Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Political pundits' predictions for 2012

Several days ago emminent journalists and civic leader members of Vitaliy Portnikov's 'Polit Club' talking shop met in a central Kyiv coffee bar for an "end-of-year report/forecast-for-next-year" session .

Two-hour video of the event here

Increasing numbers of protests were predicted in the New Year. Ominously, there are reports that the salaries of some state employees in Kyiv are already slipping in arrears.

The arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko, the most significant event of 2011, became a wake-up call not only for politicians and public figures, but also for the oligarchs. A precedent has been set - her fate could be suffered by anyone, so even the richest in the country cannot feel 100% safe.

There was general agreement that inevitably, significant fraud will take place in next Autumn's parliamentary elections because the ratings of the current government [as well as that of Yanukovych himself] have dropped to worryingly low levels. Nevertheless, the competitve nature of Ukrainian politics, which Yanukovych will not be able to modify or destroy, will sooner or later force him out of power.

Like it or not, because of lack of refoms, Ukraine remains very much a part of the post-Soviet space. Recent events in Russia indicate that a lack of perspective for the future coupled with a desire for change is driving the most active members of society onto the streets. Protesters realise that without change disaster awaits and the current state structure is simply not sustainable. Despite its massive resources Russia has not been able to avoid social discontent so the likelyhood of such events taking place in Ukraine, which is in a far worse economic situation, is much greater. Economic turmoil in Europe and high cost of gas imports will only increase Ukraine's woes.

Predicted political chaos will take place when the authorities run out of money; but out of this chaos, hopefully, and new political elite may be formed.


elmer said...

One thing that really grates on my nerves, and it has for years, is that, for some reason, people in Ukraine think that democracy is not about democracy - that it is about a "political elite."

Overall, it sounds like Ukrainians can't figure out the way out of the current sewer - so they'll just remain in the same old sewer with a "new political elite."

To repeat - Ukraine's system seems to be a kaleidescope - different patterns when you rotate the tube, but same old pieces.

The point is to smash the kaleidescope and implement true representative democracy - which does not envision a "political elite" - new or old or stagnant or other.

That's the whole point of democracy - underlying the whole thing is a system of government in which rights of people are safeguarded, no matter who is in power, in which people feel confident that they are being represented by their ELECTED representatives, no matter who is elected, that the courts are independent, free and impartial, no matter who is in power.

There may be policy differences and shifts which overlay the whole thing, but above all, democracy is not about who is in power - democracy is about making sure that people are represented, that their rights are safeguarded, and that the government carries out its obligations.

Have people learned absolutely nothing from the stalin show trials of Ivashchenko, Lutsenko, Didenko, Tymoshenko and the others, except - oh, boogie, boogie, they may get me next?

Have they not learned that the way to prevent "they may get me next" is to implement a democracy and a judicial system that is not a stalinist show trial kangaroo court infested with chimps in robes?

Are Ukrainians really that thickheaded and blockheaded?

(with some exceptions, like Portnikov, Knyazhitsky, Michael Vinnitsky, Mustafa Nayem, Ukrainian Pravda, FEMEN and some others)

LEvko said...

Thanks for your comments Elmer.

My guess is that the current set-up suits too many of the populus - they are just comfortable with it. There are still far too many [I know, I frequently meet them] who consider giving a bribe [or taking one] the normal way of settling affairs.

Change HAS to come from the top..but not enough of those lower down the food chain really demand this. But I believe that eventually..bida navchyt'..but it will be messy..