Archive for April 29th, 2012

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The unpopularity race – Politics in Ukraine

April 29, 2012

When all major political parties in Ukraine manage to gain 18% or less individually in the straw polls of public opinion regardless of what provocative or pacifying actions they make take in an attempt to either motivate or buy off the voting public, the one clear result opinion polls show is that the Ukrainian public simply don’t like any of the political choices they have.

Whilst Ms Tymoshenko’s circumstances and hunger strike may be preoccupying Baroness Ashton at the EEAS, not a single spontaneous protest from the people of any note Ukraine has occurred.  In fact even some of the western media sees the hunger strike tactic as flawed.  The Economist recently calling her antics “grating, and that from a media outlet hardly friendly to the Yanukovych camp (or any authoritarian rule for that matter), and calling foul on her damsel in distress tone.

Over at Der Tagesspeigel my twitter friend Claudia Von Salzen, a stalwart defender of human rights and who regularly highlights Ms Tymoshenko’s plight, does not see her as the lens through which Ukraine should solely be viewed.  She is quite right.

Tymoshenko fatigue seems to be setting in even amongst her foreign supporters, just as it did when she was Prime Minister.

That does not help the current ruling majority however.  They are less popular than a particularly rancid fart in a very air-tight spacesuit.   Then they would be.  They put up the pension age, put up gas and electricity prices, changed the tax code to capture more people, all obviously unpopular, and yet still managed to make themselves more unpopular with insider business deals, plundering the public purse and failing to implement laws they pass that may actually change life even myopically for the better.

In short, the vast majority of Ukrainians do not trust Yanukovych or Tymoshenko and would rather have no government at all than either of those two.  Unfortunately they are the two people who have the only two parties big enough to form a government.  It is therefore absolutely no surprise that none can even pass the 20% popularity threshold.

Only two nights ago, Andrey Shevchenko of BYuT tweeted that BYuT and Yatseniuk’s Front for Change need Klitchko’s party join them to be sure of having a good chance of beating the PoR at the October elections and asking why he has not joined the ranks of the United Opposition yet.

At the same time Carl Bildt tweeted and suggested that Ukraine is going to force the EU into cutting ties.

That being so, the only EU/Ukraine agreement that is not tied to politics, the fate of Tymoshenko and others, or the nefarious actions of Yanukovych and his sponsors, is the road map for Visa-free travel which Stefan Fule consistently states is about the free movement of people and not the politics of a nation.

Very good.  Therefore whether it be the PoR of BYuT that are annoying the EU when in power, and they both have and do, the Visa-free issue should progress regardless theoretically.  Which ever government is sitting in Ukraine when this eventually comes to pass, may get some begrudging recognition by society for actually doing something in their interest.

And yet this process is stalled.  Not by the EU but by Ukraine.  Not for any obscure issues contained within the road map either.  It is stalled over the issue of biometric passports which are necessary as part of the Visa-free agreement and an EU norm for EU nations.

Is it any wonder that the Ukrainian populous have so little faith in their political classes?

One of the few beneficial things for the everyday Ukrainian not hanging by a thread through purely political shenanigans between the EU and Ukraine, and it is the Ukrainian politicians who can’t get their act together once again.

Pathetic!

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