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More haste, less speed – What to support in Ukraine?

February 24, 2014

Matters, unsurprisingly, are moving a great speed in Ukraine.  There now currently – but for how long – exists a super-majority sympathetic to the majority of opposition tactics.  I will deliberately refrain from using the word “strategies” as that infers far greater thought and a future trajectory of policy that currently is yet to make itself known.

A time for great care when controlling the euphoria of new found power.  Legislate in haste and repent at leisure.   Inclusiveness and tolerance must prevail – contentious issues allowed to be considered with far cooler and less emotive heads.

Following on from yesterday’s entry, it is both saddening and worrying that amongst the 3 candidates for Prime Minister of any new (interim) government (be it one of national unity or otherwise) Ms Tymoshenko is nominated together with Petro Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatseniuk.

Quite simply a disaster in the making should she get the post.  She has no concept of tolerance, inclusiveness cross cutting cleavages or compromise.  She understands nothing other than oligarchical/autocratic governance and Ukrainian society has outgrown such politics.

No sooner was she released yesterday did she announce her candidacy for president and immediately state that the people were right to refuse to accept the negotiated EU deal brokered the day before – a clear swipe at Messrs Klitschko, Yatseniuk and Tyahnybok who agreed it.

Heartening as it was that her reception in Kyiv was little more than tepid – few people do rhetoric better than Ms Tymoshenko and there is time for her to use that ability to make favourable gains amongst the electorate.  Fortunately most Ukrainians have good memories and will not forget she has been a significant part of a systemic political problem and not a viable solution.

The “West” will also remember their extreme “Tymoshenko fatigue” when she was last in power.  Whilst it may welcome her freedom, it will not relish her return to political power.

Thus returning to my entry yesterday and the necessary end to personality politics in Ukraine, there is quite obviously a need to create a new government – preferably one without Ms Tymoshenko in it.  There is a need for “the west” to be supportive of this government – and not individuals within it.

Once accomplished, there is an equally – if not more – important need for “the west” to support the Ukrainian institutions of state quite separately from the government.  Now is a time for those institutions to firmly plant a “keep off the grass” sign for the political class of Ukraine.  The “west” need to actively encourage the institutions to do so – now – immediately – today.

Now is the time for those institutions to demand the independence necessary for democratic vertical and horizontal accountability.  Now is the time for “the west” to offer robust,vocal and tangible support for any and every institution of state that comes under undemocratic and undue pressure from any new government.

Now is the time that “the west” should make this absolutely clear to the interim and future authorities and the institutions of state – for those that will now assume power and lead these state institutions also have assets in Europe, and Visas that can be revoked for acting against the democratic interests of the Ukrainian people.

Prevention is better than cure – and strategies to instigate immediately – and support – attempts by institutions of state to obtain genuine independence from government must be a priority for the western political and diplomatic class.

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