Yushchenko’s Task is to Restore
Stability of Ukrainian Economy
(RIA Novosti, by Dmitry Kosyrev) The presidential runoff in Ukraine
on Sunday did not bring any unexpected developments. The defeat
of Viktor Yanukovich was predictable. The agreement between the
candidates under the aegis of incumbent Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma meant that between the second and the current round of
elections, all the bureaucratic machinery of the Ukrainian state,
with its financial and organizational assets and friendly entrepreneurs
had been smoothly transferred to the control of Viktor Yushchenko
and worked efficiently to guarantee his victory.
were serious grounds for such a development. The events of the
fall and early winter clearly showed that the major threat to
stability in Ukraine was not Mr. Yushchenko’s team per se (he
was not the worst Ukrainian prime minister after all), but the
group of his close supporters, led by leader of the radical opposition
bureaucratic state machinery still contains both the supporters
of Mr. Yushchenko and Mr. Yanukovich, and also representatives
of other groups. However, they are facing a common threat, which
is real, not symbolic: the participation of Ms. Timoshenko and
other radicals in the governance of the country. Radicals are
needed when it is necessary to destroy something. They cannot
create or manage. In Kiev, they have already spoken enough about
the "corruption and dictatorship" to scare off bureaucrats
of any level or conviction. A state, no matter what form it takes,
cannot be governed properly by authorities surrounded by a ring
of protesters. The economy, regardless of its model and orientation,
cannot function without strong authorities and the strict observance
of the law. Besides, Ms. Timoshenko has a criminal corruption
record and her former patron, another ex-premier, Pavel Lazarenko,
is serving a prison sentence in America. In a situation like this,
radicals have nothing to lose, which makes them extremely dangerous.
in the near future, the situation in Ukraine will develop along
the lines of a bureaucratic transfer of power rather than toward
revolution. One team of bureaucrats will simply transfer the levers
of power to another team of bureaucrats led by Mr. Yushchenko.
The street fighters will be quietly pushed away from the corridors
of power. The latter, naturally, will try to organize some sort
of resistance. For instance, they might attempt to renege on all
the agreements concluded by Messrs. Yanukovich, Yushchenko and
Kuchma, or even demand the adoption of a new Ukrainian Constitution
with provisions for a different state system.
of the decisive factors in this struggle will be the attitude
shown by investors and partners of the Ukrainian economy. And
they are not interested exclusively in politics. The banking system
must be in order and to ensure its stability the country needs
the part of Ukraine that produces the bulk of current GDP. That
includes metallurgy and the petrochemical industry, which export
to Eastern Europe and China, and the transportation and service
industries. They are all concentrated in Eastern Ukraine, which
voted for Mr. Yanukovich, plus (in the case with the service sector)
Kiev. These are the areas where the future of Yushchenko’s rule
will be decided in the coming months. His task is to restore the
stability of the real, current Ukrainian economy rather than the
ideal, "futuristic" economy he promised to the electorate.
to the politics, the protracted election campaign in Ukraine leaves
a number of questions for other countries. The campaign did not
show anything new in terms of the functioning of democratic mechanisms
in a state that is still making a transition toward developed
democracy. Similar models of behavior on the part of the electorate,
entrepreneurs, parties and the media in such a society can be
found in Russia, the Philippines, or Taiwan.
the importance of therole played by foreign observers has never
been as significant as during the Ukrainian presidential elections.
That thousands of them flooded the country during the "third
round" of elections makes them partially responsible for
the violations of electoral legislation claimed by Mr. Yanukovich’s
supporters. In any case, we should seriously ponder over the "foreign
observer" phenomenon after the "Ukrainian episode."
it is quite ridiculous to talk about any impartiality of foreign
observers after the events in Ukraine. Nevertheless, Kiev is not
the last capital in the world to witness the transfer of presidential
or parliamentary authority in the near future. Therefore, it certainly
makes sense to start thinking about the development of a common
set of rules that will determine what observers can and must attend
certain elections and what status and authority they might have.
In other words, how to make sure that the observers do not turn
into a legalized "support group" for a certain candidate,
adding chaos to an already imperfect election process.