Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Piskun deal

I can’t believe the bad decisions coming from Yuschenko and his office. I don’t know if it’s his own counsel he keeps or if he is getting advice from somewhere else, but that whole Piskun problem shows an amazing ability to create a major issue out of what really is a minor deal.

It looks to me like Yuschenko wanted Piskun out so he could get someone in to investigate the Constitutional Court judges for corruption. That would nullify any decision they might make not in his favor. Get someone in and take care of the judges. Easy work. Piskun wouldn’t do it though so Piskun is out. But Piskun would never have done it so it was only very narrow thinking that put him in as PG in the first place. Bad, bad, bad decision there, very bad. I wonder what little short term benefit, what ten minute tactical advantage resulted from that little jewel?

Yanukovych may be wondering how bad it looks for the Berkut to be storming public offices but it looked to me on TV as if the forces of light were trying to stave off a play for power by the President and his crew. And I am a naïve supporter of his, one maybe of the last. Piskun was sacked as LEvko noted with a pretty weak argument by the president’s man. It was a technical argument: Piskun failed to resign his position.

Piskun’s response, delivered on the spot on TV? “I did resign!” Who wins here? Piskun. He was forceful and energetic and looked sufficiently surprised. The president’s man looked like a functionary and the argument was just too technical for words. It came over with the same force that coming and saying he should have signed his name in black ink would have done.

The president’s follow up? He made the same technical argument for dismissal. He added though ominously that there were people trying to seize power and they no doubt are but that is the same argument Yanuk and Co. have been making. How would the people choose between the two?

Yank and Co. just look more credible here. They make the argument that there is a seizure of power going on and Yuschenko obliges by firing the PG because he didn’t sign the right form. It looks like a play for power starting with the PG. And if his opponents link it up to the Constitutional Court, saying that he wants to find someone who will take members of that court down, then a lot of people will be in favor of sending the Berkut to a lot of other places than the PG’s office. Maybe even, disastrously, to Bankova Street. (President’s offices.)

It’s just so badly handled by the president and his staff, so very badly handled. He should have done what he has failed to do his whole presidency: make the case for it. If Piskun was not doing his job, the president should make the case for dismissal based on that. It would help if it were tied into the constitution to give it some heft and to make his position consistent, but he should have made the case on those grounds. He either thinks that the rightness of a thing is obvious to all who see it or he is just another Ukrainian political functionary who doesn’t have to explain nuttin’ to nobody. I prefer the first but entertain the second as a possibility.

And what would have been hurt if he had ignored Piskun? PG have a tendency to not do anything anyway about what goes on here. Why not just ignore him and make his case with what he has? He could take on any decision of the court with what he has now, a lot of allegations about corruption among the judges. To want the PG to take on the CC is too much of a shortcut.

But this has been the story of his presidency. So many bungled or missed opportunities; so much involvement in small things that the big ones come around and bite him. He needs better advice or a willingness to take it or both.

Yanukovych, on the other hand, has had very good advice and he has taken it. His little speech about the seizure of power had some sound bite quotes in it and made me think of the American advisors he has had. Not that Ukrainians aren’t sophisticated enough to provide that kind of advice—they are. But the sound bite quality of some of his speech sounded so American spin-doctorish to me.

He has taken the advice he has been given and his public persona is better for it. He comes across as more statesmanlike than he did--there isn’t any thug about him like there was before. Problem is that what is going on underneath it all is much the same as was going on underneath it all before.

But you gotta admire the quality of the advice and the ability to take it from the man and his people. Unfortunately, it won’t result in what’s best for the country.

It’s quite depressing really.


Anonymous said...

elmer here.

And my take on it is totally different from yours. I'm not criticizing here - it's just that I have a different take.

Notwithstanding the parroting of American sound bites by Yanuk, which mean absolutely nothing - and everyone in Ukraine knows it.

First - Piskun is an odious, loathsome troglodyte. You can catch him on PBS explaining to Myroslava Gongadze how, yes, indeed, one can commit suicide by shooting oneself twice - in the head - from the back.

Second - He is a Kuchma guy. Yushchenko got rid of him before. Piskun went forum shopping, until he finally found a court to reinstate him.

So Yushchenko "accepted" the court ruling, rather than fight it.

And then sacked him again.

Trying to use the riot police to retain one's government post - well, to me, that just stinks the wrong way.

Then, Piskun claims he found yet another court to reinstate him.

He was sacked for holding 2 offices at the same time. That is no small matter.

If nothing else, Yushchenko has succeeded in making it crystal clear that, as he said in his Easter speech, the temple must be cleansed of the Pharisees and moneychangers.

Why did Stanik's mom get $12 million dollars? How can Pshenychnyj afford a $1 million apartment?

The whole point is to get to elections. But Yanuk and his team had the Constitutional Court "in the bag."

Thanks to Yushchenko and his team, in what I think are very clever moves, the CC is no longer "in the bag."

He has made it crystal clear what a sewer Ukrainian politics and government is.

And why snap elections are needed more than ever.

David said...

Maybe a Yusch person will read your blog and get him to start taking some of your advice...