The brazen reoligarchification of UkraineMarch 7, 2014
It is no secret to regular readers that over the past years I have repeatedly stated Ukraine will only progress toward a better future if the likes of Mr Yanukovych and Ms Tymoshenko are consigned to the political history books of Ukraine.
Current opinion polls have Mr Poroshenko leading the presidential popularity race – at about 22%. He is followed by Vitaly Klitshcko at about 18%, with Ms Tymoshenko trailing at around 14% – but in the absence of any Party of Regions candidate thus far, there is a very large voting constituency to play for – and in Ms Tymoshenko’s position, a lot of ground to catch up if she intends to run for president.
To be fair, perhaps she won’t. After all, a return to the 2004 Constitution means parliament takes some powers from the president, and a still angry public opinion would probably give its consent to even greater reduction of presidential power.
Perhaps the office of Prime Minister is more appealing?
However, it is becoming very clear who is currently running the country behind the facade of acting presidents and acting prime ministers. Yulia Tymoshenko. Perhaps unsurprising when considering the make-up of the “national unity government” which is nothing if not a misnomer.
A few rewards for Svoboda, a few appointments for prominent “Maidaners” and the rest Batkivshchyna party members – of which Ms Tymoshenko is the leader.
I have written many, many times – the last occasion being only two days ago – “Ms Tymoshenko knows only autocratic and oligarchical politics. She knows seedy opaque deals. She understands zero sum, conflict and division. As her reception upon her release at Maidan clearly displayed, she represents all the political manifestations that the protesters want to move away from – and all those The Kremlin would be happy to keep.”
It is therefore worrisome to note that regional governors are now being replaced by the oligarchy on a targeted basis. (Before anybody asks why Rinat Akhmetov is not the Donetsk Govenor – he was offered it and refused a few days ago).
Thus far though, fellow oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky, Sergei Taruta have been appointed within regions of Eastern Ukraine. Vadim Novinsky has agreed to become Ms Tymoshenko’s unofficial oligarchical representative for Crimea.
“Ms Tymoshenko knows only autocratic and oligarchical politics” – prophetic to say the least.
The “reoligarchification” (my latest contribution to nonexistent words) of Ukraine has seemingly begun via the opaque leadership of Yulia Tymoshenko and “interim” vassals of her party in power – at least in the parts of Ukraine that her party, her authority and legitimacy is weak.
Whether this is an attempt to sew Ukraine back together via appointing business interests directly into Ukrainian politics through the position of regional governors – a fractured Ukraine is simply bad for (legitimate) business – or whether this is a far more permanent and cancerous move back toward an oligarchical political system that suits Ms Tymoshenko (and as an aside The Kremlin) remains to be seen.
For certain, the politics of democracy with genuine power sharing, consensus, transparency, tolerance and inclusiveness, vertical and horizontal accountability are simply not for Yulia Tymsohenko – she doesn’t understand it.
Let us hope that with the distractions of Crimea, economic disaster and social unrest do not lead Ukraine back to what has gone before.
In the meantime, it appears the Crimean parliament has voted to return to the Russian Federation, with a public referendum in 10 days from today – Well you can’t say I didn’t see that coming.