Political deals and the question of their wider legitimacy – Ukraine

February 22, 2014

And so it came to pass that yet another (flimsy looking) deal has supposedly been reached at a political level between the Ukrainian authorities, opposition parties and foreign interlocutors of both Russia and EU.

However, regardless of the merits – or not – of any deal done (early presidential elections, coalition government and return to 2004 Constitution), and regardless of whether all concerned will actually stick to it whilst implementation occurs, it is necessary to be blunt – it is necessary to  recognise that the Ukrainian  opposition has never managed to get in front of “Maidan” and lead it.

Maidan has always led the opposition, right from the very first day Mustafa Nayyem started it all with his Facebook call to protest.  When the opposition eventually realised it had momentum, they were too late to the party to have any credibility.  They have never been allowed to fully hijack the protests since, simply being tolerated and allowed to ride the wave of discontent.

In short, convincing opposition leadership of Maiden? – Little to none.

The question is therefore, will any deal have traction amongst the protesting masses who have no faith in the feckless political class of Ukraine, regardless of what flavour it is – and an increasing lack of faith in the foreign interlocutors and what they represent?

Even if there is sufficient traction to bring an unstable peace immediately, the devil is not only within the detail of the agreement as to how good or bad it will be perceived to be, but also what occurs during the time that  passes between agreement and the results it brings.

Nevertheless, resolute reconciliation has to start somewhere – even if only amongst a political class, rather than between the political class and society.

You cannot help but think that a deal that serves to provide the opportunity to remove the current president only 90 days earlier than would have happened anyway, that does not provide for constitutional change until September at the absolute earliest, leaving politically controlled and corrupt institutions of state unchanged until then, thus allowing for the creeping spectre of the authorities to quietly seek retribution for months, and provides for 10 months of internal and external interference and provocation, falls far, far short of the expectations of a large part of society that has seen almost 100 die and many thousands injured when it comes to time scale for genuine democratic change.

Is it reasonable to expect the majority of society to accept an uninterrupted continuance of the current presidential governance for many more months when considering recent events – or is it too late?

I suspect that the political class are once again far behind the curve when it comes to understanding Ukrainian society which has outgrown their tired grip on the time scale of change – but a cessation of violence is an absolute must to move forward and if this can work to the satisfaction of all, then let us hope that it does!

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