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Lutsenko – How temporary should temporary allies be?

August 27, 2013

A few days ago, when commenting upon the apparent distancing of the opposition leaders, I wrote this – “……..Or perhaps the political expediency has now turned to the beginning of disorder as the very wise Lau Tzu orated?

If so we can hardly be surprised. Once the signing – or not – of the EU Association Agreement passes at the end of November, opposition leaders will have their eyes on the presidential campaign of early 2015 – and very little else.”

Depending upon just how much credibility we may consider Yuri Lutsenko to retain amongst the opposition ranks – and that is very subjective indeed – then as soon as necessary legislation has been passed to allow for the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU – zero sum politics returns immediately, with all opposition eyes on the presidential campaign of 2015 as I suggested just a few days before.

“President Yanukovych is the opposition’s temporary ally.  Until the ink on his signature dries up, he is our ally.  The following day the ink dries up, he is again our adversary whom we have to defeat in the 2015 presidential elections.”

Yes indeed there is a presidential election to compete within – but such statements tend to suggest a weary return to the zero sum politics we are so accustomed to in Ukraine by the feckless political class.

Depending upon what inference we draw from Lutsenko’s statement, it is a very sad indicator for the immediate fate of Association Agreement should it be signed.

Is this the declaration of a moratorium between November 2013 and March 2015 by the opposition parties when it comes to the required cooperation to turn what is effectively no more than a signing of a statement of direction into actual and tangible European integration by way of ratification?

Unless he is expecting by some miracle that by simply signing the Association Agreement it transforms Ukraine overnight and is indeed an all-powerful panacea that will work its magic unaided – which it certainly isn’t – there will be a lot of hard work to do between any signing of any agreement and its ratification.

Quite simply, with so great a legislative and implementation challenge to meet between signing and ratification – including changes to the Constitution of Ukraine that necessarily require the votes of 300 MPs, and thus the absence of zero sum politics because neither side can muster that number alone – that time becomes very valuable indeed – A time of cooperation and inclusion if what needs to be done is to get done expeditiously.

What of the undoubted Russian shenanigans during the period between any signing and ratification  that will occur?

It will require a united and robust rebuttal by the entire Ukrainian political class.  It will require a united political dialogue with the nation to explain just why taking any such Russian inflicted pain is worthwhile in denying efforts to scupper the Association Agreement that will be both slow to be ratified and bring any tangible benefits.

If Lutsenko believes Yanukovych to be a necessary and temporary ally now, regardless of who wins or loses any elections, how can that situation change during what will certainly be a very difficult period prior to ratification of something so absolutely fundamental to the future of the nation?

When does Lutsenko believe the threats, both internal and external, have diminished enough to jettison Yanukovych and Party of Regions as temporary allies over this particular matter?

Just how temporary is temporary?  Should it be based upon the drying of Yanukovych’s signature on Ukrainian laws to meet EU expectations, the signature on the Association Agreement itself, or upon any final ratification document in due course?

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