Friday, August 04, 2006

It's over

That's it. That's the end of it, Yuschenko's presidency I mean. He still has some time left but he will be more and more irrelevant to the end of his term. He may have some constitutional powers left and can have some influence that way according to some. But the answers are not found in the constitution, such as it is. (And they have never been found there.) What happens now will be the result of personality, suspension of conscience, discipline, power and money. In other words, the same old thing. And Yuschenko isn't very effective in that kind of arena. He won't even enter the lists.

Our Ukraine wants to get in while the pickings are good. How different they've showed themselves to be from what they said on the Maidan? Isn't that contemptible? And what about Moroz? Can anybody still look at the guy when he speaks and take him seriously at all? Or can they still even look at him? He had better hope the new government lasts because he hasn't a prayer otherwise.

When they announced the Socialist party had signed the universal whatever-it-was, my first reaction was, What Socialist party? There isn't one. Moroz has decimated it in the scramble to satisfy himself.

By the way, anyone find it interesting that there is a need for these agreements? To get anything done politically there's a need to sign an agreement. Why is that? Discuss.

So is the Orange Revolution dead? It's a funny thing that now people are down to saying that it isn't dead because there's freedom of the press and freedom of business. (Some others would add free elections to that.) Those are important but they're pretty meager fare. The problem is that none of these--not a one of them-- is institutionalized so not one of them is permanent.

The elections were courtesy of Victor Yuschenko. He didn't use administrative resources as have others. But he didn't use them not because they were denied him but because he wasn't going to use them. The reason was personal to him. But they're still there to be used by anyone who won't scruple to do it. Guess what?

Freedom of the press? How about threatening to cancel the license? That would be a frontal assault and it's happened before. And if it happened, there would be hunger strikes by reporters and outrage from liberals. But would anybody take to the streets? No. And the liberals can be targeted other ways to try and shut them up.

But that's the frontal assault. How about more subtlety? Just investigate them for tax deficiencies. It's worked real well for Putin. Having to defend themselves in audits and in the courts with the threat of dissolution hanging over their heads can have a wonderful affect on the mind. "Maybe we have been a little too hard on the government." The result? Temniki. "So what is the government's position on this? We do have a responsibility to be unbiased after all."

That leaves freedom of business. It's true there is business here and it's getting robuster (is that a word?) And there's more competition than there's been in the past. But, and I will put it this way, power for the clans has come from control, control of business and of government, both of which generate money. To let the market work is to share power. More competition means less control, less power and less money. You tell me which is more likely?

I guess it is possible things have changed and, since monkeys can come up with the works of Shakespeare, that makes it a possiblity too. (Statistics anyone? It would take a million million monkeys, a million million years to come up with the word "Shakespeare.") That would mean though that Yanukovych and Akhmetov have changed. Some believe that this is a way for Akhmetov to have more credibility in the West and that he will bow down to Western gods as a result. I have had my say on this already. But let me add that we in the West thought that freeing markets and shock therapy would discipline the market, the players and the government in both Ukraine and Russia. Democracy would be the offspring. The mechanism would be self-interest--a universal law of nature, it looks like.

But it didn't happen.

Yanukovych may want better relations with Russia but he isn't going to favor Russian business interests. (See the above.) Putin doesn't care about that, though. Business interests in Russia are subordinated to geo-political interests, which are defined as whatever the Kremlin determines them to be. Now he's got someone he can work with--and possibly manipulate--in Ukraine. That's all that matters.

I haven't kept my word that I would not be commenting on the government. The reason for that is that with some of the things happening it's tough to keep one's mouth shut. The other reason is that Yuschenko has been in power. But the second of those reasons has now changed so we will be keeping our word from now on.

At least, that is, until we just can't keep our mouth shut anymore.


R. Smith said...

Maybe the agreements are just a byproduct. What they really can't get along without is back-room wheeling and dealing, and they know they're done when they've both signed a paper. (Note that the paper isn't legally binding).

Also, when did you give your word not to talk politics? I, for one, have no objection whatsoever to you talking politics-- just talk, I'm listening.

DLW said...

I think it matters how Ukrainians still perceive the OR. I'd hope they've dissassociated it with Yusch.

I think there's also some irony in Yanu speaking of the OR with positive words/spin, even if they are hypocritical. It means the OR has some meaning, even if some are trying to subvert its meaning...

I think it's possible that Yusch's system may get shocked by the recent developments. It's also possible that more western countries will realize the significance of Ukraine for the Former Soviet Union and get more involved.

But what matters most is at the grassroots, whether the spirit of the OR evinces itself further through other acts of civil disobedience.

That's the variable that can't be controlled... I completely agree that the pursuit of self-interest by itself does absolutely nothing...