Monday, February 13, 2006

'Donetskiye' in Kyiv

Just a year ago Scott posted a piece from the 'Berliner Zeitung' including this:

The bad things got worse in 2002, when the governor of the Donetsk oblast Viktor Yanukovych became the prime minister of Ukraine. Many people believe that Donbas is a mini-totalitarian state within Ukraine ruled by mafia that merged thoroughly with the local state apparatus. Whether exaggerated or not, the rumours became rather palpable when "donetskiye" ("Donetskites") massively flowed to Kyiv and elsewhere to take over numerous government positions, luxury apartments, and tasty businesses. In popular discourse, they effectively replaced the "new Russians" and "new Ukrainians", the ridiculous personages of post-Soviet jokes, infamous for their greed, stupidity, and boastfulness."
One of the reasons for Kyivites' staunch support of the Orange Revolution was well-grounded fear of the Donetskiye, particularly amongst the better off. Partiya Regioniv, is now leading Opinion Poll's nationally, but is in a lowly third position in Kyiv.

It's looking likely that PR will be the largest single party in the new VR after March 26th elections - many of its deputies arriving in Kyiv having distinctly shady backgrounds. How are Kyivites going to accept this, I wonder? Especially if the Donetskiye start behaving as they did in 2002.

p.s. The BBC will be broadcasting a radio prog on 16th February in their excellent 'Crossing Continents' series: 'Ukraine's HIV/AIDs epidemic.' which can also be heard on the net.

Sadly, "Ukraine now has the highest rate of HIV infection in Europe, estimated at over 15 times the percentage of the UK"


DLW said...

In all honesty, I am praying for a miracle to happen for Ukraine. Maybe something like Yuschenko resigning and having Yekhanurov as president and reconciliation between NSNU and BYU. In doing this, he could acknowledge that he failed to provide the needed leadership from this past year and call on the nation to trust his replacement.

I know it's not likely, but, from what I've read, it's been the failure of Yusch to provide the strong leadership needed that has been at the heart of the serious failures from this past year and the resurgence of support for PR.

I know Ukrainians are praying for him, I join them in praying for wisdom to avoid the undoing of the advances made possible by the OR.


LEvko said...

Thanks for the comment dlw. We should be praying that all parties in the elections just stick to the rules, something that they are more or less doing at the moment. The rest is up to the voters. I think there is a fair chance that the elections will be conducted more or less fairly.

Compare Ukraine to its 'friends to the North' where democratic development is in reverse, this should cheer you up a little.

There have been two good articles in Ukrainska Pravda recently - one in Russian and Ukrainian, about the influence of Ukraine's oligarchs on the leading political parties [hopefully they will run it in English soon]; and one on the influential people around Yuschchenko himself [also in English at].

Both reveal the extent to which politics and business in Ukraine will be intertwined, whatever the election results.

DLW said...

politics and economics are intertwined everywhere.

You are right that what matters most are the rules of the game that permit or hold back needed changes to make the state serve a broader range of interests or not.

I think that at the end of the day, it comes out that Yuschenko has failed to provide the needed leadership and lost the trust of the Ukrainian people. I don't think such trust can be won back that's why I think the best thing he could do for NSNU is to step down and let Yekhanurov lead the party and the country.

If he did that, he would still go down as a great man in Ukrainian history as the one who gave his face so that real change towards real independence could begin.