How European leaders made money on Kyiv

How European leaders made money on Kyiv

Alena Kazakova

The West has shown unprecedented solidarity with Ukraine. The sanctions against Russia are the largest in history. Great Britain, Poland and France are especially zealous. Behind this lies a personal interest: the British were distracted from the pandemic parties of Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron earned extra points before the elections, and in Warsaw they hope to lead Eastern Europe.
Kyiv added voters
Angela Merkel was called not only the chancellor of Germany, but also the leader of all of Europe. After her resignation, the closest ally, French President Emmanuel Macron, got a chance to loudly declare himself.
Amid reports of an impending attack on Ukraine, he traveled to Moscow for talks and then to Kyiv to ease tensions. And at the same time win the glory of the man who prevented the war.
Macron praised his diplomatic successes very highly: “I have achieved that there will be neither deterioration nor escalation.” Since then, the leader of France has been constantly in touch with either Bankova or the Kremlin, but this has not brought noticeable results.
The fighting in Ukraine almost coincided with the start of the presidential campaign in France. Macron already had a pretty good chance of re-election, but his role as a peacemaker and what sociologists call “rallying around the flag” made it possible to win the support of a larger number of voters. If on February 24 his rating was around 25%, then by mid-March it reached a record 30.
In the first round, which took place on April 10, 28% of voters voted for him. In second place is the leader of the “National Association” Marine Le Pen with a support of 23%. She is called a fan of Putin, but today any politician has to be more careful in expressing sympathy. The second round will take place on Sunday, April 24.
During the elections, the French leader began to call Putin less often, but he actively spoke in various media. “We must prepare for the next day, for peace, and this is impossible without dialogue with Russia. In addition, we must become one of the countries that guarantee the future of peace,” Macron announced.
He has already received the glory of a peacemaker. On its pages in social networks, there are thousands of comments from Ukrainian residents with words of gratitude. There are also messages from citizens of other states: “Since you helped Kyiv, please help us too.”
Warsaw asks for recognition
Before the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Poland’s position in Europe was rather precarious. The country’s leadership was accused of violating democratic rights, discriminating against the LGBT community, as well as a negative attitude towards migrants. As a result, Brussels has reduced financial assistance to the Polish economy until this situation changes.
The Polish authorities hope that aid to Kyiv will write off past mistakes and the EU will not look too closely at their domestic politics. Warsaw sharply condemned Russia’s actions and even criticized Europe for too lenient sanctions against Moscow. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for depriving Russians of the right to obtain visas, blocking Russian ships and prohibiting trade by land. However, this has not yet led to the desired steps on the part of Brussels.
“The EU does not provide real material support. Talks, promises. But we are spending our money. We organize our people and try to do everything possible in this situation. However, politically motivated sanctions against Poland continue to apply,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. Peter Glinsky.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko spoke in January about Poland’s hopes to become a leader in Eastern Europe: “But leadership is understood not as a responsibility and an opportunity to be a link in the region, but as a confrontation with Russia. Including through interference in the internal affairs of its neighbors.”
There is some truth in this: the Polish authorities really want to spread their ideology to neighboring countries. “In the context of the terrible event that the war in Ukraine has become, Poland is setting standards of a certain kind. What was previously called Russophobia is now mainstream,” Morawiecki said in early April.
Warsaw’s desire to “set standards” runs counter to the position of Paris. If Macron is trying to keep the opportunity for dialogue with Russia, then Poland is warning: there are no red lines. And they call for a tough fight against the “fascist regime in Moscow.”
Nevertheless, so far the foreign policy of the Polish authorities finds support only within the country. “I am proud of the behavior of the Poles. We are a great nation,” citizens write in the comments under the posts of the prime minister.
Dear Johnson Party
At home, Boris Johnson has big problems – he is literally one step away from resignation. First he appointed his younger brother Joe as Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Then there was a strange speech at a conference of entrepreneurs, where the prime minister recalled for several minutes a trip to the Peppa Pig World amusement park. But all this pales against the backdrop of the Patigate – at the height of the pandemic, Johnson threw a large-scale party at his own residence, where members of the government were invited.
More than half of Bri-tons think Johnson should go. 54% of the country’s citizens have a negative attitude towards him, writes The Guardian. To distract the population, the prime minister actively took up the Ukrainian issue.
He was the first European leader to visit Kyiv, ahead of even the leadership of Poland and the Baltic countries. He spoke in Ukrainian: “Be strong and have courage in your heart – you are everything that you trust in the Lord.” And he made formidable statements on Twitter: “I will do everything in my power to starve Putin’s war machine.”
In the first two weeks of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, Johnson’s ratings added six percent. His actions were approved: an absolute majority (78%) of the British support sending weapons to Kyiv, and 68% are in favor of transferring fighter jets to the Ukrainian armed forces. However, the key claims against the prime minister have not gone away.
Johnson’s statements about giving up Russian gas and oil look rather slurred. March negotiations on this issue with the authorities of Abu Dhabi and Riyadh did not lead to a positive result. Added to everything was an increase in income tax and the cost of living – payments for heating, electricity and water supply.
Allies help Ukraine morally
According to a study by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the United States has allocated the most assistance to Ukraine: it has transferred military and humanitarian goods w-orth 7.5 billion euros. The EU countries all together – almost three billion. For c-omparison: the yacht of the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, albeit one of the most expensive, costs about 550 million euros.
If we compare the amounts with the volume of the gross domestic product, then the first in the ranking of assistants is Estonia, which donated 0.8% of GDP. Poland ranks second with just under 0.2%. In ninth place is the UK – less than 0.05% of GDP, and in tenth place is France – about 0.03%.
“It is noteworthy that the United States gives significantly more than the entire European Union, in the immediate vicinity of which the war is raging,” said Christoph Trebesh, director of research at the Kiel Institute.
Zelensky has repeatedly criticized the European Union for lack of activity. One of the main claims is that some partners are seriously slowing down the supply of weapons. “Every delay, every political delay is Russia’s permission to take the lives of Ukrainians,” he said, adding that help would come “except perhaps in May.”
“The French are behaving carefully,” says political strategist Yevgeny Minchenko. “Poland, I think, is beneficial to the confrontation with Russia – it allowed to mobilize people around the ruling party. Boris Johnson’s ratings are falling amid a drinking scandal during quarantine. Now he has the opportunity to show himself like Winston Churchill, whom he sympathizes with.”
However, the expert doubts that Johnson’s efforts will lead to success: “It’s not just the inappropriate behavior for which he apologized. There are economic difficulties in the country.”
Political scientist Alexei Martynov also believes that the leaders of Great Britain and Poland will not solve their own problems with the help of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. But they will most likely succeed in winning extra time.

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