Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PoR no longer all-powerful in Eastern Ukraine

De facto PoR head, Borys Kolesnikov, says his party is demanding Ukraine remains a unitary state, but will insist on decentralization of authority and budgetary autonomy. The party will be staging an EGM of its deputies on 15th April.

"There will be consolidated position taken up by the PoR organisation at the regional, district and village council level, that the party unequivocally stands for a unitary country, but asks Kyiv to immediately take steps to decentralize authority and fiscal autonomy," said Kolesnikov.

Acting PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in broad measure, had agreed such terms with regional leaders on Friday, but the violent events in several towns contained roughly within the Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk triangle, have totally swamped any further progress. Russian mass media immediately called Kyiv's proposal dirty lies.

But PoR are losing control over the levers of power in the region too. All senior local government officials, law enforcement officers, judiciary etc. were 100% PoR loyal. Now it seems, they have become fence-sitters.

The separatists causing such mayhem comprise several differing entities. There are professional military and intelligence men from Russia and Ukraine who have efficiently spearheaded the co-ordinated seizure of administrative buildings. There are paid local irregulars, many of them poor, who scrape a living e.g. in unlicensed coal mines, and other assorted malcontents from both sides of the border. For them the current troubles are an heaven-sent opportunity to earn some decent cash.

Then there are many sincere, very angry, disinformed citizens who want to vent their anger for their miserable lot on somebody..However, these people are no longer the people of Party of Regions...Rather they will support separatist leaders like Ihor Tsaryov with whom they share a common world view. Party of Regions, who gripped the eastern oblasts so tightly over many years, have lost control just like the central authorities in Kyiv.

Some citizens in the towns controlled by separatists are getting fed up already as their lives are being disrupted. There have been instances of looting. Mini-buses are being commandeered, and barricades manned by irregulars are hindering free movement. Mobile phone services are being disrupted and are increasingly erratic.The disruption of local administration services, payment of pensions etc. caused by the separatists' actions may quickly generate a backlash from normal citizens in the region who want their lives to return back to normal.

There are Russian flags being flown, but there are also many Donetsk Republic banners and posters too, perhaps indicating that differing groups have differing aims. Massed Russian forces just across the border are waiting for serious violence to trigger an invasion. Uncertainty and irrational motives breed anarchy...

However, there are some grounds to assume the currently greatly disorientated Party of Regions' will regroup and regain some control over events on their own patch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If there is to be federalization of Ukraine then what from will it take? Will there be a federal government of 24 oblasts or will Ukraine amalgamate or incorporate oblasts into say 8 or nine regions? And if the do Federalize Ukraine who will this be reflected in the National Parliament?

Ukraine could adopt a bicameral system and elect an upper-house or Senate based on regional representation but this runs the risk of dividing and grid locking Ukraine as is the case in the United States where state representation is disproportionate to the will of the people. Where a simple majority of a state determines 100% of the states representation.

The other alternative is the devolution of power with an no coordinated national policy, multiple stats within a state. A mini EU of sorts.

The better and more enduring alternative is for politicians to stop the regional divide on issues such as Language and cultural identity and embrace citizenship by building consensus and unity within Ukraine, the middle ground majority. Distance itself from the undue influence of the Right Sector.

Most Ukrainians want independent, honest, good governance and rule of law. They want a better economy and freedom of association. To be part of Europe and retain close relations with Russia at the same time.

They do not want to join or be a part of NATO.

This middle ground approach can be realized. It does not require Ukraine to be a captive member of the EU or NATO. Ukraine's Constitution should explicitly state that it will not join a military alliance or allow foreign military powers to be based in Ukraine.

Solve these issues and encourage citizenship, good governance and rule of law and Ukraine can remain a unity state.