Monday, September 26, 2005

Personally Still Flabbergasted, Exacerbated By It All. . .

Two opinions, one article, on the compromise that got Yekhanurov approved (this is one of the weirdest keyboards, from my perspective, that I have ever seen. None of the punctutation marks are in their regular places for English fonts, and do not correspond to the symbols on the keyboard. . . ARGHHH!)

1) This is from Ukraine blogger Leopolis:

In Ukraine, Viktor (orange) and Viktor (blue) signed a pact that ushered in the approval of Yekhanurov and called for fair elections without administrative resources. It seems that Yushchenko has betrayed the Orange Revolution by suddenly making friends with evil Ya, right? Let's put it into perspective. 1) So far, Yu hasn't gone after election fraud perpetrators and it looks like he won't in the future. High school teachers in Donbass were just as responsible for election fraud as Kivalov was. Unfortunately, lustration failed to stick in this realm 2) After the Orange Revolution, Russia and everyone else expected that Ukraine would fracture into a deeper inter-regional blue-orange conflict; instead, former enemies are working peacefully in the Rada 3) Yushchenko is now more acceptable and legitimate for east Ukrainians thanks to this agreement potentially stealing votes from those who voted for Ya in 2004, or couldn't because of fraud 4) Yanukovych, without the direct patronage of Putin, can no longer seriously be the bogeyman in Ukrainian politics. This is demonstrated by a lack of opposition until Tymoshenko's pledge to form a counter force this month. Ya in 2004 does not equal Ya in 2006 5) Those who are most upset by the new pact , i.e. the "hardcore Ukrainian nationalists from west Ukraine" are going to vote for Tymoshenko anyway.

2) From Volodymyr Kish, writing to the the Toronto Ukrainian diaspora paper The New Pathway (Mr Kish is resident of Kyiv and a businessman with many years of experience in upper management and years of accumulated experience in and knowledge about doing business in Ukraine):

The View From There
By Walter Kish

A Deal with the Devil

The political events of this past week in Ukraine have left me both dumbfounded and more than a little disillusioned. Following a narrow failed vote to get his candidate Yuri Yekhanurov confirmed as interim Prime Minister, President Yushchenko did what many people here consider unthinkable – he made a deal with the devil in the person of his political archenemy Viktor Yanukovich.

The price Yushchenko paid was steep – an amnesty for all those accused of election fraud and vote-rigging, an end to “political persecution of the opposition” (read: the investigation and prosecution of any of the oligarchs, crooks and bandits who have pillaged Ukraine for the past decade), immunity from prosecution of any member of local, regional or oblast council, and granting the opposition political forces the chairmanship of a number of key Parliamentary committees including the committee for freedom of expression and information, and the committee for combating organized crime and corruption. The foxes have once again been granted the key to the chicken coop.

All those promises made during the Revolution about routing out corruption and bringing to justice those that have so abused the law and the people of Ukraine are now just empty words. As one political commentator here put it, you can now forget about those responsible for Gongadze’s murder or Yushchenko’s poisoning ever being prosecuted, all those oligarchs who got rich by stealing the country’s assets can now rest easy that their ill gotten gains are safe, and the business of politics in Ukraine can now revert back to being the cynical, corrupt, power game it has been since Ukraine became independent.

I find this turn of events almost incomprehensible. Why is it that Yushchenko was not able to find a compromise with the Tymoshenko bloc which shares virtually all his political and reformist ideals and principles, but was able to strike a deal with the very forces that cheated him of his election victory, were likely responsible for his poisoning, and whose policies and ideology are completely antagonistic to his own? Has his personal animosity for Yulia Tymoshenko so clouded his judgment that he prefers the company of Yanukovich, Kuchma and his gang? Was confirming a caretaker government for six months worth sacrificing all the most fundamental principles and ideals that brought all those hundreds of thousands of people to the Maidan last November and December? The irony of the situation is that most political experts say that Yushchenko could have gotten Yekhanurov confirmed as PM, albeit narrowly, without the support of Yanukovich and his Regions party.

It has become abundantly clear that whereas Yushchenko may have succeeded brilliantly in staging a revolution, he clearly lacks the skills that it takes to govern effectively and to manage the political processes in this country. To me, it is personally saddening, because I believe in his personal integrity and commitment. Nonetheless, he has fallen significantly short of being the leader everyone expected.

So now it seems to be business as usual in the running of the country, and neither I nor anyone in Ukraine should take comfort in that statement. The only winner in all that has transpired is Yulia Tymoshenko. Going into the Parliamentary elections next March she can effectively claim to be the only true inheritor of the orange revolutionary mantle. You can rest assured that she will campaign aggressively claiming that Yushchenko and his bloc have sold out the revolution and are no better than their predecessors. Whether she can win a majority remains to be seen.
The big losers of course, are all those millions of people who believed those inspiring ideals and promises that were so eloquently proclaimed on the Maidan.Who are they to believe and trust now?

Back to me: Kish's piece echoes what I have heard most people in Ukraine saying so far, on the street--and I have been in Odessa and Lviv, while talking with others in various parts (Poltava, Kyiv, and a small west-Ukrainian town). One can certainly bet that Tymoshenko will campaign on promises to continue reprivatization and prosecution/lustration--of higher ranking officials, not school teachers. (Lustration in the former Czechoslovakia, for example, targeted higher-ranking officials, not the run-of-the-mill apparatchyky or party grunts, on the theory that people in greater positions of power and authority bare greater responsibility. Ukraine does need some kind of Peace and Reconciliation process. . .Yushchenko seems to me to be too willing to give up on that process on the basis of a percieved threat of a too great instability )

3) Kuzio on the deal.

Neeka mentions that Tymoshenko was in Moscow over the weekend meeting with the Prosecutor-General, and possibly with Putin himself, and that all charges against her have now been dropped.

Any suspicious commentary/thoughts?

And oh, I am disappearing into the selo (village) world for a while and so won't have chance to re-surface in cyberspace for a few days (I may venture to Ternopil from Pidhajtsi ina couple of days if the itch for internet and news and email gets too great). I will be visiting family, chatting about politics, and working in the fields, helping various family groups bring in the rest of the sugar beet harvest, and do whatever else remains. I will also be filming a lot, especially the fall harvest, all for the section of the doc I am working on in which I will try to convey a sense of what it means to work the land truly by hand, and what it means to be a subsistence farmer.

1 comment:

Veronica Khokhlova said...

Have a good time in the village - a break from big city life and from politics should feel awesome!..

Looking forward to your stories from over there,