Despite the militarised show of the pseudo-referendum, I think that Crimea sooner or later will become a place where it is safer to live and better to study, work, get medical treatment, and trade. However, the [territorial] integrity of Ukraine directly depends on the pace of Ukrainian reforms.
There are no reforms today – only a temporary distribution of power and businesses along the party quotas, along with harassment by petty thugs on the streets.
The country needs vertical governance and tough action. Only a government with a popular mandate can do this.
This is why, on May 25, we need both parliamentary and presidential elections. We cannot reboot the government in two leaps – in spring and autumn. It would be even less acceptable to move all elections to the fall as Putin demands. This would lead to anarchy in the country and provide the Kremlin’s fifth column with an opportunity to regroup.
The May elections must constitute a social contract between citizens and government. The new President and the new parliamentary majority must urgently undertake a real fight against corruption, establish a fair judiciary, and conduct comprehensive socio-economic reforms. Efficiency and innovation must replace ideology.
This is what will stop divisions within the country and the complete preoccupation with memory wars. Proven reforms in neighbouring states will no doubt contribute to higher living standards and provide people with a sense of security.
If we continue to tolerate double standards, trades of government posts among the [various political] parties, and the harassment of business, we will not only lose out in relation to living standards, but we will provide fertile grounds for separatist decisions in more and more territories [of Ukraine].
De Gaulle was right: “Yes to Reforms. No to disorder.”
Translated by Oleg Naumenko, edited by Lesia Stangret