Major local decisions by referendum – How generally un-European – How democratic!

March 16, 2012

Well what can you say about this?

Major local decisions to be made by referendum as a standard practice.

How very Swiss!

How very encouraging!

If it actually happens it is probably the most democratic friendly move when it comes to local governance in the history of Ukraine – ever!

Let’s hope it happens and let’s hope there is a very big local take-up so that it can be rolled out nationwide.

I am actually flabbergasted.

It’s unlikely to endear Ukraine to the EU however.  If there is one word that the leadership if the EU cringe at every time they hear it, that word is “referendum”.  In fact “referendum” is a positively distasteful word within the EU hierarchy, the mere mention of which is likely to have you removed from such circles either temporarily or permanently.

I once went to a meeting in 2009 where this concept was muted with the then Mayor of Odessa, amongst several other concepts for the development of Odessa.  The democratic concept of a referendum choosing amongst the priority projects was pooh-poohed (partially on a fiscal cost basis of the administration involved of said referendum) whilst other more business orientated concepts also suggested were forwarded for further examination.

Nevertheless, a good idea will always get trialled eventually even if not where I had hoped it would be (namely Odessa)!

Let’s hope the citizens of Kyiv seize the opportunity being offered and bring the major local decisions back to the local people they affect.


  1. I couldn’t find your email address on your site so hopefully I can leave it here and you can get back to me and then delete this clutter. Also I hope your readers will not be scandalized by this grossly irrelevant and potentially technologically illiterate personal communication marring the otherwise pristine comments section

    I’m an expat living in Odessa for about a year and a half, doing a bit of consulting and teaching and I’m similarly interested in the politics and culture of Ukraine and the way it interacts with the rest of europe, as well as the general bullshit and hilarity that comes with living in Odessa/Ukraine. I’m surprised I haven’t stumbled across your blog before and I really enjoy your writing and perspective a lot. I started a terrifically unsuccessful english-language magazine last summer and I’m now in the early planning stages of setting up a website (lesson learned about things in print) with pictures, essays, articles, first person narratives, editorials, interviews, short fiction etc. all about Odessa in English (and later possibly Russian too) with an emphasis on humor. Last year I was hoping to make a little bit of money from the magazine and it didn’t work, so now I’m just doing it for fun. So… if you have time and the inclination it wold be great to meet you for coffee to pick your brain concerning this little venture. If you’re interested, shoot me an email or respond to this comment!


    • Well firstly I am happy you find my ramblings to your taste. For certain they are not to everyones.

      Secondly I am pleased you found the blog although I must admit that I do nothing with regards to SEO, spiders and all those webby techy type things as I am a complete Internet marketing retard, notwithstanding the fact that as I do not allow advertising on this blog either (including in the comments section), there is no real financial incentive to spend the time doing so.

      Indeed there would be issues with an English language magazine in provincial Odessa. The native tongued English speakers who live here permanently are relatively few compared to the centre of the Ukrainian universe (Kyiv). A printed magazine such as that you trialled would need to be directed towards English language students as well for there to be any commercial gain I suspect.

      As for meeting for coffee and/or canapes, I will have to delay you until after Easter as I have several rather time consuming things that need to be completed before then.

      Once free from the shackles of existing commitments and deadlines I will have far more time for jolly japes in and around Deribasovskaya.,

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