Saturday, December 22, 2007

Problems in PoR

LEvko considers that the PoR bloc has behaved rather timidly and ineffectively lately. They failed, rather unexpectedly, to persuade any NUNS, or perhaps BYuT deputies to abstain in recent voting, with the notable exception of Ivan Plyushch, and so left the door open for the new Tymoshenko-led administration to be formed. Their 175 deputies could, of course close down the Verkhovna Rada at any time by tearing up their parliamentary deputy mandates, thus following the precedent set by the orange opposition in the previous VR convocation, but their smarter members are aware that their main selling points - compenent management of the economy, and good relations with Russia, were not sufficient to provide victory in the recent VR re-elections. In short, they realize they need some new ideas. Frightening the Ukrainian electorate with the 'orange plague' is not enough.

Many PoR members, quite reasonably, live in the hope of a rapid collapse of the new wafer-thin VR 'democratic' majority. Neverthess it is becoming apparent that all is not well in their ranks. They did not even manage to persuade the two minor blocs in the VR - the Communists and Lytvyn's bloc, to co-operate with them when voting on procedural matters last week.

Below are some portions of an article I've loosely translated, entitled "Yanukovych did not grease [his] "oppositional skis", from the latest edition of the excellent 'Kommentarii' weekly:

"Besides an ideological crisis, PoR is enduring a serious crisis of decentralization where disorder and swings of opinion reign. Among the "Regionaly" there is no unanimous opinion on a question very important for them right now: on the law about the opposition. An additional signal which testifies to internal confusion in the party, is the fact that before voting, the voting cards of their VR deputies [nardepov] are gathered and pooled together, in other words they suffer the same misfortune as the 'oranges' - mutual distrust.

Centralized decision making is in no better shape. Victor Yanukovych is still considered the party's formal leader, but long absences 'from the captain's bridge' reveals that in PoR they are still considering whether he should hand over the reins of administration. Many, even among PoR members, consider Yanukovych too clumsy and inexperienced a parliamentary politician to be an effective leader of the opposition. Viktor Fedorovich of course, does not think this, and is already forming a shadow government.

It is no secret that Rinat Akhmetov and his closest companion-in-arms Boris Kolesnikov envisage Raisa Bohatyryova, not Viktor Yanukovych, as leader of the 'blue and white' opposition. Akhmetov has his own vision of oppositional activity. Judging by everything, Akhmetov is well disposed to constructive collaboration with the President, with whom has recently become closer. Viktor Yushchenko can protect Akhmetov from the "reprivatisational" attacks of Yulia Tymoshenko. Akhmetov would like to hold "white and blue" opposition in his pocket and if necessary deal with the President with the votes of his companions-in-arms. Other businessmen in PoR hold differing views. Thus, the Party of Regions faction could become a source from where the "democrats" could draw situational deserters.

There is the third category of "Regionalov", which do not desire to be a "pocket" opposition, but also do not see Viktor Yanukovych as an effective leader of the opposition. They include Nestor Shufrich, who fancies himself as opposition leader. He possesses all the necessary attributes, including long-standing experience as a parliamentarian and public politician, and he appeals to the "regionaly" electorate. In principle, if the "old guards" and "young turks" in PoR arrive achieve consensus, then Nestor Ivanovich could have a chance to become a compromise figure and occupy the post of PoR leader. However, many in the party have not thus far even comprehended the existence of the problem of the absence of a united leader.

An article from the British "Guardian" newspaper on Putin allegedly acquiring billions of dollars assets during his stint as President of Russia, and the resultant factional infighting in the Kremlin, has provoked a response. The story could well 'have legs'


Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like the scrambling right now is by the oligarchs - mainly, to figure out how they can hang on to ill-gotten wealth.

But here's the question - is this the beginning of the end of virtual politics in Ukraine?

Is this finally the beginning of open, responsible, accountable representative democratic government?

For example - investigation into the Zasyadko mine disaster on a realistic basis - I don't think mine disasters have been really investigated previously.

For example - investigation into the recent death of a Ukrainian soldier due to "didivshchyna" - vicious hazing of younger soldiers (something that absolutely makes no sense).

For example - a realistic move to eliminate, finally, parliamentary deputy immunity. After all, even the Party of Regions made loud noises about eliminating it during the long limbo after President Yushchenko dissolved the Rada. Of course, they could make all the noise they wanted, because no repeal was going to be enacted at that time. Nevertheless, they made the loud noises - now let them live by it.

Anonymous said...

The real challenge facing Port is the need for it to protect itself as being pro Europe. russia and proUkraine. Poor's election campaign failed in many respects most notably was its inability to dismiss the propaganda coming from the "Orange" Camp who have renamed themselves democratic coalition

Democratic in name alone

PoR and other political forces need to make their stamp and position clear Parliamentary democracy i line with European Standards or return to a system of presidential dictatorship.