Archive for April 11th, 2013

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The less than welcome return of the prodigal son – Lutsenko

April 11, 2013

I have deliberately left mentioning Yuri Lutsenko since his release to give him time to say something of note in relation to the leadership and direction of the “United Opposition” – be it good or bad.

He has now said something worthy of note: To date, none of the three candidates is a self-sufficient leader with a set of all the sufficient qualities. Someone is wiser purely from life experience and basic education. Someone is more radical. Someone more decisive. But no one has yet a complete set of the tools needed to become the leader of the nation, with all due respect to them.  – All quite true as I have stated here many times as regular readers will know.

So true in fact, that it was only a matter of time before Lutsenko had to say it.

I will not have been the only one expecting him to say it sooner or later either, hence my comment three days ago about the muted opposition response to his, and others, release: “One could think that there are those within the opposition who are not exactly overjoyed at their release – at least that is the perception their social media accounts infer simply by complete lack of, or little reference to, such a major event for the opposition and EU/Ukrainian relations.

It is quite obvious that despite their rhetoric, if the three United Opposition parties can only raise a total of 7000 protesters in Kyiv on a Sunday afternoon, a city that is generally pro-opposition, then the rhetoric of the opposition relating to their “Rise Ukraine” campaign is certainly not matched by the numbers of the public prepared to demonstrate on the streets with/for them – even in “friendly territory” with a huge city population to draw from.  By the time the “paid protester” numbers are removed from the crowd count it must be somewhat worrisome – for Arseniy Yatseniuk in particular.

Hopefully those numbers will improve (and probably will as the weather improves) – but to what end – when the “Rise Ukraine” campaign ends in mid-May, then what?  Rallying the public in regions that are not predisposed to favour the current government seems so expected to be meaningless as far as the PoR are concerned.  Rallying large numbers in the PoR heartlands would have had far more of an impact on the current government.

Now a leading opposition figure in Lutsenko, has told opposition supporters on national television that none of their current opposition leaders are actually equipped to lead the nation yet – one wonders how that will effect the rest of the “Rise Ukraine” campaign.  Why “rise” if those asking you to do so are not even deemed capable by senior figures within their own fold?

That said, Yatseniuk himself did the cause no favours on Sunday by telling the media that despite the “Rise Ukraine” campaign, nobody expected it to force the President’s resignation within the next few months – which was precisely one of the major publicised objectives of the “Rise Ukraine” campaign when launched – the immediate resignation of Yanukovych.

Having doubted the timing and construct of the strategy from the start, it is no surprise that it will not achieve one of its major stated aims and turn out to be more empty rhetoric – unfortunately.

However, what will the “United Opposition” leadership do with Lutsenko who is now likely disturb their menage a trois – both internally of Batkivshchnya and externally amongst the general opposition supporters?

They are certainly not capable of silencing him or sidelining him.

For Tyahnybok and Klitschko, leading their own parties it is possibly slightly less of a problem than that which now confronts Yatseniuk, who leads Tymoshenko’s party but now has Tymoshenko’s greatest political ally freed and informing Ukraine that none of the aforementioned party leaders are capable of governing Ukraine.

Further down the line, the question arises as to where Lutsenko’s political future will be.  He will certainly not join Svoboda.  He is unlikely to join or be accepted by UDAR, and he will not quietly submit to the weak leadership of Yatseniuk for long should he join Batkivshchyna – meaning he will either oust Yatseniuk as leader (with Tymoshenko’s blessing), or set up a political party of his own eventually.

If he does the latter, then there will inevitably be defections to his new party from across the “United Opposition” ranks – ultimately making the current menage a trois into a menage a quatre.  Or is a menage a quatre simply an orgy or gangbang?

A few days ago I made this statement and posed this question:  “A return to such dysfunctional governance – or alternatively Yanukovych-lite – is not what Ukraine needs.

Maybe Lutsenko, now he’s been released will provide something like a policy rudder?”

This, it appears has been answered as Lutsenko states he is going to form a civil society movement.

Lutsenko rightly states that “Ukraine needs a nation-wide non-partisan movement that will push the opposition into the right decisions “, and “There are four people – Taras Stetskiv, Volodymyr Filenko, Yuriy Lutsenko and Roman Bezsmertny. It is necessary to unite around them.

De facto, Lutsenko is stating not only are the opposition leaders currently not up to the job of leading the nation but also that the opposition are getting what little policy they have, wrong at the moment – which is absolutely true in both regards – and is clear, historically, to any reader of this blog.

Further Bezsmertny states “Action groups will be established in the center and the regions that will have to collect the proposals – and what kind of Ukraine we want to see? Then the team will be formed, and only then the movement’s leader will be defined. I would note that by the time the leaders of the opposition shall have been already decided on their candidate.

Should this civic movement morph into a political party at some stage, or Lutsenko be drawn back into the Bratkivshchnya fold at the expense of Yatseniuk, that in turn will mean a renegotiation of the grubby little deals over who was to get what should the “United Opposition” gain power with Ms Tymoshenko in prison.

So the question for the “United Opposition” is what to do with a prodigal son who will be neither silenced nor ignored, but certainly does not fit within the current menage a trois either?

Life for Yatesniuk, Klitschko and Tyahnybok just became a lot more complicated.

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