Archive for February 19th, 2010



February 19, 2010

Ukrainian companies importing potatoes from Saudi Arabia and Egypt
Ukrainian companies will boost imports of potatoes to cover a domestic deficit, UKRINFORM has reported, citing the Delo newspaper.

The main suppliers of potatoes are Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The ships with products from these countries are already at a Ukrainian port. The Ukrainian trade and economic mission in Egypt said that potatoes supplies were a project of private companies, rather than a state program. The average cost of Egyptian potatoes is three times higher than Ukrainian. Import companies said that potatoes supplies on the Ukrainian market would grow at least by a third this season.

Well, what can I say, a country bigger than France with the best agricultural land in Europe and once the bread basket of the USSR is……..importing potatoes!

How mismanaged can a country get?

(Oh and yes, it’s true…….the spuds from Egypt are labelled as such in the local supermarkets here in Odessa.)


Abraham Maslow, Yanukovych and Tymoshenko

February 19, 2010

Eh, WTF!!!….I hear you saying dear readers.

Well I’m bored and was thinking about getting a job again……but quickly dismissed the idea……you’ll be pleased to know as I decided I am not that bored!

Anyway, whilst getting together enough diplomas to wallpaper the average apartment sized toilet and scan them, I came across my Bachelor’s from York University in Business Management (and Finance) as well as some old material, including the essential reading of the time, relating to Abraham Maslow.

Yeh and?  I know that’s what your thinking…….unless you don’t know who Abraham Maslow was and are now in “Google” or “Wiki” mode.

Well, I got to thinking about where Ms Tymoshenko and Mr YanuKovych fit into the Mr Maslow hierarchy of needs/theory of human motivation in relation to that of Ukraine’s needs.

What are their motivators and do they suit Ukraine or even a democratic political government.

The above pyramid is a general guide to Maslow’s theory but we need to break down several layers to identify the particular drivers even fruther.  At this point I will make the obvious disclaimer that I am not a psychologist however all my qualifications are in either construction or business management and all my experience since HM Forces comes in both construction, management and latterly owning and running several companies which all somehow manage to turn a profit to one degree or another, so my comments, although my own, are very much based on my experience in such roles senior management/executive.

We will look at what Ukraine really needs and then compare it to what I think drives Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

Ukraine really needs the economy sorting out once and for all, regardless of what it takes to do it as this is this biggest issue to the everyday Ukrainian.  This falls into the bottom two rungs of the above pyramid and is of course a bloody long way from the top.

Secondly the civil service of Ukraine needs to be completely streamlined and made to adhere to the law without deviation or favour to improve the life of the average Ukrainian.  Again matters at the bottom of the pyramid.

Thirdly, the legislature needs to be clear, simple and effective in both crime, business and civil matters, which again sits at the bottom of the pyramid.

So do our leaders have the same motivators and needs as the country?

Of course not.

Both can be said to have an absolute and unbelievable need for power and control above any other motivation.  Then there is, much more apparant in Ms Tymoshenko but also existing in Mr Yanukovych, a need for autonomy and autocracy to do what they want to do without the annoyance of others getting in the way, such is democracy of course!   99.99%  of all their energy goes into this.

Therefore their motivators are in no way aligned to the needs of Ukraine or the Ukrainian.

Even if we allow a little of these motivators to be a requirement of a leader, which they are, it cannot be to the exclusion of all else in the pyramid as it is in their case.

We can then look at the secondary or less important drivers for them.

Next will come the need to change things… long as it is they that change it and the changes are only those they wish…..if you look at the pyramid above, so far we have not had one instantance which is subheaded – “Love/belonging” which gets even close to what Ukrainians are desperately seeking at this level and below on the pyramid.

Everything is in the realm of “self-actualisation” and does not even decend into “Esteem” as yet.

You can claim at a stretch, that as both are “popularist” by nature to one half of the country or the other, that esteem and public recognition then are on their agenda……but we are still nowhere near the desire for “belonging” or “safety” where Ukraine and Ukrainians want to have stability.

Neither seem to value or put any worth on professional expertise, respect for or from others, the need to feel they are wanted or belong in the Ukrainian community and needless to say, both are so personally rich that money and job security do not even register in their fight for power during the vast majority of the political cycle.

With such little regard to understanding the issues through professional expertise…..”esteem”….and absolutely no interest in the “belonging” section of the pyramid at all within their drivers, are these people ever going to have a good effect on Ukraine regardless of their words or deeds when they are so removed from the “family of Ukraine” and have none of the concerns below the “belonging” section of the pyramid?

The answer is of course not. 

If what really get’s them out of bed in a morning is anything but the lower end of the pyramid then they will never be anything more than successful private business people who will use Ukraine for their own gain and nothing more, paying lip service to the bottom of the pyramid and those which are struggling for even “safety”.

I know, what makes them different from any other politician in Ukraine or even on the planet……not much I suppose!

Anyway, I have put my diplomas away again, having analysed my drivers for thinking about getting a job and not really finding one real driver on Mr Maslow’s pyramid.

I think I am in need of a serious challenge again if I am to motivate myself to do anything…….any offers?


So now what – snap parliamentary elections?

February 19, 2010

Well dear readers, desipte the suspended result of the Presidential election due to Ms Tymoshenko’s court challenge, let us look to where the real power lays in Ukraine…….the parliament.

Yeh, I know “President” has a nice omnipresent all powerful ring to it…..but in Ukraine it doesn’t bring the President such powers as the title would suggest.

Way too many commentators and under informed or just plain stupid people are considering Ukraine doomed because Mr Yanukovych will probably have his victory confirmed after the court challenge……after all, every single exit poll in Ukraine had him as the winner…… well as the vote count…….and the international observers saying all was good and had no reason to cry “foul”.

Mr Yanukovych, even when his victory is confirmed is still is a very weak position…….in fact a position no stronger than Mr Yushenko has been in.

I will grant you that Mr Yushenko has been his own worst enemy and in many regards, the worst enemy of Ukraine, not by his inability to lead but by his absolute inability and continued refusal to work with Ms Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.  If Ms Tymoshenko said “black” he would say “white” or vice versa regardless of what was obviously best for Ukraine.

Returning to the parliament though, Mr Yanukovych does not have a parliamentary majority for insure his policies will get through.  Whilst his party cetainly have the most seats of any individual party in the parliament, Ukraine works on dodgey coalitions of various parties to form an absolute majority.

At present, Ms Tymoshenko holds that majority and for this reason is Prime Minister.

It is not so easy to remove her either.  Once Mr yanukovych gets sworn in on 25th February……if things don’t change……he then has to gather a new majority, or his party does……in the RADA which can generate enough votes to unseat Ms Tymoshenko.  This is not as easy as you would think.

Why?  Mr Yanukovych has many important people in his party who will want paying jobs in the government……he has more people than he has positions.  Ms Tymoshenko however has far less people and can offer good jobs to those in other parties to insure a coalition.

Even if she can be voted out, she will become acting Prime Minister until there are parliamentary elections which realistically simply will not be held before September due to legal timelines given in the consititution for each step in the process to occur.

Is it even in Party of Regions and Mr Yanukovych’s interest to have a snap election…….or Ms Tymoshenko’s and the ByT for that matter?

Probably not is the answer.  A simple look at the runners and riders in the first round of the presidential election would say that both would suffer.

Sergiy Tigipko who came 3rd with justover 13% of the vote currently has no MPs in the RADA.  Arseniy Yantseniuk who came 4th with 7% of the vote also has no MP’s in the RADA.  Mr Yushenko, who is allied to OU-PSD got just over 5% of the vote but has no MPs which are directly “his” either.  Bloc Lytvyn who got just under 3% of the vote and actually lost ground would lose MPs in the RADA and they currently form part of the coalition.

What would happen within the RADA if there is a snap parliamentary election?  A look at the first round of voting in the presidential campaign could be a good indicator and would mean that PoR and Mr Yanukovych would have 35% of MPs, Ms Tymoshenko 25% of MPs and then comes the current fly’s in the ointment which currently have no MPs……13% of MPs would be Tigipko, 7% of MPs Yatseniuk and 5% MPs to Yushenko should he form his own faction or solidify his links with OU-SDP.

A radical shift in the parliamentary landscape for both Mr Yanukovych and Ms Tymoshenko to contend with and a very uncertain chance of building a solid majority by way of coalition.

In short, neither would like to see a snap-election as both of their positions would be put in jeopardy.  Mr Yanukvych would of course still remain president, but no reforms or changes he may want to make will ever get through the RADA unless he holds a strong majority there…..making him hamstrung and as ineffective as Yushenko was but for different reasons…..namely they will be based on political differences and not the absolute personal hatred which was felt between Yushenko and Tymoshenko. 

Ms Tymoshenko could well lose her Prime Ministerial position completely if Tigipko, Yatseniuk and Yushenko joined forces and be forced into opposition……or of course PoR and any one of the aforementioned form a coalition.

Not a prospect she will look forward too either.  Far better to avoid snap parliamentary elections and keep the likes of Tigipko, Yatensiuk and Yushenko out of the RADA by way of MP representation until the next scheduled parliamentary elections.  Delaying the inevitable maybe, but giving her time to try and sort out the economy, National Bank, civil serbice and deregulated the laws on business, all of which are responsibility of parliament and not president under the Ukrainian consititution.

This leaves only two real options which are slightly less distasteful for Mr Yanukovych and Ms Tymoshenko.  Mr Yanukovych can try and form a new majority in the RADA with the PoR and others…..but as I say it is unlikely with not enough good jobs to give to his own members let alone coalition members too……which leaves Ms Tymoshenko as Prime Minsiter and the parliament out of his control.

The only other solution…..after a hopefully short cameo of President verses Parliament again as under Yushenko and Tymoshenko, is a coaltion between PoR and ByT where Yanukovych gets a manageable parliament under the Prime Ministership of Ms Tymoshenko and the coalition is so large it is unbreakable in the RADA……after all there is nothing to chose between the policies of Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yanukovych for the most part.

This puts Ms Tymoshenko in a fairly decent position as she can demand several key posts for her “loyalty” to the coalition.  It also means that Mr Yanukovych, when the constitution is amended, will undoubtedly have to cede some presidential powers to the office of Prime Minsiter and Ms Tymoshenko.

This way there would be a reasonable chance of some much needed change in Ukraine internally but also would mean that both could be fairly assured of retaining their respective positions in 2015 as well.

With the local elections having now been postponed until a date to be fixed, it has scuppered any chance of Ms Tymoshenko strengthening her hold on some regional administrations as a backlash to Mr Yankuovych becoming president, the only card Mr Yanukovych really had to play to keep her in check…..even if that card was actually played by an OU-PSD deputy who submitted the call to delay the regional elections.

In effect, if the PoR manage to create a new coalition…..which is unlikely, Ms Tymoshenko goes into opposition and Mr Yanukovych stands a reasonable chance on being able to deliver on campaign promises.

In the probable event Ms Tymoshenko manages to keep her coalition majority in the RADA and remains Prime Minsiter then there will be continued bitching and backbiting until an agreement is made in which she will join a coalition with the PoR on her terms…….but in the meantime Ukraine will continue to suffer as over the past 5 years, ergo prresidential decrees overturned by parliament and president in turn refusing to sign into law parliamentary decisions forcing parliament to override the president if it can muster the votes to do so.

In the not impossible situation where there is simply no impass, as with Mr Yushenko and Ms Tymoshenko, then there will be a very new and very unpredictable landscape in the RADA which neither would welcome, but are both so full of themselves they would rather risk that than create stability.

Pretty grim outlook for the short term……sorry!

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