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“Where’s Lutsenko’s head at?”

July 23, 2015

A few days ago your author was chatting with a member of a diplomatic mission passing through Odessa – as is often (these days) the case.

Amongst issues, discussed, problems aired and potential solutions mulled, the subject of Yuri Lutsenko was raised, rather unexpectedly, when the conversation had been almost entirely policy and not personality orientated.

The question was, roughly translated, “Where is Lutenko’s head at?” – In other words, he has become increasingly difficult to read even to those that regularly interact with him.

The immediate reaction to that question was to suggest that he has become more than tired of being the Head of the Solidarity/Poroshenko Party in the Rada and is seeking to move onwards and upwards to more influential things – presumably within the inevitable Cabinet reshuffle in the Autumn.

Whether his resignation as Party Head after the failure to prevent an entirely retarded and populist vote regarding loans being converted from $ to UAH passing through the Rada was simply frustration at the enormous number of retarded populists with which he is charged with shepherding, or whether it was a declaration that he is irked by remaining in such a “lowly” role for so long are a few of the options.

Perhaps he simply did so whilst enjoying one too many, as he often does.

It maybe that he no longer feels suitable for his current role.  He is not the brightest or best politician in Ukraine, nor is he a particularly good disciplinarian within party ranks.  What he does well, and has always done well, is strike compromises and deals behind the Rada curtain both within and without whichever party he is member of at the time.

Come April(ish) next year, don’t be surprised if he is charged with sowing together another coalition as the current Rada inevitably grinds to a halt (if a coalition is needed).  Historically the 3rd/4th sessions of any Rada sees it functionally grind to a halt, meaning nothing gets done for the rest of the term, or early elections are required.

It is perhaps with half an eye upon this very real prospect that Yuri Lutsenko yesterday stated “We do not implement the coalition agreement. It was written with too much optimism.  It is not even technologically possible for parliament to pass such a large number of laws, as stipulated in the coalition agreement.  We have to revise the agreement.”

Maybe – maybe not.

It is perhaps the timescale that is the issue rather than the quantity (better not to mention quality) of legislative work that is the root of the issue.

If the expectation was to pass hundreds of new laws quickly, (rather than by 2020 to underpin the “Presidential Strategy”) and then sit back and watch them go unimplemented, then perhaps on such a restricted timescale he has a point.

If however, 2020 is the timescale to have a full and robust legislative framework to support, and partially achieve, the “Presidential Plan”, as well as meet Ukrainian ratified timescales regarding the implementation, and necessarily progressive legislative requirements of the DCFTA, then whining in July 2015 may be entirely inappropriate.

If the Rada is soon to grind to an Autumnal/Winter halt, being unable, or more to the point unwilling, to pass new legislation in a timely manner, then perhaps there are issues it can address for the next Rada before it dies an evermore expectedly premature death.

There is the issue of prioritising of course.  As has been written here several times before regarding the creation of legislation, “the first question is always “is it necessary?”.  If it is not necessary then it need not exist. The moment that a Ukrainian government actually goes through the existing statute and begin repealing a whole tome of unnecessary and/or Soviet inherited legislative nonsense cannot come too soon.  Which is more important, toppling statues of Lenin or toppling Soviet and nonsensical legislature to which we are all supposed to conform?

Thereafter there are probably two tests above all others relating to any law/proposed law.  The first and most obvious is whether the law advances justice for all.  If yes, OK – if not then it fails to advance justice and should not be adopted.

The next question is whether any new law/proposed law that would advance justice for all, would adversely effect the most basic and fundamental of human rights in doing so.  If yes it fails – if not then OK, bring it to the statute book.

Until any new law meets the “necessity” requirement, and passes the above two, admittedly but deliberately broad tests, then it is not fit for statute.  The aim is rule of law – it is not rule by law.  For rule of law to succeed, society must deem any law both necessary and fair or it will be ignored to the point of being effectively unenforceable when broken on a grand scale repeatedly.”

Thus, what legislation is necessary and what priority should it have in a limited timescale?  If it is not necessary, or is necessary but not a priority, let it wait until immediate legislative hurdles have been overcome.

If even that less ambitious tactic will soon be beyond the Rada at its next session, then spend time repealing a massive amount of entirely unnecessary law that is impeding the natural growth of business and societal ambition.  If there can be no agreement upon what new legislation should be, then perhaps it is easier to agree upon what laws shouldn’t be – and repeal them.

It would be a very productive thing to do anyway, more so if there is an inability to insert a new law where one is deleted, thus loosening the grip of the State where it need not be in a modern legislative and economic framework.

Should that prove too much, and it probably would, then perhaps this Rada could do the next one a big favour and deal with its own retarded internal processes.

The current processes are slow, cumbersome, and often unnecessary, on occasion overly elaborate, and seemingly deliberately weighted to prevent rather than encourage the legislative progress with any quality resulting .  Why not spend, what may otherwise be an unproductive Rada session by Christmas, agreeing and streamlining the internal processes of the Rada.  Make it a swifter, more responsive, nimble, flexible and yet robust set of processes capable of producing timely yet considered outcomes.

Just “where Lutsenko’s head is at” following his latest statement, presumably time will tell.  Perhaps he is unsure himself.  However, if he is admitting temporary defeat with regard to new passing huge volumes of new legislation by whatever notional date, then Ukraine has other fundamental issues to also address during any non-functioning Rada – administrative structures and processes also being priorities that have a pressing need for reform.  Rada processes are clearly amongst them.

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