Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big gathering on Inter

Watch Friday's unfocussed three-and-a half-hour 'Svoboda na Interi' program, with Yushchenko, Lytvyn, Moroz, Yatsenyuk, Stelmakh, Azarov, Dobkin and other crooks from Ukraine's mount Olympus here

Notably, neither "she who stole gas" as the president called the PM, nor any other major figures from the government were there to defend the recently-approved budget. The show's presenters allowed many remarks to remain unchallenged. They allowed Yushchenko to drone on far to long.


Anonymous said...

First, they spent far too long on Yevpatoria. One of the comments was that noone could figure out how propane and oxygen cylinders or tanks, which appeared to have caused the explosion, wound up in the basement. You're kidding - noone follows the law or safety precautions in Ukraine!!!!

Picking on Yushchenko is unfair, I think. ALL of these people drone on and on and on. But it looks like they really need these programs to hash basic things out.

I wish that Western media allowed as much time for this type of discussion, but the problem in Ukraine is that they repeat many things, and drone on endlessly - they haven't learned yet the art of condensing their message where possible.

- And Yushchenko certainly knows what he's talking about, when it comes to economics, finance, banking and the budget.

I found the discussion very interesting in the following respects:

- Yatseniuk and Yushchenko, and almost everyone else, agreed that the budget that was just passed is - simply not realistic. Asarov pointed out the budget deficit.

- Lytvyn's excuse, which Yushchenko understood, was that the Parliament HAD to do something, for political reasons, to show that the Parliament was actually doing something.

- But there was much criticism - why pass a budget at all, if it's not realistic? What's the purpose of the budget? "Everyone ought to act like grownups"

- Yushchenko's idea was - look, we don't have a coalition, let's just all gather together in Parliament, regardless of left or right, to work against the crisis - and that will tell us who is Ukrainian, and who is not. Meaning, of course, who is taking their job seriously, and who is not.

- Former President Kravchuk was the most critical of the vicious outright wars and personal insults that are going on in Ukrainian politics now - a laughingstock.

- Yushchenko also mentioned that there needs to be reform.

- For example, pensions, which are very, very important in Ukraine, and a legacy of the sovok system, are subject to a multitude of different laws, resulting in different standards.

- Lytvyn wanted everything done behind closed doors, with only results announced to the public.

- Kravchuk called on Pres. Yushchenko to set an example in order to stop the current political wars, and to take the lead in stopping the current political wars. Kravchuk stated that there will never be an end when, after cabinet or government talks, people come out on TV screens and start hurling accusations.

Yushchenko responded that he was accused of profiting by several million dollars due to recent currency manipulation - which he states never happened.

It is clear that the accusations are very hurtful to him. By the same token, he ought to STOP using thugs like Baloha to hurl accusations all over the place at others.

- Yushchenko agreed that the accusations ought to be stopped, in responding to former Pres. Kravchuk. But Kravchuk stated that the President ought not to lower himself by engaging in tit-for-tat, that he ought to remain above it all, noting that by virtue of his position, the president will be attacked.

- It was very distracting to watch Yatseniuk and Kravchuk engage in a lively, animated side discussion while Stelmach was speaking about the National Bank - even though Stelmach does tend to drone on and on.

- Yatseniuk pointed out that the tradition in Ukraine has been to celebrate the New Year and Christmas "not under a Christmas tree but under Gazprom," and it appears that the Gazprom tradition of gas cut-offs, etc., is being followed this year. He gave a very good explanation of the factors going into the currency exchange of the hryvnia, as well as gas prices, and the role of imports and inflation, and the historical trends of the Ukrainian economy in the context of the global crisis.

- Stelmach pointed out a request that was made to the National Bank to refinance existing loans in order for the government to be able to fund - pensions.

- Yushchenko further explained the factors that caused the devaluation of the hryvnia, including a huge trade imbalance, foreign debt, and budget deficit.

- Interesting - Yatseniuk, in a very, very lively discussion, pointed out that there are no true political parties in Ukraine - only clubs built around personalities, and the people have no idea of who is in the "party," besides the top 5 or 10. He also announced the formation of his own new political party, which includes 4 or 5 people from the Party of Regions, whose representative was questioning Yatseniuk in the discussion.

- There was also a discussion of the role of the opposition, not as enemies of the government, but as watchdogs who insure that the government functions in the best way possible. There was some agreement that there is no true loyal opposition in Ukraine, but rather people who are in and out of government.

- Interesting - when the Party of Regions rep announced that his party does not sell itself, the audience HOWLED - to which Lytvyn replied that the audience has given its evaluation of the statement.

- The situation surrounding the arrest of the administrative judge, Zvarych, was mentioned. In the words of Moroz, who was worried about corruption in the judiciary, he referred to justice being dependent on how much "caroling money" was given to the particular judge (referring to the judge's own statements about a supposed Ukrainian "tradition" of "sowing" a new office with money from assorted visitors).

- This led to a discussion by Yushchenko (who did indeed give a long, but excellent speech at the last part of the program) about how the Prosecutor General's office was, in fact, controlled by the coalition in power, how judges responded to requests to drop criminal charges by the coalition in power, and how, because of prior constitutional "reforms," there was a loss of balance of power, leading to the current corrupt situation - and heated political wars.

- He also pushed for the elimination of parliamentary immunity, stating that if it is not eliminated, corruption, which is ruining the country, will not be eliminated. His question was - "who are we afraid of"? He's absolutely right about that, and it brought some applause from the audience.

- He also pushed for judicial reform, noting correctly in the discussion that it was a democratic party, BYuT, which blocked the rostrum in the Parliament. Of course, EVERYONE has blocked the rostrum in the Parliament at one time or another, in a sort of perpetual rugby scrum, with fisticuffs sometimes thrown in.

- He correctly pointed out that a discussion such as was taking place today, where people actually listened to each other, was unthinkable 4 years ago, before the Orange Revolution, and hard-won democracy.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to monopolize the conversation here, but I think that there are a few more points which must be made or emphasized here:

- First, the audience was a very good challenger of the remarks of the assorted speakers, by applause, or by outright howls, when the Party of Regions guy proclaimes that the PoR does not sell itself

- Second, the PoR guys looked thoroughly dazed, confused and - scared. They looked like deer in headlights. The one PoR guy started some shrill, hysterical hyperbole about Bandera and other nonesuch. It is clear that they are little sovok apparatchiks, who have absolutely no idea what democracy is about.

- Yatseniuk is very fast on his feet, and he disarmed the PoR guys with some great humorous comebacks - such as the one about his forming a new party, which would include several current members of PoR.

- It seems as if there are a few people trying to start a sort of democratic tradition in Ukraine. By that, I mean former president Kravchuk coming forth, not to criticize or lecture the current president, but to offer his experiences, and perhaps some friendly observations. Or Yatseniuk refusing to comment on the current Speaker, stating flatly that "a former Speaker should never comment on a current Speaker."

- Yuschenko is absolutely right - before the Orange Revolution, such a conversation, lengthy as it was, would have been unthinkable in a public TV studio.

Very, very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for those last two comments - very interesting too.

LEvko said...

Thanks for your detailed comments Elmer - these are most welcome. The program was certainly instructive - I don't know if the average Joe would have the patience to sit through it all though..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing the program out. It took all the patience I had to sit through the thing.

Even the participants couldn't sit still - Kravchuk and Yatseniuk had themselves a very animated side discussion, ignoring everything else that was going on at one point. It looked like they were having a good time by themselves.

Unknown said...

Thank you Elmer for your postings. Your postings are usually quite informative and I appreciate your efforts.