Andriy Sadoviy is slowly but surely putting on political weight in the country. While he did not demonstrate any political ambition for eight years, he skillfully used this time to turn Lviv into the country’s business card.
The activity of his ambitious team looked exemplary compared to the primitive, greedy and corrupt members of the Svoboda party, which unfairly got the majority of seats in the city council thanks to the odious Mr. Kliuyev, who set Batkivshchina up for failure. Back then, by helping Tyahnybok’s party, Yanukovych’s people strived to have the influence of the city’s mayor, the heart of the opposition.
Sadoviy upstaged the President.
Today the ratings of Tyahnybok’s party is rapidly approaching zero, the activity of the party members can be easily put down in the history book of corruption, and Sadoviy is preparing to write a new page in his political biography.
In spring he refused the offer to become part of the government as he decided to execute his own plan. The first success Sadoviy’s party Samopomich achieved at the Kyiv City Council elections was surprising even to political experts. However, the Mayor of Lviv, it seems, is not going to stop there. These days he is regularly visiting regional centers around the country and holding countless meetings. This means that at the nearest elections Sadoviy’s party will attempt to conquer new peaks.
It might have a chance. If not only because the Mayor of Lviv has his own, non-standard opinion on what is happening in the country.
On the even of the main Ukrainian holiday, Independence Day, we decided to discuss the most relevant topics with Andriy Sadoviy, the Mayor of the city which is considered to be Ukraine’s spiritual center.
“Ukrainians are used to living in expectation of some miracle…”
What is happening in the country today: ATO, a war for independence or a conflict between oligarchs?
There is war in Ukraine. It is happening on several fronts. The first is the fight against the occupation of Ukrainian territories in the east, where Russian soldiers are killing our compatriots. It is a special kind of war, which I would call state terrorism. Here everything is clear: there is an enemy which has to be either destroyed or kicked out of our territory.
There is a second front, which passes through the souls, hearts and conscience of our citizens. Here everything is much more complicated. Many of us were participants of the revolution and know about Maidan’s strict demands. One of them is the formation of a new political elite. And what did we get on this front? Individual faces changed, however the system and its principles remained unaltered.
How serious, in your opinion, is the threat of Russia’s full-scale invasion?
In reality, it depends only on us. If we want to overcome an external infection, our organism has to be strengthened and cleansed. However, unfortunately, at the moment we are not experiencing this cleanse. A major part of our economy is still in the shadow, no laws that would have changed the current taxation system have been passed, and the state apparatus is de facto encouraging corruption.
Corruption, on its part, brings about irresponsibility. We should have made the Ukrainian economy more military a long time ago, made many more orders for our defense production facilities: armored tanks, aviation. This is especially the case with high-precision weapons. I am not even talking about the high deficit of protection: bulletproof vests, helmets.
It is negligence bordering on crime, because during war decisions have to be made instantaneously. These are the sad realities of our lives. Therefore it is very difficult to win war against such a serious aggressor as Russia, if we are still sticking to old internal principles.
How should we act in these circumstances, whose experience should we base ourselves on?
I would advise our politicians to read the autobiography of the famous Finnish military commander and state activist Mannerheim, The Mannerheim Line. It is clearly written there how to fight and beat Russia. The trouble is that most of our governors are not on friendly terms with books.
And when can the situation be regulated and under what circumstances, in other words, when will we win?
Ukrainians are used to living in expectation of some kind of miracle. First we wait for a wise leader to come and then we wait for him to make us happy. However we have to understand that even if miracles do happen, they are very rare.
Therefore victory depends first and foremost on our maturity as a civil society. If society does not fir my stand for open elections to the Verkhovna Rada today, the Parliament will once again consist of the same people that approved the dictator laws half a year ago, who collaborated with the separatists and the Russian FSB. Who can then predict when the war will end?
“It is unlikely that we need to restore anything – we need to build”
Sooner or later war will end. What can its consequences be for the country?
I have been traveling the country quite a lot recently and I have to say that I have not seen such a national uplift for a long time. In Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, in Kharkiv the people are remembering their roots, their history, and they are proud of it. There is a real consciousness boom in the East. This, to my mind, is one of the biggest positive consequences of this war.
However if we are subject to temptation and once again vote for those who will try to seduce us with name blocks or calls like “vote for us because we are ‘your’ guys,” we will not be able to rebuild the country quickly. We have no right to be fooled, because we are not just talking about ourselves but our children and grandchildren.
How much time is needed to rebuild the country?
I would not talk about rebuilding but the construction of a country, which would be ensure against industrial catastrophes. As the public utility structure in all Ukrainian cities without except is in extreme condition.
And look at our roads! I can say confidently that there is no country in Europe which would have such horrible automobile roads. Why so? Because corruption eats away at everything. Everyone who comes to Lviv notes that the roads here get better every year. Why? Because Lviv is the biggest EBRD partner in Ukraine. Why is EBRD money not involved in other cities? Because they are scared of transparency and strict control. It is unlikely we have to rebuild anything – we have to construct.
On the day of the presidential elections you said that the Ukrainians chose a manager instead of a messiah. What is your opinion of Petro Poroshenko’s first three months in office?
The head of state is responsible before the people and God, therefore they will demand the most of him. At the first glance all the messages which are currently generated by the President are quite right and weighed. However if we look at some of his human resource decisions, those are quite shameful.
I understand that he is under party pressure, that the political range in Ukraine is very specific, that the majority of politicians that participate in various talk shows are not independent figures and carry out tasks given to them by oligarchs. However, to my mind, the President here should show his principal position and simply tell society the truth about them. Because only truth can make us all stronger.
What appointments are you talking about in particular?
There are many issues regarding government appointments. While the country is at war, Ministry posts should be given to the best experts, give them the opportunity to independently form their teams. Instead many governors working in the Cabinet of Ministers today… I would not even risk putting them in charge of public utility offices. This is no way to treat society.
The current Cabinet of Ministers is also being criticized for slow reform, or, better yet, for its lack. Why can’t we have reforms yet again?
Oligarchs continue controlling the entire political range of our state – left to right. It is clear that the current Parliament and the government are under oligarch control. Reforms mean sticking to the law, which prescribe timely tax payments, transparent tenders, privatization etc. If the oligarchs live by these laws, their net worth will decrease significantly. Do the oligarchs need this? Of course not. Therefore what we actually have is only imitation of reform.
Can the same be said for the reform regarding decentralization of government?
Undoubtedly. No laws, no decisions that would have made the public’s life easier today have been passed. What is more: some normative acts that lead to further centralization and usurpation of power have been approved. Who is to blame? When I ask this question of vice Prime Ministers or Minister they point anybody but themselves.
In reality, everything is simple: newly appointment governors consider themselves Kings on their posts. If we carry out a decentralization reform, this means that a major part of their “kingdoms” will be given to the local communities. Of course, these princes, which just tried the taste of great power, are trying to slow down the process as much as possible. And the worst trouble is that this sabotage is taking place in government institutions.
What can you say about Arseniy Yatseniuk as Prime Minister?
He feels very comfortable and visually looks much more natural in the seat of the head of government than as one of the former opposition leaders. However, society finds real change important today, not Yatseniuk’s personal comfort. And we don’t see this change, unfortunately.
“I don’t see anyone who has the moral right to remain in the Parliament”
You once talked about the importance of early parliamentary elections. Will significant changes in the Verkhovna Rada happen with the currently legislation?
If elections to the Verkhovna Rada happen according to the current law, they will not be elections. It will be voting or even an imitation. It will not give the opportunity for the Ukrainians to choose the politicians that the spiritually renewed society needs. It will just let off steam, nothing more. All the same people will come to the parliament. Therefore all hope lies on the fir mess of society and on its demand to approve the new electoral law.
What politicians and parties should leave and stay in the Parliament?
I don’t see anyone who would have the moral right to stay there. People with impeccable reputations should be part of the parliament. For example, Myroslav Marynovuch, Semen Semenchenko, the commander of Donbas battalion in the east, who awed me with his intellect and level of education.
We really have a lot of people who have knowledge and dignity. But the trouble is that we are a very trusting nation, we frequently get enchanted by demagogue politicians and we lose precious time because of all the noise.
Experts warn about the possibility of mass protests due to the worsening of the social situation in the country. What do you think about this possibility?
If there is no reform, corruption cannot be beaten, and people will definitely take to the streets. Possibly those who stole something feel better at home, but the majority of Ukrainians have it worse and worse. Everything is getting more expensive, social standards are getting worse, and there is no light visible at the end of the tunnel. If the elections continue being manipulative like now, the regular person will have one opportunity to be heard left – a street protest. I don’t know for sure when the boom will start but I am sure I will be together with the people.
What success formula could you offer the Ukrainians?
My formula is simple: work a lot, believe in God and love people.Source: expres.ua
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina