Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Polish visit presents Yanukovych with a stark choice

Twenty years ago, on 24th August 1991, the day when Ukraine proclaimed its independence, your humble blogger was in Warsaw. Poland was the first country to recognise the nascent Ukrainian state and is, even today, Ukraine's 'best friend'. But right now they are dismayed by what they see as the 'roll-back' of democracy in the country and the political persecution of Ukrainian opposition leaders, in particular.

Today president Yanukovych was visiting Polish president Komorowski on the Baltic coast in what could turn out to be a watershed meeting.

In an op-ed piece in one of Poland's leading newspapers, 'Gazeta Wyborcza', a Polish presidential advisor worries: "..whether the Ukrainian authorities are fully aware of the consequences that this [Tymoshenko] trial may have on the success of projects of key importance on the declared desire of their permanent association with the European Union."

He adds: In Warsaw, the great hope is that by the end of the six-month period of the Polish presidency, EU talks on association agreements and free trade agreements [with Ukraine] will be concluded, but developments in Kyiv could tie the hands of Poland on the issue.
Arguments of politicians and countries reluctant to draw Ukraine into the EU may gain the upper hand. If we fail to do so by the end of 2011, talks on the association may be a drag on for many months or even longer.

It seems that the authorities in Kyiv, and President Viktor Yanukovych in particular, should take into accout this eventuality. It would be fatal if they have underestimated the seriousness of the situation.

In this high-stakes game for European status for Ukraine Kyiv should not provide arguments that undermine their chances of success.

Other Polish experts also think Komorowski will be trying to convince Yanukovych to free Tymoshenko from custody, whilst Yanukovych could be asking for advice on how to best extricate himself from the mess his hubris and lust for revenge have led him into.

It's looking more and more as if red lines are being drawn - Komorowski may well have told his Ukrainian counterpart: Back-off the opposition, or you're on your own pal..if you do not, a diplomatic train-wreck for you and your ministry of foreign affairs guys may well be in prospect..

Whatever Yanukovych decides, his democratic credentials have already been irretrievably damaged. This may be his last foreign trip westward for a while..

1 comment:

UkrToday said...

From Kyiv Post Articles

"Since the election of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010, Ukraine has experienced a significant and alarming deterioration in its democratic framework."


"Consolidation of power. After Yanukovych’s election last year, the Constitutional Court rescinded constitutional changes made in 2004 as part of the settlement that brought about a peaceful end to the Orange Revolution."

What frame work? Ukraine has never been a democratic state, As long as it retains a presidential system it never will be,

Yes the changes in 2004 were a step in the right direction but they did not go far enough. They should have removed power from the office of the president and established a full parliamentary system of government

Whilst the orange revolution was seen as the start of a process of democratisation of Ukraine it was opposed by Yushchenko. Yushchenko caused the collapse of the so called orange revolution, A revolution that was still born when they elected Yushchenko to office. Yushchenko opposed Ukraine adopting European values and European models as Estonia and Latvia had done. He opposed the notion of a constitutional majority of Parliament electing the head of state, preferring instead to waste 100's of millions of dollars electing a President. Yushchenko clung on to power only to deliver that power to Yanukovych who soon acted to restore and consolidate presidential authority over Ukraine's parliament and the courts.

Yushchenko set the precedents when he unconstitutionally dismissed Ukraine's previous parliament and illegally interfered with the independence and operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court,

Europe made the mistake in having correctly identified that Yushchenko had in fact violated Ukraine's Constitution the EU remained silent and allowed him to do so without impunity or revocation. By remaining silent they allowed Yushchenko to undermine confidence, trust and stability in the democratic process.

Before being elected to the office of President Yanukovych was supporting of democratic reform, since taking office he has abandoned these policies. Yes the criticism of the direction that Yanukoych is now taking is valid and yes the EU must stand up and speak out against this misuse and abuse, in the same way they should have spoken up against Yushchenko when he misused and abused his position of office.

Hopefully they will recognise their failure of the past and not repeat the same mistakes. Tn problem is their own credibility is already undermined by past events.


Yes Yushenko was the main cause for the collapse of the orange revolution. He refused to support the formation of an Orange coalition, which signaled the end of the revolution in 2006. In 2007 he violated Ukraine;s constitution causing untold economic damage and seven months of political and civil unrest. Having successfully destabilised Ukraine's political system Yushchenko continued to oppose efforts for Ukraine to become a parliamentary democracy. Yushchenko set back Ukraine's democratic development decades if not generations.

History will record him as the father that committed democratic infanticide. killing off democracy before it had a chance to breathe and develop. The final blow was giving birth to Yanukoych's presidency.


Towards the end of Yushchenko term of office it was like watxhing a man who had suffered s atrioke and was paralysed from the bottom up. He was ahrd;y bretahy and still he clung on to power to the very last gasp desperate to acheive who knows what. It was pretty obvious that with 85% of Ukraine opposed to Yushchenko's re-electyion that he was going to lose. I can not recall a single head of state or president who had fallen from a high of 52% to below 5% support within a single term of office.

If anyone should be facing trial of misuse and abuse of office it is Yushchenko.

Tymoshenko, Moroz and Lustenko's greatest mistake was trusting Yushchenko. Yushchenko betrayed