Archive for February 5th, 2010

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2 Days left as President…..what can I do……oh I know!

February 5, 2010

With 48 hours left as President of Ukraine, Victor Yushenko still has time to cause an “issue or two”.

In th past 2 weeks he has made hero’s of villians…….depending on your point of view of course….. changed the election laws with 4 days before the final vote and now…….with little left time left to do anything…..he has decided to sack a few Amabassadors for good measure……..

Today at 18:20 | Interfax-Ukraine Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko has signed decrees dismissing three ambassadors, the president’s press service reported on Feb. 3.

In particular, the president sacked Ihor Lossovsky as Ambassador of Ukraine to Malaysia; Ivan Dovhanych as Ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia; and Ihor Lohinov as Ambassador to Iran.

Fair play, at least someone is trying to ignore Asia and the Middle East.

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When Ukraine paying it’s gas bill to Russia on time makes the news every month…..

February 5, 2010

New York, February 5 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Most of countries have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Untied Nations Organization, the United Nations news service reported on Feb. 4.

The regulations of the organization require that assessments be paid to the regular budget by January 31. But only 26 out of 192 UN state members paid assessments for 2010 in full, the United Nations news service reported on Thursday.

Armenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Estonia are in the list of the counties that paid their fees on time. Lithuania and Samoa fulfilled their obligations by Feb. 1.

The size of assessments for the regular budget of the United Nations is determined as a share of the general expenditures of the organization. The scale of assessments is approved by the UN General Assembly every three years. The level of economic development and size of population of member states are taken into account.

Nice to see it is not always late in paying eh?

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How to transform Ukraine……..

February 5, 2010

Whilst I thank each and every reader I have, sometimes you do ask me some particularly difficult questions to which there is no good answer!

We will go with an unlikely scenario that on Sunday 7th February a new president is elected in Ukraine, freely and fairly, results recognised not only by the international community but by the Ukrainians and Ukrainian politicians alike……..Yes that is why I used the word “unlikely”.

We will assume a seamless and cordial transition of power…..again unlikely, and the building of a working and efficient parliament and governmental process from top to bottom…….look out for that flying pig!

With all of these extremely unlikely events having taken place, and no tears in beers internally or externally regarding Ukraine……..what next?

It is a given that relations with Russia will improve somewhat, although not necessarily to the extent that Russia may think or which the western press are portraying……..but they will become for the most part “amicable”……and certainly improve to those which exist today.

We can consider that there will be some progress…..although not as quickly as the EU would like…..towards a Free Trade Agreement and possibly an Eastern European Partnership being signed…….as nobody is saying this will not happen under their watch if it is possible to do.

All jolly hockey sticks and the only foreign policy decisions that will occur under either of the next Presidents anyone inside or outside Ukraine will care about.

The IMF and Ukraine will kiss and make up as Ukraine, now having taken this road, has little option but to continue.

And then what?

None of that changes Ukraine for the Ukrainians…..or me for that matter.

Much of what needs to be done here not only depends on political will but also finance, logistics and control.  In fact in some ways it is not a bad comparison to look at Ukraine as being subject to a natural or man-made humanitarian disaster when it comes to the financial, logistical, planning and management needs.

Of course I am not comapring the devistation and loss of life of Haiti or Sri Lanka after the natural disasters there, but you can certainly compare the lack of management, logistics, financial resources and environmental damage here which has been allowed to occur over the past 18 years of independence. 

A catastrophy by erosion rather than sudden impact  but with the same results less the body count.

The question for the next president and parliament, assuming they have the will and can muster the management ability……and I am sure they will fail on one if not both counts….. is how to deal with what they inherit…..even if they have helped create it in the first place.

This undoubtedly will involve foreign assistance and most likely even more financial support even after the chemical, steel, agricultural and coal markets recover.

As I said at the start, even with the highly unlikely scenario of an efficient government, the abilities of the Ukrainian leadership, with the best will in the world, is not sufficient to deal with what they are faced with.

Do you tackle one specific subject at a time and through huge efforts, money and political will or do you target many smaller issues which will have an immediate impact?

This takes me back to the analagy of “international aid” to a nation which has suffered an unforeseen natural disaster like Haiti.

Do the international teams concentrate on the massive project of “X”, or do they have mutliple small projects running, like putting a roof on back on a hospital, windows in a school etc etc on an ad hoc, deal with it as you find it basis, which makes an instant impact in a small locality but does not affect “project X” for the nation as a whole in any meaningful way for the nations citizens?

There is no right or wrong answer to this which I can see.

In the ideal Ukraine I describe, with a healthy, responsible and more honest leadership running top to bottom, the obvious answer if that central government tackles the major “project X” within the core adminstrative State organs whilst regional and local authorities deal with the local issues of the school window and hospital roof as they come across them.

That is a long way from the centralised politics of Ukraine today and the seriously lacking fiscal oversight in both central and regional administrations even if government here was not so centralised.

If again, we compare the rebuilding of infrastructure to that which is needed in Haiti (both phsyical and administrative) in Ukraine, who will control the NGO’s both internally of Ukraine and those which come from elsewhere to help given the obvious restictions in ability of either presidential winner and the existing parliamentarians…….and even if they were as pure as the driven snow?

How best does the EU influence the thoughts and minds of the average Ukrainian on a par with the way Russia will seek to do it?  Currently the EU throws hundreds of millions of Euro at Ukraine on projects that do not make the slightest difference to the Ukrainian on the street…..and in the current political situation…..never will such is the systemic failure and corruption which exists.

Do they now need to consider that the big plan “X” has made no impact on the average Ukrainian and need to look towards specific local projects which are more easily managed, have easily identified results and generally fit the SMART system used by most businesses with a plan……namely, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

Will 100 small projects specific to locations in Ukraine that have pragmatic results through NGOs and Ukrainian participation in delivery, have much more affect on the average Ukrainian life than the great “project X” over the past decade of throwing money at “judicial reform” when the faces which corrupt the system are still in power?

Would other entities with an interest in Ukraine provide more pragmatic support to the average Ukrainian’s life?

Does the international community even care that much about Ukraine (and I include Russia in that statement) when push comes to shove, particularly when Ukraine ceases to become the main energy transportation route for Europe from Russia?

How much can Ukraine do for itself…….on the assumption of an idyllic leadership……given the financial situation it is in?

Given the severely restricted finances available, does the new president and government decide to tackle “project X” or hundreds of small local issues with immediate impact?

Not such an easy answer when dealing with a nation as it is when doing DIY about the house is it?

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