Valeriy Pekar, for UP
In detail and without panic on the internal political situation: the Parliament, the Government, the President and reforms.
Below all the words will be written in lowercase – this is incorrect, however it will make reading much easier.
1. Let’s start with the parliament. There is no alternative to disbanding the parliament.
This parliament does not reflect the post-Maidan social reality, in particular: the sharp turn made from dictatorship to republic, the emergence of a responsible and demanding civic society, war with a strong enemy, the objective necessity and the subjective desire for cardinal reforms, the desire of the people to tear away from their Soviet past, the acceleration of the formation of a political nation.
This parliament is full of titushky, political titushky, direct and overt enemies of Ukraine, traitors, oligarchs’ drivers and bodyguards, Kremlin agents etc.
Over half of the members of this parliament voted in support of the draconian laws on January 16th. This is sufficient to dismiss this parliament and elect a new one.
One of Maidan’s categorical demands was a full reboot of power: the government, the president, the parliament. The third stage of this process has come. There is no reason to step away from the demands that Maidan stood for and the Heaven’s Sotnya died.
The war will not interfere with the elections. What is more, now “the owners of Donbas” have to quickly get involved in kicking the mercenaries out so that the elections are held there as well and so that they obtain representation in the parliament. If we are to claim that “the elections will happen after the war is over,” the war will go on forever.
There will be money for the elections. Fair governance (I don’t want to use the yellowing word “democracy”) is more important than money, as if there is no fair governance, then there is no money either. If the members of the parliament had passed at least one of the essential anti-corruption acts, then much more money than the elections require would have been released.
2. Reforms. Reforms are necessary: confident, complex, deep. There is no alternative: if there are no reforms, the country will simply fall to pieces. Everyone is obviously weary of this word. But there have been no real reforms yet, only talk.
Without anti-corruption reforms all the suffering and deaths would be in vain, and everything will be stolen yet again.
Without tax reform, there will be no economic growth, welfare and employment.
Without the reform of the courts and the police, there will be new cases of Vradiyivka all around the country and a new social explosion, a horrible one.
Without educational reform we will become a third-world country, without any hopes. Without the reform of local governments nothing will change in towns and villages.
Usually, people are scared of change and regard future reforms with caution. But we, as a country and a people, are going through such challenges, that an understanding is being cultivated within us: we have to fill up our lungs with air and plunge into this cold water, as there is no other choice anymore.
Society is approaching a critical limit of readiness to radical change. This will not last long: the window of opportunity opens and closes after some time. We have to take advantage of the chance, and break with the Ukrainian tradition of wasting chances. We have taken advantage of many opportunities in the last 8 months, therefore we have learned.
3. The president. Don’t ask whether he wants reforms or not. This is unimportant. It is important that he understands: he has no other choice as a politician. He definitely does not want to leave preemptively as a result of a social explosion or be remembered as the last president, God forbid.
As opposed to the members of the parliament, who may be up to their dirty tricks and return at the next elections, the president has no such chances. Therefore, we have an ardent supporter of reform in the president’s person. It is not certain that he has enough necessary qualities, but he will definitely have enough will. He has the ambition to be remembered in history as a Ukrainian Lee Kuan Yew of sorts, the builder of a new country, and not Yushchenko 2.0 “whose descendants shame him in verse.”
4. The government. Here, everything is complicated.
Arseniy Petrovich [Yatseniuk] is, without doubt, the best Prime Minister in all of the history of independent Ukraine. As opposed to the Maidan booth, here he absolutely in his element. Multilaterally competent, exceptionally able, attentive to detail, strong in conversation.
But this is not enough.
This government has an unconditional merit: having kept the country afloat after Yanukovych during war, civil unrest, bandits, lack of government and the ghost of chaos, the constant threat of financial collapse – this merits a dignified place in history.
They gave Crimea away? All right, there are issues. But what would have you done in this situation? Without an army, with a bunch of traits in all intimate places of the state apparatus?
Therefore, the government in general and the prime minister personally have to receive top scores for stabilizing the government.
But there have been no reforms. De facto, there were none. Instead, all the corruption schemes were quickly mastered by new people. They weren’t all ministers: frequently the minister was just the front, void of power, and they stole behind his back.
This government gets the lowest score for the lack of reforms and corruption.
5. However this government couldn’t have implemented reforms and beaten corruption. It was pointless to expect it.
First, politicians don’t conduct reform as reforms are unpopular, and the politicians need popularity. They need to get reelected, and they remember this well every day. The quote attributed to Winston Churchill that the politician thinks of future elections and a statesman – of the next generation, is already stuck on our teeth.
Reforms are made by governments of professional technocrats who don’t have political ambitions, instead they have a high ambition of state creation.
Reforms are not made by coalition governments wherein all posts are distributed according to quotas. Quota officials now have to steal to pay back the “debt” to the politicians that nominated them. It is senseless to expect from coalition members that they will nominate to government posts not their own people but professional reformers.
Yes, the government will definitely include not only those guilty of corruption, as someone else has to work as well, someone has to be scapegoat, and someone has to hold the title of “our Minister from Maidan.” However these individuals don’t change the entire system.
Therefore it was senseless to expect the coalition government to stop corruption and conduct reforms. As this government was created by opposition parties that have already shamed themselves on Maidan.
Individual enlightened names are an exclusion that confirms the rule. We will remember them, and possibly see them again.
And, in general, this government withstood the situation with war and state finances, and for this it should be thanked and respected. If someone thinks they would have done a better job, I am asking for a detailed action plan, accounting for all limitations and challenges.
6. Getting out of the type of constitutional crisis we had in December-February does not take one step. There are always three steps.
The first government, “the government of national salvation,” has to stabilize the situation. This has been done.
The second government has to be a government of reform, professional and independent. Reformers do their job, are subject to the people’s hate and then occupy their honorary places in history.
The third has to be the government of a already new country, to reflect the new, post-reform socio-political reality.
It is akin to a patient who is chronically sick and needs surgery, a complex and risky one, but their condition is aggravated. First, the doctors come who take down their fever and stabilize the analysis results, prepare them for surgery. Then the surgeons come, professional and merciless: they cut, clean out, stitch them up. And then, the third group of people come, who gradually and gently rehabilitate the patient, returning them to life – a new life in which there is no place left for the cured disease.
Therefore, the national salvation government does not make reforms only because it is a coalition government. Reforms are not their job. They stabilized the situation, they did not allow the war to spread, for bandits to rampage the entire territory, they did not allow default – this means that they did their job.
The work of the national salvation government cannot last forever. The time to move forward comes.
7. And here the key role goes to the parliament again. Reforms without a parliament are impossible – as in a parliamentary republic, reforms are made through legislative acts.
This parliament does not need reforms, it is incapable of making them. Therefore, let us say goodbye to this parliament.
And here we go on to the most important point.
Who formed the government that quickly mastered the corrupt schemes of Yanukovych’s time? Who did not pass the very pertinent laws regarding anti-corruption, lustration, the state budget etcetera? The parliamentary majority: UDAR, “Svoboda,” BYT. They made a reputation on Maidan. Yes, there were some enlightened individuals, and we remembered them. And we also remembered the dark figures.
And now our task, the task of the citizens, of civil society is to fully update the political system. Bring to the parliament the people that will appoint a reform government, that will pass reformative laws.
And we, the powerful society able to kick out the dictator, overpower a stronger enemy in war, achieve support from the global community – we are unable to do this as of yet.
- We are unable to elect well-meaning and patriotic people to the parliament. The Kyiv elections proved this. We are voting for the old party gangs filled with old black bile. We, the Kyivans, brought “Chernovetskiy’s young team” to the Kyiv City Council.
- We are unable to put pressure on new democratic microscopic political powers, for them to unite. They came to the Kyiv elections in seven columns instead of one and lost. They will go to the parliamentary elections in twelve columns instead of one and lose.
- We are unable to distinguish populism and short-term projects from fair and open politics. The populists, empty like kefir bottles, are gaining our votes at presidential and Kyiv elections.
- We are unable to provide transparency and fairness of elections even in the capital. The stealing of votes, buying votes, violation of legislation – and this in Kyiv that survived Maidan and won.
Despite everything that happened to us, and all the changes in our conscience, we turned out to be unprepared.
It is already clear how the seats in the future parliament will be distributed. It will be an even worse parliament than today.
Unless we ourselves change. And change the political state of things.
With our civic position. Our level of conscience. Our personal participation as independent observers. Our explanatory work among friends, family and acquaintances. Our volunteer work in the headquarters of a united democratic force, to which we have to enlist all those we trust.
With our maturity and resilience, mistrust of populism and political projects of oligarchs and political technologists, behind the backs of which the outlines of the red Kremlin wall are emerging.
8. It is possible they will accuse me of not commenting on who said what to whom yesterday and the day before. Whatever.
Politics is actions, not words. If boxing was evaluated by what the boxers say to each other and not what they are doing, it would be a completely different sport. Words quickly become obsolete; their only goal is to evoke action. We look at actions and ignore words. This is what they are saying to each other, not to us.
9. The issue of electoral law is the most critical. Will there by a majority in the parliament? Will there be open lists? Will party blocs be allowed? What will be the necessary minimum? Will financing be transparent?
We are watching closely. We demand change. This is the most important thing today to have a tomorrow.
And let us not forget: the guys will return from the front and ask us sternly what we were doing here while they were protecting us with their hearts on the line. They have to return to a country ready for a reboot.
10. This is a quest. We survived the first levels. They were difficult. But the next ones are no less difficult. We gained the right to pass these quest levels with our victory at the previous levels.
The end of dictatorship. War for independence. The birth of a political nation. The next levels: socio-political reboot, radical complex reforms, economical flourishing, international subjectivity, cultural expansion. It is impossible to skip those.
And this means that everything is going according to plan.
Let’s stop panicking.
Everything is going to be alright.
Source: Valeriy Pekar, for UP
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina