Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pandora's box

Distinguished Russian Journalist, Maxim Yusin, yesterday, wrote this in 'Vzglyad':

"Yanukovych will fight"

"Ukrainian opposition, united around the Yulia Tymoshenko's "Batkivshchyna" party recently publicly presented its programme in Kyiv. The oppositions' aim - to win parliamentary elections on October 28 and to "start the process of removal of Viktor Yanukovych from power".

Will it be possible to implement this plan? The odds are not that good right now.

First, the opposition themselves admit in order to implement their goals they need to not just to win, but to inflict a crushing defeat, securing at least 300 out of 450 seats. Only then will they be able to start an impeachment process.

Currently polls show the opposition to have only a small lead over Party of Regions - one to four percent.

Secondly, parliamentary elections will be held under the new rules - half the seats in parliament will be taken up by single-mandate candidates who the ruling party will find much easier to manipulate than those who enter parliament on party lists. 'Buying out' of parliamentarians and jumping from one faction to another has long been a tradition in Ukrainian politics. Tariffs in each new Parliament have continually increased, but this time it seems they are lower so the oligarchs that stand behind Viktor Yanukovych will be able to save money.

According to some forecasts  about 150 of the 225 single-mandate MPs will eventually join the 'Regionaly'. This means the opposition will not even gain a simple majority, never mind a constitutional majority.

Third, the Yanukovych government will fight much more desperately than in 2004, when they surrendered to the Kyiv Maidan. The president simply cannot afford to lose power. At stake is his own freedom, prosperity and family well-being, as well as the prosperity of the Donetsk clan.

Today, in Ukraine, violent political habits exist, and a Pandora's box has been opened by the head of state. Yanukovych who can hardly be counted on to be lenient - otherwise he is likely to go the same way as Yulia Tymoshenko. A precedent has been created.

Therefore he must hold on to the bitter end - no Maidan and no mandate without a fight.

Right now though, for Yanukovych, while there is cause for concern, he and his Donetsk clan maintain general control."

Today in Poland, first deputy prime minister Valeriy Khoroskovsky claimed Ukrainians are convinced ex-premier Tymoshenko is a criminal. PM Azarov made similar statements recently too. Unquestionably a significant portion of the population would agree with them, but then again a similar number, or perhaps even more, consider Yanukovych, the cabinet of ministers, and Khoroshkovsky himself to be a bunch of corrupt crooks who should be behind bars too.

Tymoshenko's trial last year on charges of abuse of office should have been impeccably conducted in order to convince sceptics and outsiders alike of her guilt. But the trial was a sloppily conducted farce - hence the reaction by western capitals who concluded the trial was entirely politically motivated. After this any trials on any further charges will not convince either.

Yanukovych today 'played a new card' and revealed that "he had appointed an American law firm to do a legal audit of the prosecution and trial of his great political rival Yulia Tymoshenko." He is wasting even more tax-payers money on a futile whitewashing exercise..How can their findings be other than to satisfy their clients' requirements?

As Yusin says, Pandora's box has been opened..and when Ukrainians snap out of their lethargy its dreadful contents will emerge..

p.s. I really liked this from NYT on EURO 2012

Lots of good comments too: e.g. "Much of the attention [racism]is receiving is surely motivated by the larger perception that awarding the 2012 games to Ukraine has turned out on all levels to be a fundamental geopolitical mistake."

Today the the French minister for sport announced than no member of the French cabinet will be going to the Euros. Ukrainian authorities have already been notified. I expect similar declarations from other European capitals in the near future.

The downtrodden Ukrainian tax payer will have to foot the bill for the Euro 2012 while Yanukovych, Kolesnikov and co. hive off their kick-backs in exotic tax havens..

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