So what has Yuschenko done wrong?
Some say it's that he dismissed Tymoshenko and split the Orange coalition. It may have split that coalition but I think she was sinking the country and should have been dismissed earlier. That would have given a guy like Yekhanurov time to put together some reform or to try to stabilize things a bit long before the March election campaigning started. So put me in the column that says firing her in September was a mistake. It should have come earlier, like May. But, even so, this isn't the biggest mistake his administration has made.
Others would say that it was the agreement signed with Yanukovych that was the big mistake. It was seen as a betrayal of the Orange Revolution that was a protest against the man. Was that the mistake? I think Yuschenko had to do something to get his candidate in and that seemed a likely thing to do. He wasn't going to get Yulia's support though maybe that would have been possible somehow. But Yanukovych was looking for some legitimacy and this made him a good bet for support. So Yuschenko signed.
But this wasn't the big mistake either.
Or was it that reform was not undertaken fast enough? That is another mistake, though some would say that reform in Ukraine is something for a long haul so it was unlikely that any meaningful reform would take place in s short period of time. This is all true. Expectations were set too high and they were bound to meet up with reality and people would be disillusioned.
Was that a mistake? Yes, it was. But it wasn't the biggest mistake.
All of these were mistakes and have caused problems for Yuschenko right now and may end up causing problems for the country. But they weren't the big mistake. The big mistake is that Yuschenko and his administration have not let the people know what is going on and why it was going on. They needed to make their case to the people and they haven't done it at all. They ahve acted as if good faith and pure hearts are enough. They aren't. There has to be communication with the people. The lack of it has left the people with having to make sense of everything themselves. Cynicism and disillusionment have been the result.
We have been hammering on this for a long time in this blog. To do what he had to do he had to have the people behind him. And you cannot expect the support of the people when they are not let in on what it is you are doing and why it is you are doing it.
That is the big mistake.