Sunday, September 25, 2005

Greetings from Ukraine

I am once again back in Ukraine, working on a secret project. Actually, I am here working on a project that is not secret--a documentary about the OR--but whose goal is to combat the idea that the OR, and by extension the rebellions in Yugoslavia and Georgia, was a secret US/Western project. Too much of the progressive community has flagrantly disregarded the genuinely populist nature of the OR.

I am also here to get a grip on how people feel in reaction to all the recent upheavals, and also to see the campaign season begin. Already, I have seen a lot of posters--for Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko Bloc/Fatherland Party, Green Party of Ukraine, the Socialists, and a new one (perhaps just to me) I will have to look into, the Republican Party of Ukraine.

But also, I have written in my journal some purely literary-descriptive pieces on Odessa that I will try to type up tomorrow. Odessa is, for me, the most fantastic city in Ukraine, I have decided. I repeat: Odes(s)a is simply fantastic. But expensive.

Anyhow, below is something I wrote in the comments section to a post on Neeka's Backlog about Yekhanurov being made PM. To follow it, you should know that Yushchenko had to make the following compromises in order to get the parliamentary majority he needed for Yekhanurov's approval: no prosecution of election commission workers involved in last year's election debacle; and no more reprivatization but for completing the Kryvorizhtal reprivat.


I too was quite disappointed with the promise to refuse further reprivatization and for no further efforts to prosecute anyone for the election violations. But I also expected these promises.

As for the latter, I have come around to thinking that this is Yushchenko' s very wise and compassionate, Buddha-and-Jesus-like side: let us just forgive and forget, make our peace, and move on into the future.

As for the former, Yekhanurov already stated sometime ago that there should be no more reprivat. And I think the above mentioned Buddha-and-Jesus thing is also what is behind Yushchenko's refusal of further reprivat (but this is generous--he is also being the tool of the international business community and investors who hate populist disturbances of any economy). Yushchenko et al seem so eager to move on into the future, and the best way is to make peace with the past, saying, "Ok, you guys got what you got through bogus means, but there will be no more bogus means. You can keep it, but you have to play with new, cleaner rules."

But the sincerity of this promise for newer, cleaner rules is rendered questionable as far as I am concerned by the fact that Yekhanurov has also has said, in relation to completing privatization, that the government should be allowed to hold meetings with members of the business community--Which one? Indigenous Ukrainian? Russian? International?--suggesting closed doors and deals struck just as before under an earlier round of privatizations before Yanukovych was PM. This, in a word, sucks.

What happened to transparency? Am I missing something here?

But once again, to be generous to Yushchenko and pals, perhaps they are weary over reprivat because of how the doors to further corruption (not perception) were opened. But that still remains to be demonstrated. One should keep in mind that the allegations of corruption against Tymoshenko are also, so far, just words. No doubt, the issue of reprivat has been very divisive, but where? In the government of Ukraine? In the opinion of the international community? Or among the Ukrainian people? I am back in Ukraine again, and have anyway been talking with lots of friends in both east and west. So OK. . .the pro-OR people, we will say, were about 55-60% of the population, and the pro-Yan were about 45-40-%. It seems to me that the break-down of people pleased/displeased with the lack of justice for the past is about the same. But that is my totally unscientific observation.

I asked my taxi driver today in Odesa what he thought about all this. He said, "I don't even want to talk about it. No justice, no fulfillment of promises. . .what are we to do with them all?"

No comments: