Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some themes II

2. The dismissal of the government was a crisis. This was the tack of some articles. Others framed it in terms of ultimate doom and catastrophe. In none of the articles I read, until I got to the analyses for investors, was anything good said about it.

But the government dismissal was not a crisis; it resolved a crisis. The crisis was actually the previous 8 months or so of the government. Lots of ministers saying lots of things and all seemed to be pulling in different directions.

There were any number of problems but the one that seemed to hang around the most was the re-privatization issue. I had thought after the election that it was not politically possible for Yuschenko to avoid re-privatizing some of the enterprises sold off during the Kuchma era. It had been a centerpiece of his campaign and it also represented a reassertion of some justice after what had gone on in the previous administration and for many years in the past. But the figure out of the gate was 3,000. There was no way that was going to fly with investors and business. No one wants to put money into something where the title is suspect right off the bat. And, in the context of this area of the world, showing that the government had both the power and the will—the means, motive and opportunity--to re-privatize is not going to reassure anyone that title to anything will ever be more than suspect. If they do it once, they can do it again if the will is there. And with the kind of populism that was a part of Tymoshenko’s government, the will to do so would always hang around in the background ready to hand if needed or wanted. At least that would be the feeling.

No, the crisis was the previous government. The new government has created the sense of much more stability. They all seem to be talking with a single voice right now. And that has made financial analysts less wary.

3. Tymoshenko is the winner in all of this. The polls seem to say that. Her party seems to have 20% of the electorate while Yuschenko is currently at about 14%. This is significant and if the election were held today, she would be forming the new government.

But the election is not being held today. It will be held in March, 6 months away. Those 6 months are an eternity in democracies. Lots of things can happen in the meantime that can change those poll numbers. And the point is, a point lost on a number of people, that Yuschenko is in power and has the power to make the kinds of changes that can affect those poll numbers. Tymoshenko, on the other hand, has no power to affect anything. She can call a press conference and talk about it all, but the power is with Yuschenko and his government and that can make all the difference. Of course he actually has to do something positive but to be able to do something is better than waiting around for something to bad to happen to capitalize on it.

Isn’t it possible that Tymoshenko realized this and that is the reason for the offer to Yuschenko on the new government?

The funny thing is that some of her appeal came from the fact that she was seen as sticking it to the Russians. But now that she has made her way north and found some kind of an accomdation with Putin and with Russia, what will that do to her appeal? After this, will the activists still see her in the same light? Yuschenko may have become more pragmatic but she seems to have followed suit. What will the OR purists have to say about that?

To be continued…


Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to see an optimistic perspective on this-- I'd been looking for one. Let's hope it all works out for the best.

On a related note, the impression I'm getting from my American Heritage class (we're covering the Constitutional Convention right now) is that this sort of trouble is hard to avoid anyway, in the wake of a revolution. Democracy, I guess, (like Empire) isn't built in a day.

In other news, I visited part of a symposium on religion and politics today-- specifically the part about Eastern Europe. Let me say that if the quality of the representatives that countries send to American symposia is at all representative of these governments as a whole, then:

1. Belarus isn't getting a revolution this year. I wasn't sure what the guy was getting at half the time.

2. Ukraine is getting ready to take the world by storm. A quick google search on Gennadiy Druzenko (or better: Геннадій Друзенко) will turn up some stuff he's written. His speech & responses were well above par.

The guys from Russia were all right, and seemed competent enough. The lady from Armenia rather scared me.

Tell Dallas I said 'hi'. :-)

Scott W. Clark said...

The Cosntitutional Convention is a good analogy not only for here but also for Iraq. It looks nice, clean and neat, in hindsight. But it wasn't at the time and it was a bit of a subterfuge too. A coup by teh elites the results of which have been good.

The problem is those results. Yuschenko has to have them and it is lamnetable that so much time and political capital has been lost that could have gone to establishing the kind of institutions and traditions needed here. They wouldn't have been able to do it all but the direction could have been etablished and secured somewhat. But a lot still can be done and Yuschenko is the only one who is saying anything about any of it really.

So you are right.

Dallas smiled when I told him and told him who said it. Natasha did too.