In their last issue of 2011 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' asked 20 emminent Ukrainian journalists, political technologists, sociologists, writers, civic leaders etc. whether a change in government is possible in 2012.
Readers of the internet version could register whether they agree or disagree with any of the opinions expressed by any of the commenters.
In general the tone of the article is gloomy - the country seems to be in a state of deep malaise. Reader's assessments underscore this.
Here are a few [edited] comments:
Vitaliy Portnikov -TV journalist:
For me it is clear that post-Soviet system of governance and social division has exhausted itself - and not only in Ukraine. A [period of] global redistribution of power and a changes of elite approaching throughout the former Soviet Union. I would not like to be a prophet and say for certain that this redistribution will take place in Ukraine in 2012, but it is inevitable. And this will certainly not be just a banal regime change - the depths of the shocks experienced could easily be comparable to those of the early 90's.
2842 Agree, 149 Disagree
But journalist Mustafa Nayem considers any change is not possible at the the moment. Those who could potentially take over power are not capable of explaining why those currently in power are worse that they are. Agree 1827, Disagree 254
Nayem's TV colleague Mykola Knyazytskyi, considers a change is possible. If the country's basic democratic principles are neglected and there are no resources to fulfill the social needs of its citizens, mass protests may start any minute, and no one can predict when they could start. The Ukrainian political system was reformed by Viktor Yanukovych himself so he has taken the entire responsibility for what happens in the country onto himself. Sociological reports indicate that neither he nor his party command a majority of the electorate. Quite simply he is not liked as a leader. Dictators can retain power either by bayonets, or by the love of the people...And if there is no love, then Facebook and Twitter - are much more powerful weapons than bayonets. And an unloved and disarmed politician cannot retain power [for long periods]. Agree 2269, Disagree 84
And this, probably more sober analysis, from the writer Andriy Kurkov:
..Today, no real political rivals [ready to challenge] the party [of Regions] exist. If the nearest party to them [Tymoshenko's] "Batkivschyna", gain a majority in parliamentary elections, an interesting situation may arise when a lot of the MP's who deserted earlier to "Regiony"return. Then, together they could change the party leadership, and if necessary declare "Batkivshchyna" the reformed PoR. I, like many citizens do not see any ideological difference between these parties.
PoR has become knows as a "rough bulldozer" which clears all the best locations for construction sites for its close circle. However, it is difficult to believe that with the coming of the new political force anything would change suddenly. Ukraine remains a desert, not only in an economical but also in a political sense. There is an attitude of protest amonst the people - they are ready to vote "against". But they are more "against' that which exists than "for" what is to come. There is a catastrophic lack of ideological competition in the country...The ideology of the main parties is just money and desire to remain in power as long as possible, which means control of state and budgetary finances and control of the security forces and justice. With these you can continue to legalize the duration of the period in power.
But nothing eternal exists, and new names will be added to the list of parties of power. If these new parties are not created by politicians from other camp, they will be created by the Party of Regions itself in order to ensure a "peaceful transfer of power" to a younger generation, i.e. their children in the literal as well as figurative sense.
Ukrainians will have to wait a long time for a George Washington. Particularly as the Ukrainian political scene has been infected with another dangerous virus - a virus of corporate retaliation, which is the main reason, for example, for the imprisonment of Yuri Lutsenko. Agree 945, Disagree 238
p.s. The successful, award-winning Danish political television drama 'Borgen' has just started a run on British TV. The central character is Birgitte Nyborg, leader of the Moderate party, who comes from behind in parliamentary elections as the result of a scandal involving the incumbent prime minister. In the first episode he used a government credit card to pay for some accessories and clothes at Burberry's for his wife on a trip to London. The sum involved was 70,000 Danish Krone [about 7,000 Euro] . This was enough to bring him down.
Nyborg herself cycles to work. She puts on weight during the election campaign and some of her clothes don't fit well. On the night of the election she returns home in a taxi...
Ukrainians would consider such a plot prepostrous.