Archive for June 17th, 2012


New Economy, New Country – Natalia Korolevska

June 17, 2012

New economy, new country?

As many of you readers will know, since this blog began years ago, when talking of political personalities,  the likes of Yanukovych and Tymoshenko have long been seen as an anchor to the recycled Soviet machinery, so mired in their opaque and murky past that they cannot escape it – and neither should they.

Since 2010 Yatsenuik, Tigipko and now since her falling out with Tymoshenko, Natalia Korolevska are three faces that are likely to become “the” political faces of Ukraine in the next decade when the Ukrainian public eventually consign the corrupt hangover of Tymoshenko/Yanukovych and their ilk to the political leadership rubbish bin.

There are one or two others as well, and as and when, they will be written about.

Of note, for any election monitors looking at media coverage ahead of October’s parliamentary elections, Natalia Korolevska is hardly ever off my screen at the moment in Odessa.  Whether she thinks Odessa is there for the taking, I’m not sure.  Yatseniuk who has history with Odessa, has a far better chance of taking it from the PoR than she does in all truthfulness.

Anyway, on 15th June, Ms Korolevska turned up in Odessa to present and talk about her draft  programme “New economy, new country”.  I am keen to say something positive as amongst the younger generation of Ukrainian politicians, she will become a leading light in my opinion, despite the fact she has made hundreds of millions of US$  by allegedly nefariously navigating the “old economy, old country” in order to buy her way into the RADA in 2006 and dodgy dealing within that elite business cesspit ever since, vastly increasing her personal wealth (although now her business interests have been transfered to her husband’s name I’m led to believe in some vein effort to distance herself from them.)

Unfortunately, finding something positive to say is not that easy when it comes to her “New economy, new country” programme, despite the fact I am looking for a spark of light in a very dark tunnel when it comes to Ukrainian politics.

Ms Korolevska enlightened Odessa with tales of “economic miracles” and her vision of a Ukrainian miracle is average salaries of Euro 1000 and pensions of Euro 500 each month.

Perhaps if her historical leader Ms Tymoshenko, vigorously defended by Ms Korolevska to the point of nominating her for the Nobel Peace Prize until they fell out,  hadn’t authorised such a crippling gas deal running from 2009 – 2019, there would be a few extra $ for pensions or education or health?  (On the presumption that the current government wouldn’t have wasted it in some other way, which is highly likely.)

So returning to “economic miracles” as proposed by Ms Korolevska as the saviour of Ukraine,  where, who, how and when does this “economic miracle” arrive with Ukraine, and possibly more importantly given that good policy is often robustly resisted by the regional fiefdoms, how and who would insure its effective implementation?

Well, according to her, she has been collecting data from countries where economic miracles have occurred, where the structure of the economy has been changed, where jobs in the very short term have been created, where the size, scale and diversity of the economy has grown.

That shouldn’t have taken long, there are numerous in-depth studies by academics of good standing to be found on the Internet, and to be quite honest, as she herself stated in 2006 when she joined the Ukrainian parliament, “it seems that everyone here is well aware of the difficulties, but nobody makes an attempt resolve them and to help the people.”  Nonetheless, if she has found the time to compile her own studies and recommendations between visiting Davos and the Brussels bubble, fair play to her.

Exactly which nations “economic miracles” she has studied and drawn conclusions from are a mystery.  How they can and will be transposed to Ukraine to transform its economy also remains unclear.  This is particularly important when Ms Korolevska has previously recommended sacking all judges, prosecutors, lawyers and defenders due to the corrupt legal system and replacing them – without giving a clue where experienced and qualified replacements will actually come from or how they will remain uncorrupted once in office.  Her stance however, is that is cannot be reformed but those currently within the system, despite her stance meaning the system simply ceases to exist when she has sacked everybody in it.

If she did a similar study to that of her “economic miracle” when reforming corrupt legal systems, she would note that no nation has sacked all the judges, lawyers, prosecutors and defenders whilst making those reforms.

So the next question is when this “economic miracle” will manifest itself in Ukraine.  In the 6 years and counting that she has been a RADA MP it has yet to materialise in any shape or form that she is prescribing as the prescription for a “new country”.

The most positive thing I can say about her visit to Odessa, other than the fact she visited Odessa, is that she has things written down, almost manifesto-like.  Apart from that, she said nothing that my butcher, supermarket check-out girl, barman or taxi driver wouldn’t say.  Certainly not enough to make a voter change from who they would normally vote for to vote for her.

Lots of form and absolutely no substance.  Luckily she has several months to up her game…..considerably!

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