"What's Going On in Ukraine?"

Global Voices Online
Saturday, April 7, 2007

LJ user dibrov_s (Sergei Dibrov of Odesa, Ukraine) explains how the current crisis in Ukraine came to be and why he thinks the new election (and then some more) is absolutely necessary. This lengthy post (RUS) has received 366 comments so far and made it into the top 30 at Yandex Blogs portal:


Friends, what's happened was supposed to happen sooner or later: a bomb placed underneath the Verkhovna Rada [the Parliament] during the Orange Revolution has exploded.

At that time, on December 8, 2004, two laws were adopted by a package vote. One was about introducing changes to electoral law. The other was about introducing changes to the Constitution.

In other words, a deal was made: we're giving you the relatively fair election, without mass falsification that the Supreme Court discovered, and you're giving us the changes to the Constitution ("political reform"), which would deprive the newly-elected President of power and pass it on together with the paliament as a pay-off to political parties.

All in all, the political reform consists of two elements:

- the transfer of the Cabinet of Ministers (and the whole executive branch) under parliamentary control;
- MPs elected only by the party lists.

Political reform became a king's present to our, excuse me for the term, political parties. Excuse me for using this term because the word "politician" in our country is a synonym of the word "businessman," and what we call "parties" are indeed lobby groups and business projects. And there's only one way into politics for all those eager to enter it: through the party's cashier's office. The thickness of the wallet, not some moral qualities or political convictions, play a decisive role during the casting of potential MPs. According to the media, an electable place on the biggest parties' lists now costs up to tens of millions of dollars. People were looking for cheaper options and this sometimes led to funny episodes: often, the candidates' lists included those who espoused views radically different from the views of "their" party or bloc. But no one cared about it: money doesn't smell.

The results of the spring 2006 election reflected the players' positions more or less correctly: the three parties that supported Yushchenko's candidacy for the president's post won with insignificant advantage. Such a situation guaranteed certain stability and the lack of cardinal changes to the direction the country was moving in: to overcome the president's veto or to introduce changes to the Constitution is possible only when there is a consensus between all the major political forces of the country.

But because of the corrupted way of forming party lists, many MPs turned out to be political businessmen for whom the MP's mandates were nothing but investment projects worth many millions. Not contrained by the party discipline, political convictions and the imperative mandate, they quickly began to "solve their own problems" - which had little to do with their campaign promises and the programs of political forces they represented. This has led to the second wave of corruption, this time inside parliament. MPs elected on party lists began moving between factions. Not a single one of such moves was motivated ideologically, but there were always behind-the-scenes comments on how much every one of these "acquisitions" cost the parliamentary majority.

According to the logic of the political reform and the Constitution, it is impossible for an MP elected on a party list to move to another faction. After all, the voters voted not for some specific personalities, but for the pre-election program, and the MPs should either work for this program's fulfillment or resign. This is why, according to the Constitution, an MP who announces his departure from the faction automatically loses the mandate, and his place is taken by the person following him on the party list. But they found a loophole: MPs were not leaving their factions, but instead were simply [joining the ruling coalition - and were being accepted] - even though, according to the Constitution, coalition is formed not by individual MPs, but exclusively by parliamentary factions.

Obviously, such a way of forming the coalition is illegal. The Constitutional Court could have ended this situation by interpreting the corresponding segment of the [Constitution]. And while it was at it, the Constitutional Court could have cancelled all of the political reform, which, as I've already said, was adopted in violation of the Constitution. And this is why the parliament spent a year and a half blocking the [Court's] work by not swearing in the judges and not appointing them [in accordance with the quota system]. Now, after the president has applied some pressure and the judges have been appointed, [the Court] sort of began to work again, but in the eight months it has not passed a single verdict. And it looks like it's not going to.

Last summer, Yushchenko chose to ignore the fact that the parliamentary majority had been formed unlawfully. But [things grew much worse] when bribing of MPs [to get them to defect] became widespread. Representatives of the Party of the Regions did not try to conceal their plan for the nearest future: to buy as many MPs as was needed to achieve the constitutional majority - 2/3 of [PMs]. If their plan had been implemented, it would have allowed the political force that had received 32 percent of the votes to run the country on its own - and even introduce changes into the Constitution. [...]

Without a doubt, parliamentary corruption threatens the president, too. If the coalition buys enough votes to reach the needed 300 [MPs], Yushchenko will lose what remains of his influence. Moreover, his post might be eliminated altogether, as something not needed. Under these circumstances, the president "suddenly" remembered about the fact that the coalition had been formed with some violations and decided to use his constitutional right to declare the early election and disband the parliament because the ruling coalition had not been formed within one month granted by the Constitution.

Now, on to what I think about the events.

My position is very simple. Everything that's taking place is the result of the unlawful political reform. [...]


By the way, the coalition is currently planning the so-called "second stage of the political reform," which would transfer all local power to the local councils and would turn the councils of all levels into a total [house of ill repute] similar to what Verkhovna Rada is.

As for the current situation: Rada has to be disbanded. [...] It's impossible to live in a country where there are no doubts about the highest legislative organ's corruptedness. [...] Let them have reelection three or four more times, and then maybe it'll become so unprofitable to invest into the "MP mandate" project that it will no longer interest the serious [thuggish] guys.

Sometimes you hear: "to announce the reelection is usurping power." It's ridiculous. The power in the country belongs not to the President, not to the Cabinet of Ministers, not even to the Verkhovna Rada. All power in Ukraine belongs to the Ukrainian people. And to set a date for the reelection isn't usurping but returning the power to its lawful owner. The power that some were trying to usurp by the shameless bribing of MPs who had not received a single individual vote.

The last question. Friends are wondering about what's going on on Khreshchatyk and whether there'll be "Maidan-2." Here's my answer:

In 2004, people who gathered at Maidan were protesting against falsification of the election results. They were demanding a re-vote, to avoid having their votes bought or stolen shamelessly.

In 2007, people who are at Maidan are protesting against holding the popular election. That is, these people have come out to the square because they don't want to go to the polls.

Here's the difference, with all the implications.

One more thing. It's obvious that serious political forces aren't afraid of the election. There'll be no parliament without them - and they know it well. Mainly, it's the political marginals of the bloody hues who are making all the noise - Communists and Socialists. Both forces may remain outside parliament. Communist - due to natural causes, because of the unstoppable shrinking of their traditional elecrorate. And Socialists because in this whole brothel of a parliament they played the most corrupted violin and were selling out wholesale. And those who voted for them a year ago remember this very well, so their chances of getting back into the parliament are minuscule.

And this is good.


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