Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Center for American Progress video on Ukraine

Watch a one and a half hour video of last week's presentations at the Center for American Progress by former Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, and the brilliant James Sherr, head of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, discussing Ukraine’s upcoming elections, the Ukrainian economy, U.S.-Ukraine relations under the Obama administration, and the impact of the "reset" of U.S.-Russia relations on Ukraine.

Volodymyr Lytvyn was supposed to have attended too, but for some pukach reason he failed to show up.

Update: Also check out this insightful piece - '10 years of Putin', from stratfor.com, which explains why Russia is as it is..


elmer said...

The Stratfor piece - excellent. Thanks for the link.

Also spent the time to watch the American Progress video - very, very worthwhile.

A few points from the American Progress video:

- for the first time in Ukrainian history, Ukrainians don't yet realize it, but the fate of Ukraine is in the hands of - Ukrainians.

Ukraine's history throughout the ages, starting with the Mongols, on through the Treaty of Brest and the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Rooshan empire, and the sovok empire, has been decided outside of Ukraine.

Now, in the 21st century, Ukraine's fate, very realistically for the very first time, is in its own hands.

- whether they like to hear it or not, Ukrainians are, at this point, lacking in the skills which are necessary to create a strong democracy. Among those are vision, goal-setting, organizational skills, and a "protestant work ethic." However, Ukrainians are very coachable, despite the fact that it may not seem like it at times. "Ukraine fatigue" may indeed be a problem in Europe and the US - but at this point, Ukraine really does need all the coaching it can get.

- James Sherr is indeed an excellent analyst of Ukraine. However, I am still disturbed at people tripping all over themselves to kowtow to the monkeys in roosha, who throw perpetual tantrums, and whose only interest it to love misery, and to spread it around as far as they can. Roosha is falling apart at the seems - yet, for some reason, people still insist that, to a certain extent, Ukraine's fate depends on kowtowing to the chimps in roosha. Wrong!!!!! Enough said about oily orthodox mother roosha.

- Great observation about the difference between goverment in roosha and "government" in Ukraine: in roosha, the government provides, and people must obey (as the government beats them over the head); in Ukraine, the government is distrusted, and the people demand that it stay out of their way.

The American Progress vivideo was well worth the time.

I only hope that the "political elite selepky" in Ukraine finally take note.

But they won't. So Biden's comment is valid - he wished that that government in Ukraine would be as mature as the people in Ukraine.

And I will add - NOW, rather than later.

UkrToday said...

Thanks for the link to this recorded seminar.

David Kramers introductonary speech was worthy of note. (Although his assessment of the polls was somewhat lacking credibility, Yatseniuk's support has come predominately from Yushchenko not Tymoshenko and they indicate an overall decline in confidence for all political parties )

Key points made in David's Speech include:

Allegations of Ukraine being a failed state in perpetual crisis, a country that is in dire situation.

Closer analysis reveals that while Ukraine is going though great difficulty it is not a failed a state or a state that is at risk of losing its independence or sovereignty but the economic situation is a serious threat to Ukraine. Ukraine's leaders need to focus on this and if need be put their political differences aside.

GDP has declined since last fall (Autumn) 14% to 15%. First quarter this year GDP declined 20.3% with estimates of the first half of the year averaging out at 18% In contrast this follows on from an average growth over the past seven years of nearly 7% per year.

The local currency plunged 40% this year and has stabilized as a result of the IMF assistance stimulus package of 10 billion US dollars since the start of the world economic crisis.

Ukraine has experienced a significant impact on the economic crisis due to it reliance on the price of heavy metals and chemicals which have fallen as a result of the world economic crisis.

Budget deficit has risen to 6.5% of GDP. Prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko has promised to reduce spending and reign in the budget deficit. The IMF has demanded a reduction in the subsidy and an increase in energy prices. Ukraine needs to focus on Energy efficiency and develop its own resources.

President Yushchenko, who is on 2.3% in the polls, chances for re-election are not that significant

There are many in Ukraine who want better relations with Russia and with the west. They should be able to do both.

Ukraine remains a fragile democracy.

UkrToday said...

In closing: The last question raised a follow up question,

What is the biggest threat to Ukrainian security to day? All participants appeared to agree on the answer, Ukrainians. Ukraine inability to formalize a compromise position and pursue that in a focused way.

The conversation made it clear that in ten panels eyes there are only three main contenders in the forthcoming presidential elections - Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and Yatseniuk. Yushchenko was not considered a candidate with any real prospect.

All agreed that the current division of power was unworkable. t6eh question left unresolved was what needs to be done to fix it.

To a large extent the system is the problem.

Ukraine has had 18 years under presidential rule. The presidential system has failed Ukraine. It has had less then five years under a partial parliamentary model and during which time there have been significant changes. The changes have been limited primarily due to the instability and constant undermining of Ukraine development by Ukraine;'s President, Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine has a long way to go and it needs to relay the foundation stones of a democratic state and begin to rebuild an independent democratic sovereign state.

This is best done under a European Model of Parliamentary democracy.