What were the main events of 2021 in the countries of the former USSR
A difficult year is coming to an end, which in the post-Soviet space began with the end of the bloody conflict and the establishment of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and ends with the expectation of a new war – between Ukraine and Russia. If you look at the map of the CIS, then few of the countries have passed it easily – in a stable and confident environment. Even the Asian states were shocked: the crisis in Afghanistan affected the situation in these apparently calm republics. What can we say about Ukraine with its chronic political tremor, post-war Armenia, Moldova at a crossroads or sanctioned Belarus. The rating of the most pronounced results of the year is in the material “MK”.
Zelensky's facial expressions began to amaze. Photo: Still from video
Fall of the year
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's rating fell again by the end of 2021. What political somersault a former comedian actor will commit in 2022, no one now fully understands & mdash; while in January the arrest of Petro Poroshenko's predecessor as a 'traitor to the motherland' is seen and an attempted coup in relations with Russia, but this is not certain.
A year ago, Zelensky entered the new season, too, with a rating that fell to 20%; in January 2021, the authoritative Ukrainian Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) claimed that 19.2% of Ukrainians, who had already decided on their choice, were ready to vote for the current president. Then Zelensky emerged from the electoral catastrophe, riding a patriotic agenda, & mdash; in February, he began to collect the NSDC and punish with the help of this illegal mechanism, simply by his decrees everything “ pro-Russian '': he closed the pool of television channels of Viktor Medvedchuk, opened a criminal case against the oligarch himself and by May sent the politician under house arrest, where the leader of the Opposition Platform party for life '' continues to be found to this day. Against this background, little by little, but confidently, the rating of Vladimir Zelensky grew by the summer to 32%.
Now Ukrainian patriots have become disillusioned with Zelensky. The rating literally slid down since the President of Ukraine also entered into a hot war with the richest Ukrainian, Rinat Akhmetov, and hence with his highest-rated Ukrainian TV channels. There are three topics on Ukrainian TV now: the upcoming energy crisis by February, rising prices and a possible war with Russia.
It is already known that Vladimir Zelensky will light up twice on New Year's Eve & mdash; in congratulating the people and at the New Year's concert of his humorous Studio Kvartal-95. Political analysts are already betting on whether the name of Poroshenko will sound in the New Year's greetings from the Ukrainian president. Most people think so. And 2022, through the efforts of the political strategists of the Office of the President of Ukraine, will give Volodymyr Zelensky new enemies, and this time it will not be pro-Russian parties and politicians.
“ The fall in Zelensky's ratings cannot be called unexpected, if only because Ukrainian political traditions consist in a fall in the level of support for any government, & mdash; tells MK Ukrainian political scientist, head of the analytical center 'Donbass Institute for Regional Policy' Enrique Menendez. & mdash; But if you look for a rational explanation, then several explanations come to mind at once. First, the decline in the standard of living of ordinary Ukrainians. Despite the fact that Zelensky is not to blame for him. But he promised an “ end to the era of poverty. '' High inflation, rising tariffs and lack of real economic growth & mdash; these are factors that will operate for a long time, and any government will have to reckon with them.
Two more reasons stand apart: the first & mdash; this is the failure of the sixth president of Ukraine to fulfill his main pre-election promise to end the war in Donbass through negotiations. In any poll, this is the country's number one problem. The lack of progress in a peaceful settlement is obvious to everyone, and it is not always possible to shift the responsibility onto Russia.
Second, Zelenskiy was voted en masse as a president who would bring unity to the country and deal with the old elites. But neither the first nor the second happened. The course of Petro Poroshenko on aggressive Ukrainization continued, which is not to the liking of the voters in the south and east of the country. And the demand for social justice was not crowned with loud landings or changes in the essence of politics. It's just that now “ new faces '' are associated with corruption.
World of the Year
In November 2020, the second Karabakh war ended. The peaceful year that followed after that became a crisis for Armenia. It began with the fact that some buried their children who died in the 44-day war for Karabakh, while others tried to overthrow Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. However, in the summer, early parliamentary elections were held in Armenia, in which the “ Civil Agreement '' nevertheless received the majority of votes. Pashinyan. Now, if nothing extraordinary happens, he will rule the republic for another 5 years. But the former President of Armenia Robert Kocharian, who almost ended up behind bars before the war, was able to get into parliament.
“ Many analysts assumed that Pashinyan could win the elections. Moreover, the elections were held precisely for the reason that the authorities were confident in the chances of Pashinyan and his team to legitimize. They can now say that they have an updated trust mandate. But so far it cannot be said that Pashinyan has restored his legitimacy. Armenia returned to the situation before 2018, when there was a weak government and a weak opposition. A little more than half of the voters did not participate in the elections, and out of those who voted, about 20% chose the parties, about which it was known in advance that they would not be able to be elected '', & mdash; told MK Head of the Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan.
While Armenia was deciding who was in power and who was a traitor, Azerbaijan began to unilaterally “ clarify '' border with a neighbor. From May 12 until the end of 2021, the Azerbaijani army took control of over 41 square kilometers of territories that Yerevan considers to be its own. We are talking about reservoirs, pastures, dominant heights, and so on. After each new lost piece of land, the opposition accuses Pashinyan of being unable to defend the territorial integrity of the republic. In response, he tries to appeal to Russia, which, in his words, should help protect the Armenian borders within the framework of bilateral agreements and the CSTO.
But the most difficult situation is in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), or in what is left of it, & mdash; Stepanakert and several districts with villages. According to the agreement signed on November 9, 2020, the Armenian side withdrew all heavy equipment from there and is no longer sending its army there. Along the perimeter of the self-proclaimed republic are Russian peacekeepers who make sure that the Azerbaijani troops do not solve the Armenian issue in the same way as they solve the issue of the border with Armenia.
“ After the end of the war, relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan develop quite naturally. Baku is trying to choose for itself all the positive results of the war. He presses on Yerevan with statements that the Karabakh problem no longer exists, accusing Russia of the peacekeepers hindering the settlement of the Karabakh issue. Although how can this be if it has already been resolved? Armenia has few trump cards, but the process of settling down is underway and may take quite a long time. The main reason for this is the suspended state of Karabakh '', & mdash; Iskandaryan said.
President of the Year
At the beginning of this year, on January 10, 2021, a new president appeared in Kyrgyzstan. During the early elections, Sadyr Japarov, who was released from prison, became the head of state. About what he managed to bring to the development of the country over the past year, MK said the Deputy Chairman of the Eurasian Generation Foundation, political scientist Igor Shestakov:
& mdash; Of course, this year Kyrgyzstan has undergone major systemic changes, that is, we have moved from a parliamentary republic to a presidential one. In fact, Sadyr Japarov put an end to the populist experiment to reformat the country's political system into a more realistic format. If we look at successful countries, including those in the CIS, these are, first of all, countries with a presidential form of government.
Moreover, the strengthening of the role of the president in the country was an initiative not only of Japarov himself. This was the desire of many Kyrgyz people who wrote about it on social networks when they saw the complete collapse of the parliamentary form of government. The parliament and the government it formed could not solve health problems in 2020, they did nothing to make the country go through a covid period with the least losses.
Under President Japarov, the first head of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, was able to fly home. Photo: press service of the State Committee for National Security of the Kyrgyz Republic
Throughout the year, the country faced serious socio-political challenges, because economically we are still in a very difficult situation. We held five elections in a year, we can say that the electoral cycle was the most active in all the years of Kyrgyzstan's independence. The last parliamentary elections were expected with great concern not only in the country itself, but there was also external wariness on the part of our main partners, including Russia. Zhaparov minimized the influence of the administrative resource as much as possible and set a clear task to prevent bribery of voters. As a result, the protest potential after the elections is at zero.
As for corruption in the country, this topic has remained relevant throughout all 30 years of independence. There were loud landings under Japarov. But, of course, the fight against corruption does not depend only on the president, strong public support is needed.
Sanctions of the year
After the presidential elections in Belarus, the country fell under Western sanctions. But it turned out that this is not the limit. The forced landing of a Rayanair plane at Minsk airport triggered a new wave of sanctions. Which this time affected the import of potash fertilizers and oil products. And the sky over Belarus was completely closed, since Europe has banned flights in the Belarusian airspace.
In June of this year, another, fourth in a row, package of personal sanctions followed from the West, which affected the closest circle of Alexander Lukashenko and himself. Finally, the migration crisis that unfolded on the border of Belarus with the Baltic countries and Poland led to the fifth package of sanctions against individuals, as well as major companies, including Belavia, Belorusneft, Belshina, Grodno Nitrogen '' and even special forces of the Belarusian border troops.
The Ryanair plane landing in Minsk was the reason for the next sanctions. Photo: twitter.com
In response to these actions, Belarus rolled out its sanctions against the European Union, as well as the United States, Canada, Great Britain and other countries. The restrictions affected the import of products from these countries into the country, including meat, milk, sausages, vegetables and fruits. Summing up all these events, of course, Belarus can be considered the country that in 2021 found itself under the strongest pressure from the sanctions.
About this “ MK '' spoke with economist Yaroslav Romanchuk:
& mdash; The Belarusian authorities, on the one hand, were helped by the support of Moscow & mdash; both diplomatic and resource. On the other hand, & mdash; unprecedented demand from foreign markets for raw materials traditionally exported by Belarus: oil products, chemical products, metals, agricultural products. Therefore, despite the sanctions that were introduced in December 2020, in June and December 2021, the export of goods to the European Union doubled. In addition, the budget was balanced, a trade surplus was achieved, and the Belarusian ruble even strengthened slightly.
Yes, the Belarusian authorities have classified almost 35% of statistics on exported goods, and prices are controlled manually … But it is impossible to say that the Belarusians have begun to live worse in terms of the gross indicator, because there was really more money in the country.
But this coincidence, which played into the hands of Alexander Lukashenko, will be impossible to reproduce in 2022 … Moreover, it is quite obvious that the outflow of human capital and the lack of foreign investment have accelerated. And sanctions against large industrial enterprises will begin to operate more severely in 2022. In 2022, the country's economy will be in a state of stagflation, that is, stagnation and high inflation, which in 2021 is around 10%.