine started its work. On the first day of the session, he and his party members submitted a number of documents to the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada, which no one paid attention to. Then on December 20, 2019, Viktor Medvedchuk met with Vladimir Putin and Russian Finance Minister, Anton  Siluanov. On December 24, 2019, Medvedchuk met with the head of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, who received instructions from Putin to support Medvedchuk's initiative. In fact, on this day the inter-parliamentary Association "Inter-Parliamentary Dialogue for Peace: Ukraine-Russia-Germany-France" was legalized, which officially included none other than Viktor Medvedchuk, who appointed himself head of the Ukrainian part of the Association.

In general, Medvedchuk began his "crusade for peace" long before he officially became a deputy. Even without the status of a legislator, he managed to convince several members of the European Parliament to play along with him and attend his events. There is every reason to believe that Russian intelligence agencies were beyond these efforts, exploiting their clandestine and semi-official networks in Europe to set up conferences and other events of a marginal nature, only to show them massively in the Russian media, trying to spread their messages to wide audience.

On July 17, 2019, Medvedchuk's TV channels «NewsOne» and «112 Ukraine» broadcast a round table in Brussels, where Medvedchuk presented the «peace plan» to a group of members of the European Parliament. A few days after Viktor Medvedchuk visited Brussels, his fellow party members in the Ukrainian Parliament, Nestor Shufrych and Vadim Rabinovich, met in Paris with French Senator, Natalie Goulet. Shufrych and Rabinovich urged Natalie Goulet to support them in promoting the «peace plan»  in Europe. But, as seen from the video at this meeting, she didn't show much enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, six months after this meeting, in January 2020, Viktor Medvedchuk and his loyal assistant and party member Oleg Voloshin set up another meeting in the French Senate. After meetings in Paris and Berlin, Viktor Medvedchuk announced a trip to Moscow. After talking with deputies of the State Duma, the Ukrainian politician announced a joint meeting of parliamentarians of the four countries in Strasbourg. The leadership of the French Senate decided to distance  themselves as much as possible from the idea of Viktor Medvedchuk (or, more precisely, Moscow’s) "idea". The same happened in the Bundestag. And there is every reason for this behavior of European parliamentarians, because in fact, the events in no way concerned the promotion of ideas of peace. At the same time, some parliamentarians in France and Germany are ready to sacrifice their reputation in order Viktor Medvedchuk could strengthen his political positions in Ukraine.[2]

What is the main threat to Ukraine in the person of Mr. Medvedchuk? Viktor Volodymyrovych has nothing against Ukraine. He's not even against our formal independence. But his idea of this independent Ukraine is radically differs from the majority of Ukrainians. Medvedchuk is convinced that the future of Ukraine is in a political, economic, and cultural union with Russia. And it doesn't bother him a bit that such a union by definition can be nor equal, neither somehow respectable from the Russian side. Viktor Medvedchuk has long and consistently sought to lead Ukraine. And he is quite happy if the Kremlin appoints him as the Ukrainian Governor-General. And in this case, Ukraine must be under Russia, preserving its formal independence. That is why it conducts a neat - without violating the laws - pro-Russian line. This is not a whim, this is a verified political and life position. And the trouble is that his political force is gaining more than 13% of support from the marginal part of Ukrainian society. Its contribution to the increase in popularity of this pro-Russian force makes powerful and systematic broadcast of Ukrainian news channels «NewsOne», «ZIK» and «112 Ukraine», which show what is happening in the state from the necessary for Medvedchuk and Russia position. After all, the main component of Viktor Medvedchuk's “unsinkability” is his difficult to explain trusting relationship with Vladimir Putin.[3]

Thus, Medvedchuk and his companions pose a real threat to the national security of Ukraine. After all, their attempts to solve the issue with war in the East of Ukraine, are only aimed at satisfying the interests of Moscow. Medvedchuk's companions several times took advantage of European representatives to spread their lies. Therefore, it is absolutely unacceptable for "5th Russian column" to represented not only the "Parliamentary Dimension of the Normandy Format", but also Ukraine in the international arena.