Supporter of Viktor Yanukovich holds up an Orthodox icon during a pre-election rally.
Whatever the results of the election n on 7 February in the Ukraine, Russia will have to live with a new neighbour, for the Ukraine will change drastically. We are not going to “beat a dead horse”, but the negligible support for President Yushchenko in the last election was a distinct sign that people rejected the current political and economic model of the Ukraine. Furthermore, most demanded a definite change from the present course. Why? It’s no wonder, for the frivolous superficiality and lack of coherent logic in the present economic, social, cultural, and political policies almost thrust the country into catastrophe, primarily in the economic sphere. Furthermore, it proves that any extremist idea, not only Marxism, leads to social tragedy.
Next Sunday, the Ukraine will elect a new president. We can’t predict with absolute certainty exactly who will win, however, most observers believe that Viktor Yanukovich will become the next president. Nonetheless, regardless of who eventually wins the election, the new leader will have to deal with a socially and politically polarised country. Moreover, what is especially significant, one can see the border between the parties, for it has a geographical expression.
This is one of the major political challenges facing the incoming president, again, no matter who is the final winner. At the same time, I believe that we should not overestimate the danger of this challenge. I think there are no grounds for those who argue that, regardless of the outcome of the elections, there shall be “two countries within the borders of the Ukraine”, or that the disintegration of the Ukraine a là Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia is inevitable. Another thing is that the internal dichotomy of the Ukraine is a curse on all attempts of economic development or consolidation of the population. Since a new, internalised, Ukrainian self-identity is not in existence (it is not even in its initial phase), therefore, the formation of a modern Ukrainian political nation has not even started. This essential and disunited ambiguity casts a grim reflection on the most significant problem in the Ukraine today, a continuing economic crisis, exacerbated by a crippling debt to international financial institutions. This is a very crucial systemic and nationwide economic problem; indeed, the political fate of the new Ukrainian administration depends vitally on its solution.
Another equally important issue is the economic contradictions between the regions. Above all, one sees this in the eastern Ukraine, which possesses almost all of the state’s industrial and export potential. It insists that it retain a greater proportion of state revenues than it does now. This would allow them to carry through the modernisation of infrastructure, and, in the social sector, significantly change the situation on the labour market. It will allow the introduction of new, badly needed, energy-saving technology and create conditions for a phased transition to a knowledge-based economy. Federalisation of intergovernmental fiscal relations on the German or the Canadian model should be the first step to gaining greater autonomy for the regions, especially in international economic and cultural activities. If this experiment shows significant positive results, and all serious economic calculations prove such, then, people will raise the question of changing the archaic unitary model of the state system.
Another problem is the clarification of the constitutional powers of the president and prime minister. The contemporary Ukraine is a contradiction in terms. It has both a parliamentary system, where the Prime Minister has authority comparable to the Chancellor of Germany and Prime Minister of Canada, and a presidential system, where the mechanism of election and powers of the country’s leader copy the French presidential model. This obvious contradiction objectively impedes development and doesn’t strengthen the unity of the country. The new Ukrainian leader must summon the political courage to propose a new model of government, that is, they most fully adopt the parliamentary model of the state, or, through constitutional amendments passed by popular referendum, raise the question of transition to a presidential republic. The new Ukrainian leader must provide for the formation of a full and authoritative constitutional court, because only such a body in a parliamentary republic is vested with the authority to resolve conflicts and conflicts between the branches of government. The new Ukrainian president has to search within the society and state for a unifying national idea. The history of Yushchenko’s régime eloquently shows that an appeal to the dark side, to find those who committed “evils” against the Ukrainian people, is not a unifying national idea. Indeed, his actions bordered on the outright mockery of historical truth. He called Nazi collaborators and dubious sorts who shot and tortured their own people “heroes”, simply because they were anti-Bolshevik. Rather, he divided the nation, and, instead of a shared future, offered an abandoned cemetery, with scattered and unattended graves.
Now, in our opinion, let’s look at the most likely happenings that will occur during the term of the new Ukrainian president. It seems that a review of Ukrainian policy towards Russia and other CIS states will be given top priority. The Ukraine will resume its participation in the economic and social programs of the CIS, and, under certain conditions, can begin the process of joining the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Probably, also, there shall be increased political and military-technical contacts with the CSTO, to which the Ukraine is not yet a member. It’s also expected that any new new Ukrainian president would dramatically reduce contacts with the so-called GUAM and other interstate associations and unions that would worsen relations with Russia.
Obviously, any new Ukrainian president would permanently reject membership in NATO as an absurdity, for it doesn’t have any real political or economic prospects, and the majority of Ukrainians rebuffed it. In addition, it’s unlikely that, given the reality of the contemporary Ukrainian economy and its relations with Russia, the new Ukrainian leader, contrary to common sense, would declare an accelerated full accession to the EU, which still can’t digest Romania and Greece. Our conclusions are not based on the personal qualities of candidates, although they, no doubt, have a significant impact, but on the logic of development of societies, which emerges when one looks at events from a certain distance, at the historical, political, and even geographical factors.
Finally, let’s look at what won’t happen, under any circumstances, with a new Ukrainian president. During the celebration of our common great victory in World War II, we will not see rallies and marches of former Nazi henchmen, torturers, and Nazi concentration camp guards on the streets of Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Sevastopol, Vinnitsa, and Lvov. That insults the memory of the millions of victims of fascism. It’s also a blasphemy to the memory of the veterans who saved our freedom by their service in the war.
Now, for our conclusion. In recent days, supporters of Yuliya Timoshenko, and she herself, increasingly declared that they would contest any possible election result, threatening mass disobedience and a new Maidan. Such provocative calls, coming from the current government and a major political party, could set a dangerous precedent, it could lead to open clashes between supporters of the current junta and the opposition, the outcome of which is difficult to predict. However, one thing is clear. Under this scenario, a third round is not out of the question, since each of the candidates is ready to fight to the end. Inevitably, this would push the Ukraine to the brink of civil war, threatening the country with unpredictable consequences.
Yet, let’s hope for the best so that everything goes peacefully and in full accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Ukraine. This means that, in a few days, Russia will have a new neighbour. We waited for this for five long years. Let’s be patient and wait a little bit… together with the people of the Ukraine.
5 February 2010
Voice of Russia World Service
I find this article good sense, a good antidote to the foolishness that one finds in the Western press. There is much crapola issued in the USA and Canada on the Ukraine, mainly spread by Galician Uniate organisations. Due to the nature of the immigration to North America from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, “Ukrainians” outnumber Great Russians there, opposite to what obtains in the homeland. Indeed, the largest portion is from Galicia, which is truly only a tiny, impoverished, and intellectually stunted hillbilly backwater with only some 2 percent of the total Russian (RF/the Ukraine/Byelorussia) population. In short, it’s the Slavic Ozarks (with the American Ozarks coming out a little bit ahead, in fact). However, these folks are well organised and receive generous funding from the Vatican and certain parties in Western circles.
Most “Ukrainians” speak Russian and consider themselves Russian. In fact, Galicia is so economically and intellectually backward that it must be subsidised heavily by funds from the “Russian” east of the country. Don’t forget that the forebears of the Galician Uniate nationalists cooperated willingly with the Nazis. These people are loud and they try to shout down anyone who opposes them.
A good case in point is “Josephus Flavius”. If any Orthodox blogger or webmaster receives anything under this username, you should spam it without a second thought. He is a fanatic Uniate who says one thing in public and another in private Uniate and papist internet forums. Some of my friends brought this to my attention, and I told them not to worry. My position is that I state my views here in public, and I don’t say a different thing in private, behind anyone’s back. That’s nasty and indecent. If you oppose me, you shan’t get a forum here. State your opinion on your own site, as “Josephus Flavius” does. By the way, I refuse to attack him personally, that is beyond the pale. Sir… I have heard that you have done so to me on Uniate forums. So be it, I can’t stop you. However, you tell the world your true worth when you do so. For shame!